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Walking 500 miles to fight Parkinson's

Harry McMurtry (Artsci’85, Law’89) and Sue Thompson (Artsci’87, MA’89) have a lot in common. They each have two degrees from Queen’s University and they were varsity athletes – McMurtry played basketball and Thompson was a rower.

Sue Thompson, left, and Harry McMurtry, second from left, have met a lot of supporters as they walk from New York City to Toronto. (Supplied Photo)

Together they are putting up a big fight against the illness they both suffer from – Parkinson’s disease. McMurtry and Thompson, along with Dr. Ross Sugar of Baltimore, are taking part in 500 Miles For Parkinson’s. It’s a fundraising walk from New York City to Toronto that started on May 7 and sees the trio travel up to 15 miles a day for 45 days with the goal of raising $500,000.

“This walk is about promoting ability rather than disability. It is about showcasing people living well with Parkinson's disease. With great treatment, backed up by great research, people with Parkinson's can live meaningful lives,” says McMurtry. “People with Parkinson’s do not wish to be identified with the disease. They wish to be viewed and treated as intact people.”

The walk is generating a lot of buzz. NHL great Wayne Gretzky is the 500 Miles honorary patron and celebrity ambassadors include singer Tom Cochrane, TV personality Jeanne Beker, and Olympic gold medalist Adam van Koeverden. Harry’s 500 mile journey has been profiled in People Magazine, CBC Radio, and CTV’s etalk.

McMurtry had a successful career as a lawyer when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s more than a decade ago. The disease eventually forced him to retire from his job, but he remains committed to raising awareness and funds to battle the degenerative disease.

“500 Miles For Parkinson’s project has been 18 months in the making. Starting with a steering committee of three people, it morphed into six working committees, many local organizing committees, and dozens of volunteers. An undertaking of this magnitude demanded the investment of a lot of hours by many people,” he says.

Thompson, who is 50 and was diagnosed at age 47, did not know McMurtry when they were at Queen’s but she heard about his fundraising walk through a mutual friend and decided to join.

“One of the things that attracted me to this walk was the opportunity to raise funds and awareness at the same time. I am an educator, and so the chance to raise awareness through school visits and connections was hugely important to me,” says Thompson, who works as a guidance counsellor with the University of Toronto Schools.

There are planned stops in various communities along the way, including Kingston on June 4-7. This stop will be special for the duo because they loved their time at Queen’s and hope the university community will come out and support them. Activities include a welcome ceremony at Kingston City Hall at 3:30 pm on June 4 and a 3-on-3 fundraising basketball tournament (run by the Queen’s men’s varsity basketball team). The major fundraiser in Kingston is Pints for Parkinson’s taking place on June 7 at 5:30 pm at the Fort Henry Discovery Centre.

Jasmin Cameron, an adjunct instructor in the Queen’s School of Rehabilitation Therapy and Dr. Karen Graham from the Department of Emergency Medicine are helping organize the Kingston area events.

A full list of Kingston events can be found on the 500 Miles website.

Recognizing outstanding research potential

Queen’s welcomes record seven Vanier Scholarship recipients.

Seven Queen’s University students have won the 2016 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship – surpassing the previous record of six recipients set in 2015 and the most in a single year at Queen’s since the scholarship was launched in 2008.

"Our seven new Vanier Scholars have shown their tremendous research potential,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies. “These are Canada’s most prestigious awards for doctoral students and will put these young scholars on solid footing for future research success. We are very proud of their accomplishments and grateful that these talented trainees have chosen Queen’s. They will no doubt make significant scholarly contributions and, in so doing, advance our commitment to research excellence.”

Anja-Xiaoxing Cui (Psychology) will focus her research on the mechanisms within the brain that allow for us to understand, appreciate and learn about music. By measuring brain activity in subjects as they listen to unfamiliar music, as well as tracking children’s sense of music over the course of lessons, she aims to learn more about how the brain analyzes and learns new music and how quickly new information can be gained.

Exploring the diverse field of rheology – the study of the flow of complex matter, including liquids and so-called ‘soft solids’ – Peter Gilbert (Chemical Engineering) plans to explore the relationship between molecular structure of polymeric liquids and their rheological properties. His doctoral research aims to predict the behaviour of polymers in various conditions or applications; improving our understanding of how these materials behave during the manufacturing process and leading to more effective processing methods.

