Music program chair announces retirement
After 35 years, music program chair Bob Gilligan will be leaving MacEwan University and handing the reins of the program to Allan Gilliland, currently the head of composition.
Bob has been with the program since its earliest days. The Manitoba native was part of a band when he heard about a new music program in Edmonton. Eager to continue his education in music, Bob pulled up stakes from Winnipeg and enrolled at what was then Grant MacEwan Community College.
Bob graduated with a music diploma in 1976 – and was immediately hired as a faculty member; he went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.
Growing the music program
“I’ve seen this program go from something that not many people have heard about to one that has earned provincial, national and international recognition,” he says.
Among Bob’s many accomplishments during his time at MacEwan are multiple articulation agreements with post-secondary institutions including the University of Toronto and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. These increased opportunities for MacEwan University students to continue their studies with some of the world’s most prestigious music programs.
Arguably, his most important achievement is the development and successful implementation of a Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music at MacEwan University. “We’ve developed many alternatives for our students. They’re now able to complete their degree here at MacEwan University, or continue their studies at schools in western Canada, or in programs that are further abroad,” says Bob.
A focus on students
Bob praises the music program for its uniqueness and openness to embrace all styles of contemporary popular music. He says the focus has always been on the students – and helping them develop themselves and their careers – “because we believe in the program and the students.”
“The magic moments are the ones that come from students saying we’ve made a difference in their lives,” he says. “It’s one of the things that make this an ideal job – something to be really proud of.”