Connections - Winter 2024

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Returning to their Alma Mater to Contribute to STU’s Success

STU Alumni & Friends Winter 2024
Once a
, Always a Tommie
What’s New at STU Call for Nominations: Carolyn LaydenStevenson Distinguished Alumni Award

“Being a member of the STU Moot Court team was one of my favourite undergraduate experiences. It provided me with the opportunity to develop the skills and resources to excel in any future program, while also allowing me to meet and work with a group of extremely talented and driven individuals. It is an excellent opportunity for all St. Thomas students, and I highly recommend taking advantage of it during your degree.”

– Maggie Jardine, (BA'23) is a member of STU's Moot Court Team.

“Being a scholarship recipient has enhanced my STU experience by helping me be more involved with the STU community! STU communities such as the St. Thomas University International Students Association (STUISA), where we celebrate multiculturalism at STU, help new international students feel welcome and share our diverse culture with the rest of the STU community.”

– Estefania Martinez, (BA'24) is a Chancellor's International Scholarship recipient and is on the executive of the St. Thomas University International Students Association, which is supported by the STU Fund.

2 St. Thomas University | Connections STU Fund impacts today’s students Interestedin establishinganewstudentaward orincluding St.ThomasUniversityinyourestateplans?ContacttheOffice ofAdvancementandAlumni Relationsat506-452-2140 Tomake agift thatwillsupportstudents, orcall 506-452-2140 Supporting the STU Fund makes an impact for students today! Your gift helps to make possible such things as: Scholarships and Bursaries Travel Study
Experiential Learning Opportunities Mentorship, Tutoring & Writing Workshops Thank You!

We welcome your comments

Phone: 506.452.0521



Facebook: St. Thomas University Alumni

Twitter: @StThomasAlumni

LinkedIn: St. Thomas University (CA)

Connections is a publication of the Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations, St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada E3B 5G3. It is distributed free of charge to more than 13,000 St. Thomas University alumni and friends worldwide.


Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations, St. Thomas University


Jacqueline Cormier, BA’08


Ashlen Albright, BA’09

Wanda Bearresto, BA’87

Jeffrey Carleton

Martin Carvajal, BA’21

Emily Davis, BA’23

Kesang Deker

Bill Hunt

Dionne Izzard

Kathleen Johnson, BA’13

Jodi Misheal

Emily Oleksuk, BA’20


Keith Minchin

Shawn Murphy

Design, Layout, Printing


Welcome from

President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. M. Nauman Farooqi

When I began my presidency, I shared my belief that people are at the heart of any successful organization, especially a university. Since officially joining the St. Thomas University community in July, I have been impressed by the quality of people who make STU the wonderful place that it is: our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends.


4 Alumni Association

7 Giving News

10 Cover Story

12 Profiles

16 Campus Watch

24 New & Noteworthy


Karen Smith Design:


Alumni Association

Board of Directors 2023-2024

Don Bossé, BA’82, BEd’83 (Fredericton, NB)

Dr. Dawne Clarke, BA’95 (Fredericton, NB)

Mary Beth Gorey, BA’75 (Fredericton, NB)

Bibi Wassimah Joomun, BA’20 (Ottawa, ON)

Suzanne Lalla-Murphy, BA’88 (Fredericton, NB)

Jennifer Lockhart, BA'08 (Fredericton, NB)

Ben McNamara, BA'07, BEd'08 (Fredericton, NB)

Alaina Mejia, BA’21 (Corner Brook, NL)

Bailey O'Regan, BA'21 (Fredericton, NB)

Sabrina Sotiriu, BA’10 (Ottawa, ON)

Samantha Squires, BA'18 (Toronto, ON)

Melissa Wah, BA’10 (Fredericton, NB)

Dr. Angela Wisniewski, BA’03 (Fredericton, NB)

Brianna Workman, BA’19 (Ottawa, ON)

Over the first term, I met intelligent, motivated, accomplished students from all across Canada and around the world, who truly love this university. Their success is enhanced because of the work our faculty and staff do to support them in their experience here at STU. For that, I am sincerely grateful.

I have also enjoyed chatting with alumni and hearing about how STU shaped your lives. I hope to meet more alumni as the year progresses, either on campus, at an alumni event, or at the STU Gala Dinner on October 19. (Save the date!)

This year, we have embarked on our new Strategic Plan. The purpose of this exercise is to move forward together with a shared set of goals and a vision for where we are going as a university. We kicked off the process with a well-attended town hall meeting on January 15 and then welcomed higher education experts Ken Steele and Sam Magee on campus for keynote addresses and staff workshops.

I will keep the larger STU community informed as we progress with the development of the Strategic Plan. •


Green and Gold to the Core

Nora Valentino is the Tommies’ Superfan World Class Mooting


Julia Evans and Elisha Gunaratnam Finish Second at International Moot Court Competition


Examining Contesting

Energy Discourse

New SSHRC-Funded Research Project at STU


Creating Diverse Spaces in Society

Sydona Chandon Honoured for Human Rights Advocacy Work

On the Cover: Photo by Keith Minchin


Perley, BA’96, BSW’98.

Left right: Saa Andrew Gbongbor, BA’09; Lauren MacDonald, BA’19; Meaghan Donahue Wies, BA’06; and Sonja
Winter 2024 3

Alumni Association

Call for Nominations: Carolyn LaydenStevenson Distinguished Alumni Award

This award recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of STU alumni who have earned prominence as a result of their professional achievements and/or service to society.

