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175th Anniversary

Art McDonald among 2017 Queen's honorary degree recipients

Queen’s University has unveiled its honorary degree recipients for 2017, and the list includes Nobel Prize Laureate and Queen’s University Professor Emeritus Art McDonald.

Fifteen other people will join Dr. McDonald in accepting an honorary degree in recognition of their outstanding contributions in the fields of academia, business, politics, scientific research, and the arts.

The university will present the honorary degrees during 2017 convocation ceremonies.

Spring 2017

[James Rutka]
James Rutka

James Rutka (Meds’81) is a professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto and a pediatric neurosurgeon with a clinical practice at the Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Rutka’s primary research and clinical interests relate to the science and surgery of human brain tumours and epilepsy. He has more than 450 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Rutka is an Officer of the Order of Canada. During his studies at Queen’s, he was quarterback for the Gaels, leading the football team a Vanier Cup victory in 1978.

Dr. Rutka will receive his honorary degree on Thursday, May 25 at 2:30 pm.

[Stephen Smith]
Stephen J.R. Smith

Stephen J.R. Smith (Sc’72) is one of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs in the financial services industry. He is renowned for innovation in information technology and financial structuring in the Canadian mortgage industry. Mr. Smith is an avid supporter of post-secondary education. In 2015, he made a $50-million investment in business education at Queen’s in order to equip the leaders of tomorrow with the skills to sustain Canada’s business, economic, and social development.

Mr. Smith will receive his honorary degree on Tuesday, May 30 at 2:30 pm.

[Gurujai and Jaishree Deshpande]
Gurujai and Jaishree Deshpande

Gurujai (PhD’79) and Jaishree Deshpande, entrepreneurs and philanthropists

Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande and Jaishree Deshpande are trustees of the Deshpande Foundation, which strengthens ecosystems that create significant social and economic impact through entrepreneurship and innovation. Their joint gift along with the Dunin Foundation in 2016 is allowing Queen’s to expand its innovation programming for students through the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre.

Dr. Deshpande has pursued an entrepreneurial career for the last three decades. He was involved either as the founder, a founding investor or chairman of several companies. Ms. Deshpande earned a Master of Science in Physics in 1975 from the Indian Institute of Technologies (IIT) and a Master in Computer Science in 1989 from Boston University. She currently serves as a trustee for the Museum of Science in Boston and is involved with HESTIA Fund – a fund established to support after-school programs for low-income children in Massachusetts. 

The Deshpandes will receive their honorary degrees on Wednesday, May 31 at 10 am.

[David Skegg]
David Skegg

Sir David Skegg is an epidemiologist and public health physician based at the University of Otago in New Zealand. His research focuses mainly on the causes and control of cancers, especially breast and cervical cancer, and the use of epidemiological methods to study benefits and risks of medicines. As Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago from 2004 to 2011, he took a strong interest in opportunities for international collaboration. He promoted discussions that led to the establishment of the Matariki Network of Universities, of which Queen’s and the University of Otago are founding members.

Dr. Skegg will receive his honorary degree on Friday, June 2 at 10 am.

[John Alderdice]
John Alderdice

John Alderdice, Baron Alderdice, played a significant role in the development of the Irish peace process and the negotiation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement as leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. He then stepped down as Alliance Leader and accepted an appointment as Speaker of the new Northern Ireland Assembly. He retired as Speaker and Member of the Legislative Assembly in 2004. For many years, he served as a Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Lecturer in Psychotherapy at Queen’s University Belfast. He established the Centre for Psychotherapy in Belfast. He continues as an active member of the House of Lords, but has stepped back from front-line party politics to focus on his academic and practical involvement in situations of violent political conflict. 

Lord John Alderdice will receive his honorary degree on Monday, June 5 at 10 am.

[Otto Naumann]
Otto Naumann

Otto Naumann is the leading name in Old Master paintings in the United States and is one of the most respected figures in the international art scene. Dr. Naumann is renowned for his exceptional “eye” for quality and for his skills in connoisseurship.  Having made a name for himself specializing in Dutch and Flemish art, Dr. Naumann has handled more Rembrandts than any other living dealer and is the only dealer alive who has sold a painting by Vermeer.

Dr. Naumann will receive his honorary degree on Tuesday, June 6 at 10 am.

[Frank McKenna]
Frank McKenna

Frank McKenna has held numerous leadership positions in both the public and private sector. From 1987–1997 he was Premier of New Brunswick. He served as Canadian Ambassador to the United States from 2005-2006. He is currently Deputy Chair of TD Bank Group, Chairman of Brookfield Asset Management, and is on the board of Canadian Natural Resources. 

Mr. McKenna will receive his honorary degree on Thursday, June 6 at 2:30 pm.

