Purple Kicks Ass

As many of our loyal readers know, a large part of the Daily Gumboot team are products of Bishop’s University. Located in the Eastern Townships of the Nation of Quebec (you’re welcome, Monsieur Renauld), Bishop’s is the smallest university in Canada and was once used to film a B-Movie about, I think, prep-school witches starring that girl from Coyote Ugly. Needless to say, the place is legendary for myriad reasons; from the poutine of Lennoxville to its vibrant-and-adventurous-community-building to the student-first faculty to the engaging – at times, ahem, intoxitcating - social life. But, not long ago, Bishop’s University had sputtering enrolment, corrupt and incompetent leadership and was on the brink of bankruptcy. The end was near.

Bishop’s Builds Community

The thing about Bishop’s, though, is that even though up-and-coming “print magazine” the Macleans‘s university rankings placed BU dead last in leaders of tomorrow (Editor’s note: this was my frickin’ grad year, too), well, the school’s delivery of a world-class, innovative and very, very, very social student experience ensures that people really, really, really like – and liked – going there. So, when the National Survey on Student Engagement (NSSE) published its results in the Macleans last winter, well, Purple Kicked Ass! Bishop’s was the only school to rank in the top six in each of the survey’s benchmarks. Sure, the library doesn’t have “books” or “computers,” but that’s what research-oriented-behemoth-money-making-student-second schools are for! BU is about classrooms.

Needless to say, the community on campus and in the town of Lennoxville rallied around its storied educational institution and thanks to key players like Principal Michael Goldbloom, My Personal Hero Michael Childs, Jamie Crooks, David McBride, and some Awesome Alumni, Canada’s coolest school has “rowed back from the brink.” And those aren’t my words. Those ones are from up-and-coming “newspaper” the Montreal Gazette – hey, if CanWest News prints something like this it must be true.

For these reasons and more, you should care about Bishop’s University.

Reasons to Attend Bishop’s University

1. Small Class Sizes means that you actually get an education from a teacher, rather than a lecture from an expert…or that expert’s PhD student…or that PhD student’s TA…or that TA’s cousin, Phil (editor’s note: I heard that this may or may not have happened once at Queen’s University).

2. The History Department is unofficially ranked as tops in Canada – mostly because of

My wife Michelle didn’t go to Bishop’s. And she hasn’t really gotten over it.

its street credit as the only place you can find a Canadian Native and Environmental Technology specialist teaching a class about American Foreign Policy. Sure, it was dealt a blow by losing perennial all-star Michael Childs to the university’s administration and it hurt when cantankerous veteran storyteller Karl Wegert retreated past the Maginot Line on the Quebec border, through the sprawling wheat fields of Eastern Ontario before settling on the Steppes of Russia Manitoba to reflect on all things socialist. And even if you’re not in the faculty, well, the History Department has, um, a history of knowing how to have fun.

3. Powerful Alumni Connections means that people from Bishop’s take care of people from Bishop’s and that any time you happen across a fellow Gaiter Grad adventure, debauchery and/or a new creative enterprize is always a possibility. Our alumni are natural connectors and we open doors for the school and its students – past, present and future. If you haven’t already, join the BU groups on Facebook and LinkedIn today!

SUPERAWESOME BONUS REASON: The Innovative B.E.S.T. Program combines experiential learning, community service and overachievement to help the best and brightest of the institution transform from good to great and begin their post-BU journey at an amazing new level. Do you have what it takes to be the B.E.S.T.? Find out here.

Congratulations on your almost-being-out-of-debt and biggest-enrolment-ever, Bishop’s University. I’m raising a toast for you right now.


5 thoughts on “Purple Kicks Ass

  1. John, you are an amazingly fine writer and i am ever so proud to have been involved a teeny bit in your education. Oh yes, congrats on your marriage and best wishes for a forever , together lifetime of happiness.
    How do I send this article to Harry? I am so uncomputer minded.

  2. Thanks, Judy!

    If you want to email me Harry’s address I can forward it along to him. I think my favourite part of the article is the exclusive inside joke about Dr. Karl Wegert, who is a dairy farmer and so, so, so much more. It’s also a test to see if he actually reads the blog.

    I love UBC and thoroughly enjoy my job, but there are a lot of places where our mega-institution fails – like when there are 150 people in a fourth year class – so much of the university’s student development programming is based on very BU-sounding principles. Except for the drinking part. People tend to frown on that in these parts.

    In written expression,


  3. Apart from the fact that I was in MacKinnon-residence, I guess I can agree on most stuff said here. Mac still keeps my therapist busy… ;-p

    *singing Bishop’s anthem*
    “We’re conditioned to our fate, we will never graduate…”

    My time at Bishop’s was exceptional. Both on the negative and the positive side. I’d be a different person today if I hadn’t attended this school. Well written, John!

  4. John,
    I just found your article on Linked-in and I was so glad to read that Bishop’s is back on track… Looking forward to future updates. I am a Bishop’s Alumni Class of 93. Your note highlighted the importance of all Alumni being involved with the Alumni Network. In fact I’m going to invite Boston-based Bishop’s Alumni to a Function at our Open House in Downtown Boston next week. Free Sam adams should get their attention.)

    I am now the CEO of a Boston-based Start-up My Life List LLC. (http://www.mylifelist.org). We are MassChallenge Finalist (Largest Global Start-up Competition) and we have great momentum. http://www.mylifelist.org/experiences/experience.aspx?ID=4154

    This week we are one of 10 companies mentioned in the Mass High Tech Startup Watch. Love to get your support, just follow the attached link. (You do not need to sign in, just select 5 of the 10 you would like to see profiled.) http://www.masshightech.com/startup-watch/

    By the way my Going to Bishop’s University Story is always on the front page of the MLL website. Check it out http://www.mylifelist.org/experiences/experience.aspx?ID=61

    Sorry about all the links but wanted you to know what’s up with another BU Alumni. (Bishop’s not Boston). Been pretty undergunned here in MassChallenge Competition against other Alumni Networks (MIT, Harvard, Boston University) but holding my own.

    CREATE. ACT. CELEBRATE.™ (AKA Raise a Toast)

    Bill Starr
    CEO, My Life List™
    Ph: 310-717-6953

  5. Bill this is an amazing comment thread! I can’t believe I missed it!!!

    Would love to connect more about your ideas and what the Daily Gumboot can do for your organization.

    Thanks for the link love!

    - John

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