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Nollywood North Meet Barry Hill + Bernice Downey Transgender pioneer Bobbi Lancaster Touring L.R. Wilson Hall

Canada at 200? As the country turns 150, Mac experts chart our future course to 2067


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contents VOL. 32, NO. 1 - SPRING 2017

First Person A collection of McMaster stories from the field


The making of a champion Prof. Brian Timmons: The Child Health & Exercise Medicine Program studies the physical activity-to-health connection. In this photo, a determined 12-year-old tests his endurance on a cycle ergometer. The oxygen and carbon dioxide content of each breath is measured, while the power of the egometer is increased. Whether for the business of child play or the making of a champion, this test of endurance is a powerful indicator of health.




14 17 27


3-5 10 13 25 32 34

The butterfly effect Canada at 200 Tour L.R. Wilson Hall

Next Dean of Science Maureen MacDonald

7 8

No time? no gym? Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging

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



Parochialism and protectionism are the enemies of enlightenment Earlier this year, the White House issued its now notorious Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. The courts blocked that first order and theoretically citizens of the seven Muslim-majority countries targeted by the ban were able to enter the United States as before. A new Executive Order was prepared, however. It too faces judicial scrutiny, and it seems that in one form or another discrimination on the basis of faith or ethnicity will continue to be an element in US immigration policy under the present administration.

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

That the issuing of the Executive Order would provoke protest from civil liberties and immigrants’ rights organizations was entirely to be expected. The volume of complaint from the university sector, on the other hand, may have come as a surprise both to the public and to the authors of the Order. The American Association of Universities issued a statement almost immediately, noting that the ban “is already causing damage and should end as quickly as possible,” and calling on the Administration, “as soon as possible, to make clear to the world that the United States continues to welcome the most talented individuals from all countries to study, teach, and carry out research and scholarship at our universities.” Scores of institutions—including most of the country’s leading universities—also posted individual statements expressing grave concern about the direction of American immigration and border policy. Here in Canada reaction from the academic sector was also immediate and followed a similar pattern: Universities Canada led the way, with institutions across the country subsequently releasing their own declarations. Interestingly, on both sides of the border these communications frequently drew attention to their own exceptionality. Thus, “Universities Canada does not typically comment on executive action being taken by another country, but we do so today because of the real impediment this new executive order poses to the free flow of people and ideas and to the values of diversity, inclusion and openness that are hallmarks of a strong and healthy society.” That last sentence summarizes very well why the Executive Order has triggered such a vehement response from the academy. The sequence tells it all: the “hallmarks of a strong and healthy society”—diversity, inclusion and openness—are essential to the effective functioning of any and all institutions in a democracy; but it is “the free flow of people and ideas” on which the life of any great university specifically depends. Parochialism and protectionism are the enemies of enlightenment, progress and discovery, and no institution can expect or continue to be great if it is walled off from the rest of the world. That is precisely why America’s finest universities spoke out so quickly and with such force on this issue. Inclusion and openness are not merely desirable conditions for the prosecution of the academic mission, they are for historical reasons essential to it. Universities in the West came into being for no other reason than to protect the unimpeded flow of people and ideas that was understood to be a prerequisite for learning and human advancement. In twelfth-century Bologna the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa intervened to protect foreigners who had come together there to study; and out of that moment in history came both the structural model for institutions of higher learning as well as the intellectual concept that must underpin any university worthy of the name—academic freedom. Implicit in that genealogy is the important point that where there is injustice, intolerance or exclusion, there cannot be academic freedom. Universities have therefore a fundamental and essential obligation to oppose bigotry and closed-mindedness in all its forms. Those young learners in Bologna were called “clerici vagantes,” “wandering clergy,” and sometimes they were also known as “vagabundi,” a name which should help us see more clearly the historical kinship between the students enrolled in our universities, the academics who work in them, and the world’s migrant populations. Mobility is what links them all: in the case of refugees the goal is home as a geographical place; in the case of “clerici vagantes,” “home” is any milieu in which their curiosity and imaginations can work unfettered for the betterment of humanity. Universities seek to be homes in that sense, but without the free traffic of ideas and the movement of people hungry to engage with the world’s problems and to understand the complexities of life, they cannot properly fulfill their mission. Our universities, like our society, are only enriched and strengthened by diversity of opinions, academic disciplines and people. In recognizing and celebrating that strength, and in responding to those who would seek to restrict it, we commit ourselves even more deeply to the mission of providing a welcoming and inclusive home to scholars from around the globe, to protecting the free flow of ideas and to opposing hatred and intolerance in all its forms.



First Person A collection of McMaster stories from the field

Your brain and its neurons Jessica Wallingford, graduate student, McMaster Integrative Neuroscience Discovery and Study (MiNDS): In the brain, neurons communicate with one

another through specialized connections called synapses. A second type of cell, the astrocyte, can make substances aiding the development of synapses. This astrocyte-signalling is affected in disorders such as autism. Research in our lab identifies particular astrocyte-derived substances that are altered in affected brains. We are able to grow the astrocytes and label substances with fluorescent markers. This image shows astrocytes labelled for the substances in green and red.



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 mactimes@mcmaster.ca Contributors Patrick Deane ‘11 (honorary), Sarah Janes ‘13 , 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, Peter Tice ‘72

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

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 – mactimes@mcmaster.ca

Nollywood North Meet Barry Hill and Bernice Downey Transgender pioneer Bobbi Lancaster ’73’78’80 Take a tour of L.R. Wilson Hall

On the cover

Canada at 200? As we turn 150, Mac experts craft a roadmap on the way to 2067



Cert no. SW-COC-2113


As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, McMaster experts look ahead: what will the country be like when it turns 200? Read about our fantastic future on page 18. Canada birthday cake generously created and provided by Weils Bakery of Westdale. weilsbakery.com

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



the oval

News and notes from campus

Meet our next Dean of Science: Maureen MacDonald Maureen MacDonald, an accomplished professor, respected researcher and the Director of the University’s School of Interdisciplinary Science, is McMaster’s next Dean of Science. Her term begins May 1. “During our thorough and extensive international search, Dr. MacDonald’s candidacy stood out because of her vision for the Faculty of Science, her leadership skills and her many years’ commitment and service to McMaster,” says Provost David Wilkinson. “Our students, faculty and staff will be well-served by her appointment.” MacDonald came to McMaster as a sessional instructor in 1998, after earning an undergraduate honours chemistry degree at Acadia University, and her master’s and PhD in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. She held post-doctoral positions at Western University and the University of British Columbia. She is a highly regarded expert in cardiovascular health, exercise physiology, spinal cord injury and aging, and leads important research into the effectiveness of exercise as a way of preventing illness, improving health status and lifestyle. She is an associate member of both the Department of Kinesiology and the School of Rehabilitation Science and is a member of the Exercise Metabolism Research Group. MacDonald is a multiple nominee for the McMaster Students Union teaching award and has undertaken significant administrative leadership roles on a variety of committees and groups on campus and in the community. “I am honoured to undertake the responsibility of leading our outstanding Faculty of Science,” says MacDonald. “We have the brightest minds, the most dedicated students, outstanding alumni and a highly skilled staff team all working together towards a common goal of providing the highest quality teaching and learning, research and student experience.” The vacancy was created last year when Rob Baker was appointed McMaster’s new Vice-President, Research.

Top employer in Hamilton/Niagara McMaster University is one of Hamilton-Niagara’s Top Employers for the second year in a row. Hamilton-Niagara’s Top Employers is an annual competition organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. It’s the second time McMaster has earned this recognition.

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

Chris Zhou, a 17-year old McMaster Health Sciences student was named to Prime Minister Trudeau’s Youth Council. Zhou joins fourteen other youth from across Canada providing advice and suggestions on issues to the Prime Minister. He joined the PM on stage at the ONE Young World Summit.

