Faculty of Arts & Science
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Alumni Profiles

Bill Buxton

Bill Buxton
Program: 
Music
Graduation year: 
1973

Bill Buxton is a computer scientist and designer, and is currently a Principal researcher at Microsoft Research. He is a pioneer in the human-computer interaction field, and led the way to multi-touch interfaces and music composition tools. He is a regular columnist at BusinessWeek and was Chief Scientist at Alias Wavefront and SGI before joining Microsoft.

Wendy Crewson

Wendy Crewson
Program: 
Drama
Graduation year: 
1977

Wendy Crewson has had starring roles in many cinematic and television movies, as well as recurring and guest appearances in TV series since 1980. Her extensive movie resume includes playing the First Lady in Air Force One, the wife of Santa Claus in The Santa Clause 1-3, and roles in The Clearing and The Covenant. In 2002 Wendy Crewson received the Gemini Humanitarian Award for both her role as Sue Rodriguez in the film, At the End of the Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story and her extensive work on behalf of the ALS (Amyothropic Lateral Sclerosis) Society of Alberta. She won the Gemini for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series" in 2006 for The Man Who Lost Himself. She was a star in the cast of The Movie Network's ReGenesis, and guest starred in episodes on the popular TV show, 24.

Thomas Cromwell

Thomas Cromwell
Program: 
Music, Law
Graduation year: 
1973, 1976

Hon. Thomas Cromwell is the current Puisne Justice on the Supreme Court of Canada. He was nominated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and was officially appointed to the court on December 22, 2008. Formerly, Prime Minister Jean Chretien appointed him to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in 1997.

James G. "Jim" Cuddy

Jim Cuddy
Program: 
English
Graduation year: 
1983

A Canadian singer-songwriter (guitar, piano, vocals) primarily associated with the Juno award-winning band Blue Rodeo. Jim Cuddy has also recorded three solo albums with the Jim Cuddy Band, the most recent being Skyscraper Soul.  One of the album highlights is “Everyone Watched the Wedding”, a song about the recent royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.   

Chris Cuthbert

Program: 
History, Psychology and Sociology
Graduation year: 
1979

Award-winning sports broadcaster: “Don’t be shy of taking a job that might seem fairly basic”

By Alec Ross

Chris Cuthbert enrolled at Queen’s with dreams of being a history teacher. After his first year, he figured his job prospects in that field were slim, so in second year he switched to Psychology and Sociology, thinking he could be a guidance counselor. In third year, Cuthbert discovered CFRC, Queen’s campus radio station, and the university’s student newspaper, the Queen’s Journal, where he began reporting on varsity sports.

And everything changed again – for good.

“That’s when I realized that I was probably best suited to a media path,” says Cuthbert, ArtsSci ‘79. “My extracurricular activities at Queen’s really launched my career.”

If you don’t immediately recognize Cuthbert’s name, you’ve almost certainly heard his voice. He’s one of Canada’s top sports broadcasters, a Gemini Award-winning veteran who’s called the action at Grey Cups and Stanley Cups, the World Cup and the Olympics. When Sidney Crosby slid the puck behind U.S. goalie Ryan Miller to win hockey gold for Canada at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, Cuthbert’s call of the goal started the nationwide celebration. It was the highlight of his storied career.  

But none of that might have happened had Cuthbert not honed his reporting and play-by-play skills via Queen’s campus media. As a kid, he was always the one barking out the play-by-play at street hockey and basketball games. Back then it was just fun. At Queen’s, he realized it could be more than that.

“I thought that a job in TV or radio was kind of an unattainable pipe dream,” he recalls. “But CFRC and the Queen’s Journal gave me an outlet for my love of sports, allowed me to dip my toe in the water. It captured my imagination and showed me the possibilities of what I could do with it. Working there kind of validated for me that that’s what I wanted to do.”