Deadline for nominations is April 15. The award will be presented at the STU Gala Dinner on October 19.

Message from the STUAA President Don Bossé

Like many of you, St. Thomas University holds profound significance for me and my family. While I earned my Bachelor of Arts in 1982 and Bachelor of Education in 1983 from STU, my connection with the university persisted long after graduation. Remaining actively engaged with the St. Thomas community, I’ve undertaken various roles. In 1994, I established the St. Thomas University Jazz Ensemble (STU Jazz), and for the past 28 years, I’ve continued to serve as its director. I have been teaching part-time in the Faculty of Fine Arts since 2007 and recently completed my four-year term on the Board of Governors and the Academic Senate. Presently, I am teaching full-time in the School of Education at STU, and I’m honoured to serve as the president of the STU Alumni Association.

St. Thomas University has been a family tradition for us. My wife, Heather, a proud alumna, contributed as the Director of Alumni, while our youngest daughter, Emily, graduated from STU in 2011. Beyond them, there are 10 other members of my immediate and extended family who proudly consider STU their alma mater.

Maintaining a strong connection with my alma mater has been a vital aspect of my life, and I encourage fellow alumni to similarly stay connected with the STU community. Whether it’s attending alumni events, supporting the Tommies, or returning to campus for lectures, tours, plays, or STU Jazz concerts, there are numerous ways to stay involved. Stay in touch and share your updates with us; your continued engagement is valuable and welcomed. •

More details:

2024 Alumni Harvest Pit Stop - Thursday, September 12, 2024 - Fredericton, NB

Moot Court Reunion: August 2024

STU Moot Court is celebrating 10 years of mooting with a reunion in August 2024! Email Dr. Amanda DiPaolo ( to be added to the Moot Court Reunion listserv.

Save the Date: October 19

St. Thomas University Gala Dinner

Please join us at the 2024 St. Thomas University Gala Dinner on Saturday, October 19, at the Delta Fredericton.

St. Thomas University alumni and friends will gather to recognize the recipient of the Carolyn Layden-Stevenson Distinguished Alumni Award.

All proceeds of the evening will go to support STUdents.

For more information, please contact

St. Thomas University | Connections 4

Alumni Holiday Social

November 24, 2023

STU Alumni Events Recap

From Left to Right:


Patricia Ellsworth (BA’69); Bill Richardson (BA’69, BEd’71); Irene Lydon (BA’69, CSW’77); Barry Lydon (BA’69, BEd’70); and Dr. Nauman Farooqi, President and Vice-Chancellor of STU.


Alumni Harvest Pit Stop

September 14, 2023

From Left to Right: Cristi Flood (BA’ 14); Stephanie UnderhillTomilson (BA’95, BEd’96); Duncan Gallant (BA’10); and Christian Deslandes

Winter 2024 5
From Left to Right: Jennifer Lockhart (BA’08);Ben McNamara (BA’07, BEd’08); Melissa Wah (BA’10); Emily Oleksuk (BA’20); and Angela Wisniewski (BA’03) From Left to Right: Melissa Wah (BA’10); Dan Murphy (BA’08, BEd’21); Erin Fyfe (BA’07); Ben McNamara (BA’07, BEd’08); Dr. Sarah Vannier; Jennifer Lockhart (BA’08); and Aaron Fecteau (BA’09) From Left to Right: Jennings (BA’96); Bailey O’Regan (BA’21); Bill Richardson (BA’69, BEd’71); Hope Richardson (BA’77, BEd’78); and Dolores Whalen (BT’70) From Left to Right: David Eidt (BA’77); Paul Hawkins (BA’75); and Trish Seely (BA’81, BEd’82) From Left to Right: Lynn Gulliver (BSW’87); and Dr. Nauman Farooqi, President and ViceChancellor of STU. (BA’05). From Left to Right: The Hon. Shawn Graham (BEd’93); and Dr. Roxanne Reeves From Left to Right: Mackenzie Green (BA’22); Sandra O’Donnell (BA’92); and Cheri Green (BA’91).

STU Alumni Events Recap

Men’s and Women’s Basketball Alumni Weekend

October 13-14, 2023

Ottawa Alumni Event

October 23, 2023

From Left to Right: Sarah Kohut (BA’21); Lauren Boswall (BA’21); Megan Cormier (BA’21); and Senator David Adams Richards (LLD’90). Ruth Henry-Dickinson (STU ’95-’96); Andrew Ferguson (BA’09, BEd’11); Dwight Dickinson, Former Men’s Head Coach; Krista Tabor Men’s Head Coach; and Ben Morrison (BA’02) From Left to Right: Michael Lavigne (BA’91); Cara Sparks (BA’94); Melanie Tingley (STU ’93’95); Bridgette Greer (BA’97); Shelly Roberts (BA’96); Stephanie Underhill-Tomilson (BA’95 BEd’96); Nicole Angers Langis (BA’96); and Andrew Ferguson (BA’09, BEd’11) From Left to Right: Carole Reid-Evans (BA’76); Dr. Nauman Farooqi; and Marlene Floyd (BA’00). From Left to Right: Alanah Duffy (BA’12); Tyler Barker (BA’14); Scarlett Kelly (BA’10, CHS’13); Paul Cormier (BA’09); Sabrina Sotiriu (BA’10); and Devika Dadhe (BA’11) From Left to Right: Wasiimah Bibi Joomun (BA’20); Brianna Workman (BA’19); and Sabrina Sotiriu (BA’10) St. Thomas University | Connections From Left to Right: Gabriel Marquez (BA’22); Victoria Young (BA’22); Megan Gibson (BA’22); Maurice Bosse (BA’23); and Dylan Corbett (BA’22).