Fiona Haxho (Biology) intends to study the cell-signalling mechanisms involved in pancreatic cancer. In particular, her research is focused on a mammalian enzyme called neuraminidase-1 and its role in tumour growth, development and resistance to chemotherapy, amongst other things. Her doctoral research aims to target this enzyme and determine its functional role in models of pancreatic cancer.

Jackie Huberman (Psychology) aims to empirically and comprehensively examine a model of women’s sexual response. Her research will specifically evaluate how women’s mind-body connection with respect to sexual arousal and neural responses – including sexual functioning, sexual schemas, and stress – may impact sexual desire. With the knowledge gained from her dissertation, she hopes to help shift society’s conceptualization of female sexual response to reflect more accurately women’s experiences.

Focusing on the issue of human-lion conflict in Africa, Sandra McCubbin (Geography) will explore the politics of lion conservation in Botswana. Home to approximately 3,200 lions, Botswana is the site of intense human-lion conflict – a significant issue in Africa, especially in the borderlands of parks that often overlap with human settlements. Her research aims to explore the network of actors involved in producing this conflict in an effort to understand the issue better and identity where power structures may be renegotiated to enhance co-existence of humans and lions.

Studying under renowned bullying expert, Dr. Wendy Craig, Laura Lambe (Psychology) aims to explore how bullying affects students who witness the aggressive acts as bystanders or intervene as defenders. Her research will address whether certain types of intervention are associated with more favourable outcomes. She also intends to investigate the social contextual factors that predict how students will use different types of defensive behaviour. By more effectively quantifying the effects of intervention, researchers and policy makers will be able to endorse specific, evidence-based defending behaviours that are beneficial for both youth who are victimized and for youth who are defenders.

Jane Thomson (Law) will focus her doctoral research on instances of progressive legal reform achieved using private law doctrine; a goal more commonly achieved through the application of public law legislation, such as human rights legislation or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Currently she is looking at the issue of racism or religious intolerance in private wills and what use, if any, a court may make of the common law doctrine of public policy to void a provision in a will that seeks to discriminate against a beneficiary based on race, or promotes racism in some other way.

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship awards $150,000 over three years to up to 167 doctoral students across Canada every year. It aims to strengthen Canada's ability to attract and retain world-class doctoral students, by supporting students who demonstrate both leadership skills and high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and/or humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering and health. 

Backing business law students

Students at the Faculty of Law attend a class on business law taught by Dean Bill Flanagan. A pair of business law initiatives will begin at Queen’s this fall, thanks to donations worth $100,000 from Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. (University Communications)

Two business law initiatives are beginning at Queen’s Law this fall thanks to $100,000 in support from Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP.

First, a scholarship will support students who are entering the new combined BCom/JD program. Second, a seminar/workshop series focusing on the essentials of business knowledge for lawyers is being created.

“The Faculty of Law is delighted to partner with Osler in these two important initiatives, both of which will greatly enhance our business law program,” says Dean Bill Flanagan. “The new BCom/JD scholarship will draw yet more talented students to Queen’s Law with an interest in law and business, and the Osler BizBasics program will introduce more of our students to some of the key skills required of business law lawyers today. It’s a win-win for the faculty and our students.”

Entrance scholarships, valued at $5,000, will be available for up to four BCom/JD students for each of the next three years. Christina Beaudoin, Osler’s Director of Student Programs, says her firm wanted to support the top business-focused students with this award.

“By assisting with the financial impact of this highly-marketable joint degree, we hope to encourage the efforts of our scholarship recipients who may very well be destined to be Bay Street’s future leaders,” she says.

In Queen’s Law’s latest combined program, BCom/JD students complete both degrees in six years instead of the usual seven if taken separately. Queen’s already has a successful program that combines law and graduate business degrees.

For John Neufeld, MBA’15/Law’17, choosing Queen’s was an easy decision.

“I foresaw a career practising business law before coming to law school,” he says. “When chatting with lawyers specializing in that area, Queen’s was always mentioned. The reputations of the Faculty of Law and the Smith School of Business are an obvious draw.”

