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Arts and Science

An ode to Gordon Lightfoot

[Carolyn Smart and Gordon Lightfoot]
Carolyn Smart speaks with Gordon Lightfoot during the launch event for “50-plus Poems for Gordon Lightfoot,” an anthology of poetry in honour of the music legend. (Supplied photo)

Imagine being a teen girl in late-1960s Toronto and meeting Canadian music icon Gordon Lightfoot – the patron saint of the city's arts scene at the time - and in his own home no less.

That personal connection is the inspiration for Carolyn Smart’s (English) contribution to a newly-published book of poetry called 50+ Poems for Gordon Lightfoot.

A lifelong Lightfoot fan, Ms. Smart was contacted by Fred Addis, the curator for the Stephen Leacock Museum in Lightfoot’s hometown of Orillia and the organizer of the project, to provide a piece for the anthology. She was honoured just to be asked.

“I was just thrilled out of my mind. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me because, in fact, the poem that I wrote for this anthology tells the story of a true event that happened to me when I was in Grade 13,”she says.

As Ms. Smart, a published poet with six books to her credit who teaches Contemporary Canadian Literature and Creative Writing at Queen’s University, tells the tale, she and a pair of friends got up the courage to knock on the door of Lightfoot’s house.

As they tried to talk their way past the housekeeper Maria, who said the singer was not home, Lightfoot himself intervened.

“She was protecting him. He was preparing for his upcoming Massey Hall concert and just at that point we said ‘Well, we can hear him in here.’ She said ‘No he’s not here.’ He came down the stairs and he invited us in and he had Maria serve us tea,” she says. “We all sat around in his living room, had tea and chatted away.”

Guitarist Red Shea then entered the room and told Lightfoot that it was time to go. But the good times weren’t over for Ms. Smart and her friends.

“He went out one door and we went out the front door and were sort of floating around on the sidewalk and at that point two girls approached us from our high school – girls that we did not like,” she recalls with a laugh. “And at that exact moment Gord and Red Shea drove by and Gord honked his horn and waved at us. And these girls said ‘Oh my God, Oh my God’ and we said ‘Oh yeah, we’ve been hanging out with him.’

“It was the most amazing event, so that’s what I wrote the poem about.”

At the book’s recent launch in Toronto, with Lightfoot in attendance, Ms. Smart was among nine poets to read their piece while several musicians played songs and recounted what Lightfoot has meant to their careers.

“Each of the musicians spoke so generously about Gord and his kindness and his support of them when they were up-and-coming,” she says. “Throughout the evening it became crystal clear, as if I didn’t know it already, what an important impact he has had for generations in this country, both in music and in literature. He was just charming to me afterwards as usual, just the kindest, most respectful person. It was wonderful.”

Three other members of the Queen’s community are also in the anthology: Toronto poet laureate George Elliott Clarke, who earned his PhD from Queen's; Daniel David Moses, a professor in the drama department; and Ms. Smart’s former student Darryl Whetter, now a professor at Université Sainte-Anne.

Student's video captures Queen's spirit and thousands of views

[Ryan Lee]
Ryan Lee (ArtSci’16) created the online video "We Are the Gaels," which has drawn more than 12,000 views in two days. (University Communications)

Ryan Lee (ArtSci’16) set out with the goal of capturing the spirit of Queen’s University in a two-minute online video.

He succeeded.

Posted to YouTube on Monday, “We Are the Gaels” has already attracted more than 12,000 views. It’s fast-paced, polished and, if you have any connection to Queen’s, it will leave your spine tingling.

Perhaps, no surprise then, the video is drawing waves of praise.

“I’m blown away by the reception,” says Mr. Lee. “I did not imagine that it would reach that many people.”

The video took no small effort to complete. Coming in at just over two minutes, Mr. Lee says it took more than 72 hours to edit. Footage was taken throughout this year’s Orientation Week and Homecoming as well as during some early mornings.

“This is the most time I have ever spent on a video,” he says.

Spending the extra time at the university filming, he says, brought him closer to the Queen’s community and what it offers. It was a wonderful experience.

