By Marcel Mérette
Ross Hastings had a brilliant career of more than 40 years at the University of Ottawa. I could speak at length of the legacy he has left us. I would rather just show how his contribution remains relevant and should serve as an inspiration to us all.
Ross always cared about the student experience. It’s rare to meet an educator like him, someone with the gift of being able to simplify complex notions so well that you end up feeling more intelligent after hearing him. It’s no surprise that he was sought after by so many students.
As well, Ross Hastings was both researcher and entrepreneur. He and colleague Irvin Waller attracted enough external funding to establish the Institute for the Prevention of Crime, which conducted research primarily aimed at improving community safety and well-being.
Ross was always ready to serve his university. He held many key positions in the administration (director, vice-dean, dean), often more than once. However heavy the responsibilities at times, Ross always put the interests of the University before his own. In difficult moments, he showed great dignity and tact. You could always count on him.
Ross spoke French and English equally well, so much so that it was impossible to tell which was his mother tongue.
In short, for me, Ross Hastings stood for a passion for education and the student experience, a hunger for innovative research, commitment to his university and community, an entrepreneurial spirit and an unflagging will to engage with anglophone and francophone culture, using flawless speech. And all this with remarkable modesty, humanity and sensitivity. Are these characteristics not central to the mission and aspirations of the University of Ottawa?
Thanks to Ross, the University of Ottawa is better placed to meet its objectives and continue its rapid growth. I have only one wish: that Ross Hastings’ vision and ways inspire us all!
Marcel Mérette is dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.