CHARLES TWEED/BRANDON SUN
Tom Sclater, Dr. Robert McCamis and Murray Hart stand in front of the doors to the former science lab at Brandon University on Saturday. The three former BU students took part in the university’s homecoming over the weekend.
Blue and gold invaded the city this past weekend as Brandon University alumni were welcomed back as part of the university’s homecoming.
The homecoming featured events that ranged from the geography department’s 50th anniversary celebration, to a car show, a homecoming dinner , an awards ceremony and a class reunions.
Dr. Robert McCamis, who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1971, was reconnecting with classmates he hasn’t seen in decades.
Standing in front of the Knowles Douglas Student Union Building, formerly the science department prior to the construction of the Brodie Science Centre, McCamis swapped stories with Tom Sclater and Murray Hart about their time at BU.
"I haven’t seen some of these people since I graduated, so it’s been a while," McCamis said.
"There is a lot of change, but there is a lot of things that stay the same and it’s really neat to see everyone and swap some lies," he said jokingly, "or old stories somehow altered a bit by our fading memories."
McCamis, who now works at Atomic Energy of Canada in Pinawa, is also greatful for what the school gave him — a chance to pursue his dream and work in the field of physics.
"I enjoyed my time here and it gave me a good strong foundation, so the university means a lot," McCamis said. "It was close to home and there were small class sizes so you got to know your profs and the other students."
He said it was also a fascinating time to be student.
"There was the Vietnam war, the U.S. race riots, the war measures and the FLQ, so there was always student protests. In our day it was the students that were causing all of the uproar and the faculty were the good guys," McCamis said.
Sclater and Hart went on to be teachers in Waskada and Neepawa after getting their bachelor of science degrees at the university.
As three students from rural Manitoba, all living for a time in the university residence, they formed a friendship that still stands today, more than 40 years after their time together at BU.
"We’ve shared some stories and talked about some of things we used to do in residence," Sclater said.
Stories that included Freshie Week — a week when first-year students were singled out and initiated. The rituals were often embarrassing, but also acted as a badge of honour and in many ways a rite of passage into the school’s student body.
"As a freshman, you were a little worried and you tried to get out of Dodge quickly," Sclater said with a smile. "They used to make you play dead horse where you had to lay on your back and put your arms and feet up in the air and keep saying, ‘I am a dead horse.’ We did some goofy things and that’s one of the milder things."
Through it all — exams, essays and grades — Sclater said BU offered something rarely found in any other school around the world.
"The faculty were very good," Sclater said. "Even on a social level, not just in the classroom or at the lab, but out of there too. It’s unique and something you won’t get on a larger campus."
But he also was somewhat disheartened by the fact that last year was the group’s 40th year class reunion and that it had to be postponed to this year due to the BU faculty strike.
"Last year was our 40th so I think a lot more people would have come," Sclater said. "I was disappointed because I was looking forward to our 40th get together and I guess I was taken back. I couldn’t understand how the faculty strike would affect this kind of gathering — I didn’t see the connection."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 15, 2012