Silver celebration at The Castle

Silver celebration at The Castle

By Communications Staff

July 3, 2019


More than 175 alumni and Queen’s community members, some travelling from as far away as Hong Kong and Singapore, helped celebrate the past, present, and future of the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) during its 25th anniversary celebration on June 29-30.

Sunny weather greeted former students as they returned to Queen’s international campus at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England, to reconnect with old classmates and participate in a number of activities that paid homage to the castle’s 15th-century roots, including falconry and archery. Guests were also invited to explore the BISC’s new state-of-the-art science labs.

The weekend was also a time to pay tribute to philanthropists Drs. Alfred Bader (BSc’45, BA’46, MSc’47, LLD’86) and Isabel Bader (LLD’07). Alfred Bader passed away in December at the age of 94. He and Isabel decided to donate the castle to Queen’s in 1992 after seeing it for sale in a newspaper ad.

Daniel Woolf (Artsci’80), who officially stepped down after completing a second five-year term as principal and vice-chancellor over the weekend, praised the Baders for having the vision to see that the castle could be turned into a campus attracting students from around the world.

“Over the last decade, Queen’s has endeavored to expand its international footprint and ensure that our students, our researchers, and our campus all benefit from stronger ties with partners around the globe,” Dr. Woolf told alumni during his opening remarks on Saturday. “The Bader International Study Centre has been instrumental in bringing that vision to fruition.”

During a ceremony in the Elizabethan Garden, a plaque was unveiled to honour the Baders’ legacy. There, Chancellor Jim Leech (MBA’73) noted how studying abroad at the BISC, which uses small classes and its international location to create an exceptional learning environment, can be a life-changing experience.

“The Bader International Study Centre has played a foundational role in the education of thousands of students who are out there making a difference in the world,” Chancellor Leech said.

Attendees also heard a keynote talk from NASA astronaut Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc’16) who spoke about his career and recent six-month mission to the International Space Station.

In honour of Canada Day, the castle was open on Sunday to both alumni and local community members, and hundreds of people enjoyed Canuck-friendly fun such as street hockey and servings of poutine and Nanaimo bars.

A display of the traditional hunting practice of falconry thrilled a large crowd as several birds of prey flew over people’s heads. Other weekend events included archery lessons, croquet, an afternoon tea in the gardens, and tours of the new state-of-the-art science and innovation labs. The labs, opened by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex (the Queen Elizabeth II’s official representative in the county), are part of the BISC’s long-term plan to offer more science-based programs.

Vice-Provost and Executive Director Hugh Horton said he is looking forward to seeing the BISC continue to grow and offer an exceptional international learning experience to students.

“Our challenge now is to build on what we have so that we will have even more to celebrate by the time we mark our 50th anniversary,” Dr. Horton said during the official opening. “We want to create more experiential learning opportunities for our students. We want to give them access to state-of-the-art classrooms and study spaces.”

Visit the BISC Alumni Spotlight Series website and learn how studying at Herstmonceux Castle impacted the lives of former BISC students.

To see more pictures of the BISC anniversary, please see the Queen’s Alumni Flickr album.

This article was first published on the Queen's Alumni website.