All too often people forget that there are not two, but three primarily English-taught universities in Quebec. Unfortunately, Bishop's is the academic institution oft overlooked, which is a true crime given the university's long history and rather distinguished list of alumni.
With inventors, famous musicians, professional athletes, and film producers among the many individuals who have graduated from the university since it was established in 1843, Bishop's boasts a fair amount of celebrity-alumni.
Granted, a fair amount of such grads (and the ones on this list) might not be considered "celebrities" in the traditional sense, but their accomplishments are worth recognition, as they have literally changed the face of the world.
We thought we'd give a nod to the Bishop's grads who have done what few others have in our list below. So read on and enjoy our list of 10 (well, technically a few more than that) Celebrities Who Graduated From Bishop's University.
A Grammy-award winning musician and composer, Galt MacDermot's list of musical accomplishments runs fairly long, but there's one that stands above the rest: This Bishop's graduate was the man behind the music of the 1960s mega-musical Hair.
Some of you younger folks may not be aware of just how amazing Hair is as a musical, and thus don't quite understand the stellar work done on MacDermot's part. But just know that without MacDermot/Hair, you would never have seen the magical rendition of the "Age of Aquarius" at the end of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, as the song is originally from the musical.
If you've ever had a moment where you've thought to yourself "that's really a job?" after hearing about someone's occupation, then you're about to experience a bit of deja vu when you hear what this Bishop's grad does for a living.
Cameron Hughes is paid by sports teams to masquerade as an ordinary fan, then cheers so intensely to get everyone else riled up and into the game. Strange, I know, but Hughes makes a living off of his cheering, and was even hired by the Winter Olympics to attend hockey games in 2010. Given Hughes's rather strange business model, he's received a lot of media exposure, and also moonlights as a public speaker when he's not rooting for a sports team.
One of Quebec's most celebrated songwriters, Jim Corcoran has been producing hits since 1972, even writing the scores for large-scale productions like Cirque du Soleil. Aside from his music on Quebec's airwaves, you might also recognize Corcoran from his long-running CBC TV show A Propos, a program dedicated to the francophone music scene.
Women who achieve success in male-dominated fields are truly impressive and deserve recognition today, but just think how hard it was back in the late 1800s. That's what makes Bishop's graduate Maude Abbot such an amazing person, being able to thrive in the field of medicine when being a female doctor was a rarity.
Orphaned at a young age, Abbot charged through tragedy to become a student at McGill, being one of the very first women to receive a BA from the university in 1890. Abbot then went on to study medicine at Bishop's. The only woman in her entire class, Abbot showed all the men up, receiving both the Chancellor’s Prize and the Senior Anatomy Prize for having the best final examination.
Following her graduation from med school, Abbot opened a successful practice in Montreal where she continued to be a trailblazer for female doctors. Elected as the first female member of the Montreal Medico-Chirurgical Society, Abbot then founded the Federation of Medical Women of Canada, an organization that still exists today.
You might not know the late Jake Eberts by name, but you probably know (and love) many of the projects this Bishop's graduate was involved in. An investment banker, Eberts is often cited as "single-handedly reviving the fortunes of the British film industry," as he produced many films deemed too risky by some, but went on to have immense critical and popular success. Some of Eberts's more well-known productions include Chariots of Fire, Dances with Wolves , and Chicken Run.
Folks reading who have even the slightest bit of knowledge of Canadian literature will instantly recognize this Bishop's graduate, but unfortunately, that isn't many people. But while you might not have read this Canadian poet and author's many works, you're probably familiar with a fair amount of them, as a selection of Michael Ondaatje's works have been adapted into plays and films. The most famous is probably The English Patient, a novel that won Ondaatje the Booker Prize and was later adapted into the 1996 film of the same name, which won a slew of Academy awards, including Best Picture.
Not being a very big fan of Country music, I had no idea who Johnny Reid was before writing this article. But if you do happen to have an interest in the musical genre, you probably already know that this Bishop's grad is kind of a big deal in the country music scene. To date, Reid has recorded eight studio albums, a majority of which have gone platinum, and has been named Male Artist of the Year at the CCMAs on two separate occasions. Oh, and he even performed for the Queen at a Canada Day celebration in 2010, an accomplishment shared with a select few musicians.
An innovator in the truest sense, Reginald Fessenden was a Canadian inventor who attended Bishop's University during it's earliest years. Admitted into a math program at the university at the young age of 14, Fessenden then went on to develop his skills in science and engineering, eventually gaining employment (and formally working with) the famous inventor Thomas Edison.
Fessenden's list of accomplishments even rivals that of Edison, having developed patents on sonar, television and high-powered transmitting devices. Being an early pioneer in the use of radio, Fessenden's is also thought to be the first person to ever use radio waves to transmit voice and music.
All Of These CFL Players
Bishop's is quite literally an incubator for pro football players in Canada, as the list of alumni who then went on to play in the CFL is staggering. Such alumni include:
- Keith Godding (wide receiver for the Montreal Alouettes)
- Kyle Jones (linebacker for the Toronto Argonauts)
- Jamall Lee (running Back for the BC Lions)
- Elie Ngoyi (defensive end for the Edmonton Eskimos)
- James Yurichuk (linebacker for the BC Lions)
- Steve Zatylny (wide receiver for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers)
Technically, Tom Europe could be included in the list-within-a-list (listception?) of Bishop's grads turned CFL players above, as his did play a full eleven seasons in the league. But since, Europe has turned into something of a fitness icon, owning and operating his own online fitness community, TommyEurope.tv, that is both popular and wildly successful. Not only limited to the online world of fitness, Europe has even starred on TV, being the featured personal trainer on two Slice TV shows, The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp and Bulging Brides.