History Undergraduate Student William Gill Receives Centre for Scottish Studies' 2016 Jennifer Prosser Wade Award
William Gill’s warm heart and intellectual curiosity have made him a well-known student amongst the teaching faculty in SFU’s Department of History. Professor Katie McCullough, who nominated Gill for this year’s Jennifer Wade Award in Scottish Studies, says “William is an absolute pleasure to be around and truly has fun learning (as evidenced by his infectious laugh in class!).” Professor Aaron Windel says, “William is a tremendously talented student of history. His hard work, good humour and incisive mind leave an unforgettable impression.” Not only is William’s academic work creating a buzz, he is also active in many endeavours that demonstrate his humanitarian nature and altruistic concern for often marginalized groups, such as LGBT youth.
Professor McCullough was especially impressed with Gill’s essay on Victorian Britain, which focused largely on Scotland, and compared the different everyday experiences of British boys and girls. “The writing showed a high-level of sophistication and very clearly integrated concepts he had learned from other courses at SFU.”
Gill transferred to SFU in September 2013 after completing one year at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo where he grew up. He is currently finishing the last semester of a History BA, with a concentration in British and Irish history, where he focuses his attention on the British Empire and colonization, working class history and the history of gender and sexuality.
Since 2009, Gill has been leading workshops on LGBT inclusivity in schools and the Nanaimo community. He got involved in LGBT activism in high school, where he was one of the founders of the Gay Straight Alliance at John Barsby Community School. The group’s mandate was to create a safe, inclusive space for all students. He later joined the Vancouver Island Rainbow Association, which presents to city council and is responsible for annual pride week activities.
Expressing his gratitude and surprise at the nomination, William says, “Dr. McCullough contacted me asking for a resume and in February informed me that it was because she was nominating me for the award based on my undergraduate work and community involvement. This was a huge surprise and I was really honored that she chose to nominate me.”
As student, Gill has demonstrated that passion and curiosity, combined with altruism and a desire to make a positive impact in the community do not go unnoticed.