Thompson Rivers University

Anniversary time capsule seals TRU’s 50th year

May 21, 2021

The 25th anniversary time capsule was welded inside this sundial in 1995, between the Arts and Education and Student Union buildings.

On May 20, 2021, Thompson Rivers University officially concluded its 50th anniversary celebrations with the burial of a new time capsule on the Kamloops campus.

This event continues a tradition established over 25 years ago when students, staff and faculty at the University College of the Cariboo handpicked objects and wrote personal letters to be welded inside a time capsule. It was topped with a sundial and placed in an unassuming corner of what we now call Campus Commons.

You can watch the unveiling of the 25th anniversary capsule on the Facebook live recording, and read about what we found in our anniversary edition of Bridges magazine.

A quarter century later, students, staff and faculty gathered once again to preserve a little bit of their current TRU for the future. The original 1995 capsule has been restored to its place in the sundial and a second capsule has been buried in the courtyard between Old Main and the Clocktower.

“When this capsule is revealed in the future, we want to show how far TRU has come during our tenure on campus, but also provide a milestone to see how far our institution has continued to grow from today. We’ve included what our culinary students are cooking and where our student athletes are competing. What we’re reading and what colours our insignia displays. The stories our campus newspaper is telling and how we’re celebrating our region’s Indigenous culture. And much more,” says TRU President Brett Fairbairn.

In addition to celebrating the past and looking to the future with these time capsule initiatives, we also raised over $50 million for students in our Limitless campaign, which concluded in our 50th year, and shared several significant announcements—like opening the Chappell Family Building for Nursing and Population Health and establishing a year-round facility at our Wells Gray Research Centre. All while adapting the way we learn, teach and work in the face of a global pandemic.

“The ingenuity and perseverance that our students, faculty and staff have all displayed over the past year has been inspirational,” says Fairbairn.

“Our students have adapted to virtual learning, while faculty members collaborated to create effective online alternatives to meeting in person and staff found new ways to continuing offering student supports. Our experts have been involved in many aspects of this year’s pandemic response and, meanwhile, hundreds of TRU students graduated and celebrated in virtual ceremonies in 2020, who are ready to face the challenges of tomorrow.”

The Wells Gray Education and Research Centre’s new four-season facility accommodates year-round visits to the area, known for its globally unique biodiversity. Old growth forests, wildlife habitats, diverse ecological communities and networks of survey trails that are within minutes of the centre’s doorstep. This facility near Wells Gray Provincial Park was nearly three decades in the making and completed in November 2020.

Learn more about the Wells Gray Education and Research Centre.

The Chappell Family Building for Nursing and Population Health is a state-of-the-art health-care facility opened in September 2020 on TRU’s Kamloops campus, and is the new training ground for the TRU School of Nursing. Hosting programs like the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Health Care Assistant, Respiratory Therapy Diploma and Master of Nursing; this new facility will help meet the demand for health workers in BC.

Learn more about the Chappell Family Building for Nursing and Population Health.

Limitless was TRU’s $50-million fundraising campaign to change students’ futures, open up possibilities in research and innovation and invigorate our relationship within the community and region. We exceeded this ambitious goal, reaching a total of $53.7 million in March 2021 through the contributions of 4,500 donors who believe in the power of education.

Learn more about the record-setting Limitless campaign.

Mélemst̓ye is wolf in the Secwepemctsín dialect, and in Secwépemc oral history, Mélemst̓ye teaches people the important qualities a hunter needs to be successful—the same qualities a student needs to be successful. These sculptures are the latest to join a growing gallery of public art on the TRU campus, located on the ancestral lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc.

Meet the wolves of University Drive.

Many people have been influential in TRU’s evolution, so for our 50th anniversary we asked our community to tell us about those who had the biggest impact on their experience.

We heard about individuals like Charles Mossop, an anthropology instructor in 1970 who was instrumental in internationalizing the school during his 30-year tenure; Christine Wihak, whose Open Learning team created the program that awards academic credits for life and work experience gained outside the university system; Joanne Brown, supervisor of Indigenous Student Development and student mentor; and Grace Simpson, pillar of TRU Williams Lake.

Read more about these influencers in our anniversary edition of Bridges magazine.

Giving the Gift of Learning

This past year we held a series of free events that were open to the entire community. TRU experts shared cutting-edge research and practical advice gleamed from their knowledge and experiences. These began in-person on both our Kamloops and Williams Lake campuses and in the community, before quickly finding a virtual home when gatherings were no longer possible.

People joined us at 25 different in-person events in early 2020, ranging from the latest in rattlesnake and solar-energy research to live concerts and keynotes speakers. After our Gift of Learning series turned virtual, we dove into 23 different timely topics like interpreting COVID-19 data, supporting early childhood educators during a pandemic and contributing to the ecosystem through your gardening—with TRU experts moderating live events.

Watch online events from this series on our 50th Anniversary Gift of Learning YouTube channel:

And that only begins to scratch the surface of what we accomplished in the past year. We didn’t talk about perennial events like the TRU Foundation Gala continuing to bring us all together, virtually, or the new first-year student resiliency fund established for students just beginning their education during such a challenging time.

But it’s a start, and you can find so much more about what Thompson Rivers University has been up to during its 50th anniversary on the TRU Newsroom, on our YouTube channel, or on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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