News / Calgary

SAIT celebrates centennial with baby

The baby has been awarded with a full scholarship to SAIT


When Mohammed Sher took his first breath on October 16 at 1:06 a.m., he won a race he didn’t even know he entered.

His birthday is shared with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), and this year happened to be a special one for the post-secondary – their centennial.

As the first baby born in Calgary that day, SAIT officials celebrated their latest milestone by dubbing Mohammed their “centennial baby,” awarding him with a full scholarship to the institution.

It may take a decade or two for him to claim his prize, but his mother, Sidra Siddique, and father, Umar Riaz, said it’s an “unbelievable” gift.

“(It’s) very exciting,” Riaz said through a grin. “Our son is lucky.”

The new parents brought baby Mohammed to SAIT on Thursday morning to introduce him to some of the people who made the scholarship possible: SAIT president and CEO Dr. David Ross and Craig Senyk with Mawer Investment Management, one of SAIT’s centennial sponsors.

“When the idea first came to the table, there was no hesitation to take it on,” said Ross. “Why not have the first baby born in SAIT’s second century be recognized and provide them with a unique leg up?”

The arrival of Siddique, Riaz, Mohammed and Siddique’s brother Ali Awais was much anticipated, Ross said. And as they entered the room, lined with balloons and gifts, the anticipation was clear as everyone clamoured over to get a peek at the sleeping centennial baby.

“We’ve all been looking forward to this day,” said Ross. 

“Being an educator, you get to meet some amazing folks. You get to see in real time what it all means and what education can do to allow people to pursue their careers, to participate in their communities, to help build their families – and we’re seeing that first hand here today. This is a great moment.”

After Mohammed was born, $20,000 was invested for his future education, and Senyk said he hopes to see that tuition money flourish in the market.

“Today is an interesting day,” said Senyk. “I can’t wait to look back on this moment 20 years from now and see what has become out of this moment. This family is relatively new to Calgary, they moved here (from Pakistan) four years ago, so it’s nice to celebrate together and celebrate a new family in Calgary.”

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