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McGill24 inspires nostalgia with McGill moments

Since 2016, thousands of McGillians around the world have come together for McGill24, our annual day of giving. The largest Canadian fundraiser of its kind, McGill24 raised nearly $2.3 million in 2019 in support of students, research and campus programs.

Since 2016, thousands of McGillians around the world have come together for McGill24, our annual day of giving. The largest Canadian fundraiser of its kind, McGill24 raised nearly $2.3 million in 2019 in support of students, research and campus programs.

For McGill24 this year, we called upon all members of the community to share their favourite McGill Moments – fun memories related to McGill and Montreal. We received stories about surviving the season’s first snowfall, attending to a cow in labour at Mac campus, and taking a professor’s feedback about a term paper’s “purple prose” to heart. Let us take you back to your favourite times at McGill with this collection of McGill Moments.

STEPHANIE STEEVES, a McGill graduate on a farm


ROBERT KLEPKO, a McGill graduate with his wife, Lan


HELENE BIBEAU and her basketball team


TZU-WEI JOY TSENG, epidemiology student in artistic swimming team

TZU-WEI JOY TSENG, epidemiology student

PASCAL CALARCO in a library




STEPHANIE STEEVES, BSc(AgEnvSc)’08, MSc(A)’10, gained hands-on experience when she “helped deliver three calves at the Macdonald Campus farm.” She didn’t know at the time that this experience would launch a career in animal health. “I owe director Paul Meldrum and the farm staff a debt of gratitude for [the] early learning opportunities they afforded this ‘city girl!’ I now work for Merck Animal Health – I am thrilled that my degrees in animal biology and biotechnology at McGill led me on this fulfilling journey!”

ROBERT KLEPKO, BEng’81, MEng’87, was proud to receive his engineer’s iron ring upon completing his bachelor’s degree. Little did he know that during his next degree, he would earn a wedding ring. “Coming back to McGill to work on acquiring my MEng…[was] when I met the woman who would become my wife.” Robert and Lan, a McGill Nursing alumna, have been together for 30 years.

GUILLAUME BODELLE, MEng’95, learned about dressing for winter the hard way. An avid walker, he walked to campus one day in the snow without winter boots. “By the time I arrived at the main gate, my feet were soaking wet and freezing—I mean freezing! Skin-turning-blue freezing.” Unable to go the next three hours of class with wet feet, he bought winter boots at the Eaton Centre, depositing his wet shoes and socks in the shoebox. “My classmates saw me walking in. They looked at my large yellow shoebox, then back at me. All had a snicker on their faces that said ‘rookie!’”

HELENE BIBEAU, BEd’15, helped kick off an athletics dynasty when her McGill Martlets basketball team won the 2012 RSEQ provincial championship for the first time since 1996. “Since then McGill has won seven provincial titles in a row, including the national championship in 2017.”

BEVERLEY AUERBACH, BA’72, MA’76, learned a valuable lesson about writing while completing her Honours English degree. When Professor Peter Buitenhuis wrote “purple prose” on her term paper, Auerbach was “energized and changed [her] style of writing.” She went on to become a writer and editor, and says she always avoids purple prose.

JOAO CAMPOS, BA’70, remembers the chaos of registration day in a different technological era. Scant hours after arriving from Brazil, he arrived at McGill’s Percival Molson stadium. He describes “dozens of tables staffed by volunteers where you could find information and receive course orientation.” Armed with pen and paper, Campos went from table to table registering for courses.

SUSAN CHOPP, BMus’75, sang in McGill’s concert choir at the opening of Pollack Hall in 1975. “What an honour! We were all so proud of the wonderful performing space made available to the music world.”

CONSTANTIN POLYCHRONAKOS, Professor, Department of Pediatrics, experienced first-hand how favourable McGill’s reputation is worldwide. Singled out at an improv show in Amsterdam, he was asked his profession. “My answer, ‘I am a McGill professor,’ elicited from the audience…a response that is hard to describe but which sounded a lot like ‘WOW,’” he said. “I can’t recall another moment in my McGill career that I felt so proud to work at McGill.”