NOV 2016

A group of McMaster students descended on downtown Hamilton delivering 2,000 pieces of pizza to those in need. The students, members of the Humanity First club, also gave out pizza at the Salvation Army shelter and Notre Dame House.

Praying for peace In the aftermath of the terrible shootings at a Quebec City mosque, McMaster students and the University responded in unity and with sympathy. Students gathered in front of Burke Science Building for prayers, while President Patrick Deane joined many community members in signing letters of condolence to the victims’ families.

Red dresses raise awareness

Sarah Janes

On December 6, the University recognized missing and murdered Indigenous women with the commemoration of a new plaque and white pine trees near L.R. Wilson Hall. In addition, dozens of red dresses were placed across campus supporting the national REDress campaign, raising awareness about the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Indigenous women. The day also included a men’s memorial walk across campus.





JD Howell

No time? No gym?

No excuse, say Mac researchers. There are no more excuses for being out of shape. McMaster researchers find that short, intense bursts of stair climbing, which can be done virtually anywhere, bring major benefits for heart health. The findings negate the two most common excuses of couch potatoes: no time and no access to the gym. “Stair climbing is a form of exercise anyone can do in their own home, after work or during the lunch hour,” says Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster and lead author on the study. “This research takes interval training out of the lab and makes it accessible to everyone.” DEC 2016

Long-serving McMaster alumnus and community member Ken Hall ‘55 & ‘60 received the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship. The Geography grad taught in Hamilton schools for 31 years and is a two-time president of the Alumni Association. He received the award from Ontario’s Lt. Governor at a Queen’s Park ceremony.

A newly expanded online exhibit housed within McMaster’s library uses moving personal accounts to help scholars and the public better understand the Holocaust and resistance movements of World War II. Using passages from concentration camp letters, first-hand accounts, videos, images, and explanatory text, the Madeleine and Monte Levy Virtual Museum of the Holocaust and the Resistance places the Holocaust and underground resistance movements in the larger context of World War II and documents the often devastating and tragic experiences of the people who lived during this time. The display, developed by scholars and librarians incorporates items from the extensive World War II collections housed in the Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections.

JAN 2017

The University community marked Bell Let’s Talk day with a series of activities and events focusing on mental health. A new minor in Mental Health Studies was introduced by the Faculty of Social Sciences in response to growing student demand for courses focused on mental wellbeing.

Two McMaster alumni are among the 72 people hoping to become astronauts with the Canadian Space Agency. Thomas Karakolis ’07, ’10 and Charles-Philippe Lajoie ’10 are among 72 candidates for the outof- this-world job. Karakolis, who has a PhD in Kinesiology, is a defence scientist with the Department of National Defence. He researches how to prevent injury and improve the performance of members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Lajoie is an astronomical optics scientist who works on the James Webb Space Telescope, a project led by the Canadian Space Agency, NASA and the European Space Agency.  dailynews.mcmaster.ca



Virtual museum tells poignant stories of WWII survival and resistance

Preparing for the aging tsunami target of $15 million gift from Chancellor Labarge ‘67 AROUND THE OVAL

Ensuring Canada and Canadians are ready for the oncoming “grey tsunami” – the overwhelming, unavoidable and never-before aging of our population – is the focus of a remarkable new $15 million gift from McMaster’s chancellor and dedicated alumna, Suzanne Labarge ’67. The generous gift funds the Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging. It is the next chapter in the McMaster alumna and volunteer’s generous philanthropy supporting aging research. “In just eight years, one in five Canadians will be 65 or older and the challenges of aging are so commonplace we accept them as normal,” says Labarge, former vice-chair of the Royal Bank of Canada. “Not only are more of us entering our senior years than ever, we are also living longer once we get there. A longer life can and should be a blessing but for many it can be a big problem.”

The independent gift invests in McMaster’s interdisciplinary research, which investigates ways seniors can live more independently through greater mobility, better health and fitness and increased social connection. It will also support research into what lifestyle choices young and middle-aged people can make today, to have the best chance of living long and well tomorrow. “This generous and insightful gift will help McMaster’s health researchers, scientists, engineers and social scientists continue their work tackling the many challenges facing an aging society,” says President Patrick Deane. “Suzanne Labarge’s remarkable philanthropy is focused on improving the lives of seniors today, while helping others take the steps necessary for better lives as they get older.”

Ontario’s universities spark conversation about the future: are you ready? Ontario's universities are asking students, their parents and alumni what excites them and what concerns them about the future, sparking a province-wide conversation about how universities can be good partners in ensuring the future is brighter for everyone. Students and parents are asked to imagine the future and their place in it, in an online survey at ontariosuniversities.ca. You can also join the conversation on social media @futuringON and #futuring. “We’re asking people ‘what keeps you up at night?’” says David Lindsay, President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU). “The world is changing so quickly and in ways we couldn’t have imagined possible. Disruptive technology, demographic shifts and globalization bring tremendous opportunities, but all that uncertainty can also make people anxious. Universities want to have a conversation about what we can all do together to help shape tomorrow, and to make sure no one is left behind.” Universities want to hear ideas and advice, for example, on how, together, we can build strong industries and jobs for the future, how we can strengthen our growing service sectors, how we can support our artists, how we can protect our natural heritage and how we can promote good health. Throughout the year, the COU will be reporting its findings and providing updates.





L O O D W L O N Y Meet the Science grad from Lagos who dominated


By Matt Terry ‘09

last year’s Toronto International Film Festival

Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama ‘11 has always been able to see the art in science. She remembers a


class at McMaster in which she spent 40 minutes analyzing mitochondria – the “powerhouse” of a cell – and being unable to see anything but beauty. “I just thought, ‘wow, look at all that art,’” she says from her home in Lagos, Nigeria. Anyone looking at Iyamah-Idhalama’s activities at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival might say the same thing about her. The 2011 Biochemistry grad appeared in three of the eight Nigerian films highlighted at the festival, including the drama 93 Days, which tells the story of the health workers at the centre of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. We caught up with the rising “Nollywood” star recently and asked her about her time at Mac, TIFF, and how someone with a background in science became so active in the arts. You’re an actress, model and fashion brand manager – with a degree in Biochemistry. How has your background in science influenced your life in the arts? Science has always been a big part of my life. My father was an engineer and my mother a health enthusiast so the sciences have been a very familiar place. They also happened to love the arts in their own way. My father was a huge music lover and my mother, a lover of all things fashion. She owned a clothing store and hair salon growing up so I grew up loving both the sciences and the arts. Studying science as an undergrad, however, gave me a new sense of appreciation. I could see the rhythm in the chemistry of the body and its physiology when all things were in sync. That is art in itself. I marveled at the new discoveries I made learning during the day and meditating on them while doing the other things I loved. I have not been very successful in separating the two. I would be gravely imbalanced, I think. Eight Nigerian films were highlighted at TIFF last year, and you were in three of them. You were also named a TIFF Rising Star, which gave you access to directors, filmmakers and casting directors. What was that experience like? The TIFF Rising Star Program gives you a vantage point you couldn’t get elsewhere. I always will be grateful for that time of my life because that experience gave me hope more than anything and hope, they say, lasts forever. The wealth of knowledge about the film industry was quite profound. I think all in all, it was the humanness I felt with everyone



around me immersed in a fast-paced industry that also pays a lot of attention to vanity. That experience was everything. Those three films were very much Nigerian stories. How important is it to you to be able to tell your country’s stories? The most important thing in selecting the projects I am privileged to work on is the story. Everything else is secondary. The story must convince me that it is worth telling. This may mean that the production could be low-budget, set in Madagascar or based on a true life story. My job is not geography specific but rather human specific and as we know, that can come with “baggage” that can stem from anything and everything (laughs). What should the rest of the world know about “Nollywood” films? Nollywood films in their truest form tell the plight of every human being faced with the struggle of survival. They aim to tell the stories that are heartfelt within the generation it is produced in and that cut across every age group within that time. With that, you get a lot of movies that fall in the drama category and, to be honest, it is what we do well. Comedy is the next best category you can rely on. Being that Nigeria is a developing country, the country has faced great challenges over the years and has leaned on the very talented few who can honestly bring on a good laugh. Some of our most celebrated and successful works have been comedies.

