Donald Lecture Series

Donald Lecture Series

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Made possible by the generous support of Bishop’s alumnus John Donald ’60, DCL ’12, the Donald Lecture Series brings speakers of national and international renown to the Bishop’s campus to provide insight, provoke thought, and stimulate debate on the most compelling issues and events in the world today. All lectures are free of charge and open to the public.

2019-2020 Season


Charles TaylorCharles Taylor
World-renowned philosopher

Thursday, September 26, 2019
7:00 p.m. Centennial Theatre

*This lecture will be available for live stream (see details below)*

Charles Taylor is a Canadian philosopher from Montreal and professor emeritus at McGill University, best known for his contributions to political philosophy, the philosophy of social science, the history of philosophy, and intellectual history. His large body of work is remarkable for its breadth of scholarship.

In 2007, he served as co-chair, with Gérard Bouchard, of the Bouchard–Taylor Commission on reasonable accommodation with regard to cultural differences in the province of Quebec. He has also made contributions to moral philosophy, epistemology, hermeneutics, aesthetics, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language and the philosophy of action.

Recently, Dr. Taylor has been an outspoken critic of the Quebec legislation prohibiting the wearing of religious symbols by some public employees.

His work has earned him the Kyoto Prize (often referred to as the Japanese Nobel), the Templeton Prize, the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy, and the John W. Kluge Prize. In 1995, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, and in 2000, he was made a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec.


The Honourable Thomas MulcairThe Honourable Thomas Mulcair
Leader of the Federal New Democratic Party (­2012‑2018)
Quebec Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development ­(2003‑2006)
Visiting Professor and Political Commentator

Friday, October 25, 2019
7:00 p.m. Centennial Theatre

*This lecture will be available for live stream (see details below)*

Visiting professor at the Department of Political Science at the Université de Montréal and a Fellow at Cerium, Thomas Mulcair is also a lawyer, political commentator and a former provincial and federal politician.

With the NDP, he was elected federal deputy of Outremont from 2007 to 2018. In 2011, while his party named him as a Quebec lieutenant, he played an important role to create the “orange wave” which allowed the NDP to win three-quarters of the seats in Quebec and thus become, for the first time in its history, the official opposition in the House of Commons. In 2012, he was elected leader of the NDP.

Before starting federal politics, Thomas Mulcair served from 1994 to 2007 at the Quebec National Assembly as a member of the Liberal Party in Chomedey (Laval). From 2003 to 2006, he was Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development of Quebec in the Liberal government of Jean Charest. Inspired by Europe, he is the author of a law on sustainable development considered, still today, as avant-garde in North America.

Thomas Mulcair has spent his entire career serving the public. He was president of the Office des professions du Quebec (1987-1993), a government body regulating professional orders in Quebec. Mr. Mulcair is also Chair of the Board of Director of the Earth Day.


Xiuhtezcatl MartinezXiuhtezcatl Martinez
Climate activist

Tuesday, January 14, 2020
7:00 p.m. Centennial Theatre

*This lecture will be available for live stream (see details below)*

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is an Indigenous climate activist, hip-hop artist and powerful voice on the front lines of the global youth-led environmental movement. At the age of 6, he began speaking around the world, from the UN Summit in Rio de Janeiro to addressing the General Assembly at the UN in New York. He has worked locally to get pesticides out of parks and coal ash contained, as well as initiating moratoriums on fracking in his home state of Colorado. He is currently a plaintiff in a youth-led lawsuit against the federal government for the government’s inaction around the climate crisis and its failure to protect their essential public trust resources.

Martinez has traveled around the world educating his generation about the climate and environmental crisis, and has launched Earth Guardians youth crews in over 60 countries.

His book “We Rise” was published in 2017, and he has just finished writing “Imaginary Borders” to be published and released in the spring of 2020.

In 2013, Martinez received the United States Community Service Award from President Obama, and was the youngest of 24 national change-makers chosen to serve on the President’s youth council.


Dr. Victoria KaspiDr. Victoria Kaspi
Professor of Physics, Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology, and Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics (McGill University)

Wednesday, February 5, 2020
7:00 p.m. Centennial Theatre

*This lecture will be available for live stream (see details below)*

Dr. Victoria Kaspi is a distinguished physics professor at McGill University. Her work focuses on the astrophysics of neutron stars and pulsars.

With an undergraduate degree from McGill in 1989, Dr. Kaspi went on to complete her graduate studies at Princeton University. She completed her Ph.D. in 1993 under the supervision of Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist Joseph Taylor. Kaspi held positions at the California Institute of Technology, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before returning to McGill as faculty in 1999. In 2006, she was named the Lorne Trottier Professor of Astrophysics.

Dr. Kaspi is also a Fellow in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. In February 2016, she received the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold medal for Science and Engineering for her research on neutron stars, among numerous other awards.

Kaspi won the Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy of the American Astronomical Society in 1998, the Herzberg Medal of the Canadian Association of Physicists in 2004, the Steacie Prize in 2006, the Rutherford Memorial Medal of the Royal Society of Canada in 2007, and the Prix Marie-Victorin, the highest scientific award of the province of Québec, in 2009.

In 2010, she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 2016, she was awarded the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, the first woman to receive this prize. The same year, Kaspi was invested as a companion of the Order of Canada.


*Live stream lectures

Bishop’s University is pleased to live-stream the Donald Lectures to alumni outside of the Sherbrooke area and parents of current Bishop’s students. A password protected link and corresponding password will be sent via email on the afternoon of the lecture date. If you are a parent or graduate and would like to ensure you receive this email, please contact Rob Burns in the Advancement Office at rburns@ubishops.ca.

Donald Lecture Series speakers have been selected from nominations submitted by Bishop’s students, faculty, staff and community members. The Donald Lecture Series Advisory Committee is comprised of students, staff, faculty and community members, and provides recommendations to Principal Michael Goldbloom. Nominations for the 2020-2021 season will open in March 2020 – we welcome your ideas!

For all questions regarding the Donald Lecture Series, please contact Denise Lauzière, Chief of Staff, Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor at denise.lauziere@ubishops.ca, or 819-822-9600, ext. 2201.