Founder’s Day celebrates Mac’s unsung heroes

Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2018

From l to r: Dean Anja Geitmann with members of the Campus Care team Daniel Bleho, Andrew Fraser, Jeanne Page, Thomas Forrester and Maoxin Xu.

By Neale McDevitt

Considering the type of winter we’ve endured, it was completely appropriate that the Macdonald Campus Award of Excellence for Administrative and Support Staff, as handed out last week, went to the Campus Care team of Alain Bertrand, Michel Bédard, Daniel Bleho, Jean Mazerolle, Jeanne Page, Thomas Forrester, Andrew Fraser and Maoxin Xu.

It was even more appropriate when MC Paul Meldrum, calling each member of the team to join him on stage, was told that Bertrand couldn’t attend the ceremony because he was dealing with a last-minute issue on campus. “Alain is working so he can’t come and get his award… this is indicative of Campus Care,” said Meldrum to loud applause from the audience that packed the Centennial Centre Ballroom.

The award presentation was part of the Feb. 8 Founder’s Day celebrations. The annual event commemorates the birthday of Sir William Macdonald, founder of Macdonald Campus, benefactor of McGill and education visionary.

“Sir William Macdonald was a very successful industrialist. Not only did he make a lot of money, but he actually had a vision of what to do with that money,” said Anja Geitmann, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “And what could be better [than investing it in] education?

“Sir William believed it was crucial to educate the rural population in Quebec and his concept was to set up an educational institution that allowed that population to benefit from formal training,” said Geitmann. “Today, some 111 years after the opening of this campus, we should all be thankful that we have benefitted from his great vision.”

Few units embody the Mac credo, mastery for service, more than the members of Campus Care.

“The Campus Care team acts as one in fair or foul weather, day or night, weekday, weekend or holiday in response to general campus needs,” said Peter Knox, Supervisor, Facilities Management and Ancillary Services (Macdonald Campus). “The team must respond to emergencies and last-minute requests from all departments to get them out of jams – moving, digging, heavy lifting, and providing labor for many of the dirtiest, sometimes dangerous and most unusual jobs on campus.

Knox reminded the audience that, during the winter, one of Campus Care’s primary responsibilities is snow removal. “This is no small task, when the team must, for a combined 1,500 hours at night and on weekends, forego family life for snow removal duties that are tedious, repetitive and dangerous,” said Knox. “The level of service provided during the recent stormy vacation period, even on Christmas Day, is a clear example of their continuing efforts that go far and above the call of duty, when members of the team were worked long hours while other members of the campus enjoyed more relaxing times with family and friends.

“I hope you all noticed when you were coming in today that our roads are just a little bit better kept than roads in Montreal,” said Knox to more cheers and applause.

Founder’s Day also featured an expert panel that explored the medical, legal and entrepreneurial perspectives of cannabis legalization. Following the discussion, Dean Geitmann announced that McGill will offer two one-day professional workshops on the industrial production and quality control of medical cannabis. The workshops, to be held May 1 and 2, are in response to the imminent legalization of cannabis in Canada which will result in a need for highly-qualified personnel with knowledge in cannabis production. Read more about the announcement.

Exceptional Mac students were also celebrated during the presentation of the 2018 Gold Key Awards. Given by the Macdonald Branch of the McGill Alumni Association, the Gold Key Award is presented to students in recognition of their outstanding contribution to extra-curricular activities at the Macdonald Campus.

This year’s recipients have exhibited leadership and excellence in the promotion and development of extra­curricular activities at Macdonald, that has benefited the Macdonald community as a whole.

This year’s recipients were:

  • Brandon Bonan, Bioresource Engineering
  • Jade Corriveau, Dietetics
  • Pierce Dias Carlson, Bioresource Engineering
  • Valérie Ivanova, Nutritional Science and Food Science
  • Mi Lin, PhD candidate, Natural Resource Sciences
  • Césarée Morier-Gxoyiya, Agro-Environmental Sciences

From l to r: Gold Key winners Pierce Dias Carlson, Mr. Serge Lussier, Mi Lin, Brandon Bonan, Césarée Morier-Gxoyiya, Valérie Ivanova, Jade Corriveau, Mr. Ebrahim Noroozi, Dean Anja Geitmann. / Photo: Adrian Javrueanu

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