Friends Indeed – and In Deed

Following a visit to St. Thomas in the fall of 2023, the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (S.C.I.C.) have gifted the University with funding to create the Wabanaki Outdoor Spiritual Circle and Gathering Place for cultural teachings, ceremonies, and events.

Complementary to the Wabanaki Centre, the new outdoor permanent gathering space with a firepit and removable tepee covering will be built in the spring, and will enable the delivery of cultural teachings, ceremonies, performances, and events, as well as outdoor teaching opportunities and other activities.

This gift is only the latest from the Sisters of Charity, who have also recently established an endowment to provide entrance scholarships for students from New Brunswick. Upon learning that 58% of our students are the first in their family to attend a post-secondary institution, and to reward them for the hard work and perseverance which has earned them a scholarship, the Sisters of Charity established a renewable entrance scholarship to be called the Sisters of Charity of Saint John Scholarship. This new endowment was further enhanced by a fifty percent matching donation from the New Brunswick University Opportunities Fund, in recognition of the establishment of new scholarships to help students from the province. •

Honouring Sister Elizabeth Legere

An earlier gift from the S.C.I.C. several years ago created the Sister Elizabeth Legere Emergency Fund for students who find themselves in need of unexpected and immediate financial help during their school year. Well-known to generations of students, Sister Elizabeth Legere was a faculty member at St. Thomas for years. When she was not teaching English, Sister Elizabeth Legere was cheering on the Tommies or cooking up a storm in her residence room in Vanier Hall.

To encourage a sense of community and friendship in Vanier Hall, Sister Legere often organized 10 p.m. hot chocolate gatherings in the basement. Her clam chowders and corn chowders were legendary campus-wide, and she was known for making fudge on a two-burner hot plate in her room.

An avid hockey fan, Sister Legere was a loyal supporter of the Tommies – staying true even when the team had one win and thirty-nine losses over two seasons. She offered private tutoring to players to help them keep their marks up, and she always packed a fresh batch of fudge for the bus ride to out-of-town games. She was a mother figure, a mentor, and above all, a friend, and she made significant contributions to campus life both inside and outside the classroom.

After her retirement, at the request of the University administration, Sister Legere continued to live in Vanier Hall, and was nearly 80 when she left STU. •

Winter 2024 7 Giving News

Giving News

My journey with St. Thomas University has been nothing short of transformative. From the foundation it laid for my career to the invaluable relationships formed during my time there, STU holds a special place in my heart. Inspired by the university’s role in shaping young lives, my wife, Naomi Corey (BA ’11) and I recently embarked on a journey of planned giving to support STU’s future endeavours.

Charitable giving through life insurance has emerged as an innovative avenue for us to make a meaningful impact. Working in financial planning, I’ve seen firsthand the immense potential of using the charitable life insurance strategy. Beyond its simplicity, this approach allows individuals or businesses to direct substantial support to causes they cherish while unlocking immediate financial benefits. By naming the charity as the irrevocable beneficiary, donors receive tax receipts for premiums paid, helping offset personal or corporate income taxes.

In the past, people may have chosen not to

Leaving a Legacy: The Impact of Charitable Giving through Life Insurance

Having a young family and saving for the future can sometimes make your philanthropic goals seem out of reach. However, for Calen Outhouse and his wife Naomi, they found a way to do both. Calen and Naomi are both St. Thomas alumni and wanted to support STU as part of their future estate planning. Calen, who is a Financial Security Advisor, reached out to us to discuss a gift of insurance. In Calen’s own words he explains why this was the best approach for his family. •

donate through a life insurance policy because they are concerned about committing to paying premiums for the rest of their life. However, in the last few years, several life insurance companies in Canada have created products that provide a solution to this issue through a new life insurance strategy that permits a onetime single premium that funds a fully paid-up policy. It still provides the same tax deduction to the donor and enhances the future benefit the charity would receive vs. a cash donation but is less of a commitment than a traditional life insurance policy where premiums are required for multiple years.

The beauty of charitable life insurance lies in its promise of a lasting legacy. Not only does it ensure a significant lump sum for the designated charity in the future, magnifying the impact of the donation, but it also holds the potential to transform the lives of future students and further the institution’s mission. While philanthropy through life insurance is a compelling choice, it is just one facet of planned giving. Transferring ownership

of investment vehicles, making regular contributions, or exploring alternative avenues of support can enhance and complement this strategy, providing diverse and impactful ways to leave a lasting imprint.

St. Thomas University changes lives, and if it’s done the same for you, now is the time to pay it forward. Whether through charitable life insurance or other planned giving methods, your contribution, no matter the size, shapes the future of our university and the lives it touches. Let’s continue this conversation on the impactful journey of planned giving. Please reach out with questions to explore available charitable strategies, and together let’s sow the seeds for a brighter tomorrow!


8 St. Thomas University | Connections

Planned Giving Ways to Give

Planned Giving can be part of everyone’s life regardless of what stage you are currently living (i.e., education, career, retirement). At St. Thomas University, we also like to plan beyond today’s needs. Your planned gift will strengthen the long-term financial security of St. Thomas well into the future. By giving a planned gift, you are laying the foundation for future students.

A planned gift is a charitable donation arranged during your lifetime, leaving some or all of your estate to St. Thomas University in the future. This gift can be made with a specific purpose in mind and tailored to suit your interests and preferences.

Leaving a gift in your will won’t affect your current lifestyle, and, with careful financial planning, that gift can often be larger than might otherwise be possible. By making a planned gift to St Thomas University, you can help our students reach their greatest potential. Your legacy gift is an investment in our future, and the confidence it represents inspires our best efforts.

Planned gifts are easy to arrange and can produce benefits such as:

• Significant tax savings.

• Enhanced control and flexibility in managing your personal finances and estate planning needs.

• Enables you to increase your giving potential by looking at a different way of distributing your assets.

• The peace of mind you achieve by finalizing your plans for a meaningful gift to STU now or in the future.

Bequest in a Will

• If you don’t have a will, please consider including St. Thomas University in your future will.

• If you do have an existing will, you can simply add St. Thomas University to it by making an amendment to your current will.

Life Insurance Gifts

• Donation of an existing policy

• Donation of a new policy

• Donation of the proceeds of a policy

Gift Annuities

• Stocks and other securities

• Gifts of Property

• Retirement Plans (RRSPs & RRIFs)

Leaving a Legacy at

St. Thomas University

Winter 2024 9
To learn more about leaving a legacy gift that will help ensure success for our future students, please contact: Dionne Izzard (506) 452-2140 Please consult with your personal financial advisor or lawyer before establishing or changing your will.

Cover Story

Once a Tommie,

Meet Four Alumni who Returned to their Alma Mater to

If you scan the STU staff and faculty directory, it’s not unusual to find STU alumni on the list. Many of these graduates loved their experience as students and chose to return to campus to contribute to the university’s growth and success.

In this issue of Connections Magazine, we would like to introduce you to four new staff members who joined STU last fall and who are all STU alumni.

Sonja Perley, BA’96, BSW’98: Nikanahtpat/ Director of Indigenous Initiatives

Sonja Perley is focused on the growth and success of Indigenous students as she settles into her new role as the university’s first Nikanahtpat/Director of Indigenous Initiatives.

“Our goal is to create a warm and welcoming space for Indigenous students, envisioning it as a home away from home, and building on existing supports,” said Perley.

This position was created to align with St. Thomas University’s commitment to offering Indigenous students a rich academic and cultural experience in a supportive environment.

“The existing sense of community among the students is strong, and we aim to build upon that foundation. Students appreciate being at STU and enjoy the overall atmosphere. However, we acknowledge the continuous effort required to enhance the university’s cultural safety, especially for individuals from

diverse backgrounds,” she said.

With the ongoing renovations at the Wabanaki Centre, Perley said improvements are necessary to ensure Indigenous students have a dedicated space reflective of their culture and their current needs.

“We want to incorporate traditional knowledge and teachings by connecting students with knowledge keepers and other elders,” she said. “These efforts include organizing workshops, improving the Centre, and other initiatives to ensure a culturally safe and enriching environment for Indigenous students.”

In her new role, Perley oversees Indigenous student support services, including the Wabanaki Centre, Indigenous Experiential Learning, and campus programming. Responsibilities include contributing to the Senate Committee on Reconciliation, supporting the Student Reconciliation Committee, Elder-in-Residence, and Indigenous Experiential Learning Coordinator.

“Working with the current staff has been excellent. Their presence brings a strong level of trust, and there have been a lot of positive student experiences we want to continue to build on. Our goal is to support them in any way possible,” she said.

Lauren MacDonald, BA’19: Campus Sustainability Coordinator

Lauren MacDonald developed a passion for environmental sustainability while she was a student at St. Thomas. Now, she has returned to her alma mater to contribute to STU’s climate change action plan as the university’s Campus Sustainability Coordinator.

“Universities are in a unique position to promote sustainability and combat the pollution that is overheating the planet because not only are they places of learning, but they are also hubs of innovation, economic growth, and

societal progress,” she said. “By leading research in solutions, sharing knowledge, and making tangible changes, universities can set the stage for a greener future.”

Today’s generation of students are also very environmentally conscious, and MacDonald said developing a climate action plan lines up with these values.

“Students today care about protecting their communities, and they are choosing schools that feel the same way,” MacDonald added. “Being eco-friendly isn’t just a nice bonus—it’s a competitive edge. Plus, with more ‘green jobs’ on the horizon, universities need to prep students for a job market that is leaning towards sustainability.”

St. Thomas University recently received funding from the Province of New Brunswick’s NB Environmental Trust Fund to conduct a sustainability audit of campus. This is an important initial step to establishing an updated baseline that will inform the development of a climate action plan for campus.

MacDonald will be responsible for planning and facilitating the sustainability audit; engaging students, faculty, and staff in the audit process; networking with other universities to identify best practices; creating experiential learning opportunities for students; and seeking funding for subsequent phases of the action plan’s development and implementation.

