Dear members of the McGill community,

The month of May always brings a different feeling and a different rhythm to McGill’s beautiful campuses. Many activities move outdoors, “the beach” gets filled with people, children run around, and many of us take the time to sit on a bench and enjoy a chat with colleagues.

These scenes remind us of what has been missing over the past several weeks: “la chaleur humaine.”

While we are now getting very good at connecting and living in the virtual world, we are also keenly aware of its shortcomings. Perhaps, one of the many things we will have learned from the crisis is a deeper appreciation of human connectedness in all of its manifestations.

During this period of physical distancing and isolation, we have been comforted by creative and generous artistic expressions, some from artists of other eras and some from our contemporaries. In these times, some works take on a very different meaning. Rereading Albert Camus’ “The Plague” was such a different experience for me. In the current context, one passage particularly resonated: “There are more things to admire in men than to despise.”

On that note, I would like to express my admiration, as well as my gratitude, to all the artists who are helping us remain connected to the human spirit.

Since I returned to my alma mater seven years ago, McGill’s Schulich School of Music has been a great source of joy and pride to me. I have missed my weekly visits to attend concerts and classes. As my weekly messages wind down, I would like to share with you this wonderful video of McGill’s Symphony Orchestra playing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, also known as the Pastoral Symphony, to enjoy.

Let’s continue to stay connected.


Suzanne Fortier

Principal and Vice-Chancellor

McCall MacBain Professor



May 6, 2020