[Art McDonald]
Art McDonald

Art McDonald is a professor emeritus in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy. Dr. McDonald shared the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for his longtime research and groundbreaking findings into neutrinos – sub-atomic particles considered the basic building blocks of the universe. He continues research on neutrinos and dark matter at the SNOLAB underground laboratory and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics.

Dr. McDonald will receive his honorary degree on Wednesday, June 7 at 10 am.

[Fredy Peccerelli]
Fredy Peccerelli

Fredy Peccerelli has dedicated his life to upholding human rights and dignity through the application of forensic sciences. He is an internationally renowned and recognized human rights defender and forensic anthropologist, and founding member of the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG). As FAFG’s executive director, Mr. Peccerelli leads the development and implementation of a system that applies victim investigation, forensic-archaeology, forensic-anthropology, and forensic-genetics to uncover the identity of victims of mass human rights abuses, and the truth behind their disappearance.

Mr. Peccerelli will receive his honorary degree on Thursday, June 8 at 10 am.

[Donald Bayne]
Donald Bayne

Donald Bayne (Arts’66, Law’69, EMBA’01) is a partner with Bayne, Sellar, Boxall, a firm practising exclusively criminal law in Ottawa. Mr. Bayne has practised criminal law exclusively for the past 45 years.  He has been designated a specialist in criminal litigation by the Law Society and has conducted trial and appellate advocacy at all levels of courts in Canada and at public inquiries around the world. 

Mr. Bayne will receive his honorary degree on Friday, June 9 at 2:30 pm.

Justice Kin Kee Pang (Arts’70), a member of Hong Kong’s senior judiciary, will receive his honorary degree on May 20 in Hong Kong.

Fall 2017

Please note, Queen’s has not yet confirmed the Fall 2017 convocation schedule.

Debbie Docherty, educator, social worker, and community volunteer

Oliver Jones, jazz pianist

John Rae, Arts’67, active political participant and businessman

David Bouchard, author and educator

The Gazette will publish full biographies of the honorary degree recipients before the spring and fall convocation ceremonies. 

Longtime Queen's lawyer always looked to mediation, reconciliation

In honour of Queen’s 175th anniversary, the Equity Office and the Human Rights Office will bestow their Human Rights Initiative, Employment Equity, and Steve Cutway Accessibility awards on alumni in 2017. Over the next three weeks, the Gazette will profile the winners ahead of the award ceremony Feb. 27.


Even though she served many years as the University’s Legal Counsel, Diane Kelly (Law’83) admits that legal action is not the best approach in certain situations.

[Diane Kelly]
Diane Kelly, winner of the 2016 Queen's Human Rights Initiative Award, built positive and inclusive relationships during her career as Queen's legal counsel.

“Litigation might be great for solving things like contractual issues, but it is a very destructive tool for solving people problems,” Ms. Kelly says. “With issues where there is human interaction, I favour approaches that rely on mediation, conciliation, and education.”

That collaborative and cooperative attitude – a hallmark of Ms. Kelly and her career at Queen’s – has earned her the 2016 Queen’s Human Rights Initiative Award.

“Even though Diane has retired from Queen’s, her impact in the areas of accessibility, equity, and human rights at the university continues to be felt,” says Irène Bujara, University Adviser on Equity and Human Rights. “Staff and faculty at Queen’s continue to receive important education and training in relation to human rights due to Diane’s creativity and resourcefulness.”

Queen’s, like other employers in Canada, is subject to federal and provincial legislation designed to safeguard human rights. In her role, Ms. Kelly had to ensure Queen’s met its legal obligations. Rather than stop at legislative compliance, Ms. Kelly sought to build positive and inclusive relationships with people across campus, giving them the tools and information they needed to make a difference.

[Queen's 175th logo]

To accomplish that goal, Ms. Kelly worked with the Human Rights Office to establish in 2009 the innovative Human Rights Legislation Group (HRLG). The group, which still exists today, brings together representatives from all academic and non-academic units to learn more about the issues and to discuss the constantly evolving landscape of human rights-related legislation.

“By establishing the Human Rights Legislation Group, we were trying to combat the lack of understanding that stalls progress on these issues,” Ms. Kelly says. “We really saw the group as a way to help people across campus realize that legislation and related initiatives from the Human Rights Office lead to a more productive work environment.”

Ms. Kelly’s strong connection to Queen’s dates back many years. She completed her undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Arts and Science before attending Queen’s Law and specializing in administrative law. Her father Garfield Kelly, a Queen’s graduate, served as vice-dean in Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences, and he was a faculty member in the School of Medicine.

After earning her law degree, Ms. Kelly joined Cunningham Swan law firm in Kingston. Before too long, though, Ms. Kelly reconnected with Queen’s. She accepted a secondment with the university and, in 2007, she agreed to join Queen’s on a full-time basis and serve as the in-house legal counsel.

