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Whose life is it, anyway? Canada’s new Noah Meet Dick Day & Joe Kim

McMaster’s new aboriginal curator

FA L L 2 0 1 6



From bike lending to aquaponics, Mac entrepreneurs forge new futures - with a little help from their friends

Shiloh Covey ’15 co-founder of Start the Cycle

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contents VOL. 31, NO. 2 - FALL 2016

First Person A collection of McMaster stories from the field


Going off to grow strong in Labrador Christina Hackett – Health Policy “Nunatsiavut is one of the four self-governed land claim areas in Canada – this photo was taken in the Torngat Mountains National Park. A young Inuit man runs to join his peers who are char fishing in the South Arm fjord. This group is part of an intervention and evaluation research initiative called Going Off, Growing Strong, which is aimed at reducing suicide rates in Nain, Nunatsiavut by reconnecting young people with the land, traditional Inuit culture and harvesting skills.”




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Whose life is it, anyway? Made at Mac Canada’s new Noah

Researchers help you get fit Feds invest $12M in bio-engineering Having your head in the clouds

First Person Meet McMaster Alumni director message Under the Arch Then & Now In Memoriam


Encouraging eccentricity In his treatise, On Liberty, English philosopher, feminist and political economist John Stuart Mill warns of the dangers of unquestioning conformity and the crippling effects a reliance on the status quo can have on liberty and societal advancement. “That so few now dare to be eccentric,” he wrote in 1859, “marks the chief danger of the time.” Chief among the many responsibilities of a University is to foster this notion of creative eccentricity and promote an environment where individuals have the freedom, support and courage to pursue their ideas and to test their theories, no matter how unconventional, or apparently outlandish. Establishing an environment and nurturing a culture where new ideas are allowed to germinate, where they are supported and refined, is paramount. At McMaster, this nurturing takes many forms. You’ll find it across campus and around the city. It is evident in a reclaimed and retrofitted furniture storefront on James Street North in Hamilton’s revitalized downtown. It is present in technology-laden space at the McMaster Innovation Park, and on campus in maker spaces, labs and wherever students gather. Under the banner of The Forge, students, faculty and staff are working to ensure that fledgling concepts are supported, new products and services are tested and commercial enterprises take root. Not all will be successful, but that is to be expected: Charles Kettering famously noted that 99% of success is built on failure. We seek to create spaces where students can tap their eccentricities, let loose their imaginations and where their novel concepts and new ideas can be shared and sharpened. For our University, our cities and our countries, the returns on encouraging such creative eccentricities are, as yet, unimagined.

Patrick Deane ‘11 (honorary) President and Vice-Chancellor McMaster University

First Person A collection of McMaster stories from the field

Community development in rural Uganda Benson Honig, Professor - DeGroote School of Business “In Mityana, Uganda, 98% of households have no electricity. HIV/AIDS prevalence is high. We asked ‘tell us - the major problems with this community?’ They complained of lack of wage related labour. Soap was their highest expenditure. We helped establish a soap-making collective supervised by a few of the influential men. Subsequent problems included theft and mismanagement. On a recent visit, we observed women had taken over. During meetings, they sit inside engaging with the ‘expert advisors’, while men stay on the periphery looking in.’


First Person A collection of McMaster stories from the field

Recovery of extinct ground sloth mandible Eduard Reinhardt – Geography and Earth Sciences “Hoyo Negro is a subterranean pit that trapped animals 12-13,000 years ago. Many of the animals are now extinct and their fossilized skeletons provide a census of the animals living in the forest at the time. Among the animal skeletons was an early Paleoamerican migrant to the Yucatan Peninsula. Naia, as we have named her, was a 15-16 year old girl that died when she fell into the pit. Although the caves are now underwater, they once were dry allowing animals to enter and become lost in the labyrinth of tunnels. If they chose poorly and traveled down the wrong tunnel, they inadvertently fell into the 100 ft pit of Hoyo Negro where they perished.�


AVP, Communications & Public Affairs Andrea Farquhar Managing Editor Gord Arbeau Art Director JD Howell ’04 Editorial Co-ordinator Polina Pelinovskaia ’15 Advertising Sales Communications & Public Affairs 905-525-9140, ext. 24073 Editorial Communications 905-525-9140, ext. 23662 Contributors Patrick Deane ‘11 (honorary), Karen McQuigge ‘90,

Allyson Rowley, Matt Terry ‘09 Officers, Alumni Association Don Bridgman ‘78, president; Sandra Stephenson ’78 past-president, Stephanie McLarty ‘03, vice-president; Mario Frankovich ‘77, financial advisor; Troy Hill ’07, member-at-large; Tammy Hwang ’05, member-at-large; Katrina McFadden ‘05, member-at-large; Krishna Nadella ‘02, member-at-large; Jennifer Mitton ‘99, member-at-large; Norm Schleehahn ‘01

Representatives to the University Senate Ken Clarke ’74, Elizabeth Manganelli ’78, Moira Taylor, ’84 & ’86, Peter Tice ‘72

Representatives to the University Board of Governors


the oval

News and notes from campus

Mac researchers help you get and stay fit Several recent studies by McMaster researchers are shaping the way we get and stay fit. A study by Stuart Phillips ’89, ‘91, Canada Research Chair, challenges traditional workout wisdom, suggesting that lifting lighter weights many times is as efficient as lifting heavy weights for fewer repetitions. “Fatigue is the great equalizer here,” says Phillips, senior author on the study and professor in the Department of Kinesiology.  “Lift to the point of exhaustion and it doesn’t matter whether the weights are heavy or light.” Meantime, Mac researcher Martin Gibala ’94, finds that a single minute of very intense exercise produces health benefits similar to longer, traditional endurance training. The findings put to rest the common excuse for not getting in shape: there is not enough time. “This is a very time-efficient workout strategy,” says Gibala. “Brief bursts of intense exercise are remarkably effective.” Faculty of Science researcher Gianni Parise had good news for seniors experiencing muscle loss. Physical activity can help repair and regenerate muscle damaged or lost during aging. “The findings suggest age-related compromised muscle repair can be rescued with regular exercise,” he says. These research findings were widely reported around the world including in the New York Times, NBC Nightly News and The Globe and Mail.

Quentin Broad ’86 & ‘88; David Feather ‘85 & ‘89; Brad Merkel ’85; Sandra Stephenson ’78, Tanya Walker ‘02

McMaster Times is published bi-annually by Communications and Public Affairs in co-operation with The Alumni Association. It is sent free of charge to McMaster alumni and friends. Ideas and opinions published do not necessarily reflect those of the Association or University. Letters are welcome –

On the cover FA L L 2 0 1 6

Whose life is it, anyway? Canada’s next Noah Meet Dick Day & Joe Kim

McMaster’s new aboriginal curator




From bike lending to aquaponics, Mac entrepreneurs forge new futures - with a little help from their friends


Cert no. SW-COC-2113


Shiloh Covey ’15 founder

of Start the Cycle is one of dozens of alumni and students launching new start ups at McMaster’s incubator The Forge. Read about her and others on page 18. Photo by JD Howell ‘04

The wood in this product comes from well-managed forests, independently certified in accordance with the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council.

