The Faculty received many memories of Rod Macdonald and condolences messages. We have posted them on this page.
La Faculté a reçu nombre de messages de sympathie ou des témoignages honourant Rod Macdonald. Nous les avons colligés sur cette page.
"I had the pleasure of having Rod as my prof in two classes. The second his advanced administrative law seminar, where he was really able to shine in sharp interchanges with the student, never condescending always searching . He was a great teacher, a good man, and my sympathies go to his family."
- Stuart McCormack (Stikeman Elliot)
"Like many who have written here, I took Foundations with Rod. He would get mad with me for insisting on calling him Professor Macdonald (good fences make good neighbours, I would say) but over time I came to understand that he was trying to make students feel that they could approach him easily on any subject.
He was smart and funny, and could also be sharp and tough. As as I got older, I found I could reach out to him to talk through almost any subject in law and he would have a considered answer or, more important, a series of new questions.
One of our last conversations was about a book I was writing: Rod had agreed to be one of the first interviewees. When I went to meet him, I could hear him cursing from half-way down the hall because, as it turned out, several students had asked him at the last minute to write references for them, and he had agreed, spending several hours writing thoughtful responses for each one, while cussing about the lack of time and support.
We finally had our interview, and what he had to say was so important for what I was trying to do that it ended up serving as one of the narrative spines for the whole endeavour.
I admired his scholarship and his commitment to public service. Canada is a better place because he was here. Sincere condolences to his family and friends."
- Pearl Eliadis (BCL'85, LLB'85)
"I was deeply saddened to hear of Rod's death on returning recently from Europe. My most vivid memory of this wonderful human being and scholar was when I interviewed him for his first teaching position at the University of Windsor. He was then a graduate student at the University of Toronto. It was like no other interview in my experience. In came this willowy figure with the characteristic smile and, of course, bow tie. After a few sentences I felt that I was in the presence of a master well beyond his years - a person of wisdom, creativity, enthusiasm and superb communication skills. It was an impressive, indeed joyous encounter (indeed, I wondered who had been interviewed) and persuaded me that he had much to offer the University of Windsor and the academy more generally. He has been a towering figure in the world of Canadian law teaching and scholarship, law reform, and as a role model for generations of students and colleagues. His legacy is a profound and lasting one. I end with a toast from our mutual forbears. Slainte Mhath, Rod. It has been a joy and privilege to know you."
- John McLaren (University of Victoria)
"I took 'Theoretical Approaches to Law' with him in my first year of graduate studies. Rod inspired and motivated all who came across him as a teacher and scholar. R.I.P."
- Alhagi Marong (DCL'03)
"My first memory of Prof Macdonald was him playing a guitar for a room full of students at the PBSC. One of my last memories of him is also of him playing the guitar in the classroom during my last class with im. Though I was only his student for a brief time, I was deeply affected by him not just by his academic talent, but by his humanity. He made me feel like there was more to law than the classroom or the court. It was one of the few times in law school that I felt that my values were shared. This is less a criticism of McGill than a testament to the kind of person Prof. Macdonald was. I am so grateful that I got to share that last class with him. Even though taking an extra class in first year wasn't exactly ideal, I'm so glad that I did it. When I meet other students from that class it is great to share fond memories of Prof. Macdonald."
- Angela Slater (McGill Law student)
"Professor Macdonald's learned presence bookended my journey at the McGill Faculty of Law. He taught us Foundations of Law in our first year--almost every class began with a joke, and no class was ever a formal lecture; a sustained, rich, and demanding dialogue between professor and students was always the norm--and, in my last year, as I as trying to get one of my papers published, he took the time to read it carefully despite his busy schedule, praised it, and suggested the Ottawa Law Journal as its future home. The article was published instantly. His bow ties always put a smile on our faces, his energy and devotion to legal questions and to Quebec society were galvanizing, and his kindness, generosity, and availability to students made him truly a gentleman, as well as a scholar."
- Marie Therese Blanc (BCL/LLB'96, PhD'04)
"I am so grateful for having been able to call Rod my friend to the end. Just knowing him made one a better person. I will miss him dearly."
- Hans Zander (a highschool friend)
"Dear Rod, it's been a long time since I graduated from Law School. I just wanted to thank you for, without knowing it, making a decision that changed my life. You were then Dean. You may recall that I had opted for the BCL path. Shortly before graduating, and way after the deadline, I came to you and asked you: "Rod, I think I made a mistake. I would like to opt in the LL.B next year". You paused and said, "Stéphan, there are few instances in ones life where one can go back on a decision made. Still, this will be one of them". This sentence and the expression you had still resonates in me. It followed me. I remember using it on occasions. So I went on, completed the LL.B thanks you your open mindedness. This triggered a chain of related events, which oriented me towards an international career. First, in France and, now, since 20 years in Luxembourg. Thus, thank you for taking the time to listen, to care, to believe in me, and for using your discretionary power, and contributing to make me who I am today. Thanks of course for your passionate and always entertaining lectures."
