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MacEwan Alumni News





Music grad builds on success by embracing diversity

Did you graduate in 2005–2009? If so, we want to hear from you. Complete the survey on our website (www. and your name will automatically be entered into the prize draw!

By Lisa Johnson Composer/trumpet player Dean McNeill describes his newest CD, Mélange, as a musical mosaic. An eclectic blend of jazz and classical influences and experiences, it includes a collaboration with two-time Juno award winning pianist Jon Ballantyne. But McNeill’s work and his life could also be described as a mosaic. After a quick glance at his accomplishments it becomes obvious that he has woven together an impressive musical career out of some diverse threads. McNeill has graduated from the University of North Texas (MMus, 1997), McGill University (BMus, 1991), and Grant MacEwan University (Dip, 1987). He has served as an external reviewer for MacEwan’s upcoming Bachelor of Music program and most recently premiered a new piece for solo trumpet and wind ensemble entitled “Kalla”, composed by MacEwan’s Head of Composition, Allan Gilliland. “Kalla” was premiered by McNeill and the National Youth Band of Canada in May of 2009. McNeill has also arranged, composed, and performed with a long list of acclaimed musicians. He currently serves as the Head of the Department of Music at the University of Saskatchewan. A two-time winner of the U of S Dwaine Nelson teaching award, McNeill understands what constitutes a good teacher and a good education. It should come as no surprise that when McNeill talks about the education and experience that have helped him to succeed, he comes back to the word diversity more than once, and to the varied education he received at MacEwan. The school taught him “that to succeed as a professional musician, one needs to excel in more than one area; one needs to be prepared for many potential opportunities. This means having many ‘irons in the fire.’ All of the faculty at MacEwan were very good, very committed, and very versatile, both as teachers and professional musicians. I am certain that this remains the case to this day.” He explains that the music industry has always been

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characterized by big changes. In technology such as music distribution, for example, there continues to be revivals, revolutions, and rapid shifts. Because of this, music students can expect to see more than one major sea change during the course of their career, and maybe even their studies. In this day and age it is as important to train students in adaptability and resourcefulness, as it is to equip them with an essential music skill set. McNeill goes back to the work of Sir Ken Robinson who says it best when he notes “that in the 21st century creativity is as important as literacy.” Thanks in no small part to the influential teachers who also made an indelible mark on McNeill’s subsequent career, MacEwan has stood for decades now as an important and seminal institution, especially in sustaining and rejuvenating the musical community central to Edmonton, a cultural capital of Canada. People McNeill list as strong mentors while studying at MacEwan include Dr. Tommy

Above: Dean McNeill, Yamaha solo artist, performing with the 2009 National Youth Band of Canada on their Saskatchewan tour in May 2009.

Dean McNeill, Head of the Department of Music at the University of Saskatchewan. Banks O.C., Raymond Baril, Gary Guthman, Bobby Cairns, Charlie Austin, and the late Rick Garn. McNeill credits the program at MacEwan with cultivating a good appreciation for diversity and a very strong commitment to supplying their students with a quality education. According to him, the university gave him an invaluable set of practical skills and cemented a broad range of abilities that he has only built upon

as his career has progressed. The songs on McNeill’s Mélange flitter back and forth between jazz and classical influences. They stand as a good testament not only to McNeill’s ability, but to his lifelong appreciation for variety, range, and rich musical diversity. For more information on McNeill’s career and activities visit

Traci Toshack Coordinator, Alumni Relations and Services 780-497-5543 MAILING ADDRESS: Alumni Relations and Services Grant MacEwan University City Centre Campus P.O. Box 1796 Edmonton, AB, Canada T5J 2P2 MOVING? Give us a call at 780-497-4273 or send us an e-mail at alumni@ and we’ll make sure that your record is updated. Front Cover: It’s official, we’re Grant MacEwan University. See related article page 3.

