2012 in review

Ryan McNutt - January 3, 2013

Some of the sights and faces of Dal 2012.
Some of the sights and faces of Dal 2012.

The apocalypse didn’t show up, but you could hardly say that 2012 was lacking for big events.

From the announcement of Dal’s next president Richard Florizone, to a visit from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to a convocation speech from a world-famous comedy icon, to celebrating our 87th Rhodes Scholar Paul Manning, 2012 may rank as one of Dalhousie’s most eventful years in recent memory.

It was also one of our busiest years ever on Dal News. Our website logged more than 556,178 visits in 2012 — the most since we’ve been counting — and we published just shy of 500 stories over the 12 months.

Perhaps the biggest Dal story of 2012 was the merger with Nova Scotia Agricultural College, bringing the Faculty of Agriculture and the Truro-based Agricultural Campus into the Dal community. We were there the whole way: covering the announcement; touring the campus during its annual Open House; watching the Dal Tiger show Rocky the Ram around Halifax; celebrating launch day; interviewing campus Principal/Dean Harold Cook; and highlighting some of the events and research happening in Truro, such as College Royal and the Christmas Tree Research Centre.

Back in Halifax, labour issues loomed over the winter term; you’ll note that no less than three of our top 10 most-read stories were related to updates in negotiations between the Board and the NSGEU and the DFA. But those weren’t the only labour concerns that affected our community: the 40-day Metro Transit strike led many students, staff and faculty to Dal News for information on transit options available to them. (Coincidentally, tentative agreements between Dal’s Board and the DFA, as well as Metro Transit and its drivers, were reached on the same day, with the aid of the same government conciliator.)

It was a big year for Dal’s Faculty of Dentistry, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of its first graduating class and was the first Canadian institution to be awarded the prestigious Gies Award for dental education. We took a look back at the Faculty’s storied history. On Studley Campus, Dalhousie’s business school entered a new era with the name of its greatest ambassador, becoming the Rowe School of Business. And Dal awarded honorary degrees to a number of outstanding leaders, and our convocation ceremonies featured inspiring speeches from the likes of Eugene Levy and Romeo Dallaire.

Summers tend to be pretty quiet on campus, but that wasn’t the case on Dal News. We profiled our Olympians, including students David Sharpe and Jason McCoombs and alumnus Mark de Jonge, that latter of whom won the bronze medal in the 200m kayak sprints. Then in August, we covered Angela Merkel’s visit to campus to tour Dal’s research facilities and meet with faculty and students about oceans research.

Research was, as always, a big story for us, and we covered a wide range of stories: from Popular Science choosing the Dal-developed lobster Bait Savour as one of its 10 inventions of the year, to exciting new investment’s in Dal’s Aquatron, Dal’s newest members of the Royal Society of Canada, to compelling Dal research into hearing aids, depression, the earth’s atmosphere, alcohol consumption, the constitution and more.

And we strove to tell as many great stories from our community as we could. These included (among many others) Facilities Management staff raising funds for student scholarships; Dal’s new restorative justice program for students; award winners like like Frank Harvey for teaching or our Rosemary Gill recipients for their service to students; bringing creative art to our community at the Nocturne festival; a heartwarming story about 70-year-old graduate Terry Michalopoulos; Dal once again being named one of Canada's Top 100 Employers; and celebrating the first graduating class of Dal’s Environment, Sustainability and Society program.

Oh yeah, and the DSU brought puppies to campus. You might have heard about that one.

Here’s our top 10 most-read stories of 2012:

  1. Transit strike information (Feb. 2) – 12,282 views
  2. Introducing Richard Florizone, Dalhousie’s 11th president (Nov. 8) – 7,512 views
  3. Dal goes to the dogs (Dec. 5) – 5,672 views
  4. Dalhousie Olympians viewing guide (July 25) – 5,639 views
  5. Conciliation date with NSGEU Local 77 ends without agreement (Feb. 22) – 5,077 views
  6. Binge drinking – as contagious as the common cold? (Jan. 9) – 4,924 views
  7. Top 5 mistakes to avoid on your term papers (Nov. 16) – 4,362 views
  8. Tentative agreement reached with DFA; classes on for Monday (Mar. 11) – 4,126 views
  9. German chancellor to visit Dalhousie (Aug. 10) – 3,856 views
  10. DFA serves strike notice for March 12; government announces solvency relief (Mar. 8) – 3,580 views

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