Welcome to the University of Calgary, a community that includes 29,000 students from around the world and 135,000 alumni.
You have taken an important step in your life. From here you will go on to become our community’s doctors, politicians, engineers, scientists and artists. Like those before you, you will have the opportunity to tackle societal challenges, expand scientific horizons, illuminate and educate, and otherwise make significant and meaningful contributions to the world in which we live.
I am pleased to be joining you on this journey, as the University’s new President, a continuation of the journey I began here at the University of Calgary as an undergrad nearly 30 years ago. I am honoured to now lead an institution that is so rich in traditions and with such a strong reputation.
My vision for this university is a strong and visible pride in everything we’ve accomplished so far, and will accomplish in the future. The University of Calgary will lead the nation in terms of student engagement; more of our research programs will be the leading examples of their kind in Canada; and our reputation will be further enhanced and even more widely acknowledged globally.
The University of Calgary is committed to offering students a relevant and useful education. We recognize that a university education is about more than what happens in the classroom. The University of Calgary and its Students’ Union offer all students, and in particular undergraduate students, unique opportunities to be engaged through experiential or hands-on-learning, study abroad opportunities, and co-op placements.
As an example, in fall 2008, the University of Calgary became the first university in Canada to offer a four-year graduation guarantee to students embarking upon four-year degree programs in certain faculties. Through a mutual commitment on behalf of students and the university, the Graduation Guarantee program offers incoming students an agreement that ensures they will be able to graduate within four years, or the University of Calgary will pay the tuition for any extra courses needed to finish.
I also encourage you to register for the Co-Curricular Record—another student program to help you as you progress through your program here and head toward the career that awaits you. This Record is an official University document that recognizes a student's community, leadership and volunteer activities outside of the classroom, and it is invaluable to both students and future employers as graduates enter the workforce. The University of Calgary has had a larger take up of this program than any other university in Canada with more than 5,400 students having signed up since the program was introduced in 2008.
Your arrival at the University of Calgary this year means you will benefit from the most significant capital expansion the University of Calgary has ever undertaken to improve teaching, learning and research spaces in high-demand areas. In the next year, the campus landscape will dramatically change with the opening of the Taylor Family Digital Library, the Energy, Environment and Experiential Learning Building, the Downtown Campus and a new student residence. It’s an exciting time to be a University of Calgary student.
The University is committed to ensuring that each of you has the opportunity to develop the critical thinking and other skills required to succeed professionally and personally. Our University motto, Mo shùile togam suas, roughly means “I will lift up my eyes”. Let those words guide everything you do during your time here. Look up and look forward and know that we’ll be with you every step of the way.