Queen’s is also launching the Osler BizBasics Series, a workshop series introducing students to business fundamentals. For each of the next five academic years there will be four lunch-hour lectures/workshops, in which Osler lawyers, articling students and administrative professionals will provide students with practical insights into the skills required to be successful in today’s business law environment.

Osler BizBasics will include such topics as demystifying the range of career options in business law; understanding the business of law and the profession’s changing landscape; the increasing importance of soft skills (e.g. emotional intelligence, resilience, relationship building) to a lawyer’s success; and business law fundamentals such as “Accounting & Finance 101” for lawyers.

“As a leading business law firm, the synergy was ideal for Osler to partner with Queen’s in delivering experiential business law programming that addresses the practical gaps students are hungry for,” Beaudoin says. “The practice of law is rapidly evolving and we’re proud to play a role in equipping students with the hard and soft skills that will set them apart.”

Neufeld, who had approached a summer student at Osler about establishing such a series at Queen’s, has learned an important lesson through his MBA and legal training.

“When it comes to clients, business people speak their own language with its own vocabulary,” he says. “Lawyers must be able to speak this language if they truly want to empathize with their client and understand what their issues and motivations are. The rapidly changing legal market will require counsel to deliver value to the client as the client defines it.”

The new Osler BizBasics program will ensure Queen’s grads do just that.

There's no place like home

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

[Logo for the 175th anniversary]
Queen'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.”

The ceremonies get underway Thursday, May 19 and wrap up Friday, June 10. The recipients include:

Hailing from Kingston, and with close ties to the Queen's community, The Tragically Hip formed in 1984. Consisting of lead singer Gordon Downie, guitarist Paul Langlois, guitarist Rob Baker, bassist Gord Sinclair and drummer Johnny Fay, The Hip has released 12 studio albums, two live albums, one EP and 54 singles. The group has won 14 Juno awards and nine of its albums have reached No. 1 in Canada. In addition to their musical contributions, the band members are also significant for the ways in which they have given back to local and national communities and agencies, contributed to international aid, and helped preserve the environment. Thursday, May 19 at 2:30 pm.

Donald Creighton Rae Sobey

Donald Creighton Rae Sobey (Com’57) joined the board of Empire Company Limited in 1963. In 2004, he retired as Chairman of Empire Company Limited and retired from the Board in 2015. He was inducted into the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame and Canadian Business Hall of Fame, and is a member of the Order of Canada. Mr. Sobey established the D & R Sobey Atlantic Leadership Scholarships at Queen’s University, which are awarded to Atlantic Canadian students who demonstrate academic achievement and leadership. He also serves on the Smith School of Business Advisory Board at Queen’s University. Monday, May 30 at 2:30 pm.


P. Kim Sturgess

P. Kim Sturgess (Sc’77) is the founder and CEO of Alberta WaterSMART, an organization committed to improving water management through better technologies and practices. In 2007, she was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and in 2012 was named the Business Woman of the Year in Calgary. She also earned the Queen’s Alumni Achievement Award. Ms. Sturgess is a member of the Order of Canada. Wednesday, June 1 at 2:30 pm.

Ronald McCallum

After teaching law at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, for 18 years, Ronald McCallum (LLM’74) was appointed to a full professorship at the University of Sydney. This appointment made Mr. McCallum the first totally blind person to be appointed to a full professorship at any Australian or New Zealand university. He served as Dean of the University of Sydney Law School between 2002 and 2007. Friday, June 3 at 2:30 pm.

Eileen Hutton

Eileen Hutton (NSc’74) is currently the Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Director of Midwifery at McMaster University. She was the first midwife member of the Council of the Society of Obstetrician and Gynecologist of Canada. She is the first midwife ever to hold a professorship in the Netherlands. The Association of Ontario Midwives recently awarded her the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her role in education, research and contribution to the profession. Monday, June 6 at 10 am.

Piers Handling

Piers Handling (Artsci’71) has been the director and CEO of Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), a charitable cultural organization with a mission to transform the way people see the world, through film, since 1994. Under Mr. Handling’s direction, the organization has grown to become an internationally renowned cultural institution. In 2014, Mr. Handling was invested into the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest official honour, by Lieutenant-Governor David Onley. Monday, June 6 at 2:30 pm.

