As we prepare to move forward into our second century and focus our attention on the many exciting opportunities that lie ahead, we must always remember and continue to celebrate our University's distinguished past and remarkable record of accomplishment. We have a long, rich history, one that I firmly believe is a living testament to the extraordinary vision of our University's founders and the people of Saskatchewan - a vision that still guides us today.
The University of Saskatchewan began modestly in 1907 after our provincial legislature passed the University Act to "establish and incorporate a University for the Province of Saskatchewan." In 1909, the first classes in Arts and Science were held in downtown Saskatoon with a registration of 70 students. Soon after, the first structure on campus, the College Building, opened for student admissions. By the 1920's, what was stark landscape had transformed into one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.
Indeed, we've traveled far, and today the University of Saskatchewan can boast an impressive record of growth and accomplishment. We've graduated more than 120,000 students during the past century, and we continue to attract outstanding students locally, nationally, and internationally. Our research revenue has more than doubled in the past decade, and initiatives like the Canadian Light Source synchrotron and the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization are propelling us forward into new and exciting areas of innovation and discovery.
Our campus, too, is experiencing dramatic renewal and growth. Renovations to the College Building are well underway, and the new Academic Health Sciences Centre, which will be a state-of-the-art integrated centre for teaching, research, and patient-centred health sciences, is proceeding through a detailed planning process.
While our fine record of accomplishment might seem a long way from those first classes held in downtown Saskatoon, we continue to share with our founders an inexhaustible determination, imagination, and vision that boldly leads us forward.
This is, I think, one of our most valuable inheritances - our determined belief in the extraordinary value of this University. And in spite of public divestment in post-secondary education and fierce competition from other universities, it is this belief that has led us to a renewed and steadfast commitment to success.
We have, therefore, spent much of the last year looking at where we've come from, where we are, and where we want to go. We've built upon our Strategic Directions to formulate a new, concentrated multi-year plan, A Framework for Action: University of Saskatchewan Integrated Plan 2003-07. This Plan clearly identifies areas, such as health, public policy, and Aboriginal initiatives, which will be the focus of sustained, University-level support in the years ahead. It also asks us to re-examine the organization and delivery of some of our most crucial programs and initiatives, and challenges us to increase efficiencies in all units across campus. Ultimately, the Integrated Plan focuses on how best to achieve our Strategic Directions, while remaining true to the spirit of our founders and the people of this province.
We are writing, then, another chapter in the distinguished history of the University of Saskatchewan, one that is inspired by and seeks to build upon our extraordinary record of excellence. Indeed, this is an exciting time, and I look forward to the months and years ahead with great optimism and anticipation.
Peter MacKinnon, President