You took part in a lot of activities on campus beyond classes. How would you describe your McMaster experience? Being at Mac was everything I hoped to get out of an undergraduate degree in a different country from where I grew up. I had all ethnicities that could possibly be represented as schoolmates and our interactions were diverse. I ended up having close friends who were of Pakistani, Portuguese, Ghanaian, Chinese and European descent so I could not have asked for more. A health enthusiast myself, I LOVED that Mac was heavily invested in sports and general physical activity. It was really the best of both worlds for me at the school. Everything I wanted to be a part of, I could...academics, sports, charity, drama, modeling and church was right across the road, so I didn’t have to miss Mass. The one thing I looked forward to every new academic year were the changes on campus. Innovation is McMaster’s second name. McMaster is a really good school. For someone who lives and works in Nigeria, you visit campus relatively often. What keeps you coming back? The Student Centre! (laughs) And the Westdale area. I had really good memories of chasing the bus and making my deadline and then burning it out in the school gym or dancing in one of the studios in the basement! Who wouldn’t come back for that? (laughs) Where will we see you next? Closer than you think...




For the last 35 years, the Alumni Gallery Awards have been a McMaster tradition, our way of recognizing the achievements of our outstanding alumni. Alumni Gallery Award recipients lead fascinating and accomplished lives and set high standards of achievement for McMaster’s current students, alumni and the greater community. For the 35th Anniversary of the Alumni Gallery we will be inducting, a Korean War veteran expert, a national music store owner, a senior research fellow and foundation co-founder, an impassioned advocate for women and the CEO of the LCBO.

ALUMNI GALLERY INDUCTEES Left to Right: HooJung Jones ‘99 - Faculty of Business, Steve Long ‘78 - Faculty of Business, Marcy McCall MacBain ‘00- Faculty of Social Sciences, Patricia Moser ’80, ‘81 - Faculty of Science, George Soleas ‘83 - Faculty of Science.



Sylvia Stockwell ‘59

Doug and June Barber

The McMaster Alumni Association Awards Ceremony and Dinner will celebrate these distinguished McMaster graduates along with the Arch Award, Distinguished Service Award, Albert Lager Prize for Student Initiative, and Honorary Membership recipients.


Ceremony at 6 p.m., Convocation Hall, University Hall Dinner at 7 p.m., Donaldson Family Marketplace, MUSC For more information or to reserve your tickets for the MAA Awards Ceremony, please visit


Joanne West Photography


The Gallery of “Interesting”

A missionary, a mascot and a federal judge walk into a bar ...


hat line could be the start of a classic joke or it could be what happens when you invite three members of McMaster’s Alumni Gallery to join you for a drink. The volunteers who founded the Gallery in 1982 did something wonderful – they built the criteria for Gallery induction around the word interesting. From the beginning, the McMaster Alumni Gallery has been about telling the stories of alumni who have done interesting things since graduating from Mac. Many of the Gallery’s 412 inductees are high-profile or even famous interesting people like Nobel Prize winner Myron Scholes ’62, astronaut Roberta Bondar ’77, football star Russ Jackson ’58, investment mogul Michael Lee-Chin ’74, WarChild Canada founder Samantha Nutt ’91 and Hollywood director Ivan Reitman ’69. But at the same time, the Gallery is rich with profiles of alumni whose contributions and accomplishments are no less interesting, just less famous – alumni like OPP staff sergeant Donald Webster ’79, journalist Dorothy Turcotte ’50, artist Geraldine King Tam ’43, historian Margaret Houghton ’74, accountant Stanley Kwan ’86 and the commanding officer of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, Dan Stepaniuk ’92.

While the genius of the Alumni Gallery’s interesting selection criterion hasn’t changed in 35 years, the Gallery itself has evolved. Under the leadership of Ken Hall ’55 and Joan Hall ’69, the early days of the Gallery were marked by giant displays that travelled to events across southern Ontario. (There was a table-top version for more distant events.) That version of the Gallery featured accordion-like maroon walls displaying dozens of inductee biographies. Today, the Alumni Gallery is available online in a digital format that doesn’t need to travel in the trunk of a volunteer’s car. Any time you’d like, you can visit our online Alumni Gallery to learn about some of the interesting things your fellow alumni are doing. You’ll find the Gallery at alumni.mcmaster.ca under the “Recognition” tab. At this year’s Alumni Gallery Induction Ceremony in May, Sylvia Stockwell ’59, who has chaired the Alumni Gallery Sub-committee for more than a decade, will receive the McMaster Alumni Association’s highest honour, the Distinguished Service Award. That honour will recognize Sylvia’s long-standing, wide-spread and dedicated volunteer efforts with the MAA, but a part of that award will also be a tribute to Canada’s most interesting alumni program and the source of a thousand good ways to open a joke. A screenwriter, a stamp collector and the inventor of the universal nutshelling machine walk into a bar … KAREN McQUIGGE ‘90, Director, Alumni Advancement



Joanne West Photography



EFFECT Robert Lancaster graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1973. An awardd for winning athlete and captain of the men’s golf team, Lancaster was destine on her medical school. Nearly 45 years later, Bobbi Lancaster ‘73, ‘78, ‘80 reflects personal journey as a transgender pioneer.

By Allyson Rowley




he was born Robert Lancaster, the eldest of four children, in a farming community in southwestern Ontario. She played sports, took piano lessons, had a paper route, collected bugs. “I loved insects, especially butterflies. I was fascinated by the metamorphosis of the chrysalis,” she recalls. Sometimes, she and her best friend would play dress-up. “I was brimming with self-confidence. It was a magical time.”

For more than 40 years, she hid.


“I must have delivered close to 1,000 babies,” says Bobbi Lancaster ‘73, ‘78, ‘80 who graduated as Robert Lancaster in 1978 with an MD from McMaster. “And every time, we would take a quick look between their legs and pronounce: ‘It’s a boy!’ Or: ‘It’s a girl!’” Lancaster explains that we now know there’s a location in the brain for gender identity – a person’s individual experience of gender – separate from sexual orientation and not always the same as one’s physical sex. “The most important thing,” says Lancaster, “is who does your brain say you are?” A scholarship recipient, she enrolled at McMaster for a Bachelor of Science in 1969. Lancaster enjoyed campus life, found a girlfriend, and was captain of the men’s golf team. After graduating, she thought of becoming an entomologist – but there was this brand new medical school. “That got me excited.” Some of her profs were luminaries like Fraser Mustard ’90 (hon.) and David Sackett ’09 (hon.). Her chief resident was Paul O’Byrne ’82. On her own, Lancaster would search scientific journals, desperate for information on her situation. She’d locate a paper in the catalogue and head to the stacks to find the journal. And time after time, the article would be torn out. “My whole life felt like cloak and dagger.” Eventually, her confidence hit rock bottom and she dropped out of med school. She drove a taxi, sold clothes, worked in a golf shop. Ronald McAuley, one of Lancaster’s professors, would call every six months or so. After two years, Lancaster called back. “He didn’t give up on me,” Lancaster says of McAuley, a physician who was instrumental in the development of family medicine at McMaster. “So many people influenced me at Mac.” Lancaster completed her medical training in 1980 and set up a thriving family practice in Hamilton, now married to her college sweetheart. Soon, they were raising three children, one biological and two adopted. In 1991, they moved to Arizona, where Lancaster set up another practice. But she and her wife parted ways several years later. In 1999, Lancaster married Lucy, the love of her life. At 49, Lancaster had a happy marriage, a beautiful home, and a lucrative career. But she was “completely lost.” Depression was her constant companion. Driving home from work, she would pull over by the side of the road to weep. It took a near-suicide attempt and a stroke for Bobbi to finally emerge from her chrysalis. In 2005, she reached out

