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king’s herald Spring 2008

A magazine for alumni and friends of King’s University College at The University of Western Ontario

Patrick Teskey ’99 reports the news in Hay River, NWT

Meet three media-savvy grads, an award-winning professor, and a student with a passion for microcredit King’s students reduce footprint

king’s herald King’s University College Office of Alumni Affairs London, Ontario, Canada


12 Media savvy Meet three grads who are making a mark in the world of media

The King’s Herald is published semi-annually by the King’s University College Office of Alumni Affairs. We welcome your letters, suggestions or comments about the Association and the College. Please contact the Office of Alumni Affairs: London: (519) 433-3491 Long distance: 1-800-265-4406 ext. 4565 Fax: (519) 963-1334 E-mail: Mail: King’s University College Office of Alumni Affairs 266 Epworth Avenue, London, ON N6A 2M3

16 Small changes, big impact King’s students are helping to “green” the planet 16


Parents: If you are receiving mail for your son or daughter, we would appreciate his or her current address. Please contact the Office of Alumni Affairs at one of the numbers above.


Opinions expressed in the Herald do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or the University’s administration. To contact the editor, phone (519) 433-3491 or 1-800-265-4406 Ext. 4500. E-mail:

Associate Editor: Amanda Cameron, Manager, Annual Giving & Stewardship Editorial Consultant: Morden Communications

Front cover photo: Scott Clouthier, Hub Publications Inc.


Meet your new Executive Director


From the Principal’s Desk


Upcoming Events


Message from the Alumni Association President

10 2008 King’s University College Alumni Award of Distinction 21


King’s celebrates $1,200,000 student pledge toward the new Student Life Centre

PHOTO: John Tamblyn

Designer: Hill Street Ad & Design Editorial Advisory Committee: Julie Deery ’97, Chair Sarah Corrigan ’00 Calum Cunningham ’97 Sophia Katsios ’94 Stephen Mussart ’91 Kelly Schaus Jim Zucchero ’82

18 A passion for teaching Dr. Nick Skinner connects with his students through humour and stories 20 Doors opening Grace Flesher ’08 is a banker who helps the world’s poor

For additional information about the Alumni Association, please visit our website:

Editor: Erin Lawson, Executive Director of Development & Alumni Affairs

11 The gift of service A Q&A with John Nash

(L-R: Bennett Brown (Incoming King’s University College Student Council President), Ryan Gauss (Current King’s University College Student Council President), Dr. Gerry Killan (Principal), Henry Thuss (Chair, King’s University College Board of Directors), John Callaghan (Chair, King’s College Foundation). See Principal’s message on page six

Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40019616. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Kings University College, Office of Alumni Affairs, 266 Epworth Avenue, London ON N6A 2M3


A perfect fit Erin Lawson is King’s new Executive Director of Development and Alumni Affairs Throughout her life, Erin Lawson has been attracted to people and organizations with big dreams. That’s why she’s very excited about her new job as Executive Director of Development & Alumni Affairs. “King’s has a very clear vision of who it is and where it is going,” she says. “I really feel that this is the place where I’m meant to be.” Erin’s first love was horses, a life-long passion that began in grade six and fueled the early part of her career. When she graduated from UWO, she became the first manager of SARI, an innovative riding school for the disabled, for which she continues to volunteer. When her two children were born, she left work to spend a number of years at home. One day she called Martha Blackburn, the owner of Kilbyrne Farm near London, to see if she needed any help with a horse show. The call came at a perfect time. Blackburn was thinking about spending more time in London to concentrate on her media interests, and she offered Erin a job as Manager The King’s Herald | page 

of the Farm. Erin moved with her family into Blackburn’s house and took over management of the dayto-day operations. Kilbyrne Farm was one of the premier equestrian facilities in North America, housing Olympic level dressage horses, and hosting trials for the Olympics and World Cup. “It was the perfect equestrian job,” she says. Living on the farm was also a wonderful experience for her family, says Erin, because they learned how important it was to support each other. “Even on Christmas day we had to feed the horses before anything else,” she says. Her husband Ted works at 3M. Kyle, now 25, is doing his Masters in physics at UBC, and Kate, now 23, has just finished three years studying acting in New York. Throughout her early career, Erin always kept in touch with what was happening at Western. When Blackburn died and the farm was sold, Erin accepted a position as Alumni Relations and Development Officer at Western’s Faculty of Health Sciences. During the university’s capital campaign, she raised more than $14 million, and helped create the National Center for Audiology. Recently she moved into the Mustang Sports portfolio, leading the campaign that created the Michael Kirkley Mustang Training Centre.

Although she knew little about the world of development before she came to Western, she found it was an environment she thrived in. “I really enjoy working with people who are passionate about what they are doing,” says Erin, whose portfolio at King’s supports both Alumni Affairs and the King’s College Foundation. “These are causes that really change lives.” She also loves being around students, and tries to go to as many Mustangs games as she can. Erin fully expected to spend the rest of her career at Western, but when the position came up at King’s it piqued her interest. “I had heard so many positive things about King’s,” she says. “And I have a strong personal belief in the value of the liberal arts training.” The more she learns about King’s, the more she’s impressed by its unique environment. “It’s an incredibly warm, friendly, and respectful atmosphere,” she says. “The administration has created fabulous teams, and collegiality runs across everything. Every voice is heard.” Erin is particularly looking forward to meeting King’s alumni. “I want to invite alumni to come back to the College,” she says. “We want them to learn about the incredible students we have here, and join in the many events and celebrations. When they come back to King’s they’re in for a pleasant surprise.”

Alumni survey completed More than 1000 alumni completed the alumni survey either on-line or over the telephone. To all those who completed the survey, thank you very much for taking the time to share your thoughts. We are happy to announce that the winner of the draw for a $200 hotel voucher is Salvatore Caputo ’92.

