President's Corner ‑ December 18, 2020

- December 18, 2020

President Deep Saini. (Danny Abriel photo)
President Deep Saini. (Danny Abriel photo)

President's Corner is a regular column from President Deep Saini.

Dear Dal Community,

What a year it has been! My first instinct — not unlike that of many — is to forget that 2020 ever happened, but then something in me says, “Wait a minute, wasn’t there anything about the year that we would want to remember it for?” Well, the answer surprises me. It shouldn’t, not at the rational level, but good things often get obscured amidst the kind of tribulations we’ve faced this year. I’ve always believed that even in our darkest moments, there is light, and we are doing better than our harshest judgement would assume.

Yes, this was a year that started with incredible tragedies and then turned into an exceptionally difficult one. No doubt about it. But this was also the year when we worked together to overcome some of the greatest obstacles our institution has faced in living memory.

This was the year when, despite all the hurdles we met, our researchers attracted an all-time Dalhousie record $181 million in external funding. The Tigers men’s basketball team posted the best-ever national finish with a Silver Medal, and the women’s volleyball team made it to the nationals (although sadly missed an almost certain medal because of the pandemic). Dal had a record number of U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians. Qendresa Sahiti won the 3M National Student Fellowship and Sierra Sparks became our 92nd Rhodes Scholar. Dalhousie ranked among the world’s top 100 universities in social impact, officially launched the world’s first ever International Restorative Justice Lab, and moved up in Maclean’s national rankings.

The Black Student Advising Centre and the Transition Year Program celebrated their 30th and 50th anniversaries, respectively. Further deepening our commitment to EDI, we appointed our first ever Directors of Indigenous Community Engagement and African Nova Scotian Engagement. Our Dal community members were honoured by the Royal Society of Canada and the Order of Canada, among others. The list of impressive achievements goes on… but I guess I’ve made my point.

The beautifully choreographed “Sounds of the Season” year-end virtual event on Wednesday aptly captured the spirit of Dalhousie. If you weren’t able to join live, I encourage you to grab a hot drink and watch it.

At the personal level, I am grateful to have had the honour of joining Dalhousie this year, and even greater honour to have had the fortune of working with you all to serve this great institution through these turbulent times.

So, in the spirit of applauding Dalhousie community’s collective resolve and remarkable ability to excel despite formidable odds, let us take this moment to say thanks for the good that has happened, and wish one another happy holidays and a much happier 2021.

You’ve worked incredibly hard this year. Please find time to rest and relax during the upcoming break and make the best of what this holiday season has to offer. Happy holidays and my best wishes for a wonderful year ahead!



President Saini can be reached at You can also connect with him on Twitter and Instagram.