Window into the past

Alicia Boutilier, Curator of Canadian Historical Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, explains the history of the window from the first parliament of the United Province of Canada, which researchers believe was installed in the main building of Kingston General Hospital (Watkins Wing).

Alicia Boutilier, Curator of Canadian Historical Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, explains the history of the window from the first parliament of the United Province of Canada, which researchers believe was installed in the main building of Kingston General Hospital (Watkins Wing).

This article was originally posted in the Queen’s Gazette online on June 20, 2016.

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the City of Kingston have partnered with the Canadian Museum of History to display an original window from the first parliament of the United Province of Canada, which sat at Kingston General Hospital (KGH) between 1841 and 1844. The display aims to highlight the 175th anniversary of Kingston becoming the first capital of the United Province of Canada.

Researchers believe the window was installed in the main building of KGH (Watkins Wing). KGH was constructed in 1835, but it remained largely unused for several years before it was modified to accomodate the first Parliament of the United Province of Canada.

Queen’s University is also marking its 175th anniversary in 2016-17. Visit the Queen’s 175th anniversary website to learn more about the celebration.

The Oil Thigh heard around the world

This article was originally posted on the Queen’s Alumni website on May 31, 2016.

The Queen’s University Alumni Association (QUAA) thinks the school’s upcoming 175th anniversary is something to sing about. So to celebrate the historic milestone, the QUAA is producing a Global Oil Thigh video featuring members of the Queen’s community around the world singing our traditional school song the Oil Thigh.

Alumni, students, staff and faculty are asked to submit their Oil Thigh videos by Sept. 1, 2016.

The Global Oil Thigh master-cut video will be released during Homecoming weekend. We will start sharing samples of the Oil Thigh videos from around the world this summer. Be sure to follow our Alumni Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to see the latest submissions. There are various ways to submit a video — visit the Queen’s alumni website to learn how.

“The Global Oil Thigh video is a great way to showcase Queen’s sprit,” says QUAA President Sue Bates, Artsci’91. “It is a song that brings the Queen’s community together. It represents a tradition shared by generations of Queen’s students. When I put my arms around with my old classmates and we yell ‘ChaGheill! Cha Gheill! ChaGheill!’ I feel like I am student again in Vic Hall.”

People are encouraged to get creative with their Oil Thighs. Wear tricolour, tams, or your old GPA and film yourself in front of a local landmark, on top of a mountain, paddling a canoe or at home. Sing solo or with friends and family. The more fun, the better.

There are Queen’s alumni in 153 countries around the world. People are encouraged to represent their communities by filming themselves in recognizable locations, such as the CN Tower, the Hollywood sign, Eiffel Tower or by signs that identify your city, province, state or country.

The Oil Thigh has been a beloved Queen’s tradition for more than a century. It was written by student Alfred Lavell in 1898 to inspire the football team and is sung at home football games after every touchdown.

Funds to fuel a new educational path

This story originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette online on Wednesday May 25, 2016.

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

With the university celebrating its 175th anniversary in 2016-17, the Retirees’ Association of Queen’s (RAQ) is offering a “gift” to the institution – a new student bursary.

“We thought the 175th anniversary gave us an opportunity to reciprocate the generosity and support the university has offered our organization over the years,” says Diane Duttle, Chair, RAQ Communications Committee. “While our project is modest, we hope those receiving support, particularly students whose first path may not have included university, will be enabled to discover the possibilities offered by a Queen’s education.”

RAQ is currently fundraising to provide a bursary of $2,500 each year for five years to students in need. Students who have experienced an interruption in their formal education will be given first preference.

Ms. Duttle says RAQ wants to support these students because they often face unique circumstances, such as family commitments, that make it difficult for them to resume their studies. Until recently, Ontario students returning to school didn’t have the same level of financial aid support as other students in the province.

RAQ has already reached 60 per cent of its fundraising goal, with strong support from executive committee members. The organization wants to meet the goal as soon as possible so that Queen’s can award the first RAQ Bursary in January 2017.

“After offering their immense talents to the university for years, many Queen’s retirees continue to support students, which is heartening to see,” says David Walker, Director and Chair, Queen’s 175th Anniversary. “The bursary is a fine example of the forward-looking aspect that the 175th anniversary executive committee wants to encourage.”

Queen’s is celebrating its 175th anniversary in 2016-17. More information, including a calendar of events, can be found on the 175th anniversary website.

