Farewell to Margaret Cameron and Klaus Jahn

Margaret Cameron and Klaus Jahn

Dedicated, passionate, engaged, inspiring—it would be hard to exhaust the adjectives used to praise Margaret Cameron and Klaus Jahn.

The much-loved and esteemed couple left UVic’s Faculty of Humanities—and Canada—in late April to move to Australia, where they will start positions at the University of Melbourne in June. Cameron, who has served as the faculty’s associate dean research for almost three years, and Jahn, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Philosophy, have been fixtures in the Humanities for the past decade.

Cameron will take on the role of head of the University of Melbourne’s School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, while Jahn will teach across the Faculty of Arts as associate lecturer and student adviser.

Cameron joined UVic’s Philosophy Department in 2008 as a Canada Research Chair in the Aristotelian tradition, a job that Philosophy Chair Colin Macleod says comes with high research expectations.

“Margaret quickly established herself as a superb scholar with broad-ranging philosophical interests in the history of philosophy, philosophy of language, metaphysics and even aesthetics,” he said. “Remarkably, Margaret also had seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm for teaching and administration.

“Every role or task she took on, she performed with enthusiasm, dedication, creativity and skill.”

Jahn is known for his excellent teaching and mentoring, keeping his door open to students across the faculty, in addition to those studying philosophy. Soon after he was hired to teach, Jahn developed two important courses for the department, one on death and dying, and the other on Kant, a rite of passage that students have sweated through.

“He’s bringing his tear-stained copy of Kant to Australia,” Cameron joked.

Philosophy’s Acting Chair Scott Woodcock says Jahn was an invaluable resource to the department during his time at UVic.

“His dedication to teaching inspired an impressive number of students to pursue philosophy with a deep passion for the subject, and his commitment to our department speaker series revealed his interests in an admirably broad range of philosophical topics,” Woodcock said. 

"We will certainly miss having him in the hallways, but we wish him all the best in his new adventures.”

Cameron says they weren’t looking for another opportunity, but it came along.

“It became a really exciting possibility for us. Having spent most of our adult lives in big cities, it’s exciting to be moving back to a rich, cosmopolitan environment. And we get to do it together,” she said.

What will they miss? Not UVic’s parking. (They’ll be riding Melbourne’s famous trams to work.)

“People, friends that feel like family,” Jahn said without hesitation.

“The Humanities has been such a community for us. We know everyone in every department and many of them we consider dear friends,” Cameron added.

The leadership opportunity at the University of Melbourne will give Cameron the chance to teach philosophy as well as shape the direction of the school, which includes 50 faculty members across history, philosophy, classics, the material sciences and Jewish studies. Jahn, meanwhile, will teach philosophy across the departments of history, philosophy and gender studies, and have the chance to polish his mentoring skills as a student advisor.

Cameron will continue to work on research projects with UVic professors James Young and Michael Raven, and Jahn has family on the island, so you may occasionally spot them on campus, two sleek figures whose penchant for black will no doubt intensify in Australia’s most stylish city.

For now, their cats Norman and Bugsy are in transit, and a new city and life awaits them.

“It’s the right position for me at this time in my life,” Cameron said. “One of the things I’m really looking forward to is continuing to promote the Humanities in the community and in the world.”