What Alumni are saying
Bunny Gilmour (1943)
Bunny shared pictures of the students enjoying milk and graham crackers during archery lessons and recalled the fun they had with Red and White Revues, football games, and fraternity parties.
Marjorie Dibblee (1948)
Marjorie sends greetings to all and claims she still has her MSPE blazer, although it has become a wee bit smaller over the years. She thoroughly enjoyed her 50th and 60th year reunions with the class of 1948. Her four children and their offspring remain actively involved in skiing, synchronized swimming and soccer.
Earland Pepper (1963…Tales of Tommy Thompson)
I first met Tom at Macdonald College when he was a 1G student and I was in 2nd year Physical Education. His class and our class were scheduled to present a skit for an Education Assembly. Tom created something called “The Incredible Shrinking Machine”. This machine had been created by a Professor Snikmot and involved entering Ray Baillie (at about 6’2” and 250 pounds) into the machine (a giant box), and after many comical deliberations, ejecting Bob Howden (at 5’4” and 120 pounds). A lot of laughs were had by all and you might notice that Snikmot is Tomkins spelled backwards, the name of one of our favorite education professors.
I was assigned as a student teacher in September of my 3rd year at Northmount High School with Howie Paul. His P.Ed. partner was, you guessed it, Tommy Thompson. Since I would work with both of them, Tommy suggested that he would do a demonstration lesson for me to watch. He proceeded to teach a complete P.Ed. lesson (50 minutes) to Grade 10 boys, including distributing lockers, uniforms, etc. without saying one word!!! This, of course, was followed by that mischievous grin for which he became so famous!
During our 4th year Organization and Administration lectures which were held in the classroom across from the Athletics office, Dr. Bob Wilkinson announced that we would have a guest speaker on the topic “Discipline in Physical Education”. He introduced Tommy Thompson, then left the room. Tommy stood in front of the class and started his presentation with “The topic is Discipline in Physical Education.” He then said “No problem!” and disappeared. As did the rest of us after a few minutes!
To me, Tommy Thompson always made our lives as students much more interesting for he was the master of the ruse.
Fran Holt (1970)
Memories from McGill
The long, meandering lines on registration and course selection day at Macdonald Campus.
The marbles that mysteriously rolled down the slanted floor during our compulsory first year Bio class.
The rat’s tail that disappeared from our Anatomy Lab, only to end up in Rick Morgan’s hospital bed!
Trying to locate ANYTHING in the library, pre computer days! Remember those drawers of filing cards?
Not being allowed to walk on the oval out at Mac.
Enjoying the great music of the sixties, especially the Beatles.
Getting my skate stuck in the SMALLEST of holes during figure skating class.
Failing my practical softball test because I hit Dorothy Nichol’s cast on her lower leg TWICE, as she attempted to scramble out of the way of my errant hits. To this day, I dislike softball.
Running back to Laird Hall after a raid in the apple orchard, with apples falling out of the legs and sleeves of my ill fitting compulsory PE sweatsuit. Who designed those things anyway?
Getting my hand stuck in the candy bar machine in Laird Hall out at Mac, as I was trying to retrieve a chocolate bar, late at night, for a classmate.
Wearing those horribly unflattering red bloomer type shorts for PE classes.
Attending Basketball games, with the gym filled to the rafters with screaming fans.
Attending Football games at Molson Stadium and screaming ourselves hoarse for the home team.
Nancy Durrell McKenna winning the Miss Alouette contest and going on to become Miss Grey Cup! She looked fantastic in her photo with Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau.
Trying to get a handle on what to do in our Creative Dance classes, when Dance in our curriculum was in its infancy. Bless Prof Jennifer Wall for her never ending patience and enthusiasm.
Remember those wonderful Douglas Bags from our Physiology Lab days? I remember classmates cycling their legs off so we would have some data to interpret. The kicker? Most of the bags leaked so our data was never valid.
Being in class in Currie Gym and hearing Coach Mooney scream at the football players!
Going to Ski School in third year; we all had the greatest time ever!
Going to Camp Nominingue to develop our camping, paddling and portaging skills. As we were leaving the dock for our 3 day portage trip, one of the canoes tipped over and someone’s large make-up bag sank to the bottom of the lake. No one dove in to retrieve it so there it remains to this day!
Playing Volleyball for four years and travelling around Quebec and Ontario. Those were the days……
Participating in those great Gymnastics Shows, “ The Royal”, during Winter Carnival, out at Mac.
Listening to George and Ted Wall explain how Ted sliced open his nose during a “how to use an axe” demo at camp school. It was bleeding profusely so George took Ted to the nearest hospital. Ted had his bleeding nose pressed up against the locked glass door while George pounded on the window to attract attention. Need I say more? Thereafter, Ted was affectionately referred to as “zipper Wall”.
Watching George Weber dance with Prof Peg Walker at the end of Camp School.
Those wonderful bus trips down to Springfield, Mass., organized by Paul Cappelli and friends.
Our four year B. ED. PE Class of ’70 was pre CEGEP and one of the last classes to hold its graduation ceremonies on the beautiful Macdonald College Campus. It was a special occasion for all of us.
The best part? Keeping in touch with classmates and celebrating a class reunion every 5 years.
Lou Kirschner (1974)
I will never forget the kindness of the late Prof. Chomay who gave me a second chance/interview after receiving a refusal letter for having an average that was too low. I was drilled by the panel of Dr. Wilkinson (Phys. Ed. Chair), Prof. Riley, Prof. Chomay, etc. for over 40 minutes. Needless to say, I was given a provisional acceptance and an ultimatum to pass every subject in the first semester or I would have to leave the Department of P.E. Of course my determination and motivation was second to none to complete my degree in two years and a summer. Thirty-five years later I retired after a most enjoyable career in teaching 4 years at the Elementary level in Quebec City and 31 years at Dawson College.
I was always proud of being a McGill graduate and my chosen career. Two of my older children are McGill graduates as well. My oldest son is now studying for his third McGill degree (Dentistry).
I thank everyone in the faculty at the time - Dr. Reid, Dr. Marisi, Dr. Wilkinson, Dr. T. Wall, Dr. Neil, Prof. Riley, Prof. Chomey, Prof. J. Wall, etc.
2014 will be the 40th anniversary of my graduating class of 1974. Since the 25th, we have been getting together every five years.
Bertrand Hould (1975)
“LIFE AT THE TIME”
- Minimum wage in Quebec is increased from $2.10 to $2.30 per hour.
- Men earn almost twice as much as women: an average of $9,075. v/s $5,208.
- Team Canada’s series wit h U.S.S.R. Team Canada ends with 1-4-3. U.S.S.R. had come to learn from Canada, but its Canada who learned from U.S.S.R.!
- Montreal Alouettes defeat Edmonton Esquimos 20-7 and win the Canadian Football League Grey Cup.
- PM P.E. Trudeau promised a vigorous new thrust toward bilingualism and to “repatriate” the constitution, which can only be amended by Britain.
- Prime Minister Robert Bourassa sees the constitutionality of Bill 22, which makes French the sole official language of province of Quebec, challenged by Protestant School Boards.
- Mayor Jean Drapeau is re-elected for fifth term in office.
- Montreal Olympic Stadium was under construction.
- McGill agrees to provide athletic grounds and housing for 1976 Summer Olympic. McGill Stadium due for refurbishing with new artificial turf.
Ce que je retiens de mon passage à Mc Gill:
- Des installations vieillottes qui me font penser au château de Poudlard
- Des enseignants aimants et passionnés. Des mentors chargés d’expériences vécues du milieu de la pratique, traitant avec simplicité les étudiants comme des amis, des collègues et inspirant un esprit professionnel. Présence et disponibilité des enseignants en dehors des heures de cours et leur participation aux activités étudiantes.
- Un enseignement collé à la réalité. Je n’oublierai jamais entre autres, nos laboratoires d’anatomie à la faculté de médecine, où les notions d’anatomie nous étaient enseignées dans la senteur du formol, à partir de vrais sections de corps humains! La semaine nous avons passée à Camp Nominingue, pour y apprendre la vie d’un camp de vacance sous tous ses angles!
- Une ouverture d’esprit vers l’avenir. « Ne pensez pas à ce que l’éducation est aujourd’hui, mais bien à ce qu’elle sera dans 20 ans. » nous avait dit Dr Norman Henchey à son premier cours d’introduction à l’éducation.
- L’humilité face à ce que l’on est et ce que l’on sait. Dans un travail présenté à Dr John Chomay et nous avions a débattre du sujet : " We teach what we are; if we know a subject, we can teach it. If we are a person, we can teach others to become a person" j’avais conclu mon travail en disant : « When you know something, you do it. When you don’t know it you teach it.» et il m’avait répondu dans une anotation: « When you don’t know how to teach, you teach others how to teach » avec 9/10 pour mon travail.
- Peu d’argent pour vivre mais des gens et moments extraordinaires. L’une des plus belles périodes de ma vie, sinon la plus belle! SWEET MEMORIES
Editor’s note: Bertrand successfully completed the Iron Man Triathlon in August, 2012 at Mont Tremblant.
Lloyd Lazur (1983)
I entered the University in 1983 in the Phys Ed Bachlor’s programmed. I had the distinct honour of beginning recommended by the soccer course instructor, Dr. Wilkinson, to the McGill soccer team coaches and was invited to join the Soccer team which I proudly did. The players were very sociable and comraderie oriented and we established friendships and support. I eventually was awarded the Uldis Auders Award 1985 for academic and athletic excellence. I was also selected on a Montreal team…………
My credibility as a student of McGill University no doubt was the primary reason why I was elected as a Vice President to the St. Kitts Nevis Anguilla Association of Montreal in 1985…….One of the most disappointing moments was to experience the loss of the soccer finals in 1984 in Sudbury. For me, it was an experience as I had never experienced playing in temperatures below 10’C ever before. However the team spirit and the attitude of the coaches remained positive and equivalent with the University’s atmosphere in general. I was always prepared and willing to recommend McGill University as a prominent institution of positive learning.
Quite recently in 2010, I was invited and attended a ceremony for Prof. Bruce Kidd, Q.C., the Dean of the University of Toronto and he too also impressed that I attended McGill. I did deliver brief remarks at this function on behalf of Commonwealth Advisory Board on Sport (CABOS). I served as the Caribbean Representative of the CABOS in 2009. This recommendation was more than likely made because I attended the indisputable and established McGill….McGill University remains a prestigious institution, nationally and internationally and it has significantly contributed to my personal development.
Lazur is Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports, Information Technology, Telecommunications, and Posts Government of St. Kitts Nevis
Margaret Ballantyne (1984)
Margaret recalls running 22 miles with a mouthpiece while on a treadmill for one of Dr. Montgomery’s studies. In fact, twice, because he had to check for reliability! Greg Reid was the first person to teach her about the benefits of wearing clothes in layers to protect against the cold. She recalls Dorothy Nichol’s athletic injuries course fondly as both helpful and practical. She won the orienteering race at camp course after the boys were disqualified for cheating. Gymnastics and Philosophy of Education were among her favorite courses. Now living in the USA with three boys, she is proudly proclaims whenever possible that James Naismith, inventor of basketball, came from McGill.
Christine Helmer (1987)
Body and Soul: I am a theologian, which means that when people ask me what my major was in college and I say, “physical education,” they respond with astonishment. “Phys. ed.?! What does that have to do with theology?” Theology is a tough one to convey in a secular culture. The word sounds like “geology,” which people are more likely to recognize, so I generally find myself correcting, “no, not geology, but theology.” This doesn’t help. But as difficult as it is to get what a theologian does, people know enough—it has to do with God and the soul, no?—so that the move from phys. ed. to theology elicits utter perplexity.
But what could be a better undergraduate fit for theology than the study of the “body in motion”? Theology studies the human person as she is related to others, to the environment, and perhaps to her god—and this person in relationship is distinctly and beautifully embodied. I look back fondly at my experiences in the phys. ed. program at McGill. I remain grateful still to Prof. Dan Marisi for his course in sport psych that taught me the visualization technique I later used to prepare for exams. I am grateful too for the opportunity to have trained with athletes who became ever faster, stronger, more beautiful, honing the fine art of competition. They spoiled me. I later learned that life is not as fair as a time trial! I’ve often found myself wishing my colleagues in the academy had played hockey when they were younger. And I cherish with enduring sadness the memory of studying the Formula 1 racecar driver who later died in a crash.
But I became hooked on the Humanities at McGill, in the one required course, “Philosophy of Catholic Education.” Why “Catholic” education, when none of the books had to do with Catholicism? (This anomaly may belong to the political and religious history of Quebec!) I read C.S. Lewis’s The Problem of Pain, a problem any athlete knows well, but this was another, compelling take on it. Body and soul/Phys. Ed. and Theology: what better combination than this!
Helmer is Professor of Religious Studies and German at Northwestern University
Pat Sheahan (1990)
I am pleased to participate in the celebration of the School of PE at McGill. I am also pleased to have been there in the mid to late eighties when many of the McGill PE legends were very much in their prime! I have fond memories of Graham Neil, Doug Riley and Ted Wall as Chairmen and I was also pleased to hear that my former classmate from Concordia Helene Perrault also served as Chair for a time. I am pleased to see that several academics from my time at McGill have gone on to do great things elsewhere. Both Blaine Hoshizaki and Diane Ste Marie come to mind as two, but there have been many others. I had great fondness for several staff who sadly are no longer with us. Dorothy Nichol, Dan Marizi and Dave Montgomery were great people and great teachers. And, I was deeply saddened by the loss my good friend John Chomay who helped so many during his time at McGill. He was a good friend and he is fondly remembered. Since my time at McGill as Assistant Head Football Coach with Charlie Baillie I have moved on to lead two other CIS programs. I am pleased to have been to the National Championship game with each of them. The lessons learned along the way have accumulated and I seem to get a few things right most days. I am especially pleased when I read about the accomplishments of the athletes I have coached (and the list is long!) Perry Koziris and Ray Lalonde are two PE grads who have enjoyed great careers in the public eye and my fellow coach Mike Maurovich continues to be a leader among leaders in high school athletics in Greater Montreal. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge Peter Smith for all he has accomplished in Women’s Hockey! Peter and I were PE grads and colleagues in the Athletics department at McGill back in the day! I am grateful for my time at McGill and wish everyone there much success! I met so many wonderful people and I look at the School of PE as a necessary step for me to have taken in my career as a coach and educator.
Head Football Coach Queen’s University
Peter Gatama (MA,1993)
Greetings from Halifax! My name is Peter Gatama, a former student of yours and the late Dr. Dan Marisi. I am happy to hear that the department will be celebrating 100 years next May. Congratulations!
My recollections of life at McGill during my time as a student are still fresh (20 years later). I started my graduate studies in January, 1990 under the supervision of the late Dr. Dan Marisi. It was quite a change of weather since I was from Kenya, a hot climate and home. I arrived from Halifax and into the harsh Montreal Wintry weather. I was however, well received and quickly adjusted to a busy graduate life. During my time at McGill, I participated in intramural sports especially soccer as a player and referee, I also did weight training in the gymnasium. In the community, I was the president of the Association of Kenyan Students at McGill for two years. I was able to learn about Football and Ice Hockey as well as participate in skating lessons. I liked reading and so I spent lots of time in the library at the department and Education.
