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SAIT's 2020 silver linings playbook

Sunset over SAIT parking lot entrance

It’s been a year.

Unprecedented. Uncertain. Unknown.

A year of roadblocks. Detours. Questions. Answers. Challenges. Solutions. Opportunities. More questions. More answers. And character. Lots of character.

As we look back on 2020, let’s celebrate the upside in the obstacles we faced together — the silver linings that made the year, above all, unique.  

1. Our family grew — and distance couldn’t keep us from celebrating

collage of SAIT alumni with 250K celebrating a quarter million worldwide over top

With two virtual convocations, SAIT’s Class of 2020 became part of another milestone — they joined an alumni family now more than 250,000 strong.

To celebrate, we created the Alumni for Alumni Bursary — Celebrating a Quarter Million. The $250,000 award pot exclusively for SAIT graduates to upskill or reskill at SAIT caught the attention of the Government of Alberta, who matched the funds bringing the total bursary to $500,000.

Are you a SAIT graduate? Request your bursary code and start honing your skills in Winter 2021.

2. We launched a new school — and got a Chief Catalyst

What started as a vision and a $30-million gift from philanthropist David Bissett, is now SAIT's boldest transformation to date. 

On Sept. 9, SAIT announced the opening of the new School for Advanced Digital Technology — a downtown hub dedicated to helping grow Calgary’s tech ecosystem through digital skills training.

At the helm is Chief Catalyst Jim Gibson — a digital trailblazer who has spent three decades anticipating, adopting and advancing technology trends and challenges.

Meet Jim and learn more about SAIT's School for Advanced Digital Technology.

3. We reimagined our continuing education and professional studies training into a new centre — and renewed our commitment as a lifelong learning partner

City of Calgary skyline with a like icon overtop

Learning happens anywhere and anytime — and SAIT’s here to help.

Whether you’re looking to hone your skills, increase job prospects or feed your passion for learning, here are three reasons to “learn local” at SAIT’s Centre for Continuing Education and Professional Studies.

SAIT alumni can also take advantage of a free continuing education or professional studies course with the Alumni for Alumni Bursary while funds are available.

4. We embarked on a new course for the future – with a plan to get us there

Flashback to the first half of 2019, SAIT’s strategic planning team collected 3,000 written comments, hosted 28 school and department sessions, analyzed about 1,200 survey responses and welcomed 1,831 consultation session participants to create the plan that will guide us through the next five years.

New World. New Thinking, SAIT’s 2020-2025 strategic plan was announced publicly on Sept. 9.

“This is the right plan for our evolving world,” says Dr. David Ross, SAIT President and CEO.

Learn more about the making of SAIT’s strategic plan.

5. Our community came together – and we accomplished amazing things

Collage of faces with "we're better together, even when we're apart" written over top

From the front lines to behind the camera, countless members of the SAIT community have come together to lend a helping hand throughout the pandemic. They’re raising spirits, inspiring others to be innovative and adaptable and using their skills to make a difference. Simply put — we’re better together, even when we’re apart.

6. We did it again – achieving excellence in Hospitality and Tourism

In early March, SAIT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism was recognized by CEOWORLD Magazine and QS World University Rankings as 21st among the best hospitality and hotel management schools and 29th best hospitality and leisure management school in the world.

Up six spots on both lists from the previous year, we celebrated with six reasons why SAIT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism is one of the best.

7. We’re one of Canada’s top 10 research colleges

Research equipment, gloves, goggles, tools

In December, Research Infosource Inc. released their list of Top 50 Research Colleges 2020 — and SAIT made the top 10.

“The world has changed and the research needs of our industry partners are accelerating,” says Tom Bornhorst, Vice President, Corporate Development, Applied Research and International. “This recognition highlights our unwavering commitment to collaboration and to build what’s possible, together.”

8. Our Community answered the call to support SAIT students

image of student holding a frame in front that says #SAITGIVES

When all in-person classes were cancelled due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, SAIT knew the pandemic would have an incredible impact on our students’ learning as well as finances.

The SAIT family came together with contributions to the I.G. Lewis Student Emergency Fund to help students pay for rent, tuition and groceries. More than $240,000 went towards supporting 142 students facing financial uncertainty.

In October, our community stepped up again for a 24-hour challenge to raise more than $131,000 towards student success at SAIT’s fourth annual Giving Day.

9. SAIT students channeled their creativity with help from SAIT’s first Maker in Residence, Paul Brandt

A country singer-songwriter may seem like an unlikely collaborator for a group of Mechanical Engineering Technology students, but a SAIT education is grounded in both technical expertise and creative energy.

The Juno Award-winning singer and his wife had a dream of renovating an old Airstream trailer and brought their challenge to SAIT.  

Read more about the unlikely pairing that led to Brandt becoming SAIT’s first Maker in Residence.

Take time to celebrate your silver linings this year. See you in 2021!


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