RAQ represents and promotes the interests of more than 380 members. The organization provides opportunities for retirees to interact with each other and engage with the university. Donations to the RAQ Bursary can be made online.

A banner day for Perth and Queen’s

This story originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette online on Tuesday May 24, 2016.

By Celia Russell, Special Project Assistant, Queen’s 175th Anniversary

The sun shone down May 22 as Perth and Queen’s took a trip back through time to celebrate the contributions of their shared founding father, William Morris.

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.

The ceremonies began at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, where “William Morris” (aka Glenn Tunnock), welcomed Principal Daniel Woolf, his spouse Julie Gordon-Woolf and other Queen’s representatives. Queen’s Professor Emerita of History, Marguerite Van Die, presented an illustrated lecture entitled “How the Presbyterians tried to save Canada in the 19th Century.”

Principal Woolf followed with greetings from Queen’s and thanks to the Friends of Queen’s/Perth Anniversaries for their work with Queen’s 175th to mark the occasion. Mr. and “Mrs. Morris” (Linda Cuthbertson) then accompanied the Principal and Ms. Gordon-Woolf in a horse-drawn carriage while the rest of the crowd was piped to the plaque unveiling.

Adding to the festivities was David Vollick, Town Crier of the City and Museums of Burlington, who still had some voice left after just completing the Ontario Provincial Town Crier Championships. Perth Mayor John Fenik also delivered greetings from the Town of Perth and its 200th Anniversary Committee at the dedication site.

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

The Queen’s plaque dedication is scheduled for Nov. 5, 2016 outside Morris Hall residence.

Discovering Robert Sutherland

This story originally appeared in the  Queen’s Gazette online on May 24, 2016.

By Andrew Carroll, Gazette Editor

Thanks to some undergraduate research a little more light has been shed on the life and times of Robert Sutherland, one of the most important and intriguing figures in the early history of Queen’s.

Despite his role in saving the university from a financial crisis by bequeathing his entire estate of $12,000 upon his death in 1878, there is precious little known about Sutherland.

That dearth of information drew the attention of Amelia Briggs-Morris (Artsci’16) as she looked into the history of the Department of Classics as part of a Work-Study program under the supervision of Classics Professor Barbara Reeves. Like Queen’s, the department is celebrating its 175th anniversary, and is reviewing its history.

“Robert Sutherland was one of the first people that Dr. Reeves suggested we look into,” Ms. Briggs-Morris says.

The big details of Sutherland’s story are fairly clear. He made his way from Jamaica to Ontario and eventually studied at Queen’s, becoming the first known university student and graduate of colour in Canada. He would earn 14 academic honours while at Queen’s. Later he would become British North America’s first known black lawyer and practiced law in the southwestern Ontario town of Walkerton for 20 years.

An impressive story certainly, but one lacking in fine details.

Dr. Reeves and Ms. Briggs-Morris first turned to the Queen’s University Archives and while there were boxes of information on the majority of important early figures at Queen’s, Sutherland’s history amounted to a “skimpy” folder.

“There are people with boxes and then for Sutherland there’s just this tiny little file,” Ms. Briggs-Morris says. “I’ve been telling my friends about him but no one has ever heard about him even though he’s a very important figure. When they do hear about him, however, people are awestruck.”

The duo set out to add to that story, but with a Classics twist.

Sutherland’s funerary monument, created under the order of Principal George Grant and placed upon a plot paid for by alumnus and eventual Supreme Court Justice James Maclennan in Toronto’s Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, featured a Latin inscription written by Rev. James Williamson, a prominent professor at Queen’s.

However, the record of this monument involved a “fuzzy” image with no details about the inscription.

It was a gap in the story that simply had to be filled.

“When you look at it, he basically saved the university and there isn’t even a picture of him,” Ms. Briggs-Morris says. “Queen’s had honoured him at the time but there isn’t even really a proper record of this honour. And it was only recently that they named Sutherland Hall after him.”

Latin and Classics made a natural fit so during Reading Week Ms. Briggs-Morris traveled to Toronto, located Sutherland’s grave and took a photo of the monument. With the support of Dr. Reeves, the inscription was then translated.

“Sutherland is one of Queen’s and Classics’ most important alumni and Queen’s honoured him after his death with a Latin funerary monument. Yet the monument itself has received almost no attention,” says Dr. Reeves. “In association with Queen’s and Classics’ 175th anniversary, there was a clear need to document this monument and its Latin inscription. The resulting research, which has highlighted both what is present and missing from the epitaph, provides new avenues for understanding Queen’s and Canada in the 1870s.”

