By Chieu Luu
Ryerson alumni returned to their old stomping grounds on Saturday to help the school celebrates its 50th anniversary — the first open house in about 15 years.
The day included campus tours, class reunions and alumni basketball games. More than 30 programs set up displays and demonstrations, including a helicopter demo by engineering students and a performance of the musical Hair by theatre students.
Ryerson administration estimates 400 people attended workshops on surfing the net, starting a business, developing and maintaining professional networking, Canadian trivia and the discovery of the Titanic.
But of all the campus happenings, the Rogers Communications Centre was the place to be, as it played host to a live six-hour broadcast on Ryerson’s television station (Channel 84 in Pitman Hall).
A TV workshop gave alumni’s kids the chance to perform in a skit with some of their favourite celebrities from TVO Kids and YTV, while adults got to schmooze with the likes of CBC Newsworld’s Alison Smith and CTV Canada AM’s co-host, Valerie Pringle.
The alumni seemed to have fond memories of their time at Ryerson.
“I enjoyed myself,” said Smith, who graduated from the radio and television arts (RTA) program in 1977. “I grew up in B.C., and it was a wonderful experience for me to move out here and go to school in downtown Toronto … I made some of my closest friends here at Ryerson.”
When Patty Sullivan, host of TVO thinks back to her Ryerson days, drinking at the old campus pub often comes to mind.
“Back then it was called The Filling Station,” she said. “We’d drink beer, and had a lot of parties at Oakham House.
Although not all of the “scheduled talent” showed up for the open house, RTA instructor Jon Keeble still called the day a success.
“I’d say it was twice as successful as I thought it might be. We started planning all this in July, and thanks to the hard work form all the staff, and the willingness of all the departments to put money into this, this day has really gone well,” Keeble said.
Christine Julien, Ryerson public affairs assistant, agreed with Kebele.
“Everybody’s pleased with the turnout,” she said. “It was great to see a blend of alumni who came back to see how things have changed over the years.”