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In Memoriam – Wendy Holmes

In Memoriam – Wendy HolmesWendy Holmes, general manager through Queen’s Hospitality Services at the Donald Gordon Centre, died May 14. She was 57.

Ms. Holmes joined the Donald Gordon Centre in 2009.

A celebration of life will be held at The Harbour (53 Yonge St., Kingston) on Saturday, May 26 between 1 pm and 4 pm. Those wishing may make a donation to the charity of their choice.

An obituary is available online.

The history behind the celebration

The traditions of convocation have a long history that helps shape the elaborate celebrations.

[Graduates of the Spring 2017 convocation pose together for a photo]
Graduates of the Spring 2017 convocation pose together for a photo

Over 170 years of traditions contribute to the pomp and circumstance of convocation, bringing faculty, family, and friends together to recognize academic achievements of Queen’s students as they graduate.

Spring convocations begin on Thursday, May 24, and will continue until Wednesday, June 6. With 21 ceremonies in total (all but two in Grant Hall), there is a lot to take in at Queen’s over the next three weeks. Venues, speeches, music, and the academic regalia all have a place in the festivities, and their origins come from well over a century of tradition.

These hallowed halls

[Spring 2017 convocation viewed from the balcony in Grant Hall]
The spring 2017 convocation viewed from the balcony in Grant Hall.

During the first convocation ceremony at Queen’s on June 2, 1847, the Senate awarded only three degrees. The ceremony was likely held at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Since then, the venue has changed to the Old Medical Building in 1858, Convocation Hall in the Theological Hall in 1878, and Grant Hall in 1905, where it remained until the 1970s when spring class seizes were too large and instead hosted in the Jock Harty Arena. Grant Hall continued to host the fall ceremonies with overflow into the Queen’s Centre. After Jock Harty Arena was dismantled in 2007, Grant Hall was reinstated as the primary location for convocation.

Honourable mention

After the principal’s (or senior administrator’s) speech, many convocations feature an honorary graduate’s speech. This tradition dates back to 1858 with the first honorary degrees given to two prominent Presbyterian clergymen, Rev. James C. Muir and Rev. Alexander MacGillivray.

Honorary degree recipients are chosen twice per year through Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees of Queen’s University. Any member of the Queen’s community may nominate someone who has contributed something outstanding to a discipline, field of work, community, society, or to the university, and the committee considers these nominations. Learn more about the seven honorary degree recipients for spring 2018, and how to nominate the fall and spring 2020 recipients.

Musically inclined

The chancellor grants degrees during convocation while “Flourish for the Chancellor” plays, an organ composition written specifically for convocation by Queen’s music professor Fred Clarke.

Swaths of colours

Students graduating don the traditional outfit of a gown and hood at convocation. Each degree has a different colour scheme, from the red, gold, and blue of a Doctor of Philosophy, to the black and red of a Bachelor of Arts. You can find more designs listed on the University Registrar page dedicated to the academic hood.

Interested in more information on convocation? Check out Convocation brings buzz back to campus for details on what to expect before, during, and after the ceremonies.

Indigenous art proposal selected by Faculty of Law

Visitors to the Faculty of Law building this fall will see a unique Indigenous art installation.

[Hannah Claus and her proposal]
Hannah Claus showcases her proposal, which consists of wampum belts made of translucent purple coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets and hung vertically from the ceiling of the Faculty of Law building. (University Relations)

“Words that are lasting,” an artwork by Montréal (Tiohtià:ke) visual artist Hannah Claus, has been selected as the winning entry in the Indigenous Art Commission competition held by the Queen’s Faculty of Law.

This goal of the initiative is to introduce Indigenous art into the Gowling WLG Atrium of the Faculty of Law, and is an important element of the law school’s multifaceted response to the Calls to Action of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“This art installation will beautifully represent Indigenous legal traditions and reflect part of the commitment of Queen’s Law to respond to the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Report,” says Bill Flanagan, Dean of the Faculty of Law and chair of the commission. 

