Last night, we all gathered in the reception room at the Nickle Arts Museum at the University of Calgary to celebrate the retirement of William (Bill) Laing. After teaching in the printmaking department for 39 years it was only fitting that the room be filled to capacity with former students, colleagues, friends and family. Among those in attendance included Calgary art scene notables such as Alexandra Haeseker, Derek Besant, Brad Harms, Paul Kuhn, Ron Moppett, Mary-Beth Laviolette and Doug McLean.
Former student and now current Dean of Admissions at the Schulich School of Engineering, Marjan Eggermont shared some of the comments she found on ratemyprofessor.com which carried the themes of strict, hard working, exacting and intimidating but also that he was many favorite’s professor and that he was generous with his time and energy.
The night ended with a speech from Bill himself where he spoke about coming to Calgary from the UK to teach with apprehension and the intention of staying only one year, to make lots of money and then go back to London to become a famous artist. He described, through tears, how he fell in love with teaching, the students and of course, his wife, painter, Barbara Milne.
It was a great night! I was proud to be in attendance and so happy to have Bill recognized for his many years of contribution to the Canadian art world. Congratulation Bill! Enjoy retirement! I know you won’t let the grass grow under your feet and I look forward to all the beautiful work you will have time to make!
Mary-Beth Laviolette with Bill Laing