St. Thomas University | Connections 10

Contribute to STU’s Success Always a Tommie

With a passion for advocating for inclusivity and diversity, Saa Andrew Gbongbor began his role as the new Cultural Diversity Coordinator on campus last fall.

He said he is committed to creating a welcoming environment where every student is valued.

“My goal is to empower students from diverse backgrounds so they can thrive academically, socially and personally,” he said.

Originally from Sierra Leone, Gbongbor graduated from STU in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Human Rights. Throughout his career, he has advocated for positive change for diverse groups across New Brunswick and Canada.

“I know how it feels to be a racialized student, a minority, and far from home,” he said.

“My return to STU is an opportunity to lead in building a more inclusive and equitable community. I hope to foster a sense

of belonging among students from diverse backgrounds, provide mentorship, and support their unique needs.”

In his role, Gbongbor connects students from different cultural backgrounds to resources, support systems, and opportunities for cross-cultural exchange. He works closely with student clubs and societies to organize gatherings and cultural celebrations that unite the wider campus community and promote intercultural competence in the STU community.

Gbongbor will be conducting an assessment of the campus environment to identify opportunities and areas for improvement for racialized and cultural minority students. He will collaborate with university departments, student associations, staff, and faculty to advance policy development and advocacy efforts.

Gbongbor also collaborates with ethnocultural associations like Black Lives Matter New Brunswick, the New Brunswick African Association, the New Brunswick Multicultural Council, Asian Heritage Society of New Brunswick, and others to bring resources to campus and connect students with off-campus communities and networks.

Meaghan Donahue Wies, BA’06: Director of Athletics

It was a homecoming of sorts for Meaghan Donahue Wies when she joined the STU staff as the new Director of Athletics.

“It’s really, really nice to drive up that hill and see campus again... there’s something very nostalgic about it, but also kind of new. I’m here in a new capacity, and campus has changed a lot, and the school has changed a lot.”

STU was the only university to which she applied in 2002.

“I knew this was where I wanted to come,” she said.

She graduated from STU with a BA in Psychology with a Minor in Criminology in 2006. Then she went to Simon Fraser University in British Columbia where she studied neuropsychology.

“I didn’t love neuropsychology,” she said. “So, I kind of re-evaluated to find out, ‘What is it that I do love?’ Sports had been a constant in my life, and I figured out a way to turn it into a career.”

She earned a degree in Recreation and Sport Management from UNB and has been involved as an administrator for 12 years before landing in the office of STU’s Director of Athletics.

“I see a lot of potential; I really do,” she said. “It’s a small school, but I think that’s one of our superpowers…the ability to have a good relationship with everyone. I want to get to the point where every athlete who walks in here, I know by name, they know me by name, and everyone’s really comfortable with that.”

She’s excited to lead the Tommies into the future.

“There’s a lot we can do on the performance front…we’re still here to win. We’ve got varsity programs, and I think there’s room to expand some of those programs and add new programs over the years. We’re responsible for recreation on campus and for wellness, and I think there’s lots of opportunity to grow on that side as well. I really want to make sure that we’re providing opportunities for everyone.” •

Winter 2024 11

Nora Valentino is the Tommies’ Superfan Green and Gold to the Core

Nora Valentino was a B average student while pursuing her Bachelor of Arts at St. Thomas University in the mid-1980s.

She’s been an A+ supporter of the Tommies ever since.

She’s STU’s Superfan, with a wardrobe that includes, by her own estimate, three sweatshirts, a couple of t-shirts, two hockey sweaters, a hat – even a game-worn number 20 sweater from defenceman Keith Wynn

from the former men’s hockey team. She’s well-stocked in souvenirs too – key chains, water bottles, and pens mostly, a knap sack or two, and game programs. Her STU T-Ring, of course. Even her car is a shade of green, although not the dark, emerald shade of Tommie green.

A hockey fan since she was a child, she grew up in Minto as a fan of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens and her older brother Bill, who played goal up to the high school level. She switched her NHL allegiance to the Edmonton Oilers when Wayne Gretzky came along. It was around the same time she graduated from Rothesay-Netherwood School and was accepted to university at both STU and UPEI.

She opted for the green and gold and has been wearing the colours proudly since 1983.

“At first it was just men’s hockey,” she remembered. She made her way to the Lady Beaverbrook Rink regularly to watch coach Larry Wood’s Tommies.   They didn’t have much success, she recalled, but they did have Minto hockey product Scott MacKenzie on defence and Kirk Firlotte, who now lives in Minto, in goal.

Rugged defenceman Phil Huckins, now a member of the Fredericton Police Force, was her favourite player from that era.

“He wore number 4, my favourite number,” Valentino said.

Her favourite Tommies of all-time, both male and female, are hockey players: Mackenzie, with honourable mention to Kyle McAllister on the men’s side; a tossup between Kelty Apperson and Kayla BlackmoreSimonds on the women’s side.

The highlight of her career as a STU spectator, she said, was the men’s hockey team’s march to the Atlantic University Sport championship in 2000-01. The Tommies won the title over the St. Francis Xavier X-Men with a 2-1 overtime victory over the X-Men in Antigonish, N.S. with league MVP Jason Sands scoring the goal to give the Tommies their first title in 40 years.