ANDY DODGE, BA’71, received an education outside the classroom working at the McGill Daily. When the previous McGill Daily editor was let go because he wasn’t a student, Dodge “spent the next day cruising around the Student Union building recruiting. That evening we put out a four-page McGill Daily.” Soon he had put together a full staff, including the late Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner) and late Canadian journalist David Chenoweth. “It was one of the greatest learning experiences I could ever imagine.”

HELAINE SCHWARTZMAN LIVINGSTONE, BA’60, was star struck to meet former McGill Principal F. Cyril James for the first time at a garden party on graduation day. “It was an elegant way to end four years of a privileged education.”

HUBERT de MESTIER du BOURG, LLM’70, DCL’74, remembers the setting of his degrees. « Je remontais la rue Peel. En entrant dans la vieille faculté se trouvaient l'Institute of Comparative Law à gauche, alors dirigé par le Pr Hahlo et à droite se trouvait le bureau du Air and Space Law. Un bel escalier en bois menait à certaines salles de classe ou à des bureaux de professeurs. En bas, le bureau du Doyen (Pr Durnford) était un peu plus loin sur la gauche et si on continuait on parvenait dans l'immeuble des salles de cours où se trouvait aussi la bibliothèque où les étudiants en Master pouvaient disposer d'un espace de travail. Que de souvenirs déjà lointains, mais toujours vivants peuplent encore ma mémoire et justifient ma reconnaissance pour l'excellent enseignement reçu et le contexte si agréable des cours. »

ROSETTA ANTONACCI, Nursing Lecturer, had a unique experience at convocation. As a member of McGill’s faculty and a McGill parent, she was on stage when her daughter graduated. She recalls her daughter walking toward her to receive her degree, a moment she considers “priceless.”

RACHAEL COHEN, BMus’18, was thrilled to receive her degree from McGill’s Schulich School of Music in 2018.

LESLEY REGNIER, education student, came upon University founder James McGill’s statue while walking on campus. “I took my hat off to him,” she said.

TZU-WEI JOY TSENG, epidemiology student, is a proud athlete with the McGill Martlets’ artistic swimming team, which just won the national championship in the Canadian University Artistic Swimming League.

AMANDA BLUNT, BA’98, recalls “going to Mad Hatters with friends for lunch, going to Le Faubourg for bagels before class, and becoming addicted to coffee in my first semester.”

YVES LE BOURGNE, BEng’76, fondly recalls the excitement of his graduation ceremony. “For me, this was the first time I saw assembled all my fellow students, with nothing but a sense of joy, accomplishment and pride exuding from them. Long past the hardships, the friendships, the obstacles. This was it!”

MEAGAN HINTHER, BSc’05, is proud to have performed with MOSAICA, McGill’s contemporary dance company. “It was absolutely thrilling and amazing to choreograph and perform…with 20 other incredible dancers.” She recalls a packed house at the Gesù Performing Arts Centre, and the hard work and studio time that led to it.

BRIAN SIU, BSc’15, expressed his gratitude to McGill. “Thank you McGill for providing me with all the opportunities to grow as a person and as a professional. Thinking back on all the highs and the lows of my life at McGill, I believe I left Montreal a more grounded, and yet, more optimistic person.”

PASCAL CALARCO, MLIS’95, credits the experience of his library sciences degree with his career success. “McGill's two-year MLIS program offered me the opportunity to work in my field after the first year. I ended up volunteering in a hospital library in my hometown. After graduation, this important experience translated into a fantastic first professional position at Yale University's medical library. Twenty-one years later, I was appointed University Librarian at the University of Windsor.”

SUSAN STROMBERG STEIN, BA’77, fondly recalls receiving her Master of Arts, and is proud that her art is part of the McGill Visual Arts Collection.

ALI ALWADEI, Medical Resident’13, is grateful to the mentors who made him the physician he is today. “My mentors…taught me how to give the best care to my patients. I recently discovered a new human disease. To McGill and all my great mentors, whom I am grateful to, I give credit of this important medical discovery.”

