What St. Mike’s Celebrated in May & June

What St. Mike’s Celebrated in May & June

Summer continues to be abuzz with activity at St. Mike’s, and it’s not just the bees delighted with the flowers in bloom. With the alumni reunion, CITC Conference, convocation, orientation preparation and welcome day, it has been a busy and beautiful time to visit the campus.

Here’s are some of the things St. Mike’s celebrated in May and June:

Congratulations, Grads!
Congratulations to the Class of 2024! Convocation festivities commenced on June 12 with a Baccalaureate Mass at St. Basil’s Parish, and many of our outstanding scholars were recognized at the Awards Ceremony that followed in Brennan Hall. Convocation for St. Michael’s graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Science took place on Thursday, June 13 at UofT’s Convocation Hall. St Mike’s welcomed its new grads and their families with a BBQ, where the newest alumni enjoyed lunch, picked up their grad gifts and took pictures around the scenic campus.

Honorary Doctorate Recipients Named
The University of St. Michael’s College is proud to announce its 2024 honourary degree recipients. This year, Sr. Nathalie Becquart, XMCJ, Tony Comper, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Montreal, and Victor Dodig, current President and CEO of CIBC, will receive the University’s highest honour. For more than 50 years, St. Michael’s has been awarding honorary degrees, employing its statutory right as an independent university to recognize individuals who embody its mission to advance academic excellence and leadership in society in service to the common good.

Alumni award winners

Alumni Reunion a Hit
With the theme of “Renewing Friendships, Celebrating Memories, Creating Community,” Alumni Reunion 2024 offered a little something for everyone, with events ranging from receptions and lectures to panel discussions and parties. This year’s reunion honoured alumni who graduated in years ending in 4 and 9 and hosted the class of 1074’s 50th anniversary. Five alumni were also recognized for their achievements with St. Mike’s Alumni Awards: Dr. Robert Cusimano (Alway Award), Pia O’Leary (Dodig Award), Michelle Shephard (Prof. Victoria Mueller Carson Trailblazer Award), Nicholas Rita (Young Alumni Award), and Susan Adam Metzler (Spirit of St. Mike’s Award).

James Roussain Named New Chief Librarian and Director of Special Collections
The University of St. Michael’s College is pleased to announce the appointment of James Roussain as the Dr. William D. Sharpe Chief Librarian and Director of Special Collections at the John M. Kelly Library, effective July 1, 2024. In his two years as interim Chief Librarian, he displayed impressive leadership overseeing the consolidation of the Regis St. Michael’s theology collections and developing a significant new congregational archives collection. He had also managed important renovations, including the addition to new archival and rare book space, the re-opening of the print studio and the creation of the new multi-purpose teaching and presentation space in collaboration with the Friends of the Kelly.

Marking Retirements at RSM
The Regis St. Michael’s Faculty of Theology (RSM) community gathered to honour and reminisce with three long-standing professors and wish them well as they head into retirement. Professors Joseph Schner, SJ, John L. McLaughlin, and Michael Stoeber, all of whom have been teaching at Regis College or St. Michael’s Faculty of Theology for decades, were the guests of honour at the event, held at Regis College.

St. Mike’s Co-hosts CITC Conference with Irish Partners
The University of St. Michael’s College is delighted to announce that Dr. Eamonn McKee, Ireland’s Ambassador to Canada, has been named an honorary fellow of the University. Formal acknowledgement of the appointment took place on May 28 at the opening reception for the Canada, Ireland & Transatlantic Colonialism Conference. The conference, held at St. Mike’s from May 28-30, brought together scholars to discuss the relationship between Ireland and Canada, particularly with reference to migration, the apparatus of the British Empire, colonialism, religion, and Irish engagement with the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. The conference was co-sponsored by the Embassy of Ireland, Department of Foreign Affairs, the Ireland Funds of Canada, the Irish Cultural Society of Toronto, and the University of St. Michael’s College Offices of the President and the Principal and its Celtic Studies Program.

St. Mike’s Project Looks at Lonergan’s Connection to Residential Schools
An ambitious new research project shepherded by St. Michael’s Professor Reid B. Locklin aims to re-examine the life and work of the Jesuit theologian Bernard Lonergan through the lens of his connection to the Indian Residential School System, the first such study conducted of the renowned Canadian philosopher and theologian. Locklin’s co-applicants on the two-year project, which has been awarded a prestigious Insight Development Grant from the Social Science and Human Research Council (SSHRC), are Professor Darren Dias, O.P., a member of the Regis St. Michael’s Faculty of Theology (RSM) and the Executive Director of the Toronto School of Theology, and Concordia University’s Prof. Christine Jamieson.

A Catholic Call to Service
A service day brought 90 high school students to campus to gain an understanding of what it truly means to serve. Grade 11 and 12 students from nine high schools in the Toronto Catholic District School Board answered the call to be a part of the ‘A Catholic Call to Service’. The day, led by St. Michael’s Campus Ministry team, was designed to show high school students how small acts of service can make a big difference. The day began with the Eucharist in the Loretto Chapel, followed by campus tours, with stops to view some of the sculptures that tied in with the day’s theme of social justice. The students also assembled sandwiches that were packed in paper bags to be distributed to those in need. As they left, each student took two packed lunches to give to someone in need that they met on their way home.