MacEwan Alumni News


NEW NAME, SAME GAME MacEwan maintains reputation for student-focused education “Hallways of instructors who left their office doors ajar. There were no ‘talking heads’ at the front – only real people who looked you in the eye, made you feel intelligent and helped you when you needed it.” Sound familiar? These words were spoken by Christina Grant, an Arts degree graduate in English (Honours) at MacEwan’s naming announcement ceremony on September 24. Following the government announcement, Grant MacEwan College officially became known as Grant MacEwan University. “The name Grant MacEwan University is a better description of who we are at this period in time,” said Dr. Janet Paterson-Weir, MacEwan Executive Vice President Academic. MacEwan’s 38-year evolution from community college to college to university has brought about a significant shift in the composition of the student body: currently, more than 5,000 of MacEwan’s roughly 11,000 full-time students are enrolled in degree programs. But MacEwan holds no plans to shelve any of its certificate or diploma programs – reversely, the university will continue building a horizontal curriculum that involves creating pathways from one credential to another. Every MacEwan credential—from certificates to degrees—will be awarded by Grant MacEwan University. “Whether on a résumé or a graduate school application, there is global recognition associated with the name ‘university’,” said MacEwan president Dr. Paul Byrne. “MacEwan will continue to work hard with our partner universities because we understand our students are depending on these continued strong relationships to exercise transfer options and graduate school entrance.” Currently, MacEwan degree alumni are enrolled in graduate schools across Canada, the United States and the UK. After graduating in 2008, Christina applied for graduate school at the University of Alberta, backed by strong letters of support from four MacEwan instructors. She will graduate from the U of A with a Master of Arts in English this November. Classified as a Baccalaureate and Applied Studies Institution, MacEwan fills a unique niche in Alberta’s post-secondary learning

Premier Ed Stelmach, left, and MacEwan President and CEO Paul Byrne celebrate the renaming of Grant MacEwan College on September 24, 2009.

system, where teaching and scholarly activity are integrated to enrich the student experience. “Diploma graduates may want to learn more about their degree completion options from their former program. We understand working adults need flexible options to continue studies. That’s

why we continue to develop online and part-time credentials for our graduates,” said Dr. Paterson-Weir. While some returning alumni may be concerned that MacEwan’s learner-friendly environment will make way for the traditional approach to university education, Dr. Paterson-Weir says MacEwan’s

student-focused brand of small class sizes and accessible faculty will remain distinguishing characteristics of the university. “Institutional culture evolves from a common set of shared values; it’s about the people, not the label,” she said.

“The name Grant MacEwan University is a better description of who we are at this period in time.”






September 24, 2009

Grant MacEwan Community College opened

Government approval to offer University Transfer programs

Changed name to Grant MacEwan College

Government approval to offer baccalaureate degrees

Changed name to Grant MacEwan University

MacEwan Alumni News


2009 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARDS MacEwan alumni continue to aspire and, in turn, inspire Each year MacEwan honours alumni who have made exceptional contributions to the community and bring honour to MacEwan through outstanding leadership, achievement and service. This highly regarded award is presented annually at Convocation and is granted to MacEwan graduates who exhibit outstanding achievements or make significant contributions in one or more of the following areas: service to the community, business, the arts, human development, the environment, life-long learning, post-secondary education, and/or government.

“Dedicated State,” was released in the spring of 2008, earning play time on CBC and CKUA radio. More importantly, the album garnered nationwide recognition when she won the prestigious Emerging Artist of the Year award at the 2008 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Scott Kashuba, General Arts and Science, 1984 After being one of MacEwan’s first eight degree transfer students in the early 80s, Scott Kashuba never stopped building on his college certificate, later earning graduate degrees, working in a variety of

Board of Directors from 2004 until its dissolution in 2007. Currently, he is a member of the Premier’s Award of Excellence Leadership Team. Kathleen Quinn, Volunteer Sector Management Program, 2000 Whether as a volunteer for an inner city committee or at the helm of a high-profile, non-profit foundation, Kathleen Quinn has spent a good part of her career combating the negative effects of prostitution. After studying linguistics in Calgary and volunteering with Canadian Crossroads International in Africa, she relocated to

Her early volunteer work included the Safer Cities Committee of City Council and co-chairing the Communities for Changing Prostitution. From there, Quinn joined other community members in creating the Prostitution Offender Program, which became the Prostitution Awareness and Action Foundation of Edmonton (PAAFE) in 1996. Already educated and passionate about her work, Quinn decided to sharpen her skills by enrolling in MacEwan’s Volunteer Sector Management program in 2000. The program provided her the

Left to right: Chloe Albert, Scott Kashuba, Kathleen Quinn and Alex Mahé.

