Time Capsule: Out With The Old, In With The New

Time Capsule Event
Left to right: 1997-98 SRC members Derek Renaud and Jody Cloutier help to unearth the 20-year-old artifacts from the time capsule with current SRC President Nick Goran (holding a two-decades-old Orientation T-shirt).

AND SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THIS EVENT IN "PILES OF PIX" http://stclair-src.org/news/piles-of-pix/looking-back-1997-and-ahead-2042

One of the last major events of the college’s 50th anniversary year was a case of “out with the old, and in with the new” – literally.

On October 11, a 20-year-old time capsule that had been installed in a wall of the Student Centre by the 1997-98 Student Representative Council was unsealed, its two-decades-old contents were displayed … and then new, 2017-era items were placed in the wall cavity. A new plaque on the time capsule stated that it will be re-opened in 2042, during St. Clair’s 75th anniversary year.

Among the 1997-98 items that had been tucked away were:

• the red “hot-line” telephone, that was once located in the college’s main lobby. Any student or staffer could pick up that phone at any time with a complaint or a suggestion, and the call would be directly connected to the desk of Dr. Richard Quittenton, St. Clair’s first President;

• assorted memorabilia from the college’s 30th birthday in 1997-98, including a crested baseball cap and a video from an anniversary gala;

• a Thank You letter from Buckingham Palace, for a book-of-condolence signed by students and staffers following the death of Princess Diana in 1997;

• a Saint newspaper and college yearbook of the era;

• a Convocation program and diploma;

• an Orientation T-shirt; and

• poker chips and playing cards (the college, at the time, was training employees for the new casino in Windsor).

Tucked away, now, to represent 2017-18 are:

• an iPhone, containing assorted video greetings to “the people of 2042” from current-day St. Clair officials;

• a number of publications and documents pertaining to the 50th anniversary celebration;

• assorted college-crested pins and souvenirs.

The October 11th event also featured a visit to campus by the Colleges Ontario caravan – an exhibit-filled trailer that has been touring the province, displaying the 50-year history of the college system.

That attraction, plus a small-scale St. Clair Open House in the Student Life Centre, were visited during the day by hundreds of bus-transported high school students.

Here’s what current Student Representative Council President Nick Goran had to say to the assembly during the time capsule unsealing/resealing event:

On behalf of the 2017-18 Student Representative Council, it is pleasure to welcome all of you to today’s event … especially some of the members of the 1997-98 SRC board who installed the original time capsule.

I guess the fond feelings of remembrance that they have today will be duplicated for the members of this year’s SRC when we gather in 2042 to unseal the new time capsule.

In both cases, we’ll be looking back at one of the best times of our lives, as we attended a wonderful college, obtained a great education, mace life-long friends, and prepared to set out on exciting careers.

Those are some of the sentiments I think we’ll find as we open the old time capsule, and I hope they are the impressions that we’ll be packing into the new one.

More than almost any other activity, the task of seeking a postsecondary education is based largely in a spirit of optimism … That you are improving yourself with new knowledge and skills, to have a better job, a better life, a better future, and to build a better community.

That sort of positive outlook is what St. Clair has always been about … from its founding in 1967, to the creation of the 1997 time capsule, to the installation of today’s memorial … and I’m sure it will have the same spirit when we re-assemble here in 2042.

Thank you for sharing that positive, optimistic outlook with us … And thank you, again, for being with us today as we celebrate the past, enjoy the present, and look forward to the future.

And Jody Cloutier, the Executive Vice-President of the student government in 1997-98, added these remarks:

Twenty years later, some of us are facing the opening of this time capsule with trepidation. We suspect there may be some embarrassing photos and videos of us in our younger years, featuring darker and more plentiful hair than we possess now, and waist sizes that were an inch or two or six smaller than they are today. Fortunately, our eyesight has declined so much that we won’t be able to focus on how poorly we’ve aged.

In addition to the wall plaque here, I’m also looking around at the Student Centre that was built during the same era.

In fact, that construction project in the latter half of the 1990s was the first inkling of St. Clair’s remarkable “growth spurt” during the past twenty years. This Student Centre, that was subsequently expanded, was followed by the Ford Centre for Excellence in Manufacturing, the Residence, the Centre for Construction Innovation and Production, the Truck and Coach Building, the acquisition of what is now the Centre for the Arts, the MediaPlex, the downtown Student Centre, the Centre for Applied Health Sciences, the SportsPlex, the HealthPlex at Thames and several other building expansions in Chatham, the new Student Life Centre, and the acquisition of the Regional Skilled Trades Training Centre. I feel like I’m forgetting a few other developments, but I guess I’ll blame that on the aging process too.

It was an honour to be a student and a student council member here twenty years ago. The fact that we, as students, played such an important role in launching those two decades of unprecedented growth is a source of great pride for all of us who were at St. Clair in the late-’90s.

So, it is very exciting to “come full-circle” in this manner, to be here to re-open what we sealed away. I think the optimistic outlook that was contained in many of the time capsule’s contents has been proven, twenty years later, to have been very well founded. Our hope for a bigger and better college has been realized beyond our wildest dreams … and I hope that the people who will be opening the new time capsule in 2042 will be able to say the same thing.

Also providing “greetings” during the event were Board of Governors Chair Dan Allen, Essex County Council Warden Tom Bain, and Windsor City Councillor Freddy Francis.