Mac Magazine Fall 2017

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Meet the Mac grads changing how we work + shop + communicate + live


Fall 2017 VOL. 1, Issue 1

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CONTENTS VOL. 1, Issue 1

First Person McMaster stories from the field



Fall 2017 VOL. 1, Issue 1

“Ready to take the next step?” a student researcher asks a community member at the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE). He is monitoring the participant’s heart rate and exertion level determining how exercise impacts cognitive function in advancing age. - Ana Kovacevic - Kinesiology




9 O Cannabis! 16 The Disruptors 22 Alone Against the Arctic


Indigenous high schoolers visit

6 7

Campus expansion

6 14 26 30 34 34

Unlocking secrets in our teeth

Around the Oval Meet McMaster Under the Arch Then & Now In Memoriam Alumni Directions


AVP, Communications and Public Affairs Andrea Farquhar


Managing Editor Gord Arbeau Art Director JD Howell ’04 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; Jennifer Mitton ‘99, member-at-large; Krishna Nadella ‘02, member-at-large; Norm Schleehahn ‘01, member-at-large; Margaret Zanel ‘89, member-at-large

Representatives to the University Senate Gary Collins ‘90, Elizabeth Manganelli ’78, Moira Taylor, ’84 & ’86

Representatives to the University Board of Governors Quentin Broad ’86 & ‘88, David Feather ‘85 & ‘89, Brad Merkel ’85, Jennifer Rowe ‘86, Sandra Stephenson ‘78

Mac the Magazine for Alumni and Friends is published bi-annually by Communications and Public Affairs in co-operation with The McMaster 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 –


Cert no. SW-COC-2113


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

Welcome to a

A Brighter World When I meet with alumni, students, donors and government leaders I hear a consistent message about McMaster: “This is one of the world’s best universities - we should do more to tell people about it.” It has never been the McMaster approach to boast about our achievements. Rather we have historically relied on earned media to tell the world about the outstanding research and innovative teaching that takes place across our campus. While we have had great success earning significant international, national and local media coverage, and have grown sizeable and highly engaged social communities, it is clear that the postsecondary education landscape is changing dramatically in this respect, and we need to change with it. It is time for McMaster to stand out from the crowd and differentiate ourselves with a unified brand and marketing presence. Over the last couple of years we have undertaken a significant brand marketing initiative intended to build upon McMaster’s national and international reputation as a highly recognized research-intensive university, and promote the University’s impact and success as a research-focused student-centred institution. Following extensive consultation across campus the positioning statement, “advancing human and societal health and well-being”, was adopted, and we have subsequently been working to develop a new brand platform and establish a strategic plan to guide our marketing efforts over the next three years. Feedback was sought from alumni, supporters, faculty and students to help shape the approach being taken. Following these discussions, more than thirty creative concepts were then tested extensively across a broad group of internal and external stakeholders. Overwhelmingly positive support was received for the Brighter World brand platform. Brighter World is intended to communicate our optimism and ability to advance human and societal health and well-being, reflect the positive impact that McMaster’s researchers, students and alumni seek to have on the world, and present McMaster to a global audience as an outstanding institution for research, learning and teaching. The platform is flexible enough to be used across the University and will support our goal of attracting and developing partnerships and funding opportunities, as well as providing a further means to engage students, faculty, staff, alumni and other members of our community around a shared vision and goal. The formal introduction of the Brighter World brand platform, which began this summer, is supported by a number of investments in and upgrades of priority McMaster websites, and will be amplified by traditional and digital paid media this Fall. You’ll even notice the new brand during your next campus visit with more than sixty lamp-post banners featuring McMaster researchers and alumni installed. There’s a refreshed colour palette, updated typography standards, and image treatments and elements for both traditional and digital formats. I regard these as exciting developments and I look forward to the launch of the branding platform and the positive engagement and impact we hope will result from it. As a member of our alumni community, or as a friend of McMaster, I hope that you’ll find reason to be proud of the overall Brighter World approach – not just of its visible manifestation in print, digital and on-campus advertising and signage, but in the reaffirmation of the positive and optimistic mission for McMaster that it betokens.

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

A new magazine for a new brand


We hope you have noticed the magazine you’re reading is an improved update to the McMaster publications you have been receiving as a friend or alumni of the University. The upgrades are meant to provide you with a clearer, more compelling and Meet the Mac grads changing how we work + shop + communicate + live interesting overview of what’s happening on campus and in our community. Our thanks to the many who participated in our alumni survey. Your input helped guide our THE NEWS MAGAZINE Fall 2017 redesign and fresh approach to content. These changes begin with a new name: MAC – The news magazine for alumni and friends. This magazine has had many names over the years, most recently McMaster Times. We thought it was appropriate the magazine name be tied more directly to McMaster, hence the name MAC, a common answer to the question: Where did you go to school? Inside you’ll find a magazine that’s easier to read and we hope, more compelling. Popular regular features remain: Then and Now, Around the Oval, Under the Arch and Meet McMaster, along with interesting cover and feature stories and news. We are also launching a brand new online version of the magazine which will feature great content digitally. A new Winter online-only issue is in the works. We hope you enjoy this new magazine and thanks for your readership and ongoing interest in all things MAC! FOR ALUMNI & FRIENDS

VOL. 1, Issue 1

Gord Arbeau Managing Editor

Brighter World brand story


Look for the Brighter World this fall on: VISUALbrand EXPRESSION VOICE

- New and re-designed University websites and pages ACCESSIBILITY - National and international print and digital media advertising - Signage and banners across campus - Print publications and materials

Our brand story distills all the facets of McMaster’s wider brand promise into a single narrative that captures the core of the University’s brand: This is a time of technological revolution, economic upheaval and environmental disruption. These challenges create great opportunity. The opportunity to approach problem-solving differently. To encourage and support different perspectives. To find answers to complex problems across Focused onare theeager world’stowell-being. a wide range of disciplines, from innovative thinkers who share their ideas in a spirit of openness, inclusiveness and collaboration.

