Dalhousie University kicks‑off 200th anniversary year with Bicentennial Launch
(Halifax, NS) – Today Dalhousie University welcomed 1000 guests to campus to officially kick off its 200th anniversary year. Dalhousie is one of Canada’s first universities to reach this significant milestone. Today’s event provided an opportunity for the university community to pause, reflect and to celebrate all who have made the past 200 years possible. The Bicentennial Launch was the first in a series of signature 200th anniversary events planned for this year.
The launch was a celebratory performance featuring students, alumni, staff, faculty and friends of the university, that explored the history, transformation and vision of Dalhousie through art, music, poetry and storytelling. The performance was centered around an original epic poem penned by George Elliott Clarke, former Parliamentary Poet Laureate and Dalhousie alumnus, to commemorate Dal’s 200th anniversary. The poem acted as a guide for the entire performance, leading the audience through Dal’s founding years right up to present day.
Attendees were welcomed by the Honourable A. Anne McLellan, Chancellor of Dalhousie University, “Today we will set forth on a journey connecting Dal’s past with its present and future,” said McLellan. “We will celebrate our communities, our people and the power of the creative arts. And we will showcase the lasting impact Dalhousie University has made on our province, our region and our world.”
Elder Jane Abram of Millbrook First Nation and Dalhousie’s Elder in Residence for the Schulich School of Law, also offered an Indigenous blessing to open the Bicentennial Launch.
All aspects of the Bicentennial Launch had an element of historical significance, highlighted Dalhousie’s aspirations for the future and celebrated the university community. The event included Mi’kmaq drumming, African drumming, musical performances by Dalhousie students and alumni, the first performance of Dalhousie’s 2018 convocation anthem composed by Dal alumnus Paul St-Amand and a congratulatory message from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The date of today’s event (February 6) is significant, it’s the date in 1818 when Lord Dalhousie received approval from the British Crown to use the spoils of the War of 1812 to establish a new college in Halifax. “From the outset, the little college aspired to the highest academic standards,” said Richard Florizone, President of Dalhousie University. “Two centuries later, Dalhousie University has grown from that ‘little college by the sea’ to become a national university, and the leading research university in Atlantic Canada. How did we get here? Simply put, it was because of our people. The history of Dalhousie University has been written by its people, and enriched by their identities, cultures, values, actions, teaching and scholarship.”
The Bicentennial Launch included participation and representation from across the entire Dalhousie community. “We have had a truly wonderful group of people working on the 200th for a few years now. Today’s event and the story of Dal itself, are great examples of what’s possible when smart, passionate people come together” said Catherine Bagnell Styles, Assistant Vice President Communications and Marketing and chair of the 200th anniversary planning committee. “We couldn’t have reached this milestone without Dal’s students, faculty, staff, alumni, retirees and the community around us. Today, we say a huge thank you to all those who have contributed to our first 200 years.”
For information on other Dalhousie 200th anniversary events, visit Dal200.ca.
Great things are rarely done alone. Dalhousie University would like to extend a special thank you to its 200th anniversary sponsors: Air Canada, Canadian Tire, Clearwater Seafoods LP, Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites, Michelin North America (Canada) Inc., Scotiabank, CBC, The Chronicle Herald, The Globe and Mail and our Coast-to-Coast sponsors: TD Insurance and Discover Halifax.
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Communications Officer – Media Relations
Communications and Marketing