It felt a little bit like the ’60s at Trent University earlier this spring as alumni from the classes of 1967 through 1970 came together to celebrate 50 years since they started at Trent. For many, it was the first time they had seen each other since they were classmates.
“What an incredible weekend,” said a euphoric Danielle Britton, Alumni Engagement & Services coordinator and chief organizer of the event. “There was an excited buzz in the air for the entire time, and an enormous sense of gratitude for the opportunity to come together and see one another.”
The Saturday of the reunion featured a series of “Then and Now” mini-lectures with faculty and alumni from the era who went on to become faculty (professors Gordon Johnston, Deborah Berrill ’69, and Dan Longboat ’70), tours of campus and downtown campus buildings, a special reunion lunch where two alumni awards were presented, and no shortage of time to reminisce and catch up with old friends.
The weekend was held in conjunction with Otonabee College’s 50th anniversary celebration and reunion, and the College played host with a BBQ dinner, “classic quad party,” and a Retro Pub Night at the Cat’s Ass Pub for all alumni present.
“It was amazing to see the connectivity, not merely among the alumni themselves, but with current faculty, staff and students,” noted Britton. “As alum swapped stories with Alumni House and Sadleir House students and staff, you could hear the Trent commonalities of small class sizes, meaningful connections, the tight-knit sense of community fostered by the college system and the interdisciplinary and real-world learning that takes place both within and outside the classroom.”
Lunch in the Champlain Great Hall saw the presentation of Trent University Distinguished Alumni Awards to two honourees, former executive director of the Council of Canadian Academies, Janet Bax ’69 (BA, French, Political Studies) and Distinguished Professor Emeritus with the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. William (Bill) Waiser ’71 (BA, Honours, History).
Janet Bax has been, and remains, a thought leader in several fields while inspiring colleagues to tackle pressing global and national issues. Retired in 2019 from her position with the Council of Canadian Academies, Janet has worked as a senior public servant at the provincial and federal levels as well as internationally.
Bill Waiser enjoyed a 30-year teaching career and is a renowned Canadian, environmental, western, and Indigenous history expert. He was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2017.
“The entire weekend was a wonderful way to stay connected with some of the early and foundational members of the Trent community,” said Sherry Booth, associate vice president, Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement. “And to ensure that they are still very much welcome at their alma matter. It also gives us an opportunity to hear about and celebrate the early traditions and vision of the University and to make sure that we continue to bring these forward, while forging new ones for tomorrow. It was an exciting chance to spend time with those who have made the Trent experience part of their lives for over 50 years.”
The Trent 50 Year Reunion was free to attend and made possible through affinity programs such as TD Insurance. Trent University Alumni Engagement and Services and the Trent University Alumni Association welcome donations to Alumni Excellence Fund to help provide for other similar events.