A Queen’s University graduate from 30 years ago returned to her Alma Mater today to pick up an honorary degree. You may recognize her name from some of television’s most popular shows.
Since graduating — Michelle MacLaren has become a hugely successful producer and director winning “Emmy Awards” for her work on programs like the X-Files, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. MacLaren shared her story with students as well as Mike Postovit.
“My parents always encouraged me to go after my dreams — to challenge myself. My dad taught me — the person who has the courage to make decisions, risk failure, learn from mistakes and try again is the one who will succeed.”
And succeed she has. Michelle MacLaren went from studying film at Queen’s — to directing and producing some of the most popular and recognizable television programs of the day. 3 decades after graduating — she returned to her Alma Mater to get an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
“They were very clear that they were honoring me for the uniqueness of what i do. And I thought o.k. — I never expected in a million years to do a show about a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and ends-up selling crystal meth to pay his medical bills would lead me to getting an honorary doctorate and I really applaud Queen’s for being so open minded.”
In addition to Breaking Bad. MacLaren has directed numerous episodes of The Walking Dead, HBO’s Game of Thrones and the X-Files and because of it winning two Emmy’s, a Golden Globe, Producers Guild and a Peabody Award.
“I think Queen’s played a huge part in what I do today — I’ve always want to be in the movie business — and the film department at queen’s 30 years ago was very instrumental in introducing me to the history of film — to my initial experience with film production, collaborating with other people, writing stories — it go me launched — it got me started on my way.”
The Vancouver-born MacLaren delivered an inspiring speech to this fall convocation class.
“Directing is a lot like life — make plans and then things change — when you are faced with challenges don’t give up — find a way to go after what you want — except it may not be what you originally planned — sometimes you might actually end-up with something even better. Remember — it is possible to be tough, strong and kind — i’m often asked how can you do what you do and be so nice? I just smile and I say — I’m Canadian.
Mike Postovit, CKWS News Kingston