Do you know of a deserving alumnus? Nominations for 2010 are now open. For more information please visit alumni, e-mail alumni@MacEwan. ca or call (780) 497-5543. Congratulations to the following 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients on receiving this honour. Chloe Albert, Music Program, 2004 Singer, songwriter and MacEwan Music program graduate, Chloe Albert’s lifelong passion for performing is finally receiving the recognition it deserves. The Edmonton native was introduced to music so early in life that by age 16, she was a classically trained pianist, a skilled guitarist and an ardent performer. After countless open-mic shows and small venue gigs, Albert enrolled in MacEwan’s Music program, hoping it would help nourish her growing talent and prepare her for a career in the music industry. Her hard work paid off, and in 2006, Albert was twice selected by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Edmonton Arts Council to receive funding for the recording and development of her debut solo album. The album,

fields and serving as a member of numerous boards and committees over his high-profile career. In 1984, Kashuba turned his General Arts and Science Certificate from MacEwan into a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta. He spent the next 16 years with the RCMP, specializing in forensics and earning both a Master of Arts in criminology and a Master of Business Administration while working full time. After the RCMP, Kashuba worked for five years as a management consultant with two local firms before joining the Government of Alberta in 2004, where he has worked in four ministries and earned a reputation as the subject matter leader in a number of critical fields. In addition to his substantial work experience and education, Kashuba has served with a number of non-profit organizations and committees as a volunteer and as a board member. He is past-chair and current director of the Government’s Management Pension Plan Board, chair of the Board of the Excel Society and director of the Board of Northlands. He also served as vice-chair and chair of the MacEwan Alumni Association

Edmonton and began working for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. At that time, Quinn was living in the McCauley district – an area of the city still impacted by prostitution – and decided to take steps to fight the urban issue.

opportunity to meet other people with the force to lead, manage and take action. Today, she continues her untiring efforts as the executive director of PAAFE. Alex Mahé, Early Childhood Development, 1981 For nearly three decades, Alex

Mahé’s talent and enthusiasm for entertaining children has captivated audiences across the country. As the middle of 10 children growing up on a small farm in northeastern Alberta, Mahé often found himself singing and telling stories to his brothers and sisters to keep them occupied and out of trouble. From there, a love of children dominated his life and pursuing a career in early childhood education was a natural extension. When he graduated from MacEwan’s Early Childhood Development program in 1981, he was the first male graduate in this field of study in Alberta. Mahé combined his musical endeavors with his teaching by bringing his guitar to class to entertain the children through singing and storytelling. He was so encouraged by the responses he received from both children and adults for his original compositions, he decided to turn this passion into a career. In 1985, Mahé hosted and co-produced a children’s television program called Alex Mahé’s Goodtime Train. It was this program that inspired the recording of his first cassette by the same name. Since then, he has produced several albums and continues to work on new material for future performances and albums. His efforts have been recognized by Alberta Recording Industry Association (ARIA) nominations.

Get noticed! Alumni - connect with employers. Businesses - promote yourselves as a potential employer to students and alumni. Wednesday, January 27, 2010 10 am - 3 pm City Centre Campus Robbins Health Learning Centre

MacEwan Alumni News


VOLLEYBALL EURO STYLE Men’s volleyball team ditch their court shoes for clogs When head coach Jon Heinen of the MacEwan men’s volleyball team stated their trip was “an unlikely experience,” he may have been right. On a pre-season training tour, the MacEwan men’s volleyball team, consisting of sixteen players and two coaches, left on August 30 to fly to Europe. Their first time together as a team was spent touring Amsterdam, Belgium and Germany for ten days. During their first five days, the Griffins faced the University of Amsterdam (HvA) team, a talent development team from Holland similar to a junior national team. This proved to be a great opener to the trip as the Griffins improved quickly in their matches against HvA. In Amsterdam, the Griffins continued to play against elite teams. The boys took advantage of the opportunity to play against highly skilled Dutch players. An esteemed sport in Europe, the team quickly gained appreciation of the competiveness of volleyball overseas. The trip was more than team experiences on the court, however. The Griffins took advantage of their surroundings, getting a glimpse at the sights and culture Amsterdam had to offer. Their adventures included a tour of the Heineken Brewery and renting

