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175th anniversary: Queen’s, Perth celebrate founding father

This article originally appeared in the Online Gazette on Sunday, Nov 6, 2016.

Two anniversaries came together on campus Saturday afternoon to celebrate a shared founding father.

Queen’s University unveiled a plaque in honour of William Morris, a leading force in the founding of Queen’s College in 1840. He also worked to secure the institution’s royal charter in 1841 and served as the first chair of Queen’s Board of Trustees from 1840-42. The plaque is fittingly placed outside the main entrance to the Morris Hall student residence.

In May, the Town of Perth dedicated a similar plaque to honour William Morris, who helped establish the Perth Military Settlement in 1816. The plaque project is a joint initiative of the Friends of Queen’s/Perth Anniversaries, commemorating the university’s 175th anniversary and the town’s 200th anniversary.

Representatives from both anniversary committees attended the event on Saturday, as did other dignitaries, including Queen’s Chancellor Jim Leech and Principal Daniel Woolf.


Ready for Homecoming

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 11 Online Gazette.

Like a magnet, Homecoming draws alumni back to Queen’s to reconnect with the university, the community and former classmates, as well as with faculty and staff.

But the attraction doesn’t just happen by itself. There is a lot of planning and work that goes on, much of it behind the scenes and mostly undertaken by scores of volunteers.

Homecoming 2016 is set for  Oct. 14-16 and, as with everything being held in this 175th year of Queen’s University, the celebrations are going to be special.

“It’s a very special year. With the 175th anniversary of Queen’s and the excitement around that, given that Homecoming is a celebration of milestone classes, the fact that it is a milestone for the university makes it just the perfect opportunity to celebrate,” says Sarah Indewey, Manager of Volunteer Relations and Reunions in the Office of Advancement.

Not only will Queen’s be celebrating its 175th anniversary throughout the weekend and fostering recognition between students and alumni, there will also be a series of events marking the successful Initiative Campaign, which raised more than $640 million for the university.

With more than 35,000 alumni donating, as well as the efforts of numerous volunteers, the campaign wouldn’t have been such a success, Ms. Indewey says.

Current students have also played a big role in planning and organizing events. With a record-setting 100 classes and groups participating over the three days of Homecoming 2016, hosting the events wouldn’t be possible without the support and contributions of the more than 300 student volunteers.

The Homecoming football game will be held at the revitalized Richardson Stadium with the Alumni Parade being held before the Queen’s Gaels face the Windsor Lancers at 1 pm. The parade route will take alumni from Grant Hall to the stadium.

A partnership has been set up with Kingston Trolley Tours for those who cannot walk the route. Accessible Services has also been engaged and a bus will follow to pick up any participants unable to complete the trek.

Activities are planned throughout the weekend, from open houses, tours and meet-and-greets, to breakfasts, brunches, lunches and the ReUnion Street Festival, hosted by the Alma Mater Society (AMS).

Classes having milestone graduation anniversary years will enjoy special programming hosted by the university. Events are planned for classes celebrating their five-year and 25-year anniversaries, as well as those who graduated 50 or more years ago, better known as the Tricolour Guard.

Added to the list this year is Reunion-Zero, where the university’s newest alumni – the Class of 2016 – are being invited back to Queen’s. By hosting the new graduates during this transition stage the university is hoping to cement the ties as they became part of the university’s global alumni network.

It’s something that Ms. Indewey understands very well. She started working at Queen’s the day after she graduated and then joined the Office of Advancement in 2004. It’s a point of pride for her and the team to make Homecoming special for all alumni.

“Staff, faculty, and students from across campus all come together to make Homecoming happen,” she says. “There’s something for everyone to take part in. It’s like our work coming to life. The joy that comes out of people’s attendance of Homecoming is hard to resist. It keeps us going.”

For more information and schedules visit the Homecoming website.

Twitter users are encouraged to use the hashtag #QueensHomecoming.

Learn about Queen’s first professor at Homecoming public lecture

This article originally appeared on the Queen’s Alumni website on Oct. 5, 2016.

Only two people worked at Queen’s when it opened in March 1842. One of them, The Reverend Peter Colin Campbell, had long been a mysterious figure in the university’s history. As the first professor, Reverend Campbell taught classical literature, which was seen as essential material for university students. Very little was known about him until Dr. Barbara Reeves, a professor in Queen’s Department of Classics, began researching Queen’s history as part of her department’s 175 celebrations.

