This new sculpture has been installed on Red Deer Polytechnic's main campus. (Contributed photo)

Some of Red Deer Polytechnic’s 80,000 alumni are returning for this week’s homecoming

The community is also invited to attend from Thursday to Saturday

Hundreds of former students are expected to return to Red Deer Polytechnic this week for its first-ever homecoming celebration.

A mix-and-mingle local food tasting, authors’ readings, a Philosopher’s Cafe, and sporting events are just some of the special activities planned on campus from Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon.

After 58 years, RDP, formerly Red Deer College, is throwing open its doors for its inaugural homecoming for alumni and other community members. Richard Longtin, vice-president of external relations said many post-secondary institutions maintain this tradition.

With 80,000 RDP alumni, he believes it’s time for the polytechnic to lean into its long and important history in central Alberta and continue building connections. In the post-pandemic world, this is especially important, Longtin reasoned.

The three-day homecoming will become an annual event. Longtin heard there’s already a lot of buy-in for this year’s celebration — for instance, one grad from the 1970s has contacted 50 of his former colleagues and arranged for a class reunion.

Area residents who have never attended classes at RDP are also invited to the homecoming to learn more about the facility and what’s offered, he added.

Quite a few of the homecoming events are free. But the Palate: A Taste of Local kick-off event on Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m. will be a ticketed event. The idea is to expand on the Fine Wine and Food Tasting Festival, and provide more opportunities for guests to explore local and hand-crafted food and beverage items, said Longtin.

Palate, held in the Cenovus Energy Learning Common, will offer tasty selections from 30 different local vendors, including local micro brewers and a bevy of restaurants. Sweet and savoury international dishes, small-batch spirits, and crafted cocktails as well as non-alcoholic beverages will be available. Admission tickets including tasting tokens to try everything on offer (please visit rdpolytechnic.ca for more information.)

A variety of RDP sports teams will also be playing. Hockey and basketball games are ticketed, but soccer games can be watched for free.

There will also be a 30-minute fitness sessions offered at no cost, as well as an open house on Saturday — including tours of the main campus and the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

Among the intellectual offerings are a Philosopher’s Cafe at 7 p.m. Thursday in the RDP Library Information Common, hosted by Dr. Stephen Brown and Dr. Carrie Dennett. And four authors (three of them, former RDP instructors) — Jenna Butler, Joan Crate, Leslie Greentree and Rod Schumacher — will conduct a 20th anniversary reading from their books on Friday at 7 p.m. at the same location.

Both of these are non-ticketed events, but registration is required at rdpolytech.ca.

Red Deer College

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