Thumb-suckers and nail-biters less likely to develop allergies Next time you try to stop your child or grandchild from sucking her thumb or biting his nails, think twice. A new McMaster study finds that thumb-suckers and nail-biters are less likely to be allergic to such things as house dust mites, grass, cats and dogs or airborne fungi. Malcolm Sears of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine says early exposure to dirt and germs reduces the risk of developing allergies. He doesn’t recommend these habits be encouraged, but says there is a positive side to them.

NEWSLINE What has happened since the last issue... APRIL 2016

Tucked under the Niagara Escarpment off Lower Lions Club Road, just in from busy Main Street West, the McMaster Forest is an oasis of wilderness in an urban landscape. Its old-growth forest is dominated by ash and maple, dotted by some spectacular examples of sassafras, sycamore and tulip trees. An ongoing census of all the trees, now 60 per cent complete, has counted 16,000 so far with plans for the McMaster Forest to join a worldwide Smithsonian Dynamic Forest Program.

MAY 2016

Former faculty, staff and students celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Religious Studies graduate program. The weekend kicked off with an opening reception and BBQ, and included a grad student poster session, displays of department memorabilia, campus tours and more. Attendees also took part in an academic roundtable on the future of graduate study of religion in Canada.

Coolest field trip ever If you want to learn about geology, ecology and environmental science, there may be no better place to visit than Iceland. That’s why students in the Integrated Science Program and Arts & Science Program have been visiting the Nordic nation during the spring for the last number of years. This year, provost David Wilkinson joined the class and together they posted dozens of amazing photos of their adventure. Visit for great images. The interdisciplinary field camp course takes students to active volcanoes, mountains, glaciers and more. The border between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates also runs through the middle of the country.

Ottawa awards $15.7M to more than 100 McMaster researchers


The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, visited campus awarding McMaster researchers, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows $15.7M from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). The awards impact every one of the University’s six Faculties.

Truth and Reconciliation theme of convocation address More than 5,000 students crossed Hamilton Place stage in June transitioning from McMaster student to McMaster alumni member. President Patrick Deane focused on McMaster’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission during his convocation address. You can read his remarks on The Daily News or in The Hamilton Spectator, which ran his address in the June 29 edition.

Feds invest $12M in bio-engineering facility Federal minister Navdeep Bains was at McMaster announcing the government’s $12-million investment in the new Bio-engineering and Advanced Manufacturing facility (BEAM).

JUNE 2016

Indigenous undergraduate students from across Canada spent the summer on campus participating in this year’s Indigenous Undergraduate Summer Research Scholar (IUSRS) program. Over eight weeks, 22 scholars – most of whom are in the latter stages of an undergraduate degree – experienced graduate student life, in the labs, libraries and even in the field, spanning diverse areas of study.

JULY 2016

Just in time for Canada Day, seven distinguished Canadians with strong connections to McMaster – including two faculty members – were installed as new or newly promoted members of the Order of Canada. Health Scientists Mark Levine and Harriet MacMillan were among those named to the Order.


Engineering deans from around the world came to campus to brainstorm ways to address climate change using innovative technology. The inaugural Carbon Free Innovation Network (CaFIN) event, was hosted by dean Ishwar Puri and the Faculty of Engineering.


Having your head in the clouds is rewarding Growing up, Linda Dao ’16 thought she was going to become a dentist. Fast forward a few years and she’s spending time in both Israel and France studying Space Medicine after graduating from Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster. The leap from dentistry to space medicine was sparked by her brother’s advice to broaden her career options. Dao’s interest in planets and meteor showers led her to researching programs that incorporated both astro-physics and biochemistry. She discovered that McMaster offered a third year Space Medicine course.  Space Medicine, first introduced at McMaster in 2009 and the first of its kind in Canada, allowed Dao to combine all her interests into one field. During her undergrad she co-founded the first student-run astronomy club on campus, the McMaster Observatory Outreach at Night (MOON) Club. Dao was given a full scholarship to attend the Space Studies Program through the International Space University. The program only accepts around 100 students from around the world every year and Dao competed against established professionals working in the space industry. The program, which moves around, will take place this year in Haifa, Israel at the Technion Institute. Following that, Dao will pursue a one-year Master’s of Space Science in France, also through the Space University.


“I had never been to Hamilton before,” laughs Singh, who grew up in Toronto. “But when I came to school here, I felt like I was at home. The feeling of community is really strong here.”

These students are committed to the core Avi Sarker ’16 and Kevin Singh ’16 were two strangers — to each other and to the City of Hamilton —when they entered McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in 2013. But the now tight-knit duo is changing Hamilton’s downtown with a project to help marginalized populations. “I had never been to Hamilton before,” laughs Singh, who grew up in Toronto. “But when I came to school here, I felt like I was at home. The feeling of community is really strong here.” Such a strong feeling, adds Sarker, a native of Edmonton, that they wanted to give back to the city by establishing MacHealth DNA, a community engagement project that partners Faculty of Health Sciences students with the Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre team to deliver care and health advocacy through a clinic in the downtown core.


“McMaster is synonymous with Hamilton and vice versa. It’s a hardworking, blue collar city. But McMaster is in the west end, so there are not a lot of opportunities to get into and give back to the core,” says Singh. “We’re provided with world-class hospitals to do our training. We feel this is the best way to give back to the community.” The clinic runs twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the corner of Rebecca and John Streets, and is a combination of volunteers, medical students and physicians providing care for refugees and disadvantaged people. The project was met with great success, says Sarker. By October they opened MacHealth DNA’s doors to a full run.


The serious business of glitz and glamour By Sarah Janes ‘13


In conversation with Melissa Andre ‘07, owner and creative director of Melissa Andre Events who counts Drake and The Weeknd as clients

Melissa Andre was awarded the McMaster Alumni Arch Award in June 2016. That event was Andre’s first time returning to campus since graduating with a Humanities degree in 2007. The Toronto native knew from a young age she wanted to work in a creative field and event planning was the perfect marriage of creativity and business. She now owns a leading full-service special event and design firm business in both Toronto and Los Angeles. What was your journey growing up and through University? I grew up in Toronto and all through high school I went to performing arts school and always explored activities like singing and dancing, visual art, acting, etc. When I started looking into post-secondary schools I visited the McMaster campus and loved the proximity to Toronto. I worked throughout my time as a student doing experiential marketing, not in a management role but in an execution role, for various drink companies. You have a very artistic background and eventually you began your own, very successful, business. Was that always your goal? When I graduated I started working right away in sponsorship with MAC cosmetics; it’s a creative company, my position was entry level and dealing with sponsorship requests. I quickly moved to the international special events department where I reported into New York and worked events all over the world. The challenge was I had many creative ideas I wanted to execute and no opportunity because the clients were not my own - I was representing a brand. When I started my own company


I was able to convince clients to let me have creative freedom with my ideas. Your company is based in Los Angeles and Toronto. What was the process of establishing and building that business? My business grew faster than I thought; the first three private events I organized were printed in magazines and received widespread publicity. People wanted to see the events I was planning because at the time no one was doing the things I was – it’s about creating an environment that people haven’t seen. There are a lot of celebrities based in LA and they seemed to like what we were doing because it created an experience for guests. We were flying out there often; I now live there almost full time with an office still in Toronto. What celebrities have you worked with? In February I worked with GQ and The Weeknd on a party when Abel had just won two Grammys and he was also celebrating his birthday. My client list also includes Drake, GQ, Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, The Weeknd, DSquared2, RocNation, Lacoste, Guerlain, Ronda Rousey, and Reebok.