bikes for endeavors around town. For the second half of the trip, the Griffins stayed at a hostel on the German and Belgian border. From there, they trained at a local gym and made excursions into Belgium and Germany. They explored a beautiful castle in Bad Bentheim, participated in a day tour in Brugge, and had an adventurous trip to Brussels. When asked about a trip highlight, Heinen had to mention their match in Belgium against Averbode, a strong, semi-professional team. In front of a crowd of 300 fans, the Griffins played their best match of the trip. Despite losing the match three games to one, the team played with more poise than ever. Heinen also found it interesting to note that the facility was entirely dedicated to the sport of volleyball. Floor lines were strictly volleyball court lines, and courts were accessorized with glass walls for fans who wished to sit at the bar to have beer while watching the game. He also noted how much volleyball is respected in Europe, and the level of skill and aggression the team encountered was a new level for many. The last match of the trip against a team from Brussels proved to be the Griffins’ greatest challenge. Facing another profes-

Off the courts, MacEwan’s men’s volleyball team enjoyed some Dutch culture on their European tour.

sional team, the Griffins did their best against Guibertin but lost in five straight sets. Facing the talented, more technical European players helped the growth and development of the men’s volleyball team overall and will be an asset as they set to defend their title as National Champions. “The trip to Holland proved to be a great time – one the Griffins will remember both for their experience of European volleyball, as well as their memories with each other.”

COME WATCH THE GRIFFINS VOLLEYBALL TEAM FOR FREE Come watch the Griffins volleyball team for FREE as they take their European experience and build towards another Nationals title run. Visit for upcoming information on the 2010 CCAA Men’s Volleyball National Championships at MacEwan Centre from March 11 to 13th as MacEwan plays host to seven other schools.

Thinking about moving ahead? The program helped me transition into a new career path without losing the passion of my life – working with people and making a difference in human service. BAHSA Graduate Busi Pfupa

Human service professionals can now get the skills they need to move into a management position through MacEwan’s Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration degree. Offered on a part-time distance delivery basis, you can complete your degree on your time and in your community.

Find out more. Call 1.888.497.9390 or visit

MacEwan Alumni News


ALUMNI AROUND THE GLOBE At the June convocation ceremonies this year MacEwan International proudly watched as 33 international students crossed the stage at the Winspear to accept their degrees and diplomas. The most recent group of international graduates originate from fifteen countries and four continents. International alumni are some of the best ambassadors for MacEwan as they not only return home with a high-quality education and unique Canadian experience, but they also play a critical role in the recruitment of other students in their home communities.

Recognizing international student graduates instils a sense of pride for MacEwan International

Are you an international alumnus? Here are a couple of things to remember: 1. Find your friends or keep up-to-date on what current international students are doing at MacEwan. Join the Grant MacEwan International Student Club group on Facebook.



2. Keep in touch! Let us know if you have moved or if something exciting has happened in your life. E-mail alumni@ and we will spread the news.

IN ONE WORD . . . Susan Cooper

1991 VOLUNTARY SECTOR MANAGEMENT GRAD, VOLUNTARY SECTOR MANAGEMENT GRAD, 1991 MacEWAN CONFERENCE SERVICES MANAGER MANAGER, MacEWAN CONFERENCE SERVICES If I could eat one food for the rest of my life it would be scallops. am ififI’m It’s Sunday morning at 10 a.m. I’mnot not outside outside. sleeping, I’m outside. My greatest fear: bears. If I could invite any one person to my birthday party, dead or alive, it would be my dad. One book everyone should read is Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill. One movie everyone should see is Freedom Writers.

One song that would be on the is ‘The soundtrack of my life is “The Long Long && Winding Road” by The Beatles. In one word, MacEwan students are energetic. My one favourite place on campus is MacEwan Residence. My one favourite indulgence on campus is sweet potato fries. In one word, describe your MacEwan experience exhilarating experience: exhilarating. Susan Cooper in one word: Thoughtful. thoughtful.

