From the Faculty of Graduate Studies email sent out to students today:
The Faculty of Graduate Studies was deeply saddened to learn two weeks ago of the passing of Dr. Sunny Marche.
Dr. Marche was the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies from 2007 until 2010, and the Acting Dean from 2010 until 2011. His contributions to the Faculty during this time were numerous and significant. He was a strong advocate for interdisciplinary education and played an important role in strengthening the Faculty’s Interdisciplinary PhD program. Dr. Marche had a passion for supporting students, was always encouraging, and did his best to assist and provide advice to PhD students, particularly with regards to defending their theses. (One such information session advertised Dr. Marche’s extensive knowledge on the subject by stating that “Sunny knows what it takes to be good, bad, or ugly”). He also wanted to ensure that Dalhousie’s graduate students and post-doctoral fellows were as prepared as possible for their future careers. He walked the talk when it came to professional development, carrying out research, spearheading initiatives and creating a series of professional development workshops on the topic for post-doctoral fellows and graduate students. Even after leaving FGS, he remained involved in efforts to provide more of these opportunities to graduate students.
Anyone who knew Dr. Marche also knew about his passion for writing and his belief in the importance of developing this skill. He created the Write Here In Plain Sight (WHIPS) program for the purpose of having professional writers demonstrate good writing habits to students – he even participated as one of the writers and had the resulting article, “Who Cares About Writing Anyway?” published in University Affairs (http://www.universityaffairs.ca/who-cares-about-writing-anyway.aspx). It was just one in a long and distinguished list of academic and non-academic publications to his name.
Dr. Marche was also instrumental in the incorporation of post-doctoral fellows into the Faculty of Graduate Studies, and on a national level contributed to the formation of the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars as well as the Canadian Committee on Postdoctoral Scholars, which will turn into the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Administrators in the fall. The messages of condolence received by our Faculty over the last few weeks from members of these organizations as well as the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies speaks to Dr. Marche’s impact and influence on graduate and post-doctoral studies across the country.
But aside from his numerous academic and administrative achievements, staff, students and faculty who came into contact with Dr. Marche remember him for the impact he had on their personal and professional lives. He has been recalled as someone who always had time for everyone, whether it was for a serious discussion or a quick piece of advice on something more minor. It is a testament to his spirit that despite our sadness at learning of his loss, we also laughed remembering his quick wit and unexpected words of wisdom delivered in a unique and memorable style. Everyone has a Sunny story. His jokes, his one-liners, his words of wisdom and his supportive, egalitarian personality will be missed, not just by FGS, but by everyone who has ever known him.
And so we felt that it was fitting of Dr. Marche’s memory to provide an opportunity for staff, students, and faculty to gather informally to remember him. We have booked the Grad House for a come-and-go reception from 3pm to 5pm on Friday, June 29, and will be accepting donations for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada at the front door in Sunny’s honour. We hope to see you there.