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UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE
50 YEARS, 50 VOICES
DR. DENNIS CONNOLLY
50 YEARS, 50 VOICES
Dr. Dennis Connolly
Dennis was hired as a mathematics professor at the University in 1967. He is the longest serving faculty member and he continues to teach in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Dennis served as chair of the department for several years. He has received the Senate Volunteer Award, co-chaired the Supporting Our Students Campaign in 2005, and he is an ardent supporter of Pronghorn Athletics and University theatre and opera.
Dennis discusses how he found a job in mathematics at the new University of Lethbridge while driving New York to Vancouver with an Australian friend in April, 1967.
The full audio interview will be made available online in late 2017. For more information please contact the University of Lethbridge Archives. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(JT: Jim Tagg, Interviewer)
DC: Yea, yea it was in April in ‘67. We were stranded here. I’ve never seen so much snow in my life. It was five feet of snow within a week or two and they were feeding cattle with helicopters. And in those times, I loved snow then. And we were both keen skiers. And so while we were stuck in a motel just reading the local paper (delivered by snowmobile), I mean, I’d never heard of Lethbridge. We just were, we were going from Yellowstone up to Banff, to ski in Banff. So we just stuck here in Lethbridge on our way up and it says ‘New University Opening!’ in the paper, in May ... in June ... July ... yes, July first. I was looking at that, we were just stuck in a hotel, you know, nothing to do, it was just snowing, the roads were closed. It was on Mayor Magrath Drive this little hotel, motel it was.
And anyway, so I remember I walked out to the University, it was at the College, and I just thought, 'I’ll just see. and put in an application.' I met Laurence Hoye and I said, ‘Well, I wouldn’t mind working for a year or two between, you know, before I did the Ph.D. and get some money.’ Because as a student, you were very poor always, you know, didn’t have much money, and I thought it would be nice to work. And I remember going to see Laurence and my friend saying, you know, ‘What are you gonna ask for for a salary?’ and I remember he said, ‘You should ask for $8000.’ I thought, 'Ooh a little bit high,' I thought, you know? And, you know, if he wouldn’t allow us that, I won’t have a chance at getting a job, because I thought I’d like the job, and with a new university and new start, and you know, be a professor all of a sudden. And, anyway I go for the interview with Laurence and he said, ‘Now what sort of money were you expecting?’ And ...
JT: Oh, he did ask you that.
DC: ... and I just didn’t have the heart to say $8000. I said, ‘Oh seven and a half thousand.’ And very kindly Laurence (said), ‘Oh I think we can pay you more than that. If you get the job we will give you $8000.’ Well ...
JT: In seventh heaven!
DC: Yea! Anyway, he didn’t give it to me at the time. He said, ‘I’ve got some other candidates to interview,’ but he says, ‘What are you doing now?’ And I said, ‘Well we’re off to Banff to ski and then we’ll be in ... I’ll be in Vancouver in a month.’ And he said, ‘Well, I’ll let you know whether you’ve got it or not. You’ll have a letter in Vancouver, you know, at the General Mail and I’ll tell you then, you know, what’s happened.’