“It wasn’t really so much what I learned about Queen’s but it reinforced what I already knew about it,” he says. “That it really is awesome and that the people here are amazing.”

Mr. Lee is currently the president of the Queen’s Film Production Club and chair of the ASUS Film Committee. He first caught the videography bug through a Grade 8 project, continued to hone his skills and eventually was paid by his high school to create a video. He would then go on to create Reel Videography through the Summer Company program in his hometown of Peterborough.

A rare mathematics and film major, he says videography is an area he would like to continue to explore.

“It’s definitely a potential,” he says. “I’m still trying to figure that out myself but I want to continue my business and expand it to the greater Kingston area and beyond.”

Baders’ gift enhances art collection, Jewish Studies and teaching

[Isabel and Alfred Bader
Isabel and Alfred Bader, seen here at the grand opening of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in September, have donated $5.5 million to support an art collection, Jewish Studies and teaching at Queen's University. (University Communications)

Long-time Queen’s University benefactors Alfred and Isabel Bader have given $5.5 million to support an important international collection and expanding research and student interests.

The gift includes $3 million for the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, $1.5 million for the Jewish Studies program and $1 million for post-doctoral fellows in humanities departments.

“Students and faculty will see the immediate impact of these gifts through greater access to the knowledge afforded by the Jewish Studies program and the stunning Bader Collection in the art centre,” said Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf.

The $1.5 million gift to the Jewish Studies program will add teaching capacity to address growing interest among students. Courses in the program are full, with each large lecture, in all periods of Jewish history, attracting 130 students each term. Seminars are also in high demand.

The gift will fund a post-doctoral fellow in Jewish Studies who will teach a combination of lectures and seminars, offer public lectures and consult with students and faculty, and guest speak for other courses.

“Alfred Bader’s gift to Jewish Studies addresses the growing demand from our students of all backgrounds and ideologies to study together and learn from the diverse subjects in the program,” said Susan Mumm, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science.

The $3 million gift supports a new Bader Legacy Fund endowment for the Bader Curator of European Art and the gallery’s care and interpretation of The Bader Collection.

The Bader Collection comprises of over 200 paintings spanning the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, with a focus on Dutch and Flemish paintings of the Baroque era, including two paintings by Rembrandt, which together reflect this master’s sphere of artistic influence.

“This endowment will have a transformative impact on the use and presence of The Bader Collection,” said Jan Allen, Director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. “With these resources, we will be able to create new access to the Collection for all students and undertake ambitious programs.”

Alfred Bader, Sc’45, Arts’46, MSc’47, LLD’86, and Isabel Bader, LLD’07, are Queen’s most generous benefactors. They have given back to Queen’s in countless ways: transforming the campus, enriching the student experience, supporting scholarship, and helping to enhance the University’s reputation as a top-tier educational institution.

In an extraordinary philanthropic gesture, the couple funded Queen’s purchase of a 15th century English castle – Herstmonceux – that has been meticulously restored and is now home to the Bader International Study Centre. This fall, thanks to a transformational gift from the Baders, the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts was opened. Earlier this year, they received Queen’s highest honour given by the Queen’s University Alumni Association, the Alumni Achievement Award.

Fostering the giving spirit of Giving Tuesday

With the holiday shopping season upon us, a movement now adopted by Queen’s University is aiming to prove that it is better to give than to receive.

Giving Tuesday is a self-declared movement of charitable giving and volunteering that opens the season of giving the day after the consumer-frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

This year, for the first time, several Queen’s faculties and schools are taking part in Giving Tuesday. Each faculty or school has its own specific initiatives, but the central purpose is to request philanthropic gifts to support students.

The Faculty of Arts and Science is focusing on Dean Susan Mumm’s highest priority: increasing the number of admission scholarships.

This year’s goal is to offer Admission Scholarships of $2,000 to all qualified students.

“We ask that you join us to support our goal in any amount possible,” says Dean Mumm.

From small gifts to funding a scholarship yourself, the campaign is determined to make scholarships happen.