She makes it to as many women’s hockey games as her schedule allows, and it’s still her favourite of all the sports, but Valentino makes good use of her season’s pass to watch the Tommies soccer, volleyball, and basketball teams as well.

“Now, I go to everything,” she said.   “Even before I graduated, I took in a basketball game, a volleyball game… but when I first started it was just mainly hockey. I just like all sports, I guess. And I like to support my school.”

She’s a solid supporter of other local sports teams too.

She holds season passes for the Fredericton St. Louis Bar and Grill Royals baseball team, the Caps U18 hockey team and the Fredericton Red Wings Maritime Hockey League team, which shares the Grant-Harvey Centre with the Tommies.

But her heart is loyal to the green and gold. •

St. Thomas University | Connections 12
Photo by: Shawn Murphy

STU Mooters

Julia Evans and Elisha Gunaratnam

Finish Second at the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition

STU graduates Julia Evans, BA’23 and Elisha Gunaratnam, BA’23 performed exceptionally well at the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition in Geneva last summer as they finished as runner-up to India’s National University of Advanced Legal Studies.

Following the preliminary round, Elisha was named the #3 speaker and Julia was named the #1 speaker in the competition. In their comments, the judges remarked on the very difficult decision they had to make after a close competition and noted the voices and skills of these students were needed in the field of international human rights.

STU Moot advanced to the finals after defeating Oxford University Law School in the quarterfinals and the University of Sydney in the semi-finals. Forty-six students from 23 universities in 19 countries competed in the event at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, July 17-21. The competition was adjudicated by judges from the International Criminal Court, United Nations and Commonwealth officials, and international legal academics.

STU Moot was the only North American team. It was also the only team competing from a school that does not have a law school.

“I am so proud of Elisha and Julia. They worked hard all year to prepare for this opportunity and were up against top students from around the world,” said St. Thomas University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Nauman Farooqi.

“A world Moot Court Championship and Rhodes Scholar in one year reflects well on our students, faculty and education at STU. Congratulations to Julia and Elisha and to Dr. Amanda DiPaolo, who leads the Moot Court Program. There are also many alumni and donors who support the program and they will be very excited with this achievement and as proud of these students as we are.”

“The World Moot is an incredibly tough competition with several qualifying stages that competitors need to get through to even make the in-person rounds in Geneva. To excel in this

competition takes a lot of work, skill, and practice. I could not be more thrilled for and proud of Elisha and Julia. They represented STU and all of Canada with such poise and grace,” said Dr. DiPaolo.

Evans, from Grand Bay-Westfield, NB, and Gunaratnam, from Toronto, have been preparing for the competition since January. After submitting a written brief in May, they were chosen to compete in the preliminary oral rounds. The top teams from the preliminary rounds were invited to Geneva.

Evans and Gunaratnam recently graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees with Honours in Human Rights and started law programs in the fall. Evans is attending the University of New Brunswick, where she is pursuing her Juris Doctor, while Gunaratnam is pursuing her Master of Laws in European and International Human Rights Law at Leiden University in the Netherlands. •

Winter 2024 13

New SSHRC-Funded Research Project at STU

Examines Contesting Energy Discourse

Anew research project is examining how adding more voices to the media discourse about energy transitions can help New Brunswickers make better choices about their future.

Contesting Energy Discourses through Action Research (CEDAR) is a five-year project studying energy transitions in Canada with a focus on New Brunswick and is funded by a $375,000 SSHRC Insight Grant. The project is led by Dr. Susan O’Donnell, Dr. Janice Harvey, Dr. Andrew Secord, and Dr. Clive Baldwin at St. Thomas University, as well as researchers J.P. Sapinski at the Université de Moncton and M.V. Ramana at the University of British Columbia.

“Canadians are experiencing floods, wildfires, droughts and other extreme weather events due to a changing climate. Climate change caused by humans is linked to burning fossil fuels for energy. The science is clear that we need to rapidly reduce our use of fossil fuels. How will we do this?

What kind of future do we want,” said Dr. O’Donnell, who is an Adjunct Research Professor in the Environment & Society program at STU.

“New Brunswick is in a period of energy transition, with different paths to follow, and choices must be made,” added Dr. Janice Harvey, who is an Assistant Professor in the Environment & Society program. “Our research will help to ensure that more voices are included in this important conversation about which energy path is best for New Brunswick.”

Studying How Contesting Discourses are Framed in the Media

The media – corporate, independent, alternative and social media –feature competing discourses about the energy transitions.

CEDAR is studying: how these contesting discourses for energy transitions are framed in the media; the networks of actors, organizations and institutions promoting the dominant discourses; and how action research can produce and publish counter discourses in the media and contribute to a more democratic media environment.

The dominant energy discourses promote continued economic growth, centralized energy production, new nuclear plants and plutonium reprocessing, fossil fuels or biomass paired with carbon capture and sequestration technologies, and using fossil energy such as fracked gas as a “transition fuel” to low-carbon energy in the distant future.

At the other end of the spectrum, other discourses promote energy conservation, reductions in aggregate energy use, decentralized and community-based renewable energy generation, autonomy and control over energy access, and ending social and environmental injustices related to energy production and consumption.

