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Donald Lecture Series

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.

2023-2024 Season

Farah Alibay

Farah Alibay – Aerospace engineer

Friday, January 26, 2024

7:00 PM ET – Centennial Theatre

Born in Montreal, aerospace engineer Farah Alibay spent most of her childhood in Joliette and her teenage years in Manchester, England, tinkering with any project she could get her hands on and fascinated with space and exploration.

These passions led her to pursue a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Aerospace and Aerothermal Engineering from the University of Cambridge before moving to the US to pursue a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 2014, she joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she is currently part of the Mars 2020 mission, working on the Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars in February 2021, and the Ingenuity helicopter, which performed the first powered flight on another planet in April 2021. Prior to joining the Mars 2020 team, she worked on several other missions, including the InSight Mars Lander and its companion mission the Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats. Since 2022, she has been the engineer in charge of flight systems for the SPHEREx telescope, an infrared telescope to be launched in the coming years.

Outside of her day job, Ms. Alibay has a passion for science communication, having appeared in numerous newspapers, TV and radio shows and conferences around the world. She encourages the involvement of women and minorities in STEM and has made it her mission to help make the field more diverse and equitable. She is also active in her local community, notably as a Big Sister in Los Angeles’ Big Brother Big Sister program and as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), helping children navigate the foster care system. Finally, in her spare time, Ms. Alibay explores the mountains near her home where she enjoys hiking, climbing and mountaineering.

Professor Robert J. Cottrol

Professor Robert J. Cottrol – Legal scholar and legal historian

Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law, George Washington University

‘Racial Violence and Underprotection: Another Perspective on the American Gun Debate’

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

7:00 PM ET Centennial Theatre

Robert J. Cottrol is the Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law and Professor of History and Sociology at George Washington University. He has also been a recurring Visiting Professor at La Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A specialist in US and Comparative Legal History, his writings on law and history have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, American Quarterly and the Latin American Research Review, among other journals.

His two most recent books, The Long, Lingering Shadow: Slavery, Race and Law in the American Hemisphere (University of Georgia Press, 2013) and To Trust the People with Arms: The Supreme Court and the Second Amendment (University Press of Kansas, 2023, co-authored with Brannon P. Denning) reflect his broad interests in US and Comparative Legal History.

Professor Jean-Louis Heudier

Professor Jean-Louis Heudier – Astronomer

Fantastic Eclipses, From Fear to Reason

Thursday, April 4, 2024

7:00 PM ET – Centennial Theatre

Jean-Louis Heudier is an internationally respected astronomer and author of Astronomical Photography, Eclipses of the Moon and Sun, Book of the Sky, Book of the Moon and Astronomy for All.

Ahead of the total solar eclipse on April 8, join us for his talk Fantastic Eclipses, From Fear to Reason:

For many centuries, mankind was frightened of eclipses.

The alteration of the aspect of the Sun, the arrival of darkness in broad daylight, the disruption of the progression of the Moon’s phase, caused anguish and worry among all those who considered the sky as a divine domain, guarantor of order, wisdom and eternity.

Little by little, the nature of celestial phenomena has been revealed and eclipses, which became predictable, informed mankind about our cosmic environment. Thanks to them, proof of the shape of the Earth fell from the sky, interplanetary distances could be measured, the nature of the Sun was revealed…

These spectacular phenomena have become exceptionally rich sources of information.

How to use these extraordinary shows?

What else do eclipses tell us?

Why do we cause artificial eclipses?

What do we learn from them?

Very beautiful stories, full of science, common sense, fear and beliefs.

Donald Lecture Series Archive

See speakers as far back as 2010.

Fall 2019 – Winter 2023

2022-2023 Season

October 5, 2022
Singer-songwriter, actress, director, producer, and activist, Elisapie represents the wild and rough beauty of the North. Released in 2018, her third solo album, The Ballad of the Runaway Girl, was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize, received a nomination for Indigenous Album of the Year at the 2019 JUNO Awards, and earned two Felix awards at the ADISQ Gala.

Eva Kuper, Holocaust survivor and educator
November 21, 2022
Eva was born after the start of WWII in Warsaw, Poland. She survived the war by a series of miraculous events, but mainly as a result of the courage and humanity of both family and virtual strangers.

Jared Fishman, Civil rights lawyer and social justice innovator
February 21, 2023
Jared Fishman is the founder and Executive Director of the Justice Innovation Lab, an organization that designs solutions for a more equitable and effective justice system.

