James Leith, professor emeritus and Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient
James Leith (History) recently received a Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Canadian Historical Association for his leadership and dedication to supporting the study of history in Canada. He has worn many hats with the association over the years, including President from 1994-95 and Canadian representative to the International Committee for the Historical Sciences.
Studying the history of modern revolutions for over 50 years has led Dr. Leith to see the world as increasingly a unit. The consequences of people’s actions become larger as distances between people get smaller.
“This is why it’s important for faculty to engage the public,” says Dr. Leith, who has lived up to his word during his career.
Dr. Leith has appeared on scores of radio and television programs to share his prolific research on European and cross-cultural revolutionary history, and he has held many service roles in his professional community.
“Jim Leith has always been very interested in addressing issues of public concern, from his early commentaries on the May 1968 protests in Paris to his activism in the CHA on behalf of Library and Archives Canada” says Ian McKay, a long-time colleague of Dr. Leith’s in the Department of History.
Dr. Leith remains a service leader in his retirement. He has brought his rich knowledge of history and experience as a leader to the Queen’s Institute for Lifelong Learning (QUILL) for the past five years. He helps arrange weekly guest lectures, discussion groups and music appreciation events as president of the adult learning organization. He can also draw on his well-honed skills as a teacher if a speaker cancels at the last minute.
“I enjoy working with QUILL,” he says. “It’s a way of keeping intellectually alive and one’s horizons open.”