When a group of Lethbridge citizens rallied together in the 1960s to establish a University in Lethbridge, they imagined infinite possibilities. Today the U of L is recognized as one of Canada’s leading universities and has far exceeded its founders’ most ambitious expectations.
That spirit of “imagining the possibilities” has remained at the heart of the U of L for nearly half a century, and it will shape what the institution will become over the next 50 years.
Last year, the University introduced the University Campus Master Plan, the most extensive development plan the University of Lethbridge has undertaken since the original west campus was developed. A cornerstone of the plan is the Destination Project – the construction of a new academic building, the revitalization of University Hall and the construction of a new central plant for the University.
“The Destination Project will contribute to Alberta’s need to recruit the best and brightest scientific talent to our province, enhance our research capacity and enable the aspirations of the next generation of researchers and entrepreneurs,” explains U of L President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mike Mahon.
The construction of a new science facility and the revitalization of University Hall will provide a great opportunity to help define liberal education at the U of L for the 21st century.
“We can lead the academic world in redefining liberal education to support the ever-changing nature of teaching and scholarship, and enable our students to be best prepared for our world’s evolving landscape,” says Mahon.
In planning for the Destination Project, the University has been imaginative and innovative in its thinking, and envisions the concept of the new science facility as more than a teaching and research space, but a place for community engagement and outreach.
University Teaching and Research Space
The Destination Project will bring together faculty and students from across the science disciplines, promoting and enabling curricular innovation, helping students achieve their academic goals
and fostering a community of science at the U of L and within southern Alberta. It will create new environments and subsequently new paths by which information and ideas can be shared.
These facilities will house exceptional research laboratories. They will build on the U of L’s demonstrated success in attracting world-leading researchers to Alberta who are working to solve some of the most pressing problems our society faces today. This will be where scientists not only invite industry, community groups and government to learn about their latest discoveries, it will be a place where bench space is shared between them. It will be where partnerships are born and ideas become reality.
Business Development and Commercialization
The Destination Project will be a place where undergraduate and graduate research opportunities flourish, where knowledge transfer and commercialization happen; the place the next generation of researchers, scientists and scholars credit for the start of their science careers. It will be a place where undergraduate and graduate students can begin their careers in the sciences, where they can take their ideas and, with the help of faculty researchers, entrepreneurs and industry mentors, turn them into productive businesses.
It will include incubation space to be used by industry, entrepreneurial Albertans and investors from around the world. The Destination Project will be the bedrock that ensures Lethbridge is home to one of Canada’s renowned high-tech and innovation hubs and southern Alberta continues to create wealth for the entire province.
A Science Centre for Southern Alberta
This facility will be a centre for community engagement. It will offer rich resources for lifelong learning, provide meeting places for citizens and the research community, support schools and contribute to the cultural and economic vitality of communities. It will be an educational resource for teachers who provide curriculum-aligned learning opportunities and experiences for the K-12 system in Alberta.
The great science teachers who already emerge from the U of L will attain a new standard of education and training unmatched anywhere in the world. It will also be a welcoming, interactive and fun venue for children and their families to visit for a day or a week through already-established community initiatives like science camps. The Destination Project will enable a hands-on approach to learning that will ignite a greater curiosity for science in our community.