Once he made up his mind, Cuthbert did everything he could to improve. He did the live play-by-play at Queen’s hockey and football games. He became sports editor at the Journal. He studied other sports announcers on television and radio. He approached Max Jackson, then sports reporter at Kingston’s CKWS TV, and offered to report on Queen’s sports for the local CBC affiliate, for free. Jackson said yes. In time, when CKWS found itself in need of a weekend sports broadcaster, Cuthbert got the job.

“I didn’t even have to audition,” he recalls.

That kind of initiative, and a bit of luck, led to Cuthbert’s first full-time job. A friend of Cuthbert’s at McMaster University had sought a sportscaster position by placing an ad in a media trade publication. A station in Yorkton, Saskatchewan replied, asking him to send some tapes of his work. The friend didn’t have any samples, so he passed the tip to Cuthbert – who, thanks to his reporting work at CFRC, did. He was hired. The fact that it meant moving to small-town Saskatchewan didn’t matter. It was a foot in the door.

“That’s one of the first things I kind of stress when people ask me for career advice,” says Cuthbert. “Don’t be shy of taking a job that might seem fairly basic out of the chute, because usually it will take you somewhere else.”

That’s exactly what happened a few years later, in Montreal. Cuthbert was covering the venerable Montreal Canadiens and the now-defunct Montreal Alouettes football team, when suddenly everyone started going mad for the new Montreal Manic, the city’s new North American Soccer League franchise.  The team needed an announcer. While Cuthbert had little knowledge of soccer, he applied for the job to broaden his experience. He got it. The twist of fate: the Impact were owned by Molson, a major sponsor of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada – and when that legendary institution went shopping for new talent, Molson suggested its executives check out Cuthbert. Bingo.

“When you’re a young guy, you might aspire to the big jobs, but sometimes you’re not sure exactly what the right path is,” says Cuthbert. “But the more opportunities you keep open to consideration, the more chances you have of getting that breakthrough.”

That was in 1984. Since then, Cuthbert has worked for CBC, CTV, NBC and covered virtually every major sports event out there, and been at the microphone for thousands of games. He’s called Canadian gold-medal Olympic performances in five different sports. Today he’s at TSN, serving as the play-by-play voice of the Canadian Football League.

Having travelled the road to success, Cuthbert has a keen eye for the type of young men and women who can go the distance in his world: they’re the ones with drive, passion, and the wherewithal to jump on every opportunity that comes their way.

“You can tell the people that are hungry and [the ones who] just expect it,” says Cuthbert. “The ones that are hungry and are willing to do the extra work are certainly going to get noticed in our business, and probably just about every business.”


David Dodge

David Dodge
Program: 
OC - BAH (Economics)
Graduation year: 
1965

David Dodge is the former Governor of the Bank of Canada, a position that he served from February 1, 2001 to January 31, 2008. He completes his appointment as the Chancellor of Queen's University in June 2014.  He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2007. He also served as Director of the International Economics Program of the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

Leah Dunbar

Leah Dunbar
Program: 
Political Studies
Graduation year: 
2004

Community & Team Builder, Association of Ontario Health Centres.

Since my time at Queen’s, I have traveled the world (38 countries in total!), lived in the Middle East, and found a job I absolutely love in not-for-profit project management.  A Queen’s Arts and Science degree does not just open doors, it exposes you to a world of inspiration and adventure.  My time in the Faculty of Arts and Science provided me with a breadth of education that is unique to the Queen’s community.  It was during this time that I gained my initiative to make a difference, especially from the educators and students around me.  Queen’s provides you with not only academic excellence, but an education filled with people and experiences that will inspire and lead you to a world of endless possibilities.  

Dave Gallant

Dave Gallant
Program: 
Cognitive Science
Graduation year: 
2007

After graduating from the School of Computing with an R&D/entrepreneurial bend, I initially pursued freelance web programming work and spent my spare time working on experimental software.  I eventually accepted a software R&D and consultant role at an Ottawa-based company.  Working as an on-site consultant between 2008-2010 lead me to incorporate my own company, 42-Bit Solutions Inc., and pursue work that I could do from either a home office or shared (co-working) space in a large city.  I enjoy mixing work with extended travel and have recently taken software projects on the road to Vancouver, Haida Gwaii and various countries in east and South Africa.  