Faculty News Dr. Patrick Ryan of the Childhood and Social Institutions department had two articles published recently: “How New is the ‘New’ Social Studies of Childhood? The Myth of a Paradigm Shift,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History, v 38 no. 4 (Feb-Mar 2008), and “Six Blacks from Home: Childhood, Motherhood, and Eugenics in America,” The Journal of Policy History vol. 19 no. 3 (Spring 2008): 253-281. Rachel Birnbaum of the Social Work department was re-elected to the position of Chair of the Ontario Association of Social Workers and Social Service workers. This is the regulatory body for all social workers in the province – a relatively new organization. Dr. Birnbaum was the first academic in this position. She also co-authored the following: Birnbaum, R., Fidler, B.J. & Kavassalis, K. (2008), “Child Custody Assessments: A Resource Guide for Legal and Mental Health Professionals,” Carswell Publishing; Birnbaum, R., & Mosher, J.E. (2008), “Law for Social Workers, 4th Edition,” Carswell Publishing.

Student News Part-time MSW student, Cecelia Irwin, was appointed student representative to the Ontario Association of Social Workers for the 2007 – 2009 term.

New! King’s University College Alumni Directory Beginning in the fall of 2008, King’s alumni will be able to search the King’s University College Online Directory for fellow graduates. As a registered member, the alumni Directory will be a valuable resource tool for our network of over 10,000 alumni. You will be able to use the Directory to search for former classmates and locate fellow graduates who work in your industry, sector or region. The Directory will be secure and private, only King’s alumni will have access to the information. To sign up to be a part of the Directory please visit our website and complete the address update form www.uwo. ca/kings/alumni/update.html

Building News The King’s campus buzzed with construction activity this summer! As a result, we have a new building nestled behind Dante Lenardon Hall to provide much needed office space for faculty and staff, and meeting and seminar rooms. Our townhouse residences underwent a makeover. The exterior of the townhouses were renovated with stone and stucco, false dormers, new entrances and landscaping. The interior of the townhouses will be renovated in the future. All alumni who register will be notified by e-mail when the directory is up and running. The first 100 graduates to register will be entered into a draw to win a $200 gift certificate for the hotel of your choice.

Spring 2008 | page 


From the Principal’s Desk By Dr. Gerry Killan

In a recent survey of our alumni by Academica Group, I was struck by the similarity of thinking across all generations of our graduates about the funding priorities of the College. Accessibility topped the list. Your message is loud and clear: scholarships and bursaries must always be a fundraising priority. Since the Ontario government introduced its matching grant program in 1996, now called Ontario Trust for Student Support (OTSS), our endowed funds have grown from $400,000 to $4.4 million. As we prepare for our next capital campaign, the King’s College Foundation intends to raise $300,000 over each of the next five years under the OTSS, adding another $3 million of endowed funds for students in financial need.

Alumni also put great importance on funding library resources, academic enrichment programs, classroom renovations and equipment, residence improvements, and athletic facilities. The College has given priority to all of these areas over the past decade. Those of you who have visited King’s recently know the many positive changes that have been undertaken. King’s is the only post-secondary institution in London (and possibly Ontario) to have every single classroom fully outfitted with a complete complement of multimedia presentation equipment. This coming year six additional classrooms will be added when the College takes occupancy of the old Broughdale Public School on Epworth Avenue. The resources in the G. Emmett Cardinal Carter Library are constantly being expanded and the Foundation and Students’ Council have regularly provided funds for new equipment and furniture. Our full-time faculty complement has grown from 58 in 1999-2000 to 83 this year. We will be adding three additional faculty in religious studies in 2008-2009 as we launch a new World Religions program. Program development has also been greatly enhanced with the addition in the past five years of a graduate MSW program, Social Justice and Peace Studies, Childhood and Social Institutions, Thanatology, Management and Organizational Studies, and Catholic Studies. A new department of “Interdisciplinary Studies,” chaired by Dr. Alan Pomfret, has also been created. Alumni who resided in the old townhouses will be stunned at the transformation when they see the renovations to the exteriors of these buildings (see page five). Next summer, we plan to make significant improvements to their interiors. The work of improvement, of course, never ends. Recent graduates and students have identified other areas of “greatest need”: a new “Student Life” building to house a 500 seat amphitheatre, consolidate Students’ Council offices and facilities, and provide low impact athletic activities, club rooms, student services, a prayer room, and space for students to interact informally. Planning is underway to make this building one of the centerpieces of our forthcoming capital campaign. Our students have dedicated $1.2M of their discretionary student fees to this project over the next five years (see photo on page three). All alumni will have an opportunity to support this important initiative. The campaign for scholarships/ bursaries and the “Student Life” building will be my top priority as I approach my last year as principal.

The King’s Herald | page 

Annual Career Day Students learned from the experience of King’s economics, business and math alumni at the annual EBM Career Day on January 22, 2008. Grads who offered their advice about career opportunities and job finding included:  Sondra Stewart, EC ’92, CA,

CBV, president, Steward Business Valuations Inc  Bill Sherwood, ACS ’02, CMA,

Manager, Business Support, Union Gas, London/Chatham  Chris Albion, MOS ’07 Senior

Financial Analyst of US and Canadian Corporate Stores and Loans for Tim Horton’s; President, Hold ‘Em Promotions; Consultant, London Health Sciences Foundation  Adam Chapman, ACS ’04 Financial

Security Advisor, Freedom 55 Financial, London Life  Lindsay Rowe, EC ’02 CIBC Wood

Gundy  Joe MacDonald, EC ’80 Executive

Vice President of the Citadel Group of Funds  Jason Wilcox, ACS ’06 Entrepreneur,

Waste Solutions Canada  Jason Peetsma, BA ’01 Director

of Operations, Brendan Wood International

Upcoming Alumni Events

April: May:

London Chapter Event – Speaker Series Thursday, April 10, 2008, 6:30 p.m., Students’ Lounge, Wemple Building, King’s Dramatists ‘foul papers’ in the age of Shakespeare Dr. Paul Werstine, Department of Modern Languages, King’s University College Advance Registration Required

Music Reigns, The Gala “An Evening of Soul” Featuring guest artists Gavin Hope and Karen LeBlanc Saturday, May 3, 2008, The London Convention Centre. Cost: $150/person The funds raised through Music Reigns benefit the community through two of London’s prized institutions, King’s University College and Orchestra London. Guests will delight in the timeless and unforgettable sounds of Motown! The evening includes a delectable dinner, lively dancing and the most incredible live and silent auction in town. To order tickets, please call (519) 679-8778. Hamilton Alumni Event Thursday, May 22, 2008, 5:30 p.m. The newly formed Hamilton Alumni Chapter invites you to mix, mingle and enjoy musical entertainment provided by the Dunn Brothers. This will be a wonderful opportunity to catch-up with former classmates, faculty and friends. Location to be announced. Please visit for further information. Ottawa Alumni Event The Ottawa Chapter will host a get-together in May 2008. The venue and nature of the event remain to be determined. If you have any suggestions or would like to get involved with the Ottawa Chapter please contact the Office of Alumni Affairs at (800) 265-4406 x4502 or Geoff Hutton at (613) 825-2247.

