KPE celebrates 100 years

A one-month summer course on teaching physical education began May 27, 1912 under the leadership of Ethel Mary Cartwright and the McGill School of Physical Education. The Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE) is 100 years old.

Mary Wilkinson ’46 and Mike Babcock ’86 have graciously accepted to be Honorary Chairpersons for our centennial celebration events. The events began with Dr. Steven Blair delivering the inaugural lecture associated with a new Bloomberg-Manulife prize for the promotion of active health. Dr. Blair’s research demonstrated the important health benefits of moderate, rather than intense, physical activity. There have been three lectures from distinguished alumni of KPE; Drs. Randy Flanagan, Glen Tibbits, and Bernard Jasmin. An early student event was a wine and cheese party immediately prior to a Redmen hockey game...yes, that group of athletes who were CIS champions in 2012 and included several players from KPE. We anticipate a special 100th Birthday cake celebration at June Convocation!

Homecoming 2012 will see a host of events and many returning alumni. Dr. Kerry Courneya will deliver the prestigious Beatty Memorial lecture. He will speak about physical activity and its preventive and rehabilitative role in cancer, on Saturday October 13. This is an annual public lecture which traditionally is a highlight of Homecoming weekend. Within the Currie Gym that same day, a mini-museum of KPE pictures, old calendars, and assorted artifacts will be a nostalgic return to yesteryear. All research laboratories of KPE will be open with an emphasis on interaction. Grads will delight in the changes they see and impressed with the importance of the questions being answered by the current group of professors. In the evening, a banquet will be held at the Omni hotel with a photo display of almost every class picture, and the release of a book ‘From bloomers to body mass index: A 100 years of kinesiology and physical education at McGill’. The special weekend will conclude with the David Montgomery Memorial walk-run on Sunday morning at 9:30 am.

The year of celebratory activities will culminate with two November events. The annual conference of the Association of Physical Educators of Quebec has always been hosted by KPE and this year will include special presentations and the honoring of physical education professionals. The second Bloomberg-Manulife prize winner will be announced in November and the university will be treated with another lecture. It is fitting that the Bloomberg-Manulife lecture will end the year’s activities because these talks point to future directions in physical activity and health. This is perfectly in concert with our centennial motto, Actively Moving Forward.

Honorary Chairpersons

Mary Wilkinson

Mary Wilkinson ‘46Mary Wilkinson was one of the first three recipients of a degree in physical education, receiving the B.Sc. (Physical Education) in 1946. She taught physical education at Macdonald College from 1947-1951 and married Robert Wilkinson, long time professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Education. Mary is the mother, or mother-in-law, of four undergraduates who completed a physical education degree at McGill.


Mike Babcock

Mike Babcock ‘86Mike Babcock completed his physical education degree at McGill in 1986 and studied sport psychology the following year. Stumbling somewhat into coaching, he guided the University of Lethbridge to a CIS Championship (1994) and had a 6-year winning record with the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League. He won the Stanley Cup as coach of the Detroit Red Wings (2008) and led Team Canada to Olympic gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver games. Mike has always been a proud supporter of McGill.

Please join us for this historical celebration.