2013 is a milestone year for Parkland College as it marks the 40th anniversary of the college’s opening. Over the years, Parkland College has grown from modest roots as a pilot project to become a diverse institution serving the education and training needs of adult learners and industry partners in East Central Saskatchewan.
“Parkland College has changed and grown and moved in different directions since its inception,” said President Dr. Fay Myers. “Currently we work a great deal with business and industry. With the growth of Saskatchewan and changing demographics, business and industry are requiring a great deal of skilled workers. That’s our focus right now and into the future.”
Parkland College’s origins stretch back to 1972 when the Saskatchewan government formed an Advisory Committee on Community Colleges. The committee produced a report which laid out seven principles for the college system, chief among them the colleges’ responsibility to promote adult learning and to develop programs in response to community concerns. On May 11, 1973, Parkland College’s administration office in Melville was established as a pilot program. It was the first to officially open with a ribbon cutting and blessing a month later by then Premier Allan Blakeney.
The Saskatchewan Community College Concept experiment worked so well that the Department of Continuing Education developed 15 colleges throughout the province within the first two years. Today there are seven regional colleges across Saskatchewan.
The province’s regional college model is a unique decentralized operation, flexible in staffing and resources and geared to quickly meet the educational demands of a community. Parkland College’s programming is constantly adapting to reflect the needs and character of the area.
Myers noted that numerous observances are being planned for 2013, including a special event in June to precisely mark the college’s official opening. A commemorative video featuring some of the college’s early developers has been produced to serve as an introduction to the 40th anniversary festivities. It can be viewed on Parkland College’s YouTube page at youtube.com/CollegeofChoice.
“We invite the community and the region to help us celebrate this very important occasion,” Myers added.
Since its inception in 1973, Parkland College has worked to expand the philosophy of life-long learning in East Central Saskatchewan. Among the seven basic principles upon which the community college system was founded is the idea that programs are to be developed in response to the needs of the community. Today, Parkland College offers a broad spectrum of educational services from trades training and high school upgrading to the province’s most diverse off-campus university offerings.