Caroline Kingston

Caroline Kingston
Program: 
Philosophy
Graduation year: 
2002

Since graduating from Queen’s, Caroline went on to study law at Michigan State University.  After practising law in Jacksonville, Florida she was then drawn back to Michigan State, where she began her career in legal student affairs, assuming the position of Associate Director for Student Engagement.  In this role, she assists law students with academic and personal counseling, particularly with an extensive wellness and mental health focus.  In addition, she organizes and runs both orientation and commencement and manages all of student life, including the student government and its 50 student groups.  She reflects back on her time at Queen’s as a student leader and involved in student activities with the Alma Mater Society and the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society very fondly as it shapes how she helps students in her current career.   

Michael MacMillan

Program: 
Film
Graduation year: 
1978

Creativity and hustle keys to success: Queen’s film grad
By Alec Ross

The film industry has a reputation for being hard to break into, but if you’ve got creativity and hustle, your chances of a job there are better than ever. So says Michael MacMillan, a Queen’s graduate who is one of Canada’s most successful film and television producers.

The reason, says MacMillan, ArtsSci ’78, is that the Internet and affordable video technology enable practically anyone to make a video, movie or video blog and distribute it to a potential an audience of millions. When MacMillan started out, only those with deep pockets could do that.

Today, says MacMillan, “the barrier to entry is no longer capital. It’s creativity.”

Still, when millions of videos are vying for attention on websites like YouTube and Vimeo, creativity by itself may not be enough. That’s when entrepreneurial smarts – something that MacMillan cultivated early on – come into play.

In 1976, when he was a second-year Film Studies student at Queen’s, MacMillan made a 20-minute documentary called The Academic Cloister. Its subversive message was that rather than encouraging critical thinking, Canadian universities simply reinforced the societal status quo through rote learning and intellectual conformity. Queen’s, to the dismay of its administrators, played a starring role. The film was a sensation on campus.

The audacious project illustrates the kind of passion and lateral thinking it takes to get a film made. MacMillan raised $3,000 in his spare time, partly by organizing three student screenings of the Peter Sellers classic, The Pink Panther. After the second showing of the 90-minute film, MacMillan turned back the auditorium clock to give himself time to fit in a third showing. The trick worked. The screenings raked in $800, the biggest single chunk of the film’s budget.

By fourth year, MacMillan was making films with several Queen’s friends. But he set his future course with fellow film students Janice Platt and Seaton McLean when the trio founded Atlantis Films, a student film production company. Initially, they wrote, produced, directed, shot, and edited their films themselves, but they quickly realized that elevating their craft would require professional cinematographers, directors, editors and many others. The students’ role would be to raise money and buzz and bring the right people together.

In a few short years, Atlantis evolved into one of Canada’s most successful film and TV production companies. It won an Oscar in 1984 for a short film called Boys and Girls and snagged an Emmy in 1992 for Lost in the Barrens, a TV drama based Farley Mowat’s young adult novel of the same name. It launched the Life Network (link is external)in 1993, and five years later purchased another film company, Alliance, to form Alliance Atlantis (link is external), which went on to own and manage 13 television networks including Food Network (link is external), HGTV (link is external) and Showcase (link is external). These have contributed to an overall output of Canadian TV and film that MacMillan describes as “astonishingly large.”

MacMillan retired from the business after CanWest Global Communications and Goldman Sachs acquired Alliance Atlantis in 2007. Two years later, with fellow Queen’s grad Alison Loat, Artsci ’99, he co-founded Samara (link is external), a charity that aims to increase political participation in Canada. (MacMillan and Loat recently co-wrote Tragedy in the Commons, a book (link is external) that draws on exit interviews with 80 former members of Parliament to suggest how Canadian democracy can be improved.)

