Together again: CODCO is back, for one night only at SMU

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Thirty years ago, the legendary cast of CODCO paved the way for a renaissance in Canadian comedy writing and performance. Often controversial, occasionally furious, but always hilarious, CODCO took gleeful pleasure in lampooning the hypocrisies of the powerful.

Saint Mary’s University will host an unforgettable evening on Friday, March 15th as Andy Jones, Cathy Jones, Greg Malone and Mary Walsh come together again to revisit their best work in a panel discussion on the art and politics of satire. They are the featured guest speakers for the 2019 Cyril J. Byrne Memorial Lecture, in the McNally Theatre Auditorium.

The public event begins at 6:30 pm with a live performance by the Evan Mahaney Jazz Trio. Starting at 7:00 pm, the four comedians will review their favourite sketches from CODCO’s television run, and reflect on the lasting significance of their work. The panel discussion is followed by an audience Q&A and a reception.

CODCO’s writing and many of its audacious performances continue to be studied today. Originally founded in St. John’s as a theatre company, CODCO aired nationally on CBC from 1988-1993 as a weekly sketch comedy television program. Far ahead of their time, Walsh, Jones, Jones and Malone – along with their beloved co-performer Tommy Sexton – were masters of social satire. With The Kids in the Hall, they pushed Canadian comedy, and Canadian culture as a whole, into new territory by tackling many previously taboo subjects relating to gender, sexuality, religion, economic development, colonialism and corporate / political power.

The annual Cyril J. Byrne Memorial Lecture celebrates the life and the fun-loving spirit of literature professor Cyril Byrne, who passed away in 2006. Throughout his 35-year career at Saint Mary’s, Dr. Byrne played a major role in establishing our Atlantic Canada Studies Program and the D’Arcy McGee Chair in Irish Studies. The lecture has welcomed many of the world’s best writers to Halifax, such as Yann Martel, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Alistair MacLeod, Anne Carson, Colm Tóibín, Dionne Brand, David Adams Richards and Wayne Johnston.

As always, the lecture is free and all are welcome, but seating is limited. Online registrations are now closed and early arrival is recommended for all who submitted RSVPs online. An overflow seating area with a video link has been arranged in Scotiabank Auditorium.

Dr. Danielle Tokarz's research receives boost from the federal government

The research of Saint Mary’s new chemistry faculty member, Dr. Danielle Tokarz, into the microscopic structure of large molecules in living animals and plants received a big boost, as a result of an investment of $153,026 from the federal government.

Dr. Danielle Tokarz

Dr. Danielle Tokarz

The research of Dr. Tokarz focuses on the structure of large molecules inside animals and plants which are relevant to the wellbeing of Canadians including collagen in humans and other animals, as well as cellulose and photosynthetic membranes in plants. The funding will allow Dr. Tokarz and her interdisciplinary team of chemists, physicists and biologists to build a new type of laser microscope, one that can measure the structure of microscopic regions of plant and animal tissues at record high speeds. The technology will allow the first live measurements of tiny structural changes in living creatures, allowing a fresh look at functioning biological phenomena. The research will address questions in biology such as, how does collagen degrade in organ tissues during ageing, and how woody cellulose, the leftover plant material after tree removal, can be efficiently degraded for conversion into biofuels.

In addition to the short term benefits of this research in increased knowledge of fundamental biological processes, long term benefits for Canadians are expected in healthcare and industry. Studies of collagen in the extracellular matrix during ageing will offer advances to the healthcare of Canadians. Studies of cellulose structure will have an impact on local industries including biofuels, pulp and paper, and biodegradable materials. Finally, studies of photosynthetic tissues will have applications in increasing plant growth efficiency, growing plants in colder climates and increasing global food supply. The proposed nonlinear laser microscope will be the first in Atlantic Canada, giving students and faculty the opportunity to use cutting-edge technology.

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2019

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Please join the Saint Mary’s University community in celebrating International Women’s Day. There are a variety of events taking place across Halifax and here on campus for you to take part in.

This year's theme for International Women’s Day, #InnovateForChange, is a call to action, asking everyone to harness the power of technology to create a more equal world. By removing the barriers facing women in STEM, we can unleash new ideas and solutions that will transform our society and strengthen our economy.

This morning Saint Mary’s professor Dr. Clarissa Sit is one of five “remarkable women researchers’’ participating in a special panel discussion at the IWF International Women’s Day breakfast on Friday, March 8.

Between 300-350 people are expected to attend the event at the Westin Hotel in Halifax to celebrate the occasion.

Moderated by Dr. Alice Aiken, VP Research at Dalhousie University, panelists will speak about how their work addresses the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, and how they are having impact locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.

Dr. Sit completed her PhD at the University of Alberta before moving to Boston to work as an NSERC Banting and Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School. She is now an Associate Professor at Saint Mary’s; her lab investigates microbial warfare and other interactions between environmental fungi and bacteria. The team uses an applied science approach to tackle human health challenges, such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and ecological pests, such as White Nose Syndrome in bats and American Foulbrood Disease in honey bees.

The event was organized by the International Women’s Forum - Atlantic Chapter (IWF Atlantic). The IWF is a global non-profit, non-partisan membership organization created in 1982 to exchange ideas, to learn and inspire and to build better leadership. The Atlantic Chapter of IWF Canada annually hosts a breakfast on International Women’s Day.

This evening, the Saint Mary’s University Women’s Centre is holding an event that will feature performances, speakers and a student panel. The Celebration of Women event will feature prominent alumna Candace Thomas, Q.C., a partner with Stewart McKelvey, who was named one of the top 100 accomplished Black Canadian Women.

The Celebration of Women event takes places from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the 5th floor of the Student Centre. While the event is free, they will also be accepting donations that will go to Adsum house. Visit the SMU Women’s Centre Facebook page for more information.

More information on events taking place across Halifax.  

More information on International Women’s Day.

Michael Durland named Chancellor of Saint Mary's University

Dr. Michael Durland

Dr. Michael Durland

Saint Mary’s University’s Board of Governors is proud to announce that alumnus Michael Durland BComm’87 DComm’10 (SMU), PhD (Queen’s) has accepted the role Chancellor of Saint Mary’s University.

“As an institution, we are incredibly honoured and proud that Michael Durland is taking on the role of Chancellor of the University,” said Saint Mary’s President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray.  “His long and successful career in corporate Canada and as an entrepreneur and investor positions him as an excellent role model and inspiration for our students and our community. This appointment builds upon his loyal and generous support of our students as a mentor, university champion and through the Durland Innovation Fund. Today is a great day to be a Santamarian.”

Durland is the former Group Head and CEO, Global Banking and Markets, for Scotiabank. He retired from Scotiabank in 2016 to pursue a variety of business, philanthropic, and academic interests. Today, he is the CEO of Melancthon Capital.  

“Every time I walk through the front door of Saint Mary’s, I see a group of passionate students and professors thinking beyond the problems of today to what is on the horizon,” said Durland. “The university’s innovative, interdisciplinary approach to learning, teaching and research places them on the forefront of educating the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs. To serve as Chancellor at this special university that has played such a critical role in my life and for my family is an honour.”

In addition to his role as CEO of Melancthon Capital, Durland is:

  • a founding principal in Cabot Links;

  • Chair of the Board of Directors of Price Street Inc.;

  • Chair of the Board of Directors of TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture;

  • Chair of the Board of Directors of Dessa;

  • Chair of the Board of Directors of Receptiviti;

  • a member of the Board of the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation;

  • a member of the Board of the True Patriot Love Foundation;

  • a professor of global practice, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

In accepting the role of Chancellor, Durland takes over from Paul D. Sobey, DComm’11, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Empire Company Limited, who served in this role since 2014.

“While his time as chancellor has come to a close, Dr. Paul Sobey continues as an active and engaged leader in the Saint Mary’s community,” said Summerby-Murray. “We are incredibly grateful for his continued commitment to Saint Mary’s and his exemplary leadership during his tenure.”

Durland will be installed as University Chancellor at a convocation ceremony on May 15, 2019.