When I was asked to attend Red River College’s 2012 Alumni Dinner — and act as a student ambassador on behalf of the Creative Communications program — three thoughts danced around in my head.
First, I was thankful because it meant I had a legitimate reason to go shopping and find a pretty dress. Second, I figured based on the ticket price alone, I was bound to receive a complimentary fancy dinner. And third, I thought the event was a valuable networking opportunity to chat with professionals in my desired industry.
When I entered The Fairmont Winnipeg on Nov. 16, the evening of the gala, I remember being taken aback by the sheer number of guests waiting patiently to check their table number. Thinking back now, I don’t know why I was so surprised – after all, our College will be turning 75 years old next year.
Aside from the well-dressed crowd, delicious meal, beautiful venue and exquisite décor — the 2012 Alumni Dinner proved to be much more.
The Dinner was a celebration and appreciation of the many grads that contribute to the success and growth of our college. When I looked across the dozens of tables that seated approximately 500 guests, I felt moved knowing each and every one of those guests had a special connection with my College.
During the evening, such speakers as Wayne Morsky, master of ceremonies and 2011 Distinguished Alumni recipient, and Stephanie Forsyth, President & CEO of RRC, commented on how the College has evolved over the years. As a current student fortunate enough to go to school everyday in Winnipeg’s Exchange District, it was humbling to hear stories about our history.
Those stories brought me back to a week prior, when a very generous host and his beautiful wife invited 16 current RRC students — myself included — to join them for dinner.
Bob Tallman, CEO of Princess Auto and now Distinguished Alumni recipient of 2012, shared stories of his time at the Notre Dame campus, where he graduated from the Business Administration program in the mid-1970s.
Despite our generation gap, Bob and I both agreed that RRC has contributed to our love for Winnipeg. Before entering Creative Communications, I was convinced I wanted to leave our little city and move to Toronto. Become an event planner in the big city – that was my plan.
However, during my time at RRC, I’ve been exposed to so many new experiences and faces of Winnipeg through assignments and contacts. It was because of the program I finally visited the Manitoba Theatre Centre, toured the Winnipeg Art Gallery, interviewed a war veteran, and even volunteered at The Forks.
It is because of the opportunities given to me by Red River College that I’ve had the honour to meet so many successful and inspiring grads like Bob Tallman, who not only achieve success in Winnipeg but also contribute to making it the great city it is today.
My most treasured memory of the gala and my dinner with the Tallmans was meeting and getting to know 15 other Red River College students from a wide variety of programs, among them Child and Youth Care, Culinary Arts, Business Administration, Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, Automotive Technician and Power Engineering.
As students, we become so preoccupied and involved with our own program, we forget we’re just a small part of what makes Red River College what it is.
After having attended the 2012 Alumni Dinner, it was obvious how proud our alumni are of Red River College. Being given the opportunity to meet and share my experiences with other students, I know we as current students are proud of RRC, and as it continues to contribute to the growth of our great city, I have no doubt Winnipeggers will be just as proud of the College as well.
For more information about Alumni Engagement or the benefits of memberships, events or publications, see rrc.ca/alumni.
Shown: Bob Tallman (far right), with the 16 Red River College students he sponsored to the 2012 Alumni Dinner, among them Elizabeth Catacutan (seated, third from right)
Story by Elizabeth Catacutan (second year, Creative Communications)