Alumni Weekend Recommendations from the People Who Know

Alumni Weekend (September 19–22, 2019) is a great opportunity for alumni to visit their old stomping grounds and re-connect with friends…

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Cap ’n’ Gown Ceremony at Alumni Weekend

Alumni Weekend (September 19–22, 2019) is a great opportunity for alumni to visit their old stomping grounds and re-connect with friends and mentors — and there are plenty of ways for current staff and faculty to enjoy the festivities, too.

More than 50 events — many free — make up the four-day affair, so we asked eight U of A staffers/proud Alumni Weekend participants for their top recommendations.

Here’s what they had to say:

“Whatever you do, don’t miss the Cap ’n’ Gown Ceremony on Friday morning. Instead of waiting in line at Timmy’s during your morning coffee break, slip into Con Hall and watch as graduates from 1969 re-don their caps and gowns. The event has all the pomp of the June convocations (in a fraction of the time) and there’s something special about seeing these older grads make their way to the front in honour of their 50th anniversary. The moment the chancellor slips the anniversary medal over the graduates’ heads is something special. They cry. I cry. And for a few moments the whole auditorium is caught up in the power of convocation. It’s surprising how 50 years of living can give a whole new meaning to this familiar ritual.”

Lisa Cook, Associate Director of Communications, Advancement Strategic Communications

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P.S. Watch this video to see why the Cap ’n’ Gown Ceremony held so much meaning for one grad who didn’t make it to his convocation the first time around.

“Although I loved my classes and had an amazing time at the U of A during my undergraduate degree, I was so focused on my studies that I never had the chance to attend a Golden Bears or Pandas hockey game. After graduating a few of my friends and I attended a game and it was such a fun experience. Now, we go at least once a season. From the roar of the crowd, to the smell of freshly popped popcorn you really can’t beat the energy of a Golden Bears hockey game. This Alumni Weekend is a great chance to experience U of A team spirit at its finest at the Golden Bears Hockey and Block Party event. Complete with a pre-game block party BBQ it is a great opportunity to get your old classmates back together to catch up and help cheer on our Golden Bears alongside GUBA and a crowd of green and gold.”

Anne-Marie Aguilar, Stewardship Coordinator, Donor Relations

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“Alumni Weekend is chock-full of gems, which I shockingly didn’t realize until I worked here! When I need a dose of inspiration, I hit up the Alumni Awards — seriously, the things our alumni do will BLOW. YOUR. MIND. Also on my radar this year is Deb Verhoeven’s Arts Lecture, Feminist AF: How the intersection of big data and gender politics can lead to openness in a closed-off worldFeminist AF: How the intersection of big data and gender politics can lead to openness in a closed-off world. She’s fiercely brilliant, and how could I resist a title like that?”

Heather Dyck, Stewardship Officer, Office of Advancement

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“First, on Saturday [September 21], head to Lister and get one of those tasty Tuck Shop-style cinnamon buns. Actually, get two. Then, go to U of A in a Day and check out André Costopoulos’s talk about baseball fights. Baseball fights are super weird and only André (and anyone else who has studied cultural evolution) knows why. Try to smuggle in your cinnamon bun! What are they gonna do, challenge you to a baseball fight?”

Matt Rea, Communications Strategist, Office of Advancement

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Bears Over Beers will be a casual afternoon at Dewey’s to talk about grizzly bears — and other beasts and beauties of the forest — over a pint of your favourite brew. Dr. Scott Nielsen, from the department of Renewable Resources, is part of a national team working to understand and protect grizzly bears in the Rocky Mountains. Dr. Nielsen will present a lecture during U of A in a Day, and the conservation will continue over a frosty one at the old Power Plant at 3 pm.”

Cynthia Strawson, Associate Director, Development, Faculty of Agricultural, Life, and Environmental Sciences

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“If you have a young family, you will definitely want to check out Kids on Campus. Many of our faculties are offering kids activities, from Discover E to Dino and Bug Lab tours to Indigenous storytelling to a kids-themed mock court trial. In between all these activities you can visit the picnic zone in Quad or musical performances at Myer Horowitz Theatre.”

Sean Price, Associate Vice-President, Alumni Relations, Office of Advancement

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“Working at the university, I’m often tempted to sneak into a random classroom just to listen to a lecture. There are so many incredible profs and tantalizing courses, which is why I’m excited about U of A in a Day: 10 lectures in a single day. Grizzly bears. How to stay hopeful in bad times and good. A primer on Indigenous Peoples in Alberta. A look at the beliefs that drive politics in the province. Good thing I work at a university or I’d be embarrassed to admit how enticing all this sounds. It’s the best part of being a student, without the exams.”

Karen Sherlock, Strategic Communications, Office of Advancement

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“I’m interested in the Alumni Weekend Concert because I am a music alumni myself and I value all of my experiences with the Department of Music here at UAlberta. The concert is a wonderful showcase of our music students who are all working very hard to be able to ultimately share their talents with all of us. I want to support them as an audience member to allow them to ultimately do what they love: share their joy of music.”

Joseph Chambrinho, Director, Leadership Annual Giving, Office of Advancement

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For full Alumni Weekend event listings, visit