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A royal Queen’s send-off

  • [Mike Condra Retirement]
    Mike Condra, who is retiring as director of Health, Counselling and Disability Services, stands with Principal Daniel Woolf and Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs.
  • [Mike Condra Retirement]
    Mike Condra speaks during a special event marking his retirement as director of Health, Counselling and Disability Services, hosted Wednesday at the University Club.
  • [Mike Condra Retirement]
    A large number of Queen's community members attended a special farewell event Wednesday at the University Club to mark the retirement of Mike Condra.

In front of a crowd of friends and colleagues, Mike Condra, the retiring director of Health, Counselling and Disability Services, made some parting remarks and reflected on his time at Queen’s University.

“The decision to come to Queen’s was the greatest decision I’ve made in my life,” he said.

Dr. Condra’s retirement party brought together the countless lives within the Queen’s community that had been touched by his care and leadership over the past 23 years. From Principals Emeriti, to Campus Security staff, to Queen’s students, the line-up to give Dr. Condra a hug was endless.

Principal Daniel Woolf addressed Dr. Condra and the crowd, explaining his deep admiration and respect for the work that Dr. Condra has done.

“It is particularly amazing to see the care he has for the welfare of students as a whole, as well as the welfare of students as individuals,” Principal Woolf said.

Beyond Queen’s, Principal Woolf added, Dr. Condra has become a leader in student mental health within the province and across the country. Queen’s has become a leader in mental health support and advocacy, and Principal Woolf credits much of this success to Dr. Condra’s dedication and leadership.

Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, hosted the reception and offered some parting words of her own. Dean Tierney joked that Dr. Condra was breaking her heart by leaving, but that she deeply respects him as a professional and individual and wishes him all the best.

Dean Tierney also explained the impact Dr. Condra has had on many Queen’s students and families. Recalling a conversation she had with a mother of a Queen’s student who benefitted from Dr. Condra’s care, Dean Tierney directly quoted the mother: “In our house, he is one of our heroes.”

A sentiment shared by many, praise was abundant for Dr. Condra as he said his goodbyes. The praise made Dr. Condra admittedly uncomfortable, as he describes himself as someone who stays out of the limelight when possible.

As a result, when it became time for him to address the crowd, he started by delivering a joke about dying his ‘hair’ (of which he has very little) with his signature smile and Irish accent, as those in attendance howled with laughter.

It is this bringing of joy and happiness that will be his legacy. Looking back on his time, Dr. Condra reflected on his fondest memories.

“I could not have worked for six finer people,” he said, individually naming each person he had reported to during his time at Queen’s.

He went on to explain how the success stories of students who were in distress and ended up getting degrees and moving on to successful, happy, and healthy lives are the stories he will take with him as he moves on in life.

At the end of the formal presentations, Dean Tierney announced the creation of the Mike Condra Outstanding Student Service Award to honour his legacy. The award will be presented annually to a member of Queen’s faculty or staff who has consistently provided outstanding service to students, other than in a teaching role. A total of $2,000 will be made available to recipients of the award to attend a conference or educational opportunity related to student support.