Publication of the University Report card this week has made me think about what makes Guelph special. Among the important accolades for the quality of teaching and research, it is the intangibles that seem to round out the experience here and make Guelph - Guelph. Anyone who has been here, who has studied or worked here knows that the atmosphere here is different. But how do you describe this to others? Of course, it has something to do with the ethos of caring, our ability to embrace and promote diversity, our safe, healthy and beautiful campus but it is more. It is the spirit here that lives in everyone that makes us different.
I smile when universities are ranked according to “school spirit”. Clearly Guelph has spirit. It is not the back-slapping, hat-waving, crowd-cheering type of spirit, though – it is a spirit of caring and belonging, of earnestly wanting to understand the people and places around us and to be involved in every aspect of life.
And that kind of spirit has a lot to do with our roots. When you strip away our significant academic prowess and our leadership in research and teaching, it is the spirit handed down from our predecessors that shines through.
To celebrate our history and the direction that the University has taken since we were founded in the latter half of the 19th century, an historic display of the University of Guelph has been produced. It is mounted on the floors of the corridor in front of the Executive Suite. The display is bold. It is framed in the vibrant colours of the University of Guelph (too vibrant for some) but tells our history proudly from our earliest days to the University that faces the future in the 21st century.
It makes me smile when I walk through the corridor and come across staff, faculty, students, alumni and visitors pausing to read the posters.
Come up and have a look some time.