Ms. Claus’ vision involves a suspended art installation based on wampum belts that will hang from the ceiling in the law school's atrium airy expanse. Made from translucent purple-coloured and frosted clear acrylic sheets, these laser-cut forms will interplay with the natural light that floods the atrium.

“I’m elated to have my project chosen as the artwork,” Ms. Claus says. “Wampum belts are mnemonic aids utilized by the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous peoples within oral nation-to-nation agreements. They represent legal documents as reflected in this distinct worldview. It seems a fitting acknowledgement, as Queen’s University is located on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.”

This sentiment resonated with the 12 members of the committee who chose the winning entry.

“The representation of wampum in the faculty is representative of the oldest agreements or contracts between not only Indigenous peoples and settlers, but amongst Indigenous peoples as well,” says committee member Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Director of the Office of Indigenous Initiatives. “It’s most appropriate given there are wampum agreements between Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, and so this work is representative of both groups of Indigenous peoples acknowledged as the original landholders.”

Ms. Claus is a visual artist of English and Kanien'kehÁ:ka / Mohawk ancestries and a member of the Tyendinaga Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. She teaches contemporary Indigenous art as a sessional lecturer at Kiuna, a First Nations post-secondary institution, in Odanak, Québec, and her artwork has appeared in exhibitions across Canada and the United States, as well as in Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, and Chile.

She is now at work creating “Words that are lasting” with a goal of installing it this fall. Later this summer, Ms. Claus and renowned Indigenous architect Douglas Cardinal, a member of the Indigenous Art Commission selection committee, will jointly record a video that will highlight and explore the themes embodied in her artwork.

Convocation brings buzz back to campus

Queen's welcomes back graduating students during 21 ceremonies from May 24 to June 6.

[Spring Convocation]
Spring Convocation 2018 will feature 21 ceremonies, with the first one kicking off Thursday, May 24, at 10 am in Grant Hall. (Photo by Bernard Clark)

The Class of 2018 will be returning to campus with their families and friends starting this week as Spring Convocation ceremonies get underway on Thursday, May 24.

With a total of 21 ceremonies the celebrations will continue to Wednesday, June 6. The majority of ceremonies will be held at Grant Hall, the exceptions being the two ceremonies on Tuesday, May 29 at the Main Gym of the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC). 

During Spring Convocation Queen’s will be conferring seven honorary degrees.

The recipients are:

  • Phil Gold, DSc, Executive Director of the Clinical Research Centre of the McGill University Health Centre at the Montreal General Hospital (MGH), Douglas G. Cameron Professor of Medicine and Professor of Physiology and Oncology at McGill University, Thursday, May 24 at 2:30 pm.
  • Isabel Bassett, LLD, former chair and CEO of TVOntario, Member of Provincial Parliament, Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, Friday, May 25 at 4 pm.
  • Indira Samarasekera, DSc, former President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Alberta, former Vice-President (Research) at the University of British Columbia, Thursday, May 31 at 4 pm.
  • Valerie Tarasuk, DSc, Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, Friday, June 1 at 10 am.
  • John Baird (Artsci’92), LLD, former Member of Parliament, Minister of Foreign Affairs, President of the Treasury Board, Minister of the Environment, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Friday, June 1 at 2:30 pm.
  • Hugh Segal, LLD, Principal of Massey College former Associate Cabinet Secretary (Federal-Provincial Affairs), Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, Monday, June 4 at 10 am.
  • Douglas Cardinal, LLD, award-winning architect, Wednesday, June 6 at 2:30 pm.

Live ceremony feeds will begin approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled start of each ceremony.

full schedule of the ceremonies and more information about Spring Convocation, for graduates, parents and family, as well as faculty members, is available on the Office of the University Registrar website.

Marking milestones with Queen’s

University recognizes faculty and staff members for continuous contributions at Celebration of Service.