IN ONE WORD is a fun new feature that attempts to capture an alumnus in a short interview with one word responses. Interested in being interviewed? E-mail E-mail


MacEwan Alumni News

DRAWING PARALLELS BETWEEN VISUAL ART, MUSIC AND FILM Adrian Ellis finds his background puts him in a unique position working as a composer for film and media An account by Adrian Ellis, 1997 Fine Art grad

Adrian Ellis is a multi-instrumentalist who composes music for award-winning films, tv pilots and multimedia.

I’ve always been attracted to the arts, both visual and musical. From as early as I could hold a spoon I was drawing, first with crayons, and as I got older, ink and paint. I was also part of a musical family; my father played french horn in the symphony, and my mother was an MFA who taught piano. I discovered the guitar at thirteen (playing it on my lap, with my thumbs) and began composing simple tunes almost immediately. As my last year of high school drew to a close however, I began to doubt my dream of being in a famous rock band I had always imagined as a world-wise fifteen year old. I decided instead to try to become an illustrator (professional doodler), and applied to the two year Fine Art diploma program at Grant MacEwan University. During my first year, despite the distraction of a full course load, I formed a band that travelled after graduation to Vancouver and eventually to Toronto, where I now reside. When “Rock and Roll Dream v.2.0” ended, I spent a few months performing deep S.I.S. (Soul and Internet Searching), trying to figure out what to do next. Finally, I came upon a book on composing for film and television, and it hit me like a cast iron piano with bricks for keys. Here was a marriage of visual art and music, a calling where I could satisfy my passions for both worlds. I wrote music for a demo ‘reel’, built a website, and got in touch with everyone I knew who was working in film. Within a few months, I was scoring my first short. I consider myself a filmmaker and storyteller first; music is simply the tool I use to help tell the story. As a composer, I’m part of the post-production team, and my first priority is to serve the vision of the film. One of the first things a composer and director will do together is something called a “spotting session”. Here, you watch the latest cut of the film, and talk about what kind of music the director has in mind, where it should be placed, and how it should function. Most importantly, the composer wants to get into

the head of the director and find the “heart” of the story. This is where my background in Fine Art comes into play, as I consider the formal elements of structure and design, and analyze the aesthetic and thematic content of the work as a whole. It’s only after this that I begin to think in terms of music. My studies helped me develop an ability to think outside the bounds of musical form, and communicate effectively with directors and producers in their language. Music and visual art have a lot in common, particularly in the way we perceive and describe work. Filmmakers are primarily visual thinkers, so when I speak to them I’ll say “I see”, and not “I hear you”. My descriptions of music’s function will also be visual – there are colors and textures (dark and gritty), tactility (glossy, smooth), spatial elements (near/far, big/ small), and so on. This may seem like inconsequential semantics, but it makes a considerable psychological difference, especially in an industry built upon trust – the director has to know that you “get” the film, and you have to ensure they “get” you. I enjoy the restrictions that are a part of working in film, and find working within a non-musical framework quite liberating and even inspiring. It’s a challenge – you take something like a character, a theme or abstract concept, a visual motif, and you say: “Now, how do I express that in musical terms?” Your success as a composer for media is in how well you can elegantly translate those things. It’s fascinating to look back and realize how seemingly unrelated events and experiences somehow contrive to have a powerful impact on your life. It is certainly true in my case, where despite many years and much change, I have found great balance and fulfillment combining two great passions. For more information on Adrian and his work, please visit:

MacEwan Alumni News



By Tim Edwards Northern News Services/ It’s been a long road to success for Dr. Suzanne Stewart, a Yellowknives Dene First Nation member originally from Ndilo. The psychologist and instructor at University of Toronto was back in Yellowknife in July for the International Congress on Circumpolar Health, to bring her views and vast experience on the issue of aboriginal mental health. “I work in mental health, I work in aboriginal mental health in particular,” Stewart told Yellowknifer. “I work in a community clinic, an aboriginal clinic in downtown Toronto. I also work full time as a faculty member at the University of Toronto in counseling psychology, where I do research on indigenous mental health, and I teach courses on indigenous healing and on indigenous mental health and psychology.” Stewart, whose maternal family name is Doctor, moved to Edmonton from Ndilo to live with her aunt when she was only two years old. “I grew up in Edmonton, and I had a kind of challenging life there, I guess,” said Stewart. “Like a lot of people, I had challenges as an aboriginal child, and as an aboriginal youth I was vulnerable to a lot of dangers, you know, and to a lot of people who took advantage of me. “But, by and large, I came out of it okay.” Having dropped out of high school in Grade 9, Stewart decided at around age 25 that she wanted to go back to school and learn psychology. She went to Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton to get her high school diploma, nervous about whether she could even do it. That kicked off a journey that consisted of 10 years of education, three degrees, culminating with a PhD in psychology. “I just really stuck with it because I really wanted to get to

