NAIT marks 50-year anniversary with dedication of time capsule
A new generation of NAIT students and staff will get a glimpse of what life was like in 2013 when they open the NAIT@50 time capsule in 2063. The sealed metal box, dedicated today by NAIT and the NAIT Students’ Association as part of the institute’s 50th anniversary celebrations, will be buried this summer on Main Campus.
“This time capsule symbolizes our past, present and our future,” said Dr. Glenn Feltham, NAIT president and CEO. “Those who envisioned NAIT some 50 years ago understood the importance of hands-on, technology-based education to our province. We remain absolutely committed to that same vision today and going forward. When this time capsule is opened on NAIT’s centennial, I am confident our vision to become the most relevant and responsive post-secondary institute in Canada, and one of the world’s leading polytechnics, will have been realized.”
Items contained in the time capsule include a book of photos from NAIT’s 50th year, copies of the institute’s long-term vision – NAIT 2021 - and predictions by students and staff about what the institute and city will look like in 2063. These items are housed in a box measuring three feet long, two feet high and two feet wide, built by Jim Ripley, chair of NAIT’s Sheet Metal Worker program, and his team.
The time capsule was unveiled before a room packed with approximately 200 students, staff, faculty, board members and alumni.
Prior to dedicating the NAIT@50 time capsule, Feltham and Jonathan Bilodeau, president of the NAIT Students’ Union, revealed the contents of a time capsule dedicated in 1988 during NAIT’s 25th anniversary year and sealed within a wall of The Nest. The 1988 time capsule was removed last summer when the campus restaurant underwent extensive renovations. Among the items inside were cards congratulating NAIT on its 50th anniversary, copies of the Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun from Nov. 7, 1988, a bottle of Chivas Regal scotch whisky, a poster featuring ALF (the 1980s sitcom alien), Ooks memorabilia, campus photos, Nest menus and much more. The items in the 1988 time capsule will be placed in a NAIT display case until June, when they will be moved to the NAIT archives.
“This time capsule from 1988 provides NAIT with a unique window back in time,” said Bilodeau. “While certain things have changed, much has remained the same, including the strong sense of community felt at NAIT. This time capsule is a great reminder of where we came from, so that we remain true to the values that made us who we are.”
NAIT is celebrating its 50th anniversary, which began in the spring of 2012 when the institute offered a reward for the return of its original, iconic mascot, which hadn’t been seen in years. The original Ook is made from seal skin and is roughly eight to ten inches tall. The reward for his safe return – a five-course Chef’s Table for six at Ernest’s dining room, NAIT’s fine-dining restaurant – still stands.
NAIT is one of Canada’s leading polytechnics, with almost 80,000 registrations worldwide in key areas including science, technology and the environment, business, health and trades. Known for real-world education and student success, NAIT also engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. NAIT enrolled its first students - 29 communication electrician apprentices - in 1962 and this year concludes its 50th anniversary celebrations.
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