Honouring Our Past, Embracing Our Future

9 December 2011

Honouring Our Past, Embracing Our Future: Celebrating a Century of Excellence in Education at the University of Regina Campus
Text by Dr. James Pitsula
Photos selected by Don Hall and Dr. Stephen King
Published by the Canadian Plains Research Centre Press
Review by Jessica Bickford
$39.95 ISBN 9-780889-772434

There are one-hundred years of history packed into Honouring Our Past, Embracing Our Future, which is a visually stunning compilation of archival photographs and historical tidbits about the University of Regina. Dr. James Pitsula, who authored the text, is not only a history professor at the University of Regina, but he is also the authority on U of R history – having written three other books on the subject.

Honouring Our Past, Embracing Our Future chronicles the U of R’s story from its humble beginnings in 1911 when Regina College (which was then a high school established by the Methodist Church) opened its doors to a whopping twenty-seven students, right up to the present day when the University now has twelve-thousand students, three federated colleges, and twenty research centres to its name. The intervening years, all chronicled through gorgeous photographs of students, faculty members, staff and buildings, are thoroughly described in four chapters that break down the history into distinct periods of growth and struggle.

My favourite part of this book though is of course the photographs. Stunning images track the progress of the U of R from one building on College Avenue (there’s one picture where you can see this building and the legislative building with nothing but bald, snowy prairie in-between), to an aerial view of the now sprawling main campus. Being able to see the actual students and staff from the particular time periods gives this book a kind of gravity that I think text alone could never adequately capture.

As a student at the U of R I found this book incredibly interesting and I learned so many things about the institution that makes up a great deal of my life. The photographs are impressive, the text is illuminating, and the fore and afterword’s from President Vianne Timmons are inspiring. Honouring Our Past, Embracing Our Future is a wonderful celebration of the history of the University of Regina in a unique and engaging format that makes it not only accessible, but a really great read.


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