that point where I could begin to really contribute to the healing in our communities instead of contributing to the dysfunction. “As a young person, you know, I was involved in a lot of unhealthy activities and unhealthy relationships, and that really turned around for me over the years. “I guess when I was a younger person, I didn’t have a strong sense of identity, you know, I didn’t know who I was. I think that’s a big issue for youth in general. Native youth, yeah, it’s a big issue, because for us our identities, our cultural identities were taken away legally by the government through legislation like the Indian Act.” She was a keynote speaker at the Congress and also held a workshop on traditional approaches to dealing with aboriginal mental health. Stewart said one of the things she notices was that the modern model of medicine is often at odds with aboriginal culture. “It completely conflicted in many ways. It’s not to say there aren’t some similarities, but there are also some key differences, and the key differences are what really seem to matter in terms of creating and delivering adequate mental health care for native people, and making that health care accessible. “Most native people across Canada, I mean I’m speaking in very general terms right now, don’t access available health services because those services, mental health services in particular, are just not adapted to native understandings of health and wellness, or even native understandings of relationship. “Relationship is a really key concept and way of being for native people traditionally, and that’s sometimes missing in the health care system.” Stewart said she thinks this is starting to get more and more recognized across Canada, as more aboriginal people step up


Yellowknives Dene Suzanne Stewart’s journey that led her to teach at the University of Toronto

Dr. Suzanne Stewart is a Yellowknives Dene who moved from Ndilo to Edmonton at age two. Her mother’s family name is Doctor, and much of her family still lives in Ndilo and Rae. Here she sits outside St. Patrick’s high school, where much of the International Congress on Circumpolar Health was taking place last July.

to the plate. “I think that native people in Canada as a whole are becoming more confident in voicing our concerns and beginning to really move through the decolonizing process that has been ongoing for a long time, but it’s been a very slow and long journey, I think, for people.”

She said re-emphasizing aboriginal culture back is an important aspect to healing, but it doesn’t always have to be at odds with the modern world. “Culture isn’t something that stays the same; culture is something that always changes over time. “Culture always has to evolve

and adapt to the current environment. Just because we all live in western worlds now doesn’t mean that our cultures, whatever they may be – your culture or my culture, everybody’s own unique identity and culture – cannot be maintained and evolved in strong and positive ways.”

GOING BACK TO SCHOOL? MacEwan’s New Graduate School Liaison website provides information for MacEwan degree graduates researching or applying for graduate studies or professional education. Visit and select “Alumni Services” for more details. Alumni who are considering or planning further education are also welcome to contact Dorothy Ritz, Graduate School Liaison, at: 780-633-3405 or

MacEwan Alumni News



Left: Harpin’s installation, Call of Nature, was featured at The Works Art and Design Festival. Above: Artist, Robert Harpin. Fine Art graduate Robert Harpin’s latest installation, Call of Nature, was a popular stop at this summer’s The Works Art and Design Festival thanks to its interactive charm. Located in Louise McKinney Park, Call of Nature was the fictional attempt of a man to take his office with him into the wild – cubicle and all. Motivated by a

desire to leave behind his 9-to-5 concrete urban life, but unable to neglect his professional responsibilities, this troubled man sought help and inspiration to complete his self-proposed mission. Helping the fictional office worker resolve ambiguity felt by bordering both downtown and the river valley, Harpin invited the public to interact

with the space. People could leave messages, add books or other items they thought might aid the worker in his quest to return to nature. Harpin graduated from MacEwan in 2004 and went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Art with a major in drawing from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary. Since

then, he has received a job in production at The Works Art and Design Festival, co-curated an installation show with two other Fine Art Program alumni, and exhibited in various shows around the city. Showing no signs of slowing down, this promising young artist credits MacEwan’s intensive two-

year program for much of his success. “The Fine Art Program teaches all of the tools necessary to make it as an artist,” he says. “It made me realize that art is truly what I want to do and that I can add something positive to our cultural landscape.”

CALLING ALL ABORIGINAL ALUMNI We believe education is a transforming experience that betters individuals, communities, and the world.

A bequest for Grant MacEwan University:

An investment that changes lives

Have you ever wondered where your fellow classmates are? If so, please assist MacEwan in creating an Aboriginal Alumni Chapter where you can network and build social, professional and business relations with other Aboriginal alumni. The purpose of an alumni chapter is to reunite former students of the University who share a common interest and have decided

to formalize their interaction with each other and with MacEwan. Alumni are defined as persons who are graduates of any MacEwan ministry-approved credential program. To express your interest or for more information contact: Kathy Davis at or call (780) 633-3609.

For more information on gift-planning options at MacEwan, or to receive a copy of Your Guide to Planned Giving, contact: Beverly Sawchuk Fund Development Phone: (780) 497-5541 E-mail:


MacEwan Alumni News


MacEwan Alumni News



ROVING RECRUITERS Providing high school students with information from MacEwan’s Student Resource Centre

MacEwan recruiters, Brett Potyondi, left, and Melissa Schlachter.

Each year the Student Resource Centre (SRC) relinquishes recruiters, Brett Potyondi and Melissa Schlachter, to participate in over 200 student recruitment activities across Canada. The travelling schedule for recruiters begins in September and continues through to December where they will cover events in Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, the Yukon and North West Territories. Spending a lot of time on the road is very rewarding, according to both Potyondi and Schlachter, and travelling is a highlight of their job. Both enjoy seeing new places, meeting new people and helping students from all over western Canada. Recruiters visit high schools to promote higher education and to inform prospective students of the varying programs offered at Grant MacEwan University. Potyondi and Schlachter typically speak to students and staff and are available to answer questions about post-secondary education including details on admissions requirements, transfer opportunities, student life, athletics, and student funding. They also stage various events such as high

school counsellor information sessions, tours, presentations and publications. To view their schedule, visit and click on Recruitment Schedule. On-campus tours continue to be offered and can be booked via Finally, the SRC welcomes requests to deliver recruitment presentations to schools, community groups or businesses. To book this service, please contact Brad Forst, Manager, SRC Advising/Recruitment/SupportStaff, at

Both enjoy seeing new places, meeting new people and helping students from all over western Canada.

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1 866 352 6187 (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) TD Insurance Meloche Monnex is the trade-name of SECURITY NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY who also underwrites the home and auto insurance program. The program is distributed by Meloche Monnex Insurance and Financial Services Inc. in Quebec and by Meloche Monnex Financial Services Inc. in the rest of Canada. Due to provincial legislation, our auto insurance program is not offered in British Columbia, Manitoba or Saskatchewan. *No purchase required. Contest ends on January 16, 2010. Approximate prize value $15,000. Skill-testing question required. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Contest open to members of all eligible groups who benefit from group rates from the organizers. Trips to be organized by the winners. Complete contest rules available at Meloche Monnex is a trade-mark of Meloche Monnex Inc., used under license. TD Insurance is a trade-mark of The Toronto-Dominion Bank, used under license Projet : Annonce MMI 2009


Épreuve # : 2


MacEwan Alumni News



Otter Lake, Saskatchewan. Photo by alumnus Mike Yarske, Audiovisual Communications, 1997. Do you have a talent for photography? The alumnus who submits the published photo will receive a $100 gift certificate for any MacEwan Bookstore. Photographs can be submitted to For more details please visit

birth family, and her sibling count grew from three sisters and two brothers to seven of each. Lyz also keeps busy working for Stream Global Services and taking care of her house in Belleville, Ontario.

