McGill Fall 2001 Convocation
McGill Fall 2001 Convocation, Place des Arts, Tuesday, November 13, 2001, 2:00 pm: McGill honours Her Excellency Adrienne Clarkson, Chancellor Emerita Gretta Chambers, legendary organist Marie-Claire Alain, the Honourable Justice William Ian Cornell Binnie, and Chemistry Professor Byung Chan Eu.
Founded by Royal Charter in 1821, McGill College merged, several years later, with the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning to become McGill University. In 1852, Queen Victoria sanctioned this merger with a second Royal Charter, in which she established McGills status as an eleemosynary (non-profit) institution by assigning to "Our Governor General of our Province of Canada" the Role of "Visitor" of McGill University. The Oxford Dictionarys second definition of visitor is "one who has a right or duty of supervision (usually exercised periodically) over a university, college, school or similar institution" and quotes an early use of the term in the year 1553.
On Tuesday, November 13, 2001, at 2:30 pm, McGill professors, future graduates and their families, will welcome in Place des Arts, on the occasion of the Founders Day Convocation, Her Excellency the Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, 26th Governor General of Canada and "Visitor" of McGill University. Secretary General Victoria Lees explains in her citation of Clarkson for a McGill Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters: "Today, the visitor is seen as both a safeguard against indiscriminate use of authority and a guardian of the liberal and humane values professed and practiced by universities. It is from the Visitor that the University must seek permission when it wishes to amend its governing statutes. It is the Visitor who reminds us of McGills long history as an institution of higher learning and of its special status as a royal charter university."
The Chancellor Emerita
From 1991 to 1999, McGill graduate (BA47), translator, columnist and broadcaster Gretta Taylor Chambers served her Alma Mater as its first woman chancellor with such grace, elegance, distinction and wisdom that in order to keep her in its midst the University named her Chancellor Emerita at the end of her tenure. Chambers is the first McGill chancellor ever to hold emeritus status. In bestowing upon her the title of Doctor of Letters honoris causa, the University is joining the Montreal Chamber of Commerce and the governments of Quebec and of Canada, who have already praised her as a "Grande Montréalaise," an officer of the Order of Quebec and a companion of the Order of Canada, respectively.
The legendary musician
Through her concert performances and numerous recordings, Marie-Claire Alain has become one of the leading figures in the organ world. Born into a family of musicians in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, she studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris, where she won four Premier Prix, followed shortly after by several awards in international competitions. Alain has toured extensively around the world, giving over 2000 concerts, either recitals or as a soloist with orchestra. The critics are unanimous in praising the luminous clarity of her playing, her pure style, the intense and lively musicality of her interpretation, and her outstanding skill in the art of registration.
In his citation of Marie-Claire Alain for an honorary degree of Doctor of Music, Professor John Grew mentions, "She has made over 200 LP recordings and more than 60 CDs... Of particular note are her famous recordings of the complete organ works of Buxtehude, Couperin, Grigny, Pachelbel, Mendelssohn, Franck and Jehan Alain. And what other organist has recorded the complete organ works of J.S. Bach not once but three times?"
The Supreme Court Justice
Justice Binnie has had a distinguished legal and judicial career that has seen him involved in significant civil and constitutional cases in both Canada and the international community. He earned a BA from McGill University in 1960 and graduated from Cambridge University with an LLB in 1963 and an LLM in 1988. In between he earned an LLB in 1965 from the University of Toronto. After practicing litigation at Wright and McTaggart and its successor firms in Toronto from 1967 to 1982, he became Associate Deputy Minister of Justice of Canada, serving as constitutional advisor to the government in matters related to the Charter and aboriginal rights and as a member of Canadas legal counsel before the International Court of Justice at The Hague. He was a senior partner at McCarthy Tetreault, one of Canadas strongest legal firms, from 1986 to 1998, where he dealt with such matters as the constitutional validity of the Free Trade Agreement, libel and free press issues, and aboriginal issues.
In 1998, Justice Binnie was named to the Supreme Court of Canada, where the decisions he has authored include the Little Sisters ruling, in which Canada Customs was strongly reprimanded for its longstanding harassment of a Vancouver gay bookstore. He is also the author of the Marshall decision, which ruled that historic treaties signed with the British in 1760-61 give the Mikmaq year-round access to the Atlantic Canada eel fishery.
The Emeritus Professor
Professor Byung Chan Eu is Canadas leading theoretician in the field of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and irreversible thermodynamics. His theories have found direct application in an extraordinary variety of molecular scattering and nonlinear phenomena, challenging contemporary research and development. These applications have a direct impact in modern aerospace, microelectronic and materials processing, plasma and radiation research, as well as in fundamental thermal science and statistical mechanics.
"In his area of research," says Dr David Harpp in his citation, "Professor Eu has put McGills Department of Chemistry on the map. He has authored more than 200 research articles, including 100 single-author papers and four books. During the last ten years alone, Professor Eu has graduated four PhDs and one MSc. Professor Eus success in securing funding is evidenced by his NSERC grant, which is the highest in the Faculty of Science and which was recently renewed for four more years."