Their translation reads: “In memory of Robert Sutherland B.A. who lived 46 years and on June 2, 1878, died. The University of Queen’s college, his heir, placed this monument lest his loyalty to his alma mater falls into oblivion.”

Curiously, the epitaph makes no mention of Sutherland’s date of birth, birthplace, family members or his profession, all of which were common on contemporary monuments.

Armed with this information, Ms. Briggs-Morris then wrote a commentary, and contextualized the monument in regard to Principal Grant, Professor Williamson and Justice Maclennan and presented the work at the Inquiry@Queen’s undergraduate research conference.

Ms. Briggs-Morris is proud that she has added to Sutherland’s story. The work also demonstrated the value of undergraduate research, says Dr. Reeves.

“Really, the value of these Inquiry@Queen’s-type projects is that the students get to sink their teeth into something themselves,” she says. “I was pointing Amelia in directions but she was then going and doing the work and also coming back with information that I was completely unaware existed. And that’s a wonderful thing.”

The drive for 175

This story originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette online on March 28, 2016.

Distinguished alumni to receive honorary degrees in 2016

Queen’s honorary degrees will be reserved for alumni in 2016 in celebration of the university’s 175th anniversary.

This year’s spring convocation ceremonies at Queen’s University will give the honorees the feeling of coming home. The 11 recipients this spring are all Queen’s alumni and feature musicians The Tragically Hip, journalist Ali Velshi and former Queen’s University Chaplain Brian Yealland among others.

“Bestowing honorary degrees on Queen’s University alumni as we prepare to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the university is very fitting,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “This year we are celebrating the university’s unique legacy while recognizing our leaders in academia, business, science and the arts.”

Read more


A season of excitement at the Isabel

This story originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette online on March 22, 2016.

The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts announced a lineup for its 2016-17 season on Monday night that is clearly befitting Queen’s University’s 175th anniversary.

The season’s highlights include the new multi-genre Bader and Overton International Violin Festival, featuring internationally acclaimed violinists such as Ashley MacIsaac, James Ehnes, Viktoria Mullova and Pinchas Zukerman, a new Human Rights Arts Festival featuring Measha Brueggergosman and a collaboration with Toronto International Film Festival and Human Rights Watch, and world premieres by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Alison Mackay, John Burge, Craig Walker, and Marjan Mozetich.

Also, the Piano, Ensemble, Jazz and Global Salon Series will present a diversity of outstanding artists.

New this year is the Isabel Overton Bader Canadian Violin Competition that will award violinists between 18 and 29 years old with the Marion Overton Dick Memorial Prize, worth $20,000, and the opportunity to perform with the Kingston Symphony and a recital on the Isabel stage.

“Queen’s University is celebrating its 175th anniversary in 2016-17, and Canada its sesquicentennial. With this inspiration, we have created new festivals and a violin competition, attracted fantastic artists to the Isabel stage, and are supporting a number of Canadian world premieres,” says Tricia Baldwin, Director of the Isabel. “It has been thrilling to develop this season, and we’re excited to announce it to our audience and beyond.”

The season was announced with a short performance by Queen’s Music’s Gisèle Dalbec Szczesniak (violin) and Michel Szczesniak (piano), followed by a special screening of the feature film The Red Violin.

For complete details on the 2016‐17 season, visit Subscriptions for the 2016-17 season are now available. Call The Isabel’s box office at 613‐533‐2424 (Monday-Friday, 12:30‐4:30 pm).

Situated on the shores of Lake Ontario, the awardwinning Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts brings together exceptional arts spaces and programs with a captivating sense of place to create a dynamic venue for Queen’s students and the community. In addition to the Performance Hall, the other spaces in the 90,000 square foot venue include a studio theatre, a film screening room and a music rehearsal hall. Embracing the principles of interactivity and integration, the School of Drama and Music and the Department of Film and Media share teaching and performance spaces within the Isabel. The Isabel was designed by Oslo/New York-based firm Snøhetta and Ottawa’s N45, with acoustics and theatre design by ARUP and Theatre Projects Consultants. Anchored by a transformational gift to the Initiative Campaign from Drs. Alfred and Isabel Bader, the Isabel was inspired by the Bader’s love – of the arts, of Queen’s, and of each other – and is named in Isabel’s honour.