Health, technology, the environment, the economy — they’re all interconnected. Just as our shared challenges intermingle, so too must our solutions. At McMaster University, we take a collaborative approach to improve people’s lives, contribute to global knowledge and advance the health and well-being of the world around us. It’s how we research and how we teach. It’s our commitment to creating a brighter world. Featured Researchers: Mike Noseworthy, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Co-director, McMaster School of Biomedical Engineering; Dr. Sheila Singh, Associate Professor, Surgery; Canada Research Chair in Human Cancer Stem Cell Biology

At McMaster University, we welcome those thinkers. We’ve always believed that human and societal health and well-being depend on sharing creative,

w w w. m c m a s t e r. c a


diverse thoughts and ideas. We’re no ivory tower, our dynamic network of students, researchers, faculty and alumni connects and collaborates with the community and the world at large. We believe new ideas and perspectives make for smarter thinking and better solutions, that collaborative thinking is a gateway to greater intelligence and greater optimism. It’s helping us create a Brighter World.

Version 1.0

McMaster University Brand Standards Manual

< 7 >

AROUND THE OVAL News and notes from campus

Seniors and students make home a little sweeter Hamilton seniors and McMaster graduate students are getting connected in a new way. McMaster Symbiosis is a co-housing program that matches current graduate students in need of low-cost housing with local seniors who have a spare room and need some extra support. The result? A relationship that reduces costs – and isolation – for both student and senior. McMaster Symbiosis is the dream of Soumeya Abed, a McMaster postdoctoral fellow. Through Spices – a funding program focused on innovative ideas meant to help build graduate and postdoctoral community at McMaster – Abed joined forces with staff from the School of Graduate Studies and undergraduate student Swatie Maharaj. The group is reaching out to a number of local seniors’ groups and associations to help find great matches for the graduate students. The Symbiosis team works with seniors and students, helping them identify and define their expectations. Following one-on-one interviews and a home visit, Symbiosis will match a senior with a student and coordinate a face-to-face meeting, giving both an opportunity to talk about expectations and decide if the program – and this match – is for them. The pilot program matched five to 10 seniors with students this past summer. Move-in happens this fall, with the pilot coming to a close in May 2018. During the school year, the Symbiosis team hopes to organize social events where participants can share experiences and help to build the Symbiosis community.

Campus Expansion Mac’s athletic and student spaces are about to get bigger and better. Students approved expanding and improving activity and athletic space, including adding nearly 100,000 sq. ft. of fitness studios, study areas, multi-faith and meeting facilities. The new space should open in time for the 2019 school year.

Indigenous high schoolers visit A visiting group of Indigenous high schoolers got a taste of university-level science. They visited campus as part of a special workshop hosted by the Integrated Science program. Students from across the province took part in hands-on science activities in forensics, water, insects and the environment.

Mac leads cancer-fighting immunotherapy The result? A relationship that reduces costs and isolation for both student and senior.”


McMaster experts are leading the fight against Canada’s most common form of cancer by developing a novel experimental immunotherapy treatment. A Hamilton patient is the first trial participant to receive the MG1MA3 virus to combat lung cancer. The therapy combines two viruses with an approved drug to stimulate the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. The two engineered viruses were jointly developed by McMaster’s Brian Lichty working with collaborators at the University of Ottawa and Hamilton Health Sciences. This trial is primarily funded and sponsored by a company co-founded by Lichty, with support from the BioCanRx and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. “We have come a long way in improving patients’ survival rates and outcomes but we can do more. Immunotherapy is the leading edge of a new wave of cancer treatment,” says Rosalyn Juergens, associate professor in oncology at McMaster, and member of the team involved in the project.

Friendship bench opens door for mental health A bright yellow bench sits in McMaster’s Health Sciences library, but has more significance than just another place to sit, study or chat. The Friendship Bench is a place where students may connect with a friend, a classmate or a kind stranger. When someone sits on the bench, they are asking in a brave way for a new friend, someone to listen or simply a shoulder to cry on. McMaster’s first Friendship Bench is the gift of the family and friends of Dr. Robert Chu, a graduate of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. Robert took his life on September 5, 2016, when he was 25.

Unlocking secrets in our teeth The story of humanity’s vital – and fragile – relationship with the sun has been locked inside our teeth for hundreds of thousands of years. A new method is starting to tease out answers to major questions of evolution and migration, using clues hidden just under the enamel. McMaster researchers reveal the potential of the method in a paper in Current Anthropology. “This is exciting because we now have a proven resource that could finally bring definitive answers to fundamental questions about the early movements and conditions of human populations – and new information about the importance of vitamin D,” says McMaster anthropologist and Canada Research Chair Megan Brickley.

In 2016, the researchers first established that dentine – the material that forms the bulk of the tooth – carries a permanent record of vitamin D deficiency, or rickets. During periods of severe deficiency, new layers of dentine cannot mineralize, leaving microscopic markers scientists can read like rings of a tree. Those markers can tell the story of human adaptation when early man moved from equatorial Africa into lower-light regions, and may explain changes in skin pigmentation to metabolize more sunlight, or how indoor living has silently damaged human health. Until now, there has been no reliable way to measure vitamin D deficiency over time. The method is valuable for understanding a health condition that today affects more than one billion.



Rising higher Fuelled by significant increases in published and cited research and improved academic performance, McMaster has climbed higher in a respected global ranking of the world’s best universities. McMaster is 66th in the world and third in Canada in the 2017 Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities. The University vaults 17 places from its 2016 ranking where it was 83rd in the world and fourth in Canada. “This is an outstanding result for McMaster,” says President Patrick Deane. “Our faculty, students, and staff should take full credit for this improvement in the worldwide rankings. It is particularly important that as a research-intensive University, McMaster’s academic and research performance are producing these gains.” In Canada, McMaster ranks in the top three universities with the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia. The rankings group considers many factors as it compiles its results. It analyses eleven years of respected research publications to determine the university’s citation frequency. McMaster broadened the depth and number of researchers regularly appearing in these select publications. Earlier this year, McMaster rose in the QS Global Rankings to 140 in the world, a rise of 9 spots from the previous year.

I have worked in universities for more than 40 years and have always–indeed increasingly– been invigorated by the way students have challenged received wisdom and advanced the human intellectual and social project. If there was ever a gap between us, I have strained to hear your voices from the other side. President Patrick Deane ‘11 (Hon) Spring Convocation Address, June 2017


O CANNABIS! The highs and lows of legalization By Allyson Rowley

On July 1, 2018, Canada is due to become the first G7 country to nationally legalize the recreational use of marijuana. We weed through fact and fiction, and try to clear the smoke on the collective experiment we’re all about to experience.

Above: Illustrations from The herball or Generall historie of plantes by John Gerard, published in London in 1636. From the rare book collection of the William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections at McMaster University.


