Gerry Turcotte

Gerry Turcotte

Gerry Turcotte is the president at St. Mary's University in Calgary.

Recently I read a wonderful LinkedIn entry by Aron Laxton about the U.S. Navy’s efforts to study and reinforce aircraft based on planes that had been damaged from the front. Engineers studied and mapped the bullet holes that peppered the “wounded” planes and determined that additional armour needed to be added to the wingtips and to the central body of the aircraft. 

Recently I experienced a rather serious injury. The official version is that I fell off a 15-foot ladder while rescuing a child from a burning building. 

I always look forward to the spring. It is when our university celebrates convocation, and while this is usually an all-consuming, logistically complex event, come the day this is feel-good all the way. 

It is rare to laugh out loud when listening to a news item, but recently this is exactly what happened.

During Ash Wednesday Mass on the St. Mary’s University campus, professor of psychology, Fr. Peter Doherty, offered an inspiring homily. He spoke of the importance of the Lenten journey and the need for us to reach out and to support others, as well as the need to reflect on the importance of the “journey” of Lent — emphasizing that Lent isn’t a time period, but a process leading to discovery.

I was recently tagged on a Twitter post in what has been called the Book Challenge. If invited, the recipient is asked to post a cover of an all-time favourite book, with no explanation or description of the choice. Just seven covers over seven days, and with each post the recipient is asked to nominate someone new to take up the challenge — a chain letter, of sorts, for the 21st century. 

It is fashionable for columnists to devote the first column of the new year to resolutions — those kept and those broken. For the record, I’ve done both.

At St. Mary’s University here in Calgary, we open all our meetings with a reflection. Sometimes it is the university prayer, but often it is a meditation on a relevant issue, meant to support, comfort and uplift. 

As a photographer, I always assumed my interests were odd. My preferred subjects were dilapidated buildings, rusted metals and abandoned spaces. I love detailed closeups of ghost phrases — slogans and ads painted on crumbling surfaces that are still just visible to the eye, decades after the products were available. Driving through the countryside I will often pull over to photograph a collapsed shed, a rusted sign or a crumbling wall. 

Recently I Googled the term “selfie” and determined quickly that no further research into the matter was needed. What I found were endless varieties of scantily clad self-representations, with very little analysis about why anyone would transmit these images about themselves, or what the images were meant to suggest other than an easily accessible sexuality occurring in epidemic proportions (79 million images on Instagram alone that fall into this category). 

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