USMC-AP Capstone Research Colloquium
On Friday, May 24, Grade 11 and 12 students in the AP Capstone Diploma Program at Bishop Reding Catholic Secondary School, Central Peel Secondary School, and De La Salle College “Oaklands” gathered at Brennan Hall for the third annual USMC-AP Capstone Research Colloquium. As part of an initiative developed by USMC and the College Board to promote access to postsecondary education, student participants had the unique opportunity to engage with university resources, and particularly the John M. Kelly Library, as they conducted research for their capstone projects throughout the 2023-2024 academic year. From the participant group of 60 students, seven were selected to present their research at the colloquium attended by members of the USMC community, including professors, senior students, and academic advisors, all of whom were truly impressed by the excellent research conducted by the students, and the exceptional quality of each presentation. Congratulations to all presenters and their dedicated teachers and peers.

Retreat group photo

Student Leaders Head Off on Retreat
The second annual Student Leader Collective (SLC) Retreat took place on May 6-8 in Albion Hills. The Campus Life and Campus Ministry teams partnered to host an overnight retreat for the most senior student leaders including various Coordinators, St. Michael’s Student Union and Residence Council members, and Student Campus Ministers. The students were highly engaged, taking part in team building activities, values-based reflections and community planning. It was a highly successful retreat where many new friendships were formed and students sought to make the experience memorable by showcasing their unique talents and perspectives.

First Full Orientation Staff Meeting Held
Orientation planning is well under way! The Orientation Team has chosen SMC TV as its theme. Continuing with its Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style schedule, coordinators and marshals have planned a week of fun television show-inspired social and academic programming. On June 1, the leaders joined the marshals for their first full staff meeting, receiving updates, and then continuing the party outside in Scollard Park. The marshals hosted sample games, and marshals and leaders had an incredible time bonding, eating freezies and cheering Hoikety Choiks.

Deaconate Ordination
Congratulations to the 10 RSM students who were ordained transitional deacons on May 24, 2024. The ordination took place at St. Basil’s.

New Continuing Education Staff Member
The Continuing Education Division is delighted to welcome Roxanne Wright as Manager of Program Development and Delivery. Beginning July 2, Roxanne will oversee the development of general interest and professional learning courses and programs. She will also lead the development of recruitment and promotional strategies and strategic partnerships, in addition to the appointment and supervision of course and program instructors, facilitators and course developers. Roxanne brings a wealth of experience and expertise in continuing education, adult education, curriculum design, and program development and has worked most recently at Toronto Metropolitan University and the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto.

Exploring the Arts of the Book
June marked the relaunch of community learning at St. Mike’s with the Exploring the Arts of the Book workshop, led by book artist and book binder Andrew Huot. In this workshop, held in the recently refurbished Print Studio, participants learned a range of book arts from both Western and Eastern traditions.

Dante Garden Lecture and Garden Tour
In June, Continuing Education hosted a Dante Garden Lecture and Garden Tour, led by speaker Prof. Giulio Silano, who delivered an enlightening talk on Dante Alighieri’s immortal work, The Divine Comedy. The event included lunch and a tour of the Dante Sculpture Garden by artist Timothy Schmalz, and an opportunity to view the Di Giovanni Dante Collection in the Kelly Library.

Sr. Maureena’s Book Launch
A book launch for Redeeming Jesus’ Name: Reflections of a Ninety-Year-Old Nun Living in Jerusalem by Sr. Maureena Fritz, NDS was held on May 22 in Charbonnel Lounge. Sr. Maureena is a member of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, professor emerita with the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Michael’s College, and former director of the English Language Sector of the Ratisbonne Pontifical Institute in Jerusalem. She is also the founder of the BatKol Institute in Jerusalem, which is dedicated to the study of the word of God within its Jewish milieu.

Welcome New Students!
St. Mike’s invited its newly admitted undergraduate students to campus on June 15. Welcome Day gives students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the St. Michael’s community, connect with upper-year students and staff, and explore available resources including the Writing Centre and the Kelly Library.

New Donations to Dante Collection
Caroline and Alberto Di Giovanni have generously donated two new volumes of The Divine Comedy to the Kelly Library’s Dante Collection. The new additions include a rare early edition published in 1564. The newer volume is a copy of the original Palatine manuscript at the National Central Library of Florence.

Permafrost: A Digital Preservation Tool
When it comes to rare and archival materials, who doesn’t first think of old books, papers, and photographs, or maybe cassette tapes, film reels, and VHS? But digital materials—such as video, sound, and image files—are now media staples too. At the Kelly Library, a growing number of archival materials are digital. Some of these, including newly acquired records from the Scarboro Missions and Sisters of Service, are digitized copies of physical materials. One problem with preserving these is format. With such a mishmash of file types, like mp3, wav, jpg, png, wmv, and mp4, archivists need to find ways to ensure digital files are protected, even as formats and technologies decay or disappear. In response, Kelly Library archivists have begun using a digital preservation tool called Permafrost to preserve our digital records. Permafrost, a tool developed by Scholars Portal, provides cloud storage space to maintain and protect our digital records.

10,000-Step Challenge
A Kelly Library team of Sarah Stiller, Daisy Yuan, Astrida Ezergailis, Jessica Barr, and Francesca Rousselle took part in UofT’s 10,000 Steps Challenge this past May. While they didn’t win any prizes, team “Cirque du sore legs” finished 100th out of 202 teams with a daily average of 10,650 steps and a combined 1.98 million steps over 31 days!