- Stéphan Le Gouëff (BCL'82, LLB'83)
"I was in Rod's Foundations class in 1982. I have never forgotten him and stayed in touch off and on over the years. One particular act of kindness has stood out over time. After McGill, I went on to Columbia. Rod, with a glint in his eye, happily told me he found the last $5,000 from McGill to help me go to Columbia. His family must know that he was without equal.
I am proud to say I learned from him in 1982 and I learned from him in our conversations over the past year or so as he soldiered on as he told me 'the end is near.' As John Donne notes in his oft-cited Meditations: "any man's death diminishes me..." We are all diminished by Rod's passing."
- Rick Goossen (LLB'85)
"Je voudrais du soleil vert
Des dentelles et des théières
Des photos de bord de mer
Dans mon jardin d´hiver
Je voudrais de la lumière
Comme en Nouvelle Angleterre
Je veux changer d´atmosphère
Dans mon jardin d´hiver
mmm… Rod, tu l’as compris bien avant tous, les mots sont superflus. Mmm mmmm..."
- Carole YOUNES (LLM'99)
"A great Dominion Law professor. I met Rod whilst a student at LSE through MG Bridge Professor at LSE. I remember Rod as a kind, learned and erudite man. A very eminent academic. A sense of humour and intellect combined."
- KP Tang (8 Wentworth Chambers, Australia)
"Rod Macdonald's secured transactions true/false mid-term was Escher with hypothecs. Remember his advice: one should have a seven (7) year plan (not 5, not 10). His knowledge of Critical Legal Studies satisfied my need to think seriously about the law (and made McGill seem cool). His naked manner, combative and vulnerable, showed me how it's okay to be."
- Katia Opalka (BCL'97, LLB'97)
"I had the privilege of working with Rod for a number of years when he served as delegate of Canada to the UNCITRAL Working Group VI (Security Interests), of which I was and still am the Secretary. The UNCITRAL Legislative Guide on Secured Transactions (2007) , of which he was one of the main draftsmen, is a testament to Rod's ingenuity. The Guide would have never been completed if Rod had not helped us draft in particular the chapter on acquisition financing, the flexibility of which reflects his skills as a comparative law lawyer and one who knows, not only to speak and explain complex points of law, but also to listens and address the concerns of others. While he had to leave the WG to focus on his last fight, which he did with honour and bravery, he never missed a chance to respond to my many questions and engage in a discussion, which was always a rare intellectual pleasure for me. Last year, he even participated in one of the conference calls I organized to assist us with a most difficult issue, the effectiveness of amendment or cancellation notices that are not authorized by the secured creditor. Although I initially challenged part of his text, I accepted it after an unforgetable discussion, and it became the basis for the WG to reach consensus. With very few changes, this text was finally adoped in the UNCITRAL Guide on the Implementation of a Security Rights Registry (2013).
Rod was not only a mentor for me. He was also a friend I could rely on at difficult times. While he questioned everything, he also had a deep faith, and at time we had discussions about spiritual matters, during which he expressed his respect for my Greek-Orthodox faith. It is this faith that leads me to say that Rod may have closed his bodily eyes in this vain world but he has opened the eyes of his soul in a better world. While I share the sadness of his family and friends, I celebrate his life and the difference he made in mine. I wish him a good voyage. He has earned a resting place for eternity.
Au revoir, mon cher ami."
- Spyridon V. Bazinas (UNCITRAL)
"I am deeply saddened by the news of Rod’s passing. Our paths crossed for a short time on the executive of the Royal Society of Canada. He profoundly influenced my thoughts on scholarship, leadership and humanity. He challenged me to question my values and beliefs; to look at them from other perspectives and not just to accept them without thinking. He has left an indelible stamp on who I am. I will miss him. To his family and friends, please accept my condolences for your loss."
- Dan Wayner (National Research Council of Canada)
"Rod was one of the finest professors and leaders of the Faculty. His Jurisprudence course, the philoophy of law, was the best course I took during my years there, and the one course during which I learned the most. All thanks to him. His teaching, his guidance, his individual leadership and that of the Faculty, and all the contributions he made to the advancement of law in Canada, are tributes to his tremendous abilities and character. I miss him. "
- Frederick Hoefert (LLB'83, BCL'84)
"An Excellent Dean, his words of wisdom have sustained me throughout my career. When he taught us National Procedure we all complained that we did not have any form books and did not know how to draft a procedure, Dean Macdonald replied that a form book was of no use if we did not learn how to think and analyze, he was so right!. Dean Macdonald thanks for your wonderful teaching!"
