In some respects, 2021 felt eerily similar to the year before it — complete with more of the dramatic plot twists brought on by an extended global pandemic.
Dig a little deeper, though, and you begin to notice a couple of important and heartening developments: people have gotten better at managing through the uncertainty and some have even come to thrive in the middle of it.
The 25 stories that follow below — some of our most-read, some of Dal's biggest and some that spoke to what 2021 was all about — provide a window into a year filled with discoveries, emerging strengths, community spirit and the resolve to tackle challenges and flourish in new ways.
RESEARCH l January 19
Advanced battery scientists join exclusive Tesla partnership at Dal in research chair roles
Chongyin Yang and Michael Metzger joined Dalhousie to work in the lab of Jeff Dahn, the NSERC/Tesla Canada Inc. Industrial Research Chair and Canada Research Chair in Materials for Advanced Batteries. Dal's partnership with the electric-vehicle maker and energy-storage giant was extended until at least 2026.
HEALTH AND MEDICINE l February 10
How a Dal doctor has taken on doubters to become a leading voice in the fight against COVID‑19
From a rural Newfoundland upbringing that sparked a love of science to conducting research with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the path that led Dr. Lisa Barrett to Dalhousie and helped her become a leading infectious disease and COVID-19 expert is an inspiring one.
TECHNOLOGY l CIVIC IMPACT l March 19
Dalhousie set to supercharge tech talent in Nova Scotia thanks to provincial investment
The Faculty of Computer Science’s ability to help meet Nova Scotia’s growing tech-sector talent demand is receiving a next-level upgrade thanks to $13.3 miliion in new funding from the province. Related: Shaping Nova Scotia’s digital future: Here We Code sets a new movement in motion
AWARDS AND HONOURS l April 5
Dal's Rita Orji honoured with top Canadian computer science research award
An associate professor in the Faculty of Computer Science, Dr. Orji is the first researcher from an institution in Atlantic Canada to receive the Outstanding Early Career Researcher Award, a prestigious award given out annually by national non-profit CS-Can|Info-Can.
UNIVERSITY INITIATIVES l April 13
Introducing the Sankofa Scholarships: Breaking down barriers for students of African descent
Three renewable scholarships announced this past spring by Dalhousie offer financial support, mentorship and more to students of Black and African descent, one of several ways the university is moving forward on recommendations laid out in the Lord Dalhousie report and several other internal reports.
GLOBAL RANKINGS l April 21
Dalhousie ranks among top 200 universities actively contributing to a better future for everyone
Dalhousie continues to rank among the top 200 universities in the world in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which explores how university research and operations are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Among Dal’s rankings are top-40 results in key SDGs including Clean Water and Sanitation and Good Health and Well-Being.
STUDENT LIFE l AWARDS AND HONOURS l April 30
Passion and purpose in student life: Meet Dal's 2021 Board of Governors' Award winners
Getting engaged in student life is about so much more than a student's own experience. It's also about building community, supporting others and striving for change — qualities this year's Dalhousie Board of Governors' Award winners illustrate so well.
RESEARCH l May 6
Dal prof receives Governor General’s Innovation Award for 3D printed devices that improve cancer treatment
Medical physicist Dr. James Robar was one of six 2021 Governor General’s Innovation Award recipients announced by the Rideau Hall Foundation this year in recognition for his work creating technology that improves the experience of cancer patients receiving radiation therapy.
CIVIC IMPACT l May 12
'The backlog was breaking our hearts': Students and staff pitch in to keep up with third‑wave testing
As Nova Scotians turned out in droves to get tested for COVID-19 in late April, dozens of Dalhousie Medical School residents, graduate students, medical students, and physicians pitched in to help lab staff process the growing backlog of tests.
HEALTH AND MEDICINE l June 2
Ask an expert: Dr. Chris Richardson on pilot study showing vaccine mixing can be highly effective in boosting COVID immunity
In a pilot study completed in late spring, the Dal molecular virologist showed mixing two different COVID-19 vaccines can be highly effective in generating the neutralizing antibodies necessary to fight the communicable disease and boost immunity.
STRATEGIC PLANNING l June 16
Bringing Dal's Third Century Promise to life: ‘An expression of our collective ambition’
Dal President Deep Saini and Provost Frank Harvey unveiled the university's new strategic plan during a virtual launch event, offering faculty and staff their first full look at a document that lays out the university’s long-term ambition while providing a clear, actionable strategy for the next five years.