Debra Pepler (PHE’73, Ed’74) has been a member of the Department of Psychology at York University since 1988 and works closely with Queen’s professor Wendy Craig as co-scientific director of Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet). This is a collaborative and interdisciplinary initiative that brings together 62 researchers from 27 Canadian universities and 49 national organizations. Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 10 am.

Ali Velshi

Ali Velshi (Artsci’94) graduated from Queen’s with a degree in religious studies. He was most recently the host of Ali Velshi On Target, a nightly primetime show on Al Jazeera America. He’s also reported from the U.S. presidential campaign trail, as well as covering ISIL and the Syrian refugee crisis from Turkey, the days leading up to the nuclear deal from Tehran, the debt crisis in Greece, and the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Tuesday, June 7 at 2:30 pm.

Brian Yealland (MDiv’72) was ordained a United Church minister the same year as his graduation. Following the retirement of Padre A. Marshall Laverty, Rev. Yealland worked as the Queen’s University Chaplain from 1983 until 2013. He is the recipient of the Queen’s University Distinguished Service Award, the John Orr Award from the Queen’s Toronto Alumni Branch, and the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal. Wednesday, June 8 at 10 am.

Wendy Jane Crewson

Wendy Jane Crewson (Artsci’77) graduated from Queen’s and moved on to study theatre in London. She has worked all over the world and her career includes more than 100 titles including The Santa Clause with Tim Allen and Air Force One with Harrison Ford. She also continues her role as Dr. Dana Kinney on Saving Hope. Wednesday, June 8 at 2:30 pm.

Stephen H. Safe

Stephen H. Safe (MSc’62) graduated from Queen’s and was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to study for his doctorate at the University of Oxford in England. His scientific career has covered several different areas of research that include his early studies on the chemistry of pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). His work has helped regulate and reduce levels of this compound in wildlife, humans and food. Friday, June 10 at 10 am.

Law students make a difference

A pair of students from the Faculty of Law are being recognized for their efforts in supporting the Queen’s community.

Michael Coleman (Law'17) and Thompson Hamilton (Law'16, Artsci'13) are two of the five Queen's students being inducted into the Agnes Benidickson Tricolour Society this year.

Thompson Hamilton (Law’16, Artsci’13), and Michael Coleman (Law’17), are among five students being inducted into the Agnes Benidickson Tricolour Society this year for their outstanding service to the Queen’s community. They have both earned the top university honour through impressive extra-curriculars that have made a lasting, positive impact.

The Tricolour Award, which is presented at Convocation, is the highest tribute that can be paid to a student for valuable and distinguished service to the university in non-athletic, extra-curricular activities.

“Serving the Queen’s community is a win-win scenario,” says Mr. Hamilton. “I’ve contributed but I’ve also learned a lot, and met some of my best friends. Once I got a taste of being involved, there was no going back.”

That taste started in his undergraduate years, when he chaired the AMS Judicial Committee, volunteered with Queen’s Model Court and welcomed prospective students as a campus tour guide.

As a law student, Hamilton served as VP (Professional) of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS). In that role, he modernized the organization’s Human Resources portfolio to ensure compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, introduced employment contracts for paid employees, drafted formal anti-harassment policies, and was also instrumental in reaching out to professional faculties that were historically less involved with the SGPS. During that time, he also sat on the Grad Club Board of Directors.

The highlight of Mr. Hamilton’s time at Queen’s is his three-year clinical experience with Queen’s Legal Aid, helping students and low-income residents who are often in dire straits.

“Helping people get the income support they deserve, launching human rights claims, preventing people from getting criminal records – it’s very rewarding to have a chance to make a real difference in someone's life,” he says. “There is a very real problem with access to justice in Ontario and law students can play an important role in chipping away at it.”

He is helping more students do just that, passing on his knowledge and experience by training the next generation of QLA caseworkers.

Co-winner Michael Coleman gets his motivation to give back from his parents, who arrived in Canada with little financial backing and worked long hours, but still found time for volunteer work.

“Regardless of how successful or unsuccessful you become, you will always be in a better position than many others in society,” he says, recalling the valuable lesson he learned from them. “This makes it your obligation to help your community whenever the opportunities arise.”