Joanne West Photography

Then, everything changed. She started to hear words like “fag,” “weirdo,” “pervert.” She was afraid. Raised in the Catholic faith, she went to confession. “I feel like I’m a girl,” she whispered. “I desperately want to be a girl.” She learned she was not a girl – she was a sinner. Crushed, she lost her confidence and decided to hide who she was.

for counselling and other support, and she started taking hormones. In 2010, just before her 60th birthday, she had her surgery. Her marriage survived, but her employment did not. Only one patient wanted to quit, but her employers couldn’t accept the change from Dr. Bob to Dr. Bobbi. Lancaster had a lot of free time now, so she took up golfing seriously. To compensate for her size and strength, she chose to compete with much younger women. She started to win tournaments. The media came calling – everyone from the Arizona Republic to Good Morning America to Sports Illustrated has interviewed her. The light bulb really went on, though, when she helped ensure that golf associations changed their policies to include transgender athletes. “I’m an agent of change,” Lancaster realized. “I saw this with a whole new set of eyes.” She still maintains a small medical practice, but devotes much of her time to public speaking and volunteering for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). In 2015, she was honoured with the Individual Equality Award from their Arizona branch, and in 2016 she was elected to the HRC Foundation’s national board. Her metamorphosis hasn’t been easy – not by a long shot. Lancaster sums it up succinctly: “The medical part was easy. The social transition was gut-wrenching.” But in the end, not one friend abandoned her. What would she say to that scared kid at confession? “Yes, you’re different, but that is OK. Everyone is a little different,” says Lancaster. “Now, go and do great things. The sky’s the limit. Your friends will be inspired – and you will change them, too.”




– Hamilto n

ay 2




24 ay

5 – Toro

2018 McMaster Alumni and Friends Travel Showcase

Wednesday, May 24 – Hamilton | Thursday, May 25 – Toronto To be added to the mailing list, or for more information, contact (905) 525-9140 ext. 24882 or mactrav@mcmaster.ca There is a lot of world out there to see, are you coming?


a d a Can at

200 CANADA AT 200

A look at the country’s future on the eve of its sesquicentennial. By Matt Terry ‘09



Jet packs. Hover boards. Flying cars. A Stanley Cup for the Maple Leafs? L

et’s face it: most predictions about the future are more hopeful than accurate. Previous generations have mused about undersea cities, miracle pills, luxury-liner hovercrafts, permanent bases on the moon, smell-o-vision, even nuclear-powered vacuums – all of which are indeed exciting, if improbable. In fact, the past is littered with so many wild and (ultimately) inaccurate predictions about

the future as to suggest there’s little value in prognosticating at all. But what if we could harness the collective expertise of those working on the frontlines of their fields to really predict the future? Could we get a better understanding of what tomorrow might actually hold? To find out, we assembled a team of experts – in areas ranging from health and politics to climate and technology – to help us get a

glimpse of Canada at the cusp of its 200th birthday. The picture they collectively paint is one of a very different Canada. Some of it is exciting. Some of it is wonderful. Some of it is very, very frightening. And all of it is far more likely than a jetpack on every back. What will our country look like in 2067? Let’s find out.

Your CANADA AT 200


Good for

Your house will look after you

Your food will tell you when it’s gone bad Your doorknob will repel germs And your bandages will heal your wounds. Thanks to work being done at the Biointerfaces Institute, these and other innovations (contact lenses that rarely need changing?) could soon be a reality for Canadian consumers. Investigators at the lab test millions of combinations of biological agents and complex surfaces using highspeed robots. Their goal is to find solutions to some of society’s most stubborn health and safety problems – but you won’t have to wait 50 years to see the results of their work.

In 2015, researchers announced they had developed a new way to print biosensors using conventional office ink-jet printers. That means Canadians are a step closer to benefitting from things like packaging that can give text warnings when food is contaminated with E. coli or Salmonella, and real-time diagnoses of infections such as C. difficile right in a doctor’s office. “We could conceivably adapt this for numerous applications which would include rapid detection of cancer or monitoring toxins in the water supply,” says John Brennan, director of the Biointerfaces Institute. “There are hundreds of possibilities.”

Bricks. Mortar. Bluetooth-enabled motion trackers. Your house in 2067 might look familiar, but if McMaster researchers have their way, your digs will be far more high-tech – and far better for your health. A cross-disciplinary team including Engineering’s Qiyin Fang, Canada Research Chair in Biophotonics, is currently outfitting a Hamilton household with cutting-edge technology aimed at helping seniors live healthier lives. The house is being equipped with an array of gadgets, including a motion tracking system that helps doctors understand how much activity their patients are getting and sensors attached to the toilet which can measure and analyze the contents of your…well, you know. It all means that, one day, your house may be able to detect and diagnose malignant conditions in your body, and monitor your response to treatment.

Our futurists Meet some of the forward-thinking innovators helping shape Canada’s present and future. Altaf Arain Climate change



John Brennan Bio detection

Parminder Raina Aging

Martin Gibala ‘94


Suzanne Labarge ‘67 Aging



Your workout will be very short – and very hard In the future you will have one less excuse for not exercising, according to Kinesiologist Martin Gibala, who’s found that a single minute of very intense exercise produces health benefits similar to longer, traditional endurance training.

We’ll probably be able to adapt to climate change. And with a little diplomacy, we can probably head off a third world war. But if we don’t start preparing for a postantibiotics world now, we’re going to be in serious trouble. The overuse of antibiotics – in humans and in animals – has led to germs that are resistant to every known antibiotic, causing infections for which there are no treatments.

Mike Waddington ‘89 David Rollo

Climate change


…or maybe not?

There’s a glimmer of hope amongst all the antibiotic doom and gloom: scientists like Wright have figured out that seeking an answer to the riddle of resistance in the natural environment is a far more promising approach than trying to discover brand new antibiotics. So he and his team developed a new procedure that lets researchers screen for new drugs 10,000 times more effectively than in the past. In 2013, the team discovered a new antibiotic from a soil bacteria living in Alberta and an anti-cancer compound called qeldanamycin. The very next year, the team made international headlines when they discovered a fungus living in the soils of Nova Scotia produces a molecule able to disarm NDM-1, one of the most dangerous antibioticresistance genes – essentially, Kryptonite for superbugs. “A made-inCanada solution for a global problem,” says Wright.

Qiyin Fang Houses of the future

Gerry Wright Infectious disease

Pat Chow-Fraser Water and climate

You’ll pop a pill every morning In 2067, your meal is unlikely to come in the form of a pill. But you just might start your day off with one. Last year, McMaster biologists found that a dietary supplement containing a blend of thirty vitamins and minerals has remarkable anti-aging properties that can prevent – and even reverse – massive brain cell loss. It may even improve vision, smell, balance and motor activity.

Cancer will be targeted and destroyed When doctors today take a biopsy of a tumour, they’re taking a sample from one single place at one single point in time. They then prescribe treatments, like chemotherapy, which target the body’s cells indiscriminately, causing all kinds of side effects. That, says neurosurgeon Sheila Singh, won’t be the case for much longer. Better computer models combined with a drastic increase in available biological data will lead to the development of highly personalized treatment therapies. Singh, a Canada Research Chair in Human Cancer Stem Cell Biology, likens future treatments to homing missiles, which will zero in on and destroy cancerous targets, resulting in fewer side effects and better quality of life.

Ishwar Puri Internet and you

Sheila Singh ‘97 Fighting cancer dailynews.mcmaster.ca



The end of antibiotics

And to make matters worse, no new classes of antibiotics have been discovered since the late 1980s. “It’s the biggest public health challenge that the entire globe faces in the 21st century,” says Gerry Wright, director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research. And he’s not exaggerating: in a world without antibiotics, skin infections would have a one in 10 change of causing death. Tuberculosis would rage again. Kidney transplants, knee replacements, beating cancer with chemotherapy – all would be impossible. “Antibiotics underpin all of modern medicine,” says Wright. “Without them, we’re in a serious jam.”

Your JOB

You’ll commute from your home in Halifax to your job in Victoria Telecommute, that is, because as Dean of Engineering Ishwar Puri says, “connectivity will be at the heart of Canada’s future.” For workers in the knowledge and innovation economy – coders, for instance – physical proximity to the workplace will be almost meaningless. But working in your pyjamas won’t be the only benefit to increasing connectivity. New technologies will allow for automation and machine to machine and machine to human connections, which Puri says will lead to improvements in quality of life. “New technologies will improve productivity and drive innovation,” he says, “but they’ll also further democratize society. We’ll be able to take advantage of things like remote balloting to influence government, no matter where we live.”

Your CANADA AT 200


You’ll live close to what matters We’ll be much older, and more diverse It’s no secret: Canada is aging, and fast. Statistics Canada predicts that by 2030, one in four Canadians will be aged 65 years or older. By 2063, the country may be home to more than 50 million people - nearly fivemillion of whom will be aged 80 and over, and 62,000 aged 100 and older. They’ll also be from different places, with more and more seniors from Africa and Asia and fewer from Europe. But no matter where these people are originally from, they’ll all need some level of assistance in order to maintain a high quality of life. “The resources we dedicate to improving



their experience are scant compared to the eventual price we will pay for not doing enough,” wrote Chancellor Suzanne Labarge last September in the Globe and Mail. “The problem needs more caring and attention from individuals, and more evidence-based action from governments.” Which is why Labarge has given $25M to McMaster since 2012 to support aging research on campus – gifts that have helped form the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative, the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal and the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging. McMaster researchers are working on everything from keeping seniors in their cars longer and improving their mobility to designing dance routines to fight the affects of Parkinson’s disease - all with the goal of improving the overall quality of life in our later years.

A traffic-calmed, walkable community full of parks, banks, grocery stores and, of course, coffee shops – that’s the neighbourhood of the future. Or at least, it should be, according to Geography and Earth Sciences’ Antonio Paez. He found that older adults tend to walk more in neighbourhoods where they lived within shorter distances of “destinations that matter.” Walking more, in turn, contributes to physical and emotional wellbeing. Paez says there’s lots cities can do to help develop these kinds of neighbourhoods, including creating more green spaces, installing benches, making sure that pedestrian lights leave seniors with enough time to cross the street, providing good sidewalk connectivity and ensuring that there are curb cuts– small ramps cut into the sidewalk at intersections– so seniors, who may be unsteady, don’t have to step on, or off the curb.

You’ll need shorts, not scarves Melting arctic ice caps. Rising sea levels. Increased storm activity. You can’t have a conversation about the future without talking about climate change, and most conversations about climate change sound dire. That’s why it’s so surprising that Altaf Arain, Director of McMaster’s Centre for Climate Change, is such an optimist when it comes to Canada’s climate. It’s not that Arain doesn’t believe in the long-term consequences of humanity’s use of carbon – it’s that he also believes in our ability to adapt to change. “Even if we stop using all greenhouse gases today, there’s enough in the

atmosphere already that we’re still looking at a warming climate for some time to come,” he says. “But in Canada, we have a very well-educated population, with lots of knowledge and technological prowess. We can successfully adapt, if we put our minds to it.” To do so means we’ll need to plan for more hurricanes on the east coast, quicker snow melts in the mountains, more fires in the boreal forests and an increase in diseases like Lyme and those transmitted by mosquitoes. It also means developing plans for animals like polar bears and caribou, species which are already feeling the brunt of climate change. So can we do all of this without completely destroying the environment first? “Yes, I think so,“ says Arain. “We have a lot of ecosystem knowledge in this country, gained through scientific research and passed down historically by Indigenous peoples. This, combined with future technological advances, means the sustainable utilization of our environment is certainly possible.” Arain points to a number of researchers whose work will help future generations

plan for life in a warmer Canada: Mike Waddington, who studies wildfires in boreal forests and peatlands, Pat Chow-Fraser, who looks at the impact of human activities on the Great Lakes, and Paulin Coulibaly, who is developing advanced warning systems to help protect Canadians from the devastating effects of floods. “We’re going to have more precipitation in total, longer stretches without any at all, longer growing seasons, forests advancing north and higher temperatures,” says Arain. “The sooner we start adapting, the better.” And while we’re getting better at planning for extreme weather events, it can be difficult to plan for what comes after a disaster – which is where Wael El-Dakhakhni comes in. El-Dakhakhni is director of the McMaster Institute for Multi-hazard Systemic Risk Studies, which studies the cascading impacts of events like fires and earthquakes on infrastructure and economies. The goal is to get communities back on their feet as quickly as possible after disaster strikes. “We have a lot of responsibility for the climate’s future,” says Arain. “I think the work we’re doing here will be very useful to future generations.”


Career conversations. Mock interviews. Resume Critiques. Give guidance to students and new grads starting their careers.




Welcome to E st. 1 8 8 7

Help us welcome the Class of 2021! Remember the excitement of starting your first year at Mac? Remember the nerves too? We here at the Alumni Association believe that each new McMaster story should start with a kind welcome into the amazing community that lives here. That is where we need your help! We invite you to write a message of kindness, welcome, or well-wishes to the Class of 2021 when they start their own McMaster journey in September. The messages will then be distributed to residences and the off-campus society to share with students on their first day.



stablished in the will of Cecil Rhodes in 1902, the Rhodes is the oldest and perhaps the most prestigious international scholarship program in the world. Rhodes’ vision was to develop outstanding leaders who would be motivated to “fight the world’s fight,” and his will outlined four criteria: literary and scholastic attainments; energy; selflessness, devotion and sympathy for the weak; and leadership.

McMaster’s Rhodes Scholar honour roll 1902-1920 Ralph Bellamy ’02 Morden Long ’08 Ralph Freeman ’14 1930-1945 John Baldwin ’33 H. Allan Leal ’40 Bert MacKinnon ’43 1950-1960 James H. Taylor ’51 George Rawlyk ’57 1970s Christopher Philip Rose ’74,’76


1980s Eric Hoskins ’82,’85 1990s Karen Bakker ’95 2000s Maureen Hogan ’04 Sheiry Dhillon Matthew Jordan

Meet McMaster’s 14th Rhodes Scholar P

rime Ministers. Presidents. Scientists. Titans of industry. Thirteen other McMaster alumni. And now, Matthew Jordan. The student in McMaster’s interdisciplinary Arts & Science Program is the University’s next Rhodes Scholar, one of 11 outstanding Canadian students – only two from Ontario – to earn the distinction this year. Jordan will begin his studies at Oxford in September. He is the 14th McMaster student to earn the prestigious scholarship. The Rhodes Scholarships are postgraduate awards supporting outstanding all-round students and provide the opportunity to study at Oxford University. Previous Scholars include former US President Bill Clinton and former Canadian Prime Minister John Turner. Jordan, from Thornhill, Ont., has a cumulative academic average of 11.8 (out of 12), but says it’s his wide range of interests that has helped him to be successful throughout his life. He studies math and physics, and also enjoys playing jazz piano, watching basketball and talking about Impressionist art, among other things.

“I’m really interested in science communication, and I think having diverse interests helps me better relate to more people, which means I can be a better science communicator,” he says. Jordan has worked on a variety of research projects as an undergraduate, including a summer working at the prestigious Fields Institute in Toronto. He has been on the Dean’s Honour List four years in a row and has won a number of scholarships, including a University Senate Scholarship, the Dr. Harry Lyman Hooker Scholarship and the Arts & Science Experiential Learning Scholarship. “Matthew made a great impression on me at our first meeting,” says McMaster President Patrick Deane, whose office reached out to support both of McMaster’s Rhodes Scholarship finalists. “His commitment to academic excellence, strong leadership qualities and passion for all things science will serve him well at Oxford. I’m looking forward to seeing what he will accomplish next.” Jordan plans to pursue a PhD in mathematical physics at Oxford.



More to the story

Left to right: Dr. Qiyin Fang, Tiffany (Yuxin) Tian, Saad Syed, and Priscilla Bayliss, with a portrait of Dr. Ernest Kay as a young man.

In December 2014, Ernest Kay ’47, ’49 – scientist, retired professor, gardener, friend, and “uncle Ernie” to his many friends’ children – passed away at the age of 90. He left a generous gift in his will to McMaster University, bequeathing his Westdale home and augmenting his scholarship fund. But there’s a lot more to that story… Qiyin Fang, Canada Research Chair in Biophotonics at McMaster, is leading a unique research project, retrofitting the interior of Kay’s house to develop and test smart technology that will enable older people to live in their homes longer. The living laboratory is “an opportunity to care more efficiently for the aging population and help them live more independently,” says Professor Fang. “Ernie would have loved this,” says Priscilla Bayliss, Kay’s friend and longtime caregiver. “He loved people and he loved to laugh,” she recalls. “And he was very fond of McMaster.” In 1999, he established the Ernest Robert Mackenzie Kay Scholarship for biology, chemistry or biochemistry students who are heading to an advanced degree in medical research. To date, more than 70 students have benefited. Tiffany (Yuxin) Tian ’15 and Saad Syed ’16 were two of those students. “The scholarship allowed me to recharge and get ready for more challenges,” says Tian, who was studying toward two Mac degrees, a BSc in biochemistry and a BA in economics. Syed, an Arts & Science graduate who began the MD/ PhD program at McMaster last fall, recalls that “the scholarship allowed me to invest a greater amount of time in my research.” Fittingly, Ernest Kay’s memoirs acknowledge the importance of education. “My pleasure in the pursuit of science has been very much dependent on my contact with dedicated teachers all along the road,” he wrote. Thanks to his bequest, he has written another chapter to his story: Generations of Mac students will follow in his footsteps and his home will be a hub of innovative research.

To learn more about leaving a gift in your will, please contact: Kelly Trickett, Project Team Leader – Gift Planning University Advancement, McMaster University tricket@mcmaster.ca | 905-525-9140, ext. 21990

JD Howell

A living laboratory in a living room


the Arch

Alumni updates from near and far

1960s Peter Penner ’62, ’70 has published his memoir A Time to be Born. Russ Otter ’66 is the first Canadian President of the American Judges’ Association (AJA). The AJA is North America’s largest judges’ organization with 1,800 members.


Gwyn E. Campbell ’79 will become the new associate Dean of the College at Washington and Lee University on July 1. Campbell earned an honours degree in French and Spanish from McMaster.

1980s Glenn Brown ’81 is the 61st President of The Ontario College of Family Physicians. Glenn

Vincenzo Di Nicola ’81 is the Chair of the Caucus of Global Mental Health of the American Psychiatric Association and President-Elect of the organization’s Quebec and Eastern Canada Branch. He spent much of his career as a professor of psychiatry at the Université de Montréal and has recently completed his doctorate in philosophy.

Ross Belot ’81 is runner up for CBC’s 2016 Poetry Prize for his poem The Edge of Everything. After earning a Chemical Engineering degree, Belot spent decades in Canada’s oil business. He’s currently completing a master’s in creative writing. John Mighton ’82 is the winner of the 10th Annual Egerton Ryerson Award for Dedication to Public Education for his creation of JUMP Math, a program that encourages schools to try an approach to teaching math that is based on new research in education and cognitive science. JUMP Math has also just been named one of the six winners of the 2016 World Innovation Summit for Education Awards.


Paul Benedetti’s ‘78, ‘80 new collection of essays titled, You Can Have a Dog When I’m Dead (Dundurn Press) is now available. It’s based on pieces Benedetti has written for various publications, including his regular column in the Hamilton Spectator.

champions the role family physicians play in the delivery of primary care to Ontario’s patients and families. He is head of Family Medicine at Queen’s University.

Mac grad appointed to Senate of Canada Tony Dean ’80 is one of the six new senators for Ontario appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Dean, who earned a master’s in Sociology and Social Anthropology at McMaster brings decades of public service and leadership to the Senate. “It is an enormous privilege to be appointed to the Senate as part of a new and independent selection process. The Senate is an important institution in Canada’s system of democratic governance and I have arrived at a time of change and renewal. My intention is to work hard, together with my colleagues, to make the Senate work efficiently and effectively on behalf of Canadians,” he says. Senator Dean worked for a decade in public service collective bargaining before joining the Ontario public service in 1989. For the next ten years he advanced through the ranks of the Ministry of Labour and was appointed Deputy Minister. He served as Secretary of the Cabinet in Ontario and Head of the Public Service from 2002 to 2008. As Senator, he sits on the Legal and Constitutional Committee and on the Special Committee on Senate Modernization.



Barrie Shepley ’86, Caron Hyland ’90 and Sheldon Persad ’91 met at McMaster studying Phys Ed. They are celebrating 25 years of being in business together at P.B. Health & Performance Inc., a health and fitness company based in the Greater Toronto area. They recall the first event organized together was a push-up-a-thon for the McMaster Children’s Hospital while they were living in Edwards Hall. Deborah Serravalle ’89 is excited to announce the publication of her debut novel How We Danced by Cactus Rain Publishing.


1990s Christopher Pollon ’90 has published his novel The Peace In Peril: The Real Cost of the Site C Dam. Part travelogue, history and journalistic exploration, the book is based on a wilderness canoe trip by Pollon and photographer Ben Nelms, down the 100 km section of the Peace River that will be destroyed to build BC Hydro’s controversial Site C hydro dam in northeastern British Columbia.

2000s Lee Schofield ’00, ’02, is a sports and exercise medicine physician who led the Canadian medical team at the Winter World University Games, one of the largest multi-sport events in the world in Almaty, Kazakhstan. David Mascio ’01 is nominated for the 2016 Niagara Community Design Awards in two categories: Façade Improvement and Adaptive Re-use in connection with his work in redeveloping downtown Port Colborne, Ont. Marcel Faulkner ‘02 has published Elektros, his second novel, as Marcellus Durrell. Elektros is set in ancient Greece and is the first book in a series of five. Jonathan Stein ’08 has published a motivational book called LOL Loving Our Lives by Living Our Lives.

2010s Ben and Jeff Sacerty ’11 the twins launched Bardown Sports Inc. during their third year at

McMaster. Bardown Sports started as a hockey clothing company that has since grown to produce custom co-branded worn by hundreds of NHL player. It is sold in more than 300 stores across the world, including McMaster’s Campus Store, and produced for 40 Canadian universities and colleges. Kathryn Ross ’12 is a recipient of the 2016 George E. Valley Jr. Prize. Kate is currently working on developing new materials to study quantum magnetic phases requiring strong spin-orbit coupling. This award recognizes an individual in the early stages of their career for their outstanding scientific contribution to Physics, considered to have potential to significantly impact the field. 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients Junsen Zhang’86, ‘90 earned graduate degrees in economics and began his scholarly career with positions at the Australian National University and the Western University before joining Chinese University of Hong Kong. Dr. Zhang now serves

as the Wei Lun Professor of Economics and the chair of the Department of Economics. His research focuses on universal family-related issues including fertility, marriage, education, intergenerational transfers, marital transfers, gender bias and old-age support.