What would you say to others thinking about starting their own business? In this industry specifically I would say don’t stop when you think you’ve reached your best. Work harder, think longer, research more and dig deeper. I’m doing my best at the same time as everyone else and my job is to make my clients believe that this is the best they are going to get anywhere. The biggest misconception about event planning is no one sees the hours of work leading up to an event or the research behind the scenes brainstorming ideas – they only see a snapshot that appears on Instagram or in a magazine. What was McMaster’s role in your success? Some of my best friends to this day are people I met at McMaster. The University experience is about learning how to learn and adapt and manage your workflow. Students don’t always realize the transferable skills they are building while at university; it’s important that students be open to the idea of working in a field they did not study.


Photo provided by Melissa Andre


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Whose life is it, anyway? By Allyson Rowley

Medical assistance in dying elbowed its way into public consciousness in 2016, hitting the headlines and provoking heated debate. For Mary Valentich ’63, though, it’s been a very personal journey

Above: Daniel Laurin and Mary Valentich ‘63 hold a photo of Hanne Schafer. “Material republished with the express permission of: Calgary Herald, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.”



“I’m satisfied with my life,” Hanne Schafer wrote in one of her last emails.



n February 29, 2016, Mary Valentich ‘63 flew from Calgary to Vancouver with her friends Hanne Schafer and Hanne’s husband, Daniel Laurin. They arrived in the late afternoon and went for dinner at a posh hotel. “We were friends, all together,” says Valentich. The waiter came to take their order. “This is Hanne’s last supper,” said her husband. of the Division of Palliative Care in McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences. He hopes the recent debates will help bring about “a more compassionate and well-informed conversation about how we as Canadians will look after one another at the end of life.” In his work as a palliative care physician, Shadd is very familiar with The Question that patients can sometimes ask. There are many reasons, he notes. Patients may be afraid of a possible future in which they have no control over their bodies, or they are worried about being a burden to their loved ones, or they are experiencing new symptoms, all of which can be addressed through good palliative care. “My role is to understand the question behind the question,” says Shadd. And there are still more questions. How do we adapt medical school curricula? How do we ensure that a newly legal medical service is universally available, despite moral, religious and ethical objections of health care providers? And what about those whose suffering is unbearable, but whose natural death is not “reasonably foreseeable”? These are some of the many questions that Lisa Schwartz tackles in her role as the Arnold L. Johnson Chair in Health Care Ethics at McMaster. “Medical assistance in death has to be seen as part of a spectrum of care,” she says. “I’d want to know that you are choosing it with full knowledge of all the options.” Another big question is how we name it. Is it suicide, or is it assisted dying? Is it euthanasia or the right to die? Is it assisted or hastened death? “The philosopher in me thinks that’s one of our biggest problems. We don’t know what to call it yet,” says Schwartz, who co-leads sessions on the charged topic with McMaster’s medical students. “I tell my students: What I wish for each and every one of us is the death of our choosing.” For Hanne Schafer, the choice was clear. “I’m satisfied with my life,” she wrote in one of her many emails during her last months. On the way to Vancouver, her husband and her friend continued to ask if she had changed her mind. “She would glance at us lovingly with a half-smile and raise her thumb,” recalls Valentich. Since that day, Valentich has worked tirelessly, along with Schafer’s husband, to fulfill Hanne’s wish to make her story known. “Hanne made activists of all of us. She wanted to educate people about the legal and bureaucratic obstacles she faced at the end of her life,” says Valentich. “I so valued my friendship with her. I can’t help but feel awestruck by someone who goes so bravely to her death.”


And it was. At 7 o’clock that evening, Hanne Schafer became the first person outside Quebec to receive a court-approved, physician-assisted death. Diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 2013, Schafer was now in constant pain, speechless, and confined to a wheel chair. A neck brace held her head, she ate and drank through a tube, and she required 24-hour assistance for all her bodily functions. Fully awake and alert, she was frozen inside a body she could no longer control. “Hanne did everything she could to fight the disease,” says Valentich, a professor emerita in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary. She met her friend 38 years ago, soon after moving to Calgary. A psychologist, Hanne Schafer was attractive, articulate, gifted. After receiving the terrible news in the spring of 2013, she explored every possible option. She contacted medical authorities, attended symposia, reached out to the ALS Society, and scoured the internet for information about her condition, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. But nothing could change the inevitable outcome. By June 2015, Schafer had made her decision. “Hanne was very clear,” says Valentich. “She took the lead and included all of us, to the extent that we wished, in her search.” They discovered only Switzerland offered physicianassisted death to non-residents. But that would have meant an exhausting journey. They learned of the possibility of a court-approved exemption in Canada, following the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling of February 2015. Still, the road ahead was arduous – finding a lawyer, dealing with court postponements, locating willing physicians and pharmacists. “If there was an obstacle, we met it,” says Valentich. Court approval was finally received on Thursday, February 25, and travel arrangements to Vancouver were made for the following Monday. Even booking a funeral home close to the doctors’ office was a challenge. “I had to reassure the funeral director I wasn’t plotting a murder,” Valentich recalls. Still able to type using a few fingers of her left hand, Schafer quipped that the phone conversation sounded “like a Monty Python skit.” While it’s always been possible (and legal) to make the choice to withhold life-preserving treatments and procedures, the legalization of medically hastened death is a major paradigm shift in our society. And it’s all the more challenging for the medical profession, with its time-honoured oath to “not play at God.” “There is nothing easy or straightforward about any of this for anybody,” says Joshua Shadd, a physician and director



Dealing with Traditions D

o you ever feel like the world is going to hell in a handbasket? (Bonus points if you own a handbasket.) Is part of that the sinking feeling that you’re watching an unstoppable erosion of customs and traditions? If these are your worries, fear not. I have the antidote: Hang out at McMaster University. I guarantee your handbasket will make a U-turn. It’s not because Mac has preserved all its long-standing traditions – far from it. Plenty of McMaster traditions come and go. The felty charm of the freshman beanie, for example, is long gone, as is the freshman brush cut. The greased pole climb is also now a thing of the past. Gilbert & Sullivan musicals used to highlight the Mac artistic calendar. Today, not many students know the words to “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General.” Many traditions, however, continue. The PJ Parade, Shinerama and Welcome Week jumpsuits are still going strong. We even rekindled a handful of traditions that were lost for a time. Welcome back Bed Races and Founder’s Day!