June: Fall:

Calgary Alumni Event Tuesday, June 3, 2008, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Special Guests: Dr. Gerry Killan, Principal and Erin Lawson, Executive Director, Development & Alumni Affairs. Location to be announced. Please visit for further information. Vancouver Alumni Event Thursday, June 5, 2008, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Special Guests: Dr. Gerry Killan, Principal and Erin Lawson, Executive Director, Development & Alumni Affairs. Location to be announced. Please visit for further information. The 13th Annual King’s Golf Classic Tuesday, September 16, 2008. Forest City National Homecoming October 3-5, 2008

For further details please visit the King’s University College Alumni Events page or contact the Office of Alumni Affairs at or (519) 433-3491 x4502 Spring 2008 | page 

King’sConnect As your newly appointed President, I would like to thank Sophia Katsios ’94 and the rest of the King’s Alumni Board for their past efforts and contributions to the Alumni Association and the King’s Community. Over the past few years, their efforts brought King’s Alumni closer together through various events and activities.

President’s Message David Elias ’90 President, King’s University College Alumni Association

King’s has evolved over the previous five decades but its position as a leader in liberal arts education remains. Beyond academia, King’s is a place where friendships are developed and fostered between fellow students, faculty and staff. 

Above all, King’s is a community. As part of this community, we all share a similar bond and fond memories of our days at King’s. Whether it was the many pubs such as Welcome Back Hours or simply the memorable lectures in Dr. John Snyder’s Theology of Marriage course, we all shared in the King’s experience.  Last year marked a breakthrough in the various professional and social networking websites such as and Underlying the popularity of these web portals is the desire of people to stay connected with others and to meet or re-acquaint with those with similar backgrounds. I invite you to get more involved in Alumni events and re-connect with some of those friendly faces. You can… 

Attend Alumni and chapter events held in various cities throughout Canada;

Volunteer with the Alumni Association through Board or Chapter Committees;

Join the various networking groups on Facebook.

Keep track of the various events – check out

Consider making a roadtrip to 266 Epworth Avenue during Homecoming weekend. For some of you, the buildings will not be recognizable – but the friendly faces of the community will quickly bring back the memories of the good times.

Please stay in touch – provide your email address and contact information to the Alumni Office so that we can keep you informed of upcoming events. I look forward to seeing you throughout the year.

The King’s Herald | page 


Recap Sarnia Alumni Reception

On August 29, 2007 alumni from the Sarnia area got together at On the Front Restaurant and Bar for an evening of good food and fun. Principal Gerry Killan, his wife Linda Killan, Registrar Marilyn Mason, Dr. Nick Skinner and Alumni & Development Officer Kelly Schaus travelled to Sarnia to meet with King’s alumni, share stories and catch up. With over 300 alumni in the area there are sure to be more exciting events in the future.

Hamilton Alumni Reception

On October 30, 2007, alumni from the Hamilton area gathered at The Hamilton Club for an event sponsored by Roger Yachetti ‘61, Jim Scarfone ‘70 and Frank DeSantis ‘72. Principal Dr. Gerry Killan, Academic Dean Dr. Des Dutrizac, Dr. Dante Lenardon, Prof. Paul Webb and Alumni and Development Officer Kelly Schaus travelled to Hamilton to catch up with graduates who live and work in the area. Dr. Lenardon gave a wonderful presentation and guests had the opportunity to reconnect with former classmates, faculty and meet new acquaintances. A group of King’s alumni have come together and a new Chapter has formed in Hamilton. The group is excited to organize events for graduates in the area.

Toronto Young Alumni Event

On November 24th, 2007, the King’s Young Alumni Council held their inaugural event in Toronto at West Lounge Bar. The King’s Young Alumni Council is affiliated with the King’s Alumni Association but has a strict focus on events, both networking and social, for King’s grads of the past five years. This event was a great success with a large turnout of King’s grads from 2002-2007. There was plenty of reminiscing and story telling as we were able to recall our days at King’s not so long ago. Please keep your eye on the King’s website, the Herald, or the King’s Young Alumni facebook group for future events.


Homecoming 2007 was a huge success! Over 100 King’s alum dropped by the Friday Night Bash which took place in the Student Lounge of the Monsignor Wemple Building at King’s University College. Rick McGhie entertained the crowd and many sang along to their favourite tunes! In addition, Stephen Dunn ’81 and his sister Colleen Gamble ’84 paid tribute to Bernie Hammond as they sang a special song in celebration of Bernie’s 65th birthday. All who attended had the opportunity to catch up with former classmates, faculty and friends. It was a wonderful evening.

Members of the Class of 1963, 1968, 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998 and 2003 …

Come home to King’s and celebrate your reunion at Homecoming 2008! October 3-5, 2008 We are seeking volunteers to assist us in planning your reunion celebration at Homecoming 2008. If you are interested in helping to organize a special get-together for your class, please contact the Office of Alumni Affairs. (519) 433-3491 x4502 | (800) 265-4406 x4502 |

Spring 2008 | page 

King’sConnect King’s University College Alumni Award of Distinction


Call for Nominations

The King’s University College Alumni Award of Distinction celebrates talent, achievement, commitment and community. There are many very talented and deserving King’s alumni who deserve to be recognized for their outstanding achievements. If you know a King’s graduate whose contributions enhance his or her community and who is an inspiration to those who know them please take the time to put forward a nomination.