It’s been called gift of the gods, sacred grass, weed from the devil’s garden, assassin of youth. For thousands of years, it’s been used for textiles, sails, rope, paper, edible seeds, oils, fuel, crop shelter, and medicinal remedies. Sacred rituals have been created around it, powerful economies built upon it, and equally powerful political movements have tried to eradicate it. Cannabis is a simple weed with a complicated story. Really, it’s just a very useful plant that grows on our green Earth. And somewhere along the way, humans discovered it can also make us high. Come Canada Day 2018, federal legislation is expected to pass, granting those over the age of 18 the right to possess, share, purchase, and grow small amounts of legal cannabis. How it will be distributed, sold, and policed will be up to the provinces and territories, who can also decide to set a minimum legal age above 18. Canada was the first country to legalize medicinal cannabis (in 2001) and that right will remain in place. Ironically, Canada was also one of the first countries to ban it (in 1923). “It’s a fascinating subject,” says drug policy expert Michael DeVillaer. “For all living Canadians, we have never experienced the creation of a new legal drug industry. It’s quite novel for all of us.” A faculty member in McMaster’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences as well as the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, DeVillaer has contributed to the development of Ontario’s addiction treatment system over the past three decades. In February 2017, he authored “Cannabis Law Reform in Canada: Pretense & Perils,” a 110-page report presented to the federal government. Two years in the making, his report examines the price society has already paid with the tobacco, alcohol, and pharmaceutical industries and their profit-based business models. “We now have an opportunity to try something different to protect public health,” says DeVillaer. He recommends the establishment of a not-for-profit cannabis authority to regulate the new industry. He also advocates for immediate decriminalization for possession of small amounts of cannabis – and he suggests moving more slowly toward legalization. “This could have an enormous influence on Canadian society,” he states. “Should teenagers be using cannabis? My answer is no,” says Christina Grant ’94, a McMaster pediatrician who specializes in adolescent health. However, Grant readily acknowledges the reality: By the time they are 15, one-third of Canadian youth have already experimented with marijuana. Three years ago, she and Richard Bélanger, a colleague from Université Laval, stepped up to research a position statement for the Canadian Pediatrics Society. “Cannabis and Canada’s children and youth” was published last fall and posted online in May 2017. “Our position wasn’t to say yay or nay to legalization. We felt


Exploring the highs and lows of cannabis use… (L. to R.) pediatrician Christina Grant, drug policy expert Michael DeVillaer and psychiatrist Catharine Munn. “For all living Canadians, we have never experienced the creation of a new legal drug industry,” says DeVillaer. “It’s quite novel for all of us.”

the horse was already out of the barn,” says Grant. Rather, the coauthors wanted to equip pediatricians, parents, and youth with the most up-to-date scientific evidence. Grant explains we now know the brain continues to develop until at least age 25. Not only is cannabis addictive, it can also create significant changes in the young brain that can impact mental health, social skills, attention span, and longterm planning. Grant also notes that today’s marijuana is a lot more potent than the pot smoked in the sixties and seventies. And with the proliferation of edibles like cookies and gummies, young children (and pets) are at serious risk for accidental overdose from these toxic goodies. Grant and Bélanger recommend keeping the minimum legal age at 18, rather than potentially forcing young people underground. However, their report stresses the need to mitigate the temptations and risks to youth – for example, prohibiting dispensaries from being located near schools. “When people think of drug abuse, they think of opioids and heroin,” says Grant. “But for an adolescent medical specialist in Canada, it’s youth with cannabis use disorder that we see, day in, day out.” Catharine Munn ’95, ’00, ’07 also spends her days helping young people deal with any number of health concerns, including


addiction and substance abuse. “I am here for students,” says Munn, lead psychiatrist at McMaster’s Student Wellness Centre, a comprehensive health care facility. “There’s a perception that marijuana is a harmless drug,” she says. While Munn recognizes there are some limited medicinal benefits, she emphasizes it’s also “the number one drug that youth enter into in-patient drug treatment programs for.” In March 2017, Munn co-chaired Cannabis on Campus, a public forum that brought together stakeholders, students and researchers. The forum was followed by a paper from the McMaster Health Forum, published online in April. Munn points out that marijuana is prohibited on campus and the University is also in the process of becoming a smoke-free campus. Munn encourages parents to talk about marijuana with their teens. “Have a conversation, based on evidence.” She acknowledges there are many positives about legalization – notably, there will be more control over the product and young people won’t have a criminal record for the rest of their lives. For the time being, though, “it’s a bit of a wild west,” says Munn. “There are good things about legalization, but we have to enter this with eyes wide open.”


Leading the way in cannabis research

Our position wasn’t to say yay or nay to legalization. We felt the horse was already out of the barn”

This summer, the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine Initiative for Innovation in Healthcare launched the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research. Generously funded by Michael G. DeGroote and the Boris family, the Centre will leverage world-renowned expertise at McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. The authoritative voice for the clinical understanding of medicinal cannabis, the Centre will use the highest standards of evidence-based research methodology to develop an online portal of research and to advance scientific discovery. The Centre will also create a network of researchers, clinicians, industry professionals and patients to advance the clinical understanding of cannabis -- with a focus on its therapeutic potential for chronic pain as well as any unintended consequences of its use. Go to for more info.


Alumni and Friends Travel 2018 We are heading to some amazing destinations in 2018, and we invite you to join us! Cruise spectacular waterways, through the storied rivers of Europe. Discover the rich natural and cultural heritage of southern Africa. Immerse yourself in the unique landscapes of South America. View glacier-fed waterfalls, boiling mud pools and moss-covered cliffs on a whirlwind journey in Iceland.

For more information on any of our trips, or to join the alumni travel mailing list, contact Jessica: 905-525-9140 ext. 24882 or 1-888-217-6003, or visit

Our 2018 travel program features a wide-variety of trips around the globe.


Explore. Develop. Engage. McMaster alumni within 10 years of graduation can access career resources, learning opportunities and tools to help you establish, advance or transition your career. • • • • •

Access videos, tips & tutorials online Attend workshops and networking events Participate in online networking or mentoring Book a consultation with Alumni Career Counsellor, Jillian Perkins-Marsh Build your network of fellow alumni and make opportunities at your workplace available to current students

Discover all the ways you can connect by visiting and



Leader of the (six) pack Meet the Science grad taking a 90-year-old crown corporation into the tech-obsessed, big data-driven, craft-loving future of consumer alcohol sales. By Matt Terry ‘09

From its roots as a Prohibition Era-ending compromise between teetotalers and free marketeers to an organization with more than $5.5B in revenue, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario has seen a great deal of change in 90 years. Leading it through the next wave of change is President, CEO and Science grad George Soleas ‘83, who says that when it comes to reinventing the LCBO, “the opportunities are endless.”