I have lots of fond memories of the late Dan Marisi. He was always smiling and liked to talk about car racing and canoeing. I had the best experience with him and my colleagues especially Nelly Contiyannis whom I admired for she was beautiful, intelligent, and a great volleyball player. I had a wonderful time with other professors like yourself who made my life at McGill a memorable one. I was proud to be a REDMAN adopted from Kenya.
I graduated in June of 1993. After McGill, I got a job as a physical education and geography teacher at Greaves Academy, Montreal where I taught until December, 2007. I returned to Halifax in 2008 and joined Saint Mary`s University for a Bachelor`s degree in Political Science. I graduated in October, 2009. In May 2011, I graduated from Saint Mary`s University with a second Master of Arts in Atlantic Canada Studies.
I have just been admitted to Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia for a PHD program in Education. I will commence my doctoral studies in September if all goes well (financially). I hope to be a part of the 100th Anniversary celebration next year. For now I say, felicitation et bonne chance!
Thank you for taking good care of me while I studied at McGill and for your continued support.
Vassilia Hatzitaki (PhD, 1995)
During all these years (16 since I got my PhD) I keep the attached picture on my wall board above my desk. It reminds me of my good times at Phys Ed, McGill. Being a lab instructor for the anatomy class was one of the greatest experiences of all times.
Stéphanie Bergeron (1997)
I have fond memories of my years in the physical education department as they are some of the best years of my life! I enjoyed Greg Reid as a teacher for motor development and Chair of the Department. I remember being shocked by Dr Vassilios Vardaxis, announced on the first day of class that we would "play with dead body parts"!
I particularly enjoyed being part of the gymnastics team with Dr Neil, going to different schools in order to promote Olympic gymnastics and getting credits for it. It was an amazing experience! (part of the gymnastics team that I remember at that time: Pierre Gendron, Eugene Brotto, Debra Mckenzie, Kathy M., Anne T. and Jordie Cohen and myself). When we did the big tour of the Eastern Township, we all stayed at Eugene's house and his mom had prepared breakfast for all of us!
I remember the outdoor activities class where we went on a canoe-camping excursion. We had a fantastic time doing everything from portaging, cooking on an open-fire, building a camp, chopping wood... Michelle LaRiviere was my partner for that trip.
I also remember the winter activity class in Orford. The teacher got injured and we were left alone with the second and third year students leading the activities. I remember the open house where we had to perform in front of a crowd... I had to perform for gymnastics and Aikido. For Aikido, I had to flip a football player who was easily 3 times my size!
I remember the big basketball jamboree and Project Double Challenge; probably the best learning experienced I have had in my life. The only thing I regret was having missed my graduation ceremony as I had to leave for New Zealand. I could go on and on as I have so many memories which made me laugh, put a smile on my face. As I look back, I consider myself very lucky for my education in the physical education department, we were a very small group which is rare in a university and we received a great education. Even after 15 years, I am still in touch with many of my fellow classmates!
Rod Macdonald (1998)
As a result, at least in part, of my time at McGill both as a student of the "Fitness Education" program, and as a member of McGill Crew as a both an athlete and coach, I have had many wonderful opportunities come my way.
In 2012 I will have worked for canfitpro (Canadian Fitness Professionals Inc.) in Toronto for 10 years. In my role as Vice President (formerly General Manager and then Executive Director), I oversee our 65,000 member organization, including over 23,000 fitness professionals including personal trainers, fitness instructors, club operators, and others. Our members influence the lives of over 2,000,000 Canadians every week and I am profoundly grateful for the contribution I can make both directly and indirectly.
My work at canfitpro has brought me across Canada, to the USA, as well as New Zealand, Australia, and China, presenting at fitness conferences sharing what I am so passionate about. I have also had the opportunity to co-author and co-edit one of our certification manuals, published by Human Kinetics, as well as numerous articles along the way.
