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Passing of the torch

- June 22, 2007

Dr. Jerry Bannister
Dr. Jerry Bannister: "You can have the most brilliant ideas but if you canÕt communicate clearly, youÕre basically talking to yourself.” (Abriel photo)

It was the passing of the torch: as one outstanding history professor was toasted on his retirement, another was recognized for his teaching excellence.

ÒIt seems like only yesterday that I came to Nova Scotia (from Chicago),” said retiring professor John OÕBrien at a reception held by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences last week. ÒSuddenly, 33 years have gone by and IÕm a geezer.”

Jerry Bannister joined the Department of History four years ago and credited Dr. OÕBrien for being a great source of advice and inspiration. Dr. Bannister was honored with the FASS Teaching Award of Excellence.

From a family of teachers, the 38-year-old native of St. JohnÕs, Nfld. says he abides by the 3Fs Ñ ÒYouÕve got to be firm, fair and friendly,” he says.

But he throws in another letter Ñ ÒC” for clarity. ÒYou can have the most brilliant ideas but if you canÕt communicate clearly, youÕre basically talking to yourself.”

Dr. BannisterÕs area of specialty is the social and legal history of the Atlantic region. He teaches Atlantic Canada to Confederation (HIST 2271) and Since Confederation (HIST 2272), the History of Seafaring (HIST 3750), the graduate seminar Atlantic Canada in the Atlantic World (HIST 8220) and a new course heÕs designed, Popular Culture in the Atlantic World (HIST 4250).

ÒLearning is a big part of teaching,” he says. ÒI learn everyday I come to work, and what a wonderful thing that is.”

Besides Dr. OÕBrien, other retiring Dalhousie employees recognized at the informal reception included Yvonne Landry, a fixture in the French department for the past 35 years, and Gabriele Wamboldt, longtime secretary in German department. Also retiring (but absent from reception) were: Patricia Mitchell (French) and Dr. Norman Pereira (History).


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