Rick Bell, the first president of Humber College back in 1967, wanted to contribute to the college’s 50th anniversary celebrations this year by organizing a reunion of students and staff from Humber’s first decade.
It took him 10 years.
Bell first got the idea 25 years ago, in a bar with James Beatty, who was the president in 1969. Their idea was a first-decade alumni reunion to be celebrated during Humber’s 25th anniversary. The event was scrapped three weeks before its planned date over disagreements around money. “I closed up my binder,” said Bell. “I said, I guess the meeting was finished. Six past presidents walked out of the room. It took me 25 more years to get over it.”
For the 50th anniversary, Bell made his second attempt with the help of Humber Alumni Services.
He managed to get the contact information of many staff and alumni. The event took 10 years to plan and execute since it was hard to connect with people from the first decade. Bell still kept in touch with some of the students that attended the college with him. Humber Alumni Services also marketed the event on their social media.
The result was a reception at Lakeshore campus attended by 30 faculty and students who were at Humber College between 1967 and 1977. There were only a few hundred students at the time. The people who attended the event recalled the sense of community that Humber College created and a life that the school gave their students. “That’s what Humber did for me, it gave me a career, it gave me a life,” said Bell, who has been working as a professional photographer for over 45 years.
The group reminisced about their time at Humber. Bell even brought pictures and articles about Humber College which are now on the shelves at the Lakeshore Campus library.
Karina Butzek-Morris, alumni service manager, said that the event aimed to honour the legacies of Humber. Butzek-Morris is also a Humber alumnus and graduated from the journalism program in 2004. She is developing a new alumni program to include more of the first decade of staff and students which includes a personalized alumni card that gives them access to network and mentor at exclusive workshops and events.