HAVE NEWS TO SHARE? Let your classmates know what you have been up to by sharing your stories and successes in the CLASSifieds. Send us your update and receive a $5 gift card redeemable at any MacEwan Bookstore. Submissions can be sent by e-mail to or by mail to: Alumni Relations & Services, Grant MacEwan University, PO Box 1726, Edmonton, AB T5J 2P2 High resolution photos are welcome and will be used when space permits. We reserve the right to edit submissions for content, length and clarity.

1984 MICHAEL BURGESS (Graphic Design) began his career as a magazine designer for “PrimeTime” magazine before moving to England to work for a large London publishing company. After spending time travelling through Europe, Greece, Turkey, India, and Africa, he returned to Canada where he changed his career focus to Broadcast Design. He worked for ITV Television for four years and then moved over to Studio Post, a post production company, where he specialized in broadcast design, animation, and special effects. He continued his broadcast career with Movie Central as a senior designer and then with Super Channel, where he is currently the Creative Director.

1986 EVA (JONAS) McLENNAN (Nursing) works for Chinook Health in Lethbridge, Alberta, as a registered nurse and has been working there since 1991.

1987 DANIEL AITKEN (Social Work) married Stephane Perron, and they live in Montreal, Quebec. Daniel has dedicated himself to the development of his own business and is the president and owner of 9137-3803 Quebec Inc.

1992 LYZ FILTEAU (Library and Information Management) has some wonderful news to share. A little over ten years ago, she located her

SHERRI WAWROW (Accounting) is a Senior Manager with KPMG Edmonton. Sherri works with some of Edmonton’s leading entrepreneurs and local businesses at developing quick and innovative ideas for compliance, finance and business challenges unique to private companies. “MacEwan provided me with the foundation and environment critical to my practice as a CMA, locally and internationally.”

1993 COREY NASH (Corrections) has been working as a parole officer for the Public Safety Emergency Preparedness Canada since October 1997.

1995 WENDY COOPER (Advertising & Public Relations) quickly adjusted from student life when she started working with Consulting Engineers of Alberta as Chief Executive Officer shortly after graduation. More recently, she received the Honourary Membership Award from APEGGA (Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists & Geophysicists of Alberta) in April 2009. Congratulations, Wendy!

1996 DANIEL LEBLANC (Accounting) worked as the manager of billing services, with reports in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver, until a corporate re-structure occurred in May of 2008. Since June 2008, he’s been employed as a senior financial accounting supervisor with 17 direct reports for a publicly traded income trust fund company. While attending MacEwan he received several awards including the Charles S. Noble award for community leadership. After graduation, he continued his involvement with the community and still volunteers over 240 hours every year. David also confesses to finding and marrying his soul mate in 2002, and the pair love to travel to exotic locations at least once a year.

1998 KRISTINE (KIRCHNER) JEFFELS (Legal Assistant Diploma) lives in Okotoks, Alberta, and is employed by Bow Valley College in the Business & Industry department. Kristine has been working as a Legal Assistant Program Instructor since August 2007.

2003 DINAH BEAR (Holistic Health Practitioner) has recently begun teaching Reflexology in the Holistic Health Practitioner (HHP) program at MacEwan. Her interest in the HHP program came from a passion to help women with their health,

nutrition and body-mind connection after completing a Bachelor of Science at the University of Alberta. In 2004, she started Bear Hands, an integrated health practice providing both private and at-work Reiki & Reflexology bodywork, wellness consulting and stress management seminars. Dinah has also completed the Women’s Body Literacy program with Justisse Healthworks in 2007. SHANNON (CUNNINGHAM) TANDRUP (Theatre Arts) completed her Bachelor of Arts in Drama and Music at the University of Alberta and is excited to be starting her Masters in Drama this fall. She resides in Edmonton with her husband, Jeremy.

2008 ERIN MADSEN (Arts and Cultural Management) is the Marketing and Promotions Coordinator, as well as ballet instructor, with the Edmonton School of Ballet. Erin lives with her husband, Neil, in Edmonton. ANDREW SEELEY (Social Work) is currently at the University of Calgary, Edmonton Branch, working towards his Bachelor of Social Work. He was married in December 2008 and currently works and volunteers for Catholic Social Services as a Child and Youth Care Worker.

M - Winter 2009  
M - Winter 2009  

The MacEwan Alumni newsletter with the following stories: * Music Grads Building on Success * Introducing Grant MacEwan University...