  • Queen's faculty and staff members, and their friends and families, fill Ban Righ Hall
    Queen's faculty and staff members, and their friends and families, fill Ban Righ Hall for the annual Celebration of Service. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf and Julie Gordon-Woolf speak with Queen's staff members
    Principal Daniel Woolf and Julie Gordon-Woolf, left, speak with Queen's staff members ahead of the Celebration of Service on Monday, May 14. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
  • Dan Bradshaw, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources), right, chats with Selim Akl
    Dan Bradshaw, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources), right, chats with Selim Akl, a professor in the School of Computing. Dr. Akl marked his 40th year with Queen's. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf takes a photo with the group of faculty and staff members
    Principal Daniel Woolf takes a photo with the group of faculty and staff members celebrating their 40th anniversary at Queen's. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf congratulates Vince Kidd
    Principal Daniel Woolf congratulates Vince Kidd, Senior e-Resources and Serials Assistant at Queen's University Library, on 45 years of working at Queen's. (Photo by Bernard Clark)

Queen’s employees who have reached milestone achievements of continuous service were recognized by the university during the annual Celebration of Service on Monday, May 14.

A total of 158 staff and faculty members were honoured for their contributions while reaching employment milestones of 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 years at Queen’s during the ceremony at Ban Righ Dining Hall.

This year’s event was highlighted by Boris Castel’s achievement of reaching the 50-year milestone. Dr. Castel, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy, is the long-time editor of Queen’s Quarterly.

The dinner event, attended by the recipients, their families and friends, as well as Principal Daniel Woolf, was hosted by Dan Bradshaw, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources).

“The Celebration of Service really is the best event each year for me as the Associate Vice-Principal of Human Resources,” Mr. Bradshaw says. “It is a time when we in Human Resources, along with the Principal, have the privilege of hosting and thanking our long-service employees for their many years of dedication to their professions, to our students, and to Queen’s. It truly is a privilege.”

Further information about the Celebration of Service and other events is available on the recently-launched Events and Recognition page of the Human Resources website.


Congratulations to the following employees as they celebrate a milestone at Queen's University this year.