Ms. Kelly says she is thrilled to have her work recognized with the Human Rights Initiative Award.

“I was very emotional when I read the email. The award is one of the biggest honours I have received,” she says. “I know that some of the initiatives are continuing, and that’s a testament to the people in the Human Rights Office. Working with them for so many years really confirmed for me that they are masters of their craft.”

Ms. Kelly will receive the award on Feb. 27. During that event, she will also participate in a panel discussion with the winners of the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award and the Employment Equity Award. All are welcome to attend the event. Email the Equity Office to RSVP. Visit the Queen’s Events Calendar for information

A cornerstone of Queen's

Construction of Douglas Library started in 1922 and was completed in 1924. (Queen's University Archives)

The history of Queen’s University Library is the focus of a new virtual exhibit launched in honour of the university’s 175th anniversary.

This timeline exhibit outlines a history of the library, and is filled with stories exemplifying the strengths the present day library is still known for: strong research collections, dedicated staff and superb facilities. The library’s initiatives and activities over the years highlight these different areas of focus, and the ways they enhance the student learning experience and support research prominence, internationalization and financial sustainability at Queen’s.

“It has been wonderful to explore 175 years of Queen’s University Library, and it was an interesting challenge to narrow it down to the items reflected in our timeline. The library has always been a cornerstone of Queen’s, and as contributors have pointed out, Queen’s had a fledging library collection before it had a Royal Charter. We are so pleased to share and celebrate our unique history within the larger context of 175 years of Queen’s” says Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost and University Librarian. “As the library includes the University Archives, we are well equipped to dig into our rich history.  We hope that this exhibit for the Queen's 175th anniversary celebrations helps our whole community reflect on the past and look forward to our future.”

The Virtual Exhibit can be viewed at the Queen’s University Library website. If you have a suggestion for an entry on the timeline, please email library.news@queensu.ca.

A site for celebration

[Grant Hall clock]

Queen’s 175th anniversary has a new, dynamic home on the web.

The 175th anniversary committee and University Marketing launched the revamped 175th anniversary website last week. The fully redesigned website offers a rich user experience, and introduces several new sections and features.

“This exciting new website allows us to profile in a dynamic way the special events, new initiatives, and existing activities that have happened or will take place during the 175th anniversary year,” says David Walker, Director and Chair, 175th Anniversary. “The website will live on after the 175th anniversary, serving as a useful resource for contemplating our past and considering our future as we head toward our 200th anniversary.”

The website highlights the all-alumni honorary degree initiative for 2016. The site profiles all 15 recipients, who describe how their time at Queen’s influenced their lives and careers.

The website also features moments from Queen’s history, curated by a committee of faculty and staff, with submissions from the broader Queen’s community.

“The moments represent significant signposts in the university’s development, and are not intended to represent an exhaustive history of the university,” says Mike Blair, Sc’17, 175th coordinator, who led the curation process.

University Historian Duncan McDowall conducted extensive research for most of the moments, and many campus community members offered feedback and insight. Queen’s University Archives played an integral role supporting Dr. McDowall’s work by sharing its vast holdings to illustrate the moments. University Marketing work study student Madison Pincombe, Artsci’17, helped to coordinate the image and video content for the moments.

Other features include:

  • Videos related to the 175th anniversary
  • Links to Gazette stories about 175th anniversary related initiatives
  • The #queensu175 Twitter feed
  • A feed of 175th anniversary related events drawn from the Queen’s events calendar

Questions or feedback about the 175th anniversary and the website can be sent to qu175@queensu.ca

In search of Professor Campbell

Peter Colin Campbell was the first professor to be appointed to Queen’s. In 1840, he accepted a post as professor of classical literature.

Together with Principal Liddell, the Reverend Professor Campbell, a Presbyterian minister, taught the very first classes of the new college, beginning in March 1842.

His name is in the royal charter as one of the founders of Queen’s College.

Treasures and tales

The Queen’s University Archives and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre are celebrated Queen’s 175th anniversary with a special exhibition, “Treasures and Tales: Queen’s Early Collections,” featuring significant works of art and archival objects from the university’s early collections.

The “Treasures and Tales” exhibition was on view in the Historical Feature Gallery of the Agnes until Dec. 4. You can learn more about the history of featured objects in the exhibition archived online: see agnes.queensu.ca.

The Queen's royal charter

Ask half a dozen current students why Queen’s celebrates University Day and, after a few blank stares, you’ll likely receive six different answers. Of those, it’s a pretty safe bet that none will include the words “royal charter.”

(Hint to our readers: University Day, October 16, marks the date in 1841 when Queen’s College at Kingston was incorporated by a royal charter issued by Queen Victoria.)


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