Mr. Coleman, only in his second year of the JD program, has filled a number of important roles targeting diversity and equity issues on campus. As a member of the SGPS’s Equity-Issues Standing Committee, he organized conferences, workshops and social events. Having been elected President of the Queen’s Chapter of the Black Law Students of Canada and appointed Equity and Diversity Commissioner for the Law Faculty, he has highlighted the continuing need for inclusivity and diversity to remain important elements of the school.

While juggling these important initiatives, Coleman volunteered with Queen’s Legal Aid and also as an English and Math tutor at the Collins Bay Correctional Institution in Kingston. There, he helped inmates improve their reading and writing, sometimes working towards their high school diplomas.

For Coleman, one role stands out above the rest: acting as a Student Peer Advisor for graduate students.

“I’m able to connect directly with students completing their PhDs and offer them practical solutions to the academic or social issues they face,” he says. 

For example, after a two-hour meeting with an academically unmotivated student who intended to drop out the next day, he not only convinced the student to continue studying but also to take stress-relieving and confidence-building fitness classes.

Aboriginal law moot a unique experience

The Kawaskimhon “Talking Circle Moot,” has been running for over 20 years, moving from university to university, an annual tradition that brings together Canada’s top minds in Aboriginal law and negotiations.

[Kawaskimhon Moot]
The Kawaskimhon “Talking Circle Moot” logo was designed by Queen’s Arts and Science staff member Sarah Chapman.

Taking place at Queen’s University from March 11-13, Kawaskimhon is a moot unlike any other, bringing together Aboriginal scholars and students of Aboriginal law from across the country.

Even the name Kawaskimhon, which means “speaking with knowledge,” belies what makes this event distinctive. 

Rather than have teams opposing each other against adjudicating judges, teams in the Kawaskimhon moot sit down on opposite sides of a table and negotiate, with one team representing an Aboriginal group, and the other a government agency.

“The interesting thing about this moot is that there’s no award, no winning, it’s about building a consensus,” says the organizer, Hugo Choquette, (Law’05, LLM’10) a PhD in Law candidate. “Most of the time that doesn’t happen, which is very realistic, it doesn’t happen in real life either.” 

The true value, he explains, is in the experience and the perspectives that students gain. 

“On the one hand you have students learning lawyering skills and how to represent clients; if you are a student representing First Nations, learning how to address the government, negotiate with them, and vice versa for the students representing the government. But another part of it is understanding how traditional Indigenous principles and views interact with Canadian law,” Mr. Choquette says. “Our clients tell us this is what their belief systems are, what their viewpoints are, and this is what they want, but these are things that don’t always fit into the framework of Canadian law, and you have to wrestle with that.”

Mr. Choquette says he is looking forward to welcoming Aboriginal leaders, scholars and law students from across the country. 

“With all of Canada’s English-speaking law schools sending at least two team members, and sometimes three or four, plus coaches, elders, and community members, it can be a sizeable group,” he says.

The weekend event will also feature a film screening, social events, and opportunities for current and future leaders in Aboriginal law to connect and discuss the pressing issues of the day.

Mr. Choquette says that the moot is the core of the experience, but the benefits also stem from that connectivity. 

“Students get to meet people that are knowledgeable in these issues across Canada; the coaches are leading Aboriginal scholars from across Canada. You also get the experience of being immersed in Aboriginal customs and cultures. You have the elders there, directing things, something that students wouldn’t normally find in law school.”

With planning and problem creation – another collaborative project, this time between Choquette, other faculty, community members, and even his former students – underway, Mr. Choquette is looking forward to next year’s opportunity to host. 

“With the recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, this is an exciting time to be examining these issues,” he says. “I look forward to being part of that national conversation, and helping provide a venue for it.”

Editor's note: an earlier version of this story indicated that the Aboriginal law moot would also coincide with the Indigenous Graduate and Professional Days at Queen's. The latter event has been cancelled due to low enrollment. If you are interested in visiting Queen's, please contact Lisa Doxtator at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre.


Strengthening business law education

Queen’s University announces inaugural David Allgood Professorship in Business Law.


Mohamed Khimji has been named the inaugural David Allgood Professor in Business Law the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University announced on Tuesday, March 1.

The Allgood Professorship, the first privately-funded professorship in the history of Queen’s Law, is part of an ongoing strategic initiative by the faculty to strengthen its business law programming.

