180 years young

180 years young
Bishop’s alumnus Will Mitchell enjoys a walk through Bishop’s’ Quad after an interview with The Record to discuss the university’s 180th anniversary

Bishop’s University celebrates its 180th anniversary

By William Crooks

Local Journalism Initiative

Bishop’s University (BU) is officially celebrating its 180th year of existence Dec. 8. What better way to acknowledge this milestone than an in-depth interview with notable local and BU alumni Will Mitchell? Mitchell, who attended in the ‘60s, spoke on his time at BU, its evolution from his time there to the present, and what the place means to him, touching, as best he could, on every facet of BU’s mission: from sports to the arts, business to the sciences, enrolment, the residences, and campus setup. Historical article summaries and photos from The Record are woven into his narrative to provide a glimpse into moments of BU’s storied past.

 “I arrived on [BU] campus in the fall of 1964,” Mitchell recounted. He was a student of political science and economics. “I loved everything about it.”

From the area, Mitchell was a former Bishop’s College School (BCS) student, having boarded there for nine years, so he knew BU’s campus well and always intended to study there.

After four years, he graduated and worked in “financial business” in Montreal for a year. He decided that would never “take”, so he returned to BU and studied education. His first job in teaching was at Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario, where he worked for 11 years. Returning to Quebec, he taught at Lower Canada College for three years, then was the Head of School at Selwyn House in Montreal for 24 years, retiring in 2008.

Afterwards, he worked as the executive director of the Canadian Association of Independent Schools for a year. Shortly thereafter, he learned BCS was looking for an interim Head of School and led the prestigious high school for three years starting in 2013, with another single year later on when the school was again in the same position.

Mitchell, a star athlete at BU in the ‘60s, was on the hockey and football teams. He remembers his first year at BU there were only around 600 students. “It was basically like a high school.” Mitchell played football under legendary coach Bruce Coulter.

Times have changed, he added, of the 15 athletes on BU’s champion football team, 11 were also on the hockey team. One could be on more than one team then, which is much different than the specialization required today. “What it has grown into… is delightful to see,” Mitchell noted. By the time he left in ’68, there were over 1,000 students…

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