Best known for our certification programs and conference events, canfitpro holds its largest event in Toronto every August, but we also hold an event in Montreal with our next one in February 2012 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. If there is anything we can do provide a venue for McGill alumni and current students to come together, please let me know. We'd do our best to accommodate some way to help celebrate the Kinesiology and Phys. Ed. 100th anniversary.
On a personal note, having ridden my bicycle across Canada in 2008 as part of the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride and competing in numerous adventure races and 4 Ironman Triathlons, I have challenged myself (in typical McGill style) to see where my limits are and if I have what it takes to surpass them. I certainly owe McGill some credit for the knowledge and experience gained through the department to prepare mentally and physically for those and future challenges.
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” These words by Albert Einstein come to mind when I reminisce about my time as a Research Assistant under Dr. David Pearsall. Of course I am very happy about the grades and the Masters Degree I received at McGill, but that is only part of what counted. What really counted for me were the life lessons.
Just receiving a $20,000 camera for research, I hastily plugged all the components together when I noticed the smell of burning plastic: a smell that will make your heart sink when working with 20,000 dollar equipment. In a desperate attempt to save the camera, I ripped the plug from the wall but it was too late. The camera circuits were burned (I plugged the camera into a transformer labeled “charger” instead of the one labeled “camera” which I later found). Full of regret, I walked to David’s office and explained what I did, to which he replied, “I can understand how you made that mistake. The labels are misleading.” Wow! Pressured with deadlines and faced with this news, David responded with understanding rather than reacting to the problems. By his example, he taught me to accept mistakes: a lesson that inspired me to reach for dreams even though they are full of potential problems.
I am grateful to McGill for its quality of education, remarkable professors, and abundant facilities, but most of all I am grateful for the life lessons like the burning camera incident. Though they never counted towards my degree, they count.
Here’s to 100 more years!
J.J. Loh is President of Medicus Corda Inc.
Electronic Medical Records Systems.
John Cloutier (2005)
Where to begin - what a blast! Being a mature student, I was a bit shy and I knew it would not be as easy for me. However, I just could not have been more fascinated by the subject matter.
Once I got in, it was every bit as engaging as the course titles suggested. One of the first courses: Motor Development with Dr. Greg Reid. No one could resist his enthusiasm for the subject matter. We were inspired with him, and off to an auspicious start. The following semester: Adapted Physical Activity, where we were paired with a student with a disability and tasked with coaching them through several skill sets (Project Double Challenge). Here was our first opportunity to put into practice training modalities that would be tested by the individuals we were working with. Our first clients, if you will. The course seemed to suggest to us that to be successful we had to have it in our “heads”, but also in our “hearts”.
Courses in physiology and training principles followed with Dr. David Montgomery. I remember he used to like to scandalize the football team by asserting that even under a heavy muscle building regimen, an athlete needed only to eat the amount of protein that could fit in ones palm. Any more than that, he maintained, was just extra. Of course, he had the research behind him to back him up! When he passed away suddenly, it was a sad shock to the department. We attended a memorial for him on campus, and several of his colleagues spoke with love about his wonderful contribution to the department and their lives.
Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics with Dr. Rene Turcotte and Dr. David Pearsall were where we learned all about training effects and kinematics. And who could forget their passion for hockey! Cutting edge research (pun intended) was being done in skate and helmet design in the department. Later, Dr. Julie Coté joined the department, and elucidated still more about vectors and perturbations. I was so inspired by biomechanics as it related to my Tai-Chi practice, that I completed a Masters level course with Dr. Turcotte while completing my undergrad.
To help us tie in the mental behind the physical, Dr. Bloom taught us Sports Psychology. I remember that the Redmen and Martlets valued his perspective highly on how to be athletes that functioned at a high level not only physically, but also mentally. A course in Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries from Lynn Bookalam gave us a good set of prevention and injury management techniques to work with.
And of course, where would any of us have been without Eileen in the front office and Sanjeev in the computer lab! McGill Kin from 2002-2005 was a wonderfully life enriching experience, and I could not be happier I was a part of it!