Dr. Alan Sears, PhD '96
Renowned professor and researcher, Alan Sears has shaped the landscape of citizenship education at home and abroad and is known for his intelligence and compassion.
Sears earned his PhD in Educational Studies from UBC in 1996. As an educator, he taught in New Brunswick and Kenya before becoming an associate dean and acting dean at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). He is currently professor of social studies education at UNB. As a well-known advocate for democracy, human rights, and the law, he has presented at national and international conferences in the United States, Russia, the People’s Republic of China, Australia, Finland, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
Through his research, he has impacted curriculum documents and policy recommendations. He was contracted by both the Department of Canadian Heritage and the New Brunswick Department of Post-secondary Education on projects for civic engagement and education, was awarded over $330,000 in grant funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and served as team member on a $1.2 million project of the former Canadian International Development Agency entitled The Spirit of Democracy.
In the world of academic publication, his stature carries weight as an editor and reviewer. He is the editor of Citizenship Teaching and Learning, and has been the guest editor for special editions of McGill Journal of Education and Canadian and International Education. He co-authored eight books, contributed to chapters in over thirty, and authored over thirty-four refereed journal articles.
Sears has earned the UNB Faculty Merit Award in 2003 and 2010. He is the co-winner of the Jackson Award from the Canadian Educational Researchers’ Association for the best English-language article published in the Canadian Journal of Education in the 2006-2007 academic year.
Alvin Ip, BKin '12
Mentor and leader, Alvin Ip is an ambassador for the University of British Columbia community and advocate of accessible exercise programs for people with physical disabilities.
Ip completed his Bachelor of Kinesiology in 2012, graduating as a Wesbrook scholar and head of his class. His undergraduate research focused on improvements in walking for people who experience motor impairments after suffering a stroke. He presented this research at the UBC Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference, where he won the Top Oral Presenter Award. He was then selected to showcase his findings internationally, representing UBC at the Universitas21 Undergraduate Research Conference in Japan. After graduating, Ip gave back to his alma mater through annual participation in the UBC Kinesiology Mentorship Program.
Ip is currently completing his medical studies at UBC. He is a staff writer and former editor-in-chief of the UBC Medical Journal, as well as an executive member of the UBC Internal Medicine Interest Group. In 2014, he was the winner of the Canadian Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Student Research Contest and the recipient of the RBC Medical Student Leadership Award.
Dr. Amy Parent, MA '09, PhD '14
Leader, educator and researcher, Amy Parent is the first member of the Nisga’a Nation to earn a PhD at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education. In fact, she is the Nisga’a’s first PhD, which is a notable achievement in its own right. It is the nature and impact of her research; however, that establishes Parent as a leader in the community.
Her doctorate, which she received in 2014, focuses on how Aboriginal youth experience the transition from high school to university. She found that university transition programs directed at Aboriginal students appear key to their success, particularly those programs that help develop their leadership skills. Not only does her research help Aboriginal youth, it keeps Parent in close contact with, and accountable to, her family, clan and community.
Parent, who was born in Hazelton, BC in Gitxsan Territory, completed her Master of Education at UBC in 2009. Out of that research, she created a community report called Keep Us Coming Back for More: Aboriginal Youth Speak about Indigenous Knowledge and Wholistic Education. In it, she describes the great value Aboriginal youth find in programs that connect them with Indigenous knowledge, as well as where they see the programs could be improved.
Her supervisors describe Parent’s research as exhaustive and ground-breaking. From UBC, she received an Aboriginal Graduate Fellowship, the Cordula and Gunter Paetzold PhD Fellowship, and an Indigenous Education Fellowship, alongside a PhD Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Parent is now doing post-doctoral work on how UBC can recruit and retain Indigenous doctoral students. Her research is the basis for developing material for professors who want to teach Indigenous content.
Dr. Avraham Cohen, BA '67, PhD '06
Educator, counsellor and mentor, Avraham Cohen has made significant contributions to the fields of counselling psychology and education over the last 45 years.
After earning his Bachelor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia in 1967, Cohen served as treatment supervisor at Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre in Burnaby for 11 years. He later became the executive director at Loma Residence Association, a non-profit organization that provided services to young adult psychiatric patients. Since 1987, Cohen has managed his own private practice in Vancouver, with a focus on long-term individual work and couples therapy. He served as the developer and leader of the Whole Person Meditation Training Group.
Cohen earned his Doctorate of Education from UBC in 2006, and was recognized with the Graduate Student Mentorship Award and the Dean of Education Scholarship. He is currently professor of counselling and program coordinator at City University of Seattle in Vancouver. Cohen published widely in peer-reviewed journals and presented his work at over fifty national and international conferences. He wrote and co-edited several books, the most recent being Becoming Fully Human within Educational Environments.
An array of awards recognize Cohen’s contributions to his field. He received the President's Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Discipline of Counselling from the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors in 2007. In 2008, he received the Professional Article Award from the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. Cohen was awarded the Ted T. Aoki Prize for Outstanding Dissertation in Curriculum Studies and a fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Balwant Sanghera, O.B.C., MEd '83
Educator, activist, and community organizer, Balwant Sanghera was identified by The Vancouver Sun as one of the 100 most influential Indo-Canadians in British Columbia.
Sanghera came to Canada in 1966. He quickly became an important community figure in Lillooet, BC, serving on the municipal council for thirteen years. In 1983, Sanghera obtained his Master of Education at the University of British Columbia.And in 1990, accepted a position as a school psychologist with the Burnaby School District. There, he worked at the Maple Adolescent Centre where he helped youth with behavioral difficulties.
Sanghera retired in 2004 and continues to be a major pillar in the community, particularly in the counselling of new immigrants and adolescents. He is a former member of the board of directors of the Sikh Alliance Against Youth Violence and a former member of City of Richmond Intercultural Advisory Committee. He served as vice-chairman of the board of Langara College, as a Senator at Simon Fraser University from 1994-2001, and as chairperson of the BC Teachers’ Federation Committee of Ombudspersons. He is currently president of the Punjabi Language Education Association of BC, the East Richmond Community Association, and chairs the South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence.
In recognition of his efforts, Sanghera was appointed to the Order of British Columbia in 2004. He was honoured as one of the top 25 Canadian Immigrants for 2010 by Canadian Immigrant Magazine and was named one of the 100 most influential Indo-Canadians by the Vancouver Sun. He was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.He was awarded the Solicitor General Community Safety and Crime Prevention Lifetime Contribution Award in 2011.
Barbara Mikulec, BEd '69
Community leader, educator, and philanthropist, Barbara Mikulec is recognized for seniors’ advocacy and philanthropy in education.
Mikulec received her Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education from the University of British Columbia in 1969, and educated students at Van Horne Elementary in Vancouver until her retirement. She currently serves in over ten leadership roles of in her community: Board member of the Kerrisdale Community Centre, Director of the BC Retired Teachers’ Association (BCRTA), committee member of the National Pensioners Federation, Director of BC Forum, Secretary of Metro Vancouver Cross Cultural Seniors Network, presbytery representative of the Ryerson United Church, and vice-president of the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of BC (COSCO). She wrote many articles in support of both the BCRTA and the National Pensioners Federation, and through COSCO has organized roundtables on senior Health and Housing issues.
Mikulec serves as director of the RR Smith Foundation, a memorial fund dedicated to the advancement of public education in British Columbia and developing countries. The fund provides scholarships and bursaries, administers grants, supplies school materials, and provides funding to support innovative projects that advance public education. With UBC, Mikulec endowed a fund in her own name: the Barbara Mikulec Prize in Education, for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Education. The award is offered to students whose teaching practicum demonstrates success in teaching English as an additional language. She also established an endowment fund in the Faculty of Law, in memory of Kenneth Douglas Landels. Known as the Landels Fund, it supports an award for a student entering the second year of the JD program who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and a commitment to community service.
Barbara Howard, BEd '59
Athlete, educator and community leader, Barbara Howard was the first black female athlete to represent Canada in international competition. In 1948, when most ethnic minorities were barred from teaching, Barbara Howard became the first person of colour to be hired as an educator by the Vancouver School Board, teaching physical education at Lord Strathcona Elementary School.
In 1938, in grade 11, Howard ran a 100-yard sprint in 11.2 seconds to qualify for the British Empire Games, a time that beat the Games’ record by a tenth of a second. But despite winning silver and bronze medals in relays at the Games, she came sixth in the 100-yard dash. Her next chance would have been the 1940 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but the Second World War derailed the Olympics for the next decade and ended Howard’s running career.
Howard earned a Bachelor of Education at UBC in 1959 and she took a new path in education. Howard taught at Hastings, Henry Hudson, Lord Strathcona and Trafalgar elementary schools in a career spanning more than forty years. At Trafalgar, Howard worked with brilliant, but underperforming kids. In a 2010 Burnaby Now interview, she recalls being told to do “anything” to keep the children stimulated. She had them plan day-trips, sent them to work with their fathers, and had them film movies. Her strategy seems to have worked; like Dr. Patricia Hoy of the UBC School of Music, many were later successful, earning advanced degrees. “The child,” Howard argued, “is more important than the curriculum.”
In 2010, Howard was recognized by the Vancouver Park Board with a Remarkable Women Award for “her passionate dedication to inspire others to make a positive difference in their community.” She was inducted into both the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame and the BC Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2013, received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2015, she was welcomed as one of “The Legends” in the Canada Sports Hall of Fame.
Howard passed away on January 26, 2017 at the age of 96.
Bill McNulty, BPE '68, MPE '70, MA '83
Recognized community leader, Bill McNulty is hailed as an approachable leader, passionate about sports, arts, and the value they bring to communities.
McNulty received a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of British Columbia in 1968. He furthered his studies at UBC with two master’s degrees, one in Physical Education in 1970 and the other in Counselling and Psychology, in 1983. He began his leadership involvement as a physical-education student in the role of director of UBC’s intermural program. His service continued well after he graduated from UBC: he was later president of the UBC Alumni Association and a twenty-five year member of the UBC Senate. Giving not only of his time but also of his means, McNulty endowed a scholarship in his name for the School of Kinesiology.
Beyond UBC’s gates, McNulty’s leadership and service continues. He is a sitting councillor for the City of Richmond, a role he has served in for two decades. He worked as a counselor and educator at Magee Secondary School, wrote a book on the history of Steveston, and documented the records and accomplishments of BC’s athletes as a track historian.
For his ongoing leadership in the arts, McNulty was made an honorary member of the Richmond Community Arts Council. In 2005, he received a BC Community Achievement Award, and in 2013, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Brock Tully, BEd '73
As author, musician, and public speaker, Brock Tully applied his creative talents to improving the lives of bullied youth across the country. His music-based entertainment program, Kindness Rocks, aims to prevent violence in schools by teaching teens to have a positive influence in their own social circles through daily acts of kindness.
Tully earned his Bachelor of Education in 1973, while he was a Thunderbird football player and member of the fraternity Beta Theta Pi. Beginning his career as a counsellor and psychologist, Tully worked at crisis centres and drug rehabilitation programs before he launched his anti-bullying initiatives.
With the creation of the in-school Kindness Rocks program, Tully toured across Canada and received national media attention, which lead him to the world stage. As co-founder and director of the annual World Kindness Concert, he brought together a diverse group of artists from around the globe, ranging from regional ethnic performers to international stars. The success of his programs garnered the support of many, including Canadian icons Bryan Adams and Celine Dion. More importantly, he brought much-needed attention to youth bullying and inspired action on an individual level.
Tully has authored eight books exploring purposeful living, selling over 140,000 copies worldwide. He is the producer of One of a Kind Stories, a weekly evening series of courageous stories and uplifting songs. Since 2000, he has taken his message of kindness and compassion on the road, completing two full cycling tours of North America during which he made presentations at schools in 33 states and seven provinces.
Carol Todd, BEd '84
Educator and parent, Carol Todd is a leader for social action to address bullying. In 2012, Todd’s 15 year old daughter took her own life in response to cyber-bullying and sexual harassment. From this place of tragedy, Todd found that by sharing her story she could help others. She founded the Amanda Todd Legacy Society to create more awareness surrounding anti-bullying, mental health, and cyber safety initiatives. She continues to speak publicly about both her experience and her daughter’s struggles with cyber-bullying, physical assault, and sexual victimization.
Todd graduated with her Bachelor of Education in 1984 and works locally as a classroom educator, inspiring change both in and outside of the classroom. In 2013, she participated in the Cyberbullying Roundtable with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and was a panelist in the, Can we stop bullies?, alumni UBC Dialogue. She is an advocate for Kids Help Phone, Kids in the Know, the national safety education program of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post blog.
Her activism has garnered wide recognition: Todd was awarded the Me to We Award for Social Action, the Jer’s Vision Award for Advocacy, and the Roz Prober Award for Canadians who have made a significant contribution to combating the sexual victimization of children and youth. She continues her work every day, helping children and youth to fight cyber-bullying.
Dr. Celia Haig-Brown, BA '68, MA '86, PhD '91
Leader in scholarship on curriculum development, Celia Haig-Brown has forged new pathways in Indigenous education, gender studies, social and ecological justice, research methodology, and teacher education. Her work in these areas influenced educators, academics, and policy makers.
From 1976 to 1986, Haig-Brown worked as a Coordinator of the Native Indian Teacher Education Program in the Kamloops Centre.
In 1986, Haig-Brown received her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education. In 1988, her master's thesis was adapted into a book and published by Arsenal Pulp Press. Entitled Resistance and Renewal: Surviving the Indian Residential School, it was among the first publications to consider and discuss the impact of residential schools. Resistance and Renewal won the 1989 Roderick Haig-Brown BC Book Prize (named after her father, an acclaimed writer) and is now in its ninth printing.
Haig-Brown received her PhD from UBC in the Social Foundations of Educational Policy in 1991. Her dissertation Taking Control: Power and Contradiction in First Nations Education focused on the ways in which people in First Nations adult education seek and take control of knowledge. Building on her early career as a high school teacher in Campbell River and her graduate research at UBC, her current research focuses on education in Aboriginal contexts and Indigenous thought. As a full professor, Haig-Brown teaches courses to pre-service teachers in de-colonizing research methods and pedagogy of the land.
Haig-Brown is the former president of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, and as of 2015 was appointed Associate Vice-President of Research at York University. In recognition of her contributions to the field, Haig-Brown received the 2009 Ted T. Aoki Award for Distinguished Service in Canadian Curriculum Studies.
Cheryl Sebastian, BEd '80
Educator and advocate for Aboriginal cultural preservation, Cheryl Sebastian impacts Aboriginal education in British Columbia through the implementation of Aboriginal language programs, cultural curricula, and numerous education agreements. Her outstanding leadership reaches all areas of the educational system, and her impact on early learning, administration, and literacy earned her the 2013 Alumni Teacher Award from the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education.
Sebastian was among the first students to take part in UBC’s Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP), graduating with her Bachelor of Education in 1980. After graduation, she moved back to her home territory, teaching at First Nations schools in the area for more than 13 years. While teaching full-time she completed her Diploma in Library Education at UBC in 1994.
After spending more than 16 years of her education career in the classroom, Sebastian completed a Master of Education in educational counselling, which led to leadership opportunities. She was district principal and director of instruction for Aboriginal Learner Support and recently appointed district principal of Aboriginal Education for the Kamloops School District. Sebastian also took on leadership roles in several provincial organizations, including the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) and the Ministry of Education.
As a member of the Gitxsan Nation, Sebastian has been a consistent and influential advocate for Aboriginal cultural preservation. Working tirelessly alongside elders and linguists, she established a curriculum to teach the Gitxsan language as a part of the regular high school program in her home community of Hazelton, BC. Through her efforts both inside and outside the classroom, Sebastian was a major driver behind the advancement of Aboriginal Education and preservation of Gitxsan cultural heritage.
Clyde Griffith, BPE '64
A pioneer in the fields of recreation and sport both provincially, nationally, and internationally, Clyde Griffith is one of the first graduates of the Recreation Management program at the University of British Columbia.
Prior to graduating from UBC with a Bachelor of Physical Education in 1964, Griffith was the first recreation director for the cities of Delta and Surrey, where he prepared design plans and site locations for the Surrey Fine Arts Theatre Complex. While a student at UBC, he won the prestigious International Student of the Year award. He later served as recreation director for the City of Port Coquitlam in 1968, overseeing the planning and design of the first multipurpose ice arena and recreation centre in the province.
Griffith held the role of recreation consultant to the BC provincial government for over 20 years. In this capacity, he was a contributing member and representative on behalf of the province to the BC Summer Games, the Canada Summer and Winter Games, the National Committee for Skills Management Development, and the National Olympic Committee. He was also the government liaison for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference and team attaché for Trinidad and Tobago at the Commonwealth Games.
Griffith’s contributions to the wider community were equally impactful and long-lasting. For 25 years, he sat on the advisory board for UBC International House and was an executive member of the BC/Yukon Red Cross Water Safety Branch. Griffith was president of the BC Black History Awareness Society and chaired the education committee responsible for writing The Black History Resource Guide, distributed to schools throughout the province. He was also a branch vice-president for the Royal Commonwealth Society for five years.
Griffith was recognized for his contributions with numerous public acknowledgements and awards, including the UBC Voluntary Service Award for his service to International House, and a Volunteer Services Award for 25 years of service to the Canadian Red Cross. He also received an award from the Caribbean African Association of UBC for his invaluable support as an honorary member. In 2012, Griffith was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Dr. Colin McCaffrey, MEd '63
Veteran, educator and ethnographer, Colin McCaffrey earned a Master of Education from the University of British Columbia in 1963. His passion for learning, education and rural community development took him across the globe over the course of his life.
McCaffrey served in the Second World War and certified as a teacher in Brittan shortly afterwards. He came to Canada in the 1950’s and taught in communities including Lake Cowichan, Yellowknife, Kugluktuk (previously known as Coppermine) and Fort Nelson. McCaffrey responded to a lack of engagement by youth in education by teaching prospect skills to engage them in learning that applied to their lives. He was able to build the love of learning in these communities and increased student involvement.
Social and cultural change in the area brought challenges with traditional knowledge and economic systems. Youth were displaced in cities with hunting skills that weren’t translating into their changing environment. McCaffrey launched prospecting classes our on the tundra and youth found new ways to use their traveling and survival skills to gain employment and still validate traditional culture.
He went on to doctoral research, in 1967, with the Kekchi Maya in Belize, then known as British Honduras. He studied in a remote village focusing on ethnographic research and perspectives in community development. His engagement with the local villagers bloomed an opportunity to facilitate their securement of government funds to finish the last 10 miles of main a road in their city. The lasting impact of this road has enabled transportation and communication over decades. His dissertation, Potentialities for community development in a Kekchi Indian Village in British Honduras, was published and cited in later research. He returned to Belize annually after his PhD was complete to continue his ethnography and community development efforts as long as he was physically able.
McCaffery is known for his passion of education, library of over 40,000 books and Spartan lifestyle that enables him to inspire the love of learning everywhere he goes. Recently, UBC honoured McCaffrey as a longstanding student award donor at Bachelor of Education Student Awards Night.
David Stadnyk, BPE '86
Leading venture capitalist and philanthropist in British Columbia, David Stadnyk has a lifelong passion for the promotion and development of sport in Canada. Earning his Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of British Columbia in 1986, Stadnyk went on to become a stock broker, and later established Stadnyk and Partners Venture Capital, an investment firm in start-up pharmaceutical and energy companies.
Though he found his professional success in the field of finance, Stadnyk always maintained the same affinity for sport that led him to study physical education at UBC. Believing that visibility was key to the long-term success of sport in Vancouver, he formed Starlight Sports and Entertainment in 1998 and launched an all-sports radio station, TEAM 1040, in 2001. At that time, he was a co-owner of the Vancouver Ravens, a lacrosse team he helped establish. He saw the club through a period of financial hardship to preserve professional lacrosse in Canada.
In 2000, he acquired the Vancouver Whitecaps. Under Stadnyk’s ownership, the organization was reintroduced under its original 1970s brand, kicking off a resurgence of the club that continues to this day. During this time, he started ProWave, a youth soccer initiative offering instructional camps, year-round academy training, youth leagues, and prospect management.
Stadnyk’s leadership in professional athletics was a major force behind the growth of soccer, lacrosse, and tennis in BC. He continues to build on this legacy through the Stadnyk Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports children’s participation in sport. For these efforts and his success as an entrepreneur, Stadnyk was named to the prestigious Top 40 Under 40 list by Business in Vancouver magazine.
David Starr, BEd '96, MEd '05
Principal, author, and community leader, David Starr has dedicated his career to elevating the quality of K-12 teaching in British Columbia. Graduating from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Education in 1996 and Master of Education in 2005, he set forth an uncommon vision for education that extends beyond the classroom to the community.
Much of Starr’s community-driven perspective came from his experience as a principal in some of the country’s most challenging schools. At Edmonds Community School, Starr was responsible for overseeing the education of a complex student population, more than 30% of which were international refugees fleeing areas of conflict, persecution, or environmental disaster. His exposure to students facing such significant challenges inspired him to give back. Over the course of his career, he has given countless hours of his time to improving the lives of inner-city youth.
Starr is the author of three publications, including From Bombs to Books, a work that chronicles the journeys of refugee families wanting to offer their children the opportunity of a Canadian education. The book demonstrates the important role that educators have in building a just and inclusive society. Another of his books, The Insider’s Guide to K-12 Education in BC, equips parents and teachers with the knowledge they need to make the most of the educational system, improving the transparency and efficiency of BC’s public schools.
Starr has been an active public speaker and has presented at events across Canada and the United States. He recently spoke at the United Way’s Community Spirit and Pathfinder events.
Currently serving as an executive member of the Burnaby Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association, Starr also sits on the board of directors for Canada Scores Vancouver, a charity devoted to soccer and leadership for urban youth. He is also a former adjudicator of the ISTAR awards for the Aga Khan Foundation of Canada, and in 2011, he received the Canucks Movado Community MVP award for his outstanding community service.
David Derpak, BEd '82
Educator and community leader, David Derpak, has been motivating students to succeed, in particular among Vancouver’s Aboriginal and inner-city youth during his nearly thirty-year career as an educator.
Derpak graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia in 1982. Upon graduating, he taught at McKim Middle School, Selkirk Secondary, and Hatzic Secondary until 1990. In the following eight years, Derpak served as vice-principal for four secondary schools in British Columbia.
In 1998, Derpak was promoted to the role of principal. He spent eight years as head of Vancouver Technical Secondary School (VTSS). Under Derpak’s leadership, VTSS’s yearly student suspensions dropped from seventy-seven to ten, vandalism costs dropped by two-thirds, overall attendance improved forty-one percent, and, by 2009, the School was awarded Top School in the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards. While principal at Killarney Secondary, he contributed to a fivefold increase in Aboriginal graduation and a fifty-percent reduction in suspensions.
After two years as district principal in international education for the Vancouver School Board (VSB), Derpak has been appointed to the role of principal at Prince of Wales Secondary on Vancouver’s West side. He has worked with the People’s Republic of China on educational reform, touring schools there to present workshops and organize student forums on the Canadian education system. He is also a member of over ten committees for the VSB, including the Aboriginal Learners Committee and the Inner-City Committee.
Derpak’s impact extends into charitable work. He is a founding board member for Contributing to the Lives of City Kids, and spearheaded community fundraising for Aboriginal and immigrant families who lost their homes in a fire, raising $35,000 for one of the affected families.
For his manifold achievements in student success, Derpak was awarded the Richmond Outstanding Community Award for Outstanding Work with Youth in the Community, and was recognized by The Learning Partnership as one of Canada’s outstanding principals in 2010. He was also awarded an eagle feather at VTSS for his work with Aboriginal inner-city students.
David Sidoo, BPE '83
Highly decorated athlete, David Sidoo graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1983 with a Bachelor of Physical Education.
As MVP defensive back, Sidoo led the UBC Thunderbirds to an undefeated season and the University’s first-ever Vanier Cup National Championship in 1982. He played five years of professional football in the Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and was inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame and the BC Football Hall of Fame, receiving the prestigious Bob Ackles award. The Sidoo Field at Thunderbird Stadium is named in his honour.
An active community member and philanthropist, Sidoo and his wife Manjy created Sidoo Family Giving in 2006, an organization focused on enriching the lives of children and families, in particular at-risk youth and single mothers. The organization supported breakfast programs in New Westminister and Downtown Eastside schools, provided assistance for after-school care at Strathcona Community Centre, and made significant contributions to the Vancouver Sun’s Adopt-a-School program.
In 2012, Sidoo received Darpan Magazine’s Advancing Philanthropy Award and was named one of Vancouver Magazine’s Power 50. The following year, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his philanthropy. Most recently, in 2014, Sidoo was appointed to the UBC Board of Governors and, with five other successful UBC football alumni, began a fundraising project to redevelop Thunderbird Stadium and revitalize the football program.
Currently, David is the President and CEO of East West Petroleum Corporation, a global Oil & Gas company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Deborah Jeffrey, BEd '83
Advocate for Aboriginal education at the local, provincial, and national levels, Deborah Jeffrey has spent nearly 30 years as an educator in British Columbia.
Shortly after graduating from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Education in 1983, Jeffrey entered the Prince Rupert School District as an educator and coordinator of First Nations programs and services. She later returned to UBC in 1988 to complete a Diploma in Special Education. Member of the Tsimshian Nation from Northwest BC, Jeffrey accepted the role of president of the Tsimshian Tribal Council, taking leave from the Prince Rupert School District and working with seven communities to advance the interests of the Tsimshian Nation.
In 1999, Jeffrey completed a Master of Education and a Bachelor of Laws in 2007, and was called to the bar the following year. She has worked to advance Aboriginal education through a number of roles, including as co-chair of the BC Teachers’ Federation Task Force on Aboriginal Education, co-chair of the National Working Group on First Nations Education, and as a member of the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) executive for over ten years.
In 2011 Jeffrey was appointed executive director of FNESC. As part of her role, she collaborates with leaders of 104 First Nations communities, and is a member of the K-12 Aboriginal Education Partners Table. The partnership brings together representatives from among the most significant stakeholders in the BC education system, including the BC Ministry of Education, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, BC Teachers’ Federation, and the BC Superintendents Association.
Deborah Grimm, BEd '81
Educator, businesswoman, activist, and parent, Deborah Grimm is the co-founder and past president of Looking Glass Foundation for Eating Disorders.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia in 1981, Grimm started her career with the Vancouver School Board. She dedicated herself to classroom instruction for over a decade when her role as a parent took her in a different direction.
Her teenage daughter was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at age 14. As a parent, Grimm was faced with the heart-wrenching decision to send her daughter away for full residential treatment care in Arizona, USA. Dissatisfied with no local options for full residential care, she began working with other Vancouver mothers to establish a treatment centre in British Columbia.
In 2002, Grimm co-founded Looking Glass Foundation to support an eating-disorder treatment centre closer to home. The foundation has made a provincial and national impact as the first residential centre in Canada for youth to provide a weeklong summer camp, an online support program, scholarship program and ask-an-expert service. The service delivery model for the centre became the gold standard for the Ministry of Health.
Their 2008 campaign, “Not Every Note Looks Like a Suicide Note," ran for two years to raise awareness of the lack of local residential treatment. The campaign won the BC Broadcasting Humanitarian Award for awareness campaigns.
In April 2011 progress continued as Looking Glass Foundation secured $4.1 million to open a residential centre in the Vancouver Lower Mainland. With the support of the Government of BC, generous donors, and countless volunteers, the foundation was able to open the first fully-residential centre for youth in Canada.
DeDe DeRose, BEd '81, MEd '93
British Columbia’s first Superintendent of Aboriginal Achievement, DeDe DeRose is a prominent advocate for Aboriginal student success.
Born in Williams Lake to a Secwepempc family and as a member of the Esketemc First Nation, DeRose graduated from UBC’s Indigenous Teacher’s Education Program (NITEP) with a Bachelor of Education in 1981. She also earned a Diploma in Education in 1990, and completed the UBC Ts”kel Master’s Program in 1993. DeRose taught in the Cariboo Chilcotin School District for nine years, and then served as principal for various elementary schools in the Kamloops/Thompson School District for nearly two decades.
During her career as an educator, DeRose advocated for the inclusion of Aboriginal languages, history, and culture in the school curriculum. A community organizer, she sought the genuine involvement of parents, caregivers, and local communities in her schools. She served as the first Aboriginal educator at the former BC College of Teachers for over eight years, and has chaired and co-chaired the First Nations Education Council at UBC for 13 years. In 2005, DeRose was awarded the inaugural Teacher Educator Award from the Association of BC Deans of Education for her work in supporting and promoting teacher education at the school level.
In 2012, DeRose was appointed to the BC Ministry of Education as the first ever Superintendent of Aboriginal Achievement. The position was created to improve the rates of high-school graduation for Aboriginal youth, which is on average 30% lower than non-Aboriginal students.
Denise Clark, BA '94, BEd '95, MA '05
Educator, Denise Clark is a Vancouver secondary school teacher and department head that has helped develop curriculum for students around the province.
Clark obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature in 1994 and a Bachelor of Education in 1995 from the University of British Columbia. She continued her studies a decade later with a Master of Arts in Language and Literacy Education in 2005.
With the Vancouver School Board (VSB), Clark worked with the school’s student council from 1999-2003, helping start the annual school community carnival “Technival” and has served as a grad committee sponsor since 2003. In 2008, she was a workshop creator, leader and co-presenter with Liisa House for the Literature Circles: A Reader Response Approach workshop. She worked with the VSB from 2011-2012 to develop curriculum for the Compassion in Action conference and was a member of its Personal Responsibility and Awareness Competency Development Team in 2015. Currently she serves as VBS inquiry facilitator, assisting teachers at schools around the city, and sits as Chair on the Professional Development Committee.
In collaboration with the B.C. Ministry of Education, Clark developed learner profiles to help define what personal responsibility and awareness meant for students across the province. Clark is currently a member of the Ministry’s English Language Arts Curriculum Development, where she developed a draft for the new provincial curriculum and provided examples for its most appropriate use.
Clark has been a key proponent of the national Poetry in Voice competition and taught two of its first-place winners. She spearheaded the Grade 12 AP English students’ Elizabethan banquet, complete with Shakespearean skits performed in the school’s garden.
Donald L. Cunnings, BPE '62
Educator and recreation leader Don Cunnings began his career in 1950 as a physical education instructor at Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary and Secondary School in Coquitlam, British Columbia. He was actively involved with the coaching, officiating, and administration of gymnastics, and his success could be measured by the achievements of his students: four of them captured medals at the 1954 Canadian Gymnastic Championships.
The following year, Cunnings was appointed to be recreation director for the City of Coquitlam. When he graduated from UBC’s Physical Education and Recreation program in 1962, he was appointed the inter-municipal recreation director for Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody. Ultimately, Cunnings rose to head the Department of Leisure and Park Services for the City of Coquitlam as its director, a position he held until his retirement in 1994. By the time he retired, he had served the Coquitlam’s recreation department for nearly forty years.
During his tenure, Cunnings established numerous associations and organizations toward the promotion of physical education and recreation. In 1958, he co-founded the British Columbia Recreation Association, for which he served as elected president in 1963 and 1964. He went on to establish Coquitlam’s first search and rescue team in 1973 and from 1980 to 1994, he led the successful planning and building of the City of Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park. His retirement opened up more time to volunteer for local organizations: acting in various capacities, he sat on boards for: the Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation, Douglas College, and the Coquitlam Heritage Society.
For his service, he received the BC Recreation and Parks Association's appointment of Honourary Life Member, the 1991 BC Summer Games Outstanding Volunteer Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and was inducted into the City of Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame. In 1999, the City of Coquitlam, Douglas College and the local school district renamed Town Centre Park’s northwest field to Cunnings Field in his honour. In 2014, the City of Coquitlam awarded Cunnings its highest honour, the Freedom of the City Award.
Dr. Egan Chernoff, BEd '01
Educator, published scholar, and popularizer of mathematics education, Egan Chernoff has made outstanding contributions to the research, advancement, and promotion of teaching and learning math.
Chernoff graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Education in 2001. During his time at UBC, he joined the Secondary Mathematics Integrated Project, which provides math resources for high school teachers, tutors, and students. He taught for five years at Lord Byng Secondary and Killarney Secondary in Vancouver, before returning to UBC in 2008 as a sessional instructor. He was later appointed to associate professor in mathematics education at the University of Saskatchewan.
Since receiving his doctorate in 2009, Chernoff made a sustained contribution to fostering public interest and discourse in his field. For the past seven years, he served as the provincial representative for the Saskatchewan Mathematics Teachers’ Society, as well as an affiliate editor for the society’s journal. He currently serves as a member on multiple committees for mathematics education, including one on curriculum revision for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education and the Saskatoon School Board’s Strategic Committee for K-12 Mathematics.
Chernoff published over 90 articles and book chapters, contributing to the study of math and pedagogy within eight years. He is an editor of the Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, and co-edited three published and two forthcoming books, including Probabilistic Thinking: Presenting Plural Perspectives. Chernoff received multiple awards and scholarships for his research, including several grants and a doctoral fellowship awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Elisabeth Tower, MET '15
Educator and social activator, Elisabeth Tower is a passionate educator for raising cultural awareness on immigration to the public.
She completed her Masters of Educational Technology from the University of British Columbia in 2015. For the nine years leading up to her graduation, Tower has done a remarkable job as the Education Manager at Canada’s Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 by enhancing the programming to become more international in scope. In particular, she has created “Immigration Remixed: The Road Show” which has brought education about immigration to classrooms throughout Nova Scotia. This program demonstrated the material and non-material cultural practices of new Canadians as they maneuvered through the challenging experience of leaving their homelands and arriving in a new physical and cultural environment.
Other innovative programs that Tower has spearheaded include “Teddy Bear’s Journey," “Canadian Citizenship Test Preparation Course," and “Cultural Awareness Relationship Education.” In addition to creating these programs, she is an active blogger on issues of cultural awareness on such topics as “The Importance of CARE (Cultural Awareness Relationship Education)” and “Call Me Alternative: Education Internships Outside the Box.”
Eric Wong, BEd '75
Educator and consultant, Eric Wong is a champion of education as a tool to promote a diverse, inclusive, and respectful society.
Wong earned a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia in 1975. Prior to founding his private practice, Wong was the multicultural education consultant for the Vancouver School Board and worked with the City of Vancouver equal employment opportunities office. He was later promoted to manager of training and programs for the Hastings Institute, which is dedicated to providing multicultural and employment equity training and organizational development for the public and private sectors.
As a consultant, he works with organizations, schools, and businesses to promote diversity in the workplace. His clients include the Province of British Columbia, the Canadian Department of Justice, and the City of North Vancouver. He developed and taught the Vancouver Police Department's course on diversity, and engaged in similar work with the Vancouver and Port Coquitlam Fire Departments.
School districts throughout BC have called on Wong’s expertise for workshops and training programs, both for staff professional development and educational programs for students. He created the Anti-Racist Toolkit for the First Nations Education Steering Committee, which included curricula and activities for the classroom.
In 2011, Wong received an honourable mention from the City of Vancouver’s Cultural Harmony Award. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to understanding, respect, and cooperation among people of different cultural groups and backgrounds.
Dr. Erica Mohan, MEd '03, PhD '10
Educator and community leader, Erica Mohan is known as a champion of equal access to public education.
Mohan received her Masters of Education from the University of British Columbia in 2003 and PhD in Educational Studies in 2010. She used her education to establish Community Education Partnerships (CEP), a not-for-profit organization that trains volunteers to tutor homeless children. Since its inception in 2011, CEP has provided tutors for more than 100 children in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco. As founder and executive director, Mohan has undertaken the project on a largely volunteer basis.
Additionally, Mohan developed an innovative Early Literacy Campaign to increase the number of students reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade. CEP hosts Family Reading Nights at several shelters and housing providers, and works with families toward regular school attendance.
Her commitment to community extends beyond CEP. Mohan is also an active board member of the Tenderloin Neighbourhood Development Corporation, which provides safe, affordable homes for San Francisco’s poorest residents.
In 2012 Mohan was awarded the Jefferson Award for Public Service for her service to homeless youth, and in 2009 she received the Dr. Carlos J. Vallejo Memorial Award for Emerging Scholarship in recognition of her research benefiting multicultural communities.
Dr. Ethel Gardner, BEd '84, MEd '86
Key contributor to Aboriginal language revitalization and Aboriginal education, Ethel Gardner has made a significant impact over the last three decades.
A Stó:lō member of the Skwah First Nation in BC, Gardner has earned four degrees over the course of her academic career, including a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia’s Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP) in 1984 and a Master of Education from UBC’s Ts’‘kel program in 1986.
In her work revitalizing Indigenous languages, Gardner relied largely on technological innovation. She developed an electronic master-apprentice language-learning program that combined human knowledge and computer programming. With three Elders as the program’s first masters, the software helped train future educators to be fluent in Stó:lō Halq'eméylem. The strength of her academic work earned her substantial research grants in her field, including the E-Master-Apprentice Pedagogy for Critically Endangered Languages and the Language Planning for Anishinaabemowin Revitalization in Grand Council Treaty #3.
Gardner has been highly praised for designing innovative teacher education programs. Her training modules make use of computer-assisted instruction, web-based writing and teaching tools, and audiovisual web communication techniques. Educators who have mastered the electronic program are able to coach students remotely.
Gardner has held a number of leadership positions in academia, most recently at the University of Alberta in a lead role with the Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute in the Faculty of Education. Although retired, Gardner continues to work as an Elder scholar at a number of post-secondary institutions in BC.
Gayle Bedard, BEd '84, MEd '98
Aboriginal education advocate Gayle Bedard served the First Nations community in her role with the Ministry of Education, and through the direction of councils and programs. During her more than 30-year career, Bedard was an elementary and secondary school teacher, counsellor, principal, and district principal for Aboriginal education in the Surrey school district.
Bedard, a Tsimshian member of the First Nations community of Port Simpson (Lax Kw’alaams), devoted herself to building bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. As district principal, she used curriculum changes as a tool to support this connection. In Bedard’s view, when Aboriginal education is part of the curriculum, there is no need for a separate Aboriginal education department. Bedard adapted curricula to include education of territorial history to promote feelings of pride and belonging among Indigenous communities. In her role, Bedard addressed the issue of Aboriginal student graduation rates with the British Columbia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Bedard holds multiple degrees from the University of British Columbia. She graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Education from the Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP), and a Master of Education and Leadership in 1998.
Currently, she is the director of First Nations programs and partnerships for the Yukon government and community services director of the Tsawwassen First Nation. She served on the advisory board for NITEP, the First Nations Education Council, and is president of Gwa’lgum’ax (GGAX) Consulting.
George Puil, BA '52, BEd '57
Athlete, George Puil is known as a prize football and rugby player and was a coveted newcomer when he arrived at UBC in 1949. Despite his slight 140-pound frame, Puil led the football team in scoring, responsible for exactly half of the team’s touchdowns. He then moved to the rugby team for the remainder of the season, where as part of a McKechnie Cup-winning squad, he quickly established himself as a top player.
By 1951, Puil had established his reputation on both the football and the rugby pitch. Ubyssey sports reporter Allan Fotheringham declared Puil “the most dangerous broken field runner ever to pull on a Thunderbird sweater.”
Puil helped to claim two more McKechnie Cup championships. In his final season as a Thunderbird in 1952, the team beat California-Berkeley in a four-game series to bring home the World Cup. The same year, Puil was named to the Evergreen Conference All-Star Football team. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and earned his Bachelor of Education in 1957.
Puil retired following another decade representing British Columbia and Canada internationally. He didn’t leave the field entirely, though: he coached while educating in the Vancouver School District. He later entered municipal politics and spent twelve years as a commissioner for the Vancouver Park Board; his time as a commissioner was followed by 26 years as a Vancouver City councillor.
In 1994, Puil was inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame, and received the UBC Alumni Achievement Award in 2000.
Ginny Dennehy, O.B.C., BPE '78
Ginny Dennehy is a recognized leader in providing resources for youth suffering from mental illness and depression. In 2001, Ginny Dennehy’s son took his own life as a result of depression. In response, Ginny, along with her husband Kerry, formed the Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation.
In a 2013 article in the Globe and Mail, Dennehy advocated: “I believe in life you don’t have a choice of what happens to you but you do have a choice in how you deal with it. No matter what happens in your life, you can go on. You have to dig to places you don’t even know, but you can go on.” Her life is a testament to this. As a 1978 graduate of Univeristy of British Columbia’s Physical Education program and Gamma Phi Beta alumna, she has “gone on” to become a leader in mental health philanthropy.
To date, the foundation has raised and donated more than $7 million to organizations actively researching and fighting depression, including a $1 million donation to establish a youth-focused mental health facility at BC Children’s Hospital, $500,000 to establish a research chair in depression at the UBC Vancouver General Hospital, and $500,000 to establish a mental health resource centre with the Hope Psychiatry and Education Centre at Lion’s Gate Hospital.
In 2009, Dennehy dedicated herself full-time to the foundation. She took over as president, redoubled her efforts to the fight against mental illness, and cycled with her husband across Canada to raise money for the cause.
Dennehy continues to work with the foundation. She published a book, Choosing Hope: A Mother's Story of Love, Loss, and Survival in 2013, about her experience with loss and her way through it.
This spring Dennehy received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Fraser Valley.
Gordon Barrett, BEd '78, MA '98, MEd '00
CIC Officer and musician, 2Lt the reverend Gordon Barrett is a distinguished University of British Columbia alumnus who has touched countless lives in his 40 years of public and community service.
He began his education at UBC in 1978, earning a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Education. Twenty years later, he returned to earn a Master of Arts in 1998 and a Master of Education in 2000. He also holds a MDiv degree at Carey Theological College.
For over 30 years, Barrett volunteered for the Canadian Armed Forces as a musician, band administrator, and association chaplain. He served as pipe major, honorary captain and regimental director of music with the British Columbia Regiment Irish Pipes & Drums. As an ordained Anglican deacon and honorary captain with the 15th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery he worked with the Military Family Resource Centre, where he assisted soldiers and their families in the lead-up to deployment and through their reintegration into society. His service extended to working with families of soldiers who were seriously injured or killed.
Barrett is the padre and event emcee for the Korean War Veterans Association of Canada, pastor for North Shore Search and Rescue and an officer with 2472 15th Field RCACC. He is a deacon at All Saint's Church in Burnaby, B.C., Diocese of New Westminster.
For his lifetime of service, Barrett’s distinguished honours include the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, the British Columbia Regiment Medal in 2002, the British Columbia Community Achievement Award in 2008 and the Minister of Veteran Affairs Commendation in 2014 in recognition of his lifelong service to the veteran community.
Greg Quan, BEd '98, MEd '04
Music Educator, Greg Quan is admired and respected by both students and peers for his dedication to sharing the joy of music as artistic director of choirs and orchestras at Vancouver’s Magee Secondary School.
Quan graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia in 1998 and received his Masters of Education in music in 2004. He has been teaching music in the Vancouver and Richmond school districts since he finished his undergraduate degree in 1998. His Magee music program consistently receives top honours in the city and in the province. In 2012, 2014, and 2015, the Magee Chamber Choir won both the provincial Performing Arts BC competition and the citywide Vancouver Kiwanis Choral Festival. Each of those years, they also represented BC at the national Federation of Canadian Music Festivals, usually placing within the top 3 in Canada.
In what he calls his “choir family,” Quan fosters mindful, humble students who are both musically knowledgeable and passionate, challenging them with creative and difficult repertoire that inspires them to achieve beyond what they believe possible. With an understanding that setting can profoundly enhance the learning experience, Quan travels each year with Magee music ensembles and the chamber choir to perform in historically and culturally important international venues. Committed to helping to build the choral community, Quan creates many learning opportunities for hundreds of young musicians, not only from across the lower mainland, but nationally and internationally, by bringing choirs together in non-competitive “song sharing” concerts many times a year. He also creates professional development opportunities for his musical colleagues; for example, inviting them to participate, complimentary, in retreats that he sponsors with world class clinicians. He is also in demand as a choral clinician, adjudicator, and has given workshops at the BC Music Educators Association conference. From 2006 to 2007, Quan was regional director for the BC Music Educators Association Honour Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He also was director for the VoiceStream Youth Choir from 2004 to 2007 and the Richmond Youth Honour Chamber Choir from 2006 to 2009, both in Richmond, BC. Since 2014, Quan has also been on the board of directors for the BC Choral Federation.
In 2009, he was commissioned to write and perform, with a massed choir, a piece to commemorate the opening of the Olympic Oval in Richmond BC. In 2014, an award was endowed at the Faculty of Education in Greg’s honour. The award recognizes a student of the Bachelor of Education program that has demonstrated a passion and extraordinary capability for music education with youth in a group environment.
Dr. Gwendolyn Point, BEd '87
University chancellor, Gwendolyn Point has dedicated her career to creating opportunities for students to learn and grow, particularly for Aboriginal students through leading and mentoring those in pursuit of higher education.
A member of the Skowkale First Nation, Point completed her Bachelor of Education in the Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP) at the University of British Columbia in 1987. She followed her bachelor’s with a Master of Education, and is near completion of her doctorate. At various points in her career, Point taught at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels, and held positions in leadership and administration. She worked as coordinator of First Nations education in her home town of Chilliwack, as regional coordinator of the Aboriginal services branch of the BC Ministry of Education, and as manager of the Stó:lō Nation Education Department, responsible for K-12, post-secondary, and First Nations language and culture programs.
In 2005, Point was appointed assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of the Fraser Valley, where she taught First Nations Studies. She was dedicated to creating space in the classroom for Aboriginal students. When she started teaching at the post-secondary level in 1990, there were only two Aboriginal students in her class; in 2014, there were 26. She resigned from her teaching post in late 2014 to accept the position of university chancellor.
Throughout her career, Point has been recognized with numerous honours. She was given the Ambassador Award from Aboriginal Tourism BC; recognized as Honorary Witness by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada; and lent her name to two bursaries through the Chilliwack School District, in addition to receiving a number of community awards for her contributions to Stó:lō language and cultural education.
Harpreet Dhillon, BEd '00
A leader by example, Harpreet Dhillon inspired students to create positive social change in both their local communities and around the world.
Earning her Bachelor of Education from University of British Columbia in 2000, Dhillon taught sixth grade at Cindrich Elementary School in Surrey, BC. While coaching volleyball, basketball or track and field, she also undertook several initiatives to enrich her students’ lives, and to show them the joy of enriching the lives of others.
In 2009, Dhillon started Cindrich Elementary’s WE team, part of the comprehensive service learning program We Act. The program empowers students to participate in local and global issues. Each year, Dhillon and twenty students in the sixth and seventh grades adopt a village in a developing country. They have raised thousands of dollars to improve the lives of those in their adopted communities, through education, health, sanitation, and alternative income projects.
Dhillon was also a driving figure behind Cindrich’s Kindness Project. She designed “kindness cards” and, along with her students, began surprising staff and community members with random acts of kindness. In total, over 500 kindness cards spread throughout the school, the community, and internationally. The cards were individually numbered, and the journey of each card continues to be tracked on Dhillon’s blog.
Additionally, Dhillon organizes the annual “Kids Change” program at Cindrich through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Students work year-round earning money to help grant a special wish for a sick child. Despite being classified as an inner city school, Cindrich students raise thousands of dollars for the foundation each year.
In recognition of her efforts, Dhillon was awarded the UBC Alumni Teacher Award in 2013. Dhillon was also recognized by the Surrey Food Bank for leading Cindrich Elementary to Top Fundraising School in 2012, and in the same year, the Surrey-North Delta Leader awarded her the Community Leader Award of Top Honour Teacher. Dhillon currently serves as a member of the UBC Faculty of Education’s External Advisory Board to the Dean.
Dhillon now works at Goldstone Park Elementary where she is part of the team creating the school culture for the brand new school. She has implemented a WE team and has found opportunities for her students to connect with local organizations such as the Surrey Food Bank and Oak Avenue Neighbourhood Hub. She continues fundraising for her Team goal to build a school in Ecuador.
Jama Mahlalela, BHK '04
Varsity basketball star, community leader, and assistant coach to the Toronto Raptors, Jama Mahlalela’s enthusiasm and positive energy continues to deliver results both on and off the court.
As a student at the University of British Columbia, Mahlalela was recruited to the Thunderbirds varsity basketball. Mahlalela was co-captain in 2003, and during his fourth year was elected to be president of the Thunderbird Athletic Council, the representative council for all varsity teams. Mahlalela graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Kinesiology from UBC and the Jama Mahlalela Award was created in his honour. The award is presented in recognition of excellence in the areas of selfless dedication, leadership, and spirit as a student-athlete and citizen of UBC. Notably, the award is not given out annually, but only when a candidate worthy of the honour is present: in the decade since Mahlalela received the award, it has only been presented twice.
After his time at UBC, Mahlalela served as assistant coach for the University of Toronto varsity basketball team, and worked for the National Basketball Association in various capacities. He began with the association in a community relations and development role, before moving to Hong Kong in 2009 to take a position with NBA Asia. There, he spent two years as the director of basketball operations, before returning to Toronto where he was named a member of the Toronto Raptors’ coaching staff. He is currently assistant coach, and is responsible for many aspects of training and player development.
Mahlalela is founder of Concrete Hoops Basketball Camps, and runs international exchange camps between Toronto and Swaziland to promote youth engagement and AIDS prevention. He stayed connected to his UBC roots, acting as master of ceremonies at UBC alumni events in Toronto.
Jane Hungerford, O.B.C., BEd '67
A leader of social change and capacity development for communities, Jane Hungerford's work has left an indelible impact on education, conservation, healthcare, and social services.
Hungerford’s connection to the University of British Columbia began with a Bachelors of Education in 1967. In the early 1970’s, she joined the Junior League of Greater Vancouver. She supported the implementation of English as a Second Language programs in Vancouver schools that became a template for ESL education throughout British Columbia. In her role as a founding member of Science World and member of its leadership team (1987- 1994), she helped raise $25 million for the organization’s expansion. Hungerford has also worked closely with the Salvation Army, helping to spearhead the creation of the first facility for victims of human trafficking in the lower mainland, and with the Pacific Salmon Foundation, where she was instrumental in developing the organization’s signature regional fundraising dinners, now in their 25th year.
Some of Hungerford’s most acclaimed work has been for the BC Cancer Agency and the BC Cancer Foundation (1997-to date), where she served as chair of the foundation and in a director role for both organizations. The Millennium Campaign, Canada’s largest health care fundraising campaign in its time, was introduced under her leadership. The campaign raised $135 million for the construction of the new BC Cancer Research Centre, the Vancouver Island Cancer Centre and the creation of the Michael Smith Genome Science Centre. These facilities have been home to the development of new targeted therapies, advanced clinical tests, and world renowned discoveries of genetic makeup and subtypes of cancer. Hungerford was the visionary and driver behind the BC Cancer Foundation's Inspiration Gala and committee, raising over $20 million and enabling BC supporters to contribute to leading-edge research that directly improves cancer outcomes for the past decade.
Hungerford served as Chair of the UBC Alumni Association Board from 2001 to 2005 and was involved with the restructuring that led to the current alumni UBC model. She was an early champion for an alumni centre at UBC. She chaired the search committee that hired Marie Earl as the first Executive Director, alumni UBC and Associate Vice President, Alumni, and also served on the search committee that hired UBC's 12th President, Professor Stephen Toope. She has been deeply involved with the John M.S. Lecky UBC Boathouse and its Gold for Life executive volunteer committee that raised $10 million to construct the off campus facility. The committee received the 2010 UBC Alumni Milestone Achievement Award for its commitment to the project that provided UBC with the world-class rowing facility, equipment and scholarship endowments needed to ensure continued success in the sport. Hungerford was also made a honorary member of the Big Block.
Hungerford also has received the Slonecker Award for outstanding volunteer contribution to UBC. Her leadership and dedication have been recognized by the alumni UBC Blythe Eagles Volunteer Leadership Award, and she has received both the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee medals. In 2014, Jane Hungerford was appointed to the Order of British Columbia.
Photo credit: Lachlan & Emily Photography
Dr. Jane Munro, MFA '78, EdD '91
One of Canada’s finest poets, Jane Munro earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from UBC in 1978. Her thesis, Daughters, won the Macmillan Prize for Creative Writing. She taught creative writing at UBC and worked as a course designer at the Open Learning Institute, then completed a Doctor of Education in Adult Education in 1991. Her dissertation, which won the Charles A. Wedemeyer Award for book-length research in independent study and distance education, examined why students drop out of distance learning, and suggested ways to increase retention.
Starting in 1998, Munro spent a decade on faculty at Kwantlen University where she taught creative writing, developed the first online creative writing course, and served as Coordinator for Distributed Learning. From there, she moved to BC’s Open University (OLA) as Associate Dean of Arts and Science. Then, the Centre for Curriculum, Transfer and Technology (C2T2) seconded her for three years to help foster innovation and collaboration in online learning across the public post-secondary sector. She was instrumental in developing BC Campus. Throughout these years, Munro continued to write and publish poetry.
Munro’s 2014 collection Blue Sonoma won the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize. The poems followed the path of her husband, who died with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013. The judges called it “hauntingly candid explorations of the hard truths of growing old.”
Munro’s other books of poetry include Active Pass in 2010, whose title poem was short-listed for a CBC Literary Award; Point No Point in 2006; and Grief Notes and Animal Dreams in 1995. Her work has been widely published and reviewed in literary journals, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and the Vancouver Sun, and was featured in The Best Canadian Poetry 2013.
In 2007, Munro received the Bliss Carman Award for Poetry. She regularly gives readings across the country and is a member of the poetry collective, Yoko’s Dogs, which published its first book Whisk in 2013. Active in the poetry community, Munro is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, the League of Canadian Poets, and the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild.
Janey Lee, BA '94, BEd '95
Award-winning elementary school teacher, Janey Lee has made her mark in the classroom, in the playground and in the volunteer world.
Lee received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia in 1994 and a Bachelor of Education in 1995. A kindergarten teacher at Thunderbird Elementary in Vancouver , Lee works with ESL students from diverse backgrounds to promote cultural exchange and peer learning. Worm farms, organic vegetable gardens and up-close investigations are the tools she uses to engage students as they learn to count, read and be socially responsible. In 2013, Lee was a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.
Lee developed a community partnership with the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) to teach her students about food security. Together with a high school technical teacher and the entire student body, she built a school garden that became an outdoor classroom and a source of inspiration for math, science and language arts. Lee helped to establish a successful school breakfast program to ensure that students were adequately prepared for their days in the classroom. Media coverage of her inner city advocacy inspired private citizens to provide matching funding for the program. The funding has also allowed students to participate in the Backpack Food Program and bring food home to help their families.
A leader in the field of primary education, Lee developed a Kindergarten Phonological Awareness Program for Vancouver teachers, and was part of a collaborative effort to develop the BC Early Numeracy Project for the Ministry of Education. Lee’s community service includes being a mentor with the YWCA, being a member of the the Anti-Poverty Committee with the Vancouver Elementary School Teacher’s Association, serving on the board of CLICK (Contributing to Lives of Inner City Kids), and fundraising over $30,000 for a playground at Thunderbird Elementary by holding workshops for teachers over two summers. Every year, she also helps to coach Cross Country, Volleyball, Basketball and Track and Field at her school. In January 2013 Lee was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award in recognition of her significant and meaningful contributions to the community and teaching profession.
Dr. Jean Barman, EdD '82
One of the province’s most essential historians, Jean Barman has dedicated her career to telling the stories of British Columbia and its people. She completed her Doctor of Education at the University of British Columbia in 1982.
The majority of Barman’s scholarship focuses on the lives of women in British Columbia, relationships between indigenous peoples and settlers, and the history of education. She has published more than 20 books and 50 articles and book chapters. Her book The West beyond the West: A History of British Columbia is considered one of the most important works on the history of the province.
Professor emerita in the Department of Educational Studies at UBC, Barman continues to publish works that are accessible to the public but are also used in academic programs. Her latest book, French Canadians, Furs, and Indigenous Women in the Making of the Pacific Northwest, won the 2015 Sir John A. Macdonald Prize for best English-language book in Canadian history, the Governor General’s history award for scholarly research, Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia, and K.D. Srivastava Prize for Excellence in Scholarly Publishing.
Barman has received many other awards, including UBC’s Killam Teaching Prize, the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in BC, and the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing. Her name appears on the Writers Walk of Fame on the north plaza of Library Square in Vancouver.
In addition to literary accolades, Barman was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2002 and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Active in community organizations related to her field of study, Barman was a founding board member of the Chinese Canadian Historical Association of BC, is a director of the Pacific Book World News Society, and has served on several Vancouver Museum committees. She was a co-editor of BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly and sat on the editorial board of the Canadian Historical Association Journal and the Pacific Northwest Quarterly. She also served on the advisory board of the Encyclopedia of British Columbia.
Jeff Stewart, MA '94
Innovator in technology and education, Jeff Stewart has served as principal in BC public schools for 20 years and created internationally-recognized distance education programs.
Stewart received his Master of Arts in Educational Studies from the University of British Columbia in 1994. During this time, he was a practicum supervisor and sessional lecturer in the Faculty, and worked with UBC's Dr. Charles Ungerleider on a pilot project for curriculum integration.
Stewart later founded the BC School Centred Mental Health Coalition to address mental health in children and youth in the provincial school system. Serving as chair, he was a leader in province-wide conversations on connectedness in school communities, advancing groundbreaking research on the topic. He advocated for education that was sensitive to the diverse ways students learn and school practices that promoted inclusiveness. While vice-principal of Maple Drive Junior Secondary, Stewart brought together district officials, educators, parents, and elders in a First Nations Learning Group to strategize on improvements to academic achievement of First Nations students.
Stewart is currently in a unique position as district principal of the North Island Distance Education School (NIDES). The school, located in the Comox Valley, serves over 3,000 students across Vancouver Island and BC through distance education. Enrollment includes students K-9, adult learners, and more than 1,400 secondary students.
NIDES combine online distance learning with “face-to-face” instruction via video conferencing and virtual classrooms in a blended learning model. The model offers the flexibility of traditional distance learning and homeschooling, while building bonds between students, educators, and community.
At the helm of NIDES, Stewart collaborated with over 100 families in a partnership between educators, parents and students on innovative blended learning. He stewarded the creation of three new programs: I-Class, the Fine Arts eCademy (FAE), and the Engineering Technology and Robotics (ENTER) program. In 2014, ENTER received the Innovative Blended and Online Learning Practice Award from iNACOL, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning.
Jennifer Anaquod, BEd '12
Indigenous educator and researcher, Jennifer Anaquod has spent over 15 years working in early childhood education (ECE) and three years teaching adults Aboriginal ECE theory and practices.
The University of British Columbia alumna is a member of the Muscowpetung Saulteaux First Nation in Saskatchewan, a heritage that informs her work and research. She graduated from the Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP) at the University of British Columbia in 2012 and received her Diploma in Education in 2013. She went on to earn a Master of Education in Curriculum and Leadership with a Ts’’kel designation (a specialization in Indigenous studies). In 2012, she received a UBC Alumni Scholarship and in 2015 she received a BC Aboriginal Student Award for her graduate work, funded by the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society.
Currently a PhD candidate in Curriculum Studies at UBC, her academic research relates to identity and personal history, and the substantial role an individual’s narrative plays in place-based education. Her research informs her curricula at both Native Education College and Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where she is an instructor in Indigenous education.
Her research interests also include capacity building and inquiry-based learning, subjects she incorporates into her work as an educator. At the Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre, she currently leads a workshop on early childhood education and capacity building in Aboriginal families. The workshop explores Aboriginal world-views and how to build stable relationships within Aboriginal families and the broader community.
Dr. Jo-ann Archibald, BEd '72
Indigenous scholar, author, and pioneer in the advancement of Indigenous education, Jo-ann Archibald (Q’um Q’um Xiiem) is the former associate dean for Indigenous Education and director of the Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP), and is professor of Educational Studies in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia. She completed her Bachelor of Education at UBC in 1972 and continued on to earn both a master and doctorate in education.
Member of the Stol:lo Nation, Archibald is described as a visionary and an agent of change, and is nationally recognized for creating culturally relevant teacher education and graduate programs for Aboriginal students. During her career of more than 40 years, her work transformed the learning landscape through curriculum and program development, policy, teaching and research.
As a member of the board of directors of the First Nations House of Learning at UBC, Archibald worked with the Faculty of Arts, Agricultural Sciences, Law and many others to develop and implement Indigenous projects on campus.
At the national level, Archibald co-led the Accord on Indigenous Education in 2010, a groundbreaking collaboration to improve Indigenous education in Canada. At the international level, she helped establish a formal relationship between UBC and the University of Auckland in New Zealand, where she served as director for the International Research Institute for Maori and Indigenous Education.
Archibald is the author of Indigenous Storywork: Educating the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit published by UBC Press in 2008. She also served as editor of the Canadian Journal of Native Education.
In 2000, Archibald won a National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Education and an AERA (American Education Research Association) Scholars of Color Distinguished Career Contribution Award in 2013.
Joan Palmantier Gentles, O.B.C., BEd '80
Leader and educator, Joan Gentles has made a significant contribution through many different roles over the course of her career, including rodeo judge. Well-known in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Coast communities, Gentles has a deep and meaningful impact on the lives of many of the region’s residents.
A member of the Toosey Band, Gentles was the first Aboriginal courtworker in the Williams Lake area. She played an instrumental role in sensitizing the courts, lawyers, and law enforcement officials to justice issues among Aboriginal people.
She went on to earn a Bachelor of Education from the Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP) at the University of British Columbia in 1980, after which she became Aboriginal education coordinator of the Cariboo-Chilcotin School District. In 1994, Gentles advanced to director of instruction for the First Nations department of the school board.
Working in remote areas, her career as an educator also included counselling for victims of family violence or sexual abuse and delivering workshops on alcohol abuse awareness. Outside of the classroom, she taught ceremonial dancing and shared parenting skills with teenagers and adults. A member of a distinguished Cariboo rodeo family, Gentles actively competed in rodeos, and was the first certified female rodeo judge in British Columbia.
In 1992, she was appointed to the Order of BC for her community contributions. For her long-standing service to Aboriginal communities, Gentles received a special tribute at the International Women’s Day dinner at Thompson Rivers University in 2012. She was also named Williams Lake Citizen of the Year and received a BC Rodeo Lifetime Achievement Award.
John Chenoweth, BEd '94
Educator and member of the Okanagan Nation, John Chenoweth has devoted himself to Aboriginal education at both the K-12 and the post-secondary levels for over 20 years. He teaches Aboriginal youth that everyone can be a leader, have a voice, and take ownership over his or her own life.
Chenoweth received his Bachelor of Education in 1994 from the Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP) at the University of British Columbia. Later on he returned to UBC as a doctoral candidate in education. His doctoral research critically examines educational transition among Aboriginal adults. He considers specifically those adults who failed to complete high school, then go on to earn a secondary school diploma or equivalent, and later advance to post-secondary college education.
Aligned with the broad themes of his research, Chenoweth co-established Steps Forward, a program dedicated to helping people with special needs make the transition out of high school to post-secondary institutions. In 2012, he was recognized with the National Inclusive Education Award by the British Columbia Association for Community Living (now Inclusion BC).
Chenoweth held positions as an elementary school principal and as district principal for First Nations education. He is currently dean of community education and applied programs at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT), Canada’s only provincially-funded Aboriginal post-secondary institution.
Over the course of his career, Chenoweth participated in three distinct strategies to improve Aboriginal success in the education system. He explored the need for more Aboriginal teachers within BC through First Nations steering committee projects. He advocated for promotion of Aboriginal educators into roles of leadership, such as school principals and district administrators. Additionally, he lobbied for and continues to expand programs at NVIT.
John David Nicks, BEd '98, MEd '02
Educator specializing in gifted learners and drama, John David Nicks earned both his Bachelor of Education in 1998 and Master of Education in 2002 at the University of British Columbia.
Nicks’ interest and research in gifted education has enabled him to change lives in the classroom and enable life-long success in the lives of his students. Nicks co-founded the Hamber Studium Libertatis, also known as “the Studio,” a non-traditional curriculum geared toward gifted students. The program seeks to empower and assist students, and provide mentorship. Since its inception, the Studio’s students came in first place provincially and seventh place nationally in the academic quiz competition Reach For The Top; earned second and first place at Vancouver Writers Fest in 2013 and 2014, respectively. They have competed against university students in programming competitions, studied nanotechnology alongside UBC researchers and created a student trustee position with the Vancouver School Board.
Nicks’ investment in empowering his students to love learning and see the value they have in their communities is building community leaders each year. Testimonials from students are lengthy and numerous speaking to the success that he has enabled in their lives. Accolades for Nicks are seen in the awards and success of his inspired students.
Nicks teaches senior theatre, and is the driving force behind each year’s musical production. He invests himself in every part of the show, coaching students in acting, stagecraft, and even assisting with the accompanying orchestral arrangements. He was a recipient of UBC Faculty of Education’s Alumni Teacher Award in 2015.
Dr. John Dennison, BPE '59, MPE '60
Educator and researcher, John Dennison is Emeritus Professor of Higher Education at the University of British Columbia who has extensively consulted on issues relating to postsecondary education across the globe.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Physical Education in 1959 and Masters in Physical Education in 1960. In 1967, Dennison earned his Doctorate in Education and immediately joined the UBC Department of Higher Education, where he served as an educator and researcher for over thirty years.
While at UBC, Dennison spent more than twenty years on the University Senate, authored and co-authored four books on community colleges in Canada, and published over 100 articles. He was crucial to increasing access to postsecondary education in British Columbia and expanding the system of community colleges. He later spent seven years as co-chair of the British Columbia Council on Admissions and Transfer, the body governing the mobility of students between postsecondary institutions, and consulted for the Auditor General’s review of Advanced Education in BC.
In 2000, Dennison was named Millennium Professor of Higher Education by the American Association of Professors of Community College Education. He has received the UBC President’s Award for Excellence, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education Distinguished Educator Award, and the Distinguished Member Award of the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education.
Joy Fera, BRE '72
Canadian Olympian and medal-winner, Joy Fera inspired community sport initiatives in British Columbia for over four decades.
Graduating in 1972, Fera earned her Bachelor of Recreation Education from the University of British Columbia. During her time there, she competed on the UBC Alpine and Cross Country Ski Teams, and volunteered on the UBC Women’s Athletic Directorate as ski team manager and a member of the executive.
In 1976, Fera competed at the Olympics in Montreal as part of Canada’s rowing team, and took home bronze in the 1977 and 1978 World Rowing Championships. Her contributions to the Olympics are numerous: she served as member of the board of Olympians BC from 1998 to 2006, and the committee for the Olympic Academy of Canada, hosted at UBC, in 2008.
Through volunteer and recreation work, Fera’s contributions routinely enriched the lives of those in her community, and many across the province. As co-founder of the Delta Deas Rowing Club, she organized a Scholastic Regatta for children from the Lower Mainland. She expanded its reach to include clubs from BC Interior and Washington state.
As a leading athlete and community volunteer, Fera’s contributions have been recognized by many organizations. She is the recipient of the 2014 In Her Footsteps Award from ProMotion Plus for the advancement of girls and women in sport, and was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. In 2015, she was inducted into the Canada Games Hall of Honour.
Judy Rogers, BRE '71
Acclaimed city administrator and public official, Judy Rogers has steered some of BC’s largest governmental organizations.
Rogers received her Bachelor of Recreation Education from the University of British Columbia in 1971. Rogers has maintained an active presence at UBC as a member of the President’s Strategic Advisory Council and chair of the UBC Alumni Association. She contributes to the Twenty-8 Club, which raises money for female varsity athletes.
Rogers was the first woman to be city manager for the City of Vancouver, holding that post from 1999 to 2008. It was under her leadership that Vancouver won the right to host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. After leaving the city manager’s post and a 25-year tenure with the city, Rogers served on the board of the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC). Rogers was named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network for five straight years, 2003 to 2007.
Since the Games, Rogers has become a valued addition to many corporate boards. She currently chairs the board of directors for BC Assessment and is a member of the Local Government Management Association for BC. In recent years, she headed the Institute of Public Administrators of Canada and chaired the board of Lift Philanthropic Partners, a venture philanthropy organization that works to maximize the efficiency and impact of charitable organizations.
Rogers received the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Excellence in Public Service, and two United Nations Public Service Awards. The first UN award was for establishing Vancouver’s Neighbourhood Integrated Service Teams, which bring together disparate city departments and outside agencies to resolve neighborhood disputes. The second award was for the Vancouver Agreement, a tripartite agreement between municipal, provincial and federal governments critical toward revitalizing Vancouver’s downtown eastside.
Dr. Judy Halbert, MEd '90
Educator and leader, Judy Halbert is dedicated to social change, and has made great strides in educational innovation, leadership, and aboriginal enhancement programs in BC.
She serves as co-director of the Centre for Innovative Educational Leadership at Vancouver Island University, co-leader of Networks of Inquiry and Innovation, and co-leader of the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network in British Columbia. Halbert is the Canadian representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development international research program on Innovative Learning Environments. She worked intensively with school leadership groups in Canada, Wales, England, and Australia, and is an active member of the International Congress of School Effectiveness and Improvement.
Halbert received her Masters of Education at the University of British Columbia in 1990 before moving on to earn her Doctor of Education in 1997. For both degrees, she specialized in educational leadership and administration. She has had a strong influence within the BC Ministry of Education over the course of her career, she served as a teacher, principal, district leader, and senior policy advisor to the province. In addition to her leadership initiatives, Halbert co-authored three very successful books: Spirals of Inquiry, Leadership Mindsets: Innovation and Learning in the Transformation of Schools, and Leading Professional Inquiry (in press).
Her contributions were recognized in 2005 with the Distinguished Service Award from the BC School Superintendents’ Association, for outstanding contributions to public education.
Justin Borsato, BHK '99, BEd '00
Engaged leader in working with First Nations and at-risk youth, Justin Borsato is an elementary school teacher in east Vancouver whose work is recognized widely, including by his alma mater. Borsato graduated from University of British Columbia’s Bachelor of Education program in 2000 after completing a Bachelor of Human Kinetics in 1999. Currently an educator with Vancouver’s Britannia Elementary School, he teaches Grade 7. In 2012, Borsato was selected from among 40 nominees to earn the first-ever UBC Alumni Teacher Award for his work in the Vancouver community and his “commitment to giving students every possible learning opportunity.”
Inside the classroom, Borsato engages students using a variety of unorthodox academic techniques and innovative projects. He has engaged students in projects where they design their own civilizations, complete with maps, climates, economic systems, governments and religious beliefs. Another innovative teaching technique included creating a “Greek newspaper,” which featured Letters to the Editor, crosswords, horoscopes, obituaries and classifieds.