Are younger people a key audience marker? We’re also listening to our Millennial customers and we will be using more digital technology to serve them better. That means improving our app, using beacon RFIDs to locate our product consultants in store, introducing digital screens and more. We also see a future with more “retail theatre” where mixologists will be on site putting together cocktails to try. Customer data is another area that is increasingly important and it will enable us to personalize the digital shopping experience, including the convenience of receiving personalized recommendations to your phone.

What does the LCBO of, say, 2027 look like? Our vision is for customers to be able to shop the world and get any product they want from anywhere using our relationships with 86 countries. We plan on offering 17,000 products online by the end of 2017. We will also be introducing a wine gift registry and personalized wine cellars, where you give us a budget and we choose what you should store based on your tastes. Our customers are loving local right now and we plan to offer a more locally-tailored in-store experience that offers a broader selection of artisanal and craft products from Ontario.

A robust wine industry, the opening of craft breweries and distilleries – what’s going on in Ontario? Ontario is home to a thriving beverage alcohol industry and we are seeing worldclass, award-winning products being produced right here in our own backyard. Purchasing an Ontario product also comes with a sense of pride in knowing that you are fuelling the local economy. Our local distillers, winemakers and brewers and cideries are extremely passionate about what they do and we are seeing global recognition in terms of quality, selection and innovation. There is also a trend of younger people getting into the industry, which has resulted in more artisanal products.

Was “running the LCBO” on your list of things to do after university? Not at all! My training and education (including both my master’s and PhD) was in the science field and I saw myself working in health sciences. It wasn’t until I was recruited by an Ontario winery to set up their lab that I found my niche. Working with the local wine industry sparked a new passion for me and I went on to be trained in winemaking at the University of California, Davis. It was in 1997 that I joined the LCBO as the Director of Quality Assurance. I am a strong believer in staying close to your education and that, coupled with hard work, has led me to where I am today. You have an extensive background in the wine industry, but we probably can’t get you to pick favourites – so what is your favourite fall cocktail, and why? It’s hard for me to pick one favourite, as I love experimenting and trying new things. I love single malt scotches, older tequilas and red, white and rose wines. The type of wine I reach for always depends on the social occasion.

Soleas was inducted into the McMaster Alumni Gallery in June 2017. For more on his journey from McMaster to the LCBO please go to:





Meet the Mac grads changing how we work + shop + communicate + live 16

When the members of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO) took to the stage for their last concert of the 2016-2017 season, it wasn’t to give a traditional performance. In fact, the group didn’t even use a stage. Instead, the orchestra gathered on the floor of the auditorium, where they were encircled by the audience. Visuals supporting the music were projected onto large screens around the venue. At intermission, listeners could join the musicians for a drink at the bar, where they were encouraged to ask questions about classical music. The goal of this “intimate and immersive” concert experience? To shake up what can sometimes be the somewhat stuffy experience of attending a classical music performance. To shrink the distance, both literally and figuratively, between musicians and their listeners.


By Matt Terry ‘09 Photography By JD Howell ’04


When most people think about industries in disruption, they think about cab drivers competing with Uber, Airbnb taking on hotel chains or the move from landlines to mobile phones. But not even the orchestra can escape today’s rapid pace of technological change. “Our competitor is not the orchestra down the road,” says the HPO’s executive director Diana Weir ’08, ’16. “It’s the restaurant you want to go to, the play you want to see and, increasingly, it’s also the Netflix show you’re thinking of watching.” The streaming entertainment service is just one example of the many things now competing for our attention, keeping us from attending live musical performances, or perhaps taking up an instrument. That’s why Weir and her colleagues at the HPO have taken a page from the Silicon Valley playbook and established a culture of research and development that allows their organization to embrace disruption. “We know that the way we’ve always been doing things is being disrupted through technology, changing consumer desires, automation and robotics,” says Weir. “So how do we respond to those things in as agile and nimble a way as possible, without sacrificing our core product?” Evidently, you do it by getting creative. In addition to bringing audiences closer to musicians, in recent years the HPO has also teamed up with local indie bands, performed in art galleries, and given concerts and talks in seniors’ residences. According to Weir, it’s all designed to make it as easy as possible to experience the orchestra and, hopefully, get you to press pause on Game of Thrones. Being creative enough to head off disruption in your industry, however, isn’t as easy as it sounds -- especially when change hits quickly. “We tend to get stuck in the way we do things,” says Goran Calic, an assistant professor of strategic management in the DeGroote School of Business, who studies why some organizations are more innovative than others. “Many organizations suffer from various forms of rigidity [the inability or unwillingness to do things differently], and then they struggle when a company like Uber comes along and breaks all the rules. Of course, if we want innovation, we’re going to need people to break some rules.” Calic says companies who successfully deal with disruption have learned how to structure themselves in ways that allow for creativity at all levels. “Think of it like a three-layer cake,” he says. “A truly innovative organization understands how to structure their teams, how their teams work together and what abilities the individuals in those teams have.” Jeffrey Doucet ’13 is carving out a leadership role in an industry that is full of disruption: software development. “If you work in software your industry is constantly evolving,” he says. He’s the CEO and co-founder of CareerJSM -- the first comprehensive job search management platform designed specifically for campus career centres. “As an entrepreneur you need to be constantly learning and adapting to new technologies, processes and opportunities. You need to simply change and evolve with market trends to ensure you are offering the best product possible to your customers.” Doucet agrees with Professor Calic that it’s important to “break some rules” and be free to make mistakes along the way. “Disruptive ideas don’t just happen, they evolve. Most of my ‘great ideas’ have had fundamental flaws that I learned about once I pitched the idea to a customer or user. If you are an early stage entrepreneur, focus on a problem you care about and relentlessly search for feedback.” Mark Costin ’81 has a front-row seat in the heart of the disruptive economy. He’s a functional safety engineer in Silicon Valley, working


for NVIDIA, a tech company best known for creating graphic processors for the gaming industry. Now NVIDIA is working on systems to help power autonomous vehicles. A future with driverless cars is not that far away. “Autonomous vehicles could reduce traffic accidents and improve traffic flow and safety,” he says. “They will also help improve efficient movement of goods and productivity.” Back at the Philharmonic, implementing new ideas hasn’t been easy. The HPO team has so far been successful in coming up with new ideas aimed at drawing crowds to concerts. But they face other challenges. “Symphonic and operatic art forms are expensive, and we don’t get to benefit from productivity gains like, say, a factory might,” says Weir. “A Wagner opera is two and a half hours long today, just as it was in 1895. It takes the same number of musicians, playing the same kind of instruments. We’re not going to replace our musicians with robots, so it doesn’t really get cheaper or faster to perform.”

