On July 30, 1997, the University of Alberta Non-Academic Staff Association celebrates the 50th anniversary of a movement that began the present-day association. You may wonder why this historical fact is relevant for you today. Why should the history of U of A support staff be important? After all, it's well known that university support staff rarely get the positive recognition they deserve for doing the essential work that keeps this institution functioning whether that is in administration, maintenance, research, or any of the other support activities.

However, while we don't get that public recognition, knowing our union's history does help us to understand why NASA exists. By understanding something of the past, we can recognize the continuity of our union in the U of A community. More important, that understanding helps us to make decisions about future directions of the association.

We are fortunate that Earl Stephanson, a local Edmonton writer, was able to prepare a summary from the research he has done in compiling a history of NASA. This short "unofficial" history draws from his work and should be seen as an introduction for reps and members on our union. However, this is a personal interpretation and can never encompass the entire picture. I apologize for any errors or omissions in the final text. NASA continues to collect information and archival material and your donations towards that effort are encouraged and greatly appreciated.

Peter Matilainen 
December 1997

Additional historical information about NASA can also be found on this archived copy of the University of Alberta's Centenary website.