2012 Annual General Meeting

Found in the archives, thought we would share.

Salutation – (Friends of the University – Monday, May 28, 2012)

There is no greater institution in Edmonton than the University of Alberta. More than 50,000 people work at the University most of the year. And there is no other institution that benefits Alberta more than the University of Alberta because, according to its founder Henry Marshall Tory, its goal is nothing less than “the uplifting of the whole people” educationally. However, I am not going to speak about that, but about the Friends.

The Friends were founded during the 2nd World War, in 1943, as the first NOT-FOR-PROFIT VOLUNTEER PRO-UNIVERSITY ORGANIZATION in Canada. There are now over 100,000 of such not-for-profit organizations. 13 years later, in 1956, the Friends started “Henry Marshall Tory lectures”, a brilliant idea, by inviting to the University very distinguished individuals, to speak on important topics of the day. The first speaker was Mr. Lewis W. Douglas, USA Ambassador to Great Britain, and the last speaker, Mr. David Jacobson, the USA Ambassador to Canada. In 56 years since 1956, we have had 42 of such speakers. The admission to the lectures is free for students, professors and the general public.

Since 1984 the Friends also started to invite excellent speakers to our Annual General Meetings. As of this year, we have heard 27 of them, among them 8 Chancellors and 8 Presidents of our University, many Deans and various other important personalities. Our Chancellors and Presidents, of course, are honorable members of our Society. Besides the speakers, the Friends assist our University in its development, support programs that enrich University life, but its most important role is to build a strong relationship between the University and the broader Alberta community. Friends also provide scholarships for needy students, offer awards for meritorious students, finance bursaries for mature women, support purchases of special books for honorary degree recipients, sponsor special events etc.

One can find more detailed information about Friends on our Website, so – let me finish. Half century ago, USA President J.F. Kennedy told Americans; “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country“. That applies to the Friends of the University of Alberta: they did and can still do a lot, by promoting, encouraging, inspiring and assisting the University in its development, teaching and research! Therefore, to borrow from John McCrae FAMOUS POEM “In Flanders fields”: “To you, from failing hands we throw the torch…be yours, to hold it high“.

It was a great privilege and pleasure to chair The Friends. Many thanks to all the members, who served with me for the last 20 years, and especially to our fantastic Secretary Treasurer, Mr. Ron Betty. Good luck and all the best to the new Executive and membership and the University of Alberta.

Peter Savaryn

2005 Cuba comes to Alberta

This year the university was host to Muslca Eterna, the premier
student string ensemble from the National Superior Art Institute,
Havana, Cuba. The Friends of the University of Alberta provided full
sponsorship for one student, supplied all the Cuban students with a
new set of strings and sponsored a March 9, 2005 concert at The
Timms Centre. This free concert allowed members of the wider
community to visit the campus and enjoy this unique cultural event.

The program and photos were in our archives and we cannot explain the timestamp on the photos but we believe they are from the event in 2005.

1992 New brochure

The Friends produced a new brochure, just in time for the 1992 AGM. Here is the text:

While the University of Alberta is mainly financed by government funds, there I remains ample opportunity for the practical expression of interest in the University’s welfare by members of the community. To this end there exists a body through which the University’s friends may play an active role. This organization is the Friends of the University of Alberta. The Friends of the University of Alberta need not be graduates of the University, or indeed of any university. Many of the Friends are graduates of the University of Alberta, and some have been drawn from the ranks of the University’s Presidents, Chancellors, and faculty members, but many others are simply and literally its friends in the larger community. The Friends pay no regular membership fee, though an annual tax-deductible contribution is customary and gratefully received. There are no membership categories. Over the past fifty years, the Friends of the University have used these donations to support and enrich the university in a great many different ways. These include:

  • bringing outstanding speakers to deliver the Henry Marshall Tory Lectures, free public lectures named after the University’s first president;
  • providing small scholarships for needy students and supporting a few awards for meritorious students;
  • supporting the purchase of special equipment not provided for in the University’s budget (one instance is the University Library’s purchase in 1992 of the computerized, “on-line” edition of The Oxford English Dictionary);
  • financing bursaries for mature women students, in conjunction with the University Women’s Club;
  • providing instruments for students in the Department of Music;
  • acquiring rare books for the Special Collections Library to honor retiring professors;
  • financing, in part, the creation of the large mural on the north wall of the Education Building;
  • supporting the project to erect a clock tower at the centre of the University campus.

The Friends have an Annual General Meeting, which includes dinner for the members, at which members receive an account of the Friends’ activities for the past year. The Friends are governed by an Executive Committee, consisting of a Chairman, a Secretary-Treasurer, seven other members, and the University’s Chancellor and its President. We invite you to become a Friend of the University of Alberta or to renew your membership in the Friends by filling in the enclosed coupon and sending it to the Secretary-Treasurer.

Here is a link to download the original: