President’s Residence

We are so thankful to Dr. Ilene Busch-Vishniac and Dr. Ethan Vishniac for allowing to share this wonderful Saskatoon landmark with us!

Photos by Heather Fritz

About the New Tenants:

Dr. Ilene Busch-Vishniac is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-trained mechanical engineer and former dean of engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Most recently, she was the Provost and Vice-president academic at McMaster University in Hamilton. Ilene’s research career primarily focuses on aspects of acoustics and on diversity issues as they relate to engineering education. She holds nine U.S. patents on electromechanical sensors. Dr. Ethan Vishniac is an astrophysicist, and a U of S faculty member in the physics department, and the editor of the Astrophysical Journal. He was director of the Center for Astrophysical Sciences and a professor of astronomy at McMaster. Ethan’s father, Wolf V. Vishniac, was a biologist who worked with NASA on the Mars Viking Lander, and developed a device to detect life used on the Viking 1 voyage. The Vishniac crater on Mars is named in his honour. The two Vishniac children, Cady, 26, and Miriam, 23, are frequent visitors. Mixed breed dog Nipin, which means “summer” in Cree, rounds out the household.


The Gothic Revival Movement:

When Walter Murray was appointed as the university’s first president in 1908, he spent a month visiting other Canadian and American Universities. He chose the Collegiate Gothic as a suitable architectural expression for the larger institutional buildings to be built at the U of S. Collegiate Gothic was used to associate newer North American universities with the history and traditions of their older European predecessors, using elements borrowed from medieval religious architecture. That meant using brick and stone as principal materials, arches, buttresses, dormers, crenellation or battlements, finials, gargoyles, grotesques, heraldry, relief sculptures, stone tracery, bay and oriel windows. The President’s Residence is in the Arts & Crafts style, another branch of the Gothic Revival movement, which focused more particularly on houses. It began in England around 1860, spread to the rest of the English-speaking world, reaching its peak of popularity between 1890 and 1910.  It promoted traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often saw the application of medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration.