Homecoming 2018


We had lots to celebrate at Homecoming 2018 – the 20th anniversary of the McGill School of Environment, the Mac Class of 1968 and their 50th anniversary celebration, and the Desert Revisited/Desert Ecology Reunion. The MSE invited Gina McCarthy (pictured below), Director of the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment and a professor at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University and former head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama, as their guest speaker during one of the signature Homecoming events.

Gina McCarthy shared her perspective on the grand environmental challenges of this century and provided a most inspiring vision for the present and the future. She reminded us that change is possible if we care and get involved, that hard battles for a clean and healthy environment have been won before, and that our democracy provides mechanisms to protect environmental gains.

We were then treated to a special presentation by Gina at our Sir William Macdonald Luncheon, where she spoke about how important alumni support is to the University. Her message was one of hope. “The students of today,” she said, “are the hope for tomorrow.” She marvelled at how accomplished students and young graduates are, pointing to our Distinguished Young Alumni Award recipient, Chloé Anderson, BSc(FSc)’15, MSc’17, as an example. McCarthy highlighted that even in times of political unrest, it is important to invest in future generations, trusting that change is possible. She applauded the invaluable contributions of alumni and expressed how their presence and support serves as an important factor for continued growth and optimism.

Dean Geitmann with TEDx speakers Treena Wasonti:io Delormier, Cynthia Kallenbach, Nil Basu, Olivia Wilkins and Jennifer Ronholm

We had another record crowd of alumni participate during the day-long activities at Mac. The TEDx talk allowed some of our new Faculty members to explain how their research has real world applications; Sneak Peek, highlighting student research, experiential learning opportunities as well as academic research, was also open to prospective students and their families and allowed for informal conversations and information gathering.

During the Sir William Macdonald Luncheon the Dean thanked the Class of 1963 for the wonderful canopy of trees and decorative rocks that now line the farm road, received presentation cheques from the class of 1958 (Community Engagement Centre), the Class of 1968 (farm to fork demonstration unit within the Community Engagement Centre) and the Class of 1972 (Class Scholarship), and acknowledged our distinguished alumni.

Stephen Casselman, Dean Geitmann, Chloé Anderson and Peter Finalyson

We honoured two distinguished alumni, Peter Finlayson, BScAgr’63, and Stephen Casselman, BScAgr’68, for their strong Macdonald connection and life achievements, as well as Chloé Anderson, BSc(FSc)’15, MSc’17, as our distinguished young alum, who has already received accolades for her passion and drive to succeed.

A definite highlight during the lunch was to honour our most venerable alumni in attendance, Kittie Smith (left), BSc(HEc)’43, and her sister Gertrude Brander, BSc(HEc)’48, both demonstrating their pride in their alma mater by wearing their 75th and 70th anniversary pins.

The day culminated in a special reunion for alumni who participated in the Desert Ecology trip which had its beginning in 1975 under the name the Texas trip, with some destination changes over the years, but still a memorable opportunity for everyone. The Desert Revisited was part slide show/part storytelling, with lots of laughter, the sharing of new stories and reconnecting with professors and alumni from over the many years. The Desert Ecology trip is taking place in 2019 and the professors would like to keep the connection going. The slide show will be uploaded to the Natural Resource Sciences website in order to post photos/blogs/stories going forward for everyone to enjoy. Photos from this and other Homecoming events can be viewed on the Faculty Flickr page.

George McCourt and Desert Ecology friends sharing stories

Homecoming 2019 is taking place on September 28 at Macdonald, when we will be opening the new Community Engagement Centre; everyone will be invited to join us for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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