McMaster University
Farewell to Nancy McKenzie Print E-mail

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This week we have, most regrettably, said goodbye to Dr. Nancy McKenzie. Nancy is leaving the department at the end of the month and will be missed by all.


Nancy has been instrumental in building and instructing key courses in our Honours Chemical Biology undergraduate program, particularly the inquiry course Chem Bio 2Q03, lab courses Chem Bio 2L03 and 3L03, and the peer tutoring course Chem Bio 4Q03, which she designed and has led for the last several years.  She has dedicated her time here to innovating and taking a scholarly approach to teaching and has truly been the face of our undergraduate Chemical Biology program. She has also dedicated her service time to outreach and recruiting in addition to many other service positions on behalf of the department, including coordinating the 4th year chemical biology thesis and project courses, Chem Bio 4GG9 and 4G03.


A celebration of Nancy’s time in Chemistry and Chemical Biology was held on Wednesday June 25th, attended by faculty, staff, and graduate students, and most notably by a large cohort of undergraduate students who came to pay her tribute and wish her well.


We wish Nancy every success in her future endeavours and express our gratitude for all of her contributions to the life of the Department, its programs, and its students.



Here is a testimonial to the impact Nancy has had on our ChemiBio students given by 2nd yr undergraduate student Travis Sutherland:

"Good afternoon everyone, my name is Travis Sutherland, and shortly I will be entering into my third year of Honours Chemical Biology here at McMaster University. It has been a privilege this past year to learn under one of the best professors that I have ever had - Dr. Nancy McKenzie. But to me, and for many in my cohort I’m sure, Dr. McKenzie has been more than just a teacher. It is no secret that Chemical Biology is a difficult program, but from our first day in the inquiry course to our last day in the second year lab course, Dr. McKenzie has been there guiding and supporting us through the many challenges and trials that we have had to overcome. When the workload was high—which it always was—Dr. McKenzie was there to give us tips on how to handle it, and it was reassuring for me to know that if I was ever overwhelmed, there would be someone available to listen and to help me with my problems. For example, in our lab course I made the mistake of trying to isolate a polar compound with a polar column. Fortunately, Dr. McKenzie was there to help me on every step of that difficult path. She barely even laughed at me when, in my haste, I tried to make a 1:1 solvent system from hexanes and ethanol. She was also more than happy to respond to my—often very dumb—emails two days before the final lab report was due.

Over the past year Chemical Biology has become more to me than just a program—it has become an identity. An identity forged from hardship and stress perhaps, but one that is synonymous with resilience and excellence. For me Dr. McKenzie has been the face of Chemical Biology, and the embodiment of these traits. Traits that, through her, I have seen grow in myself and in each one of my peers. Thank you for a wonderful year professor, I am envious of the group of students who you teach next, and I know that you will do for them the same that you have done for us."

Chemistry & Chemical Biology
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