Outside the classroom, Borsato has dedicated his own time to chaperone weeklong trips for students who had never left their home town. He raised over $10,000 annually for various charitable efforts and coached the HEROES hockey program, which offers free hockey to underprivileged kids in east Vancouver. Borsato worked with UBC students during their reading weeks to pair them with his own students as part of a successful mentorship program. Finally, he developed and maintained a partnership with the DAREarts charity program in Toronto to encourage student interest in the arts, and championed efforts at Britannia for LGBTQ rights.
Justin Trudeau, BEd '98
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a career of public service in the volunteer sector and in politics.
Trudeau completed a Bachelor of Education in 1998 at UBC. After graduation, he taught French and math at West Point Grey Academy, and later at Winston Churchill Secondary School in Vancouver. Between 2002 and 2006, Trudeau served as chair of Katimavik, a national volunteer service program for Canadians aged 17 to 21 who are placed in communities across the country.
Trudeau was recruited by the federal Liberals in 2006 to become chair of the party’s Task Force on Youth Renewal. One year later, he decided to enter elected politics, running successfully for the party in a by-election in Papineau, Quebec. He served as the Liberals’ critic for multiculturalism and youth, as well as youth citizenship and immigration, before being named party leader in 2013. In two years as leader, Trudeau has attended over 1,200 events in more than 155 cities and communities.
Outside of politics, Trudeau has been an advocate on several issues. In addition to the cause of youth, Trudeau has championed mountain safety. He and his family started the Kokanee Glacier Alpine Campaign for winter sports safety in 2000, two years after his brother died in an avalanche during a ski trip. He is also a strong voice for responsible environmental stewardship and resource development in Canada’s north.
Kevin Kaiser, BEd '02, MEd '09
Consultant and educator, Kevin Kaiser is known as a role model and advocate for the Okanagan’s Indigenous youth.
Kaiser graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Education in 2002 and Masters of Educational Technology in 2009. He taught in Ontario briefly, then moved back to BC and began teaching in the Central Okanagan School District. He earned the Premier’s Award for Teaching Excellence for developing First Nations English 9.
As a K-12 Aboriginal education resource educator and consultant, he served on the committee to develop the Central Okanagan School District’s second Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement. The agreement’s goal is to match Aboriginal student achievement with non-Aboriginal students, and to develop students’ physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional abilities. To support these aims, Kaiser invited Indigenous authors and presenters into his classroom to serve as role models for his students and to build connection between youth and the wider Aboriginal community. He likewise introduced a mentorship program for Indigenous youth in the district, and developed free workshops for the Okanagan community on cultural sensitivity and the unique needs of Indigenous learners.
In 2013 and 2014, Kaiser co-authored the annual Aboriginal Education reports for the school district. The reports celebrate Aboriginal students’ achievements as valedictorians, science fair winners, academic stars, and spiritual leaders. Under his leadership and modelling, his students took the creative lead on a number of community events, including “Warriors for Change,” a 24-hour drum-in to raise awareness of Aboriginal education.
Kimberley Ondrik, BEd '88
Educator, Kimberley Ondrik is a Vernon-based public school teacher who has spent her career building a supportive and caring classroom environment inclusive of all learners.
Ondrik earned a Bachelor of Special Education from UBC in 1988. While working at Brentwood Park Elementary in Burnaby, BC, Ondrik piloted the full inclusion of students with special needs into her classroom. She later became a district resource teacher and worked alongside the director of special education, teachers and parents to develop a system of best practices to meet student needs.
Ondrik designed and taught courses at Kwantlen University College and Douglas College examining the emerging challenges of increasingly diverse classrooms, and teaching budding educators and educational assistants on how to best meet them. Most recently she co-authored chapters in two books on inclusive education, participated in education think tanks with UBC Okanagan and is a member of the BC Ministry of Education’s Innovation Partnership Development Team. Ondrik helped establish two innovative public school programs and one independent school with curricula designed by teachers and the students themselves. She is co-founder and teacher at the Vernon Community School in the Vernon School District while writing her master's thesis on "lived curriculum" at UBC Okanagan.
Dr. Kit Grauer, BEd '74, MA '78
Award-winning academic at the forefront of Canadian art education, Kit Grauer is a prolific researcher and educator in the areas of new media, art and museum education.
Grauer’s academic path began at the University of British Columbia, where she received her Bachelor of Education in 1974 and Master of Education in 1978. She retired from UBC in 2013 and is currently Professor Emerita of Art Education. Grauer remains involved in art education organizations at local, national, and international levels with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She currently serves as Principal Investigator on research into community-based new media education.
Her unrelenting passion for arts-based research has driven her contributions in art curriculum and instruction, and international issues in art, instructor and museum education. Among her many professional engagements over the last ten years, she has developed and instructed summer teacher institutes for the Vancouver Art Gallery and UBC Museum of Anthropology.
Grauer has left a lasting impact in her field and has been recognized with many awards. She won multiple educator of the year awards from the BC Art Teachers’ Association, Canadian Society for Education through Art, National Art Education Association, and United States Society for Education through Art; she been awarded the UBC Killam Teaching Excellence Award and Sam Black Award for Education and Development in the Arts; and her research has been recognized with the George Cedric Metcalf Foundation Award for Excellence in Research. Most recently, she has been made an honorary lifetime member of the Canadian Society for Education through Art, alongside honorary lifetime membership to the International Society for Education through Art.
Kit Krieger, BA '72, Professional Ed. Cert '73
Educator, union officer and administrator, Kit Krieger has worked for more than four decades. He graduated with a BA (History) from UBC in 1971 and with a professional certificate in secondary education in 1973. Krieger taught Social Studies in West Vancouver schools from 1974 to 2000 with intervals spent serving as president of the West Vancouver Teachers’ Association, on staff with the BCTF and as President of the BCTF (1997-99). He was awarded Honorary Life Membership in the BCTF in 2008. From 2004-07 Krieger served on the Council of the BC College of Teachers and was the fourth and final Registrar of the College from 2009 to 2011. He was a relentless advocate for teacher professionalism and the right to professional self-regulation. During his time with the BCTF, he was involved with international programs supporting Cuban educators. In 2012 he assumed the position as Executive Director of the BC Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association, which advances the professional interests of the province’s 2,400 school-based administrators.
Krieger received the Meyer and Gita Kron Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education from the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. Over more than three decades he has spoken to thousands of students and educators about the Holocaust. Krieger’s other passion is baseball. He pitched for the Vancouver Mounties of the Pacific Coast League in 1968 and is the founder of Cubaball He is known for his support for veteran Cuban ballplayers and his advocacy on behalf of Conrado Marrero, to receive a major league pension.
Dr. Kristina Llewellyn, PhD '06
Author and public intellectual, Kristina Llewellyn broke new ground in the study of gender equality, oral history, and the history of education. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia in 2006.
In 2012, she authored Democracy's Angels: The Work of Women Teachers, a book based on her award-winning UBC dissertation. It was the first-ever examination of the limits of educational democracy for women educators in the history of Canadian schooling. The Canadian Oral History Reader, which she co-edited and published in 2015, is the first primer on oral history scholarship ever produced in Canada.
She is the author of dozens of journal articles and conference papers, as well as seven refereed book chapters. One of her articles was awarded a 2012 Outstanding Publication in Curriculum Studies from the Canadian Association of Curriculum Studies. A book to which she contributed a chapter was recognized with a Critics’ Choice Award from the American Educational Studies Association.
In 2015 Llewellyn won the Marion Dewar Prize of the Canadian Historical Association, given to an outstanding scholar in the area of women's history. Her award citation noted the strength of her research, teaching, and administrative work.
Now an associate professor of social development studies, she has spoken at more than 20 national and international conferences during her career, and currently serves as president of the Canadian History of Education Association.
Lee Eisler, BEd '74
Celebrated Canadian athlete, artist and educator, Lee Eisler was the nation’s number-one long jumper before she was 20 years old.
Earning her Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia in 1974, Eisler was a varsity track and field champion, setting the BC record for senior women’s long jump in 1971, a record that held for over 30 years. Over the course of her athletic career, Eisler set records at UBC and at the national level. As an internationally decorated athlete, she won bronze at the 1969 Pacific Conference Games and 1975 World Student Games, gold at the 1971 Pan American Games, and silver at the 1974 Commonwealth Games. In 1972, she proudly represented Canada as a long jumper and a member of the 400 meter relay team in the Munich Summer Olympics.
At the age of 24, following a wave of athletic accomplishments, she discovered a passion for dance and moved to New York to pursue it as a career. This move began her evolution into the critically-acclaimed dancer, choreographer, artist, and storyteller. In 1984, Lee Eisler and Nelson Gray co-founded a dance theatre company Jumpstart Performance and established a history of work in new opera, interdisciplinary art, and dance theatre. Over the last three decades, they have produced some of the West Coast’s most notable theatrical movement art.
Teaching has been at the heart of Lee’s pursuits and she has been a lecturer in dance at Simon Fraser University and a professor in theatre at California State Long Beach. Today Lee has taken her passion for teaching, theater and storytelling into the business world of Silicon Valley where she teaches ‘Finding Your Authentic Voice’ and ‘Improv-ability for Business’ at Stanford University. Through her company Presence Delivered she coaches high level individuals and teams in the business world of technology, wealth management, construction, sustainable foods, fashion and design.
Leslie Johnstone, BSc '81, MEd '07
Author, educator and community leader, Leslie Johnstone has been inspiring science interest and curiosity in Point Grey Secondary School (PGSS) students for nearly three decades. Her own love of science is evident in the more than 60 books she has written with co-author Shar Levine that make science interesting and accessible to young people.
With titles like The Icky, Sticky and Gross Fascinating Factbook, and Dirty Science, winner of the Canadian Science Writers Association Youth Book Award, Johnstone and Levine's books sold more than two million copies worldwide and were translated into several languages.
Now acting vice-principal, Johnstone has taught science at PGSS since 1988 and headed the science department since 2002. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia in 1981 and worked at UBC as a researcher and sessional lecturer in the Departments of Anatomy and Zoology. In 2007, she completed her Masters of Education in the joint program between Curriculum Studies, and Educational Administration and Leadership.
She is a sought-after science speaker and workshop presenter, and an active school and community volunteer. Johnstone served as advisor, treasurer, and chairperson to the board of the Alpha Omicron Pi Vancouver alumnae chapter, the sorority she joined while a student at UBC. She was an active member of the BC Science Teachers’ Association, acting as organizer of the annual conference and editor of its journal. Johnstone also lent a hand to advancement at UBC, co-chairing a fundraising event and book launch for the Electron Microscope Laboratory.
Through her teaching and writing, Johnstone has inspired a love of science that has been recognized with the Eve Savory Award for Science Communications, the Contributions for Science Education Award, the Elizabeth Heywood Wyman Award and the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology Award. Her interest and teachings have influenced many young girls to pursue their interest in science.
The Honorable Linda Reid, BEd '82, MA '87
Member of the Legislative Assembly of BC, Linda Reid is the longest-serving member, marking 24 years of public service focused on improving child welfare and education.
Reid earned a Bachelor of Education in 1982 at the University of British Columbia, returning to complete a Master of Arts in 1987. For her master’s degree, she specialized in education, exceptional learners, language acquisition and public administration.
In 1991, she was elected to her first of six terms representing the riding of Richmond East on behalf of the BC Liberal Party. She held multiple roles as critic for the official opposition during the 1990s, including the portfolios of health, and children and families.
After the election of Premier Gordon Campbell, she served as minister of state for early childhood development from 2001 to 2005, and as minister of state for childcare from 2005 to 2009. In 2002, she created an individualized funding model for children with autism spectrum disorder. The same year, she rolled out the BC Early Childhood Development Legacy Fund, which supported community initiatives for children under six.
Reid became deputy speaker in 2009, and was unanimously elected in 2013 as speaker of the BC Legislative Assembly. As speaker, she presides over all debate in the house of parliament, ensuring that established rules of behaviour and procedure are followed.
As the ongoing 2014-2015 volunteer lieutenant-governor of the BC Youth Parliament, Reid encourages youth to take a more active role in shaping democracy. Increasing the number of young voters is of particular interest to Reid in this role.
Reid's commitment to public service has been recognized by three commemorative medals. These include the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal in 1992, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Dr. Linda Kaser, MEd '75
Educator, administrator, and senior policy advisor, Linda Kaser is a champion of innovation in public education.
Kaser earned her Master of Education in Curriculum and Supervision from the University of British Columbia in 1975. From there, she held posts in the Vancouver, Richmond, and Mission school districts: as curriculum consultant, teacher, vice principal, and ultimately principal of elementary and secondary schools in Mission. In 1996, she completed a doctorate in educational leadership with a dissertation on caring school communities.
Kaser advanced to become Mission’s director of K-12 instruction and provincial coordinator for early school success and district improvement. In 2003, she was appointed lead director of achievement, school, and district improvement for the BC Ministry of Education. This gave her a province-wide mandate to create effective, innovative learning environments. She became co-director of the Network of Performance-Based Schools in BC, the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network, and the Centre for Innovative Educational Leadership at Vancouver Island University.
Expanding her leadership internationally, Kaser assumed a post with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as a member of the International Team for Innovative Learning Environments. She served as board member and co-chair of the International Congress of School Effectiveness and Improvement, and travelled to develop leadership programs at schools abroad.
The reach of Kaser’s contributions extend to published works. Her co-authored book Leadership Mindsets: Innovation and Learning in the Transformation of Schools is used extensively as a guide for educational leadership, while Spirals of Inquiry assists educators in strategies to shift their thinking and practice. First published in 2013, Spirals is in its eighth printing just two years later.
In 2006, Kaser received a Distinguished Leadership Service Award from the BC School Superintendents’ Association for her outstanding contributions to public education.
Dr. Madeleine MacIvor, BEd '87, MA '93, EdD '12
Educator Madeleine MacIvor was among 11 Aboriginal doctoral students to graduate from the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education in 2012. It was the largest group of Aboriginal students to graduate with doctoral degrees from any Canadian university education faculty in one year. MacIvor graduated from the Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP) at UBC with a Bachelor of Education in 1987. For her master’s degree in 1993, she described how science and technology education was used in the 1800s to undermine Indigenous peoples’ belief systems and organizational structures, while at the same time promoting Christianity and Victorian work values. Subsequently, MacIvor became interested in incorporating Aboriginal perspectives into school science. Her 1995 work, Redefining Science Education for Aboriginal Students is still cited in discussions of Indigenous science education.
Turning her analytical lens to more recent times, her doctoral dissertation provided a crucial record of changes in Aboriginal post-secondary education policy in BC from 1986 to 2011.
MacIvor, now retired, began working at UBC in 1989. Her roles included First Nations coordinator for the Faculty of Forestry, coordinator of student services for the First Nations House of Learning (FNHL), and later FNHL’s associate and acting director. Early in her career, she developed a summer science program for Aboriginal students that continues to run annually at UBC. During her time in the Faculty of Forestry, she encouraged and supported Aboriginal students, and improved enrolment and retention.
MacIvor received UBC’s Harry E. Taylor Canadian Indigenous Graduate Prize in Education in 2005. Five years later, she received UBC’s Jean Barman Prize in Indigenous Education. In 2011 she received a Doctorate of Letters, honoris causa from the University of the Fraser Valley for her work in Aboriginal education.
Manuel Sobral, BPE '92, BEd '93
Champion boxer, passionate educator, and promoter of athletic charities, Manuel Sobral has had an important influence on the sport of boxing in British Columbia and Canada.
Starting as an amateur boxer at the age of 20, he soon began representing Canada at international competitions, and has since brought home five gold medals. His hard work repeatedly placed him among the top boxers in the country, ranking three times as Canadian Amateur Champion. Following these successes, Sobral competed as part of the Canadian national team in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea.
After the Olympics, Sobral enrolled at the University of British Columbia, where he completed his Bachelor of Physical Education in 1992 and his Bachelor of Education in 1993. At the age of 25 he began his career as an educator in the Burnaby public school system. During this time, he continued his boxing career and rose to the top of Canadian professional boxing as Canadian Super Welterweight champion from 1996 to 1998.
Sobral consistently ranked among the top 10 boxers in the world during the 1990’s and fought some of the world’s best welterweights. He retired from professional boxing with a record of 29–2 at the age of 34, and went on to coach up-and-coming boxers in Vancouver. Today, he promotes charity athletic events in Vancouver, such as the World Police and Fire Fighter Games boxing events, and serves as a mentor and boxing coach to at-risk youth through the Boys Club Network.
Between Sobral’s record of community service, coaching activities, and his status as one of the country’s greatest boxers, he helped elevate the sport of boxing within Canada and redefine what it means to be a world-class athlete.
Dr. Margo Greenwood, PhD '09
Indigenous scholar of Cree ancestry, Margo Greenwood is internationally recognized for her work with Indigenous children. Greenwood has worked as a front-line caregiver of early childhood education services, and passes on her knowledge by designing early childhood curricula, programs, evaluations, and through teaching the next generation of early childhood educators. In recent years, Greenwood has focussed her work on public health and knowledge translation.
In 2009, Greenwood received her PhD from the University of British Columbia. Her dissertation focused on Indigenous early childhood and the potential for education to rebuild Indigenous identity and community. Over the course of her career, she has served with provincial, national, and international groups, including UNICEF, the United Nations, and the Canadian Council on Social Determinants of Health, Public Health Network of Canada, and the Canadian Institute of Health Research, specifically, the Institute for Aboriginal Peoples Health. In recognition of her years of service in early childhood education, Greenwood received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. In 2010, in acknowledgement of her ground-breaking work on Aboriginal health for UNICEF, Greenwood was named ‘Academic of the Year’ by the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia (CUFA BC), and in the following year, she was honoured with the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Education.
In addition to her teaching duties as a full professor of both First Nations Studies and Education, she is Vice-President of Aboriginal Health for the Northern Health Authority and Academic Leader of the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health.
Marilyn Pomfret, BPE '54
Award-winning athlete and university administrator, Marilyn Pomfret has been a leading force for girls and women’s athletics in British Columbia.
Pomfret arrived at the University of British Columbia in 1951 as a volleyball and basketball athlete. She earned the Intramural Block award in her second year and was elected to the Physical Education Undergraduate Society executive for 1952-53 school year. As president of the Women’s Athletic Directorate, she created and organized several women’s sporting events. Also while at UBC, she was a member on UBC’s Women’s Undergraduate Society council and in her last year, a member of the UBC students’ council. Pomfret graduated in 1954 with a Bachelor of Physical Education.
She taught high school for nine years before returning to UBC in 1963 to teach, coach and serve as women’s athletic director from 1963 to 1969 and again from 1972 to 1986.
As director, she successfully lobbied for better funding for women’s athletics and presided over an era where the Thunderbirds dominated in track and field, basketball, swimming, diving, and field hockey. As coach of the Thunderbirds volleyball team, her squad won two national titles.
Pomfret established the Canadian Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Union. She served as its first president, and later helped amalgamate it with the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union, now Canadian Interuniversity Sport. After retirement, Pomfret received the CIAU Austin-Matthews Award for outstanding contribution to the development of university sport in Canada and the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award. In 2004, Pomfret was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
Dr. Mary Joan Moran, BEd '90, MEd '02, EdD '08
Educator, researcher and community activist, Mary Joan Moran is a Vancouver elementary school teacher who has had a significant impact on students in and outside the classroom.
Moran earned her Bachelor of Education in 1990, Master of Education in 2002, and a Doctor of Education in 2008 from the University of British Columbia. In 2015, she received the UBC Faculty of Education Alumni Teacher Award, honouring alumni who have had an exceptional impact on the lives of their students and learning communities.
For over 22 years, Moran taught at Begbie Elementary School and currently teaches Grades 6 and 7. Moran serves as head teacher, chair of the Professional Development Committee, and chair of the Staff Committee. In her classroom, Moran promotes cooperative rather than competitive learning: she allows her students to work as a team and develop interpersonal skills alongside academic ones.
Moran finds ways to bring local, national and international social learning into the classroom. In recent years, her class participated in TakingITGlobal, a charitable non-governmental organization that promotes awareness and engagement on global issues among youth. She spearheaded multiple initiatives to bring artists-in-residence into her school, allowing students to take part in dramatic productions and art projects while fostering ties to the wider community. She organizes field trips to provide her students with experiences that would otherwise be out of reach, including ski lessons, boat trips and camping excursions.
The impact of Moran’s work extends to future generations of teachers. She has given workshops for the BC Teachers’ Federation and lectured at UBC. Her doctoral dissertation is frequently used by UBC’s Department of Educational Studies to coach young teachers on the need for a creative, critically reflective learning process. Currently, Moran is mentoring her 17th teacher candidate.
Dr. Masahiro Minami, MA '08, PhD '14
Psychologist, Masahiro Minami is a leader in therapy, conflict mediation, and reconciliation. His goal as a postdoctoral fellow with UBC Education’s Peace Action Research program is to help survivors of war, and those who tried to kill them, foster peace through relationship building.
Minami pursued graduate studies in counselling psychology at UBC, earning a Master of Arts in 2008 and a PhD in 2014. In addition to his fellowship with UBC’s Peace Action Research program, Minami is the founder and co-director of the university’s Globe in Peace Project. He is also a certified Morita Therapist registered with the Japanese Society for Morita Therapy. Morita Therapy is an ecological, purpose-centred and response-oriented therapy created through case-based research by the late Japanese psychiatrist Shoma Morita.
Minami’s research focus took shape after observing the pain of war survivors while backpacking through war-torn countries such as Israel, Palestine, Ukraine, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia & Herzegovina. He began his research in a village in Rwanda in 2009, where he witnessed an intervention called forgiveness-based reconciliation. During this process, perpetrators of genocide begged the forgiveness of survivors. However, being relentlessly asked to forgive placed great pressure on the survivors, increasing their anguish and making true forgiveness impossible. Minami considered alternative strategies and developed a model he named the Action-Based Psycho-Social Reconciliation Approach, or ABPRA. Following ABPRA, perpetrators of conflict offer to demonstrate remorse by working for survivors in an effort to achieve meaningful interaction.
His research interests include group dynamics for effective mediation, inter-group conflict resolution, and community psychosocial reconciliation in post-war contexts. Minami is the co-founder and a current director of the Prison Fellowship Rwanda-Morita Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Research. For his work in psychosocial reconciliation and peace building, Minami received the prestigious Junior Scholar Award from the JSMT.
Dr. Mathabo Tsepa, PhD '08
Mathabo Tsepa has devoted her life to improving food security, agricultural sustainability, access to clean water, and sanitation facilities for the people of Lesotho.
Driven by passion for ecological sustainability and social responsibility, Tsepa founded Mohoma Temeng, a farmer’s cooperative, in her home district of Qacha’s Nek in southern Lesotho in 2004. The cooperative was established to address food insecurity and socio-economic challenges caused by HIV/AIDS. Among these challenges is orphaning of children by HIV/AIDS, which is especially near to Tsepa’s heart, having herself been raised an orphan.
Through Mohoma Temeng, she formed a partnership between Lesotho with Canada to support local agriculture programs and clean-water initiatives. In collaboration with the UBC Go Global Programme, Tsepa arranged to send UBC engineering students to Qacha’s Nek to participate in the building of ventilated latrines. Not only did the project improve sanitation facilities, it also significantly decreased community risk of waterborne diseases by reducing contamination of the local water supply.
Earning her PhD in Environmental Education from the University of British Columbia in 2008, Tsepa returned to her native Lesotho, where she was subsequently appointed High Commissioner to Canada in 2010, and served in this position until 2016. She continues to advance the exchange of cutting-edge research, ideas, and policies about place management through a cultural exchange program between the National University of Lesotho and the University of British Columbia.
She was also an Ambassador of Lesotho to Cuba, and the High Commissioner of Lesotho to Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Dr. May Brown, C.M., O.B.C., MPE '61, LLD '87
Leader in sport and outdoor recreation, May Brown made significant contributions to the University of British Columbia and Canada over a career spanning more than 60 years.
Brown taught physical education at University of British Columbia from 1947 until 1955, and went on to earn her Master of Physical Education in 1961. As the coach of the women’s field hockey team, she instilled a sense of team loyalty and accountability that continues to the present day. In her honour, UBC created the May Brown Trophy for the graduating female athlete of the year.
In 2000, Brown received a UBC Alumni Achievement Award, and was inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 for her contributions to the sport of field hockey. She was recognized for her ability to motivate her players earning their respect and admiration. Brown maintained a strong connection to UBC athletics, serving as member of the UBC Sports Hall of Fame Selection Committee and UBC Athletics Council, and through ongoing support of the Big Block Club and women’s field hockey team.
Brown also had a distinguished political career; she was motivated to join politics in part by the poor state of Vancouver’s playing fields. She was elected to the Vancouver Park Board and served as city councillor for ten years. Her love of the outdoors and physical activity drew her to appointments on board of directors of the YWCA, the Canadian Camping Association, the National Advisory Council of Fitness and Amateur Sport, and the Victoria Commonwealth Games Society.
In 1986, she was appointed to Member of the Order of Canada. In 1993, Brown was inducted into the Order of British Columbia for her model community involvement, “her contributions over the years, in teaching, physical education, sports and public service are a matter of record to British Columbia.”
Dr. Michel Tarko, PhD '02
Leader in the post-secondary education in BC, Michel Tarko has a particular interest in community, public safety training, and building partnerships with business and industry.
Métis from the Cree Nation, Tarko studied criminology and psychiatric nursing in Manitoba before coming to the University of British Columbia to pursue a PhD in Education in Curriculum and Instruction. He graduated in 2002, at which point his academic career took him to leadership roles at Douglas College, where he served as dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. He later served as vice-president for the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) from 2009 to 2012. In 2012, the JIBC Board of Governors appointed Tarko to a five-year term as president and chief executive officer.
In his current role, Tarko led the development of the new JIBC 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, and strengthened partnerships between JIBC and other public post-secondary educational institutions across Canada and internationally. He created opportunities for student and faculty exchanges, joint research initiatives on public and community safety, and worked with business and industry to find solutions to key public priorities.
Tarko is a member of the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of British Columbia. He serves as vice-chair of the board of directors for the Post-Secondary Employers Association, and is on the board of directors for Colleges and Institutes Canada, a national association representing 95 community colleges, institutes and polytechnic teaching universities. Internationally, Tarko serves on two international boards: European Psychiatric Nursing Board and the Neuman Systems Model of Nursing, President, Executive Committee.
He currently sits on the External Advisory Board for the Dean of the UBC Faculty of Education.
Nathan Matthew, BPE '72, MEd '90
Strategist, negotiator, and spokesperson for First Nations peoples, Nathan Matthew has focused on quality education for Aboriginal people for more than 35 years. He is a leader in the local, provincial, and national dialogue on self-determination for Aboriginal education.
Matthew received a Bachelor of Physical Education and Recreation in 1972 and a Master of Education in 1990 from the University of British Columbia. He served as chief of the Simpcw First Nation for 17 years and also served two terms as chairman of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council. He was instrumental in the development of the Secwepemc Fisheries Commission and the Secwepemc Cultural Education Society.
For eight years, Matthew represented the First Nations Education Council (School District 73), a consultative body he helped found. From 2008 to 2014, he served as the first executive director of Aboriginal education at Thompson Rivers University, and for 20 years, he directed a summer course on principals of First Nations education at UBC.
As a political negotiator, Matthew played a key role in the passage of the landmark Tripartite Education Framework Agreement between the federal and provincial governments. A historic agreement, it paved the way for First Nations self-government in education by guaranteeing to First Nations schools the same rights as other educational institutions. Related to this work, he served as chair of the chief’s committee on the National Education Committee for the Assembly of First Nations and advisor to the BC First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) and the First Nations Schools Association (FNSA).
Noble Kelly, BEd '91
President and founder of Education Beyond Borders, Noble Kelly has dedicated his life to advancing education in developing countries.
Kelly earned his Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia in 1991, and later completed a post-baccalaureate diploma in Information Technology. He taught high-school students for nearly 25 years in West Vancouver and Abbotsford, and served as a mentor and trainer for the Simon Fraser University Educational Technology Post-Baccalaureate program. He was an active member of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation Committee for Action on Social Justice, and in particular on two of its sub-committees, the LGBTQ and the Global Education action group.
Through the Global Education action group, he facilitated workshops to local educators, grounded in his international development experience from South Africa, Ethiopia, Guyana, Tanzania, and Kenya. Kelly pursued his goal to increase global access to high-quality education. In 2007, he founded Education Beyond Borders (EBB), an international non-governmental organization to assist disadvantaged educators and students in Canada and around the world.
EBB develops trainings and creates professional growth opportunities for educators in Canada, South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania. It works both systemically and strategically to reform education, guided by the philosophy that if you change an educator, you change each and every student they educate. Within five years of its founding, Education Beyond Borders sent an estimated 40 educators to over 1,000 educators in developing countries, and continues to expand its reach.
Patricia Shields, BEd '76, MEd '87
Educator, librarian, administrator, and consultant, Patricia Shields is known for her leadership and dedication to public education during her 30-year career with the Vancouver School Board.
Shields received her Bachelor of Education in 1976 and her Master of Education in 1987 from the University of British Columbia. She pioneered a leadership development program for the Vancouver School Board that became a model for BC school districts.
As the provincial manager of The Learning Partnership’s Welcome to Kindergarten program, Shields supports kindergarten children on their path to educational success. The program engages parents to make early learning a priority in the home to prepare children for their first year of school. With her guidance, the program has grown from a Vancouver pilot project to an established program in 29 school districts in the province.
Her commitment to supporting youth and literacy extends far into the community. As a founding member and chair of the Big Sisters Educational Advisory Committee, she assisted in the initiation of the Study Buddy program to match girls with tutors and mentors. Approximately 200 girls are currently building skills and gaining self-esteem with more on a waiting list for matches. For her contributions, Shields was made an honorary board member of Big Sisters of the BC Lower Mainland.
Shields has also made a contribution to the YMCA, setting up their Education Advisory Committee and collaborating to create their Grade 7 after-school programs Welcome to My Life and Boys 4 Real programs.
Blending her passion for education and music, she serves as chair of the Education Advisory Committee for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) and sits on the board of the VSO School of Music. She spearheaded the Vancouver Opera Society’s “Music! Words! Opera!”, an education program that has since expanded to six school districts. Shields is also a member of the education sub-committee of the Telus Vancouver Community Board which provides grants to grassroots charities that support local youth.
Patricia Wakefield, MEd '69
Educator and leader in her field, Patricia Wakefield impacted English-language education at UBC and in British Columbia.
In 1967, Wakefield served as the first president of the Association of BC Teachers of English as an Additional Language (BC TEAL). She completed UBC’s first Master of Education in English Education, TESL (teaching English as a second language) specialization in 1969. Later, she was appointed head of the TESL department at Vancouver Community College, and in 1975 became the Vancouver School Board’s first TESL consultant.
At UBC’s Faculty of Education, Wakefield taught the ESL teacher education course and supervised the practicum. She pushed for improvements in instructor education, student programming and testing procedures. In her role as special assistant to the director of the UBC Child Study Centre, Wakefield worked with colleagues in BC educator programs to develop pre-school ESL. She co-authored many books and articles on the subject, including Teaching the World’s Children: ESL for Ages Three to Seven; Early Childhood Education for a Multicultural Society, ESL for Young Children, K-12; and a number of curriculum guidelines for the BC Ministry of Education.
At the time of her retirement in 1985, the BC TEAL established a scholarship in cooperation with the British Council to honour Wakefield’s long service to the English-language education. She remains active and engaged in the community, and created training programs for docents of the Vancouver Art Gallery engaged with students learning English.
Pauline Waterfall, O.B.C., BEd '90
Educator, artist, and author, Pauline Hilistis Waterfall is an advocate for access to education for all First Nations people. A member of the Heiltsuk First Nation, she has a deep history of dedication to her community and the students of Bella Bella, BC.
For 40 years, Waterfall worked to establish culturally appropriate learning for all age groups. Founder of the Bella Bella School Board in 1976, she fulfilled a dream to have youth attend school year-round in their own community after a 75-year history of being sent away to residential schools.
Like many Aboriginal students of her generation, Waterfall attended a residential school. In search of further education, she travelled to Vancouver to complete grade 12. She later graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP) at the University of British Columbia in 1990.
In Bella Bella, her vision that education could be a tool for healing, empowerment, and independence yielded two centres for adult and post-secondary education. The Waglisla Adult Learning Centre offers upgrading for adults and Heiltsuk College offers post-secondary education. She taught three generations of learners at the college and saw the majority advance to full-time work, job skills training, or study at post-secondary institutions. She served as executive director of the college until her retirement in 2009.
Waterfall actively participates in Heiltsuk community life. She is a cultural “knowledge keeper” and played a significant role in the revitalization of the Hailhzaqv language. In 2001, she was named a finalist for Ecotrust, Canada’s Indigenous Leadership Award in Conservation, in honour of her community work on cultural revitalization and community health.
Among her professional accomplishments, Waterfall was a founding member of the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association (IAHLA) in 2003, where she worked extensively with the Ministry of Education. She served in many capacities, including chair of the board and treasurer. She also served as an executive member of the Mid-Coast First Nations Training Society.
For her contributions to Aboriginal education and cultural conservation, and the many lives she touched through her work, she was appointed to the Order of British Columbia in 2010.
Dr. Penney Clark, PhD '96
Author and professor, Penney Clark’s passion for and expertise in Canadian history have made her a pre-eminent educator in the field.
Clark received a PhD on the social foundations of educational policy from the University of British Columbia in 1996 and is now a tenured professor. She has received over $2.4 million in grant funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to support her research in the history of textbook publishing and the teaching and learning of history. She has also published on the portrayal of First Nations people over time in Canadian social studies textbooks. She teaches several courses at the university, and has supervised numerous doctoral candidates as well as masters and undergraduate students.
In addition to educating, Clark co-authored three award-winning textbooks used in BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. She has co-edited textbooks used in teacher education programs across Canada and authored teacher resources. She regularly contributed to Canadian Social Studies as a columnist. Clark has been a constant presence in her field, presenting at conferences, chairing committees and publishing research. She is also the director of the History Education Network, which promotes Canadian history education inside and outside the classroom. Considered one of the premier coordinating agencies for history educators at the K-12 and post-secondary levels, the network boasts nearly 40 partner agencies across Canada, from universities to museums to local historical associations.
Clark received publication awards from the Canadian History of Education Association in 2012 and the Canadian Association for Foundations in Education in 2013. For excellence in educating, she received UBC’s Killam Teaching Prize in 2006 and the BC Social Studies Teachers’ Association Innovator of the Year Award in 2008.
Perry Smith, BEd '00
Administrator and educator, Perry Smith rose to be district principal of Aboriginal education in the Abbotsford School District within six years of starting his career.
Originally from the Bonaparte First Nation in Cache Creek, BC, Smith joined the Abbotsford School District in 2000, the same year he graduated with his Bachelor of Education from the Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP) at the University of British Columbia. He started his career as a grade 1 teacher at Terry Fox Elementary, and quickly joined the district’s Aboriginal department as a helping teacher, assisting with the educational development of Aboriginal students.
In 2004, Smith was appointed district vice principal of Aboriginal education, and in 2006, he was promoted to the role of district principal. In this position, he was involved in the creation of the “Aboriginal Hub” in the Aboriginal Education Centre. The Hub brings together a range of community programs and services for children and families into one building, provided by the school district, with the aim of helping children access the social and health services they need to be successful at school. At the time the Hub opened in May 2009, it was the only one of its kind in BC.
Smith’s overarching goal as district principal is to increase the number of Aboriginal students who complete secondary school, and has seen significant results in this area. With three years under Smith’s leadership, Abbotsford ranked second of all school districts in the province in Aboriginal achievement, based on grades 4 and 7 Foundation Skills Assessments. His district continues to rank higher than the provincial average in secondary school completion rate among Aboriginal students.