“New Brunswick is an ideal location for our research,” O’Donnell explained. “The province is home to the largest oil refinery in Canada. The provincial government wants to lift a ban on fracking despite widespread opposition by rural and Indigenous communities. The government and public utility NB Power want to operate a coal-fired energy plant beyond the 2030 federal phase out deadline. Provincial plans for climate action centre speculative nuclear reactors while rhetorically and financially undermining the potential for renewable energy to meet New Brunswick’s power needs.”

The research team’s research methods build on existing relationships with climate activists and Indigenous leaders. Together they are exploring how research on discourses of energy transitions can amplify activist and marginalized voices and visions for a more sustainable future. The research team will also be offering research opportunities to students.

“Most of the funding will be spent on students, providing them with interesting and engaging employment as research assistants while they continue their studies. The funding will also help them travel with their supervisors to academic conferences to co-present the research findings,” Harvey said. •

For more information about Contesting Energy Discourses through Action Research, please visit the project website

St. Thomas University | Connections 14
Dr. Clive Baldwin, Dr. Andrew Secord Dr. Janice Harvey and Dr. Susan O’Donnell

Alumna Sydona Chandon Honoured for Human Rights Advocacy Work

St. Thomas University

alumna Sydona Chandon has received the 2023 New Brunswick Youth Human Rights Award earning praise for removing barriers and creating diverse spaces in society.

The award, sponsored by the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, was presented by Lieutenant Governor the Hon. Brenda Murphy at a ceremony at Old Government House.

Provincial organization Pride in Education earned the Human Rights Award.

Chandon received the award for her exceptional contribution to advancing human rights, equality, diversity, and inclusion in the province. Her advocacy has increased the visibility of university students, particularly those of the BIPOC community, and the creation of safe and inclusive spaces in post-secondary education and beyond.

The Commission noted her legacy of empowering students from various backgrounds, including international and racialized students. While attending STU, Chandon was Vice-President (Education) of the Student’s Union and a board member on the New Brunswick Student Alliance, where she is now Executive Director.

“Each in their own way, Pride in Education and Sydona Chandon have worked tirelessly to bring New Brunswickers together while defending the interests

of marginalized people,” said Murphy. “Their efforts have removed barriers and created more accessible, equitable, and diverse spaces where everyone can be comfortable being themselves.”

“Service to Others” is the Most Rewarding Work

Chandon said that she was honoured to receive the award for her work to amplify the voice of students. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to be a voice for others and to defend the vulnerable.

“Being of service to others is life-giving and ultimately the most rewarding work you can do in your lifetime,” said Chandon at the ceremony.

“Attending STU afforded me the ability to live out my calling through creating safe spaces for students that needed it the most.

I discovered recognizing the many discrepancies in a colonial system and attempting to address them is not always easy, and must be carefully executed through a lens of respectfully understanding the mistakes of the past whilst finding empathetic solutions to solve them.”

While at STU, she was also a member of the NB Black Artists Alliance, Asian Student Association, and Black Students Association.

“Sydona sacrificed much of her personal time at STU to inspire and uplift others, often working long hours to attend advocacy

meetings and do community work through her many associations,” said NB Human Rights Commission Chair Phylomène Zangio.

The award was established by the Commission in 1988 to celebrate individuals and organizations who have worked

tirelessly to advance human rights, equality, diversity, and inclusion, and make New Brunswick a better place to live. •

15 Winter 2024
Photo by: Keith Minchin Sydona Chandon, BA’22 and Dr. M. Nauman Farooqi

Larry Collins Essay Prize 2023

Recent graduate Adam McDougall (BA‘23) has been awarded the Larry Collins Essay Prize 2023 for the best undergraduate essay written by a student attending university in Atlantic Canada. The prize is awarded by the Atlantic Provinces Political Science Association. Adam's winning essay, “Uniting for Peace: Unconstitutional and Ineffective, Except as a Political Message,” examines the history and politics of the UN’s “Uniting for Peace” resolution. •

STUdent Liam McCann Earns Best Undergraduate Presentation at the Atlantic Canada Economic Association

Economics honours student Liam McCann, recently presented at the Atlantic Canada Economic Association, where he was awarded Best Undergraduate Presentation for his preliminary findings related to his thesis research project for his honours at STU.

McCann’s research is focused on micro-level determinants of human capital flight in Atlantic Canada and is focused on identifying what he said are the “push factors” leading to outmigration to other parts of Canada – with a focus on skilled workers.

McCann’s research is part of his honours thesis supervisor Dr. Fariba Solati’s project titled “Brain Drain in Atlantic Canada,” where she looks at reasons Atlantic Canada loses its educated and skilled workers to other provinces and to other countries.

“Working with Dr. Solati is an honour,” McCann said. “Without her guidance, I wouldn’t have the confidence to submit my thesis for presentation at a conference.”

“Since the first day I spoke with Liam, I knew he was going to be an excellent student, researcher, and economist,” Solati said. “He carefully listened to my advice and has worked really hard. He deserves to be recognized for his effort, and as his supervisor, I am so very proud of him.” •

Deans’ List Celebrates Academic Success

Three hundred and eleven students were named to the Deans’ List for the 2022-23 academic year. The Deans’ List honours full-time students in Arts and Social Work who achieved a grade point average of 3.70 or higher on a minimum of 30 credit hours. Being on the Deans' List is one of the highest academic honours offered by the university.