Mohamed Khimji will begin his term as the inaugural Allgood Professor in Business Law in July 2016.

“I’m honoured to be appointed as the inaugural holder of the David Allgood Professorship in Business Law and also to be given the opportunity to lead the design and development of the business law program at Queen’s,” says Professor Khimji.

“I look forward to working with my new colleagues in enriching the academic program through offering an elevated curriculum designed to facilitate long-term student success and to establish Queen’s Law as a focal point for high-level research activity in business law.”

Professor Khimji, who will begin his term in July, is currently the Stephen Dattels Chair in Corporate Finance Law at the University of Western Ontario. He holds an LLB from the University of Bristol and an LLM from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The Allgood Professorship was created through the generous contributions of Queen’s Law alumni and donors, who raised a $1.5 million endowment to support the position.

“I’m very pleased with the generous support our alumni have shown in establishing the Allgood Professorship, and equally pleased to be welcoming a scholar of Professor Khimji’s renown as the inaugural Allgood Professor,” says Bill Flanagan, Dean of Queen’s Faculty of Law.

“Building on our existing business law programs, including the Bader International Study Centre program in international business law, the Queen’s Business Law Clinic, and the Law’80 Visiting Scholar in Business Law program, Professor Khimji’s leadership as a researcher, teacher and mentor is going to vault our entire business law program to the next level.”

David Allgood, Law’74, shakes hands with Dean Bill Flanagan at the ‘Celebrate Queen’s Law’ alumni reception in Toronto, where the Allgood Professorship was officially launched on April 29. Queen's Faculty of Law announced on March 1 that Mohamed Khimji had been named the inaugural holder of the professorship.

The professorship is named for David Allgood (Law’74). Mr. Allgood currently serves as counsel at Dentons in Toronto and was previously the executive vice-president and general counsel for Royal Bank of Canada.

Mr. Allgood is currently a member of the Queen’s Board of Trustees and Audit and Risk Committee and served as chair of the Dean’s Advisory Council in the Faculty of Law from 2006-2012, remaining on the council in the role of past-chair. He has a long standing connection with Queen’s, and has played a tremendous role in teaching and mentoring students in the Faculty of Law.

“It is an incredible honour to have a professorship named for me at my alma mater,” says Mr. Allgood. “I have the utmost confidence that Professor Khimji will help solidify Queen’s Law’s position as a leader in business law education in Canada.”

For more information on the David Allgood Professorship in Business Law, please visit the Queen’s Faculty of Law website.

Breathing new life into the PEC

Queen’s University recently has made progress in its plans to revitalize the former Physical Education Centre (PEC) as a centre for health, wellness and innovation. Jasmine Toor, Communications Specialist, spoke with Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), to learn what the plan will mean for the university.

The revitalization plan for the former Physical Education Centre (PEC) sees the building transformed into a health, wellness and innovation centre.
Construction of the former Physical Education Centre (PEC) was completed in 1931, offering gymnasiums as well as swimming, diving and water polo facilities.

Jasmine Toor: What progress has been made on the university’s plan to revitalize the former PEC building?

Alan Harrison: The university has made significant progress. Queen’s retained CS&P Architects in fall 2015 to produce a functional program and conceptual design for the revitalized building. The preliminary business case for the project is complete and we have initiated the work that will yield a more reliable cost estimate (known as a class B estimate). Our hope is that the first phase of the project, the demolition of much of the interior, will commence early in 2017. Queen’s has raised a significant portion of the total cost of the project, the class D estimate for which is $87 million.   

JT: What was the impetus that led to the decision to redevelop the building?

AH: A structural assessment by an external consultant found that the building was in excellent shape and thus could provide a considerable amount of additional space at a relatively low cost per square foot, if renovated, in comparison to a newly constructed building. The Queen's Health, Wellness and Innovation Centre affords us a wonderful opportunity to utilize and revitalize valuable space in the heart of campus.

JT: What will the revitalized building be used for?

AH: The major constituent parts of this project are engineering, innovation and health and wellness. The revitalized building will enhance both the quality of our student experience and the quality of our research facilities by aligning academic and non-academic uses for the building.  Queen’s has a longstanding reputation of offering our students an exceptional educational and extra-curricular learning experience. When completed, the project will be a prominent symbol of Queen’s as the quintessential balanced academy, the Canadian research-intensive university with a transformative learning experience.

