Our Stories | St. Michael’s Magazine: A Cup of Joe with Laurel-Ann Finn

From St. Michael’s Magazine, Spring 2015

St. Michael’s: How long have you worked at St. Michael’s College?

Laurel-Ann Finn: I have worked here for 19 years.

SM’s: What do you enjoy most about St. Mike’s?

LF: I enjoy interacting with our undergrads whenever I get the opportunity. Their international outlook and ability to relate with people of all ages and interests bodes well for the future. In addition, getting to know our CE students is incredibly fulfilling. Many are committed lifelong learners whose busy lives put me to shame. They are constantly on the go and take advantage of everything our great city has to offer. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in our jobs, we forget that the Museum [ROM] is across the street, the Gardiner is down the road, and across Queen’s Park the Faculty of Music is putting on great free concerts. These are things we should be taking advantage of. Finally, I know that all our staff and faculty have the best interests of our students—whether undergrad, grad or lifelong learner—at heart and will go that extra mile to ensure that the St. Mike’s experience is one they will always remember fondly.

SM’s: Why do you think SMC’s Continuing Education program is so popular?

LF: For a number of reasons. One is the friendships that develop among our attendees. Secondly, it’s seeing people learn for learning’s sake. Often, during our working lives, our real interests are put on the back burner, but upon retirement there’s suddenly more time to read that book that’s been languishing on the shelf—I’m sure we all have at least one or two. For those who have Proust gathering dust, we’ve done him, so you’ve missed your chance! As well, our instructors bring an incredible amount of knowledge and experience to the table. It’s a privilege to work with them.

SM’s: Before St. Mike’s, you worked at other Divisions on campus. What stands out about those years?

LF: I worked at Hart House and the Faculty of Music. Hart House was an interesting environment: the mix of undergrads, grads, faculty, staff and alumni engaged in artistic and athletic pursuits made it a very entertaining and enriching place to work. At Music, I was there with Phil Nimmons and Paul Read for the rollout of the Jazz Degree. It is a wonderful feeling to see some of the talented grads today—two-time Juno award winner David Braid, for example—go on to great success. SM’s: What do you do in your spare time?

LF: Sing. I got my start in the Hart House Chorus many years ago. I particularly remember one concert in the Great Hall. We were performing Bruckner: Mass in D. The engineers were having their formal in the Gallery Grill above and in the middle of the piece, dinner rolls started raining down on the audience and orchestra, and then the fire alarm went off—whoever said choral singing is dull! At one point I was singing with Tafelmusik, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and as a soloist at a major downtown church all at the same time.

SM’s: Final thoughts?

LF: Aliens over Star Wars, and Sean Connery is the best Bond.

SM’s: How do you take your coffee?

LF: As strong as it comes.