- Georgia Pagidas (BCL'90, LLB'90)
"Rod MacDonald began every class when he was teaching Foundations of Canadian law in 1987 with an extremely well delivered "lawyer's joke"; the class went on to consider some very serious questions, some of which I still have not answered to my satisfaction after 2 decades of practise. Rod stimulated everyone to think and not simply assume that answers to fundamental questions come from a textbook. My condolences to Rod's family and his colleagues at the Law School."
- Thomas Singleton (BCL'91, LLB'91)
"Professor Macdonald inspired us to open our minds and to look at law in a broader sense. From aboriginal perspectives, to class projects that invited us to use music, art and creative writing, he taught us to challenge conventional boundaries. He was also the only prof that volunteered to let us dye his hair blue for our human rights project fundraiser. Thank you Rod for supporting us both in and outside the classroom!"
- Emilia Ordolis (BCL/LLB'08)
"Quelle terrible nouvelle ! Je le croyais éternel.
Il y a un certain temps, nous avions prévu de planifier un souper, mais j'ai négligé de faire un suivi en espérant que sa voix s'améliorerait, simplement comme un mauvais rhume. Lorsque vendredi soir, le 13 juin, j'ai appris l'horrible nouvelle je me suis senti si triste et si impuissant.
Nous avions créé le journal Audi Alteram Partem à la Faculté de droit de l'Université d'Ottawa. Il avait fait parti de l'EBPAFDUO, organisme méconnu, mais qui avait, un certain jour, été cité dans divers journaux suite à une manifestation canular où il avait pris plaisir d'y participer.
Un jour j'ai retiré un bout de laine faufilé dans la manche de son chandail. Il avait figé, car ce bout de laine était sa bague de fiançailles et je venais de retirer ce fil justement un jour d'anniversaire de ses fiançailles.
C'était aussi un bon joueur de football qui avait été à l'orée d'une carrière professionnelle. C'était aussi un musicien qui avait fait parti d'un groupe connu. Il avait aussi été champion d'échecs. C'était un grand homme, tout en humilité, en humour, en sensibilité. C'est un être exceptionnel comme il en existe très peu.
Adieu Rod, excuses-moi d'avoir négligé notre rendez-vous pour notre souper. "
- Maurice CHARBONNEAU
"Towards the end of my passage at the faculty, demotivated, disappointed and angry with the faculty and the curriculum, I signed up for a legal education seminar. Rod allowed my to understand and work through the tensions I encountered in law. He provided an understanding, non-judgemental ear that still moves me to this day.
He also taught me dedication and hard work, not through his words but by his actions. I remember him giving a make-up class immediately after a regular seminar. That's 5 hours straight of teaching. Anyone who ever had to stand in front of students knows how draining that is. Nevertheless, we headed upstairs to another classroom after the regular class. Rod lost his balance for a moment; he was about to faint. He explained he had been up since 4am. Nevertheless, he summoned up his strength and kept climbing the stairs.
Whenever work overwhelms me, I think about Rod's strength and keep going."
- maroussia lévesque (BCL/LLB'12)
"In the five years I spent at McGill as Trenholme Director of Libraries, I came to appreciate the outstanding nature of many of its staff and was extremely grateful for the help and support provided as I adjusted to the Canadian and McGill environments. Rod McDonald gave unstintingly of his time, to me and the Library. His generosity of spirit, wisdom and sense of humour made such a difference. I am saddened to learn of his untimely passing, and send my deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues."
- Janine Schmidt (Trenholme Director of Libraries Emerita)
"For most of us, our life’s journey is like a trek through a forest in winter. We leave tracks and the traces of our passage can be identified. As the seasons change, the tracks become faint and eventually disappear. There are, however, a rare few whose weight of intellect is such that the contours of their journey are not erased by the cycle of seasons. The imprints of their contributions endure and resonate more profoundly with the passing of time. Their tracks become part of the landscape. I have been fortunate to know two such people: Jaroslav Pelikan, the late Sterling Professor of History at Yale University, and Rod Macdonald, F. R. Scott Professor of Constitutional and Public Law at McGill University. May their memories be eternal."
- Leon Lysaght (U. of Detroit Mercy School of Law)
"I will always remember my first day of law school, sitting next to Stacy Zosky in the auditorium of Chancellor Day Hall, listening to Professor Macdonald prepare us for a journey with the Foundations of Law. He was passionate, articulate, riveting and intimidating, while being totally warm and disarming with his excited smile.
He made us feel as if he was truly with us on the journey, rather than above us. In this way, he was more than an instructor...he was a great leader.
Thank you for showing me how to educate and lead, and rest in peace."
- Jordan Waxman (BA'86, LLB'91, BCL'92)
"More than a little light and grace has gone from the world.
I remember Rod, not as a prof or a scholar, but as a basketball coach, friend and mentor. I'll forever treasure the memories of his sheer joy in everything and the conversations (over too many beers, rather often) that ranged across virtually every topic imaginable. He was a caring and compassionate human being, with an amazing sense of fun. More the big brother everyone wanted than the august Professor Macdonald.