Since January, Dr. Reeves has been researching and sharing stories about the history of classics at Queen’s through a dedicated Facebook page.  It was the lack of information on Reverend Campbell that caught her attention. “He is actually one of the 26 founders listed on Queen’s Charter and the only one who becomes a Queen’s professor,” she explains.  In fact, Reverend Campbell went on to become principal at the University of Aberdeen.

During her research, Dr. Reeves uncovered a copy of a 33-page document that Reverend Campbell presented to the Legislature of (the Province of) Canada in 1845 on the role of university in society. “He’s a very thoughtful, intelligent individual. So it’s no surprise he ends up being principal of a prestigious university because thinking about education was very important to him,” says Dr. Reeves.

Next week, she will share everything she has learned about this mysterious figure in Queen’s history during a kick-off to Homecoming lecture. When Dr. Reeves began her project, she discovered that there wasn’t even have a picture of Reverend Campbell in the Queen’s Archives. Working with an undergraduate research student, Dr. Reeves has uncovered a trove of new information about Queen’s first professor. She now has a photograph of him, thanks to the University of Aberdeen Archives and a much more complete picture of his life story.

Attend the lecture

Learn more about Classics at Queen’s

Breaking down Big Data

This article originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette Online on Sept. 29, 2016.

Faculties come together to offer seven unique presentations on Big Data.

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

As a part of the Queen’s University 175th anniversary celebrations, a cross-faculty group at Queen’s University are presenting Big Data 175 – a year-long exploration into the pros and cons of Big Data in fields such as health care, marketing and national security.

Big Data is large amounts of data that can be used to spot business trends, prevent diseases and combat crime, among other uses. These data sets are so large that traditional data processing applications are inadequate to deal with them. Security around Big Data is also a concern – an issue being addressed during the BD175 series.

“There are lots of great events happening around campus for the 175th, but I also saw an opportunity to create an event that was academic and involved all of the faculties,” says lead organizer David Lyon, director of the Surveillance Studies Centre. “We are exploring Big Data on a local scale, and around the world.”

BD175 is a series of seven events at Queen’s, each hosted by a different faculty or department. The series opens with What is Big Data and Why Does It Matter? presented by Paul Zikopoulos, vice-president of IBM’s Competitive and Big Data Analytics team. Mr. Zikopoulos is an award winning writer and speaker who has been consulted on Big Data by the television show 60 Minutes among many others.

The series celebrates Queen’s contributions to Big Data innovations and the event is accessible to students, faculty, staff and the wider Kingston community. External speakers, along with Queen’s professors and students, will define, describe and debate Big Data through lectures, seminars, panel discussions, video showings, film discussions, an art exhibit and other media.

“It’s energizing to meet with people from all over Queen’s and realize we have a common goal of presenting Big Data to the public,” says Dr. Lyon. “We are opening the black box of Big Data, exploring what’s being done with Big Data on campus, and arguing about the pros and cons of Big Data in fields from healthcare to marketing to national security and beyond.”

For more information, including up-to-date information on presentations and topics, visit the BD175 website.

Big Data Event Series
Tuesday, Oct. 4 – What is Big Data and Why Does It Matter?
Paul Zikopoulos, vice-president Big Data Analytics and Competitive, IBM
Goodes Hall Commons, 6:30 pm
Wednesday, Oct. 5 – Is Your Neighbour a Liberal or a Conservative? Voter Surveillance and the Data-Driven Election Campaign
Colin Bennett, University of Victoria
Ellis Hall, Room 226, 12:30 pm
Monday, Jan. 16 – Film screening and discussion event
The Screening Room, 6:45 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 7 – Big Data, Cyber Security and Healthcare
Denise Anthony, Dartmouth College
The School of Medicine Building, Room 132A, 6:30 pm
More details will be available closer to the event

175th anniversary: Q to remember

This article originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette Online on Sept. 6, 2016.

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

They came, they stood, they conquered.

Under clear skies and dazzling sunshine, 3,373 people turned out to Nixon Field on Sept. 6 to help Queen’s University set the Guinness World Record for largest human letter.