Making a Donation is Easy On-line Can’t decide what to give for a graduation/ birthday/anniversary/wedding? Consider making a gift to King’s! You can make a donation any time to support King’s and our students by visiting and using your Visa or MasterCard.

Past Recipients:  2007 Stephen Dunn ‘81  2006: Robert Paterson ‘72  2005: Sheila Copps ’74 and Sally VandeSompel ‘97  2004: James Scarfone ‘70  2003: Barbara Tiessen ‘86  2002: Gary Comerford ‘73  2001: John J. Callaghan ‘67  2000: John (Jack) Petch, Q.C. ‘60 To download a nomination form, please visit our website For further information, please call the Office of Alumni Affairs at (519) 433-3491 x4502 or (800) 265-4406 x4502 Nomination Deadline: May 1, 2008

Annual fundraising campaign a success! Thank you to everyone who contributed to our annual fundraising appeal in the fall. Many grads took some time to respond to our letter or to speak with our student callers on the phone. To all those who contributed, we are grateful for the funds you donated to support scholarships and bursaries for students in financial need and the new Centre for Catholic-Jewish Learning. Your generous support raised over $51,000 to benefit our students! The King’s Herald | page 10



J o h n Nas h

John Nash attended King’s for his first two years of university, then completed a physical education degree from UWO and a PhD from Ohio State University. After setting up Canada’s first undergraduate Health Studies Program at the University of Waterloo, he returned to London to take over Nash Jewellers, founded by his grandfather in 1918. Nash developed the first Canadian AGS Accredited Gemological Laboratory in 1980. He served as Chairman of the Trustees of the American Gem Society (AGS), a high honour for a Canadian, and has been recently elected as Senior Advisor to its board. He was inducted into Junior Achievement’s London Business Hall of Fame last year. Nash and his wife Margi have six children, all boys, between the ages of 23 and 33, and three grandchildren. A former member of the Canadian Seniors Golf Association International Team, Nash plays golf and squash regularly. Nash chaired King’s highly successful Building Faith, Building Futures Campaign, and is a director of the King’s College Foundation Board.

of service

King’s University College owes much to the support and counsel of a group of committed and dedicated senior volunteers. The Herald talked to John Nash about why he commits his time and talent to the College.


What did you enjoy about your time as a King’s student? I was too young for university when I went to King’s. I found university a struggle, and barely survived my first year. The beauty of being at King’s, with its small classes and profs who knew you, was having people to lean on.

Why did you agree to chair the Building Faith, Building Futures Campaign? My decision was influenced by three people who are extremely dedicated to King’s: Dr. Gerry Killan, John Callaghan, and Don McDougall. One of the reasons I agreed to chair the last campaign was to strengthen King’s ties with the faith community. The role of King’s as a Catholic institution is becoming ever more significant, and that is directly attributable to work of our principal, Dr. Gerry Killan. There is a very strong moral fibre that runs through King’s that doesn’t run through many other educational institutions. It is evident in all aspects of the campus, from its buildings and publications to its faculty and students. This strong sense of values pervades the College.

What did you enjoy about chairing the Campaign? photo: Jackie Noble

It was a team effort right from the start. As an individual I feel I would

have been inadequate to the task, but as a team we had a tremendous amount of strength. I found the experience very gratifying.

How did the experience change your perspective on King’s? I felt like I was re-establishing an umbilical cord. After the campaign I was so enthused I asked to serve on the board of the King’s College Foundation. I’ve enjoyed the board immensely.

Why do you feel it’s important to support King’s? Universities are becoming increasingly secular and amoral. I think it is very important for students to have the opportunity to attend a strong value-based educational institution like King’s. Spring 2008 | page 11

Media Savvy Like everything else in the electronic age,

the world of media is changing. But its essence – the power to communicate – remains the same. That’s why King’s grads, with their superb liberal arts education, move effortlessly in this world. The Herald talked to three alumni in the media.

The King’s Herald | page 12

Best of both worlds David Estok has achieved success in journalism and public relations David Estok remembers being called into the same office where he now sits at the Hamilton Spectator. It was the early 80’s, and he had just completed a summer internship with nine others competing for a full-time reporting job. A job was waiting for him, he was told, but not until the economy turned around. Less than a year later he was back at the Spectator as a rookie reporter. Now he’s at the Spectator again, this time as Editor-in-Chief. Estok’s return to his hometown newspaper caps a remarkable career that has leapfrogged between journalism and public relations. “I feel very lucky that I have been able to move between the two,” he says. “There are very few people who have the opportunity to do that.” Estok joined the workforce right after high school, spending a few years in Hamilton as an iron worker. When he went on to King’s, he was one of only three students in his year to complete a double major in History and English. His wife Kathy Keighley was one of the other two. At King’s he became interested for a short time in a career in academia, after taking some courses from an inspiring young history professor, Dr. Gerry Killan. This goal was abandoned when Dr. Jacque Goutor told him that the secret to getting a PhD was “sitting in a hard chair.” “That didn’t appeal to me,” says Estok. “I decided on journalism, which some people say is history on the run.” He went on to complete a one-year undergraduate degree and a Master’s in journalism at Carleton before joining the Hamilton Spectator. By the end of five years with the Spec he

was looking for new challenges. He took a job with the National Post, a weekly financial paper that was reinventing itself as a daily tabloid. He worked for six months as a steel and auto writer, and worked his way up to National Editor. After five years with the National Post, Estok made his first sortie into corporate communications as Director of Ontario’s newly-formed Workplace Health and Safety Agency. Among his accomplishments was an award-winning young worker awareness program to communicate worker health and safety issues. Estok returned briefly to journalism with Maclean’s magazine, and then jumped back into public relations in 1966 when he agreed to accept the position of Director of Communications for UWO. During his ten years at Western, he dramatically increased the university’s communication presence, expanding the department from nine people to 26. His work helped to build Western’s reputation, leading to higher rankings and entering grades. He launched a rebranding of the university, introduced the Tower logo, and managed the communications of the University’s highly successful fundraising campaign. As his job evolved and he was elevated to Associate Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, he became more actively involved on behalf of Western in the local community. Although the world of journalism is different from public relations, Estok believes they have much in common. “The power of communication – the need to simplify complex messages so people understand them – is the same in both,” he says. As Editor-in-Chief of the Hamilton Spectator, Estok

