The Sports Wall of Fame was created in 1983, as part of the University of Alberta’s 75th anniversary. That inaugural year, the first six Sports Wall of Fame inductees were recognized at a luncheon at University House. Those first plaques were hung on a wall outside the office of the Dean of Physical Education & Recreation.
From those humble beginnings, with 20 people in attendance, the induction ceremony grew into the Sports Wall of Fame Dinner in 1987, with over 900 people attending. At the turn of the millennium, the Sports Wall of Fame Dinner started to raise enough money to support the Sports Wall of Fame scholarship, which at the time, was the most significant scholarship that coaches used to recruit the top student-athletes.
In 2009, the Sports Wall of Fame recognition event then combined with the annual University of Alberta Alumni Awards ceremony. By joining with the Alumni Awards ceremony, the best and brightest Golden Bears and Pandas alumni received increased exposure as they shared the stage, spotlight and the 5,000 person audience with the outstanding UAlberta alumni from all areas of the community and professional world.
By 2012, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics decided to create a Sports Wall of Fame reception targeted towards the sporting community, taking place the evening before the Alumni Awards. The reception provides the opportunity for the most recent inductees, as well as their supporters, to socialize with each other and be recognized by their sporting peers and fellow inductees. And in 2015, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics launched a brand new Sports Wall of Fame website, as well as a physical Golden Bears and Pandas Hall of Fame, where the Wall of Fame inductees are forever enshrined. The Hall of Fame, which also contains shrines to Clare Drake, Murray Van Vliet Sr. and all of the national championship Golden Bears and Pandas teams, is located on Social Street, a main student, academic and public thoroughfare within the Physical Activity and Wellness Centre
Student athletes, coaches, administrators and alumni of University of Alberta have rightly earned a world class reputation in sport. The Sports Wall of Fame celebrates an recognizes these outstanding student-athletes and builders for their contribution to university sport as well as for their subsequent contributions to the community and country, as a whole.
The University of Alberta Sports Wall of Fame inductees continue to play major roles in their respective sport endeavours. They are known to have superlative training and expertise and are familiar with success. It is these traits which make them worthy of Sports Wall of Fame honour.
Thousands of student-athletes and hundreds of builders have passed through the doors of the University of Alberta, and countless more will do so in the future. To be picked as one of the best from that group is truly an honour which will serve as an inspiration for generations to come.