“I might have a sunburn, but it was worth it,” said Jasper Haighton, Sc’20, who attended the event with other first-year students living on her residence floor. “It was kind of cool to come together as a community and do something that will be remembered in history.”

Queen’s beat the previous record of 2,166 set earlier this year by Dell Technologies in Round Rock, Texas. All of the participants wore gold T-shirts provided by the organizers. The Q had a circumference of approximately 140 metres, with organizers mapping out the letter in advance using more than 300 metres of rope.

“I’m thrilled we set the record, which was a fun and exciting way to highlight our 175th anniversary celebrations,” said Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, who accepted the plaque from the Guinness adjudicator immediately following the attempt. “I would like to thank the thousands of participants and the volunteers, more than 70 in total, who made this accomplishment possible.”

Manal Shalabi, a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry, was one of the volunteers for the event. She answered questions and helped get participants into position before the record attempt. Ms. Shalabi was joined by her friend Mariam El Mezouar, a PhD candidate in the School of Computing.

“When are you going to have the chance to do this again? I couldn’t miss this opportunity,” Ms. El Mezouar said. “It’s so cool to be part of the Guinness record.”

The record attempt is a highlight of the university’s 175th anniversary celebrations. Hundreds of incoming students helped fill up a large portion of the Q along with other students, faculty, staff, and local community members.

“This event is absolutely fantastic,” says Rector Cam Yung, Artsci’16. “It showcases the fact that the student experience is a key part of life at Queen’s. It’s exceptional to see us come together as a group to celebrate Queen’s.”

Even international students joined in the festivities. Gianluca Iezzi, Roberta Luongo, Flaminia Albanese, and Luca Luciani, exchange students from Luiss University in Rome, heard about the record attempt the day before.

“We knew we wanted to be part of it,” Ms. Albanese said. “It was the best welcome to Queen’s.”

175th anniversary: Countdown on to giant Q

This article originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette Online on Sept. 1, 2016.
If you’ve ever wanted to be part of history, now’s your chance.

Queen’s University will attempt to set the Guinness World Record for largest human letter this coming Tuesday, Sept. 6. While the number to beat is 2,166 – set by Dell Technologies in Round Rock, Texas, earlier this year – Nixon Field on Queen’s campus can accommodate 4,000 participants.

The event is a high point of the 175th anniversary celebrations at Queen’s. Athletics and Recreation is also providing support for the attempt.

The gate will open at 2 pm, with participants receiving a free gold T-shirt upon arrival. To get everyone in formation as quickly as possible, volunteers will provide instructions on where to go. Participants should expect to be on the field approximately one hour.

The event is open to all staff, faculty, and students, as well as members of the local community. The record attempt will go ahead rain or shine; it will only be cancelled in the event of lightning, thunderstorms, or unsafe weather.

Organizers are also seeking volunteers for a number of different positions throughout the day. Volunteers will be guaranteed a place in the Q to help break the record if they wish to participate. If you would like to sign up for a shift or have any questions, contact Janelle MacPherson-Kenney by email.

Visit the Facebook event page for complete details about the event.

Celebrating a banner year

This article originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette Online on Aug. 19, 2016.

Queen’s University is celebrating its 175th anniversary and to help mark the occasion a series of building banners are being placed in prominent locations around campus.

The banners display the visual identity created for the 175th anniversary celebrations and are being placed directly onto the buildings, much like a giant sticker. Workers from local company Jet Signs have already placed one of the banners on Robert Sutherland Hall, and installed two others on the front facing of Stauffer Library and Walter Light Hall. Upon the completion of the maintenance and repair of the clock tower, another banner will also be featured on Grant Hall.

Queen’s 175th anniversary will launch in September and span the academic year. A mix of special events, new initiatives and existing activities will celebrate Queen’s unique legacy at the national and international level and contribute to the future vision of the university.

Entrada, a new platform for the 175th

This article originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette online on Aug. 9, 2016.

Matt Simpson, Technical Director, Entrada Consortium, and Andrew Dos-Santos, Manager, Health Sciences Education Technology, wanted to do something to celebrate Queen’s University’s 175th anniversary in 2016-17, but they weren’t in the position throw a party or host an event.

Instead, they came up with a unique way of marking the occasion: naming the latest release of the software platform they helped create “Entrada 1.7.5”.

