QUAA President's Message: The Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer
With the sultry summer weather upon us and life slowing down, it’s the ideal time to take stock of what has been a very busy spring and to cast our eyes ahead to see the exciting events and initiatives your Alumni Association has in the works.
The hot summer is upon us, even on the windswept coast of Northern California where I spent the Canada Day long weekend (or the July 4th holiday, depending on whether you live north or south of the border). As I basked in the sunshine on the deck of my girlfriend’s house on a ridge overlooking the sun-sparkled Pacific whitecaps and listened to the wind blowing through the nearby redwoods, I had time to breathe deeply and reflect on what was a very busy last few months.
I started a whirlwind May in Kingston at University Council, where elected alumni representatives gathered to hear about the state of Queen’s and provide input to plans and direction in a series of sessions throughout the day.
I ended May back in Kingston for MiniU and Spring Reunion, where I reconnected with many old friends, including my dons from second year in Morris Hall – John Johnston, Law’74, and his wife Jane (Tivy), NSc’84, MPA’01, who attended the Tricolour Guard dinner. As it turned out, they were also the Principal’s dons in his first year in residence. (It truly is a small world!)
The weekend included some time to learn about advances in research, luncheon and evening inspirational speakers, and a renewed confirmation that Queen’s alumni of all ages, disciplines, and backgrounds have an underpinning of shared experience that enables them to quickly engage and connect.
In June I attended a breakfast in Toronto for Engineering and Applied Science alumni where we were updated on the faculty plans (including the first faculty capital fundraising campaign) and where I had a chance to engage with professors, students, and fellow alumni.
Later in the month, I participated in a Principal’s Round Table with about 12 other alumni. The Principal is holding these events in many centres to update alumni on the current state of Queen’s and to give participants the opportunity to ask questions and provide input.
I’m constantly impressed by the strong efforts of the University administration and faculty to reach out to and dialogue with alumni. This spirit of collaboration is serving our University well as it unites the Queen’s communities, on- and off-campus.
Collaboration is a common theme in many arenas these days. It’s a popular theme at Scotiabank, where I work. As a global organization, the bank strives to collaborate effectively across distance, cultures, and time zones, while leveraging skills, experience, and resources to create the best possible products for our customers and to increase our competitive advantage. I find this same collaborative approach significant within the work of the QUAA Board.
Volunteerism is a challenging environment; each person gives whatever time and skills he or she can. Your QUAA Board continues to strive to be a collaborative and inclusive organization, creating an environment that makes optimum use of the selfless contributions of the volunteers who serve our Association and our alma mater. We believe that inviting debate and encouraging participation will lead to creativity and innovation – critical success factors in our world today.
To further that spirit of collaboration and increase our connectivity, the QUAA Board looks forward to welcoming you back to Kingston on October 14-15, when we will hold our first Alumni Volunteer Summit.
The weekend will see a rebirth of the Alumni Assembly and will provide an opportunity for our many QUAA volunteers to come together, share experiences, and celebrate their accomplishments.
There will be information sessions as well as volunteer education, and we hope that many of you will choose to join us and celebrate volunteerism and Queen’s University.
We hope to further inspire you on Saturday night, when we will honour alumni at our annual Awards Gala event in Grant Hall. It promises to be a special and fun evening, so I invite you to join us and to get involved in the QUAA. We’d love to have you do so.
In the meantime, enjoy the summer. As always, I welcome your emails. Please contact me at email@example.com.