GUY LANGELIER, BA‘80: « Plus qu'une simple université. En arrivant à McGill, je me suis retrouvé dans un monde que je croyais hors de portée. Issu d'un milieu pauvre du bas de la ville (St-Hyacinthe) jamais de ma misérable existence aurais-je un jour songé étudier au milieu d'une si étonnante communauté. Davantage que du savoir, McGill m'a inculqué un nouveau souffle. Là-bas, j'ai côtoyé de nobles esprits et me suis épanoui à l'ombre d'une vénérable institution. De ma vie je n'oublierais ma visite à la faculté de droit. Ses toiles immenses. Ces rappels du passé accrochés aux murs qui me fixaient pendant que je m'imprégnais de leur aura. J'eus alors l'impression que le temps se scindait en deux. Qu'il y aurait un avant et un après. Que rien désormais ne serait plus pareil. Ce fût là une expérience extraordinaire. »

ANNMARIE ADAMS, BA’81, Department Chair, Social Studies of Medicine, proudly recalls the unveiling of her portrait by Eric Vanasse in December 2018, which is “now hanging in…the School of Architecture among others depicting former directors.”

MARIE-BLANCHE GENTILE, DipEd’90, is thankful for her fantastic instructors. « L’exception des méthodes d’enseignement des professeurs Mme Joan White et au département de littérature française M. Jean Ethier-Blais. Merci à tous mes formateurs! »

MUSTAPHA BENTAJER, McGill staff, recalls the University’s fears leading up to Y2K. « J’etais choisi parmi le staff technique de gestion des installations y compris la centrale thermique lors du passage à l’an 2000(Y2K)....on savait pas vraiment qu’est-ce qui allait se passer! Surtout on venait juste de passer à travers le verglas de 1998. Finalement on a fêté le nouvel de peur que de mal. »

DAVID SEARLE, JD’17, is grateful for the mentorship opportunities McGill created. He was given opportunity to clerk with Judge Randall Richmond at the Montreal Municipal Court. “Judge Richmond’s incredible mentorship provided me with the ultimate example of professionalism, patience and empathy. Today, I try to apply this teaching in my daily practice as a lawyer.”

HONEY A. DRESHER, BA’68, recalls the impact research and a scholarship had on her degree. “I had two wonderful McGill Moments. The first was in my second year when Dr. William Westley, Head of the Sociology Department, hired me to do research based on my top grades in his class. My second…came in my fourth year when I was awarded a McGill Scholarship and a McConnell Foundation Fellowship. These were both defining moments in my student years and later in my career.”

KIT KENNARD, former McGill student, recalls shooting baskets during a 1971 McGill Basketball game against Laval. “When the sky hook worked it was a great joy. Thanks to Steve Fraid, my teammate and ‘hook mentor.’”

DENIS DUDLEY, McGill Parent, inspired by our video featuring Christopher Patterson and Marc Bieler, shared the story of his daughter, McGill Science graduate Alix Dudley. “My daughter Alix actually works for NASA – she is an Operations Specialist with NASA Ames Research Centre.” Dudley credits Alix’s seven years at McGill with enabling her to fulfill her “lifelong dream of working in the space sector.”

VANESSA D’AQUILA, BSN’17, showed her McGill pride through a painting completed in her undergraduate studies. She created the painting “after embracing many opportunities to strength and unify [the] McGill and Nursing community, while developing [her] personal growth.”

ANNE DURKIN, BA’76, McGill parent and staff member, regards McGill as a happy constant in her life. She grew up with Mac College student teachers, and lived in RVC while she attended McGill. “Perhaps, though, my return as a member of staff in 2008 should be deemed my proudest moment. The ability to cycle back as an older and hopefully wiser version of oneself has been a real privilege.”

KELLIE CELIA, BA’06, recounts her love of Montreal’s scenic views. “Walking down Dr. Penfield at sunset in the middle of the winter, the water vapor rising off the buildings downtown always made them look like they were breathing. Also, the Christmas lights every year on the trees on McGill College Avenue make me nostalgic every time I see pictures.”