The new Admission Scholarships for the Arts will attract exceptional students to Queen’s, grow the caliber of the Arts and Science student body, and offer students new opportunities that would otherwise not be possible.

Queen’s School of Business is asking for gifts to support four separate funds for students. Donations to the Commerce Legacy Fund for Student Health and Wellness support student health and wellness initiatives like seminars, workshops and increasing the availability of individual counselling.

Donations are also encouraged to the QSB Commerce Bursary Fund, MBA Scholarships Endowment Fund, and the Dean’s Innovation Fund. Each of these funds provides assistance to students in financial need and helps recruit the brightest students.

QSB has a few twists to Giving Tuesday. First, all individual donations between $1,000 and $25,000 will be matched by the Dean’s Matching Fund. Also, any gifts in this same range from QSB alumni who graduated since 1994 – typically identified as “young alumni” – will be ‎doubled.

The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is using Giving Tuesday as a way of highlighting the 10th anniversary of the Integrated Learning Centre and raising funds for the Dean’s Excellence Fund. Students are calling attention to the Centre, as home to the Engineering Society, Engineering Student Lounge and Tea Room, as a hub for student experience and learning.

The Faculty of Health Sciences is asking benefactors to support Giving Tuesday through gifts to its three Schools.

The Rehabilitation Therapy Student Experience Fund helps students cover their expenses while they learn away from Queen’s on placements. The Nursing 75th Anniversary Fund supports a variety of causes including bursaries, scholarships, equipment, and professorships. Finally, the Medical School Excellence Fund supports new educational initiatives, simulation and clinical learning, research and provides student support.

Researcher honoured with international fellowship

[Randy Ellis]
Dr. Randy Ellis holds the Queen's Research Chair in Computer-Assisted Surgery and recently received a lifetime achievement award for his work.

For his significant contributions to the development of computer-assisted surgical technology, Randy Ellis from the Queen’s School of Computing has been named the 2015 Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

The IEEE Grade of Fellow is the highest grade of membership in the institute and is recognized as a prestigious honour and important career achievement. Dr. Ellis joins four other current researchers from Queen’s in receiving this honour. The IEEE currently has 400,000 members across 160 countries and is a leading authority on fields ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics.

“I’m honoured to have been elected as a fellow of the IEEE and to join world-class researchers in my field ,” says Dr. Ellis, who is also appointed as a professor in the departments of Biomedical And Molecular Sciences, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and Surgery. “I’m looking forward to continuing my research and I hope to be able to expand and pioneer new techniques in the field of computer-assisted surgery.”

As a result of Dr. Ellis’ research, a ground-breaking surgery took place at Kingston General Hospital (KGH) in 1997 when the world’s first total knee replacement with computer-assisted guidance was performed.

More recently, Dr Ellis, who also holds the Queen’s Research Chair in Computer-Assisted Surgery, received the Maurice E. Müller Award – a lifetime achievement award from the International Society for Computer Assisted Orthopaedic Surgery.

“On behalf of the School of Computing, I’d like to extend my congratulations to Dr. Ellis on this distinct honour,” says Selim Akl, Director, Queen’s School of Computing. “Computing and the field of computer-assisted surgery are lucky to have a researcher who is ready to push the boundaries and pioneer so many significant advances.”

Dr. Ellis joined Queen’s shortly after obtaining his PhD in robotics in 1987 and took the lead in developing a computer-assisted surgical suite at KGH, which is now recognized as one of the world’s leading facilities for imaged-guided orthopedic research.

For more information on the IEEE or the IEEE Fellow Program, please visit www.ieee.org.

Raising community, holiday spirit through sing-a-long

  • [Messiah Sing-a-Long 2014]
    Members of the Queen's University and Kingston community take part in the annual Messiah Sing-a-Long on Friday at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.
  • [Messiah Sing-a-Long 2014]
    Darrell Bryan, adjunct lecturer with the Queen’s School of Music, performs in the annual Messiah Sing-a-Long.
  • [Messiah Sing-a-Long 2014]
    Gordon Craig, adjunct assistant professor at the Queen’s School of Music, leads the annual Messiah Sing-a-Long.
  • [Messiah Sing-a-Long 2014]
    Students from the Queen’s School of Music participate in the annual Messiah Sing-a-Long.
  • [Messiah Sing-a-Long 2014]
    Students from the Queen’s School of Music participate in the annual Messiah Sing-a-Long.