Just as exciting are a number of thriving new traditions. The brandnew McMaster flag has been flying since 2015. I’m also particularly proud of the #SelfieWithTheSenator tradition that sees students taking their pictures with the life-sized sculpture of Senator William McMaster donated by the McMaster Alumni Association. These are just a few of the McMaster traditions the Alumni Association helps introduce to students every September when we give them each a special deck of cards at the McMaster Welcome event – another newish Mac tradition. Each card provides an image and brief description of an important piece of McMaster culture. Every time we give out those cards and every time I see first-year students connecting to their McMaster family through traditions old and new, I get the sense that our handbasket is heading in a good direction. Some of the details may change from generation-to-generation, but the Mac family today is what it has always been – a wonderful community of smart people focused on learning, growing and doing great things for the people and world around us. I felt that way when I first stepped on campus 30 years ago and I feel the same today. That’s part of the privilege of being in the McMaster family. If you would like to share your connections with McMaster traditions, please visit our Mac Memories website at I’d be particularly interested in learning about the best ways to get to the top of that greased pole! KAREN MCQUIGGE ‘90, Director, Alumni Advancement


Alumna named McMaster’s first Aboriginal curatorial resident


he McMaster Museum of Art is appointing an alumna as its inaugural Aboriginal Curatorial Resident. During her one-year residency, Rhéanne Chartrand ‘07, ‘08 will develop two campus exhibitions centred on Indigenous art. “The Museum has a strong history of exhibiting and collecting Indigenous art,” says MMA director and chief curator Carol Podedworny. “We are thrilled to now welcome Rhéanne to our team, to learn from, and to share her voice and vision.” “It is a humbling and surreal experience,” Chartrand says. “Walking about campus, I feel sense of nostalgia but also excitement. As the first Aboriginal curatorial resident at the museum, I feel an immense responsibility to engage with the institution’s history, staff, students, alumni and of course - the collections - in a meaningful way. I hope that my creative contributions facilitate dialogue, broader community engagement and transformative learning experiences.” Chartrand’s focus will be contemporary Indigenous artists and the history of curatorial practice related to Indigenous art in Canada. Leading up to the exhibitions, her work at the Museum will include collections research, programming and partnerships with Indigenous communities. Chartrand has worked with numerous galleries and cultural organizations including Aboriginal Pavillion for Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, and aluCine Latin Film+Media Arts Festival. “With the release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, art has a role more than ever in promoting healing and constructive dialogue in support of reconciliation. I’m excited to contribute not only to Indigenous curatorial practice and the presentation of Indigenous art, but also in ways that build up the McMaster’s relationship to Indigenous communities and its efforts to address the TRC,” she says. This residency was made possible by investments from the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost.

Photo provided by Rhéanne Chartrand


MADE AT MAC Companies that could one day be household names are operating out of places like The Forge Downtown, a former furniture store on Hamilton’s James Street North. Entrepreneurs, from left to right: Melissa Houghton, Leo Godreault ‘12, Greg DeLaunay, Shiloh Covey ’15.


By Matt T erry ‘0 Photogra phy by JD 9 Howell ‘0 4 MADE AT MAC

Meet the ma innovator kers, thinkers, s and d creating the produ oers cts services of the fut and ure.


ngineering student Melissa Houghton spends nearly every hour of every day thinking about tomatoes. Ok, that’s not entirely true – she also thinks about lettuce. And fish. The 24-year-old’s life has pretty much been dominated by how to better grow food since a fruitless trip to the grocery store in the fall of 2015. “I couldn’t find any tomatoes that weren’t watery and gross,” she says. “They were all imported, and it made me think: wouldn’t it be nice to be able to buy a Canadian greenhouse-grown tomato?” The problem she encountered at the store was one of global economics: Canadian greenhouses can indeed produce tomatoes, but what they can’t do is compete with cheap vegetables trucked in from Mexico. That means local, but more expensive, produce goes elsewhere, while Canadians are left with imported vegetables that have sat on a truck for days. “There are hundreds of greenhouses not 15 minutes from McMaster, but you’ll very rarely find a Hamilton tomato or a Hamilton cucumber unless it’s summertime,” she says. “Canadian greenhouses just aren’t economically competitive.” Houghton was standing in the produce aisle, debating whether or not to buy an imported tomato, when she had an idea: what if she could harness aquaponics – a growing system that uses fish excrement to fertilize plants grown in water – to help local greenhouses drive down the cost of their produce by increasing crop yields? “I thought to myself, ‘what if I could fix this?’” That question soon become her obsession. And her class project. And her full-time job.


aren’t going to become entrepreneurs,” he says. “But by being exposed to it, they gain skills they might not get in the classroom. That’s our goal.” For startups that do show promise, however, The Forge@Mac provides extra resources: more than $50,000 a year in cash awards and in-kind services, given to winners of an annual pitch competition. It was at one of these competitions that Houghton was able to convince judges of the value of her idea and secure $20,000 in funding for her innovative aquaponics startup, Lumago. “We tell people we make aquaponics systems for greenhouses, and

“Being a student and a CEO aren’t mutually exclusive at McMaster” they always react the same way,” she says. “’Wow, that’s so cool! Wait, what’s aquaponics?’” Unlike hydroponics systems, which use artificial chemicals as fertilizer, aquaponics systems use fish waste, and so are organic. They’re also thought to produce larger plants which are less susceptible to disease. That could mean higher yields – and the use of fewer resources – for local growers. Being a student and a CEO aren’t mutually exclusive at McMaster: Houghton co-founded the company as part of the Engineering


Helping students create the next Apple or Facebook isn’t one of Sean Van Koughnett’s goals. In fact, the word “entrepreneurship” wasn’t even in his job description when he came to McMaster as its new Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning) and Dean of Students in the summer of 2013. But he does want to help teach students how to work as a team, communicate ideas, manage finances and think strategically – skills you can’t help but develop when you’re an entrepreneur. That’s why, in September 2014, he and partners at the City of Hamilton, Mohawk College and business accelerator Innovation Factory teamed up to launch what was then known as Spectrum. Funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence and the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs, the initiative (now known as The Forge@ Mac) provides training, resources and a network of alumni and mentors for students interested in entrepreneurship. The Forge is just one part of a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at McMaster that also includes student clubs, local community groups, residence programming, academic courses and more. “We want to make sure that all students, no matter what they study, have the opportunity to engage in entrepreneurship,” says Van Koughnett. That said, Van Koughnett isn’t measuring the Forge’s success by the number of companies students get off the ground once they graduate. “The vast majority of students who engage with entrepreneurship

In addition to work and meeting space, The Forge@MIP features a high-tech maker space, with tools like a 3D printer and a laser cutter.


