Message from President and Vice-Chancellor Tim Rahilly, PhD

Posted June 4, 2021


Hello everyone. It’s Tim, and with summer on the horizon, I thought it would be a good opportunity to connect this week. This might be a longer video, so if you are watching on YouTube we will put chapters in the descriptions.


Kamloops residential school tragedy

Before I get into business, I need to acknowledge something that has been on all our minds this week. The heartbreaking discovery of 215 children buried in unmarked graves at a former Kamloops residential school simply breaks my heart, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way. Over the years I have worked with a number of people from Kamloops – students and leaders alike – and this week I’ve been thinking of them, as I’ve been thinking of all of you, who have been dealing with the legacy of residential schools across Canada.

Across Canada, for more than 100 years, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families, forced to attend residential schools and so many have shared horrific accounts of what happened to them there. And, of course, many of these children died.

While words like “tragic,” and “heartbreaking,” and “devastating,” strike the right tone, they are not sufficient. So, I think it’s time to stop and reflect about the scale of this and the impact that it is having on people.

I know there are many calls for action, and I personally think that the best way we can respond is to double down on our commitment to the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I think education is a contribution that schools like MRU can make.

I’ve previously spoken about our Indigenous Strategic Plan and I’ve spoken about some of our training like Four Seasons of Reconciliation. You can find out more about those and click on the links below.

But, for now, I think we should stop and think and focus on the tragedy and support those in our communities that are grieving the most.


Campus supports

There is an awful lot going on in the world right now. I have been contacted during the last week or so, not only by people who are grieving the Kamloops discovery, but by people who are concerned about the violence in the Middle East, as well as, and of course, the ongoing impact of the pandemic. If you need support, please consider the programs and services provided by Mount Royal, as well as some of those available in the community, and we’ll link some of those below for you. Even if you don’t need them, I think it’s really good to remember that they are there for you.


On-campus employee shout out

Changing gears somewhat. As I look ahead to the next few months, and the beautiful weather and my calendar telling me that summer is just around the corner, I am quite certain that this summer will be nicer than last summer. As vaccinations go up and hospitalizations come down, the province is opening up, and Mount Royal is opening up as well.

As teams transition back to campus over the summer months, I want to recognize all the MRU employees and contractors who never left campus during the pandemic.

Last March, when most of us left to work from home, a number of you needed to stay in order to manage our on-site operations and organize health-related services.

I want to thank you for keeping the home fires burning. I know your colleagues are looking forward to seeing you when we all return to campus. My profound thanks for everything you have done over the pandemic.


Convocation next week

And turning to Convocation. Next week is another exciting time for Mount Royal. Just as we did in November, we will be holding a physically-distanced drive-in Convocation from June 7 to 10.

Convocation is one of my favourite things that we do at the University, and with eight ceremonies in total, we will recognize the accomplishments of hundreds of graduates this year. Grads and their families will attend the ceremonies in their vehicles, listening to the program on their radios and watching the ceremony on big screens. If you have time, I hope you’ll join in on one of the live streams.

On a related note, I know there are several MRU employees who have family members who are graduating this month. Since we need to remain socially distanced for the Convocation ceremonies, if you are interested, I would certainly be willing – I would be pleased, in fact – to have the opportunity to congratulate your graduate in person.

So, if you are interested in having me meet your graduate, to present (or re-present) their parchment to them and take a quick photo, please email with details and we can make the arrangements. Depending on the uptake, scheduling may be a little bit of a challenge, but just let us know.

And should anyone be wondering, I use the world “family” in the broadest sense. If they are family to you, I will take your word for it. I think it’s a very small way for me to thank MRU employees for all they do for the University.


Campus-wide day off July 2

In other good news, I hope you all saw my note in Our Community about July 2. I think we can all agree it’s been a really challenging year. I want to show my deep appreciation to everyone, for all you’ve done during the pandemic, so I’ve decided that Friday, July 2 will be a day off with pay for all employees. This day off will provide you with a four-day weekend, and a longer break to rest, recharge, and hopefully enjoy some of the nice weather, and you all deserve a bit of a break.

I recognize that some areas of campus, because of the time of year, aren’t able to take that day, and supervisors will find an alternative day for those units. But, please enjoy that extra day off.

In closing, I want to take a moment to thank everyone for all you’ve done for Mount Royal during this academic year. Despite everything that has been thrown at us, we’ve seen a lot of success and some fantastic accomplishments throughout our campus community.

Thanks to all of you who have shared stories and notes of support with me. It means a lot to me. It’s an honour to lead this University and its remarkable people.

Please take care and enjoy the sunshine.