A conversation with Dr. Esi Edugyan ’22
March 22, 2023
Dr. Esi Edugyan won the Giller Prize for her novels Half-Blood Blues (2011) and Washington Black (2018).


2021-2022 Season

Kim Thúy, DCL ’19, Award-winning writer
September 8, 2021
Born in Saigon in 1968, Kim Thúy left Vietnam with the boat people at the age of 10 and settled with her family in Quebec.

Patterson Webster, History Made Visible: The Story of Glen Villa Art Garden
September 15, 2021
Patterson Webster describes her 25-year journey as she transformed a beautiful but conventional country property into Glen Villa Art Garden, a 750-acre landscape garden that explores ideas about what a garden is, or can be.
Glen Villa Art Garden Tour
September 18, 2021

Naheed Nenshi, Former Mayor of Calgary
March 30, 2022
Naheed Nenshi served as Calgary’s mayor for three terms between 2010 and 2021. He was awarded the World Mayor Prize as the best mayor in the world in 2014 by The City Mayors Foundation.

Dr. Terri Givens, Radical Empathy
April 4, 2022
Dr. Terri Givens is a Professor of Political Science at McGill University and the Provost’s Academic Lead and Advisor on McGill’s Action Plan to Address Anti-Black Racism.


2020-2021 Season

Marie Wilson, C.M., ONWT, MSC, Truth and Reconciliation: Five Years Later
November 10, 2020
From 2009 to 2015, Marie Wilson was one of three commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace
Reasons for Hope
February 25, 2021
Dr. Jane Goodall DBE is an ethologist and environmentalist, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and a United Nations Messenger of Peace.


2019-2020 Season

Charles Taylor, World-renowned philosopher
September 26, 2019
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.

The Honourable Thomas Mulcair
October 25, 2019
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.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Climate activist
January 14, 2020
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.

Dr. Victoria Kaspi, Professor of Physics, Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology, and Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics (McGill University)
February 5, 2020
Dr. Victoria Kaspi is a distinguished physics professor at McGill University. Her work focuses on the astrophysics of neutron stars and pulsars.

Fall 2014 – Winter 2019

2018-2019 Season

David Hogg, Co-Founder of March for our Lives
October 2, 2018
As a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, David survived the largest school shooting in U.S. history. Having lost friends, classmates and teachers, David decided to take action, so no other young person would have to experience what he went through on that fateful day.

The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Former Chief Justice of Canada
November 14, 2018
The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin is both the first woman in Canada to hold this position and the longest serving Chief Justice of Canada.

Sally Armstrong, O.C., Award winning journalist and human rights activist
February 8, 2019
Sally Armstrong, known as the war correspondent for the world’s women, has been following the action on the front line for women and girls in Bosnia, Egypt, Congo, The Middle East, Afghanistan and America for twenty-five years.

Harley Finkelstein, Entrepreneur, lawyer and Chief Operating Officer of Shopify
March 27, 2019
Recently, Harley was inducted into the Order of Ottawa, he received the Canadian Angel Investor of the Year Award, and Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Award.


2017-2018 Season

William Deresiewicz, Award-Winning Essayist & Critic
September 26, 2017
William Deresiewicz is an award-winning essayist and critic, a frequent college speaker, and the best-selling author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life.

Senator Murray Sinclair, Chief Commissioner, Truth and Reconciliation Commission
November 14, 2017
Senator Murray Sinclair served the justice system in Manitoba for over 25 years. He was the first Aboriginal Judge appointed in Manitoba and Canada’s second.

Maggie MacDonnell, Teacher and Community Builder
January 24, 2018
Maggie MacDonnell grew up in rural Nova Scotia and after completing her Bachelor’s degree, spent five years volunteering and working in Sub Saharan Africa, largely in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention.

Rick Hansen, Removing Barriers and Unleashing Potential
February 9, 2018
Rick Hansen is a Canadian icon who has dedicated his life to creating a world that is accessible and inclusive for all.

Amal Elsana Alhjooj, Activist
March 20, 2018
Amal Elsana Alhjooj is a Bedouin/Palestinian Israeli who is a strong advocate for women’s rights, Bedouin rights, and peace.


2016-2017 Season

Maureen Dowd with Carl Hulse
October 20, 2016
Maureen Dowd, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and author of two New York Times bestsellers, became a columnist on The New York Times Op-Ed page in 1995. Carl Hulse is one of the nation’s leading political journalists and has reported on events in the nation’s capital for 30 years.