The Queen’s School of Music’s Messiah Sing-a-Long, a holiday-season tradition at Queen’s University, was held for the first time at the recently-opened Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Friday, Nov. 28.

Queen’s and Kingston community members turned out in the lobby area to listen to and take part in George Frideric Handel’s choral masterpiece.

An honorary degree for Pinchas Zukerman

  • [Pinchas Zukerman]
    Principal Daniel Woolf offers introductory remarks while Boris Castel, Pinchas Zuckerman and Gordon Smith (left to right) look on.
  • [Pinchas Zukerman]
    Pinchas Zukerman addresses the audience after receiving his honorary degree.
  • [Pinchas Zukerman performing]
    The Zukerman Trio including cellist Amanda Forsythe and pianist Angela Cheng performed before a sold-out crowd at the Isabel as part of the honorary degree presentation.

World-renowned violinist and conductor Pinchas Zukerman added another accolade to an already impressive list of accomplishments this weekend: honorary graduate. Mr. Zukerman, who also serves as music director for the National Arts Centre, accepted his degree after intermission during a sold-out performance at the Isabel on Saturday, Nov. 29.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, Gordon Smith, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science, and Boris Castel, Professor Emeritus (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy) and editor of the Queen's Quarterly, joined Mr. Zukerman for the brief ceremony. A busy touring schedule prevented Mr. Zukerman from receiving his degree at a fall convocation ceremony.


Going beyond the books

For graduate students juggling research, writing and teaching, finding time to get job experience can be tough. To help students get a leg up, the Department of English Language and Literature have another option in the curriculum: internships.

Kimberley Adams interned this semester at the McGill-Queen's University Press.

Taken in lieu of a seminar course, the internships require 50 hours of work over the fall semester and can be done at a variety of organizations. In operation since 2012, the internships are now in their third year. For the 2014-15 year, six students have worked at the McGill-Queen’s University Press (MQUP), the Kingston Literacy and Skills program, the City of Kingston’s Municipal Heritage Committee and Kingston WritersFest. In the past, Queen’s Strathy Language Unit has also hosted interns.

“The internship is a good way of changing the thinking about what an MA is,” says Glenn Willmott, a professor in the department who’s facilitating the internships this year. “Rather than the researching, reading and writing of a seminar class, the internships allow students to put their skills and knowledge into practice.”

To take part in the internship, students and the host organizations rank one another according to their preferences, with the English department facilitator finding the best matches.

Kimberley Adams, MA’15, interned this year with the MQUP. She worked with an editor at the press to survey the current trends in the field of sociology, mapping where they think the study is headed.

“We looked into manuscripts currently being written, special issues of journals and the themes of recent conferences to see what’s popular right now,” says Ms. Adams. Analyzing the data gave her an opportunity to hone her research skills and see a side of publishing she otherwise wouldn’t have known. Her research gives MQUP a better sense of the field and allows the press to be more strategic when it comes to making decisions about manuscripts.

“This internship has given me a chance to diversify my education and take part in a process I’ve never seen before,” she says. “I’ve gotten some real world experience and developed some transferrable skills, plus if I’m ever looking to publish something, I have an understanding of the work that’s involved.”

Along with the internship program, the English department also has its graduate students take part in a professionalization class that teaches them the skills needed to work as a professional academic. Along with training in how to mark essays and write grant applications, the course teaches students about hunting for work in the academic job market.

“These internships affirm that there’s a practical and productive side to scholarly life outside academia and getting to take part enriches the student experience,” says Dr. Willmott. 

Flags lowered for Professor Emeritus McTavish

Flags on campus are lowered in memory of David McTavish, a professor emeritus in the Department of Art.

Dr. McTavish began teaching at Queen’s in 1973 and was promoted to full professor in 1989. He is widely recognized, nationally and internationally, as a scholar of the Italian Renaissance with a special interest in the role of drawings.

