From the Dean

June 2020

Dean Anja Geitmann

[Lire en français…]

Dear friends,

Summer has officially begun! It is amazing what warmer weather, sunshine and time spent outdoors in the fresh air can do to lift the spirits. There is no doubt that the past few months have been challenging and full of ups and downs, but with the changing season comes renewed optimism and strength to continue moving forward. I am both grateful for and incredibly proud of the continued commitment, passion and support provided by our Macdonald community.

Virtual Convocation
Our first-ever virtual Convocation took place on June 18, to allow graduates to celebrate and share this moment virtually with friends and family from across the globe. The ceremony included some traditional elements of Convocation like speeches and music, as well as graduate names and a photo montage. For any family and friends of graduating students or other members of the McGill community who were unable to watch the video during its release, I invite you to view it here.

At-Home Homecoming 2020
In keeping with continued global efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, a decision has been made to cancel in-person Homecoming Celebration Weekend this September in favour of a virtual “At-Home Homecoming 2020.” The central programming is scheduled to run over three days from September 23-25.

Homecoming Central is developing a well-coordinated schedule of signature events that will be webcast for everyone to enjoy. To accommodate time zone differences, the majority of programs will be recorded and made available to registered alumni and guests after the fact. Reunion classes will be invited to return for in-person class reunions in 2021. There is Macdonald-specific programming being developed over the summer so please watch our Faculty webpage for updates, including how to connect with the Macdonald University Advancement Team.

Research Phase-in
On May 11, we began implementing Phase 1 of the gradual resumption of select on-campus research activities. The phase-in was deployed under a strictly controlled environment, following public health authority directives, to ensure our community’s health and safety. Throughout the process, the University conducted ongoing evaluations of protocols enacted in the reopened buildings.

I am pleased to report that Phase 1 was successfully implemented and there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 on our campuses. The University therefore initiated Phase 2 on Monday, June 1. As with Phase 1, the University is carefully monitoring the Phase 2 roll-out. This includes assessments of: public health and government directives; adherence to the on-campus safety directives; the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE); and the outcome of the Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) inspections. The University will continue to evaluate the implementation of Phase 1 activities.

As we move into the summer, I encourage you to stay connected with Macdonald and McGill. The incredibly successful and informative alumni webcasts will continue to be offered in the coming months, and those that have already taken place are still accessible to you online. If you didn’t have a chance to tune in to the May 28 webcast, “From farm to fork: how is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting our food, our food supply and our farmers?” I strongly encourage you to take the time to watch it here. It features two of our own Faculty’s experts, Professor Jennifer Ronholm and Faculty Lecturer Pascal Thériault, and has been viewed over 5,000 times since it was live streamed on May 28 – it has been one of the University’s most popular COVID-19 alumni webcasts.

Finally, I hope you keep safe this summer and are able to enjoy some downtime with family and friends. Warm regards,

Anja Geitmann, PhD
Professor and Dean
Faculty of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

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