Finding Canada at Yale

Richard Albert

Richard Albert (Yale College ’00 and Yale Law School ’03), a Canadian-born constitutional law professor at Boston College, writes about his role as the 2015-16 Canadian Bicentennial Visiting Professor at the MacMillan Center.

In September 1997, Ramsay Cook came to Yale as the inaugural Canadian Bicentennial Visiting Professor, a position endowed by the Government of Canada in 1976 on the 200th anniversary of the United States to promote the study of Canada at Yale.

Ramsay arrived at Yale as one of Canada’s most distinguished historians, one of its most thoughtful expositors of Canadian identity and nationalism, an acclaimed teacher whose love for Canada inspired others to contemplate its internal tensions, its open questions and its roads to reconciliation.

I was a sophomore at the time, the new chair of the Yale College Association of Canadian Students, one of the dozens of student organizations on campus. I had known of Ramsay’s work, and I had long admired him from afar for the richness of his insights into our home country, but I had never met him.