Dr. Margaret Clarke’84 is a professor in the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine and a previous holder of the Fraser Mustard Chair in Childhood Development – which is named for one of McMaster’s most storied and significant leaders in Health Sciences. Highly regarded for her research in autism, she is founding Executive Director of both the Ability Hub and the Sinneave Family Foundation, dedicated to building successful futures for adolescents and adults living with autism.

McMaster Centre for Continuing Education

Discover. Possible. www.mcmastercce.ca


McMaster CCE really set me up nicely to further develop my career. I’ve been able to apply what I learned at work and in all aspects of life. Everything is a project at some level and everything requires

careful planning and execution. Zoran

McMaster University Centre for Continuing Education, Project Management Certificate, 2016 Director of Program Delivery, Alectra Utilities (formerly Horizon Utilities Corporation)

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



Centre for Continuing Education | McMaster University | 1 James Street North, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L8 | 905.525.9140 ext. 24321



L.R. where Wilson Hall people meet and ideas collide McMaster’s new home for the liberal arts


By Sarah Janes ’13




JD Howell

“L.R. Wilson Hall changes the way learning and teaching happens in the liberal arts. This is a transformative time.” – Ken Cruikshank Dean of Humanities

The building is funded by a $45.5M strategic investment from the province of Ontario and a generous $10M gift from alumus and Chancellor Emeritus Lynton “Red” Wilson ‘62 & ‘95(hon). It is designed for students first and has many open spaces bathed in natural light.



“It’s the story of somebody who has gone to that building to practice violin and bumps into somebody who might be doing brain research. They start talking and something happens – there’s a spark and you have a recipe for innovation.” This is the narrative that Paul Cravit, Principal at CS&P Architects, envisioned when the team began conceptualizing L.R. Wilson Hall. The building tells the story of the changing nature of education, one that creates spaces where multiple disciplines come together for collaborative learning, inside and outside the classroom. The 151,000-square-foot, five-level building is located at the east entrance to campus and serves both the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Social Sciences. It was made possible by a $45.5-million investment from the province of Ontario and a $10-million gift from McMaster’s Chancellor Emeritus Lynton “Red” Wilson ‘62 & ‘95(hon). “Red’s generosity and his advocacy for the importance of the liberal arts has invigorated our entire campus,” said McMaster President Patrick Deane. “His belief and support are inspiring and I am confident that we will look back decades from now at his philanthropy and recognize it as a watershed in the development of our liberal arts faculties.” “L.R. Wilson Hall changes the way learning and teaching happens in the liberal arts,” said Ken Cruikshank, Dean, faculty of Humanities. “This is a transformative time.” The building features a 400-seat lecture theatre, a 350-seat performing arts concert hall, two 100-seat lecture rooms, interactive classrooms, and a “black box” theatre that can be reconfigured for a variety of music, dance and spoken word productions. “The geography of the round tables inside the interactive learning classrooms make it possible for collaborative learning where students are producing knowledge rather than merely consuming it,” says Michael Egan, Associate Professor in the Department of History.

Sarah Janes “The liberal arts are important in the development of the next generation of entrepreneurs, policy makers, innovators and politicians, who in turn, will make us competitive and compassionate on a global scale.� said Red Wilson. dailynews.mcmaster.ca



JD Howell

L.R. Wilson Hall has been designed to create spaces where students and faculty members from different areas come together.


Roof gardens contribute to the cisterns used for irrigation and act as cooling systems on the roofs while also mitigating off-gassing.



Sarah Janes

“Students are empowered to take ownership of their learning when they are actively involved in course discovery.” The upper levels of Wilson Hall incorporate the Wilson Institute for Canadian History, the Gilbrea Centre for Health and Aging, research labs, graduate student rooms, and student common areas. “This is a very student-focused building,” said Jerry Hurley, Dean of Social Sciences. “It factors in not only our current needs, but how we imagine ourselves in 10 to 15 years.” The Indigenous Studies Program on the main floor boasts a canoeshaped, bamboo-flooring ceremonial space, a teaching garden, kitchen facilities for instruction in Indigenous cooking, and a student library with lounge space. Enter the building from Sterling Street and see straight through the lobby out the back glass doors to the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery. Look around at the high lobby ceilings and notice the sun patterns filtering through the large windows. There’s an outdoor courtyard with seating just to your left and a plaza with trees between DeGroote School of Business and Wilson Hall. Roof gardens contribute to the cisterns used for irrigation and act as cooling systems on the roofs while also mitigating off-gassing. The whole building is also outfitted with motionsensor lighting and heating, all of which make the building LEED Silver certified. Wilson Hall is a hive of activity that happens in peaks and valleys with the What makes it LEED certified? lobby hallways connecting Cisterns collect water from the roof. the east to west and north Water is used for irrigation. to south parts of campus. It is a building that Planted roof gardens keep it cool. invites students to stay No island off-gassing. for as little or as long as Motion sensor lights and heating, needed and designed for and efficient floor heating collisions of people to meet and innovate. Building Automation System = centralized control of heating, ventilation and AC

The building seeks to get daylight into every imaginable space. The lowered lecture theatre sends daylight into the basement hallway while students are waiting for class.

Sarah Janes The interactive learning classrooms lend themselves to roundtable work and group discussions. Each table connects to a digital screen that can be used by students or controlled by the faculty member from a central hub in the middle of the room.

JD Howell

L.R. Wilson Hall features this 400 seat lecture theatre.




The building features a 400seat lecture theatre, a 350-seat performing arts concert hall, two 100-seat lecture rooms, interactive classrooms, and a “black box� theatre that can be reconfigured for a variety of music, dance and spoken word productions.


Bernice Downey ’09, ’14 and Barry Hill ’66, ’68 meet in the Ceremonial Room of McMaster’s Indigenous Studies Program in the newly opened L.R. Wilson Hall.

By Allyson Rowley 32





ne attended Mac in the 1960s, the other in the 21st century. One arrived right after high school, the other after a career. Both are lifelong change leaders who have held true to their Indigenous roots. Barry Hill ’66, ’68 and Bernice Downey ’09, ’14 reflect on their time at McMaster.

Hill was inducted into the McMaster Alumni Gallery in 2016, while Downey was honoured with a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in 2014. “It’s an exciting time,” says Downey, who notes that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has opened “a door of opportunity for future generations.” Hill recently published a book about the St. Paul’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawk, the oldest surviving church in Ontario and the only Royal Chapel located on a First Nation territory. “It’s good there’s more focus on history now,” says Hill. “It’s an anchor.” McMaster University recognizes and acknowledges that it is located on the traditional territories of the Mississauga and Haudenosaunee nations, and within the lands protected by the “Dish with One Spoon” wampum agreement. For more information on McMaster’s Indigenous programs and services, go to indigenous.mcmaster.ca.