The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science will be a major occupant of the revitalized building. Undergraduate learning in engineering will be supported by an interactive Learning Commons that will allow more than 500 mechanical and materials engineering students to work individually or collaboratively on projects and assignments in an environment that offers state-of-the-art information and computing technology. Additionally, a number of high-technology, leading-edge teaching and design studios will each support between 75 and 150 undergraduate students.

Interdisciplinary laboratory space will support more than 20 faculty researchers working on bioengineering, environmental and biomedical research. This laboratory space will allow considerable expansion of interdisciplinary research, primarily but not exclusively in the areas of chemical and civil engineering. The benefits of this laboratory space will accrue not only to the researchers but also to their graduate students.

The Queen’s Health, Wellness and Innovation Centre affords us a wonderful opportunity to utilize and revitalize valuable space in the heart of campus.

— Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)

JT: How does this plan align with Queen’s commitment to enhanced health and wellness related facilities?

AH: The Wellness Centre is an integral part of the revitalization project. The new Wellness Centre will allow us to co-locate services, so anyone seeking counselling is assured of privacy.  By combining health, counselling and accessibility services together in one centrally located and visible location, along with three gymnasia and other athletic and recreation facilities, the revitalized building will provide opportunities to integrate physical and mental health, connecting them with the student experience.

Furthermore, the new Wellness Centre will be able to provide us with the increased capacity and flexibility to meet the rising demand across the spectrum of wellness services and expand in response to the evolving needs of our student population. This was acknowledged by the 2012 report of the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health, which recommended a new and centralized location for student wellness services.

The completion of Queen’s Gymnasium in 1931:
“It is modern in every respect; we can hold up our heads and boast of one of the finest gymnasiums in Dominion. The undergraduates will reap the benefits and it behooves them to carry on and bring more athletic honors to Queen’s. Swimming and diving and water-polo facilities are now open for the Queen’s natatorialartists and soon graduates should hear that Queen’s is once more carrying off championships in this new athletic field.”

JT: How does the revitalization project align with Queen’s commitment to innovation?

AH: Queen’s has committed to increasing the number of new opportunities for experiential and entrepreneurial learning, improving intra-university collaboration through new programs and curriculum innovation, and creating new and innovative ways for students to develop fundamental academic skills. The new engineering space of the building will include an Innovation Hub. This and other space in the refurbished building dedicated to innovation will result in a considerable expansion of the Queen’s Innovation Connector (QIC), which will support and allow the development of a core strength of the QIC, which is its interdisciplinary nature.

Students from across the university will have access to the resources, the networks and the mentors that will help transform their ideas into products and services. They will work in diverse teams to address important problems and identify the solutions that will yield benefits not only for our region, but nationally and globally too. The innovation component of the redevelopment plan also aligns with the federal government’s focus on innovation as an important component of university research.

Queen’s Law hosting international trade moot

[ELSA Moot]
Professor Nicolas Lamp (second left) with Law’17 students helping to facilitate the 2016 ELSA Moot at Queen’s: Marko Petrovic, Carly White and Azeem Manghat.

If you want to see the future face of trade law from across two continents, Queen’s University will be the place to do it this spring.

Students from across North and South America will be bringing their ‘A’ game to Kingston in early March to do exactly that. The All-American Regional Round of the 2016 European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) Moot on international trade law is being hosted by Queen’s Law, attracting dozens of students from competing schools from Canada to Colombia.

“We’re proud to be hosting both current and future leaders in trade law here in Kingston,” says Professor Nicolas Lamp, who is organizing the American round. “These students represent the future trade law elite of their countries. I know from personal experience that virtually every junior lawyer who is hired by the World Trade Organization or by law firms working on WTO law has participated in the ELSA Moot Court Competition on WTO Law.”

From March 2-6, teams from six countries will be presenting at the ELSA Moot Court Competition (EMC2) at Queen’s Law. Panelists – judging the competitions – will be leading experts in international trade law from Canada, the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The event is also supported by organizations with strong international trade law ties. The EMC2 receives technical support from the World Trade Organization, and closer to home, the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is a major sponsor of the event.

“The level of support from both the WTO and CIGI shows how important this event is for the international trading system,” Dr. Lamp says. “It’s a unique tool to build capacity in international trade law in developing countries and to attract some of the brightest up-and-coming legal minds to the world of international trade. The best teams will go on to the final rounds in Geneva, where they will get a real feel for how it would be to have a career in international trade law.”

Sixteen teams will engage in two full days of team-versus-team competition, pleading in front of panels who will decide victors for each match. From there, the moots move on to a third-day of semifinals and a final, head-to-head match between the two best trade mooting teams on two continents. Prizes include not only the prestige of victory, but also a prize for best overall individual mooter.

“The EMC2 provides students with a chance to prove themselves in front of an international audience of their peers and leading minds in law,” Dr. Lamp, who participated in the moot as a student in 2007-08, says. “But it’s also a chance for these students to meet, exchange ideas, forge friendships and leave with new perspectives, new connections and new ideas.”

Rising to the challenge

Queen’s students and faculty are helping Syrian refugees settle in Kingston

Several third-year law students at Queen’s University have come together to welcome Syrian refugees to Kingston.

Jess Spindler, Rosa Stall, Kaisha Thompson and Lauren Wilson have created the Queen’s Law Refugee Support Program after receiving training through the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program. The Queen’s Law Refugee Support Program is already offering assistance to Peter (his name has been changed by the Queen’s Law Refugee Support Program to protect his identity), a 26-year-old who fled the violent civil war in Syria.

“We are now working to help him deal with the realities of living in Kingston,” says Ms. Spindler. “That includes shopping for groceries, banking, getting a job and dealing with the cold weather.”

Working on the Queen's Law Refugee Support Program are (l to r): Jess Spindler, Kaisha Thompson, Lauren Wilson and Rosa Stall.

Ms. Thompson says it’s helpful that they are the same age as Peter so they can help him through the loneliness. “Cultural isolation is a definite issue so we are trying to get Peter to meet with other Canadians and members of the Kingston community who speak his language, people who understand where he is coming from.”

Initially, the Queen’s group was going to help with paperwork for new refugees. With the federal government assuming those duties, they are now focused on fundraising and helping refugees resettle in the community. They have launched a Tilt campaign which is getting close to $1,500. William Flanagan, Dean, Queen’s Law, has been a key supporter in the students’ efforts and the program is supervised by Queen’s Law professor Lisa Kerr.

“The campaign has been going really well,” says Ms. Wilson. “The Dean and the entire law school have been very supportive.”

“We are here to help and that means many different things,” says Ms. Stall. “We are prepared to assist with any tasks and want to continue to reach out as more refugees arrive in the future.”

Arriving on Boxing Day, Peter was the first of three Syrian refugees who have been formally sponsored by a group of Queen’s faculty, staff and alumni to arrive in Kingston.  This group is also sponsoring a young couple who arrived in Kingston on New Year’s Eve. They are now taking full time English classes and hope to start volunteer activities soon. They are currently living temporarily with Sandra den Otter, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.

 “It has been a rewarding experience, and we’ve been astounded by the response from the Queen’s community and the Kingston community,” says Dr. den Otter. “There has been an overwhelming response to this opportunity for us to share the work of resettlement with newcomers from Syria.” Organizations like ISKA (Immigrant Services Kingston and the area), KEYS employment services, Queen’s Family Health Team, and others have been extremely helpful.

Along with Sandra den Otter, Queen’s professors Margaret Moore, Zsuzsa Csergo, Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant, John McGarry in Political Studies, Henry Laycock and Alistair McLeod (Philosophy) and Queen’s alumna France Pellicano are supporting the couple, in collaboration with several community members.

In addition to the law student group, graduate students from History, Political Studies, and Computing have been actively supporting the newcomers. Dr. den Otter says providing support for refugees gives Queen’s students a unique experience. “Assisting in the settlement of newcomers from Syria is such a valuable form of community engagement and global citizenship for graduate students.”

For more information about how to assist visit the Queen’s Law Refugee Support Program Facebook page, email Jess Spindler at jess.spindler@queensu.ca or to help in the settlement of the three newcomers to Kingston please email Sandra den Otter at denotter@queensu.ca or Margaret Moore at margaret.moore@queensu.ca.


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