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Gratitude and Recognition for Knox College Principal Gordon

On June 1, 2017, the Knox College community and friends gathered for a Service of Gratitude and Recognition – in celebration of the Rev. Dr. Dorcas Gordon’s 18 years as Principal of Knox College. On July 1, she will conclude her principalship and begin a one-year sabbatical.

Principal Dorcas Gordon with her spouse Noel Gordon, in front of Gregory Furmanczyk’s portrait of Principal Gordon.

The service included tributes to Principal Gordon from: Dr. Anne Anderson on behalf of the Toronto School of Theology; Dr. Reinerio Arce (in absentia) on behalf of the Evangelical Seminary of Theology in Matanzas, Cuba; Dr. Janet Clark on behalf of the Association of Theological Schools; Mr. Mark Gordon on behalf of family members; Mr. Peter McKinnon on behalf of the Knox College Board of Governors; Dr. Nam Soon Song on behalf of Knox College Faculty; and Dr. Heather Vais, former Board member and Knox alumna. Dr. Sarah Travis, Minister of the Chapel and adjunct faculty at Knox College, led the service.

Dr. Heather Vais surprised Principal Gordon with a gift from the Knox community, a Carol Westcott painting depicting the view of the Knox courtyard from the Principal’s office. A 2017 Knox Doctor of Ministry graduate, Vais said, “Dorcas, while you excel at administration, shine at strategic planning, and have a flair for forming partnerships… you are first and foremost a teacher. . . . You inspired deep thinking, you welcomed inquisitive minds, you listened generously, and you advised wisely. . . . You valued diversity. You always challenged the status quo. You sought truth and justice, and you, Dorcas, did women proud!”

Anne Anderson, on behalf of the Toronto School of Theology, said: “Any student that Dorcas accepted [for doctoral supervision] was assured diligent supervision, sustained interest, wise counsel, and an astute critique of work completed. Generous encouragement and sound direction accompanied the student on the path toward completing the desire degree. Moments of ‘pull up your socks and get on with it’ were also available on the same path when required. It is this careful and consistent mentoring of students, both male and female, that assists the students to own and develop their gifts and talents and to reach for their dreams.”

Mr. Peter McKinnon, on behalf of the Knox College Board of Governors, helped Principal Gordon unveil her portrait, which will join the other Principals’ portraits displayed in Caven Library. The Board of Governors commissioned artist Gregory Furmanczyk to create the portrait.

McKinnon also discussed Principal Gordon’s legacy. He said, “Certainly the incoming principal will receive an institution that is in very good shape – that is solid, well-administered with an eye to the future, and is firmly placed in the international world of theological thinking, practice, and education in the reformed tradition.” Further, the Board of Governors has established the J. Dorcas Gordon Lectureship to honour her legacy as Principal. The lectureship, currently standing over $21,000, will focus on current theological thinking and practice.

The event included a number of musical highlights, including pieces by organist Patrick Dewell, violinist Wesley Bells, and baritone Mark W. Ruhnke.

Following the service, guests attended a reception with refreshments and with music by a string trio, violinist Natalie Wong, violist Fanny Tang, and cellist Kevin Odorico.

View a photo gallery and a seven-minute video of event highlights on Knox’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/KnoxCollege.CA). Photos and video by Kyle Kim, Sae Whan Park, Andy Youn, and Young Hong.

To donate in support of the J. Dorcas Gordon Lectureship, click on the “Donate Now” button at www.knox.utoronto.ca/support.