[David McTavish with graduate students in Vienna]
David McTavish, seen here with graduate students in Vienna last year, continued to engage with a range of professorial duties following his retirement from Queen's in 2013.

Dr. McTavish was head of the Department of Art from 1989 to 1997 during which time the PhD program in art history was inaugurated, the Bader fellowships for PhD students were put in place and the first of two endowed Bader chairs was established. During this time he was also asked to direct the Agnes Etherington Art Centre’s capital project – this included an $8 million fundraising campaign, an architectural competition and the move of the entire collection. He served in this capacity from 1991 to 2001. 

Dr. McTavish retired from the university in 2013 but continued to engage with a range of professorial duties from graduate supervision to research and publication with commitment and dedication. The Agnes Etherington Art Centre published his study of El Greco's The Adoration of the Shepherds earlier this year.

He received his BA (Honours) and MA from the University of Toronto; he completed a PhD at the University of London (Courtauld Institute of Art) in 1978. His scholarly activities mostly have focused on Italian art of the Renaissance through Mannerism to the Baroque period. In his doctoral work, he was principally interested in the relationships between so-called schools of art, in particular those of Venice and Rome in the 16th century; he was fortunate to carry out his doctoral studies under the supervision of John Shearman and Michael Hirst, two of the foremost scholars in the field. 

In 1978, he was asked to chair the first collection committee of the newly formed Department of Prints and Drawings at the Art Gallery of Ontario; he has maintained close ties with the department ever since. Since 2009, he has been an adviser to the acquisitions committee of the board of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

A celebration of Dr. McTavish's life will take place at the University Club on Dec. 7 at 4 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.

Holiday tradition unites voices

The holiday season is all about tradition. For some, it’s about making special meals, visiting far-flung relatives, or decking the halls in whimsical ways. But for others, no holiday is complete without belting out an aria or two from George Frideric Handel’s choral masterpiece, The Messiah. Thanks to the Queen’s School of Music’s Messiah Sing-a-Long, the opportunity to do just that is close at hand.

Queen's students and faculty members will serve as soloists at Friday's Messiah Sing-A-Long. (University Communications)

While traditionally held in the modest foyer of Harrison-LeCaine hall, this year’s Sing-a-Long event will take place in the spacious lobby at the Isabel. It will be the first time the glassed-in space in the university’s brand new arts building will play host to its own musical event.

“That lobby is a place just waiting for music to happen in it,” says Margaret Walker, Director of the School of Music. “I think it will be an excellent acoustic to sing in. I think the voices will go right to the top off those glass walls and reverberate. And whatever the lake is doing outside those windows always enhances anything.”

The Sing-a-Long provides an opportunity for Queen’s students, staff, and faculty, as well as members of the Kingston community, to join together in singing excerpts from the Handel’s popular oratorio, which is frequently performed at Christmas. An orchestra of volunteer student musicians, under the direction of Gordon Craig, accompanies the singers.

“It’s not rehearsed a whole lot,” laughs Dr. Walker. “Whoever is available joins in, and we have a big pile of Messiah score songbooks that we hand out.”

She says students and faculty members who are familiar with the oratorio, which was composed in 1741, will serve as soloists, organized and coached by voice professor Bruce Kelly. Rather than singing all 53 movements, the Sing-a-Long session focuses on popular excerpts, like the “Hallelujah Chorus”.

Dr. Walker says the Sing-a-Long event has long been a popular tradition at Queen’s.

“One year it was cancelled because of a programming conflict, and as we got into November our students noticed that it wasn’t on the calendar. They decided it had to happen, so they got together with a couple faculty members and threw one together. It’s that important!”

She says she hopes the new venue will provide lots of room for people to let their voices ring out.  “It’s really for fun and celebration.”

The Messiah Sing-a-Long takes place on Friday, Nov. 28 at 2:30pm in the lobby of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, 390 King St. W. All are welcome. Musical scores will be available for use. For more information visit the website of the Queen’s School of Music.





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