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Celebrating Anne Farray and Her Years at McGill

Anne Farray, administrative officer for the Institute of Islamic Studies, retired from 43+ year career at McGill in December 2022. She shares her thoughts and wisdom reflecting over her illustrious career with us.

Anne Farray has worked at McGill University for more than 43 years. In taking her retirement from McGill in December 2022, Anne shares her wisdom and experience and many years of dedication with the McGill and Montreal community.

Anne began her career at McGill in 1979 as the MBA program secretary at the Faculty of Management. During her employment at McGill, she completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Concordia University and she has worked in administrative and academic units including the Faculties of Law and Education. She recently retired from her position as Administrative Officer at the Institute of Islamic Studies within the Faculty of Arts.

In 2022, Anne was named as one of McGill’s Unsung Heroes, with colleagues describing her as “exceptionally skilled at dealing with challenges in a calm and consistent manner” and known for “supporting faculty members and students at the Institute’s lectures, talks and film screenings.”

While she was the Assistant to the Dean and HR Advisor at the Faculty of Education, she spearheaded the effort which resulted in the Hon. Jean Augustine receiving an Honorary PhD from McGill University in 2009. During her career as an HR Advisor, she helped several members of the Black and wider community to secure employment at McGill. This, among many other accomplishments, is a testament to Anne’s dedication and advocacy, and to her lasting impact on the McGill community. During the last few years of her time at McGill, Anne has worked with the Kenneth Melville Black Faculty & Staff Caucus, an organization of Black Faculty and Staff dedicated to cultivating a nurturing learning and working environment for McGill's Black faculty, staff and students.

Over the years, Anne has been active in various community organizations, such as being a member of the Grenada Nationals Association of Montreal, Co-Chair of the McGill Centraide Campaign Committee, as well as being a member of the Spice Island Cultural Day Association of Quebec, the Elizabeth House Foundation Board, and the NDG Black Community Association.

1. What are you most proud of regarding your work at McGill?

I take great pride in the fact that I was employed in a reputable institution where I could contribute to its goals and objectives. I am pleased with my achievements starting at entry-level as a Clerk in the Faculty of Management’s MBA Program to my highest position of Administrative Assistant to the Dean & Human Resources Advisor in the Faculty of Education.

Given my principles and work ethic, I provided my very best service to staff, students and faculty members. I went beyond the call of duty to ensure that their needs were met, even if it meant working outside of “regular” hours or while on vacation.

While at the Faculty of Education, I was also in a position where I recommended to the Faculty that the candidacy of Honorable Dr. Jean Augustine should be submitted as a candidate for an Honorary Doctorate degree.

Honorable Dr. Jean Augustine is a Grenada-born Canadian politician and was the first black Canadian woman to serve as a federal Minister and Member of Parliament during the PM Jean Chretien government.

Once the nomination was agreed upon, I spearheaded the preparation of the documentation. She was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by McGill in 2009. I am extremely proud of this accomplishment.


2. What is one piece of wisdom you’ve gained from your many years at McGill that you can share?

During my early years, in order to keep focus and allow myself the opportunities to achieve my personal advancement goals, I “navigated” challenges so as not to obstruct or hinder my opportunities to advance in my career. I was fully cognizant that the use of colour …my blackness… as the reason why things were handled in certain ways would not serve me well. I was well aware of the negative result of such, even if sometimes correct.

I learned early how to discern and make choices as to how to “manage” life’s obstacles so as not to derail me from achieving my goals.


3. What memories will you be bringing with you as you leave McGill?

I am bringing with me many excellent memories of the goodness and kindness of colleagues, the networks with many individuals who impacted and nurtured my development. As well, McGill’s vibrant academic and social atmosphere provided an opportunity to access a multitude of educational activities (graduation, PowWow, orientation and Guest Speakers talks). These activities provided fodder to my heart, soul and spirit and I feel richer because of these as they were an important part of my personal growth, development and self-fulfilment. They presented the platform to encourage and motivate me. I loved to see the multitude of people from many places and nationalities intermingling and sharing a commonness … the pursuit of education.

My most significant and crowning memory is that I can now bear witness to the increase in numbers and the presence of more Blacks and under-represented groups (academic faculty members, administrative staff and students) represented and inter-woven in the fabric of the University. I take great pride that McGill is finally conscientiously addressing the matter of diversity and inclusion of these groups. The McGill “winds of change” is finally blowing in the [b]right direction.

I feel humbled and honored that my more than 43 years presence at McGill is seen by my colleagues as an excellent achievement and milestone and that I am regarded as a “bright light” and an encouragement to others within my community.

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