Acknowledgements & Thank Yous | Sheridan FAAD Retiring Faculty | 2016

FacultyAllThreeAs the school year comes to a close again, the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design would like to acknowledge several members of our enthusiastic, creative and dedicated team who are stepping down this year.

Debra McKaydeb_mckay

Michael Rubinoff has prepared a short thank you for Deb McKay.

Deb has been an integral part of Sheridan’s Technical Production program and Theatre Sheridan for twenty years. She has served the program in a variety of capacities, including multiple years as coordinator, production stage manager for all Theatre Sheridan presentations and as a subject matter expert in stage management. Deb arrived at Sheridan with decades of experience as an accomplished stage manager having worked with Canada’s leading theatre companies, including the Shaw and Stratford Festivals, CanStage, the Grand Theatre and Theatre Calgary.

Deb dedicated herself whole heartedly to the program and to Theatre Sheridan. Her commitment to her students and our productions was always above and beyond. Like every great stage manager, she worked tirelessly to ensure all that was required was accomplished, so that the curtain would rise and the the show would always go on. She over saw many complex productions and prepared and instilled confidence in the students that would be calling them. In 2012 we transferred our production of RENT to the Mirvish owned Panasonic Theatre in Toronto. This was a complex and exciting undertaking. It was also an enormous challenge for our student stage management team to make the transition from a school environment to the control and command of a show in a 700 seat theatre in the heart of Toronto. Deb had full confidence in her team. Like every show, she spent numerous hours enthusiastically providing guidance and support. Under her supervision they performed at a professional level ensuring a very smooth three and a half week run. Deb provided those students with a once in a lifetime opportunity that gave them the confidence to enter the profession with a skill level that would be extremely valuable.

Deb shepherd generations of stage managers and has left an indelible mark on the Canadian theatrical landscape. No one was more dedicated to her students and her profession than Deb. We will miss her commitment, unwavering support and kindness she displayed in our theatre and in our shops. She helped lay a foundation that has solidified the first class nature of the program and Theatre Sheridan. Personally, she became a valued colleague and friend, hunkered in the trenches with me as we worked with our students and creative teams to continuously raise the level of quality of our productions. She facilitated the best possible learning environment that operated at the highest level. She will never be far from a theatre as it is part of her heart and soul. We are all richer for working with and learning from her.


Kathy Muldoon

This past semester marked the last term ever for Media Arts, Print Journalism and Broadcast Journalism programs. As Sheridan College continues to prepare students for the ever-changing media landscape, the print/online and broadcast programs will be merged as a single journalism course in the new school year. A big thank you and congratulations goes out to everyone who has helped in the transition of these programs. The Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design would like to extend a special acknowledgement to Kathy Muldoon, Professor in the Journalism program.

This past year, Kathy has artfully shepherded the Print Journalism program through its final cycle of operation and has coordinated large seminal projects such as the final print edition of the Sheridan Sun. At the end of an eventful year, Kathy has decided to align her own retirement to coincide with the program’s end.

Maija Saari, Associate Dean of the Film, Television & Journalism program, has worked closely with Kathy since 2011. 

In my short time working with Kathy, I’ve watched her quietly take on truly difficult leadership challenges with tremendous empathy, grace and professionalism. Nobody who has worked at a newspaper is happy about what’s happened to the routines and practices of print journalism in light of the digital era. In discussing the paper’s future, Kathy and I shared our own eras in the business — my own career in journalism marked by regular hops across media platforms during what we can now see was the start of the Great Decline of industrial journalism in Canada. Kathy, by contrast, told me how she and her classmates had their pick of jobs at papers across the province. 

It was no surprise to me that Kathy’s first priority was managing the impact to the last cohort of Print students. With a hard stop to the paper determined, this last generation of Sheridan print grads faced a gloomy prospect of spending their last semester at Sheridan without a printed paper in the stands. Kathy decided to bring them together and discuss this, head on, and on her own. She then championed the students’ wishes when it was decided their graduating class would create a mid-year celebration of this milestone with a party. KathyMuldoon&MaijaSaari

The Sheridan Sunset pub in December was truly a great night for the many alumni, students and faculty who came back to Sheridan to reminisce and pay homage to the historic newspaper. 

The print students still published their stories in PDF layouts and websites this Winter, and headed off to placements a few weeks ago. Kathy continues to see the cohort through the remedial semester. She officially ends full-time status at the end of June. We are happy she is willing to serve the diploma program on the part-time roster for some time to come. 

Kathy calls teaching her “second career”.  It may have been short by comparison to her first. But it may just be her new favourite.

My greatest joy has been seeing the type of student who naturally gravitates to the darkest corner of the classroom take the skills learned while working on a publication and truly blossom,” she said. “Over the course of two years, they would get comfortable interviewing people and know how to structure a story. Suddenly these shy, often awkward students were walking into an internship and making their way into the business. 

That reward was much greater than seeing my own bylines, headlines or layouts in print, “but now it’s time to do some other things.

The Sheridan Sun was in publication for 44 years before transitioning over to an online platform.


Greg Peterson

Michael Rubinoff, Associate Dean of Sheridan College’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts, has prepared a tribute for Greg Peterson.

greg_petersonWe recently celebrated the career of the man in the middle, Greg Peterson, our previous program coordinator for over a decade and faculty member for more than two. Greg has left an indelible imprint on our musical theatre community. Although this may be the end of this act, the benefits of his teaching, mentorship, guidance and support to hundreds, if not thousands of performers, will resonate for decades to come.

Greg was and is a pioneer. He confronted the need for change and embarked on a challenging journey to do something no one had ever attempted in our country. He was determined to establish our first bachelor’s degree in music theatre. Greg educated an industry, respectfully challenged his colleagues and created a degree that would meet the approval of the college and provincial government. Although, many had input and made contributions to the establishment of the degree, without Greg, it would not exist. His leadership, instincts and passion allowed him to complete this Herculean effort. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for this monumental and critical accomplishment that has enhanced the learning of our students and strengthened and further legitimized our community.

Greg’s heart is always on his sleeve and guiding his way. He is a man of great passion and love for his students, his colleagues and his industry. He taught and directed with immense joy and we were the beneficiaries of his optimism and positivity.

He rebuilt the foundation of the Music Theatre Performance Program and it is now rock solid as a result of his hard work and some of his blood, sweat and many tears. I know I would not hold the job I have, without Greg’s support for my hiring. I know I could not have achieved any success in my position without having Greg as a colleague, mentor and friend.

Greg has earned this moment to end this act and begin a new one. He has accomplished what few in life have, he has made the dreams of so many young people possible. I can’t think of a better legacy’.


One Comment on “Acknowledgements & Thank Yous | Sheridan FAAD Retiring Faculty | 2016

  1. The wonderful accomplishments of Debra and Greg are well-known within FAAD, but as an outsider, I can attest to what they brought to Sheridan as a whole, since I am with the Faculty of Business.

    In 1996, we hosted a marketing event involving 15 colleges from all over the province. We wanted the theatre for a Quiz Bowl event in mid-November, a busy time for the place. Debra made it happen and our visiting students loved it. She also arranged with her colleagues for an a cappela quartet to do a few numbers — a brilliant approach, since we had the stage cluttered with tables and chairs. It really showed the other colleges what Sheridan had to offer. We also had logistic needs to move teams in and out of the theatre and Debra made it all happen. One remarkable gal!

    I approached Greg Peterson in 2010 for a couple of students I could work with for a project I was doing with McGraw-Hill Ryerson, involving an audio chapter summary of a marketing textbook. I wrote a script involving a male and female making different points, with the female cast as the keener and the guy less than brilliant, but interested in a date following their sessions. Greg posted an audition notice and got three fine pairs of students to come out — he even booked one of the rooms for me! Erin Murman and Kelly Wong were chosen and we had a fabulous time with them.

    Debra and Greg broke out of their silos and worked with people like me from elsewhere in the college, which as we know does not always happen. They were true Sheridan people beyond the remarkable work they did within their area. They will be missed, but I find some solace in the fabulous work being carried on by their colleagues, especially under the leadership of Michael Rubinoff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *