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61. Gordon McKechnie (LGB 1970)

Posted By Alumni Office, mercredi, 5 novembre 2014
Gordon McKechnie1. How long did you spend at Ecolint?
From 1962 to 1970 (except for 1½ terms when I was in Madrid).

2. How did you come to attend Ecolint in the first place?
My father worked for Chrysler and was transferred from Detroit to Geneva in 1962.

3. Which teacher had the biggest impact on you and how?
I have fond memories of many of the teachers at Ecolint in the 1960s. To single out one is difficult; but on reflection it would probably be Maurice Achkar. Not only did he teach me A-level French, he gave me an understanding of French literature and philosophy and taught me much about life in the widest sense. When I was editor of "Alexandre", he was the staff advisor. Contemporaries have pointed out that he would not be allowed in a modern school. I should also mention Mrs Knight (who encouraged me to write) and Mr Thomas (who laid solid foundations for my understanding of economics – something I am still using to this day).

4. What was your favourite spot on campus and why?
Many memories of times spent with friends centre around the courtyard, from the window sills of the cafeteria to the shade of Alexandre (the tree). In early summer, when the fruit trees were in blossom, memories shift to the "senior lawn" that once sloped down towards the football pitch.

5. What was your favourite place in the wider region, and why?
Geneva itself never ceases to enchant me, from the moment I arrive at Cornavin, walk down the rue du Mont-Blanc, across the Rhône, through the Place Molard, up into the old town... Despite many changes since the 1960s, it is still essentially the same. It is a truism to say that the landscapes of our youth always have a deep hold on us. I love the landscape of the Genevois - ploughed winter fields and the bare branches of trees against the backdrop of the Salève, the Voirons and the Alps... Of all the places I've walked and skied in the mountains, the one that comes first to mind just now is the little hamlet of Taveyanne on the slopes of Les Diablerets.

6. Describe your life today, where you live and what you do.
After Ecolint, I went on to Oxford and three years later moved to London to take up what I imagined would be a short-term job in banking. Apart from a few years in Toronto, I have lived the rest of my life in and around London. I was a banker for 25 years, but ended my full-time working career as a civil servant in HM Treasury. I retired early to spend more time with my wife, to travel, to paint, to write, to read... I've also, in "retirement", taken on some part-time roles in the NGO, government and international organisation sectors.

7. What should be Ecolint's top priority as it approaches its 100th anniversary?
I toured the LGB campus in June, during the 90th anniversary alumni reunion, and was struck by the great expansion in the built environment since I was a student. Do not let this grandeur overshadow the simple love of learning and the enormous value of making friends in a tolerant, multi-cultural milieu. Be alert, too, to the great privilege an Ecolint education is.

8.  What "words of wisdom" would you pass on to today's Ecolint students?
Be open to people and ideas. Seek to walk humbly on straight paths. Show compassion and mercy. Cherish memories of Ecolint, but don't dwell in the past.

9. What has been the biggest impact of your Ecolint education on your life?
The impact of the quality and breadth of the education I had in Geneva, so different from what my experience would have been had I stayed in the Detroit school system, is incalculable. I value most, however, the individuals who were part of my education at Ecolint - both teachers and fellow students from many backgrounds.



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