oversees a national newspaper with a circulation of 106,000 and a newsroom staff of 110. He helps set the news agenda, manages business issues, and represents the newspaper in the community. Under his leadership the Spectator is taking a number of new initiatives. It recently launched a series called Hamilton Next that takes a look at the challenges and opportunities of the city in a way that engages the community. One innovative idea is an interactive web game called “Future City”, where players chart the next hundred years of Hamilton. Estok is looking forward to the challenges of running a large daily newspaper. “We are working hard to understand the differences among readers, and what they want and need. We have to be smart about how we use our resources and develop our stories to ensure we are putting out a quality publication. Then we have to see how this whole new world of the web will continue to grow and change our business.” Estok is also excited to be back in Hamilton. “Going back to where I started makes me feel ten years younger!”

Due north

“It’s so easy to get involved,” he says. “You get to know people really quickly. Like King’s, the atmosphere in Hay River is very friendly, and I have grown to enjoy that.”

Patrick Teskey ’99 finds there are many opportunities working for a local weekly in the Northwest Territories

On October 6, 2007, RCMP Constable Chris Worden died after being shot in the small northern community of Hay River. Patrick Teskey, a reporter with the Hay River Hub, was assigned to cover the story. It was a challenging assignment, with the eyes of the nation on the town and the national media clamouring for news. It was particularly hard for Teskey, who had played flag football with Worden and ridden in his squad car. “I considered him a friend,” he says. “After the shooting I lived in a cocoon, unable to deal with my emotions until things began to return to normal.” Teskey arrived in Hay River eight months before the shooting. He had never been in the north, nor had he lived in a small town. He grew up in Toronto and then enrolled at King’s, where he majored in philosophy and volunteered for the King’s Regis and Western Gazette. He went on to graduate at the top of his class in the journalism program at Sheridan College. He started his own design and communications company, and then began looking around for a reporting job. When he was offered a place at the Hub, a weekly newspaper in Hay River, he had some doubts. “My editor did a great selling job,” says Teskey. “He asked me if I wanted to work in an environment where I was interviewing a member of the Legislative Assembly one minute and out on the lake talking with an ice fisherman the next. It didn’t take Tesky long to appreciate the advantages of working in a small, weekly newspaper in the north.

The King’s Herald | page 14

“One of the nice things about my job is that I’m expected to cover everything,” he says. As one of two reporters on staff, Teskey writes about 15 stories a week. He has interviewed Jack Layton, NWT Premier Floyd Roland, and many members of the Legislative Assembly. He’s done feature stories on the White Stripes concert in Yellowknife, commercial ice fishing on Great Slave Lake, and dogsledding. He did a special on the spring ice break-up, an important event in the north, flying in a Cessna over northern Alberta with a team of scientists. On top of his duties as a reporter, Teskey also takes photographs and lays out a portion of the newspaper.

Yellowknife, about five hours away by road, is the closest large community. The first time he made the trip by car was an experience to remember, driving the McKenzie River ice crossing, the famed four lane highway over the frozen water. Spring breakup is also an exciting event to witness, with huge ice floes hurtling down the Hay River. Teskey’s favourite experience, though, is watching the Northern Lights. “They are truly spectacular,” he says, “especially in the winter when the pinks are really shimmering.” When friends or family come to visit him, he tells them they have an incredible experience in store. “I love to take them out of town on an evening when it’s pitch dark. We set up lawn chairs, drink hot chocolate, and just watch the lights.”

Teskey is also enjoying the laid-back lifestyle and climate of the north. “I can honestly say that minus 15 doesn’t sound cold to me anymore,” he says. The long hours of daylight in the summer compensate for the darkness of the winter. “At the end of June you can lie on a beach at midnight and read a book,” he says. The sense of community in Hay River reminds him in many ways of King’s College.

Patrick Teskey recently joined the Hay River volunteer fire department

photo: Scott Clouthier, Hub Publication Inc.

Where’s your home? Deiren Masterson produces award-winning documentaries of people who inspire and give hope live-in assistant. “It was here that my faith life had a renaissance,” he says. “It was what I had been searching for.”

Deiren Masterson (right) with John Smeltzer

John Smeltzer is a 55-year old man with Down’s Syndrome. He loves people, and greets everyone with the words “Where’s your home?” He’s also an outstanding spoon player. Micheal Barrett is a 37 year-old man with Cerebral Palsy. He cannot speak, but uses his eyes to communicate. He has little control over his body, but he smiles broadly and often. When he’s excited he pumps his right arm in jubilation. The stories of these individuals and others like them are being told by King’s grad Deiren Masterson. His award-winning documentaries have played to audiences all over the world, and carry messages of hope, inspiration, and faith. Masterson majored in political science at King’s, but his real passions were creative writing, music, and filmmaking. After his degree, he came across the writings of Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche, an organization that creates communities for people with developmental disabilities. Inspired by Vanier’s writings, Masterson joined the L’Arche community in Richmond Hill as a

He stayed at L’Arche for seven years, and got to know John Smeltzer and Michael Barrett. One weekend he decided to rent a camera and make a biographical video of Smeltzer. “Where’s your Home?” went on to critical acclaim, and led to the award-winning In God’s Hands: Michael Barrett’s story. Masterson has also completed a documentary on Rebecca Beayni, a remarkable young woman who was born with severe Cerebral Palsy. Revel in the Light was screened in 2005 at a United Nations symposium to help promote international human rights for people with disabilities. “I wanted to shine a light on these amazing human beings who have huge gifts to give society,” says Masterson. “I wanted to celebrate their lives, and the fact that we live in a world where we all need each other.” Masterson’s films, produced by his company MasterWorks Productions, bring together his strong creative abilities and deep sense of faith. He has created a number of documentaries for Salt + Light Television, a national Catholic network. This included Love is a Choice, a biographical documentary about St. Gianna Beretta Molla, for which he also composed the theme song.

Recently Masterson produced The McLuhan Way: In search of truth, an award-winning film on Marshall McLuhan. Although everyone knows McLuhan as the prophet of the media age, few are aware that he was a converted Catholic. Masterson’s film explores his faith and the powerful impact it had on his work. Masterson is now an editor at S-VOX, a media provider that focuses on stories of spirituality and faith. He is also working on a feature documentary with development funding by the Manning Centre for Building Democracy that looks at faith and politics. Hidden Steeples looks at the story of Catholicism in Canadian politics over the past 40 years, through a string of Catholic prime ministers from Pierre Trudeau to Paul Martin. He’s also expanding his film on John Smeltzer into a feature documentary, focusing on Smeltzer’s remarkable talent at playing the spoons. For the film, Masterson is arranging “dream concerts” with musical icons. Recently Smeltzer appeared on stage with fiddling sensations Natalie McMaster and Donald Leahy, and Ashley MacIsaac. He is scheduled to perform with The Chieftains. Although Masterson admits that he had difficulty finding a purpose while at King’s, he believes that the College’s sense of community and Catholic roots had a greater impact on his life than he understood at the time. He recently presented his film Where’s your Home? to King’s students on campus. “I am an idealist at heart, and I was when I was at King’s,” he says. “It’s my faith that gives me values that are important – integrity, honesty, community. My faith comes into my films in the way I look for stories that leave people with hope and inspiration.” Spring 2008 | page 15

big Small changes,


King’s students are helping to green the planet Jared Wilson, VP Student Issues, was surprised to find he consumes two “earths”. He was just one of many King’s students who calculated their ecological footprint (see sidebar) during Consumption Awareness Week. The special week-long event was put on by the King’s Students’ Council last fall to help King’s students learn more about their impact on the planet. It also gave them lots of ideas about how to change their habits. “I’m now trying to throw out less, recycle more, carry a travel mug at all times, drive less, and watch some of the things I eat,” says Wilson. When the King’s Students’ Council first met last March it decided to make the environment a major focus of its term. Consumption Awareness Week was the result. The Council appointed thirdyear student Beth Prysnuk as Environmental Co-ordinator, and she planned the week’s program with the help of Wilson and MacKenzie Kieran, the President of

The King’s Herald | page 16

the newly formed King’s University College Environmental Club. Prysnuk has been passionate about the environment as long as she can remember. “Even in grade five I was involved in Earth Buddies, and always made sure I brought a litterless lunch to school,” she says. She

Chris Buccella sold many reusable containers, mugs and water bottles to students and professors.

and her planning team came up with a series of events to help King’s students make small changes in their lives that help the environment. For example, the Council sold reusable mugs as an environmentally friendly alternative to Tim Horton coffee cups, which are non-recyclable.

To give students a better idea of how much waste they could save, used Tim Horton cups were collected and made into a huge display. Event organizers also worked with Aramark, King’s food service provider, to offer a biodegradable food container for just a few cents more than the standard Styrofoam option. They also sold water bottles and energy efficient light bulbs. Environmental activist David Suzuki was one of the highlights of the week, speaking to a packed room of 400 students. His message was simple yet powerful, says Wilson. “He told us that small changes make a big impact. He also said it’s important to focus on doing what you can David Suzuki

Pleased by the positive feedback and support from King’s students, Prysnuk and her team are planning more events for the spring. “I think our generation is very aware of the problems of the environment,” she says. “We’re concerned about the problems, but we need to know more about what to do and how to act.” She’s also excited by the opportunities to collaborate with other groups, such as the environmental clubs at both King’s and Western. “There are pockets of things happening everywhere, so we can join together,” she says.

right in the community where you live.” A few weeks later Ralph Nader, perhaps America’s most wellknown consumer advocate, was on campus. He told students that it was important they get involved and show passion for what they believe in. In addition to Consumption Awareness Week, the Students’ Council organized a “barter market,” which gave students a venue to trade used items rather than throw them out or buy new ones. This was followed by a “Buy Nothing Day,” an entire day in which students were encouraged to go without making a purchase.

Although events like Consumption Awareness Week are targeted to students, the Students Council is hoping they will resonate within the entire King’s community. “We’re trying to make people aware of where our food and other things come from, and then where they go when we’re done with them,” says Prysnuk. “It’s really important that we realize that we are all very much connected to the earth.” Adds Wilson: “We can’t change everything, but we can make small changes. It’s easy to get comfortable, but there’s always a little more that each one of us can do.”

Your ecological footprint measures the number of earths it would take to support the world’s population if everyone consumed the same amount of natural resources as you. Do you know how many earths you consume? To calculate your ecological footprint go to:

Spring 2008 | page 17

A passion for teaching Dr. Nick Skinner connects with his students through humour and stories A number of years ago Professor Nick Skinner met a young woman who looked familiar at a Canadian Psychological Association meeting. He asked the woman, who was just finishing a PhD in psychology, whether she had taken his Introductory Psychology course. “Yes,” she replied, “but my undergraduate degree was in economics. I enjoyed your course so much that I changed fields.” The story is an example of the impact that Dr. Skinner has had The King’s Herald | page 18

on students during his 35 years at King’s. It also mirrors the way he, too, came to psychology. Born into four generations of doctors, he assumed he would follow the same path. But two months into medical school, he finally admitted it wasn’t for him. Without telling his father his plans, he left medicine and signed up for some liberal arts courses at the University of Alberta. One of them was introductory psychology. “I loved psychology from the very first moment,” he says. After his introduction to psychology, Dr. Skinner went on to earn his Masters and PhD in the field at University of Alberta. While in graduate school he chose to focus

wholly on research, giving only one lecture in six years. “I was petrified of the classroom,” he says. When King’s University College hired him in 1972 to teach three undergraduate courses, he found it a daunting experience. “I was working flat out, but at best I was about ten minutes ahead of the class,” he says. “I always felt apprehensive going in and never as prepared as I wanted to be.” To his surprise, Dr. Skinner subsequently discovered that teaching was something he excelled at. “I was dying out there in front of the class,” he says, “but apparently the experience of the students was different, as I found out years later in PHOTO: John Tamblyn