In short, the organization must face the challenges posed by new technologies without gaining many of the benefits those technologies offer their competitors. “We have the infrastructure in place for idea generation, can adjust our activities accordingly and we’re getting used to putting new ideas into action,” says Weir. Even the nature of what is disruptive is changing quickly, says Doucet. Soon industries and patterns we consider to be outside of the norm will be viewed as traditional and staid. This will create significant challenges and opportunities for those entering the workforce, those in mid-career and those leading teams. “The City of Toronto added 22,000 tech jobs in 2016 and software continues to dramatically change fields that would be labeled as traditional places of work,” he says. “In five to 10 years, understanding how software is built and used in the work place will look similar on your resume to be competent in Microsoft Office.”

The disruptors: Fady Makram, VP Product and Lead Engineer, Chris Buttenham ’13, CEO, and Carolyn Chong at

The disruption: Obie is a virtual assistant and continuous learning bot (brought to life in the form of a cute little beaver, of course) that helps teams access information, make faster decisions and be more informed. It’s designed to feel like the messaging apps many of us use every day. Interestingly, it exists inside another disruptive tool: Slack.

The disrupted: The way we work. The team behind Obie was inspired by their first corporate jobs, which

started with “an outdated handbook and absentee training processes.” Their mission? To get new employees up to speed quickly, and make company information universally accessible.

The disruptor: Mark Costin ’81, Functional Safety Engineer at NVIDIA The disruption: The tech company is best known for designing



graphics processing units for the gaming industry, but it recently expanded into other markets, including artificial intelligence and automobiles -- which is where Costin comes in. He’s part of a team of people working on one of our future modes of transportation: fully autonomous cars that require no human intervention.

The disrupted: The way we get around. Costin points out that driverless cars could lead to fewer automobile accidents, increased productivity and better traffic flows -- not to mention give us the opportunity to rent our cars out, when we’re not using them.


The disruptor: Jeffrey Doucet ’13, CEO of careerJSM



The disruption: careerJSM is a job search management tool for campus career centres. The software is meant to help entry-level job seekers by offering job listings, interview prep, networking help and more, all in one place.

The disrupted: The way we look for our first jobs. Anyone who

remembers their first job hunt knows how overwhelming it can be. In fact, that’s what inspired Doucet in the first place.

CEO Helping Hands

The disruptor: Janelle Hinds ’15, CEO of Helping Hands The disruption: Helping Hands is an app that helps students find volunteer opportunities. It also helps them show off their experience, and verify the volunteer work they’ve done -- useful when applying for jobs, or completing mandatory volunteer hours, as required by many Canadian school boards.

The disrupted: The way in which we find opportunities to give back to our communities. Fewer than half of all Canadians aged 15 years and older perform volunteer work, and the volunteer rate falls with age. Making it easier for people to find volunteer placements is one way to get more people giving back.

The disruptor: Johnny Rodgers ’06, Product Architect at Slack


The disruption: Often referred to as an “email killer,” Slack is a messaging

platform that connects to lots of other tools frequently used in the workplace, such as Dropbox and Google Docs. It has five million daily active users, and counts 28 of the Fortune 100 companies as clients, including IBM, eBay, Conde Nast, EA, the Associated Press and LinkedIn.

The disrupted: The way we communicate at work. “Anyone who’s been on

a never-ending reply-all email chain knows there’s probably a better way,” says Rodgers. Slack allows users to easily message each other without all the formalities of email addresses and subject lines. Throw in the ability to add helpful bots and other tools (see and Slack might really be an email killer. MARKETING DIRECTOR Shopify

The disruptor: Arati Sharma ’07, Director of Marketing, Product and Offline at Shopify

The disruption: Founded in 2004 after an unsatisfying experience

with e-commerce sites, Shopfiy develops software for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. There are currently 400,000 active Shopify stores, doing $34B worth of sales.

The disrupted: The way we sell things. Gone are the days of needing a team of people to build your company’s website -- or even staff its bricks and mortar store. Everything from inventory to payment is handled by Shopify, which allows sellers to set up online stores with ease and buyers to make purchases from their homes. 20



• • • •

Fun events Professional events Online networking/mentoring One-on-one career counselling



Alone against the Arctic By Allyson Rowley By the time you read this, Adam Shoalts ’10 might have crossed Canada’s mainland Arctic on his own steam. All in the name of adventure – and Canada’s 150th. If Adam Shoalts were the kind of person to keep a to-do list, it would look something like: 1. Finish my PhD 2. Write my third book 3. Trek across Canada’s Arctic alone

Francis Luta

Adam Shoalts with the McMaster flag in early June at the Dempster Highway, just about to set off on Canada’s longest river, the Mackenzie.

Amazingly, 2017 has seen him accomplishing all that and more. This fall, he hopes to defend his PhD in history – his thesis explores the impact of Indigenous cultures on Canada’s early European explorers. On October 3, his third book, The History of Canada in Ten Maps, will be available in stores. And on May 14, he set off alone from Eagle Plains, Yukon, on a five-month trek across Canada’s mainland Arctic. If all has gone well – and there’s a lot hanging on that “if” – he’s due to arrive at Baker Lake, near Hudson Bay around late September. An experienced explorer and cartographer, Shoalts is not mapping new territory on this expedition, a 4,000-kilometre journey across the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. “This is purely a personal challenge,” says Shoalts. “It’s straight-up adventure.” If he’s looking for adventure, sounds like he will get it. He will traverse rivers, mountains, tundra, and subarctic forest by foot, packraft, and canoe. He will endure bloodsucking insects, push himself for 13 hours at a time, and subsist on one packed meal a day, along with whatever he can catch and forage. And he will hope the ice melts at exactly the right times and polar bears don’t catch him off guard. Shoalts timed the journey for summer 2017 to honour Canada’s 150th celebration. He looked into what happened in 1967 and learned that a canoe race had taken place from the Rockies to Montreal. “Nowadays, you could stop at Tim Hortons every three days on that route,” says Shoalts. “It’s not the wilderness it was in 1967.” That’s another reason for his journey – to promote Canada’s wilderness, while we still have it.