Amanda Lindhout
‘Freedom in Forgiveness’
November 16, 2016
As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of National Geographic and imagining herself in its exotic locales. At the age of nineteen, she began to travel the globe. Aspiring to understand the world and live a significant life, she backpacked through Latin America, Laos, In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a television reporter.

Marie Henein, Criminal Lawyer
February 10, 2017
Ms. Henein is a senior partner at Henein Hutchison LLP recognized in Canadian Lawyer as one of the country’s Top Ten Litigation Boutiques.

Terry Mosher, O.C., Cartoonist
March 16, 2017
Aislin is the name of Terry Mosher’s eldest daughter, and the nom de plume he has used for over 40 years as the political cartoonist for Montreal’s English-language daily newspaper The Gazette.


2015-2016 Season

Paul Wells
October 21, 2015
Election 2015: What just happened? The 2015 election campaign started with Paul Wells asking the tough questions to Canada’s national party leaders in the Maclean’s Leaders Debate.

Edward Snowden
November 3, 2015
Mass surveillance, secrecy and democracy: Joining the Bishop’s community via live stream from Russia, former CIA agent Edward Snowden will discuss how the deployment of “collect it all” tracking systems, without public knowledge or consent, represents a threat to our free societies.

Naomi Klein
January 27, 2016
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate: Forget everything you think you know about global warming.


2014-2015 Season

Lyn Heward, Former Director of Creation for Cirque du Soleil
October 2, 2014
In her magnificent keynote, Heward takes you behind the scenes of Cirque du Soleil to explore the nature of creativity and innovation.

Edward Burtynsky, Photographer, artist
November 26, 2014
Edward Burtynsky is known as one of Canada’s most respected photographers.

Colonel Chris Hadfield, Astronaut
January 27, 2015
The Sky Is Not The Limit: In his passionate and illuminating talks, Hadfield imparts the useful and practical lessons he’s learned throughout his remarkable career in the fields of leadership, teamwork, collaboration, science and technology, and motivates audiences to achieve dreams higher than the clouds.

Fall 2010 – Winter 2014

2013-2014 Season

Robert Sutton
October 23, 2013
Best known as the author of best-selling books “Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best… and Learn from the Worst” and “The No Asshole Rule”, Bob Sutton is a Professor of Management (Organizational Behaviour, Management Science and Engineering) at Stanford University.

Dr. David Goldbloom
January 31, 2014
Dr. Goldbloom is the Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and Senior Medical Advisor for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Dr. Daniel Levitin
February 6, 2014
Dr. Levitin is a Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Neuroscience at McGill University.

Chuck Klosterman
March 25, 2014
Mr. Klosterman is an ethicist for the NYT Magazine, author of several best-selling books and novels, and a contributing columnist to several magazines, including Esquire and Grantland.


2012-2013 Season

Susan Cain
November 14, 2012
Susan Cain is the bestselling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, which claims that our culture holds a bias toward the “extrovert ideal” and dramatically undervalues the talents of introverts — in business, the classroom and beyond.

Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean
February 20, 2013
Michaëlle Jean served as Canada’s Governor General from 2005 to 2010.

Bill McKibben
March 18, 2013
Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment and the first author to publish a book on climate change for a general audience.


2011-2012 Season

Kevin O’Leary
October 13, 2011
One of North America’s most successful entrepreneurs, in 1986 Kevin O’Leary founded SoftKey, an educational software company which he grew to great success and eventually sold to Mattel Toy Company for $3.7 billion.

Margaret Somerville
November 9, 2011
The director of McGill’s Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, Dr. Somerville is a respected ethicist and researcher on topics such as euthanasia, abortion, human rights, AIDS, and the pharmaceutical industry.

Jesse Jackson
February 15, 2012
Former Presidential candidate, civil rights activist Reverend Jackson is an influential voice in American political and social activism.

Steven Pinker
March 19, 2012
Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker asks audacious questions about the human mind—then boldly sets out to answer them.


2010-2011 Season

David Frum
September 16, 2010
Toronto-born David Frum is an author and political activist who lives and works in Washington, DC.

Wade Davis
November 17, 2010
Harvard-educated anthropologist Wade Davis is the National Geographic’s Explorer-in-Residence and an award-winning writer, photographer and filmmaker.

Clara Hughes
January 26, 2011
The only person to win multiple medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympics, Clara Hughes is one of Canada’s outstanding athletes.

Christie Blatchford
March 16, 2011
Christie Blatchford is a high-profile columnist at The Globe and Mail.

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 the principal.

Nominations for the 2024-2025 season will open in March 2024 – 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.