Dr. Richard Atleo, BA '68, MEd '76, EdD '90
Hereditary chief of the Ahousaht First Nation, Richard Atleo is recognized as the first Aboriginal person in British Columbia to earn a doctoral degree. Both his education and work show his commitment to First Nations studies and education. He is the author of Principles of Tsawalk: An Indigenous Approach to Global Crisis, which introduces origin stories and draws on the ontological meaning of indigenous culture.
The University of British Columbia alumnus graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1968, a Master of Education in 1976, and Doctor of Education in 1990. Upon completing his doctorate, Atleo conducted province-wide research into First Nations K-12 education in BC, in response to the Hawthorn Report of 1966-67.
Atleo’s contributions include the creation of the First Nations Studies Department at Malaspina University College (now Vancouver Island University), where he also taught from 1994 to 2004. He taught and led research in several other post-secondary educational institutions, including the University of Victoria, University of Manitoba, Simon Fraser University, and UBC. Additionally, he lectured overseas in Poland and Germany. Beyond his roles in academia, Atleo was a social worker, elementary school teacher, principal, federal ministerial assistant, and assistant superintendent of education.
Atleo received the Equity Award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, where he served as a member of the Equity Committee since its inception. His contributions extend to other organizations, including roles as co-chair of the Scientific Panel for Sustainable Forest Practices in Clayoquot Sound, and as a member of the board of Ecotrust Canada.
Dr. Rick Hansen, C.C., O.B.C, BPE '86, LLD '87
Renowned Paralympic athlete, sport advocate and prominent fundraiser, Rick Hansen is a leader in breaking down barriers for people with disabilities through his organization, the Rick Hansen Foundation.
Hansen graduated from University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Physical Education in 1986, and in 1987 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws. Hansen was the first person with a physical disability to graduate with a degree in physical education from UBC. During his time at UBC, Hansen was recruited by coach and mentor Stan Stronge to be part of the Vancouver Cablecars, a well-known wheelchair basketball team. Hansen competed in wheelchair racing at both the 1980 and 1984 Summer Paralympics, winning a total of six medals: three gold, two silver and one bronze.
The Man in Motion Tour, for which Hansen is best known, began in 1985 in Vancouver. The two-year, 40,000-km journey spanning 34 countries across four continents raised $26 million for spinal cord research and quality of life initiatives. The high-profile fundraising effort helped Hansen to launch the Rick Hansen Foundation in 1988. Since then, the foundation has raised more than $300 million to improve the lives of people with disabilities and raise awareness for the barriers they face. The goal of the foundation is to create an inclusive world where people with disabilities can reach their full potential. Hansen was also the driving force behind the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries Centre at Vancouver General Hospital, contributing $8 million from his namesake foundation.
Hansen continues to work with UBC on the Faculty of Medicine’s Brain and Spinal Cord Research Centre Campaign. Additionally, he holds honorary appointments to both British Columbia’s and Alberta’s Advisory Councils for Persons with Disabilities and the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. Hansen was appointed to Companion of the Order of Canada in 1987, given the Order of British Columbia in 1990, inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2006 and into BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
Roselynn Verwoord, MA '11
Champion of anti-oppressive education, Roselynn Verwoord is an activist, educator, and curriculum design consultant with the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology and a current PhD student in the Department of Educational Studies at UBC Faculty of Education.
Verwoord received her Professional Certificate of Qualification from the Ministry of Education in 2008, and quickly entered a Master of Arts program at UBC. She graduated in 2011 with an MA in Society, Culture and Politics in Education, her thesis explored quiltmaking as a vehicle for peace education among young people. Concurrently, she completed UBC’s two-year Longhouse Leadership Program, and over twenty-five teaching, leadership and conflict-resolution certificates. Her certifications include six from the United Nations, and an International Certificate of Teaching Mastery from Teachers Without Borders.
Verwoord is committed to education as a tool for social change. In 2005, she volunteered with the Society for Participatory Research in Asia in New Delhi, India, a non-profit organization that promotes democratic governance and participation. In 2011, she spent three months supporting projects in the Education division of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Kathmandu, Nepal.
In Canada, Verwoord acts as an advisor to the International Association of Schools Educating for Unity and Peace. She serves on the board of directors for the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and the Charter for Public Education Network. For the past three years, she has been chair of student advocacy for the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE). As chair, she doubled student membership in the society.
For her many academic accomplishments and community contributions, Verwoord has received a number of awards, including the Joseph Katz Memorial Scholarship and Donald & Ellen Poulter Scholarships from UBC's Faculty of Education, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Master's Scholarship, and a Four Year Doctoral Fellowship from UBC.
Sandra Lynn Lynxleg, BEd '00, MFA '13
Restorative justice leader, administrator, educator and poet, Sandra Lynn Lynxleg has given voice, presence and perspective to aboriginal education.
A status member of the Tootinaowaziibeeng reserve in Manitoba, Lynxleg was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Working full-time and raising three daughters, Lynxleg persevered for 13 years to earn her Bachelor of Education from UBC’s Native Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP) in 2000. She went on to get a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in 2013, and became a founding member and co-president of the UBC Creative Writing Alumni Association the following year. Her UBC accomplishments include the Amy E. Sauder NITEP Scholarship, the Sharp Family NITEP Graduation Prize, and two Faculty of Arts Graduate Awards.
A child of a residential school survivor, Lynxleg focused her career on helping aboriginal youth succeed in school and in the community. She is a founding member and acting president of the Restorative Justice Society - North Okanagan. She developed and supported many Aboriginal education programs and services while an administrator for the Vernon school district, including two First Peoples’ Academies at Seaton Secondary School and a Hoop Dance Program that saw 25 hoop dancers perform at the Vernon Olympic Torch Ceremony. In the nine years she served as District Principal of Aboriginal Education, her programs and services helped to increase Aboriginal attendance and graduation rates, an improvement that was acknowledged by the BC Minister of Education.
In 2010, 2013 and 2015, she co-produced and published three chapbooks of poetry featuring Elders and students in School District 22 (Vernon). These chapbooks are part of a larger provincial collection with the founder of The Elder Project. In 2014, her workshop “Strawberry Fields Forever: Planting Seeds, Growing Poets” was selected for presentation at the First Nations Education Steering Committee provincial conference. That same year, under the same title, her work with the Elder Project and the three chapbooks were recognized as an innovative approach to curriculum. The pedagogy and chapbooks will be featured in a partnership book with UBC’s Indigenous Education and BC Principals’ and Vice Principals’ Association, entitled Celebrating K-12 Aboriginal Education in British Columbia: Successes in Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Policy.
Sandra’s first book of poetry, Glass Beads, was published by Black Moss Press in 2013. Lynxleg’s poetry has appeared in several anthologies, including Force Field: 77 Women Poets of British Columbia. She has been published in the Fiddlehead, Leaf Press, Our Canada Magazine, Rice Paper Magazine, and Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine.
Sara Hodson, BHK '02
Entrepreneur and health-wellness expert, Sara Hodson has become a leading advocate for physician-prescribed exercise in Canada.
Hodson received her Bachelor of Human Kinetics in 2002 from the University of British Columbia. During her time at UBC, Hodson worked at both the BirdCoop Fitness Centre and Changing Aging Program, a program to increase functional movement and cardiovascular health in the elderly.
In the fall of 2002, Hodson joined the Fraser Health Authority as a clinical exercise physiologist. There, working in the Peace Arch Hospital Cardiac Rehab Program, she designed, implemented and coordinated a program for people with stable and unstable heart disease.
In 2011, after nearly a decade with the health authority, Hodson opened her first Live Well Medical and Exercise Clinic. The Live Well concept is founded on the idea that every individual living with a chronic condition can benefit from exercise. The clinic hosts medical specialists, family doctors and exercise programs focused on diabetes, heart disease, obesity and risk factor reduction. The success of the original clinic in White Rock has given rise to two others, in Vancouver and South Surrey, with plans for more locations. Since its inception, over 2,000 patients have been referred to the Live Well Clinics with over 500 current clients.
Hodson continues her affiliation with UBC through the School of Kinesiology’s mentorship and co-op programs, providing students with professional experience in her three Live Well clinics. She also has taught the Diabetes Educator Course at UBC, and currently serves on UBC’s Alumni Advisory Board.
Scott Ormiston, BEd '82
Esteemed educator and coach, Scott Ormiston is well-known and well-respected for his work with Aboriginal and Special Education students.
Ormiston graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia in 1982. In the decades since, he devoted himself to developing the potential of students, colleagues and young athletes in the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows communities. In October of 2014, he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Certificate of Achievement. In his current role as an aboriginal resource educator in School District 42, Ormiston is part of a two-teacher team that increased the district’s Aboriginal graduation rate to nearly 75%, one of the best rates in the province.
Senior administrators at Garibaldi Secondary School, where he taught for 20 years, note Ormiston’s devotion to the needs of Special Education students. In particular, Ormiston created an award system for graduating Special Ed students, who are often overlooked academically. Resource departments at other schools turn to Garibaldi’s Special Education Department as a model of excellence, developed under Ormiston’s leadership. His colleagues, the students and their parents note his energy for many popular projects, including a Terry Fox run, fundraising for scholarships, and an annual Christmas party.
The Canadian Red Cross recognizes Ormiston, a long-time swim coach, as an instructional innovator whose training techniques improved swimming programming across Canada. He also coached community soccer and helped with community basketball and lacrosse teams.
In 2014, Ormiston received the UBC Faculty of Education Alumni Teacher Award.
Sheila Wells, BEd '78
Educator and administrator, Sheila Wells is a champion for mentoring young athletes and improving student health and fitness.
Wells received a Bachelor of Education at the University of British Columbia in 1978. While enrolled, she represented UBC at four national curling championships and subsequently won the Barbara Schrodt Trophy for outstanding contributions to UBC women's athletics.
She returned home to Prince Rupert in 1978, where she taught high school home economics and physical education. During her first teaching job, she created a certified physical education program that incorporated outdoor activities into the curriculum. She also began volunteering as a curling, bowling and baseball coach.
In 1993, Wells won an Alcan Award in recognition of her years coaching curling. The same year, she received a City of Prince Rupert Award for her efforts to encourage student participation in extracurricular sports.
She became a vice-principal in 1995 and principal in 2002, both at Prince Rupert Secondary School (PRSS).
Wells' impact has reached beyond sports. From 2007 to 2008, she commissioned a stunning three-dimensional cedar art piece, which Ts'msyen First Nation artist Russell Mather crafted for the PRSS entrance. The project brought Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals together through all phases of the construction. A print of the work resides in the permanent collection of Ottawa's Museum of Civilization. In recognition of her role in the project, Wells was adopted into the Gispaxlo'ats Sgyiik Tribe at a ceremony in May 2015.
Before Wells’ retirement this year, one of her last acts as principal was to introduce a daily physical education program to keep her students active and healthy.
Dr. Shelly Johnson, EdD '11
Educator and researcher, Shelly Johnson has spent more than two decades working for Aboriginal communities.
In 2011, Johnson earned her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of British Columbia and then joined the Faculty of Social Work as an assistant professor. Her doctoral thesis I Screamed Internally for a Long Time: Traumatized Urban Indigenous Children in Canadian Child Protection and Education Systems examined the over-representation of First Nations children in the child protection system, and the social and political forces that put them at risk.
Johnson draws on both her personal and professional experiences to teach future generations of social workers. She is a member of the Keeseekoose First Nation in Saskatchewan, and served as chief executive officer of a First Nations child and family services agency in Victoria. She serves on the board of directors of the Canadian Association of Social Work Education and chairs the national Indigenous Social Work Educators Network.
Johnson is currently the principal investigator on four research projects, including one to support Musqueam culture and language revitalization, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). She is part of a national multi-year SSHRC grant to conduct community-based urban Indigenous research. In 2013, Johnson was named the UBC Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies Early Career Scholar, in support of her research on indigenizing higher education, cultural self-determination and activism.
In 2008, Johnson was recognized with a Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Award, and received an Honorary Citizen of the Year award from the City of Victoria, BC in 2006.
Dr. Steve Cardwell, BSc '79, MA '88
Innovative educator, senior leader and educational researcher, Steve Cardwell is known for his valuing of ethical leadership and responsibility, building and fostering strong working relationships, and leading with technology. He is well recognized for his recent service as Superintendent/CEO of the Vancouver School Board.
Since 1980, Cardwell has supported teaching and learning when he began his career teaching secondary biology in Kitimat. Over nine years in this Northern British Columbia community, Cardwell served in various leadership capacities, including President and Bargaining Chair for his local teachers’ association and as a representative on the BCTF Provincial Bargaining Committee. He served as President of the BC Science Teachers’ Association (BCSTA) and coordinated many conferences. During this time, he was pedagogical consultant and an author of Science Probe 7 (1ed), a textbook used throughout BC.
Cardwell was a school administrator in Richmond before joining the Delta School District, where he supported staff and students through several district roles starting as Science Coordinator in 1991 and concluding in 2009 as Superintendent. He combined his roles in Delta with secondments as a Faculty Associate and various sessional appointments for higher educational institutions in the province.
He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in 1979 and a research-based Master of Arts in 1988. Later on, he completed a doctorate in Educational Leadership with a focus on student engagement in urban secondary schools and spoke on behalf of his graduating class at their 2012 convocation. He has presented many times on student engagement, including giving key sessions for the BC School Superintendents' Association, CUPE BC, BCSTA, and UBC.
A recent Past President of the BC School Superintendents' Association (BCSSA), Cardwell served as President, Vice President and for three years as professional development chairperson. He also served as PD chairperson for the Metro Vancouver Chapter. In his role as President of the BCSSA, Cardwell was a partner group advisor to the Teacher Regulation Board, the Education Advisory Council , and recently served on the Exempt Staff Compensation Working Group with the BC Public School Employers’ Association.
Cardwell currently serves on the Science World Board, the Technology Education and Careers Council, the BCIT Technology Teacher Education Advisory Committee and has just been appointed to the Council of the Canadian Education Association. He recently completed terms serving on the Provincial Service Delivery Review Project Steering Committee, the UBC Faculty of Education External Advisory Committee, and the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer.
He served on the BC Council for International Education and maintains a strong interest in building multi-cultural connections and awareness on a global level and has travelled in Europe, South Korea and China. He was recently appointed as a Provincial Inspector of BC Offshore Schools. In 2015, he was appointed as Professor of Teaching and Director of the Transformative Educational Leadership Program with the Faculty of Education at UBC.
Cardwell was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal in 2013 for his outstanding service to public education and in April 2015 received the BCSSA Distinguished Service award for his contributions to the profession.
Dr. Ted Hunt, BPE '57 MPE '61 MA ’64 EdD '76
Athlete and educator, Ted Hunt was inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame, the BC Sports Hall of Fame, and the BC Rugby Hall of Fame. He is one of British Columbia’s greatest all-around athletes and captained the BC's provincial rugby team to victories over the famed British Lions and Australia's Wallabies.
Hunt served the Vancouver school district for 30 years as educator, department head, administrator, and coordinator of academic curricula.
At the age of 17, Hunt was Western Canadian nordic combined ski champion, and the following year, he was named to Canada's Olympic ski-jumping team. While a student at UBC in 1954, he went to the World Championships for ski jumping, and in the same year, at age 20, took eighth place at the National Championships in Sweden.
Hunt is renowned for his skill in multiple sports, notably rugby, skiing, boxing, box lacrosse and football. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in the School of Physical Education with a bachelor’s degree in 1957, earned his Master of Physical Education in 1961 and his Doctor of Kinesiology and Education in 1976. His ground breaking dissertation: “A Serial Electrocardiograph Study of Thirty Champion Athletes Before and After Actual Competition” was published in four medical journals.
While at UBC, Hunt won a Golden Gloves title; captained the UBC rugby team; was a member of the UBC water polo team; and was awarded the Bobby Gaul Trophy.
Hunt played for the BC Lions, was Rookie of the Year in his first season, and was named Outstanding Canadian Player the following year. In the 1960s, while still a student, he played box lacrosse with the Vancouver Burrards, when they won two Canadian Mann Cup victories in 1961 and 1964.
In retirement, he served nine years as School Board Trustee, and for 20 years as director of The Students' Emergency Fund which he began with Brenton Kenny. They distributed more than half million dollars in honour of their first donor, Jack Diamond.
Hunt has authored several books: In The Company of Heroes, which became the Indigo Finalist for Dramatized History. It is currently being examined by Channel One Russia. He has also authored three books on golf, Ben Hogan’s Magical Device, Ben Hogan’s Short Game Simplified, and Ben Hogan’s Tips For Weekend Golfers. His most recent work was written for Canada's national seven a-side rugby teams: Creative Backfield Rugby Canadian Style. And, getting ready for the printer is an historical thriller, A Long Road Home: 1919.
Dr. Thelma Sharp-Cook, BEd '58
Professor emerita in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, Thelma Sharp-Cook, built a career distinguished by her persistent efforts to make studies at UBC more accessible to Aboriginal students. Drawing on her own personal experiences as a graduate of UBC’s Bachelor of Education program in 1958, she has been able to remove many of the barriers to post-secondary education that students previously experienced.
Sharp-Cook initially joined the Faculty of Education as an assistant professor in sociology and education, where she impacted students as an educator. During her time as the director of the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP) she assumed responsibility for raising scholarship and bursary funding for Aboriginal students. Her success allowed countless students to access quality education that had previously been out of reach. These efforts earned her the Women of Distinction Award from the YWCA in 1987.
Sharp-Cook was instrumental in creating Wesbrook Scholars, one of the university’s most prestigious awards. Through her position as chair of the Senate Awards Committee, she established this award in order to support outstanding graduating students that have shown a commitment to community service. Following this success, Sharp-Cook continued her fundraising work, which led to the creation of the Thelma Sharp Cook Scholarship, an award that recognizes leadership, athletic achievement, and community contributions alongside academic standing.
