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Dal News 2016 in review

- January 6, 2017

Clockwise from upper-left: Rhodes Scholar Maike van Niekerk, Treasury Secretary Scott Brison announces funding for the Dal-led Ocean Frontier Institute, multiple award winner Françoise Baylis, the Mi'kmaq flag permanently installed on the Agricultural Campus.
Clockwise from upper-left: Rhodes Scholar Maike van Niekerk, Treasury Secretary Scott Brison announces funding for the Dal-led Ocean Frontier Institute, multiple award winner Françoise Baylis, the Mi'kmaq flag permanently installed on the Agricultural Campus.

A lot happens at Dalhousie in the run of a year, and 2016 was no exception.

With 535 articles published on Dal News throughout the year, there was no shortage of stories — ranging from research to student life and everything in between — to consider.

Announcements and honours


It was a year of significant new beginnings at Dal. One of the year’s biggest stories was the launch of the Dal-led Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI), a $220-million international collaboration — boosted by the largest federal government grant in Dal’s history — that positions Canada as a global leader in ocean science and management. Dal also unveiled IDEA project, an ambitious $64-million investment (including $32 million from the federal government) to revitalize the university’s downtown engineering and architecture campus, including a new startup incubator/accelerator space called ideaHUB. Construction also got underway on the new fitness centre (slated for 2018 opening) while fundraising and planning is underway on several other capital projects, including an expanded Dalhousie Arts Centre and a new arena.

It was also a year of big achievements for individuals across the Dal community. Nursing student Maike Van Niekerk became Dal’s 90th Rhodes Scholar. Social Work professor Wanda Thomas Bernard was appointed to the Senate of Canada. Dal battery researcher Jeff Dahn was honoured with one of the inaugural Governor General's Innovation Awards. Researchers from Dal's Faculties of Science and Medicine took home awards in three of the four major categories at the 14th annual Nova Scotia Discovery Awards. Eight new Canada Research Chairs were announced (in two announcements). And Chemistry’s Axel Becke added the prestigious Killam Prize to his already impressive list of honours.

It was a banner year for Dal bioethicist Françoise Baylis. She received an incredible series of honours throughout 2016: induction into both the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia; the Distinguished Academic Award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers; and the Royal Society of Canada’s McNeil Medal in recognition of her ability to promote and communicate science to students and the public. Dal Chemistry Professor Mary-Anne White and Social Work Professor Emeritus Fred Wien were also inducted into the Order of Canada last year.

Three Dal researchers were welcomed into the Royal Society’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, recognizing early-career success. And Medical Physics PhD candidate Lee MacDonald saw research he worked on in collaboration with faculty licensed to Brainlab, an international leader in software-driven medical technology used in cancer treatment around the globe.

Milestones and memories


The year was also one of change and important milestones within the Dal community. The university welcomed its first full-time ombudsperson, and also stepped up its support for Indigenous students with the hiring of a full-time advisor and the launch of a new support centre on campus. Mi’kmaq flag raisings in both Halifax and Truro, as well as the renaming the Ag Campus's River Road to “Sipu Awti,” acknowledged the university’s location on traditional Mi’kmaq territory, while the Schulich School of Law welcomed its first Chancellor's Chair in Aboriginal Law and Policy. The university launched a new minor in Black and African Diaspora Studies, and members of the Department of English worked together to launch an Aboriginal and Black Canadian student bursary.

Dal welcomed new deans in Management, Arts & Social Sciences and Health Professions, and named the first two holders of its new Arthur B. McDonald research chair program set up in honour of the Dal alumnus and Nobel Prize recipient. The university published Canada’s Food Price Report, launched the new MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance, rolled out a new university-wide mental wellness strategy, helped rescue part of a collection of rare films, and watched as alumni become viral video Bhangra superstars. And as for athletics, it was another banner year for both the Rams and Tigers, with the Tigers taking home seven AUS titles during 2016.

Our top stories of 2016


Here’s the list of the 10 most-read Dal News stories of 2016:

  1. Maike van Niekerk becomes Dal’s 90th Rhodes Scholar (November 21)
  2. Wanda Thomas Bernard appointed to the Senate of Canada (October 27)
  3. Dal’s new fitness centre to open during 200th anniversary year (May 18)
  4. Community, compassion, commitment: Meet this year’s student Board of Governors Award winners (March 24)
  5. From concept to cancer treatment: Medical Physics researchers license new technology with Brainlab (April 14)
  6. Making a “Video” Difference: Dal and Halifax Public Libraries team up to purchase film collection (August 16)
  7. Adventure by bus: First-year student helps others discover Halifax (April 7)
  8. Introducing Dal’s honorary degree recipients for Spring Convocation 2016 (April 25)
  9. O-week o-verview 2016 (September 1)
  10. A game-changer for ocean research: Inside the new Dal-led Ocean Frontier Institute (September 6)

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