Entrepreneurship and Innovation master’s program, which teaches students how to be entrepreneurs through “real-time venture creation.” Houghton assembled her team after the course’s “innovation studio” session, where she met students with experience in greenhouses, chemical engineering and other relevant fields. In addition to funding, Houghton also won a spot for Lumago at one of the two Forge workspaces – something that, according to many McMaster entrepreneurs, might be almost as valuable as cash. The Forge downtown looks like a stereotypical startup office: the former furniture store’s original brick walls have been left exposed, and the space is furnished with stylish chairs, couches, desks and whiteboards. The space also includes a private meeting area and a kitchen. The location at the McMaster Innovation Park is similar, with the addition of a “maker space,” complete with the tools necessary for 21stcentury innovation: a 3D printer, a laser cutter and more. Together, they’re home to more than 30 startups, ranging from a company working to bring auto maintenance right to your door to one that specializes in helping you check off items on your “bucket list.” “Being in the Forge set us up to succeed,” says Leo Godreault ‘12 a Health Sciences grad who spent six months there, working on his wearable healthcare monitoring technology iUGO Health (it was quickly acquired by a BC-based firm for $2M in shares). “It served as a catalyst to move faster than we would have if we didn’t have access to it. It was a great opportunity to be a part of it.” The Engineers behind the Nix Colour Sensor – a ping pong ballsized device that accurately identifies colours – were also located at the

MADE AT MAC Start the Cycle director Shiloh Covey is one of McMaster’s many “social entrepreneurs,” who uses her business skills to take on societal problems – in her case, access to bicycles. Forge before launching a successful Kickstarter campaign, shipping their first 1,000 units and moving out into their own offices. Van Koughnett says these are great success stories for McMaster and the students involved. But he says successful entrepreneurs are also good for the local community. “They’re more likely to stay in the community, form businesses, create jobs – that’s valuable, and we think it’s an important benefit to the region.” Not all McMaster’s entrepreneurial activities, however, are driven by economics – in fact, the University is poised to become a leader in a whole new kind of entrepreneurship.

One of the benefits of shared workspace? The coming together of entrepreneurs with diverse skills and ideas – like Melissa Houghton, left, who works with aquaponics, and Greg DeLaunay, right, who runs a subscription circuit-making service.

Shiloh Covey ‘15 is a different kind of entrepreneur. Like everyone else at the Forge, she wants her company to be successful. And of course she’d love to make some money, eventually. But what really drives the Geography and Environmental Studies grad is her desire to give everyone in the country free access to a bicycle. Covey runs Start the Cycle, a bike-sharing program that harnesses the borrowing infrastructure already in place at local libraries, allowing people to sign out a bike just like they sign out a book. The program is currently running at McMaster and Mohawk College, and ran pilot programs this summer at local recreation centres.



“If you don’t go fast, you die out. Someone else is going to realize it’s a good idea and beat you to the market.”

This sort of “social entrepreneurship” – the use of business skills to tackle social or environmental problems – is becoming common among McMaster’s startup community. “We have some definite strengths here that are different from those found at other universities,” says Van Koughnett. “Social entrepreneurship is one of them.” If you ask Covey what her business goal is, she won’t tell you it’s to make a boatload of money. She’ll tell you it’s to create more cyclists. “Running a social enterprise, you’re focused on creating a sustainable business that also adds social value,” she says. “So for us, that means providing barrier-free access to bikes, especially for young people.” Healthcare has also emerged as an entrepreneurial niche at McMaster, with teams at the Forge working in the areas of surgery, brain injury, mental health and more. “These sorts of projects take some time, and in many cases they’re not going to get the headlines that some of the innovations in tech get,” says Van Koughnett. “But seeing students working on things that will have real impact on people’s lives is one of the best parts about my job.” Houghton’s parents are always asking her when she’s going to start working – which makes her laugh, given how much time she devotes to Lumago. “Sure, I could take a co-op job and make good money and that would be great,” she says. “But I love what I’m doing, and I’m committed to it.” Houghton says she excited about having the opportunity to prove her technology’s worth and to start securing customers – and the paycheques that would follow. Engineering undergrad Greg DeLaunay’s idea is already paying him. TronClub, a subscription-based circuit-building kit delivery service, has sold more than 2,500 units and pulled in $80,000 in revenue. DeLaunay also secured funding at the Spectrum Student Start-up Competition. His days, like Houghton’s, are spent balancing academics with securing funding, tweaking plans and generally working to expand his business. In short, working very hard. And learning fast. “If you don’t go fast, you die out,” Houghton says. “Someone else is going to realize it’s a good idea and beat you to the market.” The Forge is meant to be an accelerator. But it’s also a way to help students fail before sinking time, energy and money into an idea that’s not going to fly. It sounds strange, but the faster an entrepreneur fails, the better. “You’re going to fail at this,” says Houghton. “It’s just a matter of how many times.” “Being at The Forge sets us up to succeed,” say Leo Godreault ‘12, of iUGO Health.


The Forge Downtown resembles many other startup offices, with exposed brick walls and stylish furniture. The space also includes a private meeting area and a kitchen.

This state-of-the-art training platform helps companies and organizations guide employees and others through corporate learning experiences that are engaging and successful. Obie – the platform’s bot is able to answer questions, deliver training and act as a conversational interface during the training. Entrepreneurs: Chris Buttenham ‘13 and Alex Sopinka


The Forge is home to many start-ups at various stages of development, most led by Mac alumni or current students:

A new online platform connecting local events and venues with customers in a geographic area, Bruha allows customers to create their own event and venue content at no cost and acts as a marketing gateway for local artists and promoters to connect with the ticket-buying public. Entrepreneur: Graeme Davis

Founded to create assistive living products that improve the lives of patients and their caregivers, this start-up has hit the ground running, earning investments from the Ontario Centres of Excellence that will help the company sell product and create demand. Entrepreneur: Sina Afshani ‘15

This tech start-up has developed the next must have tool for electronic developers. The low cost machine allows the user to print small batches of circuit boards at lower costs while expediting the time to market. Entrepreneurs: Alan Sawula ’10, ’13, Randy Glenn ’07, Mike Irvine

Filling a need for researchers, universities and industry, this online database allows the research community to list inventories of labs, facilities and equipment opening the door to new collaborations with others. Entrepreneur: Brandon Aubie ‘12

Described as the UBER for student food ordering, this mobile app whose name is an amalgam of the words “hungry” and “angry” aims to satisfy last minute cravings and needs for nourishment. Hungry users can check local menus and options based on their location and then order from their smartphone. A small service fee is added to the user’s bill. Entrpreneurs: Mark Scattolon ‘10 and Fabian Raso.


