By Scott Strasser, October 24 2016 —
Fifth-year political science student Graham Duff has started a petition to rename Baron’s Court in the kinesiology complex “Annette’s Corner” in honour of Brew & Blendz manager Annette Schmirler, who passed away on Oct. 14.
Duff sent the petition to University of Calgary vice-president facilities Bart Becker and kinesiology dean Penny Werthner after it reached 1,000 signatures.
“I felt having a group of voices would be a lot more powerful than having a single voice when we’re talking to administrators,” Duff said. “I also knew I wasn’t the only one that Annette had affected, so I wanted other people to have the opportunity to have their voices heard and say what Annette meant to them.”
The petition reached more than 1,300 signatures by Oct. 25. Duff said it took less than two days to reach the target goal of 1,000 signatures.
“It got there in less than 36 hours,” he said. “I couldn’t have been happier that she meant as much to the community as she did to the people I knew.”
Schmirler was the manager of Brew & Blendz for 10 years. She was well-liked among U of C students and had a knack for remembering customers’ names and what they liked to order.
Tributes poured in from across the U of C following Schmirler’s passing. Many students left sticky notes with positive messages by Brew & Blendz.
Brew & Blendz owner Brad Dodds said changing the name of Baron’s Court to Annette’s Corner would be a fitting tribute to the legacy Schmirler left behind.
“Students, staff, everybody loved her,” Dodds said. “If people were feeling down, that’s when she was at her best. If anyone came here and weren’t having a good day, she always tried to make sure they left with a smile on their face.”
The Faculty of Kinesiology held a tribute for Schmirler in Baron’s Court on Oct. 18. Attendees could enjoy a cup of Westcoast dark roast at the event, which co-workers said was Schmirler’s favourite.
The official memorial service for Schmirler was held on Oct. 21. According to Duff, the event included many student attendees and was standing-room only.
“There must have been over 500 people,” he said. “It was really interesting to hear her family and friends tell stories about her that definitely fit in with the Annette that I knew.”
While there would likely be a small cost involved with renaming Baron’s Court, Duff is confident the university will look seriously into the name change.
“I hope it’s successful,” Duff said. “[Bart Becker] seemed neutral on the idea, but was very kind. He had heard about the petition before I sent it to him.”
Faculty of Kinesiology dean Penny Werthner said the petition is a great initiative and the faculty would pay for any costs regarding the potential name change if it occurs.
“I think regardless, we need to figure out something that would honour her because she touched so many students over the years. The first step is to see what the process would be in changing the name and if and when that’s possible,” Werthner said.