Message to the McGill community regarding COVID-19

April 1, 2020

Dear members of the McGill Community,

I have always believed that the thirst for learning is an essential part of humanity – it feeds our soul, stimulates our mind, and opens our heart. We have certainly learned a lot in the last few weeks as we entered the world of pandemics, a world that was unknown for most of us. Through these trying times, it has been a relief for us at McGill to be able to return to our planned learning objectives on March 30, and to harness the power of technology to deliver the programs remotely.

Chris Buddle, our Associate Provost (Teaching and Academic Programs), was pleased to see how quickly our community adapted to this new model for learning:

“I’ve seen so many of you deftly learn new tools, develop creative solutions for continuing to support student learning, share expertise within and across departments and Faculties, and champion equity for students through flexibility and compassion.”

We are all learning about students’ experiences as we continue to adapt to this reality. We can certainly expect some bumps along the road, but I know that we can count on the resilience and resourcefulness of the McGill community through this transition. I want to take this opportunity to thank our academic personnel and administrative and support staff who have been working tirelessly to ensure that our operations and initiatives continue to move forward in these trying circumstances.

It has also been a time to gain appreciation for the small pleasures in life. Among them, for me, is the opportunity I have had these past many years to walk through the Roddick Gates and be energized by the dynamic environment of our University. Like you, I will especially miss walking through the Gates at Convocation time.

I know that many of you were looking forward to your Convocation celebrations. I want to assure you that we are working hard to find alternative ways to recognize the culmination of your efforts. A working group has been formed and has already begun examining how we can properly honour our graduating students and award winners.

In the last week, you may have seen rainbows appearing in windows, framed, in Quebec, by the sentence “Ça va bien aller.” It has become the symbol of strength and solidarity around the world, reminding us that we are all in this together, and that with each one of us keeping a spirit of generosity and kindness, everything will be alright in the end.

Finally, in this spirit, we have seen an outpouring of generosity from alumni and friends from around the world who have contributed to the Student Emergency Support Fund. If you are a student experiencing urgent and immediate financial concerns, there are resources available through Scholarships and Student Aid.

Together, we will get through this.



Suzanne Fortier
Principal and Vice-Chancellor


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