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Queen's University

Principal Woolf’s remarks at the Principal's Holiday Reception

December 10, 2013

Speaking notes

Check against delivery

Welcome, everyone.  I’m pleased that so many of you were able to join me for my annual holiday reception.

This is my chance to thank you for all the hard work you’ve put in this year.

It means a great deal to me to have such a dedicated and passionate team of people helping to keep things ticking along on a daily basis.  This is also one of the few opportunities we get to gather together every year as a community of staff and faculty members….to take some time to visit with colleagues… whether they work down the hall or across campus. 

Sometimes – especially when things get busy – it can be easy to forget that no matter how we spend our days, we all share a common bond in our place of work.

Whether you spend your days interacting with students, supporting faculty, maintaining facilities, connecting with alumni, or anything else here on campus… you belong to the Queen’s community.

Each of you contributes to making Queen’s the remarkable place that it is – a place that so many students call home, and one that our alumni hold dear to their hearts…as we saw at Homecoming in October.  Those two reunion weekends were among many highlights this year. We also welcomed a Hollywood movie star to campus to receive an honorary degree. We launched the Accessibility Hub, an online gateway to accessibility resources. And we watched the Bader Centre for the Performing Arts morph from an indistinct construction site to a nearly-complete world-class building on the waterfront.

We’ve also celebrated the many research-triumphs, awards and honours won by our friends and colleagues.


Speaking of awards:

It is a tradition at today’s event that we pay special tribute to a few members of the Queen’s staff with Staff Recognition Awards…and today is no different.

Today’s award winners were nominated by their colleagues.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to recognize the quality people they work with.  

It is now my pleasure to call upon our first award winner, Anne Tobin.  As a program coordinator with the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, you have played an instrumental role in ensuring the smooth transition from five very different departments with distinct cultures…into one entity, with a single mechanism to assist students at all levels. That departmental amalgamation wasn’t seamless – they never are!

But Anne, you managed to take those disparate groups and mold them into a single unit – doing it all with tact, diplomacy…and a smile. With over 26 years of service to Queen’s, you have made your mark in many roles within the university.  You have brought your professionalism, competence and institutional knowledge to every position. 

Your dedication to your work is widely known and respected, and as one of your nominators wrote, “our students do not realize the reason their encounters with our department are so pleasant and efficient is because of the diligence, time and effort Anne has taken in construction and implementing procedures on their behalf.”

For all the many ways you have enhanced your department and your community, Queen’s offers a warm thank you with this Special Recognition Award.

Next, I would like to call on the four individuals who make up the office staff in the Department of History: Cathy Dickison, Cindy Fehr, Yvonne Place and Deborah Stirton-Massey. 

The four of you have been described as the “pillars” of your department’s intellectual community.The history department is one of the biggest in Arts and Science, with 25 permanent faculty members, 70 graduate students, hundreds of undergraduates, and a large cohort of adjunct faculty – and each of those groups has its own requirements and demands.

From managing sabbaticals and coordinating research travel, to serving as the face of the department for students, you four have been celebrated as exceptional problem solvers, efficient time managers, and overall patient and cheerful people. Collectively, you have more than 100 years of staff experience at Queen’s, and yet your resolve to learn, improve and innovate never wanes. Instead, you embrace new challenges and new people on a regular basis.

Your department knows of your collective inclination to work “beyond the expectations of pay grade and salary scale.”  Your colleagues in the department of history nominated you for this award because they wanted to see you recognized for your heart, your commitment and your “collective sense of duty to the department.” Deborah, Yvonne, Cindy and Cathy – you are clearly worthy of that nomination.  For everything you have given to your department and to Queen’s, I would like to present you with this Special Recognition Award.

(Now, please join me in congratulating ALL of this year’s Special Recognition Award winners.)


Before I wrap up, I have one bit of housekeeping news to convey:

At the entrance you had the opportunity to donate to the Partners in Mission food bank – and in exchange, you got a raffle ticket.  That ticket could win you a beautiful, hand-crafted gingerbread house, courtesy of Queen’s Hospitality Services by Sodexo. If you don’t have a ticket yet, there is still time for you to make a donation. I’ll be back up here at 1 o’clock for the draw. 

Finally, I have a few thank yous to deliver:

First, thank you to Jenny Debruyn and her Event Services team for preparing today’s venue and delicious food.

I would also like to thank Nicole Fowler from Human Resources, and Alannah Boisvert from Communications for their help in making today’s reception happen.

Finally, thanks again to ALL of you for all your hard work this year.

We are very fortunate at Queen’s to have such remarkable and dedicated people in our midst.

Please enjoy the rest of today’s reception.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000