January 19, 2007
In 1979, a junior faculty member from McMaster University made his first visit to Saskatoon, to attend the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. That very positive experience was one Michael Atkinson recalled when, some years later, he had the chance to return to the U of S as provost.
"It was a real eye-opener because I didn't know what to expect," said Atkinson. "I knew the U of S had a strong tradition in economics and politics, but I didn't appreciate how stunning the campus was. And it was a great set of meetings. I went away incredibly impressed."
Academics "of a certain generation" still remember that Congress 1979 was at the U of S, he said, but likely don't remember where Congress 1980 was held. Many of those memories centre on the friendliness of the people in Saskatoon and the effort that went into organizing Canada's largest academic gathering. It was very different from major centres where events like Congress are "just one more meeting."
"There was a lot of energy, a lot of excitement, a lot of positive feeling that came out of that (event)," said Atkinson. "It made it a lot easier to come back."