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Honorary Life Memberships
Barbara's support of McGill and involvement with the University have come in many forms over the years. Her late husband, Dr. Louis G. Johnson, BSc'35, MD'39, was a longstanding supporter and devoted graduate, and he and Barbara were a great team in their work on behalf of McGill.
Individually and through her foundation, Barbara provides generous support for projects in science, athletics, medicine, education and projects on the Macdonald Campus. Her farm in Pierrefonds, Que., has been the home for many internships, summer jobs and full-time employment for McGill students and graduates, and she always encourages McGill researchers to make use of her farm, livestock and equipment. Louis would also often bring students and colleagues from the Royal Victoria Hospital back to the farm for lunch. "The first time I hosted a lunch, over 50 students, doctors and their girlfriends showed up!" says Barbara. During the ice storm of 1998, she rallied to help Macdonald Campus in a relief effort to bring generators to Quebec farmers. She is always ready to extol the virtues of McGill: "McGill is a great university and I've always been impressed with how it maintains its high quality throughout the years, in good times and tough times."
Diana Grier Ayton
Although not sure what qualifies her for this distinction, Diana is a firm believer in McGill and the educational opportunities it has provided. "I took some evening courses before I began working here, but my real education has been on the job. The people I've worked for have always allowed me great freedom. When you have that trust, you work hard to keep it."
She joined the University Relations Office in 1989 as associate editor of the faculty and staff newspaper, the McGill Reporter. In less than a year, she had inherited the editor's job. With McGill grads Daniel McCabe, BA'89, and Eric Smith, BA'91, Diana eventually won bronze, silver and gold medals in competitions for institutional publications. She also initiated a science writing internship for students. In 1998, she moved to Development and Alumni Relations as acting Manager of Communications and editor of the McGill News. Diana has served on McGill's Centraide campaign committee, as chair of Management Forum, which represents 500 administrative staff, and as a volunteer during the University's capital campaign. Outside McGill, she was a judge for the Canadian Science Writers' Association for ten years, and member of the District 1 executive board of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. She says all this has kept her too busy to get one qualification McGill can't provide Ð her driver's licence.
Alan began working at McGill in 1974 and is the Coordinator for Special Events in Facilities Management. Most of what Alan's told us about himself we can't repeat. Class Reunion Coordinator Kathy Bowman did have this to say about him: "Alan's griping and complaining equals his dedication and commitment to McGill, and believe me, he gripes a lot."
"You know my name, barely got out of grade school, and learned a long time ago never to volunteer for anything," says Alan in response to a request for personal information. Despite his claims, Alan knows everything about physical McGill: he literally has the keys to the campus. He can tell you all the details of the latest movie being filmed on campus, takes care of and lugs around the McGill flag, and is a regular hoot at alumni events, which he claims are his favorite pastime. He is a stalwart friend of the McGill Women's Alumnae Association and their work on the McGill Book Fair and he is always ready to answer MAA calls for help with logistical problems. And anyone who has tried scheduling an alumni event can tell you there will be a lot of those calls. "Alan's always there for you," says Kathy Bowman. "He leaves you smiling and never gives you a hard time," she says (then snickers at the last part).