Across the generations

Following in the footsteps of a nursing pioneer At the end of her second year, McMaster nursing student  Alyssa Te received some good news. She had been awarded a Clara I. Elman Scholarship. “It was such an amazing and pleasant surprise,” says Alyssa, who received the scholarship in recognition of her critical thinking, communication skills, leadership and professionalism. “It reassured me that I was in the right place.” Clara Elman (née Graham) was a nursing pioneer in many ways: The first in her family to attend university, she was one of McMaster’s first three nursing graduates in 1946, and then one of the first faculty members in McMaster’s newly established School of Nursing. In 1954, Clara travelled to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), where she served as a surgical nursing instructor for six years. She also travelled on her own to Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and India. Over the years, Clara and her husband, Russell, established several endowments at McMaster’s School of Nursing to fund scholarships and travel awards. When she passed away, her will included a sizeable bequest to augment her scholarship fund. “Clara Elman’s impact on the School of Nursing has been wonderfully multi-faceted, like a diamond,” says John Kelton, outgoing dean and vicepresident of the Faculty of Health Sciences. “She contributed first as a student, then as a faculty member, and now she will have everlasting influence as a benefactor.” Alyssa Te is set to follow in Clara’s footsteps – she is keen to go abroad once her nursing degree is completed. “I couldn’t ask for a better role model,” says Alyssa. “I really want to say thank you so much.”

To learn more about leaving a gift in your will: Kelly Trickett Project Team Leader—Gift Planning University Advancement McMaster University 905-525-9140, ext. 21990


the Arch

Alumni updates from near and far


Dr. William H. Jones, BA ’54, BD ‘57 and M.Th ‘01 new book about St. Paul, The Wellness of Saint Paul. It deals with Paul’s Hellenistic background and how he overcame his many quirks, to boldly contribute and positively to the development of the Church. 

Dr. Stanley P. Kutcher ’74, ’75, ’79 is a leading expert in adolescent mental health, having worked in mental health research, advocacy, training and policy development for three decades in more than 20 different countries. He is currently a professor in Dalhousie University’s Department of Psychiatry, the Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health at the IMK Health Centre. He is also the director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre in Mental Health Policy and Training Development as well as an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta. Dr Kutcher has been inducted into the Order of Nova Scotia, been named a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences as well as a Goodwill Ambassador for the Guidance, Counselling and Youth Development Centre for Africa.

1960s John C. Washington’s ’61, ’68, BA in Honours Geography, new book Some short stories is comprised of 51 short stories for children at bedtime. In collaboration with Peter L. Hill ’59, who edited, designed and published the book. John and Peter met while both attending McMaster. Jerry Gorman ’62 is the Town of Caledon’s 2016 Senior of the Year for his many years of service as a volunteer and leader. In 2007, he was awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award for Volunteerism and Citizen Achievement. Florence Sage ‘63 (nee Skretkowicz) is a successful poet. Her two collections are Nevertheless: Poems from the Gray Area, and the recent Menagerie. Many have been published in regional literary magazines. Ms. Sage has been an awardwinning newspaper feature writer (National Federation of Press Women), poetry editor for Hipfish arts and culture monthly, a junior college professor in social sciences, and is an organizer of poetry events, including the long-running annual FisherPoets Gathering, and the new Ric’s Poetry Mic in Astoria, Oregon where she has lived for 30 years.

1980s Kathy L. Brock, ’81, ’83, now a Professor at Queen’s University School of Policy Studies and Department of Political Studies, recently concluded a two year term as President of the Canadian Association of Programmes in Public Administration (CAPPA). She also concluded a five year term as a member of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada Board member. She will continue in the role of PastPresident of CAPPA for another two years. Dr. Cheryl Wagner ’82 was named a 2016 YWCA Woman of Distinction for her work as an HIV Primary Care Physician



Mac grad named top cop Eric Girt ’84 is Hamilton’s new Chief of Police. The English and Anthropology grad becomes chief of one of Ontario’s largest municipal law enforcement agencies after serving as deputy chief for the past decade. Girt has been a member of the Hamilton Police Service for more than 30 years. Upon accepting his new position, the new chief talked about his approach to policing. “We want people to get the help,” they need, he said. “We want to reduce use of force if we can.” The Hamilton Police Service employs over 1,200 officers and is the sixth largest in the province. Girt is the service’s 35th chief. Girt serves on the board of directors of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police. He has also been involved in a number of community organizations including on the board of the Hamilton Community Foundation. He is the past president of the John Howard Society and the Special Olympics. He is also a member of the Senate of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and a recipient of the Ontario Crime Control Commission Certificate of Excellence and the Order of Merit of Police Forces. At the announcement, Chief Girt was joined by his wife Tracy, son Ben, daughter Andrea and his mom, Margaret.


published by Mosaic Press. His work has appeared widely in in magazines around the world, including Maisonneuve, Poetry Nottingham, Sub-Terrain, and The Saranac Review.

in Toronto. Wagner’s panoramic approach to health and medical care is an inevitable extension of her personal and world views, shaped by circumstances, secured by conscious and conscientious choices.


1990s Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik ‘90 received the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada. Created by Queen Elizabeth II, the Meritorious Service Decorations recognize Canadians for exceptional deeds that bring honour to our country. Dr. Zakdlik received this award for her tireless work in HIV/AIDS. Zajdlik is the founder of Bracelet of Hope, a grassroots charity that engages Canadians in the fight against AIDS in Africa. Bracelets of Hope is in its 11th year and has raised $5 million which supports ongoing health care for patients, a foster home for children orphaned by the disease, and mentorship between Canadian business owners and counterparts in Lesotho. Farzana Docter ’90 is an author, editor, and registered social worker. She is the author of Stealing Nasreen and Six Metres of Pavement, which won the 2012 Lambda Literary Award, the Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary Lesbian General Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award. In 2011, Doctor was listed by CBC Books as one of “Ten Canadian Women Writers You Need to Read Now.” Her recent novel All Inclusive was named one of the “Best Books of The Year” in The National Post (and McMaster and Hamilton feature prominently!). She is a recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Grant and co-curates the Brockton Writers Series. Farzana is also currently working part time as a social worker in a private practice.


Fareen Samji ’94, ‘98 grew up on the East Coast of Kenya in the small town of Mombasa. In 1999, after graduating with an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a second degree in Kinesiology she earned her tour card playing golf on the Future’s Tour, Players West Tour, Challenge Tour, Asian Tour, South African Tour and Canadian Tour, sporting one win and several top 5 finishes. Through every tour, her driving distance was always the mainstay of her game so that she became a four-time Canadian International Long drive champion. After retiring from professional golf in 2002, Fareen went back to study Radiology Technology and Pedorthics. Today, she is a Canadian Certified Pedorthist at Premier Orthotics Lab in Burlington.

2000s Tammy Hwang `05 is currently working for the City of Hamilton in Economic Development’s Global Hamilton Office helping immigrant and newcomers start and expand businesses in Hamilton. She’s also part of the founding teams for CoMotion Group Inc. and CoBuild Hamilton Inc. CoMotion Group operates coworking spaces in Hamilton and CoBuild is Hamilton’s only industrial coworking space. These locations provide a space for small businesses, artisanal makers, and builders to share resources. Since graduating from the faculty of Humanities, Darrel Epp ’06 has found success as a poet, freelance journalist and playwright. His second poetry collection After Hours has been

Jessie Venegas Garcia ’07 started her career earlier by working at McMaster’s Mini-U program. After attending law school, Venegas Garcia switched her focus to education and created a robust language program, called Starspeaking. Tanya Rumble ’08, a fiercely determined, passionate community contributor has been named a 2016-2017 Association of Fundraising Professionals Inclusion & Philanthropy Fellow. Mike Zaremba ’05 played varsity football while at McMaster and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. In late 2010, he tried floating (a method of short term sensory deprivation in order to enter a deep state of mental and physical relaxation) and recognized the benefits of it immediately so he and his brother Andy Zaremba ‘03, purchased a tank and collaborated for their own entrepreneurial venture; Float House. Today, Float House has 4 locations in British Columbia and 2 more set to open this year. Passionate about the mindfulness movement, with a regular practice of seated meditation, yoga and floating, both Mike and Andy hope to continue to grow this business as much as possible.