“The updated version of Entrada was going to be 1.7,” Mr. Simpson says. “When I heard about the 175th anniversary, I had the idea of making it 1.7.5. I asked around the Entrada Consortium, and no one had any objections, so we decided to go with it.”

Entrada launched in 2004 to consolidate course material and information for undergraduate medical students. Entrada and Queen’s 175th anniversary share a champion in David Walker, who was Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the time and now serves as chair of the anniversary’s executive committee.

Entrada has since evolved into a platform that can manage information and reporting for Health Sciences education from undergraduate admissions to continuing professional development. Entrada helps institutions meet accreditation standards, assess student performance and measure program quality.

“The 175th anniversary allows us to reflect on the many achievements of the School of Medicine, which was born just a few short years after Queen’s received its Royal Charter in 1841,” says Richard Reznick, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences. “Throughout its history, the School of Medicine has advanced medical education. The Health Sciences Education Technology Unit works to advance that tradition, and I am proud to see the impact Entrada continues to have here at Queen’s and other health professions schools around the world.”

The Entrada Consortium has expanded to six other universities across Canada and the United States, including the University of Calgary, UCLA, University of Ottawa, Rush University, University of British Columbia, and most recently the University of Texas Southwestern, and interest continues to grow internationally.

Knowledge of Entrada has spread by word-of-mouth to this point, according to Mr. Simpson. That will change this year as they engage in more outreach activities to encourage broader adoption.

“We are optimistic more schools will implement Entrada in the coming years,” Mr. Dos-Santos says. “With the move toward a competency-based medical education system in Canada, which Queen’s is helping to lead, we believe Entrada is a superior platform to support this transition and help schools track more frequent assessments and ensure students achieve developmental milestones.”

Visit the Entrada website for more information about the platform.

A founding father find

Patti Castro Evaristo and Lisa Crosbie-Larmon with the Morris plaque in Perth, Ontario.

Patti Castro Evaristo and proud Perthite Lisa Crosbie-Larmon pose with the Morris plaque in Perth, Ontario.

Queen’s Human Resources staff members Lisa Crosbie-Larmon and Patti Castro Evaristo tracked down the plaque commemorating Queen’s and the Town of Perth’s shared founding father, William Morris, before dashing off to race in the recent Perth Guinness World Record Kilt Run

William Morris helped to establish the Perth Military Settlement in 1816 and was the first chair of Queen’s Board of Trustees. He was a leading force in the founding of Queen’s College in 1840 and securing its royal charter in 1841.

The first of two identical plaque unveilings commemorating Queen’s 175th and Perth’s 200th anniversaries took place at the corner of Gore and Herriott streets in Perth on May 22. The Queen’s plaque dedication is scheduled for Nov. 5, 2016 outside Morris Hall residence.

Preserving history at Richardson Stadium

This article was originally posted in the Queen’s Gazette online on June 23, 2016.

Two time capsules were buried at Queen’s University’s Richardson Stadium on Wednesday, June 22 with items that pay tribute to the past, present and future at the revitalized sports venue.

Queen’s football head coach Pat Sheahan, a Vanier Cup champion as head coach in 2009 with the Gaels, helped place the stainless steel capsules under the playing surface of the stadium.

Some of the items featured in the time capsules include:

– A football from the groundbreaking ceremony
– CIS and OUA gold medals
– Team photos of the four Vanier Cup championship football teams (1968, 1978, 1992 and 2009)
– The cover of the Gael Force book on the history of Queen’s Football by Merv Daub
– Information on the upcoming celebration of the 175th anniversary of Queen’s University

Several undisclosed “lucky” items held over from the previous rendition of Richardson Stadium were also included in the capsules.

The Queen’s football Gaels begin their regular season when they visit the Laurier Golden Hawks in Waterloo on Sunday, Aug. 28, at 1 pm. Queen’s will officially open the new Richardson Stadium in the home opener on Saturday, Sept. 17 against the Western Mustangs.

To purchase season tickets or to learn more about the stadium, visit

The Richardson Stadium revitalization project is a priority within Queen’s $500-million Initiative Campaign. It is the next step in the university’s efforts to enhance its athletics and recreation facilities to promote the health and wellness of all students. Other recent projects include the Athletics and Recreation Centre and the redevelopment of Tindall, Nixon, and Miklas-McCarney fields.