Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

The Magazine Of Queen's University

2019 Issue 3

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Chairs at Queen's

Chairs at Queen's

For the university community, a chair is a position of distinction. Chairs provide the means for universities to recognize, attract and retain top researchers and scholars, both from within the university and from around the world. Research chairs carry special privileges and obligations.

For example, chair holders often receive ­additional funding in order to carry out new and innovative work – funding that may come from public or private sources. Chair holders may also be required to teach undergraduate students or conduct research with graduate students or post-doctoral fellows.

The first chair at Queen’s University was the Sir John A. Macdonald Chair in Political and ­Economic Science, created in 1899. The position was held from 1899 to 1908 by Adam Shortt, BA 1883, the university’s first (in 1891) full-time ­professor of politics and economics (and later an architect of the modern Canadian public service).

[photo of the Douglas Chair]

The chair that came with a chair

The Douglas Chair in Canadian and Colonial ­History came with its own custom-made armchair. In 1910, James Douglas, Queen’s third chancellor, personally funded the chair and later commissioned an elaborately carved Burmese teak armchair to accompany the position.

The first chair holder was W. L. Grant, later principal of ­Upper Canada College. Since then, the Douglas Chair has been held by a number of distinguished historians, including Duncan McArthur and A.R.M. Lower.

The current chair holder is Dr. Don Akenson, a specialist in Irish history.

The armchair associated with the position languished for many years in a meeting room in Watson Hall ­before being restored, in 2010, by Stéphane Doyon, a Master of Art Conservation student. The armchair is now on display in the Special ­Collections room of Douglas Library.

Canada Research Chairs

Canada Research Chairs, funded by the Government of Canada, attract and retain outstanding ­researchers for senior professorships in areas that will further a university’s research priorities.

Tier 1 Chairs are world-class researchers whose work is recognized internationally. Tier 2 Chairs are emerging world-class researchers who have the potential to achieve international recognition in five to 10 years. Queen’s currently has 26 Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs and 19 Tier 2 CRCs.
Learn more
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Astrophysics “star” comes to Queen’s

World-renowned astrophysicist Gilles Gerbier has joined Queen’s as the university’s first Canada ­Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Particle ­Astrophysics. Dr. Gerbier is working both in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy at Queen’s and at SNOLAB in Sudbury researching the mysteries surrounding dark matter, one of the building blocks of the universe.

The goals of Dr. Gerbier’s research include strengthening the Canadian presence in a joint North-American/European SNOLAB project to search for low-mass dark matter particles and facilitating the sharing and transfer of expertise and knowledge between European and Canadian researchers. Read a Q&A with Dr. Gerbier.

[Queen's Alumni Review 2014 issue 4 cover]