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Dal News 2017 in review

- January 3, 2018

Clockwise from upper left: Rhodes Scholar Nayani Jensen, the Tigers in action at the CIS Final 8, Herzberg Gold Medal winner Jeff Dahn; celebrating the start of African Heritage Month. (Danny Abriel and Nick Pearce photos)
Clockwise from upper left: Rhodes Scholar Nayani Jensen, the Tigers in action at the CIS Final 8, Herzberg Gold Medal winner Jeff Dahn; celebrating the start of African Heritage Month. (Danny Abriel and Nick Pearce photos)

The upcoming year is poised to be a major milestone in Dal’s history, as the university marks its 200th anniversary.

But 2017 was no slouch when it comes to being eventful. Major awards, lasting achievements, groundbreaking research and community contributions — we covered all of it here on Dal News, publishing 572 stories throughout the year, a new record for our website.

Here’s a look back at some of the highlights from the year that was.

Awards and achievements


The Herzberg Gold Medal is arguably Canada’s top science award, and with Dal battery researcher Jeff Dahn receiving the prize this year, Dalhousie researchers have won three of the last four Herzberg awards. One of those three, evolutionary biologist Ford Doolittle, also added to his mantle of honours this past year, receiving the prestigious Canada Council for the Arts Killam Prize in the Natural Sciences — the second year in a row for a Dal researcher (following Axel Becke in 2016).

And they were hardly the only profs to go heralded in 2017. Medicine faculty Dr. Patrick McGrath and Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie received the Governor General’s Award for their Strongest Families Institute. Biologist Jeff Hutchings won one of North America’s top awards in marine science, the AG Huntsman Award. Earth Sciences Professor Anne Marie Ryan was celebrated for her teaching leadership, while Julia Wright (English) and Marsha Campbell-Yeo (Nursing) were feted by the Royal Society of Canada. And, as is quickly becoming custom, Dalhousie researchers dominated at the 15th annual Nova Scotia Discovery Awards.

As for Dal’s students, the honour roll begins with Mechanical Engineering student Nayani Jensen, who in November became Dalhousie’s 91st Rhodes Scholar. Dalhousie also celebrated not one but two 3M Student Fellows and saw a team of students win the very first international World’s Challenge Challenge competition. The university handed out Governors Awards to five outstanding leaders in student life and honoured 89 new Academic All-Canadian athletes — including volleyball player Anna Dunn-Suen, named a Top 8 Academic All Canadian nationally.

Campus news and events


On campus, Dal and the DSU celebrated the completion of renovations in the Student Union Building while new donations and gifts supported campus developments currently in the works (like Irving and Michelin for the Sexton Campus IDEA Project and the Strug family for the Arts Centre expansion). The university launched a new giving society (the MacLennan Society) to honour some of its most dedicated donors and celebrated 50 years of the Killam Trusts at Dalhousie.

In February, African Heritage Month kicked off with the first-ever raising of the Pan-African Flag on campus. The university also welcomed new Indigenous Student Advisor Michele Graveline this year and launched its new Diversity and Inclusiveness Strategy. And in May, Dal’s medical school celebrated its largest ever class of MDs of African descent.

Dalhousie hosted the CIS Final 8 men's basketball tournament in March, with the Tigers earning a bronze medal for their best-ever finish on the national stage. Dal's Faculty of Health Professions got a new shorter name (the Faculty of Health) while the Rowe School of Business announced a new partnership with Canada's top startup accelerator, the Creative Destruction Lab.

There were no shortage of important research stories: Dal postdocs working to save the North Atlantic Right Whale; a $28.5-million funding renewal for the Dal-hosted ocean prediction and response network, MEOPAR; new technology to support parents in neonatal care; a plethora of exciting new publications from Dal’s social sciences and humanities researchers; promising developments in cancer treatment through a partnership with BrainLab; and science that’s set to revolutionize Nova Scotia’s Christmas Tree industry.

And there were great community impact stories too: students coming together across disciplines to run the HOPES clinic; partnerships between Medicine students and local organizations; Dentistry students helping support immigrants and their oral health; the continued impact of Dal’s Legal Aid office.

Looking ahead to Dal’s anniversary year


And even with all that was happening in 2017, we also made sure to reserve some of our attention for what’s in store during Dal’s anniversary year in 2018. From introducing the Year of Belonging and the Great Debate to going behind the scenes of the Dal Originals storytelling project, we’ve highlighted many of the events and activities planned. We shared the stories behind the students on Dal’s 200th anniversary banners and profiled the “sneak peek” events that shared new details on the year with members of the Dal community.

You can review all of our Dal 200 profile articles — as well as any of our articles from last year — in our archives. Below is the list of our top 10 most-read stories for the year.

Dal News top stories of 2017

  1. Supercharged success: Battery researcher Jeff Dahn wins Herzberg Gold Medal (February 7)
  2. Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie ranks among world’s best law schools (October 6)
  3. Leaders in student life: Meet your 2017 Dalhousie Governors’ Award winners (March 24)
  4. Literary designs: Mechanical Engineering student Nayani Jensen wins Rhodes Scholarship (November 20) 
  5. Grads profile: Dalhousie Medical School graduates its largest class of MDs of African descent (May 26)
  6. Dalhousie releases public sector compensation report for 2016-17 (July 27)
  7. Introducing Dal’s honorary degree recipients for Spring Convocation 2017 (April 20)
  8. Meet this year’s Dalhousie teaching award winners (June 15)
  9. Dal PhD candidate among elite young scientists nominated to attend Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (December 11)
  10. Philosophy student brings creativity, compassion to considering Canada’s prison system (August 9)  

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