In June, the School of Mathematics and Statistics at Carleton University celebrated a momentous occasion as they awarded the inaugural Luc Bourbonnais Teaching Innovation and Excellence Fund for Contract Instructors to Mark Blenkinsop.
The event was filled with heartfelt memories and a strong sense of appreciation for the remarkable dedication of the late Luc Bourbonnais, who spent 15 years imparting his passion for mathematics to countless students. In a touching tribute to his impact, the contract instructor workspace in the Herzberg building has been renamed the Luc Bourbonnais Instructor Office, a place where he had shared many pleasurable moments with colleagues.
Luc Bourbonnais was known for his unwavering enthusiasm and love for teaching mathematics. His vibrant spirit and infectious humour left a lasting impression on everyone fortunate enough to have taken his classes. To honour his memory and the legacy he left behind, Luc’s wife, Carole, and their two daughters made a special visit to the campus to personally present the award to Mark Blenkinsop.
Carole expressed her family’s gratitude, saying, “The family is quite touched by these two honours. Luc enjoyed so much teaching at Carleton! We are grateful to the department for having the CI Office named in Luc’s honour — the area where he worked with his colleagues and no doubt shared pleasurable moments with them. We are also so very pleased and honoured as well about the award, which is to benefit Contract Instructors in their work. For the family, the award carries forward the memory that Luc not only loved teaching, but as a people-person, he loved helping others and being serviceable to others.”
Mark Blenkinsop, who shares a longstanding connection with Carleton University through his father’s presence as a faculty member, began his academic journey at the institution in 1999. After pursuing his undergraduate and graduate studies, Mark returned as a contract instructor in 2009. It is believed that Mark and Luc started teaching at the university around the same time, and they formed a strong bond while working together on various courses such as Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential Equations. Despite the age difference, they shared a common background, motivation, and vision, forging a strong professional relationship.
Luc’s absence is deeply felt by those who knew him, and Mark, in particular, remains profoundly impacted by the guidance and inspiration he received from his colleague. To honour Luc’s memory and the lasting influence he had on his teaching career, Mark plans to use the award to expand his library of publications, with a focus on creating future tutorial reference materials. This initiative will further enhance the teaching environment and benefit all the students going forward.
Last fall, the School of Mathematics and Statistics commemorated Luc Bourbonnais by installing a memorial plaque in the serene outdoor area adjacent to the Herzberg building. The plaque features two quotes that encapsulate Luc’s dedication to teaching and love for life. The first quote by Albert Einstein, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge,” reflects Luc’s ability to ignite joy and creativity in the pursuit of knowledge. The second quote by one of Luc’s favorite musicians, Frank Zappa, “You should be diggin’ it while it’s happening!” captures his philosophy of fully embracing every moment of life.
The Faculty of Science and School of Mathematics and Statistics stand proud in honouring Luc Bourbonnais’ remarkable legacy at Carleton University. The newly established Luc Bourbonnais Teaching Innovation and Excellence Fund for Contract Instructors and the renaming of the contract instructor workspace will forever serve as a tribute to a beloved teacher whose passion for mathematics and dedication to his students continues to inspire and uplift all those who follow in his footsteps.