Photo: Aleksia Wiatr

When I feel lost or unsure, I try to take a moment to remember what it felt like as a seven-year-old and recapture that sense of magic and mystery about the world.” Environmentalist, historian, archeologist, public speaker, writer: Shoalts wears many hats. But “explorer” seems the best fit. “I was always in love with the natural world,” recalls Shoalts, who grew up in Fenwick, Ontario. He and his twin brother would head into the forest near their house, catch frogs, climb trees, make fire without matches, and walk silently through the woods. “I still do that today,” says Shoalts. “When I feel lost or unsure, I try to take a moment to remember what it felt like as a seven-year-old and recapture that sense of magic and mystery about the world.” This trek is the culmination of a lifetime of preparation for Shoalts. He carefully planned his itinerary by studying topographic maps and satellite images, and he travelled to Nunavut and the Northwest Territories in summer 2016 to scout part of the route. “It’s not as though you can google ‘how to cross the Arctic’,” he jokes. To pay for all this, Shoalts sought out sponsors and set up a crowdfunding campaign. The biggest part of the $25,000 cost is chartering planes to fly him and his gear to and from the Arctic. Just as crucially, he has arranged to have food supplies dropped off at strategic points along the route. It will be a race against time – and the elements – to cross such an enormous distance in such a short time. “My odds of success are no better than 50-50,” he admits. So, did he make it all the way to Baker Lake Has he arrived home safe and sound? Find Adam Shoalts on Facebook or visit


Shoalts is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and frequent contributor to Canadian Geographic. (Images courtesy of Robert Carter Canadian Geographic)

Aleksia Wiatr

Adam Shoalts’s second book, Alone Against the North, chronicled his quest to explore an elusive river near James Bay.

START Eagle Plains

Baker Lake


4,000Km, 5 MONTHS


UNDER THE ARCH Updates from our alumni community



Alumni Gallery member Peter Hill ‘59 has published The Ontario Woodlot Association: The First Quarter Century: 1992 – 2017.

Darleen Bogart ’58 was named to the Order of Canada by the Governor General. Bogart is an international advocate and expert in braille, serving various leadership roles with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.


Patricia Mandy ’78 was named to the Order of Canada. Mandy is a pioneer in women’s leadership in healthcare and in the indigenous community. She was the first CEO of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network Terri Favro ’79 has published the novel Sputnik’s Children and it appeared on the CBC Books list of notable books for Spring 2017 and Canadian Living’s book club picks in May.

Dr. Hertzel Gerstein ’89 and Dr. Mark Levin ’83 joined McMaster faculty member Dr. Sandra Witelson as this year’s honourees at the Jewish National Fund of Hamilton’s Negev Dinner.

2000s Heather Shantora ’00, ’01 is the CEO of InnoCare Ltd., based in Hamilton, a Canadian healthcare market leader. Brandon Love ’08 and Joel Hilchey ’06 have published a book called Brainsprouting: How to Become Fearlessly Creative & Have Better Ideas More Often. The foreword was written by Boris Martin ’07.


Mary Lu Redden ’79 has received an honorary doctorate of Civil Law by The University of King’s College in recognition of her profound contributions to the life of the Humanities in Halifax. Colin McNairn ‘60 has written a new book entitled Sports Talk: How It Has Penetrated Our Everyday Language, which is a follow-up to his 2015 book In A Manner Of Speaking. Gunter E. Rochow ‘65 has retired as the President of Capra International Inc. Jim Murray ‘68 published his fourth book Becoming ... what you really want to be – 48 essays on meaning, identity and destiny aimed primarily at those in mid-life, midcareer or otherwise in transition.


1980s Anjili Pant ‘85 graduated with a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Toronto in June 2016. Scott Lowrey ’85 (Alumni Gallery member) has published his second book, co-authored, The Principal Reader: Narratives of Experience.

Matthew Sheridan ’12, Founder and CEO of Nix Sensor Ltd. has won the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2017. This award recognizes the outstanding design of the Nix Pro Color Sensor.

Tom Jenkins enters Hall of Fame Tom Jenkins ’82, ’15 (Hon) is now a member of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. The Mac grad was inducted as a Companion of the Order of the Hall of this spring, the highest honour in Canadian business. Companions are recognized for their lifetime accomplishments and enduring contributions. “The individuals being recognized have demonstrated outstanding leadership, ethics and dedication to their roles as top business leaders,” said Brian Levitt, Chancellor of the Order of the Business Hall of Fame. Jenkins graduated from McMaster with his B.Eng & Mgt. in Engineering, Physics and Commerce.

He is the Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of Open Text Corporation, Canada’s largest independent software company. A published author of ten books, his most recent collaboration - Ingenious - is co-authored with his excellency, Governor General David Johnston. Jenkins chairs the National Research Council of Canada. He is a recipient of McMaster Engineering’s L.W. Shemilt Distinguished Alumni award and is a member of the Order of Canada.

Two grads earn TOP 40 under 40 honours Two accomplished McMaster alumni are being recognized as Canada’s outstanding young leaders. Melody Adhami ’04, ’07 (top), and Sachin Aggarwal ’00 are among Canada’s outstanding young leaders named to the Top 40 under 40 for 2017. Adhami is President and COO of Plastic Mobile and Aggarwal is CEO of Think Research Corporation.

Think Research Corporation is a Torontobased firm that provides clinicians with the best evidenced-base care, driving better patient outcomes. It connects clinicians, facilities and health care systems with high-quality clinical and technological content. Plastic Mobile is a Toronto-based firm that designs and builds mobile applications, providing complete digital solutions from start to finish. The firm includes an innovation lab that creates new technologies and solutions for clients.

CAMH names Mac grad new Chief Radiochemist The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) named Neil Vasdev ’98, ’03 as its new Chief Radiochemist and Canada Research Chair in Radiochemistry and Nuclear Medicine. CAMH is Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital. In addition, the Mac grad (undergraduate degrees in Social Sciences, Science and PhD in Science) has been appointed Associate Director of the Research Imaging Centre and Preclinical Research in the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute. Vasdev returns to Canada from his role as associate professor at Harvard Medical School. His research is focused on developing and translating new PET imaging agents to use in various brain-based illnesses.


YOU’VE HELPED THESE INCOMING STUDENTS HIT THE GROUND RUNNING By purchasing your insurance, using your McMaster Alumni credit card or traveling with us, you’re helping to offer leadership training to students just starting their McMaster journey. It’s a great choice. Choosing to purchase products and services you need through the McMaster Alumni Association’s affinity programs, provides you great value. And, you can feel great that your choice can have long term impact through the support it generates for student programming, like the Horizons Leadership Conference.

Learn more at and make a great choice.


A helping hand

Audrey Tan ’16 has spent the past year at the University of Oxford working on her master’s, thanks in part to someone she will never meet. Alvina Marie Werner (1907-2007) was a long-time volunteer in gerontology studies at McMaster and the widow of Clarence Werner ’39. She was also a force to be reckoned with: A retired teacher, she helped to found the YWCA Hamilton Seniors Centre and served as its first President, she was a founding member of the legendary Geritol Follies, and she was President of the Hamilton-Wentworth Chapter of the Retired Women Teachers Association. In 1986, she received the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award. Alvina left many generous bequests in her will, including one gift that established the Alvina Marie Werner Scholarship Fund to support outstanding students in gerontology or social work. Audrey Tan received the scholarship in her final year at McMaster. “Every penny counted towards making Oxford a reality,” says Audrey, who graduated last year with a double honours in health studies and gerontology. “I am so appreciative of Mrs. Werner’s generosity.” Like Alvina before her, Audrey gives back in many ways – while at Mac, she founded the “All That Glitters” fundraising campaign in support of Indigenous women, she served as President of the Health, Aging and Society Student Association, and she received an Honour M, the highest award of the McMaster Students Union, for her leadership and volunteer service. Now the proud owner of four umbrellas, Audrey has immersed herself in Oxford’s culture and is again volunteering for many causes. “It’s truly an amazing and beautiful place,” she says. Thanks to Alvina’s helping hand, Audrey is well on her way to creating a memorable life of her own.

To learn more about leaving a gift in your will, please contact: Kelly Trickett, Associate Director, Gift Planning University Advancement, McMaster University | 905-525-9140, ext. 21990



35 years of sprains, pains, broken bones… and saving lives By Allyson Rowley

Dial 88 from any campus phone or look for one of the red poles – and within three minutes the Emergency First Response Team will be there. On the eve of EFRT’s 35th anniversary, founder Eddie Wasser ’86, ’89 gets together with Samantha Aung, 2017-18 program director, to compare notes on what it takes to be a first responder. If you ever find yourself responding to a medical emergency, Dr. Eddie Wasser has some advice for you: The first pulse you take is your own. “Take a breath, calm yourself, and then engage,” says Wasser, who graduated with his MD from McMaster in 1989 and now serves as medical director for the Prime Minister’s Protective Detail of the RCMP. “It’s up to you to bring the tempo down.” Staying calm is second nature to Wasser. As a teen growing up in Quebec, he helped pay for college by working as a paramedic. “I just loved it,” he says. The job was exciting, he could work evenings and weekends, and the pay was good. “And I realized there are a lot of people who are a lot less fortunate. I grew up really quickly.” In his first semester at Mac, Wasser came across an article in The Silhouette. It had taken 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive after a student had fainted. This didn’t make sense to Wasser, as there’s a medical centre on campus. He discovered that ambulance stations in Hamilton were located where the action was: downtown, the steel mills, and near highways. Wasser met with then-president Alvin Lee ’93 (hon.) who gave him the go-ahead – if Wasser found a medical professional to back him up. Wasser located Frank Baillie ’79, a surgeon and McMaster faculty member, who was involved in setting up the province’s first paramedics program and wanted to expand its community outreach. “Without Dr. Lee and Dr. Baillie, this wouldn’t have happened,” recalls Wasser. Still only in his first semester, Wasser had helped launch the first student-run emergency medical service at a Canadian university. Thirty-five years later, EFRT is still going strong. The service runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the school year, and on weekdays from nine to five in the summer months. The team of 30 student volunteers is trained in Red Cross Emergency Medical Responder and Mental Health First Aid. More senior students are trained in International Trauma Life Support and Advanced Medical Life Support. To become EFRT responders, students must have up-to-date first aid certification – and they must make it through a comprehensive, multi-day application process to show they have the maturity, the

physical fitness and the skills to handle the job. Each year, only eight to twelve rookies are selected from a pool of more than 100 applicants. Samantha Aung didn’t make it the first time. She had been a lifeguard in high school and saw the EFRT booth during orientation week. “I thought it would be fun and a way to expand what I already knew,” she recalls. Although she was turned down, she knew from the application experience that she wanted it. The next year, she made the team. “I’ve learned so much,” says Aung, now a fourth-year life sciences student. “It’s really cool having a network of people who are passionate about the same things. We all grew together.” “I’m loving hearing this 35 years later,” says Wasser, who serves

“I’ve learned so much,” says Aung. “It’s really cool having a network of people who are passionate about the same things.”

as EFRT’s medical director, writing medical protocols and providing guidance. In 1990 he founded Medevaq, an organization that offers assistance to Canadians abroad, among other medical services. He was inducted into the McMaster Alumni Gallery in 2013. “And have you made great friends?” Wasser asks Aung. “Yes, it’s my little family,” she replies, smiling. At the end of her second year with EFRT, Aung was hired as program director. She works up to 20 hours a week and is also on call as back-up. The $122,000 budget – a tad higher than Wasser’s $1,000 – is funded by first-aid courses, university contributions, and student fees (currently $1.63 per student). Aung is now working on plans for the 35th anniversary event on November 4, including fundraising for new bikes and equipment. Isn’t all this a huge time commitment? “I guess so,” she replies. “But in the best way possible.”

