Welcome to the Ryerson of 2050

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By Lori Fazari

Ryerson’s first graduating class came back to to their old stomping grounds this weekend.

What a strange place it must seem, 50 years later. While the Ryerson Institute of Technology studied things such as watchmaking and baking technology, Ryerson Polytechnic University students are today enrolled in such programs as information technology management and applied computer science.

The school has come a long way from the days when men far outnumbered women in classes and you could get a secretarial degree.

There’s grass in the quad now and a pond at Victoria and Gould streets. There’s still no student centre, but Oakham House has a pub.

Imagine coming back to Ryerson 50 years from now. The school will probably have gone through another name change, having already morphed from a and Institute of Technology to a Polytechnical Institute to, most recently, a university.

The quad will likely have another aging building in the middle — the aging Kerr Hall will probably be torn down before it falls down.

Jorgenson and its escalators — the butt of so many Rye High jokes — could, by that time, be replaced in spirit by the once-gleaming Toronto landmark at the corner of Church and Gould streets, designed by world-famous architect Santiago Calatrava back in 2000. The escalators in the light, airy four-storey building will start to break down after those first years of heavy use, with all the double cohort kiddies scampering to their engineering classes.

Tuition will have climbed and climbed — it’s already risen 4,400 per cent since the school’s early days of $100-a-year tuition bills.

But while the school will probably still be offering fashion, graphic communications and engineering programs, students might not even need to go to class —with virtual lectures, online exams and tele-conferenced group work, the 100-year reunion might not even happen.

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