But MacMillan can’t resist the entertainment game. He now heads Blue Ant Media (link is external), a private media company that owns brands including Cottage Life (link is external), Outdoor Canada (link is external), Travel + Escape (link is external), and a number of other web, mobile, TV, magazine properties. The firm is based in Toronto, but its reach is global. 

After almost 40 years in the Canadian film and TV industry, MacMillan has some definite ideas about what it takes to succeed there. Creativity and talent head the list, along with the willingness to put in hard work and long hours to help your project succeed.

But even these may not be enough. “There’s a tsunami of creativity and creative expression available,” says MacMillan. “Today, the key things that will distinguish [an artist] are creativity, imagination and talent on one hand, and marketing skills – or power or clout or imagination – to draw attention to your film or documentary or whatever it is, as opposed to the gazillion other ones.”

Since film is a collective endeavour, MacMillan encourages people to imagine how their individual talents, or role, might fit in with those of others. Keeping abreast of technological change and the potential applications of new technology is also smart.

Finally, says MacMillan, the Internet and global trade has forced his industry, and those working in it, to adopt an international focus and attitude.

“If you believe the Internet is here to stay, then you’ll think that the geographical boundaries between one country and another – not political boundaries, but how rights are created and bought and sold and what a natural market is – are going to blur.” 

“If I were 22 years old,” says MacMillan, “I’d say, ‘Wow! That is a huge sandbox to play in!’”

Peter Milliken

Peter Milliken
Program: 
BAH Political Studies & Economics
Graduation year: 
1968

In 2011, the Honourable Peter Milliken, retired as Liberal MP for Kingston and the Islands and as the 34th Speaker of the House of Commons after 10 years in the chair—the longest serving in Canadian history. He was widely praised by government and opposition MPs for his rulings, which were considered very fair.  Every year while serving as Speaker, Milliken made it clear he had not forgotten his Queen’s days and arranged for Queen’s Model Parliament to hold its annual sessions in the actual House of Commons.  In 2001, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the State University of New York at Potsdam.  Since choosing not to stand for re-election in 2011, Milliken joined the Kingston law firm of Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little & Bonham and has taken up an appointment as a Fellow of Queen’s School of Policy Studies.  Milliken was appointed to the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada in 2012, giving him the accordant style of “The Honourable” for life. In 2013, Milliken received the annual Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honour the Queen’s Alumni Association bestows. 

Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje
Program: 
M.A. English
Graduation year: 
1967

Michael Ondaatje is an acclaimed writer and film maker whose book The English Patient won the Booker Prize and was made into an academy award-winning film.  His previous works include Coming through Slaughter (prose), Running in the Family (fiction) and his acclaimed 1987 novel In the Skin of a Lion.  Ondaatje is a five-time winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award. 

Maynard Plant

Maynard Plant
Program: 
Drama
Graduation year: 
1998

Maynard Plant, former ASUS President and AMS President,  is a member of the Japanese-Canadian pop rock band MONKEY MAJIK, which is currently signed to Binyl Records and managed by the Edwards Entertainment Group.  The band rose to success after their 2006 hit singles, “Fly” and “Around the World”.   As of 2012, they have released seven studio albums, four EP’s, three physical live albums, three digital live albums, and three compilation albums.  MONKEY MAJIK received much acclaim across Japan after their hands-on assistance with the clean-up and rescue during the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which was later documented and broadcast by MTV Japan on a TV special surrounding their work.   Members of the band were chosen “Goodwill Ambassadors” for the 80th anniversary of Japanese-Canadian relations.

Steve Poloz

Steve Poloz
Program: 
BAH Economics
Graduation year: 
1978

Dr. Steve Poloz served as President and CEO of Economic Development Canada prior to being appointed Governor of the Bank of Canada in 2013.  Of the nine governors of the Bank of Canada, three have been Queen’s graduates, including Poloz.  He has over 30 years of public and private sector experience in financial markets, forecasting and economic policy.    He is a Certified International Trade Professional and a graduate of Columbia University’s Senior Executive Program.  He has been a visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund in Washington and at the Economic Planning Agency in Tokyo.  Poloz has taught economics at Western University, Concordia University and Queen’s School of Business. 

Shelagh Rogers

Shelagh Rogers
Program: 
Art History
Graduation year: 
1977

Over the years as a journalist on flagship programs such as Morningside, Sounds Like Canada and This Morning, Shelagh Rogers has traveled the length and breadth of this country, interviewing thousands of Canadians and collecting their stories. That's her passion and she believes sharing our stories enlarges our understanding of each other. She is currently the host and a producer of the CBC Radio program The Next Chapter, devoted to Canadian writers and songwriters. Shelagh holds honorary doctorates from Western University, Mount Allison University and Memorial University. In 2010, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions as a promoter of Canadian culture, and for her volunteer work in the fields of mental health and literacy.

Jeffrey Simpson

Jeffrey Simpson
Program: 
BAH Political Studies and History; LLD
Graduation year: 
1971 and 2005

The national affairs columnist of The Globe and Mail and author of eight books, Jeffrey Simpson’s interests in politics and journalism were honed at Queen’s, both inside the classroom and out.  For four years, he was an on-air broadcaster for CFRC Radio and co-hosted a weekly news show on international and national affairs and then started calling the Gaels football games, making a name for himself as “The Voice of the Golden Gaels.”   He also got involved in campus governance, becoming one of the first elected student representatives on University Senate.  As an alumnus, Simpson continued to contribute to Queen’s governance, sitting on University Council and on the Board of Trustees.  Simpson began writing for The Globe and Mail in 1974, first covering the city hall beat in Toronto, then moving on to Quebec politics.  In 1977, he became a member of the paper’s Ottawa bureau.  Still based in Ottawa, he has been the newspaper’s national affairs columnist since 1984.

Shirley Tilghman

Shirley Tilghman
Program: 
B.Sc. Chemistry
Graduation year: 
1968

Shirley Tilghman served as the 19th (and first female president) of Princeton University for the period June 2001 - 2013.  A native of Canada, she was a 2002 winner of the L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science and the 2003 winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society of Developmental Biology.  She is renowned not only for her pioneering research in human genomics but for her national leadership on behalf of women in science.  

Ali Velshi

Ali Velshi
Program: 
Religious Studies
Graduation year: 
1994

Connecting the news through finance, global issues, contemporary governance, education and big ideas, Ali Velshi, a Canadian-American television journalist, executes several roles as CNN’s chief business correspondent, anchor of the CNN newsroom, host of “Your $$$$ and the “Ali V” podcast. In 2010, Velshi was awarded the Queen’s University Alumni Achievement Award and the National Headliner Award for Business & Consumer Reporting. 

Velshi is the author of Gimme My Money Back:  Your Guide to Beating the Financial Crisis and co-author of How to Speak Money:  The Language & Knowledge You Need Now. He also writes a column for “Money Magazine” and for the “Delta Sky” magazine. 

Mark Wiseman

Mark Wiseman
Program: 
BA History & Political Studies
Graduation year: 
1992

Mark Wiseman assumed the role of President and CEO of the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board in 2012 and is responsible for its investment activities.  Prior to joining the CPP Investment Board in 2005, Mark was responsible for the private equity fund and co-investment program at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Previously, he was an officer with Harrowston Inc., a publicly traded Canadian merchant bank and a lawyer with Sullivan & Cromwell, practicing in New York and Paris. 

Mark has a law degree and MBA degree from the University of Toronto.  In 2006, Mark was named to Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. 

Kathleen Wynne

Program: 
English and History
Graduation year: 
1977

In 2013, Kathleen Wynne became Ontario’s Liberal Premier of Ontario.  She was elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003 in the Toronto riding of Don Valley West, and in the ten years since she has served as a cabinet minister in a number of high-profile ministries, including Education, Transportation, Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Aboriginal Affairs.  Wynne believes that “people want government to succeed.  They want good things for their kids.  I’m trying to be as accessible as possible because people want to talk to me and I want to hear from them.  That gives me courage”.

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