Rod, you will be missed."
- Tanis MacLaren (LLB'82)
"One of my fondest memories of my time at McGill was Professor Macdonald's Foundations of Canadian Law class. Professor Macdonald inspired us to think about the law not just as an amalgamation of rules, but as poetry, philosophy, humanity. It was obvious that his love of the law was also a love of life. We were privileged to know him."
- Angela Marinos (BCL/LLB'98)
"Professor Macdonald's reputation as a legend of law is truly deserved. He was simultaneously brilliant and humble - a rare combination of personalty traits which made him so loved and respected. I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to learn from him."
- David Beckstead (LLM'10, BCL/LLB'12)
"Rod was my friend in high school and university during the time when all the marvellous attributes of his personality noted by so many others here, were beginning to blossom. He was a giant even then. He will never be forgotten by those of us who were his earliest friends in the 10A gang at York Memorial C.I. This group reunites each year and Rod always found time to reconnect with his oldest friends. He will be missed."
- Neil Abrey (MES'76 York U.)
"My fondest memory of Professor Macdonald actually occurred on my last official day as a McGill law student. As valedictorian, I was seated onstage when, at the end of the ceremony the platform party was dismissed while my classmates remained in their seats. For what felt like an eternity, I was standing backstage alone, surrounded by professors and academics who were all deep in conversation and not paying any attention to the lone student in the room. Professor Macdonald came over and quietly told me how much he enjoyed my speech and congratulated me - and then had the grace and class to find me again at the reception and repeat what he had said in private in front of my parents. He was a brilliant legal mind and an even more wonderful person, and we are all better for having known him."
- Dean Taylor (BCL/LLB'01)
"Even a quarter century after graduating, Prof. Macdonald remains firmly etched in my memory as a dedicated teacher and one of the most humble people I have known. His enthusiasm for not just law, but learning, and his decency, were a meaningful start to my own entry into the world of law. I cannot remember him ever being without a smile. My sincerest condolences to his family and to his colleagues."
- Robert Besunder (LLB'89)
"Rod Macdonald helped me, and many others, move forward in life. He was, simply put, one of the better men I have ever met. Rest in Peace."
- Pierre-Georges Roy (BCL'91, LLB'91)
"My sincere condolences to Prof. Macdonald's family and to his colleagues at McGill Law. I remember him fondly."
- Cyra Nargolwalla (LLB'91, BCL'92)
"I first met Rod Macdonald at my 'job dinner' when I applied to a position at McGill. I had not yet sat down at the table before he asked me whether I thought there was a moral justification for the privileged position of secured creditors in insolvency proceedings. I can’t remember my answer (it was far outside my field), but I do recall that the question was asked in earnest, with genuine curiosity and not the slightest wish to put me 'on the spot'. It would be the first of many such exchanges.
But my fondest memories of Rod come after I moved into the office next to his. On a few occasions in the summer break, I brought my children to the office with me, the first time when the youngest was barely three years old. Rod came out to meet them, pulled out a rag doll and a stuffed animal for them to play with, and patiently interrogated them about all sorts of normative questions. On another occasion, when I had my son over, he lent him a ukulele for the boy to play on. He always addressed my children with equal parts glee and respect, the same attitude he displayed towards his colleagues and brought to his scholarship. I miss him dearly."
- Victor M. Muniz-Fraticelli (Professor, McGill Faculty of Law)
"Je me souviendrai toujours de sa gentillesse et de sa disponibilité. C'est avec fierté que son nom est écrit sur mon diplôme de la Faculté de droit de l'Université McGill."
- Pierre TAPP (BCL'87)
"Professor Macdonald made a tremendous difference in my time at McGill Law: he was everything that you would want in a lawyer, a mentor, a teacher and friend. He was one-stop shopping. He may have taught me as many valuable lessons about life and work as he did about law. I cannot say it better than Dean Jutras did in his lovely tribute: 'For Professor Macdonald, every moment was a teaching and learning moment; every professor was a learner as well as a teacher; every student was worthy of deep respect and consideration. He always knew how to appeal to each person’s better self.'"
- Mary-Pat Cormier (BCL'96, LLB'96)
"Rod, you will be missed. You were a kind and caring mentor. You led by example and never missed an opportunity to offer an encouraging word and some wisdom. You helped make me and countless others into the lawyers and citizens we are. Thank you and you will be remembered with great fondness."
- Jeffrey B. Meyers (BCL/LLB'04)
"I doubt I have met a better person let alone teacher in my life."
- Cullen Price (BCL/LLB'02)
"I'm very sorry to hear the news. Professor Macdonald taught my "Foundations of Law" class in 1981. It was a subject in which I did not have great interest at the time, but which I have had ever since. He was a very good teacher and, by all accounts, a very good man. R.I.P."
