Queen's University

Editor's notebook -- Bright minds, big ideas

"Initiative" is the operative word at Queen's these days.

I’ve been at Queen’s for 27 years, long enough that former classmates and old friends now ask, “When are you planning to retire?” The question that’s really being posed is – nudge, wink – “How much longer will you want to go to work each day?” (We live in cynical times.)

My stock response is to laugh and point out that I still have a few more years before I can “officially” hang up my editor’s visor. I then hasten to add that I’ve also got one more daughter to see through university. Those are my “talking points,” as the folks in suits call ’em.

The planned Queen's Innovation Commons buildingAn artists's rendering of the Union Street facade of the planned Queen's Innovation Commons building.

What I leave unsaid, unless pressed for details, is that I still love my job. And why not? I get paid to do meaningful, challenging work that I enjoy. What makes my days pleasurable, endlessly so, is meeting and working with so many bright, dedicated, intelligent, and creative people – students, faculty, co-workers, and fellow grads. 

“Initiative” is the operative word at Queen’s these days. It inspired the University’s $500-million fundraising campaign, which began last fall and is ticking along nicely with about $369 million raised –thank you, very much (bit.ly/1dlCDXC). As we assembled stories for this issue of the Review, “initiative” also emerged as our editorial theme. We didn’t plan it that way; it’s just how things worked out.

Queen’s is a vibrant, diverse community whose members study, ask bold questions, dare to dream big, and more often than not, get things done. In this milieu, “initiative” isn’t just a word in a dictionary; it’s a guiding principle, a kind of unspoken mantra. Sound like Advancement-speak? Perhaps, but it’s true.

If you don’t believe it, you can decide for yourself when you read our cover story for this issue (p. 24). It describes the details of the planning that’s underway for the splendid new building that will be the hub of creative entrepreneurship on campus.

Queen’s Innovation Commons, is a $45-million project, yet in my mind it would be a deal even at double the cost. I’m in awe of the kind of creative thinking that will take place in this new facility as Queen’s helps launch into the world the young alumni who will be tomorrow’s problem solvers and “doers.” These bright minds will become the dynamic entrepreneurs who’ll drive the economic prosperity of Canada and the world.

THANKS TO ... John Boyko, Ed’80, ­author of the critically acclaimed book Blood and Courage: How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a ­Nation (Knopf Canada), for being in the spotlight at October’s launch of the ­Review’s 2013-14 “Write Thinking” series. Sponsored by the Queen’s University ­MasterCard program and local sponsors Le Chien Noir Bistro and Delta Waterfront Hotel, the series brings outstanding alumni authors to campus and introduces them and their works to students, faculty, and local alumni. In the photo above, Boyko is shown signing a copy of his book for Barbara Yates, Ed’96.

Humourist Iain Reid, Artsci’04, was the featured author at our Nov. 20 event. Iain read from his book The Truth About Luck: What I Learned On My Road Trip With Grandma (House of Anansi) and then discussed his writing with series emcee Carolyn Smart, the creative writing ­instructor in the English Department.

BELATED HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ... Prof. Emeritus (Political Studies) John Meisel, LLD’96, who celebrated his 90th birthday on October 23. John, though retired, still relishes being consulted on the topics of the day when he walks on campus or in the downtown. – K.C.

Queen's Alumni Review, 2013 Issue #4Queen's Alumni Review
2013 Issue #4
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