CIVIC IMPACT l June 22
Board approves proposed Dalhousie Event Centre in Halifax
Dalhousie’s Board of Governors approved a new Dalhousie Event Centre to be built behind the LeMarchant Place complex. The facility — which will include an NHL-sized rink, a new home for the Dalhousie Physiotherapy Clinic and event space — is targeted for a fall 2023 opening.
NEWS AND EVENTS l June 24
Out of the ashes: Cox Institute re‑emerges following devastating fire
Nearly three years exactly after a fire ripped through the Cox Institute on Dal's Agricultural Campus in Truro, a renewed and repaired facility was officially turned back over to the university last summer and re-opened for in-person teaching in September.
UNIVERSITY INITIATIVES l August 5
Dal launches new tuition waiver program for former youth in care
The initiative, launched this fall, offers tuition waivers for up to 10 former youth in care each year, enabling them to attend undergraduate studies at the university free of tuition charges and enjoy tailored wrap-around supports such as advising and counselling.
AWARDS AND HONOURS l September 7
Royal Society of Canada recognizes research excellence at Dalhousie
Seven world-class researchers from Dalhousie were recognized by the Royal Society of Canada for their outstanding scholarly, scientific and artistic achievement — one of the largest cohorts ever from the university.
RESEARCH l September 21
How sustainable is that fish on your plate? New study explores the environmental impacts of aquatic foods
Dalhousie researcher Peter Tyedmers, a professor in Dalhousie’s School for Resource and Environmental Studies, led the first assessment of its kind to show environmental impact of the full range of aquatic foods to help guide more sustainable production and diets.
ALUMNI l September 28
‘Democracy has to rise to the occasion:’ Inaugural Stanfield Conversation tackles the state and fate of democracy
Renowned political thinkers Charles Taylor and Simone Chambers took part in the launch of a new series honouring the legacy of politician Robert Stanfield, a Dal alum, former Premier of Nova Scotia and former leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party.
COMMUNITY AND CULTURE l October 22
How Dal's Naiomi Metallic has turned law into a tool for reconciliation
The Schulich School of Law professor has made her mark as the Chancellor’s Chair in Aboriginal Law and Policy at Dalhousie. Now, she is set to embark on her second five-year term in the role with even bigger ambitions.
COMMUNITY AND CULTURE l October 29
The spectre of Shirreff Hall: Meet Penelope, Dal's most famous ghost
Strange sounds, unexplained happenings and a woman in a blue dress who appears and disappears at whim — just spooky stories, or is Dalhousie's oldest student residence actually haunted? A closer look at the university’s most famous piece of frightening folklore.
STUDENT LIFE l AWARDS AND HONOURS l November 22
Learning to rebound: Dal's 93rd Rhodes Scholar embodies drive and determination in forging new paths
Recent Medical Sciences graduate and former Dal Tiger Ashley Jackson is Oxford-bound as Dalhousie's 93rd Rhodes Scholar, eager to grow her interest in cancer research and deepen her community impact.
RESEARCH l November 23
Dal faculty recognized in 2021 list of world’s most cited researchers
Dalhousie professors Rudolf Uher and Boris Worm were announced last week as two of the world’s most cited researchers as defined by data science company Clarivate in their Highly Cited Researchers 2021 list.
STUDENT LIFE l December 2
Meet the four new Dal counsellors hired to help Dal students stay mentally healthy
Joe Savidge, Marissa Walter, Melissa Hum, and Dr. Jason Chatman have joined Dalhousie Student Health & Wellness as the university seeks to meet the growing mental health needs of students.
ALUMNI l CIVIC IMPACT l December 6
Dalhousie‑led campaign raises funds for student‑led food security programs across N.S.
Nova Scotia universities and the Nova Scotia Community College joined with Dalhousie to raise more than $200,000 to improve food security for students as part of a province-wide initiative on Giving Tuesday 2021.
AWARDS AND HONOURS l December 15
World‑leading geriatrician and anti‑ageism campaigner wins the Ryman Prize
Dr. Kenneth Rockwood is the seventh winner of the international health prize, which recognizes the best work carried out anywhere in the world that has enhanced quality of life for older people.
RESEARCH l December 16
Dal embraces Black studies research with new university‑wide institute
The Black Studies Research Institute, approved in November by the university’s Senate and Board of Governors, will serve as a centre of excellence supporting the work of established and emerging Black scholars at the university and beyond.
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