Saskatonian Follows His Dreams

Thomas Ying knows what it means to follow your dreams. As a six-year-old boy, he accompanied his parents on a journey from China to Canada, where they embarked on a new life, settling first in Guelph and eventually in Saskatoon. Perhaps that’s why it seemed natural to trek halfway across the country to attend McGill.

“When I was in high school I got very interested in biology,” says Thomas. “McGill has a really strong reputation in the health sciences, so when I was deciding on a university, I knew that’s where I wanted to go.”

Thanks to a Best in the West Scholarship in Science, Thomas has done just that – and his experience at McGill has exceeded his expectations. “My first year was very welcoming. I lived in residence and made some great friends. And Montreal is such a big, bustling city,” says Thomas, who has been taking courses to build his French language skills.

Thomas enjoys the challenge of his health science courses and is currently involved in an honours research project that is investigating how the dendritic cells in our immune system respond to environmental stimuli. “It’s a really exciting project and my supervisor, Prof. Krawczyk, is an awesome mentor,” he says. As for the future, Thomas has his sights set on medical school.

Despite his demanding academic schedule, Thomas is actively involved in campus life. He is a member of the Microbiology and Immunology Student Society and is part of the “China Care” campus club. He also volunteers in the dialysis clinic at the Royal Victoria Hospital and finds time to hone his skills in mixed martial arts.

Thomas is profoundly grateful for his Best in the West scholarship. “Receiving this scholarship was a huge factor in my ability to come to this wonderful university. Thanks to it, I am experiencing cutting-edge science, meeting new friends from all over the world and growing as a person.”


In Mike Babcock, BEd’86, there beats the heart of a true champion. And atop that heart, a McGill tie is often on display. That’s because the kid from Saskatoon has never concealed his proud McGill roots.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, but going to McGill helped me understand that whatever I chose to pursue, no matter how big, it was there for me if I was just ready to reach out and grab it,” says Babcock, a former captain of the McGill Redmen hockey team.

Today, Babcock is coach of the Detroit Red Wings and a member of the exclusive Triple Gold Club, having won an Olympic Gold (2010), the Stanley Cup (2008), and the World Championship (2004). He also led Team Canada to gold medals at the 1997 World Junior Championships.

Babcock credits his formative years at McGill for instilling in him the drive to succeed. “McGill taught me, if you work hard, you prepare hard and you do good things, then good things will happen.”