It was 1978 when I first entered onto the Fennell Campus. Trying to find my way around was tough. I thought the campus was pretty big back then and, you guessed it, I got lost a few times, back tracking in the same hallways more than once. Three years later, 1981, I completed my college education from Mohawk from the Civil Engineering Technology program and walked out the doors; I have not been back since then. On August 15, 2014, thirty three years later and on the brink of retirement I returned to the Fennell campus for a visit for the first time since graduating. You guessed it, I got lost again.The campus with all the exterior changes, and no familiar land marks lead me to think that I was at the wrong place. I actually paid extra fare to my ride just to find the Alumni House. I’m thinking to myself, is it me or are there a LOT of changes on this campus?
First and foremost, I would to thank Kelly Dunham and Kelvin Lee for their hospitality and providing a tour of the modernized Fennell campus. Now continuing, the current campus is nothing like it was when I was last there; there is even an on campus residency. I was actually sad that the old tennis dome is GONE!!! At first I couldn’t figure out whether it’s my memory or did the existing building get bigger via extensions/additions. A very important item I want to bring up was the one hallway in the basement of E Wing, it hasn’t changed since I was there; finally something looked very familiar. I even recognized one of the rooms where our class conducted some of the lab exercises.
Now moving onto the student lounge that was on the main level. HOLY crap, it’s not there anymore. This was an area where everyone hung out between classes even though there weren’t enough chairs/couches. Lecture halls now are a quarter of the size when I was there. Oh did I mentioned that back then you were allowed to smoke ANYWHERE in the building. This included student lounge, lab rooms, hallways, bathrooms, and lecture halls. Can you imagine when there are 150/250 people in a lecture hall for an hour and literally everyone smoked. Once the doors opened you would think there was a fire in the lecture hall.
Other amazing changes were the gym and cafeteria. I only vaguely remembered a small section of the cafeteria, only because during my time at the college, class members and I played a lot of cards during lunch. The hallways, library, etc, have all changed. The whole place seem much more “open” and I can’t help but sense the difference in atmosphere between the 80’s and now. There are more places for students to sit down and review their work/books/papers etc. One of the most amazing thing I saw was the Student Association wing. This wing with all the necessities for a student, as I was told, and is completely managed/operated by the Association. I mean you have banking service, convenience store, food, etc. What more does a student need to get thru a few semesters. — Oh and this blew me away; the College has a fuselage of a plane as a classroom for it’s aviation/aeronautics program. Although I didn’t physically see it I saw photos of it. — The last thing was the campus pub. Well this is nothing what I remembered. And it was the Civil students who designed the revamp of the pub. Good job people!
As time goes by things change; I think it’s call evolution. Sometimes we wish things can stay the same, but I think we wish this only because we are afraid of the uncertainties that come with changes. I have learned over these three decades and having held positions such as a Technologist, Manager, Superintendent, Director in various levels of governments, that changes are inevitable, but it is the approach taken that will determine if one will achieve the desired outcome. I’m told that there was a lot of input/consultation/survey with students to get their perspective for changes. The end result, from what I could see is simply amazing and very positive. I congratulate ALL those who have and will continue with making the evolution of Mohawk College. This institution had provided me the foundation to achieve a successful career and it will continue to do for future students given its forward and innovative thinking.