University of lethbridge speed dating
They took university-level courses in English, history, psychology, biology, chemistry, music and physical education – all of which were directed toward careers as teachers.
Jim Cousins, the first Dean (a position now known as President) of the college, called their graduating class “charter members of the Guinea Pig club,” by virtue of their status as students during the formation and opening of the college. He was so approachable – almost like a father figure,” says Dick.
“From day one,” Yvonne says, “we were told quite often that we would be watched and that there would be pressure to an extent to succeed,” both for their sakes and for the future of the college.
“We saw it as a real opportunity and we were determined to make it,” says Dick.
Our student body has grown by 50 percent in the last 10 years, phenomenal growth among institutions in Canada.
“There had been waves of immigrants arriving and the baby boom had started. So they provided bursaries to prospective candidates to attend the new college.” The leaders of the rural school boards, including the college’s first board chair Kate Andrews, had worked closely for years with Lethbridge school and city leaders, including college founder Gilbert Paterson, to make the dream of a post-secondary institution in southern Alberta a reality for the young people in the growing region. Miller, the superintendent of the county, came walking out to where I was working in the field one day,” says Yvonne. ’ My parents jumped at the opportunity.” Dick was one of a handful of the 38 students in that first graduating class who had a car – “a ’49 Chevy that did the job.” He commuted from his family’s vegetable farm near Park Lake every day to the Lethbridge Collegiate Institute, where the college held its classes until the first building opened in 1962.
The two had known each other for what seemed like forever, riding the same bus to Coalhurst High School for four years.
And when the time came to decide what to do after high school, the new college in Lethbridge – and the bursaries that were offered to encourage students to work as rural school teachers – attracted them both.
“So over coffee, we would talk philosophy.” “They invited me to join their informal study group,” Yvonne adds. And once I realized I didn’t have to agree with these guys (the philosophers), I was okay.” Their first real date turned out to be an eye-opener for Yvonne.
“I thought, ‘There’s more to Dick than I thought when we were just friends.’ I could see that he did have ambition and was focused.” And even then, “we took our time,” says Dick – about two years, in fact, before they married.
“That first summer school in Edmonton, well, we both got lonely.