50th Snapshot: From a trailer in the parking lot to a grand downtown building

October 6, 2021


As MacEwan University celebrates its 50th Anniversary, we’re reaching out to members of our community, like alum Frank Wilkins who attended Cromdale Campus (above), to share their memories.

When I moved down to Edmonton from Yellowknife to live with my brother, I was at a loss for what to do until I read in the newspaper that MacEwan offered a corrections program.

I made an appointment to talk to Dr. Paul Otke, director of the program, and we hit it off right away. He was ex-army, an industrial psychologist with the rank of captain, and I had just left the army the year prior. I just knew that MacEwan was the place I wanted to be.

I was the first student association president of Cromdale Campus, which was located in an old Dominion food store (you could still smell the produce). Our student association offices were located in an Atco trailer in the parking lot. There was nothing in there — no phones, just a desk and a chair. I remember burning the midnight oil around that table to go over, line by line, the students' association constitution, the same one that's in place now, though it's been ratified a few times, I'm sure. It was a couple hundred pages, but we spent all night on it and then went to our classes at eight the next morning. But we were still young. We could stay up all night.

When I came to City Centre Campus in 1997 for MacEwan's 25th anniversary, I stood in awe looking at the gym and the swimming pool. I almost had tears in my eyes because I knew what MacEwan had back then — where we had come from— and seeing the new campus was fantastic. I was just floored that the students' association had an office — and now look, they have their own building! I'm very proud of the way that MacEwan has developed over the years with students and education in mind. It's just an unbelievable, beautiful story.

— Frank Wilkins, Law Enforcement and Corrections, '73.


frankwilkinsFrank Wilkins is a proud graduate of MacEwan.

He currently lives in Calgary where he's retired.




We want to hear your MacEwan story!

Is there a memory that has stayed with you over the years? Someone with a MacEwan connection who has had a profound impact on your life? Share your memories of working and learning with us. 

Get MacEwan University news delivered to your inbox.
Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter