Philip Steenkamp, president of Royal Roads University, is passionate about what the 25th anniversary of West Shore’s only post-secondary institute will bring to the community. A new 400-seat auditorium is expected in the fall, a speaker series is being launched on March 19 and the prospects of a shared campus in Langford is coming down the pipeline. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Royal Roads University at 25

President shares what to expect for 25th anniversary at ‘Professor Xavier’s house’

Philip Steenkamp never imagined how prestigious Royal Roads University (RRU) would become as an institute in only 25 years, but day after day he’s still amazed.

“This is the place where people go for lifelong learning, and it shows with the successful leaders we train for the world,” says the president of RRU. “At the same time, everyone knows the [Hatley] castle for being in film. I get to say that I work in Xavier’s House for Gifted Youngsters. It’s all part of the magic of this place.”

The university stands on 565 acres of forested lands at Hatley Park, previously used as a military training facility for 47 years. When the military college was converted into a university in 1995, the lands were designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

These days, visitors continually drop by the grounds to visit Hatley Castle, where films from the X-Men and Deadpool franchises were shot. Steenkamp says tourists lie on the ground and cross their legs, just like movie star Ryan Reynolds did in an Instagram post during film production.

Now, RRU has big plans for celebrating its 25th year in operation – one item on the agenda is moving their convocation back to campus after 10 years.

READ MORE: Hatley Gardens at Royal Roads, now free to public

Currently, graduates walk across the stage at the Royal Theatre in downtown Victoria.

Before 2010, students would pack into a large white tent on the university grounds. In the fall, there will be a new 400-seat auditorium on campus.

This is made possible by renovating an old swimming pool. The idea had been around for ages, according to Steenkamp, but the funds hadn’t come through. Now, they’re planning to have the fully renovated auditorium up and running by October.

Additionally, the university plans to launch a speaker series starting on March 19, featuring ideas from students, alumni and industry professionals.

The first event featuring Thomas Homer-Dixon, a best-selling author and science professor, is sold out, but organizers are starting a waitlist.

Steenkamp has only held the title as president of RRU for just over a year, but he’s fully aware of the challenges that the future holds.

ALSO READ: West Shore post-secondary education study gets underway

“We don’t live in a world where you go to high school, get a degree, and work your way up a single job ladder your whole life,” Steenkamp said.

“We live in a gig economy where everything is constantly changing. We’re doing our best to make sure Royal Roads will be nimble and adaptive to the needs of the future.”

RRU has been in talks with Camosun College and the University of Victoria for a joint campus on the West Shore in Langford since receiving $1.5 million from the province to make a business case on the idea.

Steenkamp is looking forward to what a campus focused on undergraduate programs can bring to the community. Until then, you’ll find him walking through the Japanese garden from time to time, planning how he can help guide the university into another 25 years of success.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com

ColwoodRoyal Roads University

 

Philip Steenkamp, president of Royal Roads University, is passionate about what the 25th anniversary of West Shore’s only post-secondary institute will bring to the community. A new 400-seat auditorium is expected in the fall, a speaker series is being launched on March 19 and the prospects of a shared campus in Langford is coming down the pipeline. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

Saanich woman says sexual assault was dismissed by police because of her ‘body language’

Patrol officers investigate sexual assault files, make decisions on what goes to Crown counsel

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight in Victoria

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

Man dies at temporary Duncan tent site for homeless

First Nations man died at The Mound site

Loaded gun, hundreds of rounds ammunition seized in Victoria

Victoria police focus on Project Burnside Gorge Connect

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

Nanaimo RCMP issues warning about scam phone calls

Callers claiming to be government officials convince victims to buy Bitcoin

B.C. reopening but tourism facing long-term recovery, say Vancouver Island MLAs

B.C. Liberals criticize lack of planning, NDP says consultation and response happening

Minivan crashes into building in downtown Duncan

No word yet on the cause of the crash

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

Trio of Vancouver Island fire deparments respond to barn blaze

Oyster River, Courtenay and Campbell River fire departments all respond to incident

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Most Read