letters from former students.” He was the recipient of the King’s College Award for Teaching Excellence in its inaugural year. In 2000 he received the Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training in Psychology Award, the highest teaching honour of the Canadian Psychological Association. Although he has never completely lost his trepidation about standing in front of a room full of students, he has developed a passion for the classroom that informs both his teaching and his research. He believes that the best teaching strategy is simply to be yourself (see sidebar). For him, this involves the use of selfdeprecating humour and personal stories. “I tell a lot of stories that get me off the pedestal, and that seems to connect with students.” It’s also important, he says, genuinely to like and respect students. Dr. Skinner describes himself as a “chalk and talk guy”, and he sometimes worries that his approach might be too low-tech for the students of today. He believes, though, that his teaching might lose its effectiveness if students were looking at a screen rather than him. Over the years Dr. Skinner’s research activities have become increasingly focused on the classroom. He’s particularly intrigued by what he describes as “student and professorial folk wisdom.” For example, one common piece of advice from both students and professors is: “don’t change your first choice on a multiple choice examination because it’s probably right.” Although a number of studies had shown that changing one’s first choice can often be advantageous, Dr. Skinner wanted to verify this for himself. When he did a replication, he found the studies to be accurate: 25% of changes went from wrong to wrong, 25% from right to wrong, and 50% from wrong to right. Unlike former studies, Dr. Skinner looked

at gender differences. He found that women change about twice as many answers as men, and women are three times more likely to make right to wrong changes. In another piece of research, he looked at the effect of coloured paper on exam results. To prevent cheating, professors sometimes present multiple choice questions in different order on papers of different colour. Dr. Skinner found that students taking exams on blue, green, red, and yellow paper earned roughly the same grade, but those using white performed 4 to 5 percent higher. Another piece of professorial folk wisdom Dr. Skinner tested was the notion in multiple choice exams of “getting the students off on the right foot” by giving them some easy questions first. This was a practice he had followed for years, but when he tested it he found that students performed the same on the tough

questions no matter where they came, but performed significantly better on the easy questions when they were preceded by the tough ones. In addition to his teaching and research, Dr. Skinner is also proud of his long association with various professional organizations such as the Canadian Psychological Association, where he is the long-standing chair of the Section on the Teaching of Psychology. He recently received a Valued Contributions Award from the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology. At a point in his career when many professors are contemplating retirement, Dr. Skinner is still honing his teaching skills and pursuing interesting lines of research. “I couldn’t speak more highly of my time at King’s,” he says. “I have had a wonderful career here. I will be sorry to stop – when and if I ever do!”

TricksTrade of the

Dr. Nick Skinner shares some of his secrets of success in the classroom: “Authenticity is the key to being an effective teacher. Students are pretty shrewd, and they will see through you if you try to be something other than yourself.” “My goal is not merely to expose students to psychology, but excite them about it. There should be no doubt in my students’ minds about my enthusiasm and fascination for psychology.” “I believe that the process that goes on in the classroom is ultimately more important than the content that students are presented. If students sit and listen, that is what they learn to do. If they are required to do more than sit and listen, then that’s what they’ll learn to do.” “I use humour a lot in my classes but I hope not gratuitously. There always is an academic point to my humour.” “When I’m teaching I tell stories. A memorable story provides students with a hook to help them remember the psychology course content illustrated by the story.”

Spring 2008 | page 19

Doors opening

could have ever imagined,” she says. “The women I worked with were amazing, and microcredit is changing their lives in dramatic and meaningful ways.” The microcredit program of Welfare Services Ernakulam serves about 23,000 poor women in southern India. The program is remarkably successful, with a default rate of only 1.3 percent. “There is very clear empirical evidence that small loans to poor women in developing countries pay a greater social dividend than similar investments in men,” says Flesher. “Investments in women result in more improvements in education, nutrition, and health. Women also tend to bear a heavier burden of poverty.”

Grace Flesher in Kerala, India

Grace Flesher ’08 is a banker who helps the world’s poor When Grace Flesher applied to the Social Justice and Peace Program at King’s, her resume showed a ten-year career with the Bank of America. She had a great job as the bank’s Vice President Operations, but there was something missing. “I’ve always believed that money is a very good tool when it empowers people,” she says. “But conventional banking is set up to give loans to people who don’t really need them, and deny loans to those who do.” Flesher felt that her future lay in a different kind of banking – microcredit. This unconventional form of lending involves small loans to very poor people who have no collateral. Originating in the developing world, microcredit has become a widely-accepted practice. There are about 120 million microcredit borrowers world-wide, and nearly all of them are women. When she decided to leave the bank, Flesher had another dream – to go to university. Originally from Vancouver, she moved to the U.S. in her early 20s. She started at Bank of America as a teller, and worked her way up to where she was supervising universityeducated employees. “I reached a point where I felt I had missed an opportunity.” The King’s Herald | page 20

She first set up her own business as a fundraising and development consultant. After a few years, she returned to Canada, moving to London, Ontario, with her partner, a Unitarian Universalist minister. Here she discovered King’s University College. “I was amazed to see this program, Social Justice and Peace Studies,” she says. “I thought if I were ever to go to university this would be what I would take.” Flesher is now completing her fourth year in the Social Justice and Peace Studies program, and recently received an award as its top student. Thanks

to the program she is also living her dream of making a career in microcredit. In November 2006 she was invited by Save a Family Plan, a not-forprofit with close ties to King’s, to be a delegate at the Global MicroCredit Summit. Here she met the Executive Director of Welfare Services Ernakulam, a microfinance institution in Kerala, India. She was invited to do an internship at Welfare Services last summer, made possible through a grant from the Canadian International Development Agency. Flesher says that her three months in India were everything she had hoped for. “The reality was more frustrating – and far more exhilarating – than I

Flesher has now seen first-hand the transformative effect of microcredit. “These loans are hugely important in helping women overcome some of the patriarchal and social norms that have oppressed them,” she says. “Many women have become successful in the small enterprises they have launched, and they’re now beginning to organize and speak out and get respect in their communities.” Flesher tells the story of one village woman who insisted she serve her tea whenever they met. “My tea tastes the best because I have the best milk,” she told Flesher. “That’s because I have my own cow.” It turned out that the woman had acquired seven cows through a series of small loans. Even though cows are worth a lot in India, the woman had figured out that it was better financially for her to keep the cows for their dung and milk rather than sell them. “This woman is now considered a community leader and organizer,” says Flesher. “In the past she would have to beg money from her husband to buy a night-dress. Now her husband asks her for money.” When Flesher graduates this spring, she will return to Kerala under a two-year contract as General Manager of the microcredit program she served in last summer. She is hoping that one day she might be able to provide a King’s student with the same opportunity she had. “King’s gave me an experience that changed my life,” she says. “I’m heading back to India with a job after graduation in June. Everywhere doors are swinging open.”