2010s Ashley Walsh ’10 and Ben Plested ‘13 met as undergraduate students at McMaster through Ashley’s involvement as a Maroons rep. The pair got engaged at Dundas Peak overlooking Hamilton and this March got married in downtown Toronto. They continue their McMaster pride by never missing a homecoming game! Jane Shadlyn ’11 has been elected as an honoree to the

Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS). She is currently in her fourth year at the Medical School for International Health, continuing on the path of health after majoring in Kinesiology during her time at McMaster. The mission of the GHHS is to recognize individuals who are exemplars of humanistic patient care and who can serve as role models, mentors, and leaders in medicine. Arnav Agarwal ’14 is currently a second-year medical student and the Vice-President Community Affairs for the Medical Society at University of Toronto. He contributes to Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) position papers, helped seek a formal partnership for a student-led U of T program with the City of Toronto and co-lead the organization and promotion of several international health and marginalized population healthfocused conferences. Arnav has contributed as a co-author to over 30 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, position papers and other peer-reviewed publications. A number of his co-authored works have also featured in prominent journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association ( JAMA), Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), and European Urology.








NEW NOAH By Allyson Rowley & Sarah Janes ‘13

Climbing tall trees, growing rare plants, befriending giant tortoises… and getting bit by a scorpion. All in a day’s work for biologist Laura King ’12


ne evening in May, Laura King found herself camping on an uninhabited islet off a tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean. Nestled in the rocks, she watched geckos crawling down the vines and listened to seabirds calling overhead. “This,” she wrote in her blog. “This is why I work and volunteer in conservation.” The 2016 recipient of the “Canada’s New Noah” scholarship, King has been studying endangered species in and around Mauritius since April. Each year, more than 150 candidates apply to Wildlife Preservation Canada for the prestigious scholarship. It covers travel, living and training expenses for the six-month experience that leads to a Durrell Post-Graduate Diploma in Endangered Species Recovery from the University of Kent. The program is based exclusively in Mauritius and is a mix of field placements with eight weeks of classroom work. Home to some of the world’s rarest plants and animals, Mauritius was the only known habitat of the dodo, the flightless bird that went extinct in the 1600s after Europeans discovered the island paradise. King has joined a team of biologists from six other countries to study how to protect, manage and develop endangered species. “For example, we learn how to grow rare native plants, how to climb very tall trees to reach nesting birds, how to survey for boas, and how to do remote field work,” she says. Besides boas, King has become closely acquainted with fruit bats, geckos, skinks, tortoises, pink pigeons, parakeets, and seabirds. Her experience is hands-on in more ways than one – while working on Île


Ronde (Round Island), a nature reserve north of Mauritius, a scorpion stung her left hand, which took about 10 days to fully recover. “I’ve been pretty wildlife obsessed as long as I can remember,” says King, who was literally out in the field even as a child in Ottawa. “But most of all I wanted to make a difference.” She credits the master’s degree she received at McMaster in 2012 with helping her to do just that. Her supervisor, James Quinn, a professor in the Department of Biology, inspired her love of conservation. “He treated me as a biologist, not just a student,” says King. “He sent me to conferences, introduced me to scientists, and supported my work throughout.” King was outdoors in Cootes Paradise almost every day during her two-year program. She also worked as a teaching assistant, took part in the McMaster Outdoor Club, guest-lectured for a community health course at Mac, and led Earth Day hikes at the Royal Botanical Gardens. “Yes, I loved McMaster and my years in Hamilton!” King will be flying out of Mauritius on October 17. Although she has been working in a faraway corner of the globe, the experience has direct relevance to endangered species everywhere. “I think about what it means to be here,” King writes in one of her blogs, “and what I’m going to do when I go back, so that everything I’ve worked on here and learned along the way gets put into practice to help save places like this.” Follow Laura King on Twitter: @LaurasWildlife

Laura King holding a Keel-Scaled Boa during a night survey.


“I’ve been pretty wildlife obsessed as long as I can remember,”

Drawing far right - “In school, we were told to draw what we wanted to be when we grew up. With the exception of the colour of the bird, this is pretty much exactly what I did at McMaster and now in my career – work with waterbirds in the field!”


CANADA’S NEW NOAH Top: An Aldabran Giant Tortoise, native to islands north of Mauritius (Seychelles). The Mauritian species of tortoise went extinct, because Europeans ate them all by the 1700s. Then the forest started to disappear. So Aldabran tortoises were brought over, and they’re doing a great job of eating native plants and spreading their seeds. Bottom left: Screening an endangered Pink Pigeon for disease. Bottom right: Putting leg bands on a Red-Whiskered Bulbul. We get a lot of practice here on wildlife skills that can be hard to get in Canada. Follow Laura King on Twitter @LaurasWildLife


why you matter to




By Allyson Rowley 32




hey have taught psychology to a collective total of more than 130,000 students. Each is legendary for his charismatic teaching style. Both have led the way with innovative approaches to higher education. But the basics still remain for Dick Day ’77 and Joe Kim ’95, ’00 – enthusiasm for their subject and a commitment to giving students the best possible learning experience. this with a great learning experience,” says Kim, who leads the Applied Cognition in Education Lab and organizes the annual McMaster Symposium on Education and Cognition. In 2010, he received McMaster’s Innovator of the Year Award and he and his team received the President’s Award for Excellence in Course and Resource Design. Kim makes full use of today’s technology – interactive web modules, online chat, and live polls, for example, and his Twitter handle is @ProfJoeKim. If you want, you can take his course entirely online. Another version adds a tutorial with a TA. The “deluxe” version includes the weekly live lecture. Kim is quick to point out, though, that he has the data to prove that attending the live lecture and the in-class tutorials significantly adds to student satisfaction as well as their performance in the course. Not too surprisingly, Kim echoes Day’s passion for teaching. “There’s a vibe in the lecture hall,” says Kim. “It gives you a high. It’s very rewarding.”