- Owen D. Kurtin (LLB'84)
"Rod Macdonald was the Dean of the Faculty of Law when I was a law student. After graduation and before entering l'École du Barreau du Québec, I ran a house painting business and Dean Macdonald entrusted me to paint the outside of his Victorian style house in Westmount. It was good work for me and my crew and the colour scheme chosen made the finished product all the more enjoyable. I saw a different side of the Dean at home with his wife and children. Actually, I saw the same person I new, just with his children: a loving, caring and kind person.
My best story about the time I spent painting his house was how he would always use an "Anglo" pronunciation on my name and make the "r" flat. One day, Rod's children, who always stopped to talk with us, asked me why their Dad pronounced my name one way and they pronounced it another way, with the "r" rolled. I told them that they were learning French at school and so it was easier for them to pronounce my name correctly and that my name was not so easy for everyone to pronounce. The next day, without making anything special of it, Rod worked my name into the conversation, perhaps discussing the progress of the work, and pronounced my name perfectly, just as his children must have taught him. Fond memory. Rod Macdonald will be missed."
- Taras Kulish (BCL'89, LLB'89)
"I had the good fortune to work as a research assistant for Rod while at McGill law school. He inspired me with his brilliance, his wild creativity, his lateral and nuanced approach to problem-solving, and his humility. He was an exceptionally gifted teacher with an uncommon passion for justice. He enriched the lives of all those fortunate enough to learn from him. He will be sorely missed."
- Jill Presser (LLB'94)
"J'ai eu le privilège et le bonheur de côtoyer Rod à la section de droit civil de la Faculté de droit de l'Université d'Ottawa de1972 à 1974.
C'est lui qui m'a appris qu'il faut toujours faire de son mieux car la vie est trop courte pour s'accommoder de demis efforts. Fidèle à cette règle de vie, lors de son cinquantième anniversaire, il entretenait ses amis présents de l'importance de faire une pause le jour de son anniversaire pour jeter un regard en arrière sur ce qu'on avait accompli afin de s'assurer que l'année écoulée n'avait pas été vaine. Même quand la maladie l'a si dûrement touché, il a maintenu le cap. Au-delà de son immense contribution à l'avancement du droit, laquelle constitue déjà un héritage colossal, l'influence positive qu'il a exercée sur tous ceux qui l'ont connu se perpétuera pour des générations à venir.
Shelley, Madeleine et Aidan, je vous transmets mes plus sincères condoléances."
- Bertrand Paiement
"It was Rod MacDonald who so warmly welcomed our class at Orientation Day back in September of 1990, who helped nurture us with his kindness, and who launched so many students' long standing fondness of the Faculty and of McGill."
- Paul Moen (LLB'93)
"Dear Professor Macdonald, I wish you a safe journey to another dimension where you will continue flourishing and making your wisdom eternal. Many thanks for making McGill's Faculty of Law a superb institution."
- Marko Pavliha (DCL'92; Professor, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Maritime Studies & Transportation)
"A la mémoire de celui qui fût un maître, un collègue et surtiout un Ami. La communauté des amis du Droit, dans ce qu'il a de plus beau et profond, est aujourd'hui orpheline. Car Rod était un guide, notre Guide. Même s'il est parti, il le restera à travers nos souvenirs et ses enseignements. Merci Rod.
- Jean-François RIFFARD (Ecole de Droit - Université d'Auvergne)
I will always remember his teaching, and in particular our last lecture of the Administrative Process class. He reminded us that, as we continued on our journey through life, we shouldn’t worry too much about our Intellect, and would be best served to focus more on our Affect. To this day, these words have had more than a strong resonance in my life.
Professor Macdonald bid us farewell by reading us a poem by Louis Macniece titled “Snow”, a fitting reminder of his views on the law, and perhaps also a piece of advice: that we should never forget to lead our lives not only with an open mind, but also a compassionate heart.
The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.
And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes –
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one's hands –
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.
Thank you for everything, Rod.
- Jean-Francois Peyronnard (BCL/LLB '03)
"Rod was not only a truly outstanding teacher; among the very best. He was also - as astonishing as this may seem to those who did not know him - the most helpful, active, tireless and caring colleague, scholar and public-spirited engaged citizen. He was - and will always remain - the exemplar for all of us. He lived the pluralistic virtue ethics that he wrote about and lectured on."
- Jim Tully (Dept of political science, University of Victoria)
"Every interaction was a learning moment for me. Rod, thank you for being so committed; I am sure I speak for many when I say that it was privilege to share time on this Earth with you."
- Andrés Drew (BCL/LLB '07)
" 'Are you free to meet on Saturday at 8am?' That was Rod's reply to the first request I made for an office hour with him. (Subsequent ones would be late afternoon over beer and peanuts in the Faculty Club – I preferred those.) My years as a student of his would be the beginning of a mentorship and friendship, to which I never managed to contribute in equal measure. My debt to him, he would have said, is to the next generation of students. That is one of the many lessons and virtues I learned from him, in speech and in action. Merci pour tout, Rod – tu me guides toujours." - Grégoire Webber (BCL/LLB'03; Dept of Law, London School of Economics)
"The greatest teachers are teachers of life itself. I will always remember your huge grin, your generosity and your humility: as good a lesson as any in how to think about law. Thank you, Rod." - Aleks Zivanovic (BCL/LLB-MBA '06)
"Sorely missed by former colleagues and students at Windsor Law."
- Christopher Waters (DCL'02; Professor, University of Windsor)
"I have been saddened to learn of the passing of the late Roderick A. MacDonald, one of the great legal figures of our generation – of any generation.
A Renaissance legal scholar and public intellectual – an outstanding teacher and mentor – a pioneer in legal education and law reform – all underscored by a passionate commitment to justice. – Rod impacted the lives of thousands of scholars and students all across the globe, and I was privileged both to have been his law teacher, and then become his student.
May his memory serve always as a blessing for his family and friends, and all who knew him."
- The Hon. Irwin Cotler (BCL,64; M.P. for Mount Royal)
"In my time at McGill, Rod was an inspirational Dean and a wholly engaged and challenging colleague - challenging in the sense of encouraging colleagues to seek out the very best in themselves. He demonstrated in his daily actions that one could always do better if one pushed oneself as much as he himself did. Rod was also as intensely interested in the work of his colleagues as he was in his own."
- Michael Bridge (Dept of Law, London School of Economics)
"Je suis très peiné par la disparition de Rod que je connaissais depuis 40 ans."
- Charles Belleau
"It is a bit hard to imagine a world without Rod Macdonald. Godspeed."
- Melinda Munro (LLB'89)
"J'ai eu la grande chance de rencontrer Rod Macdonald quand il présidait la Commission du droit. Il était un membre apprécié du Groupe des chefs d'agence, à la fois sage, énergique et enthousiate. Je l'ai croisé assez souvent au cours des années suivantes et chaque rencontre était amicale et inspirante. Son décès m'attriste beaucoup. Il a tant contribué au développement du droit et aurait pu nous donner tant encore.
Toutes mes condoléances à sa famille et à la grande famille de ses étudiants et amis."
- Anne Roland
"I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to have met and worked alongside this remarkable man during his reign as President of The Royal Society of Canada. He has touched the lives of many, including my own. He will be dearly missed."
- Louise Joly (Royal Society of Canada)
"Rod was the first person to encourage me to pursue an academic career. Most importantly, his support, example, and mentorship made me a better scholar, teacher, and citizen. For all the ways that you changed my life and the lives of countless others, thank you Rod. Like many others, I will do my best to carry on your commitment to innovation, pluralism, generosity of spirit, and justice."
- Sébastien Jodoin (BCL/LLB '05)
"Putting together Rod's nomination for the teaching prize was both the hardest and easiest thing I've ever done. Hard because of the sheer volume of stuff - his cv is like a novel, every item he writes for his students is meticulously done, the feedback he gave was awe-inspiring. Easy because I've been his student, and so talking about how he inspired learning, analyzing, questioning, and becoming our own thinkers was natural. He truly was one of the world's best educators and jurists, an inspiring mentor, and a lovely colleague. He will be missed."
- Alison Glaser (BCL/LLB 2009; McGill University)
"Rod Macdonald is unique in Canada's pantheon of great law scholars in the way he accomplished what others would live or treat as contradictions.
Rod filled the room while allowing others to fill it too. He had a capacity to soar at great intellectual heights while always remaining grounded. He integrated law and non-law, keeping them distinct even as querying their distinctness. He was a force of nature who was put on earth to nurture others. And he was all this while remaining a profoundly decent and accessible human being."
- Craig Scott (M.P. for Toronto-Danforth)
"An extraordinary life in the law, so generously shared with us all; and a wonderful friend and mentor over 40 years."
- Ralph Simmonds (Supreme Court of Western Australia)
"A remarkable human being - heart, soul, and intellect beautifully in synch."
- Joel Bakan (Professor, UBC)
"Rod’s dedication to legal education and access to justice, along with his willingness to be a mentor to so many long after law school, is a real testament to how much he cared about students and the profession.
Whether he was serenading us by guitar in ‘Legal Education’, mingling with us during Coffee House, or teaching us ‘Foundations of Law’ we could always count on Rod to impart gems of wisdom. We will miss you, but never forget!"
- Daniel L. Ambrosini (BCL/LLB '07)
"From Rod I learned that being a good teacher and a good scholar essentially means trying to be a good person. He will be missed. Merci Rod."