Milestones Richard Vedan ’68 has worked at the University of British Columbia as an Associate Professor, School of Social Work since 1995, Director First Nations House of Learning since 2000, and was appointed as Senior Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Affairs in October 2006. Ed Corrigan ’77 currently resides in London, Ontario and operates his own law firm. He is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Citizenship and Immigration Law and Immigration/Refugee Protection. He was appointed Associate Editor of Immquest and Assistant Editor of Immigration Law Reports. Alfred Aquilina ’75 published a book by Hancock House Publishers, entitled, “The Mackenzie, Yesterday and Beyond.” Johnny Fansher ’90 received the Community Leadership Award from the Pillar Nonprofit Network at its first annual Community Innovations Awards ceremony in November 2007. Johnny is a financial advisor and owns Johnny Fansher Financial, an insurance agency in London. Christopher Varney ’90 recently accepted the position of Vice President Operations and General Manager at HighJump Software, a 3M Company acquired by Waterloo based software provider Global Beverage Group Inc. (GBG). Chris is responsible for HighJump’s Canadian and US based Delivery Division operations. He lives in Guelph with his wife Peggy ’90 (nee Sexton) and two sons Alex, 9 and Jack, 7. Ron Badr ’91 and his wife, Tania, celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in September 2007. They have two children, Genevieve, 4 and Griffin, 1. Sonya Maloney ’91 moved back to Canada last year after 12 years in Atlanta, GA. She and her family now live in Oakville. They have three kids: Liam, 8, Nora, 6, and Claire, 3.

Teresa Drabick ’92 celebrated her 15th year in the Canadian Armed Forces in October 2007. She was posted from Victoria, BC to Barrie, ON in September 2007. Chris Toperczer ’92 and his wife Laura are pleased to announce the birth of their twin boys Ethan and Noah born July 16, 2007. Big sister Sophia, 22 months, was delighted with the arrival of the boys. Chris has owned a Mississauga based employment agency Toper Temps Inc. since 2000. Andrew Thibodeau ’93 and his wife Elizabeth celebrated nine years of marriage by making a fifth visit to Scotland with their daughter Torry, born June ’05. Andrew is in his 16th year as a motivational comedian and leadership trainer specializing in schools and youth conferences. He speaks at King’s every year as part of soph training, the OC Barbeque, and the Monday opening ceremonies. He still lives in London and goes to all of the UWO football games – look for his huge football player hat in the Alumni stands! Andrea Pape ’96 (nee Corso) and her husband Darren are pleased to announce the birth of their first child. Matthew Carter Corso Pape was born on August 2, 2006 weighing in at 9 lbs. Diane Rondinelli ’96 married Nat Rondinelli in August 1996. A year later, the couple gave birth to their little sweetheart Samantha on August 21, 1997. Samantha’s older sister Krystina and brother Andrew welcomed her home. After graduation, and having Samantha, Diane had a few job opportunities that led her to her destined career in the security business. She has worked at Alarmtech for six years and every day is a learning experience. Spring 2008 | page 21

Milestones Paul Ziriada ’00 married Christine Martineau on May 26, 2007 in Windsor, Ontario. The weather finally cleared that day for the celebration with family and friends. Teressa Angod ’01 recently started a new marketing job as District Marketing Supervisor with the City of Mississauga. She credits her undergraduate degree in Political Science as being instrumental in leading her to the position. Sarah Sorbara ’01 (nee DeSalaiz) married Luigi Sorbara on July 14, 2007 at St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica in London, Ontario. Ryan Parkington ’04 and Allison Taylor ’04 were married July 28, 2007 in London, Ontario.

Share Your News in the Herald! To share your news and achievements with your fellow grads, please fill out the on-line form on our website at: alumni/update.html. Email a colour photo (a minimum of 300 dpi) to and we’ll try to include it too!

Update your address on-line to continue receiving the Herald. The deadline for the next issue is June 15, 2008. The winner of the iPod Nano in our last issue was Geordan Robertson ’02. The King’s Herald | page 22

In Memoriam The King’s University College Office of Alumni Affairs and the Alumni Association extend condolences to the family and friends of Jeffrey Joseph Cormier ’90, who passed away suddenly on September 7, 2007 at the age of 40. An Assistant Professor of Sociology at King’s, Jeff was much loved and admired by students and colleagues. In the words of Karen Stanbridge, in an obituary for the Canadian Journal of Sociology Online: “Jeff was one of the leading young scholars in Canada specializing in social movements and political sociology. He was a mainstay at Congress promoting research in contentious politics and supporting those of us who studied in this area. Jeff was theoretically and methodologically skilled, a gifted researcher, but ever and always humble, so charmingly modest, with a quiet manner that could burst into an infectious enthusiasm when he engaged in topics that excited him. His death has left a huge hole in many lives.” His colleague Peter Ibbott describes him as “a person who loved to laugh, who had a gift for making friends and a special gift for keeping them.” Jeffrey Joseph Cormier

Christopher Beatty ’07 passed away in January 2008 after a motorcycle accident in Chiangmai, Thailand. Christopher was a graduate in Honours Political Science and History. In words from his obituary, “Christopher’s short life was characterized by his need to love and to be loved, his independence of thought, his intense loyalty to those who mattered, and his determination to fight for what he believed was right.” His funeral was held in Ottawa on February 7, 2008 and a memorial service for Chris was held at Christ the King Chapel on February 9.

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King's Herald - Spring 2008  

An alumni magazine for graduate of King's University College at Western University Canada.