It was sad news this weekend when we learned that Lincoln Alexander, former MP and former Lieutenant-Governor, had passed away at the age of 90. Naturally, on an occasion like this, I couldn't help but think of my first brush with Mr. Alexander.
I, like thousands of other University of Guelph students before and after me, got our degrees inferred on us by Lincoln Alexander, the longest serving chancellor in U of G history. Alexander, whose friends and acquaintances always described as a people person, was famous amongst grads for taking a second and talking to you as he shook your hand. It wasn't that he was offering some sage piece of personal wisdom, but instead he was offering a breather from the pomp and circumstances.
To me, he said that he knew I must be a good man because my middle name was Alexander. It was the personal touch that made it you see, because this luminary, this legend of man, wasn't just playing a part, he was paying attention. he was engaged with each and every student. To a friend of mine, he asked where the party was that night. Joking, of course, because Linc, as we was known, was too much of a gentleman to crash, but here he was again, adding a moment of personal levity to an occasion perhaps overly stuffed with pomp and circumstance. I'd wager every student that graduated between 1991 and 2007 has a similar story. He was just that kind of guy.
Sure, I could have used this space to talk about the indelible mark that Alexander left on Guelph, Ontario and Canada with his life, but what often sets the great men apart from the regular good men is the human touch, and Lincoln Alexander definitely had that. He will be missed.