- Sean Rehaag (BCL'03,LLB '03; Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School)
"Rod, ce grand homme responsable de tant de justice et d'inspiration, nous laisse dans le deuil. Il repose en paix. Je vous adresse mes sympathies en apprenant cette triste nouvelle ce matin. Longue vie à ses oeuvres. "
- Stephane Duranleau (BCL'96, LLB'96; avocat)
"In the Atrium of the McGill Law Faculty, Rod showed us his humanity and dexterity. He will sorely be missed."
- Poku Adusei (DCL 2012; University of Ghana)
"Rod was simply the best of human beings. He harmonized extraordinary generosity of spirit with zero gullibility, exceptional intellectual acuity with zero academic pretension, unfailing kindness with unflinching truth-telling, he was superhumanly supportive and terrifyingly demanding.
The loss of him is enormous. There is no recovering from it. But his life is so inspiring because it proves that no matter how cold, impersonal and unjust the world can be, someone with the guts, heart and stamina to insist relentlessly on our shared humanity in every encounter can make a huge difference for the better."
- Annalise Acorn (Professor, University of Alberta)
- Catherine Bleau (BCL/LLB’04)
"One of my favourite things about moving back to Montreal from NYC in 2003 was running into Prof. Rod Macdonald on the 24 bus heading west on Sherbrooke after a long day at the office. I had grown to admire Prof. Macdonald greatly when I was a student at the faculty, both in his classroom (for Secured Transactions) and as student editor of his brilliant article on legal bilingualism for the McGill Law Journal.
How sorry I am, and what a loss for all of us, that there will be no further opportunities to bump into Rod, except that, given his many lasting and transformative accomplishments at McGill and beyond, in reality we will continue to bump into him regularly. RIP, dear Rod. You were a truly great man, and an inspiration to all of us."
- Martin Valasek (BCL’98, LLB'98)
"Two things that Rod taught me that changed how I live my life:
1) All situations are opportunities for learning. We are all, always, in the position of being both student and teacher in our interactions with others. Rod, in all of his endeavors, epitomized both.
2) Every teaching moment includes an element of ethical instruction. By that, we are not only subject to normative rules regarding our behavior, but we shape those rules as well. Rod's generosity and kindness are apparent from the outpouring of love seen on this page. We would do well to continue this legacy.
Bye Rod. Thank you for being part of my life."
- Aaron Lindh (BCL/LLB'10)
"I met Rod first when he became Dean. Over the years he became a cherished friend and colleague. We have lost a great man. My sympathies to Shelley and his children."
- Honora Shaughnessy (McGill University)
"Three things I learned from Rod over thirty years, starting with presenting a non-academic's grievance to Rod when Rod was Dean and telling Rod that I hate lawyers:
1. There never was a cogent argument that he would not entertain.
2. He could accept anyone and anything, except stupidity combined with a sense of superiority or entitlement.
3. He was a Lovely Man."
- Trevor Garland (McGill University)
"A great man whose intellect is equalled by his generosity; I have great memories of Rod Macdonald and the time he shared with me at McGill. I offer my warmest condolences to his family, faculty and staff at the Faculty of Law. He will me missed."
- Michael Cantwell (Mount Allison University)
"Rod was my Masters thesis supervisor, and later my colleague at the Faculty. He was the best of both, and I am privileged to have known him. I sat in his living room last year and his unconventional wisdom and his warmth were as vibrant as ever, though his voice had faded by then. I wish I could have one last conversation. I will never forget him and his profound impact on my legal career. Thank you, Rod."
- Nicole Borovan Ginsberg (LLM'06)
"Despite being a freshly-minted grad of McGill Law, I never had a chance to take a class with Rod Macdonald. This was not by design, but the product of circumstance. My first year was his last at the Faculty, at least in the teaching capacity. But long before going to McGill, I was already aware of his senior standing at the Faculty. During my undergraduate years at Concordia, I studied every aspect of the Faculty, in hopes of perhaps gaining admittance one day. I remember stumbling upon Rod's Faculty member page, and being completely amazed by his 70 page CV. And I was told that was the edited version!
In 2010, Concordia University hosted the Canadian Congress on Social Sciences and Humanities. Several professors and attendees crowded the nearby hotels, including the Cantlie hotel, where for two summers, I worked as a bellman. The week of the Congress, I was doing my job, sweeping litter in the hotel's vicinity. I noticed a tall gentleman with a bow-tie approaching and recognized him.
As he entered the hotel, I motioned and said: You're Professor Rod Macdonald, from McGill University's Faculty of Law. He replied: How did you know? That's when I explained I was a prospective applicant to the Faculty. He said, Good on you. You're on the right path. Don't give up. I am sure I will see you there. Not only was he right, but I had the chance to see Rod's personality and philosophy in all aspects of the Faculty, from its curriculum, to the Faculty members, several of whom were his former students.
Thank you Rod Macdonald, for inspiring generations of law students and professors; for your contributions to the administration of justice, to legal scholarship and education, and to the cause of justice in Canadian society.
- Lawrence David (BCL/LLB'14)
"I knew Rod only distantly. Indeed, I hesitate to call him 'Rod' rather than Professor Macdonald. I’m not sure I’m worthy of that privilege. I’m familiar with his work, of course, and admire it. And he served on the Advisory Board of a Society I lead. As a result, we had several email exchanges over the years. In fact, I discovered how seriously ill he was in one such exchange. He simply told me, with what I understand to be his typical candour, that he was dying and that he might not be able to provide advice for long. What could I say? His work changed my life for the better and I won’t forget it. I only wish that I'd known him personally in the way so many others did. I've never seen such a combination of respect and love for a scholar. My sincerest sympathies to his family and to his many, many friends."
- Sean Patrick Donlan (Lecturer, University of Limerick)
"Rod was a truly inspiring professor, a great intellectual and a critical thinker. I loved all of his subjects, even Wills & Estates, but especially Jurisprudence, which I adored. It was one of the reasons why I went on to do an LLM (at the University of Ottawa), and eventually become a legal academic myself."
- Stuart Russell (BCL '81, LLB '82)
"My sympaties to the family. Rod will be missed at the Royal Society of Canada."
- Marie-Lyne Renaud
"Professor Macdonald was one of the academics who came and shared his research with us LLM students at the Graduate Legal Students' Association. Not only was he a fascinating academic, but he was also an incredibly warm human being. I cannot forget that he turned up with his guitar and started singing and, as a French educated lawyer, I was terribly surprised to discover that a great professor could more than just be a professorial figure - and that Professor Madonald could share his research in a creative way outside the classroom! A big thank you to Rod Macdonald and all my sincere condolences to his family."
- Mathilde Groppo (LLM '11)
"In 2010-2011, Rod generously agreed to supervise me for a term paper despite having just learned that he was facing a battle for his life. It encouraged me infinitely and lifted my spirits when he told me that my project cheered him up to face the debilitating medical treatment. He guided me every step of the way over the course of eight months, but most of all he taught me to embrace life and follow my passions even when facing great adversity. I feel privileged to have shared a journey with someone as wise and compassionate as him."
- Laeka Reza (LLB/BCL'11)
"A real privilege to have had a couple of classes / seminars and countless Coffee House drinks with Rod. Who else could have encouraged me to turn a strange day in the Montreal courts fighting a garbage ticket into a decent paper on access to justice issues? Rod did, and apparently used the paper in a couple of classes over the years. So inventive, fun, personal, supportive - but always testing us too; always interested in another spirited discussion. As Mordecai Richler would have said, Rod was "an original" and he will be missed by many. Here's to Rod and his legacy! "
- Duncan Reid (BCL/LLB'03)
"One of the greatest good fortunes of my career was to have been a Trudeau Fellow at the same time as Rod. We had great conversations about political philosophy and Canadian society at various events. I remember him telling me at the end of one such conversation that my place was at the Faculty of Law at McGill. It seemed like a crazy proposition at the time, and yet here I am, years later, in the house that Rod built. His presence is so palpable among my colleagues that I feel that we will be having conversations with him for years to come, and that we will all keep in our minds' eyes that mischievous smile that sometimes came over his face whenever he managed to get us to see some old question in a new way. I feel privileged to have known him."
- Daniel Weinstock (Professor, McGill Faculty of Law)
"I met with Professor Macdonald one day in the summer of 2011 to talk about the research that I and another student were doing for him. He told us that he'd cancelled a lunch date to meet with us. I asked him tongue-in-cheek who could possibly have been as important to meet with as we were? Well, he said, 'I was invited to have lunch with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Rideau Hall.' 'Why didn't you go?!' I asked. 'Courtney, he said, if I had known you were such a fan of the Royals, I would have given you my ticket.'
You will be missed."
- Courtney Hamara (BCL/LLB'14)
"Prof Macdonald was open and honest and unconventional -- and he let me submit a comic book for my very first grade in law school. He will be missed. My deepest sympathies to his family and to the faculty."
- Ava Chisling (BCL/LLB'06)
"A truly giant legal mind, but a better teacher, and even a better person. Everything a prof should be. The McGill Law family has lost our favourite uncle today. "
- Allen Mendelsohn (BCL/LLB '01, LLM '10)
"It is incredible. I still remember his warm-heart! I still remember his strong encouragement to me in this winter. It is true that Canada has an excellent lawyer and a great legal mentor."
- Ying Fu (McGill University)
"I may or may not have attended fewer Admin Pro classes with Rod than I missed. My favourite memory of him is of me sitting at the back of class and piping up with a question, and, with a smile he replied "Mr. Hoffmann, have you done the reading?"...I was forced to admit that I hadn't done it all..."well, do the reading, and then come back and ask me that question, and I'll answer." ... And I did, and he did. A giant is playing lead guitar with the angels tonight."
- Tony Hoffmann (BCL/LLB '01, LLM '04)