For retired Quebec Superior Court Justice Mark G. Peacock, Law’74, Queen’s University is more than just an alma mater. It’s an extension of the family.
During the nearly five decades since graduation, Peacock has been involved with the university as both a volunteer and donor. He served on the Dean's Advisory Council under former Dean Alison Harvison Young (1998-2004) and was active in Law’74 class fundraising activities. He has been a pioneer in promoting public legal education in Quebec secondary schools through the Quebec Branch of the Canadian Bar Association. He and his wife, Dru L. Spencer, established The Honourable Mark G. Peacock Scholarship in Constitutional Law, which acknowledges academic excellence in Charter studies and encourages Queen’s law students to prepare to deal with the complex range of Charter cases.
“My Queen’s education allowed me to earn a living and lead an interesting and productive life,” Peacock says. "Through Queen’s, I developed lifelong friendships, friendships that became a second family at Queen’s and afterwards. Queen’s was a directing force in my life and as a result, I feel responsible to give back.”
After graduating from Queen’s in 1974, Peacock went on to earn law degrees from the London School of Economics and Laval University. He practised law in Ottawa for three years and then for 25 years in Montreal until his 2007 appointment as one of the first Queen’s Law alumni to be named to the Quebec Superior Court.
As a lawyer, he focused on administrative law and civil litigation and argued cases in front of the Quebec Superior Court, the Quebec Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada. As a justice, he made rulings in high profile cases such as Tanisma v. City of Montreal et al., which involved a long-standing employee suing the city for engaging in systemic racism. Peacock’s trial judgment can be found online and the case was ultimately mediated to settlement in the Quebec Court of Appeal.
In 2017, he received the Justice Thomas Cromwell Distinguished Public Service Award from the Queen’s Faculty of Law.
Now he is being honoured by the Queen’s alumni community as this year’s recipient of the John B. Stirling Montreal Medal, the highest honour given by the Montreal Alumni Branch. The honour is given to a ”maker of Queen’s” for meritorious contributions to the university.
The Montreal Medal was first awarded in 1939 and renamed in 1988 in honour of Queen’s eighth chancellor, John B. Stirling, who was also a successful Montreal businessperson.
Past recipients of the award include, the 20th Governor General of Canada, Roland Michener, LLD’58, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame member Dr. Peter T. Macklem, BA’53, Vanier Cup and Grey Cup champion Keith “Skip” Eaman, Sc’72, and the former head of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission John Meisel, LLD’96.
Peacock is honoured to join the impressive list of Stirling recipients and feels the award celebrates the value of giving back.
“I appreciate the different backgrounds of the previous (Stirling) recipients and the multitude of different ways they have contributed to Queen’s and the greater Canadian community,” says Peacock. “In my opinion, the recipients of this award recognized what Queen’s had given them and paid it forward to society.”
A Stirling Award reception for Peacock takes place on Sept. 20 in Montreal. Online registration for the event is now open.