Founder's Day Celebrations

Photos are now available on our Flickr page


Prof. Olivia Wilkins, Department of Plant Science

Olivia Wilkins leads the Plant Systems Biology research group at McGill University. She received her PhD from the University of Toronto in 2010. From 2011 to 2015, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Genomics and Systems Biology at New York University. In 2015, she was a Visiting Scientist at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. In 2013, she was awarded a Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development Award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She serves on the editorial boards of multiple scientific journals.

Guest Panelists:

Jordi Perez, MD PhD FIPP, Director, MUHC Cancer Pain Program

Jordi Perez, MD, PhD, FIPP is an anesthesiologist specialist in pain management.  He graduated in Medicine and then Anesthesiology in Barcelona, Spain and then pursued his career as  pain clinician after a two-year combined research and clinical pain fellowship at McGill. He obtained  his PhD degree with a research on dietary modifications and experimental neuropathic pain and  practiced pain medicine in Spain and England before rejoining McGill in 2012. He is currently an associate professor of Anesthesia at McGill University and has been appointed  program director of McGill Pain Medicine residency.  Jordi Perez is Associate Medical Director of th Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit and Director of the MUHC Cancer Pain Program. His research interest include interventional procedures for the management of chronic pain and the use of methadone as alternative opioid analgesic for pain management.

Ivan Ross Vrána, Vice-President Public Affairs, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Ivan Ross is widely recognized as an industry expert in the field of medical cannabis and the emerging regime of legalized cannabis.  His experience in this sector dates back to his time with Health Canada when he helped develop the Government of Canada’s position regarding the use, production, distribution and regulation of cannabis for medical purposes.  Since that time he has offered clients counsel and support in investor relations, communications, regulatory review, strategic partnerships, identification and outreach related to market opportunities in other countries such as the United States and Australia and government affairs work at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.  Ivan Ross has also written several articles regarding the cannabis industry and has been a guest speaker at conferences in Canada and the United States.

David Bernard-Perron, BSc(AgEnvSc)'12, MSc'15, The Green Organic Dutchman

David Bernard-Perron is an agrologist and holds a Master of Science Degree in Plant Science from McGill University. In addition to his role of Vice-President of Growing Operations at The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD), David consults as the Chief Science Officer for Destiny Biotechnology, a company based in Vernon, BC that provides living soil systems for organic cannabis production. David was the lead agrologist at the Whistler Medical Marijuana Corporation (WMMC), where he designed the certified organic growing program and lead the company’s facility through the organic certification process, becoming the first and only fully certified organic licensed producer of medical cannabis in Canada. Now with TGOD, he's using his knowledge to develop large scale commercial organic cannabis production facility in Québec and Ontario.


Founder’s Day is our annual celebration of the life and generosity of our benefactor, Sir William Christopher Macdonald. Sir William was a great industrialist and one of our country’s leading philanthropists. His greatest cause was education and his generosity toward McGill was boundless. He was one of McGill University's greatest benefactors, the fourth Chancellor of the University (1914-1917) and was dedicated to improving the quality of life in Quebec’s rural communities and training rural leaders to meet the future needs of a nation.

In 1907 Sir William founded Macdonald College as the School of Agriculture, the School of Household Science and the School for Teachers. Significant changes have taken place since the College’s founding and the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has developed into a world leader addressing global needs in the fields of food, nutrition and health, agriculture, biodiversity, applied biosciences, climate change and the environment.

The event is held on the Thursday closest to the anniversary of his birth - February 10, 1831. Founder’s Day festivities are an occasion to celebrate our history, our strengths and our promise for the future. The day’s activities are framed around the College’s Motto, Mastery for Service. Historical records describe Mastery for Service as “First, the complete Mastery of the Self for Service, as, the Mastery of the Mental processes; the Mastery of the Powers of the body, the Mastery of the Passions; the Mastery of the emotions—and second, the Mastery of the world for Service, as the service in any sphere in which one finds life."