EFRT can also be reached by dialing 905-522-4135 on any cellphone or visit



Remembering Peter George By Roger Trull ‘79 In 1995, after 30 years as a faculty member, Peter George accepted the appointment of president of McMaster University with unprecedented enthusiasm. It was the job he always wanted, a dream come true. I really wanted to impress the new boss on his first day so I decided to go to work earlier than normal. It would be great if Peter could see my car in the lot when he arrived. I pulled in at 6:30 am and Peter’s car was already there. I tried the same thing the next day. Same result. For the next 15 years, the times I beat him into work were few and far between. His tireless work ethic inspired everyone around him to make McMaster the very best it could be. Shortly after taking office, Peter was faced with an unexpected challenge. Premier Harris’s Common Sense Revolution meant a 10 percent operating budget cut overnight for McMaster. Peter understood that we were going to need private financial support if the university was to move ahead in the way he envisioned. He believed that we could continue to be a really good Canadian university with government funding alone, but with private support we could become a world leader. That is what he wanted and that is exactly what happened. During his first two years as president, Peter travelled tirelessly with the Advancement team, telling the McMaster story of a “Student Centred Research University” to philanthropists, corporate leaders, premiers, prime ministers and McMaster alumni. The results of Peter’s leadership are visible in the Student Centre, Ron Joyce Stadium, the David Braley Athletics Centre, many new


academic and research buildings and the David Braley Health Sciences Centre, a cornerstone for Hamilton downtown redevelopment. Peter believed that a strong McMaster would lead to a stronger Hamilton. However, his vision for private support went well beyond new buildings. The endowment fund that Peter championed allowed students to receive scholarships and bursaries and is now approaching 700 million dollars. It started at $90 million in his first year. These funds also allowed for the creation of more than 70 Endowed Professorial Chairs. Having the funds to attract and keep the best and brightest faculty to teach in the best possible facilities, while preserving a caring student environment that was Peter’s vision. Peter took a genuine interest in students, and was especially fond of McMaster athletics. He was in the same seat at every football game and you could spot him in the bleachers at most basketball games. He could also be seen standing in the rain watching soccer or lacrosse. He loved it all. Peter’s legacy was recognized in March when McMaster arranged a special convocation. He received his honorary degree, and was recognized with a building to be named in his honour. The Peter George Living and Learning Centre, he told those in attendance, is like a tree that he has planted, but will never sit under. It is for future generations. Thank you, Peter. We will not forget you. Roger Trull ’79 served as McMaster’s vice-president, University Advancement from 1994 until his retirement in 2011. Peter George ‘17 (Hon) was McMaster’s sixth president and vicechancellor. He died April 27, 2017.

“ Before I began the program I was working

in banking and trying to pursue marketing but continued to hit roadblocks without experience or formal marketing education. This program exceeded my expectations. Each of my teachers had years of experience in the field – I learned more than I expected and enjoyed the small class sizes. ”


McMaster BA (Hons) History and English 2010, McMaster CCE Marketing Diploma 2014, Assistant Brand Manager, Campbell Company of Canada

What’s New in Continuing Education ♦ Applied Clinical Research Certificate

♦ Creative, Critical & Design Thinking Certificate*

♦ Big Data Analytics Certificate

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♦ Business of Golf & Resort Management Diploma

♦ Pathophysiology & Epidemiology Certificate*

♦ Canadian Health Care Certificate * Denotes Certificate of Completion

Business & Management | Communication & Design | Health & Social Services | Metallurgy

Study part-time, online or in person: Centre for Continuing Education | McMaster University | 1 James Street North, Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4L8 | 1-800-463-6223




Mae E. Hill ’46 – was one of the first to earn a Mac Mathematics degree. Survived by her children, sister and many friends.

Mary Lou Dickson ’68 – passed away in October 2016 after a courageous battle with cancer. Beloved wife of Dr. Robert C. Dickson, survived by her two daughters and her grandson.

Heather Arthur ’75 passed away in July. The long serving professor of Nursing leaves her husband Steve, her son, grandson and a brother.

Alice E. Brown ’47 was 90 years old when she passed away in Brantford in January. Survived by her sister and many nieces, nephews and great-nieces and greatnephews.

1950s Glee Louise (Upshall) Jones ’54 died in Toronto in April, survived by husband Rev. Dr. William H. Johns and three sons, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Hon. Nick Borkovich ’58 died in May at age 81. The retired Ontario Superior Court Justice was a long time Marauder football fan and highly respected Hamilton jurist.

Marlene Jane Honey ’63 passed away in Fergus, ON survived by her son Christopher and by her devoted partner Jack. Kalervo (Karl) Kinanen ’67 passed away in May at age 90. The long-serving social work and gerontology professor leaves his wife, daughter and many friends and former students. John William Russell ’61, ’65 died in Red Deer, AB survived by his wife Marion.

My New Policy – On Quotations and Connections By Karen McQuigge

Director, Alumni Advancement McMaster Times Column

I’m starting a new personal policy. From now on, I will quote only William Shakespeare, my mother and anyone with a McMaster building named in his or her honour. Though this policy is strict, it does allow me to borrow liberally from President George Peel Gilmour’s column in the April 1951 issue of The McMaster Alumni News, precursor to today’s McMaster Times. “Good alumni,” wrote Gilmour, “are a combination of advertisement, scout, correspondent and benefactor.” This is a short column, so I’m just going to focus on his last two points, the correspondent and benefactor bits. According to Gilmour, “To be good correspondents means simply keeping in touch with the Alumni Office, in such matters as change of address, and personal news about occupation and family.” We can help you with that one. In fact, the Alumni Office sends a yearly email asking you to update your contact information. In the


Bill Bensen ’73 died in March at age 67. The renowned rheumatologist was a supporter of Canadian and British decorative arts and is survived by his wife, three sons and three grandchildren. Catherine Bentzen-Bilkvist ’75 was 82 when she passed away in June. Loving wife to Eric and mother so a son and daughter, proud grandmother to five.

1980s George Richard Ellas ’81 passed away in October 2016 as the result of a motorcycle accident and leaves his wife Christine.

meantime, we’re always ready to receive your latest details and we’ve also implemented a number of hopefully fun ways for you to keep in touch with us and with your fellow grads. Why not, for example, add your McMaster story to the nearly 300 that are part of the #McMasterMemory Project at Our you can be part of the Question of the Week Club, a way for alumni to hear from each other through casual, online exchanges over interesting questions related to recommendations, reflections, useful advice and other topics. Or maybe you’d like to connect more directly with your fellow Mac grads as either a mentor or mentee in our Alumni and Partners Advisor Network at Back in 1951, Gilmour also hoped that alumni would, in his dignified words, “join the noble company of benefactors who help to guarantee that coming generations of students will have better facilities than we had in our day.” There are, of course, many ways to support McMaster philanthropically, but to get to the heart of Gilmour’s invitation, the iFundMac website gives alumni and friends the opportunity and pathway to support small, but important University projects targeted specifically at the student experience. It’s a great way to help Mac students – just like Gilmour hoped – and a great way to watch the impact of your philanthropy unfold in almost real time through the website. President Gilmour would have been totally impressed. My mother, on the other hand, would have said, “Lord love a duck,” and provided no insight at all into the experiences and options of being a McMaster grad. That’s why I focused on President Gilmour in this column, but you can look forward to future columns featuring the wisdom of the Bard and Momma McQuigge.

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