Sharp-Cook served as president of the UBC Association of Professors Emeriti and as governor and chair of the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation. In recognition of her lifelong community service and dedication to the university, Sharp-Cook was given the Faculty Citation Award by the UBC Alumni Association, and was recently honoured with carrying the UBC mace during graduation ceremonies. Though now retired, she continues to give back to the university as a member of the President’s Committee on Campus Enhancement, the UBC Dean of Education’s External Advisory Committee, and the UBC Advisory Committee on Heritage Policy.
Tim Laidler, BA '09, MA '14
Veteran and community advocate, Timothy Laidler is committed to the cause of assisting war veterans and service to his community.
After pursuing studies in philosophy, Laidler went on to the University of British Columbia to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Political Science in 2009 and a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology in 2014. While at UBC, he worked as a property manager for the university’s residence, managing the budget for rent and meal plans, and was the team leader for the Olympic rental project for seven properties at UBC. He also sat on the Ubyssey Board of Directors, and is an alumnus of and house manager for Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity.
Laidler has been a member of the Canadian Armed Forces Service since 2002. He participated in a tour of duty in the Kandahar area of Afghanistan as a convoy escort troop, crew commander, acting station second-in-command, an RWS gunner, and a RG-31 driver. He was an army company mentor and weapons instructor with the 205th Corps of the Afghan National Arm as part of OMLT (Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team). He was also a member of the Force Protection Company of National Support Element, a multinational armed service support to Kandahar Air Field.
Now founder and executive director of the non-profit Veterans Transition Network, Laidler worked to enhance quality of life and career prospects for veterans across Canada. His team of 20 staff worked to increase awareness of the impact of war on soldiers, and they have raised millions of dollars to support a peer-based group program developed at UBC.
Laidler’s community service was recognized with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and he was selected as alumni UBC’s Young Alumnus of the Year in 2014. Laider is running as a Conservative candidate in Port Moody-Coquitlam during the 2015 General Election.
Timothy Frick, O.B.C., BPE '75, MEd '80
Professional coach and community leader, Timothy Frick has been leading medal-winning teams for over 30 years. Frick has served locally, regionally, provincially, and nationally with unparalleled influence in women’s wheelchair basketball in Canada.
As a University of British Columbia volleyball player Frick earned his Bachelor of Physical Education in 1975. His volleyball team won the CIAU gold in 1976. In 1980, Frick completed his Masters of Education. He went on to become a physical education instructor at Douglas College. He served as head coach of the BC Breakers Women’s Provincial Team for ten years. Frick led the Canada’s national women’s wheelchair basketball team for nearly 20 years, taking them to four consecutive world championships and three Paralympic Gold medals. Under his management, the Canadian team developed into one of the most dominant teams in the history of Canadian amateur sports. Frick’s passion for coaching led him to pioneer the National Team Training Centre for Basketball in BC.
In his early years, he coached Rick Hansen during his Man in Motion World Tour. According to Hansen, Frick was a difference-maker who helped him find excellence within himself. Frick’s ability to inspire and motivate his athletes to excellence has been recognized by several awards and inductions, including seven Coaching Association of Canada Excellence Awards, the BC Wheelchair Sports Coach of the Millennium, induction into the Wheelchair Basketball Canada Hall of Fame, the Basketball BC Hall of Fame, and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. He is also an appointee to the Order of British Columbia.
Tracy Theemes, MA '89
Business owner, published author, public speaker and lecturer, Tracy Theemes is a champion of financial literacy in Canada.
After graduating with her Master of Arts in psychology from University of British Columbia in 1989, Theemes worked with developmentally delayed babies and their families in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. This challenging work compelled her to look into how poverty and wealth played into social disadvantage. Following these experiences, she committed herself to educating struggling parents and women so they could achieve financial independence.
In 2009, Theemes co-founded the Sophia Financial Group, a company that has innovated traditional financial practice to meet the personal value system of their clients. The first of their five core beliefs is education. They empower their clients with the power of knowledge. Committed to reaching all communities, Theeme’s company provides one day a week of pro bono financial advice to increase access to financial literacy.
Since starting her firm, Theemes has delivered hundreds of educational seminars related to socially responsible investing and financial planning. She is also the founder and facilitator of the Sophia Academy, a series of talks on women’s financial issues that reaches hundreds of participants and raises thousands of dollars for the local charitable organization Dress for Success. Her book, The Financially Empowered Woman, won the Bronze prize for the Living Now Awards for finance and economics, as well as the Axiom Gold medal in the category of personal finance.
As a leader in business and the community, Theemes has built a legacy around giving back. Through her efforts, countless women and families have been able to begin their own paths to success. In recognition of her impact, Theemes received the International Alliance of Women Global 100 Award, and has since gone on to win numerous others, including the Business in Vancouver Influential Women in Business Award.
Valerie Jerome, BEd '76
Canadian athlete, educator and political candidate, Valerie Jerome has built a legacy of contribution to Canadian athletics, Black Canadian Studies, and environmental politics.
In 1959, at the age of 15, Jerome set Canadian track records, winning a bronze medal at the Pan American Games. The following year, she joined her brother, legendary Canadian track and field runner Harry Jerome, on Canada’s Olympic team in Rome, Italy. Jerome has competed in Pan American, Commonwealth and Olympic games. Her family’s athleticism runs deep beginning with her grandfather, John Armstrong Howard, Canada’s first Black Olympian to run in the 100 and 200m at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics.
Jerome attended UBC to become an educator, graduating with a Bachelor of Education in 1976. During her 35-year teaching career, she worked for the advancement of Black Canadian Studies, spearheading a $2.5 million fundraiser within the black community. Alongside Leon Bill, Emery Barnes, Paul Winn and Ron Rogers, they established a chair of Black Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University. After retiring from teaching, Jerome worked with the BC Teachers’ Federation on two projects in Namibia.
Jerome continued her leadership in athletics, spending 35 years as a track and field official taking on roles of chief judge in Olympic, Commonwealth and World Championship competitions, being a panelist for the Sports and Inclusion Dialogue at UBC in 2010, and was honoured as a torchbearer at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
In the wider community, Jerome has worked with Jerome Outreach, an athletic club for inner-city children named in honour of her brother, as well as the Harry Jerome International Track Classic. She initiated the establishment of the Harry Jerome Statue that is located in Stanley Park along the seawall with a committee that later became the Harry Jerome Commemorative Society.
Jerome pursued her political activism formally between 1985 and 2000 where she ran in seven elections for the Green Party, federally, provincially, and municipally. In the 1990s, she attended Green Party Congresses in Europe. Her passion for the environment grew from her son, Stuart Parker, who led the BC Green Party from 1993 to 2000.
For 15 years, she worked as a volunteer at the Vancouver Writers Festival and has worked with the BC Cancer Agency on fundraising initiatives. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Vancouver Junior Professional Division Ballet Society.
Dr. Verna Billy-Minnabarriet, EdD '12
Education leader and researcher, Verna Billy-Minnabarriet committed her life to education and economic development for Aboriginal communities. She has represented Aboriginal organizations at the provincial, national, and international level, and has been a vocal advocate for the advancement and funding of Aboriginal education.
The University of British Columbia alumna completed her doctoral program in educational leadership and education in 2012. The focus of her work has been to empower and strengthen Aboriginal peoples through community-based education and economic development.
At the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT), Billy-Minnabarriet implemented education and training programs for the Native Adult Instructors Diploma curriculum. She worked as an instructor for the Community Futures Development Corporation of the Central Interior First Nations, an organization that promotes community economic development and provides support services to First Nations peoples.
Billy-Minnabarriet currently serves as chair of the Indigenous Adult Higher Learning Association (IAHLA). In 2013, in her role as chair, and on behalf of the 40 First Nations institutes IAHLA represents, she led lobbying efforts to reverse province-wide funding cuts to Aboriginal education. She is also vice president of academic and strategic partnerships at NVIT and sits on the board of the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer, which helps facilitate province-wide communication and co-operation among BC’s post-secondary institutions.
Victor Jim, BEd '78, MEd '99
Educator, administrator and member of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Victor Jim is a dedicated advocate for Aboriginal student education in British Columbia.
Jim was among the members of the first graduating class of the University of British Columbia’s Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP) in the spring of 1978. He subsequently received his Master of Education from the UBC Ts”Kel program in 1999.
After teaching in Kispiox, for two years, and Moricetown, for eighteen, Jim became the Aboriginal education district principal for Prince George. Graduation rates for Aboriginal students in Prince George have climbed from 31 to 56 percent over the last ten years. Jim intends to further improve rates under his leadership, aiming for 60 to 65% over the coming years. He credits recent success to the establishment of Nusdeh Yoh, the province's first Aboriginal choice school, as well as efforts to include Aboriginal workers at the district's other schools. The workers encourage students to reach their educational goals and intervene if they begin to falter. Jim also serves as the chair of the Moricetown Band Council Education Committee, co-chair of the First Nations Education Council, and on NITEP’s advisory board.
Jim's early participation in NITEP made him a trailblazer in his community, passing his passion for education on to his students as well as his children. In 2012, his eldest son graduated from medical school to become Moricetown's first doctor; his daughter plans to become an educator herself.
Vivian Rygnestad, BEd '65, MEd '02
Educator, leader, and advocate for social justice, Vivian Rygnestad has had an outstanding impact on education communities. She earned a Bachelor of Education in 1965 and a Masters of Education in 2002.
Rygnestad taught in the Surrey School District for over 30 years. During that time she was an active BCTF workshop presenter to students and teachers throughout BC on multiculturalism and anti-racism issues. Following her time in the classroom, Rygnestad served as vice-principal and then principal in the Surrey School District for 10 years. In this capacity she became a member of the BC Principals’ & Vice Principals’ Association (BCPVPA). As a member of the BCPVPA she was one of a small group who worked to develop the BCPVPA Leadership Standards which articulated four leadership domains (relational, instructional, organizational, and moral stewardship) that were embraced by BC’s school-based administrators and continue to serve as reference points for reflective practice and professional growth. She introduced the BCPVPA Leadership Standards to international audiences in Turku, Finland and at the Oxford Learning Roundtable.
Rygnestad currently serves as president of the BC Retired Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association (BCRPVPA). She actively promotes the BCPVPA student scholarship program, has strengthened ties with active administrators and has revised the BCRPVPA Constitution and bylaws.
Rygnestad has an enduring commitment to social justice, most notably in her work with the Japanese-Canadian Community. Her aim is to preserve Japanese Canadians’ accomplishments and history and to educate the Canadian public about how Japanese Canadians persevered and overcame the hardships dealt to them. She served as an active committee member that worked to convince the UBC Tributes Committee to honour the 76 Japanese Canadian UBC students who were exiled in 1942. Vivian is also the Chairperson for Landscape of Injustice’s Community Council’s $5.3 million project that is researching the displacement and dispossession of Canadians of Japanese ancestry.
Dr. Wendy Carr, MEd '97
Leader in French education, Wendy Carr is the current associate dean of Teacher Education at the University of British Columbia and a recognized champion of second language education. Since beginning her career as an educator in the public school system, she has gone on to develop new education programs, conduct groundbreaking research on language learning methodology, and prepare educators to inspire French learning in British Columbia’s classrooms.
In 1995, partway through her 30-year public teaching career, Carr began lecturing at UBC’s Faculty of Education on French language learning while embarking on a Master of Education in 1997 from the University of British Columbia. Carr continued her research efforts during her doctoral work and published several articles and chapters, delivered over 60 teacher workshops and scholarly presentations, and authored six French second language texts used in classrooms across Canada.
While producing an extensive body of academic work, Carr remained an educator and is currently a tenured faculty member in the Department of Language and Literacy Education. She has been repeatedly recognized as a talented instructor and dedicated mentor. In 2008 she received the Faculty of Education Excellence in Teaching Award, and more recently was conferred the Murray Elliot Outstanding Contribution to the Teacher Education Program Award.
In addition to her roles as instructor, researcher, and administrator at UBC, she assumed significant responsibilities within the broader educator community. Since 2007, Carr has volunteered with the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers, where she is currently the acting president and serves as Canadian expert representative for language associations at the European Centre of Modern Languages. She previously served as president of the BC Association of Teachers of Modern Languages and member of the BC Ministry of Education French Curriculum Writing Committee.
Wendy Lim, BSc '82, MA '93
In her 30-plus years with the Richmond School District, Wendy Ann Lim has been dedicated to developing student leaders through mentorship, community engagement, and environmental stewardship.
Lim earned both a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from UBC and a Diploma in Education in 1982. She later returned to her alma mater ten years later to complete a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction in 1993.
Lim has been a classroom teacher, district administrator, vice principal, and is currently assistant superintendent of schools for the Richmond School District. As a secondary school teacher, she established a district-wide student leadership program to foster conflict mediation skills. Later as a K-12 district administrator, she implemented an environmental stewardship policy throughout the district. This included the training and mentoring of students to participate in Idle Free campaigns and as ambassadors in the federal government's One Tonne Challenge, which ran from 2003 to 2006.
In 2008, Lim oversaw a student organization known as TABLE 38, where student leaders met monthly across the district's ten high schools. Students shared ideas and developed action plans to realize the community building goals they had set for themselves. The same year, Lim won a Richmond Outstanding Community Award for her commitment to inspire, mentor, and improve the lives of youth.
In 2009, she was one of two district administrators tasked with coordinating a district-wide K-12 student leadership development program. Through the program, students learned problem solving, critical thinking, and the importance of positive community engagement.
Will Stroet, BA '02, BEd '04
Award-winning musician and children’s entertainer, Will Stroet has had an impact on youth both inside and outside the classroom.
Stroet received a Bachelor of Arts in 2002 and a Bachelor of Education in 2004 from UBC. After graduating, Stroet began teaching in New Westminster and Vancouver. He taught French-immersion music at Lord Tennyson Elementary for five years, working with students from K-7. It was during this time that he began writing and performing his own music for students, and then performing at local family events and festivals.
Stroet released his first children’s music album in 2005 with great success. From there, he decided to pursue a full-time career as a children’s entertainer. When he left the classroom in 2008, Stroet had already released two children’s albums. He has since released seven more albums through Pebble Star Productions. He has performed at more than 1,000 live shows at festivals, theatres and schools across Canada.
In 2013, Stroet joined the board of BC's ArtStarts in Schools, a non-profit that promotes art and creativity among BC's young people. In addition to being the chair of the program committee, he is an artist on their roster and regularly performs in schools, leads artist-in-residency programs for primary school students, and workshops for BC music teachers. Stroet also co-created and stars in Will’s Jams, an educational TV series teaching kids everything from sportsmanship to eating healthy. The show airs on Kids’ CBC and DISH in the United States.
Stroet has received a West Coast Songwriters Award for Best Children’s Song and a Kids Music Award, as well as nominations for Best Francophone Recording at the Western Canadian Music Awards in 2014, and in 2013 & 2011 for Best Children’s Recording. In 2017, Stroet was nominated for the JUNO Award for Children's Album of the Year.
William Lindsay, BEd '96, MA '98
Educator and administrator, William Lindsay works to build bridges between the educational needs of First Nations peoples and the post-secondary institutions that serve them, for the benefit of both communities.
Lindsay is of Cree-Stoney heritage from the Prairies, but grew up in rural and urban First Nations communities in British Columbia. He received his Bachelor of Education in 1996 at the University of British Columbia through the Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP), earning two entrance scholarships to the program and the Sharp Family NITEP Graduation Prize. Two years later, he earned a Master of Arts in History at UBC with a thesis that examined the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre in an age of Aboriginal migration and urbanization.
At a recent conference co-sponsored by UBC, Lindsay spoke of indigenizing the academy as “creating a welcoming environment at the university for Indigenous peoples and their ways of knowing.” In his role as director of the Office for Aboriginal Peoples at Simon Fraser University, he advocated for visibility of First Nations Elders on campus, with the aim to improve recruitment and retention of First Nations students.
As an educator, Lindsay serves on the front lines and has shaped policies on boards and committees at UBC and other institutions. At UBC, he served as associate director and acting director of the UBC First Nations House of Learning. He continues to promote Aboriginal issues in academic publications, at conferences and in popular media, through letters, articles and as a commentator on radio, television, and in newspaper interviews.
In 2000, he received a Certificate of Merit for Bravery from the Vancouver Police Department for defending a college student whose life was in danger.
Senator Yonah Martin, BEd '87
The Honourable Yonah Martin was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009. She is the first Canadian of Korean descent to serve in the Senate of Canada and the first Korean-Canadian parliamentarian in Canadian history.
Martin received a Bachelor of Education in 1987 from the University of British Columbia; and had a 21-year teaching career in Abbotsford, Burnaby and Coquitlam school districts (1987-2008). She earned a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in 1996.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Martin immigrated to Canada in 1972. In 2003, she co-founded the C3 Korean Canadian Society, a non-profit community organization that works to bridge the Korean and Canadian communities by providing cultural, educational and volunteer resources. She also served on the boards of Vancouver Korean Canadian Scholarship Foundation, National Unification Advisory Council, the Multicultural Advisory Council of British Columbia among others.
Since 2013, Martin has served as Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, a role she assumed after two years as the Deputy Government Whip. In addition, Martin is active on several inter-parliamentary committees, co-chairing the Canada-Korea Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group and serving as vice-chair of Canada Bulgaria, and director of Canada Philippines, Canada Pakistan and Canada Taiwan. She is honorary patron of C3, HMCS Haida Association and Historica Dominion's The Memory Project: Stories of the Korean War, and Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration. Since 2010, she has served on the Advisory Board of the UBC Sauder School of Business's Executive Mentorship Program
In recognition of her community service in the Tri-Cities region, Martin was awarded the 2004 Spirit of Community Award for Cultural Harmony. She was also awarded the Order of Civil Merit Moran Medal in 2009 by the president of the Republic of Korea for her work in advancing the rights of overseas Koreans. In 2012, Martin received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal awarded by Governor General David Johnston.