25 Years

Alexander Boag          Michael Cassells          Steve Compeau

Sharon David             Catherine Davidson       Karen Dubinsky

Debra Easter             Christopher Eckert        Christopher Frank

Kelly Goode              Richard Greenfield         Patti Groome

David Holland            Joseph Hulton              Michael Kawaja

Mary Kennedy           Shelley King                 Matthew King

Sheila Kiruluta           Deborah Knight            Ann Lablans

Troy Laporte              Diane Lougheed          Miodrag Matovic

Donald Maurice          Jeffrey McGill             Ann Messenger

Lois Mulligan              Colleen Notley            Joel Parlow

Victoria Remenda       Penny Roantree          Jonathan Rose

Sergio Sismondo        David Smith                Glen Takahara

Teresa Touchette        Yat Tse                      Louie Wang

30 Years

Michael Adams           Paul Banfield              Julia Baran

Diane Beauchemin      Kimberley Bell            Jane Bertrim

Steven Blostein          Dorothea Blostein        Rick Boswell

Andrew Bryson           Denise Cameron          Luis Cardoso

Susan Chamberlain     Timothy Childs            Lynann Clapham

Janet Clark-Pereira     Lisa Cook                    Monica Corbett

Euler De Souza           Monica Desjardins      Danny Dwyer

Kenneth Edgecombe   Randy Ellis                 Cliff Ewart

Gail Ferland                Michael Flavin            Kevin Fletcher

Anne Foley                 Lisa Gervais               Lisa Graham

Allan Gregory             Jane Griffiths              Bruce Griffiths

Irene High                  Kathy Hoover              Donna Ivimey

Lynda Jessup             Liann Joanette            Carol Johnson

Gordon Jones             John Jordison             Panagiotis Katsabanis

Kenton Ko                  Holly Lefebvre            Donald MacNaughton

Shelli Mackie              Ian McBride               John McCallum

Stephen McNevin        Kenneth Montroy       Evelyn Morin

Sandra Murray            Sharon Musgrave       Maureen Myers

Catherine Nelson         Denis O'Donnell         John Odell

Daniel Offin                 David Patterson        Paul Pearsall

Keith Poole                 Diane Reid                Robert Robertson

Keith Roddy                John Rudan               Sandip SenGupta

Lois Shepherd             Mariana Silva            Jim Simpson

Gordon Smith              Richard Smith           Arthur Stewart

Angela Swain              John Thompson         Patrick Tobin

Stephen Vanner           Karen Walker            Robert Weisnagel

Christopher White       Jan Winton                 Harold Yntema

Martin York

35 Years

Theresa Brennan        Robert Brison             Robin Dawes

David Haglund            Joel Kimmett             Michael Korenberg

Teresa Long               Donal Macartney        Elizabeth McNutt

Susan Moffatt            Elizabeth Read           Christopher Russell

Marlene Sayers          Linda Seymour           Monica St Pierre

Angela Street             Brian Surgenor           Kenneth Wong

40 Years

Selim Akl                   Wanda Badger           Nicholas Bala

Christine Berga          Lucia Briceland           Jacquie Brown

Margaret Hicks           Joan Knox                 Bonita Knox

Darlene Lake              James Lesslie           Anita Lister

Randy Myers             Donald Napier             Ben Poels

Mary Senior               Nancy Somers

45 Years

Vince Kidd                Paul Manley

50 Years

Boris Castel

IT conference supports students in financial need

Queen's organizers of CANHEIT 2017 conference donate more than $43,000 to the Queen’s University Student Financial Assistance Bursary.

When Queen’s hosted the Canadian Higher Education IT (CANHEIT) conference in June 2017, it brought together hundreds of delegates from universities across Canada to discuss the sector’s leading issues including digital strategy, security, privacy, and copyright.

[CANHEIT 2017 Logo]Hosting the event was also an opportunity for Queen’s to show off the campus, facilities and student living and learning environment.

Adding to the positives, the organizing committee recently donated more than $43,000 to the Queen’s University Student Financial Assistance Bursary, a support program for students in financial need.

“The organizing committee chose this fund because it is campus-wide, and helps a wide variety of students who would otherwise face financial struggle in attending Queen’s,” says Stephen Hunt, Director (IT) for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the CANHEIT 2017 steering committee chair. “The organizers and volunteers should be proud that not only were we able to host a very successful conference but we also are contributing in a meaningful and long-term way to our students.”

The Queen’s University Student Financial Assistance endowment fund was established to provide student financial assistance for undergraduate and graduate students in all of the university’s faculties and schools. The fund supports students who demonstrate a financial need.

“We very much appreciate CANHEIT’s generous donation, which will go to direct support for our students,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “There are many students at Queen’s with financial need who benefit from donor support. These awards help ensure students have the funds required to stay in their programs and complete their degrees. This is a very meaningful donation.”

The university disburses approximately $15 million per year in need-based bursaries to assist current students in meeting their tuition, fees and basic living expenses.

Learn more about Student Financial Aid at Queen’s

Varsity athletes raise $40,000 for charities in 2017-18

The Queen's Varsity Leadership Council (VLC) is building relations with the university and Kingston communities through volunteer opportunities and outreach programs.

[Varsity Leadership Council]
Throughout the 2017-18 academic year, student-athletes at Queen's helped raise nearly $40,000 for charitable causes. (Supplied photo)

Queen’s student-athletes had an outstanding year in 2017-18 claiming championships, banners, and medals. However, perhaps their greatest triumph was raising nearly $40,000 for charitable causes and inspiring the next generation of Gaels.

The Queen’s Varsity Leadership Council (VLC) aims to promote a positive image of Queen's Athletics and build relations with the university and Kingston communities through volunteer opportunities and outreach programs.

This year there were outstanding achievements from the group who supported programs such as Shoot for the Cure, Cuts for Cancer, Run for the Cure, Martha’s Table, Motionball, and a clothing donation drive. The VLC donated to the Kingston Food Bank and helped to raise awareness for mental health by supporting Jack.org and Bell Let's Talk with feature events.

In total, the VLC and Gaels athletes helped to raise nearly $40,000, 540 pounds of food, donate 12 ponytails, and keep the conversation going on mental health.

“Overall, VLC had an incredible year. We built on our core initiatives like Run for the Cure, Martha’s Table, jack.org, and Bell Let's Talk,” says co-president and member of the women’s basketball team Andrea Priamo. “This year, we were also fortunate enough to partner with two new programs: the Autism Mentorship Program and Pathways to Education. Having the opportunity to work with these programs and get involved in this capacity allowed participation from many athletes at Queen’s.”

The VLC continued to lead the way in their support of new initiatives. They organized an event with the Autism Mentorship Program around a varsity basketball game, inviting all program participants to a post-game meet-and-greet with the players.

Finally, a new partnership was formed with Pathways to Education, a national, charitable organization working to breaking the cycle of poverty through education. The partnership sees the VLC host a group of Pathways students at Queen’s for a day to participate in activities, have lunch, and talk about what university and life as a student-athlete are like. Also, one male and one female Pathways student is recognized with the Gaels Academic All-Star Awards for success both in the classroom and on the field of play.

“I feel so fortunate to have been part of such a phenomenal group of student-athletes this year, and I look forward to seeing the Varsity Leadership Council excel in years to come,” Priamo says.


Identity, diversity, and supporting students

The Division of Student Affairs hosted a morning town hall to help staff consider how to incorporate diversity and inclusivity principles into their work.

Student Affairs staff members are better equipped to help build more inclusive living and learning spaces at Queen’s, thanks to a special town hall this week. The entire division participated in a series of sessions focused on helping them build a more inclusive Queen’s through their work.

“We want to provide staff with regular opportunities to consider how they can learn more about integrating equity, diversity, and inclusivity principles into the work they do,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “Events like our town halls also promote discussions and dialogue about these important issues and help build community and support for each other and for the students we serve.”

The session opened up with some context from Vice-Provost and Dean Tierney, helping to paint the picture of the progress the university and the division have made in the past year since two key reports – the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) task force final report, and the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) final report – were issued.

Stephanie Simpson, Executive Director of the Human Rights and Equity Office and University Advisor on Human Rights, then led a discussion on privilege, bias, and how these two facets can influence our work.

[Erin Clow and Vanessa Yzaguirre]
Erin Clow (Human Rights and Equity Office) and Vanessa Yzaguirre (Student Affairs) preview new training being developed for student leaders. (University Communications)

Following Ms. Simpson’s presentation, staff chose between two sessions. In the first, Vanessa Yzaguirre, Diversity and Inclusivity Coordinator with Student Affairs; and Erin Clow, Education and Communication Advisor with the Human Rights and Equity Office presented an overview of new student leader training they are developing to support peer-led conversations about diversity, and building an inclusive community, starting in Orientation Week.

“Traditions change and evolve – that’s part of being an inclusive community,” said Dr. Clow. “The traditions which tend to stick with people are the ones that help them build community, which of course is one of the key goals of orientation.”

The training is one piece of the university’s response to the Undergraduate Orientation Review Working Group’s report recommendations. Increasing student leaders’ exposure to diversity, inclusivity, and reconciliation matters was also part of the PICRDI and TRC reports.

[Teri-Lynn Brennan]
Terri-Lynn Brennan is the CEO of Wolfe Island-based Inclusive Voices Incorporated, a consulting firm which supports outreach to Indigenous community. (University Communications)

Another session was led by Terri-Lynn Brennan, CEO of Wolfe Island-based Inclusive Voices Incorporated. Dr. Brennan is a member of the Six Nations of the Grand River, and her firm helps organizations as they work to build relationships and grow cultural competency.

Her remarks focused on titles, language, communication, and relationship building with Indigenous communities.