While a student at Mac, Barry Hill did a lot of walking. He attended classes in the new engineering building on the south side of campus. During breaks, he’d head to his room in Whidden Hall on the campus’s northern edge. And three times a day, he’d trek east to Wentworth House for his meals. One memory stands out, during all that exercise: the sound of bells chiming from the Divinity College’s tower. “It felt so nice,” says Hill of the sights and sounds of Mac’s historic campus. “McMaster gave me a whole new outlook on life.” A graduate of Upper Canada College and self-described “egghead,” Hill chose McMaster for its friendly size, its commitment to innovation – and its reactor. “That’s a cool thing,” says Hill, who completed his BEng and MEng in mechanical engineering before going on to a 30year career with Ontario Hydro, where he contributed to a sustainable development policy based on First Nations wisdom. A member of the Mohawk Nation, Wolf Clan, of the Six Nations of the Grand River, Hill recalls there were no Indigenous programs when he was at Mac. “It was not a career path,” he notes drily. The McMaster that Bernice Downey attended some 40 years later was a little different. The bells still chime every Monday afternoon, but McMaster is now home to many Indigenous programs, clubs, and services. The Indigenous Studies Program (ISP) was launched in 1992, and a new Indigenous research institute is in the works. Campus life includes an annual Pow-wow, exhibits at the McMaster Museum of Art, an outdoor Indigenous Circle for teaching and gathering, and several Indigenous student clubs. And Wentworth House is now L.R. Wilson Hall, where the ISP is housed. Downey came to Mac after a career as a nurse, policy analyst, and health administrator. A lifelong advocate addressing health inequities among Indigenous peoples, she completed a master’s in medical anthropology in 2009 and a PhD in 2014. “My work at McMaster gave me more confidence and capacity to influence systemic change,” says Downey, a valedictorian at the fall 2014 convocation. Born in northern Ontario and raised in Hamilton, she is of Oji/Cree and Celtic heritage. While a post-doctoral fellow at Mac, Downey coordinated the first two offerings of the “Indigenous Undergraduate Summer Research Scholars” program and was lead coordinator on the proposal for the new McMaster Indigenous Research Institute. Currently the Regional Aboriginal Cancer Lead (Toronto Central) for Cancer Care Ontario, Downey works with regional primary care providers to bridge cultural gaps and make health care more inclusive for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. “As Indigenous peoples, we have always known how to take care of ourselves,” she says. After his retirement from Ontario Hydro in 1999, Barry Hill taught math and computer literacy at Six Nations Polytechnic for 10 years. At the same time, he developed yet another career – award-winning farmer. He has chaired several Ontario agricultural organizations, while building his family’s farm to more than 2,500 acres.


Memoriam 1930s William G. Whiteside ’34 was born on December 11, 1912 and died on October 27, 2016. In 1939, he joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada serving in western Europe where the regiment was instrumental in the liberation of Holland. Carolyn Stephens ’37 passed away on October 23, 2016. She was born in Hamilton on December 3, 1915.  


1940s June Wilhelm Hillyer ‘47 died on August 13, 2016, in Union, New Jersey. June worked as a medical laboratory technician at Hamilton General Hospital. John Hillyer ‘47 passed away on February 2, 2017, almost six months after his wife, June. Donald Beaumont ’47 passed away on July 22, 2016 at the age of 93. He leaves behind his wife, Connie, of 61 years, four children, 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

1950s William Gerald MacTaggart ’53 passed away on January 12, 2017 in his 86th year. Gerry played basketball and football at McMaster where he was later inducted into the McMaster Sports Hall of Fame.

1960s J. Douglas Varey ‘64 was born in Hamilton on May 29, 1941 and died on August 30, 2016 after a struggle with ALS. While at



McMaster, he was the leader of the NDP caucus in the Model Parliament and president of the McMaster Christian Union. Thomas L. Babb ’66 & ’69 died June 16, 2015 at the age of 72 in Beverly Hills, Michigan. At McMaster, he received his M.A. and Ph.D., and met his future wife, fellow psychology grad student Margaret Babb ’64 & ’69 with whom he spent a lot of time researching, and attending classes and seminars together. Mary Dickson ’68 passed away on October 12, 2016. Udo Schonberg ’69 was born on August 12, 1938 and passed away peacefully in his home on November 5, 2016.

er and director of the Hamilton General Hospital – McMaster Lipid Research Laboratory. Timothy Carlton ’87 passed away on December 17, 2016 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

2000s Freda Omaswa ’04 passed away after a battle of metastatic colon cancer on February 1, 2016. Freda was a founding member of “War Child Canada at McMaster”, a student group that raised awareness and funds for humanitarian projects. She aspired to become a physician to help others in need.

Gregory Edward Podgorski ’07 passed away on August 11, 2015 after a struggle with cancer. After graduating from McMaster, Greg went onto a successful career at Ford Motor Company and the Toronto Dominion Bank. Joseph Distel ’13 passed away on December 4, 2016 at the age of 50. He touched the Hamilton community through his work as Director of Communications for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. Joseph was the first MCM alumnus to pass away.

1970s Neil F. McLean ’70 was born on April 21, 1929 in Picton, Ontario and died after a brief struggle with cancer on July 19, 2016. After graduating from McMaster with an MBA, he had a very successful career with Noranda Mines Ltd., retiring in 1993 as Vice President. Neil lived in Brampton with his wife of 58 years, Leslie, their four children and nine grandchildren.

1980s Beverly Jane Wintemute ’82 passed away on September 10, 2016. Beverly was a public school teacher for many years. She loved her work and took pride in what she did. Maurice Mishkel ‘87 passed away on October 2, 2016 at the age of 86. In 1969, he came to Canada from Australia to join McMaster and become the found-

Using only the finest ingredients, Weil’s of Westdale takes pride in creating high quality, delectable “from scratch” baked goods and pastries. Drop into the famous Westdale location and tempt your tastebuds with our baked-fresh creations.

weilsbakery.ca Info@weilsbakery.com


“The littlest thing tripped me up in more ways than one.”

Whatever life brings your way, small or big, take advantage of a range of insurance options at preferential group rates. Getting coverage for life-changing events may seem like a given to some of us. But small things can mean big changes too. Like an unexpected interruption to your income. Alumni insurance plans can have you covered at every stage of life, every step of the way. You’ll enjoy affordable rates on Term Life Insurance, Major Accident Protection, Income Protection Disability, Health & Dental Insurance and others. The protection you need. The competitive rates you want.

Get a quote today. Call 1-888-913-6333 or visit us at manulife.com/mcmaster.

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The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. Manulife and the Block Design are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and by its affiliates under licence. © 2017 The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife). All rights reserved. Manulife, PO Box 4213, Stn A, Toronto, ON M5W 5M3.

Revisit & Reminisce... Alumni Reunion Day

SATURDAY, JUNE 3, 2017 Calling all Classmates! Anniversaries of the Classes

of 1942, 1947, 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967 will be celebrated! Alumni Reunion Day is a chance to reconnect with classmates and visit McMaster’s campus. The day features class cocktail receptions, the President’s Reunion Luncheon, 50th anniversary class celebrations, campus tours, an afternoon talk by a member of the 50th anniversary reunion class and a reunion honouring the 50th anniversary of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences.



Invitations with full Alumni Reunion Day details will arrive by mail and email in April, or contact the Alumni Office for details.


end! k e e W g in m o c e m o H McMaster TOBER 1, 2017

– OC IT Y LIONS SEP TEMBER 29 AUDERS vs. YORK UNIVERS ily! m AR McMASTER M & food with fans, friends and fa n fu Enjoy pre-game

Fall ReunHioALLns20 YEARS – residents of ’97-’98 school year WHIDDEN ing) (during Homecom 17) y, October 14, 20 l. BPE ’77 (Saturda ils to follow by email and/or mai ta de ll Watch for fu

For event details visit: alumni.mcmaster.ca, contact: alumni@mcmaster.ca, 1.888.217.6003 or 905.525.9140 ext. 24224

Profile for McMaster University

Spring McMaster Times 2017  

McMaster Times is the newsmagazine of McMaster University Alumni.

Spring McMaster Times 2017  

McMaster Times is the newsmagazine of McMaster University Alumni.


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