By Jim Hynes
The Macdonald Campus motto of “Mastery For Service” never seemed more appropriate or timely than it did last week, when students, faculty, alumni, staff and guests gathered to celebrate the birthday of Sir William C. Macdonald, the visionary who founded Macdonald College in 1907.
Under the theme “Healing Our World,” the Campus’ annual Founder’s Day ceremony paid tribute to outstanding Mac staff and students, and fittingly included a student-initiated donation to Haitian earthquake relief.
Natural Resource Sciences Prof. David J. Lewis was saluted as the winner of this year’s Mastery For Service Award. The Award was established in 1980 to honour an individual who has provided outstanding contributions to the Macdonald community as demonstrated by a commitment and dedication to the Campus that has added to the quality of the institution, its programs and student life.
Also honoured were the seven student recipients of this year’s Gold Key Award: Raghuram Ambadipudi (Parasitology), Rebecca Chin (Bioresource Engineering), Conor Cleary (Farm Management and Technology), Jennifer Dumoulin (Environmental Biology), Chigorizi Nwachuku (Dietetics) Jenna Senecal (Bioresource Engineering), and Davis Wood (Animal Biology). The Gold Key is given by the Macdonald Branch of the McGill Alumni Association to worthy students in recognition of their outstanding contribution to extra-curricular activities at the Macdonald campus. Students nominated for the Award must show leadership and excellence in the promotion and development of extra-curricular activities, extent of involvement, effectiveness of involvement, leadership shown and ability to deal with peers and continuity of programs.
Event organizers also used the occasion to hand over the proceeds of the Mac student “Change for Haiti” fundraising campaign to the Canadian Red Cross. Thanks to a $5000 contribution from the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, freshman student Stephanie Williams, who spearheaded the campaign, presented a cheque for a total of $11,621.63 to Red Cross representative Manon Thibault.
“I think it is extremely fitting, under the theme ‘Healing the World,’ that our students, in the true spirit of Sir William Macdonald and what he had envisaged for this campus, took the initiative to respond so quickly and so enthusiastically to rally the Macdonald community to help heal the world with this tragedy on our doorsteps,” said Chandra Madramootoo, McGill Associate Vice Principal and Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Instead of the usual, single Founder’s Day keynote speaker, four different McGill luminaries treated the audience at Centennial Hall to presentations. Dr. Brian Ward, Associate Director of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (Fundamental Science), and Co-director of the McGill Vaccine Evaluation Centre, debunked myths about vaccines. Prof. Peter Grutter, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education at the Faculty of Science, discussed the potential benefits of nanotechnology. McGill School of Environment student and activist Jonathan Glencross discussed sustainability in general and the McGill Sustainable Projects Fund in particular. And final speaker Margaret Somerville, Samuel Gale Professor of Law, Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, and Founding Director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill, delivered a presentation entitled, “The Ethics upside of the climate change downside: Searching for a shared ethics.”