“There are over 50 different Indigenous identities in the Kingston region and many of those are represented at Queen’s,” she noted. “The word Cataraqui means ‘crossroads’, and my hope is that Queen’s both strives to meet the needs of the Indigenous communities within Queen’s while also acknowledging the broader communities that meet in Kingston.”

Dr. Brennan’s presentation was intended to provide broader context to staff so they can support the university’s efforts to include Indigenous identities, histories, knowledge and cultures into curriculum, trainings, engagement, and planning processes.

In addition to new and enhanced staff and student training, Student Affairs has increased resources dedicated to supporting equity, diversity and inclusivity in student services and increasing enrolment among under-represented student populations, expanded student programming, and is creating new online resources for staff and students. 

Building LGBTQ+ allies

An event marking International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia will explore both the personal and conceptual aspects of gender.

[Markus Harwood-Jones]
Markus Harwood-Jones will speak at Thursday's event. (Supplied Photo)

A group of employees in cooperation with United Steelworkers (USW) Local 2010, is organizing an event on campus to International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia on May 17.

“The USW Local 2010 Human Rights Committee has a mandate to raise awareness and education around Human Rights issues – which is why we chose to mark this day,” says Liza Cote, a Queen’s staff member and chair of the committee. “Having a guest speaker shed light on what it means to be transgender affords us an opportunity to increase awareness on campus.”

This free event will be held on Thursday, May 17 at noon in Mackintosh-Corry Room B201. The theme for this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia is “Alliances for Solidarity”, reflecting the need for persons from LGBTQ+ communities to find supportive communities so they can effect change and build safer environments.

It’s a theme that Markus Harwood-Jones, this year’s presenter, can relate to. Mr. Harwood-Jones is pursuing his masters in Gender Studies at Queen’s, and identifies as transgender. When he came out as transgender, he had to confront family rejection and he experienced housing insecurity. Mr. Harwood-Jones says his talk will delve into both the terms and concepts as well as the very personal experiences of being transgender.

“My hope is that those who attend will not necessarily leave with a single definition, but instead will have an interest in these terms and concepts,” he says. “I have a passion for this, and a sincere belief we can transform the world. That’s why I invite anyone who is attending to ask questions – don’t be afraid of not knowing enough or saying the wrong thing.”

Prior to joining the Queen’s community, Mr. Harwood-Jones was a student at Ryerson University where he helped found their Trans Collective, lobbying for gender-neutral bathrooms and hosting regular speaking and dinner events for the transgender community.

The United Steelworkers Local 2010 Human Rights Committee became aware of Mr. Harwood-Jones' story through Gender Studies staff member Terrie Easter Sheen, and approached him to speak. Ms. Easter Sheen says these causes are both political and personal to her – she identifies as queer; chairs the USW 2010 Pride Committee; is a Board Director of Reelout, Kingston’s queer film festival (which many Queen’s departments sponsor); and is active in the broader Kingston LGBTQ+ community.

For more information on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, visit dayagainsthomophobia.org

May 15 edition of the Gazette now available

[May 15, 2018 Gazette]
Read the May 15 edition of the Gazette online.

The May 15 edition of the Gazette is now available and can be picked up around Queen’s campus.

This latest edition of the Gazette is filled with interesting Queen’s-focused items including:

  • An article and photo collection on the unveiling of the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute
  • The announcement of the appointment of Tom Harris as provost and vice-principal (Academic) after Benoit-Antoine Bacon was named president and vice-chancellor of Carleton University
  • The latest installment of the Introducing new faculty members series, with an interview of Ravi Prakash (Electrical Engineering)
  • ​Updates on the latest research, awards and achievements of faculty, staff and students.

The next edition of the Gazette will be published June 5, 2018. However, new articles are posted daily at the Gazette Online.

Follow us on Twitter at @queensuGazette.

Anyone looking to get a story, photo or information in the Gazette can contact the paper's editor Andrew Carroll.



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