Fine Art…one of my favourite memories was seeing our model “Jerry” in our life drawing class taking off his robe to model for the first time in the nude, only to reveal that he was wearing leopard patterned underwear…something that still makes me laugh!
One of our favourite remembrances of our time at McMaster University resides in the fact that we forecasted certain future events that would take place at the university.
During my graduate school days at McMaster, my wife Mary and I took regular walks to the campus with our two children since we lived on Rifle Range Road, not too distant from McMaster University. In August of 1964, our two sons, Michael and Geoffrey posed in the sunken botanical garden that has since sadly disappeared and upon which the hospital now sits. The boys were wearing prescient t-shirts with a forecast of their futures printed boldly on the front. It read “McMaster 19??” and anticipated their eventual graduation from the university from which their father obtained a M.Eng. degree in 1965 and a Ph.D. degree in 1967.
Michael obtained his B. Eng. in Chemical Engineering (1983) and Geoffrey obtained his B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering (1985). Eventually our third son, Allan, who was born during these years, was to obtain his Engineering and Management degree in 1990 and our grandson, Stephen, his Electrical Engineering degree in 2011 so we became a “McMaster University family”.
The memory of this event is one of my favourites from the time that I spent in the chemical engineering graduate school from September, 1963 to January, 1967.
One of my favourite things at Mac is the tetrahedral sculpture that is sort of hidden in the below grade-level patio area outside the cafeteria in the A. N. Bourns Building. To me, it not only symbolizes the art of organic chemistry, which has always been a research strength at Mac, but it also symbolizes the very accessible Valence-Shell Electron-Pair Repulsion model that was invented by now-retired, but long-time McMaster Chemistry Professor Ron Gillespie.
Ron tinkered with various ways of demonstrating the preferred molecular shapes, including the tetrahedron in the patio, that were very successfully predicted by his model. He employed balloons, styrofoam balls, as well as clusters of grapes and nuts. I do not believe it would be an overstatement to say that of all *living* chemists, his ideas are the most popularly taught in science classrooms *all over the world*. If this comes as a surprise to you, consider that virtually all freshman chemistry textbooks in the world, in every language that science is taught in, will inevitably have pictures of such models featured prominently in the chapter on Molecular Shape, and specifically refer to the “rules” of the VSEPR model. Also consider that in countries that believe science should be taught early *and well*, there are also thousands and thousands of K-12 teachers that are teaching about molecular shape the way that Ron has taught us to do so.
- “traybogganing” beside the Faculty Club, and especially watching some of the spectacular wipe-outs to avoid disappearing into the Cootes Paradise forest
- the fact that the racoons had beat down a smooth path in the grass to the Faculty Club, but not to the Commons Building; clearly they knew where to find the better food source!!
- attending Dr. Thomas’ second year Moral Issues course; not only did I hone my critical-thinking skills (which has proved very helpful in my career), I also learned how humour can play such an important role when dealing with difficult situations
There are lots of places (Cootes, Thode library during exams, the baseball diamonds down near what used to be zone 6, the big open area in front of JHE and BSB where the students eat lunch and play frisbee during the summer) that make McMaster a special place but I think that instead of 125 favourite things, it could and should easily be the 10,000 or so staff and faculty that are favourite things about McMaster. As I have gone from undergrad to post-doc to faculty member to admin, it has become increasingly clear that we have the best people who are all committed to making McMaster a great place for students, faculty and employees alike.
Dr. James Daly – He gave absolutely the best lectures in British history.