The year was 1971 and he had come to McMaster for his PhD in psychology. “I was assigned as a TA – or ‘tutor’ as we were called – to IntroPsych1A6,” says Dick Day. Classes were taught using taped lectures, with graduate students leading several sections each. The following year, Day and two other tutors successfully petitioned to run the course themselves. They wrote a handbook, chose a new text, and devised the midterms and final exam. “I really enjoyed that experience and it shaped my love of teaching,” recalls Day. Known to legions of Mac alumni as the prof on the TV screen in their intro to psych class, Day estimates more than 100,000 students have taken his courses over the past 45 years. That’s enough to fill two Rogers Centres, with a few people still left outside. (Perhaps there’s a psychology experiment there.) “The first thing I would say to someone who wants to teach is: Congratulations! You will find teaching rewarding and fulfilling,” says Day, the recipient of a 3M National Teaching Fellowship in 1991. Still going strong with five upper-year psychology courses, he offers a straightforward recipe for successful teaching: Care about your students and care about your material. From the start, Day embraced technology, both to accommodate the large class sizes and to convey the subject matter in the best possible way. When he took over IntroPsych in 1975, that technology consisted of 1-inch, reel-to-reel, black-and-white videotape. “We later moved to Sony Beta, then VHS, and finally in the early 2000s to DVDs,” he recalls. And there were those things called computers. Around 1983, Day bought an IBM PC. It had 265K of memory and it was “the first in the department and almost certainly one of the first on campus.” Day programmed new applications to track student records, created graphics, wrote scripts, composed music, and shot the video. “We even did onlocation shoots around Hamilton to illustrate the lectures.” Along the way, Day had started to do something even more radical. He was using undergraduates as his tutors. One of them was Joe Kim, whom Day remembers as “one of our best and most successful, someone we could always count on.” In 2007 Joe Kim took over from Dick Day as the MacIntroPsych Coordinator. Kim credits his mentor for innovation on a number of fronts. “Even today, people are surprised we use undergrads for our TAs,” says Kim. “These are students who are really hungry to be teachers.” Their ratings are sky-high, and Kim will routinely receive 200 applications for 20 available positions. Kim also followed Day’s lead in making the primary course content available in advance, so in-class time can be used much more productively. But Kim made the decision to offer a live lecture every week. “I always say in my first talk: This is the most practical course you will ever take. Everything you learn in this class will change the way you see yourself and the world!” His course accommodates 2,400 students per semester, but Kim’s TAs are tasked with learning everyone’s name in the tutorials. “I want students to know they’re not just a number, that they will come out of


Memoriam 1940s Rev. Paul F. Beech ’46, ‘49 passed away June 25, 2016 while in hospice. He received his BD from Divinity College and became a lifelong pastor in both the Canadian Baptist and American Baptist denominations. He moved to New York State in 1952 and remained there until his retirement in 1985.

1280 MAIN

1950s Fred Christmas ‘51 died January 25, 2016 at the age of 86.  His time at McMaster was filled with music, in particular Barbershop, in which he sang with a quartet called College Chords.  He went on to study law at Osgoode Law School and then practiced law in Hamilton for many years and was honoured with a QC appointment.  Fred founded and led the Hamilton Police Chorus.  Lovingly remembered by his wife, Colette, sisters, Ann Gollinger (Bob ’61) and Jane Lemke and children, Cathy Haig, Tom Christmas, Jane Christmas ‘86, and Anna Dominique ‘88 and grandchildren.

Cyril Wilkinson ’55, ’56 passed away peacefully at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital on April 25, 2015. Missed by Janet, his wife of 56 years, their daughters, his sister and many nieces and nephews. As a physical education teacher at Rideway-Crystal Beach High School and East Elgin and Central Elgin Secondary Schools, he coached many sports over his 32 year teaching career. He was inducted into the Ridgeway-Crystal Beach Sports Hall of Fame. Margaret Ruth Harrison (nee Lee), ‘56, passed away on April 30th, 2016. From McMaster, Ruth had gone on to a teaching career primarily in Deep River, Ontario where she taught English as a Second Language for decades. She married T Evans Harrison and they have 3 children and a granddaughter. (Agnes) Marilyn Jones (nee Duff) ’52 died June 13th, 2016 in her 86th year. Born and raised in Hamilton, she played tennis during her time as an undergraduate student at McMaster. In 1954 she married Robert Vernon Albert Jones and in the years before their first child was born, she

John Campbell John’s Lowlands accent, bred in his native Ayrshire, Scotland, invariably gave a colourful edge to whatever he had to say. His sharp wit, keen sense of humour, facile turn of phrase, and acute sense of the ironic were also his hallmarks. After graduating with honours from Glasgow University, John pursued graduate work, first at Brown University, and then at Yale. His doctoral studies at the latter were temporarily interrupted by a mandatory stint in Britain’s National Service. After completing military duty and picking up corporal stripes, John returned to Yale completing his PhD. He joined McMaster’s History Department in 1961 as its first fully fledged American specialist, later serving as a two-term Chair. His


worked diligently as a teacher in Hamilton.

1960s Arthur Durksen ’63 passed away on December 26th, 2015 at the age of 89. Missed by his wife of 64 years, Anne, his children, and his 24 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Ronald Crosby Davidson ’63, noted Canadian physicist, professor and scientific administrator died on May 19, 2016. He served as the first director of the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center from 1978 to 1988, and as director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory from 1991 to 1996. He was a Professor of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University since 1991. Vida Ruth (nee Seifert) ’69 died in Guelph General Hospital on Sunday April 10, 2016, at the age of 68. Born in Winnipeg, MB, she later moved with her family to Sudbury, ON. She attended McMaster University from which she graduated with a degree in history, and in 1969 married Colin Bain who she had met at McMaster. From 1974 to 2001,

Vida taught in both the elementary and secondary schools of the Halton District School District in Oakville, Brookville, and Burlington, ON. 

1970s Mohamed Kamel ’74 graduated from the Faculty of Science. Kamel was a Professor Emeritus and Director of the Center for Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He held a University Research Chair from 2008 to 2015 and Canada Research Chair in Cooperative Intelligent Systems from 2001 to 2008.

1990s Jennifer McTavish ’92 died May 13, 2015, following a lengthy struggle with cancer. Jen had great passion for her profession as a Grade 8 mathematics teacher at Margaret Avenue Senior Elementary School, Kitchener - often speaking with sincerity about the privilege of being able to do what one loves. She was a loving wife of Bob Dingman, caring mother of Cam and Will and will be deeply missed by her parents and family.

American courses, based on painstakingly crafted lecture notes, were later complemented by ones in military history, dealing principally with the two world wars of the 20th century. His research on the military front was embodied in a series of well received articles and a monograph about the calamitous Dieppe Raid of 1942. He also contributed an entry on Sir John Masterman, the wartime spymaster, to the Dictionary of National Biography. Outside the lecture hall and the office, John became a seasoned traveler to many foreign parts as well as to his native Scotland where visits with family always seemed to reinforce his accent. Back in Canada, his abundant energy found ready outlets on squash and tennis courts, primarily at the Thistle Club and the Hamilton Tennis Club. After a long bout with Parkinson’s, John died on 31 March 2016, in his 83rd year. He was predeceased by his wife, Jenny, and is survived by a sister, Elizabeth Baird, and a sister-in-law, Nina Elchuk.





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Fall McMaster Times2016  

McMaster Times is the newsmagazine of McMaster University Alumni.

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