By Jim Hynes
The Macdonald Campus’ annual Founder’s Day event honoured eight outstanding students and one exceptional staff member at a ceremony in the Centennial Centre Ballroom on Feb. 10. The theme of this year’s event was A Passion to Change the World.
“Founder’s Day is a day to not only remember our founder, Sir William Macdonald, his generosity and the great things he has done to create this institution, but also to recognize what goes on on campus today and some of those students and staff who exemplify what he was all about,” said Chandra Madramootoo, McGill Associate Vice Principal and Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
During the ceremony, Mike Bleho, a technician in the Plant Science department and one of the driving forces behind the recent McGill Feeding McGill initiative, received the Award of Excellence for Administrative and Support Staff for his outstanding performance and contribution in support of the promotion and development of the Macdonald Campus and Community both in the execution of his duties and in the effort and commitment towards service.
Students Matthew Brown (Dietetics), Shefaza Esmail (Bioresource engineering), Ariane Gauthier (Food Sciences), Carolane Neveu (Animal Science), Maxime Ouellet-Payeur (Bioresource engineering), Peter Pertschy (Farm Management and Technology), Matthew von Bornhoff (Wildlife Biology) and Karen Geukers (Parasitology) were presented with Gold Key Awards in recognition of their outstanding contribution to extra-curricular activities at Macdonald Campus. Geukers was also presented with the Macdonald Branch Award for Student Leadership.
Founder’s Day attendees were also treated to inspiring talks by guest speakers Prof. Derek Ruths, Diane Imries and Mac students Alex Pritz, Matt Brightman and Liz Marsh, members of Developing Pictures, a group of young filmmakers working to promote different non-profit organizations working in developing countries through their documentary videos. Ruths, a professor in the McGill School of Computer Science, delivered a talk called Passion Needs Company, discussing how groups of people working together have a better chance of making ideas work than individuals alone do. Imrie, a Dietitian and Mac grad, discussed the food sustainability program she helped put in place at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Vermont, where she is Director of Nutrition Services. The team from Developing Pictures explained how they ended up helping with relief efforts in Haiti just six weeks after the devastating earthquake of January 2010.
To learn more about Founder’s Day and this year’s speakers go to: www.mcgill.ca/macdonald/events/foundersday/