Message from the Vice-Principal

I am often asked if I love my job. There’s a short answer, and a long one.

This spring, the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education honoured Headway with its 2007 Prix d’Excellence gold award for Best Magazine. The award is a source of pride for our team, to be sure, but it also speaks to the high quality of research being done at McGill.


If a magazine is only as good as its subject matter, then Headway is blessed with an embarrassment of riches. Whether they’re working in genomics or nanotechnology, human rights or emerging markets, there are two things that all our researchers share: a passion for discovery and a desire to change the world for the better.

You might say that it’s in their blood. James McGill was a bold adventurer exploring Canada’s unmapped wilderness—but he was also a man dedicated to public service, serving as a city magistrate in his unwavering quest to be part of the solution, not the problem. The university that today bears his name truly is his living legacy, bringing together as it does a critical mass of researchers who are driven to navigate uncharted territory and serve the greater good. As this issue’s cover story about undergraduate researchers shows, it’s a legacy that shines brighter with each day: the University’s sharpest young minds aren’t just learning about cutting-edge discoveries in real time, they’re actually changing how that research is being done. There’s that word again: change.

That’s the long answer, now for the short one. How could I not love working with such a vibrant, fertile group, a group so passionately dedicated to furthering human knowledge while improving humankind’s future? From “greening” the way we do chemistry to giving pediatric heart patients a fighting chance, these people are going for the gold—and it’s my great pleasure to share their stories with you.

Denis Thérien


(Research and International Relations)