“As Deans’ List Students, you have shown that you are willing to learn and that you have the intelligence, determination, and dedication to succeed. And we are all very proud of you,” said President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Nauman Farooqi at the Deans’ List reception which was held in November. •

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through STU Cares Day of Action STUdents Give Back

At this year’s STU Cares Day of Action, students spent the day with Fredericton Community Kitchens, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Para NB, Habitat for Humanity, The Ville, Hayes Farm and Greener Village.

STU Cares Day of Action is organized by STU’s Office of Experiential Learning and Career Development and is supported by the FutureNB initiative. Through volunteering, students can develop skills, make connections, and gain relevant experience that can help them in their careers. •

Volunteer Award of Excellence

The Office of Experiential Learning and Career Development was the recipient of Ability New Brunswick’s Volunteer Award of Excellence for 2022-2023. The Volunteer Award of Excellence is awarded annually to an individual or group who demonstrates outstanding initiative and leadership in their volunteer work with Ability NB. •

International Experiential Learning Trip to Peru

Seven STUdents travelled to Peru during the Fall Reading Week as part of the university’s international experiential learning program. The trip had three educational themes: education in rural communities, Indigenous reconciliation and history, and intercultural development.

The group participated in cooking and recreational activities within rural schools, toured the historical downtown of Lima, attended music lessons, travelled to Cusco and saw the marvels of Machu Picchu, and reflected on Indigenous reconciliation efforts abroad through a visit to the Place of Memory, Tolerance, and Social Inclusion.

This project is funded by Global Skills Opportunity, the Government of Canada’s outbound mobility pilot program. •

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STUdents attend the 2023 Enactus World Cup, Netherlands

STUdents involved in Enactus STU recently joined Enactus Canada’s delegation at the 2023 Enactus World Cup in the Netherlands.

“As a newer Enactus team, it was amazing to learn from other groups and see how we can grow our team and projects,” said Chloe York, Enactus STU’s president and fourth-year STUdent.

“Attending the World Cup in the Netherlands was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Enactus Canada, which has chapters in universities across the country, encourages students to join the Canadian delegation to learn about the various entrepreneurial Enactus projects around the world, participate in events around the Sustainable Development Goals, and form lasting connections.

Enactus STU is a group of motivated STUdents striving to make a difference in their community and improve the quality of life through entrepreneurial action. •

International Education Week at STU

STU celebrated International Education Week in November, which included events like the Changing of the Wall of Flags Ceremony. Each year, the Wall of Flags in Sir James Dunn Hall is updated to reflect the countries of our current international students. It is an important event where new and returning international students – and all the contributions they make to our diverse campus – are celebrated!

Other events included a Global Connections Challenge, a student panel discussion on international exchanges, and the STUISA Food Fest where students could try foods from the home countries of our international students. • •

Gail Costello Joins STU as 2SLGBTQIA+ Advisor

Gail Costello is STU’s new 2SLGBTQIA+ Advisor. The 2SLGBTQIA+ Advisor acts as a resource for students needing support and guidance. Students can connect with Costello to discuss topics including personal well-being, self-advocacy, discrimination, and any other concerns.

A retired teacher, Costello taught Physical Education and worked as the Gender Sexuality Alliance Advisor at Oromocto High School. She has recently stepped down from her role as co-chair of Pride in Education, after 12 years on their board.

In the broader community, she has worked with nursing homes, churches, businesses, and the police to help create safer spaces and best practices for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

Among Costello’s many awards and achievements, she was chosen as New Brunswick’s Pride Hero in 2018. Most recently, on behalf of Pride in Education, she accepted the 2023 New Brunswick Human Rights Award. •

St. Thomas University | Connections 18

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

STU held a ceremony to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We are thankful to the many individuals and groups on campus who worked to recognize the day at STU and who work throughout the year to inspire awareness, education, reflection, and action. At the event, we encouraged everyone to take time to reflect on the painful legacy of residential schools in Canada and to wear orange in support of survivors and those who were lost to the residential school system. •

Truth and Reconciliation and Women’s Rugby at STU

While “Green and Gold” are important colours to the young women who represent the St. Thomas Tommies on the rugby pitch, so is the colour orange.  It represents the squad’s commitment to truth and reconciliation with the

Diwali at STU

SIndigenous community. For every home game at the Grant-Harvey Field this season, the Tommies’ players wore orange warmup shirts with a design on the front by local Indigenous artist Brandon Mitchell.

Former coach Becca Baker felt

tudents got to experience delicious Indian food and culture at the Diwali Celebration hosted by STU BIPOC and STUISA in November.

Gursimran Kaur, a STU student shares what Diwali means to her.

“Diwali, the Festival of Lights, holds both cultural and religious significance for me. It’s a favourite festival, marked by a month of preparations by my mom. Diwali also means delicious meals, especially sweets like Gulabjamun. The joy of exchanging gifts and sweets is a cherished tradition.

I miss celebrating and spending time with my family during this festive season. Thank you, STU, for celebrating Diwali on campus; it means so much to me.” •

the cause and the connection were important for her young team.

“We had Indigenous athletes on our team, and it was really important that we respected that community as much as we could, as much as possible,” she said. •

STU Santas Program Helps Students with Children

This year’s STU Santas campaign raised $4,094 to support 28 children of STU students in financial need over the holidays!

“Through STU Santas, our campus community gets to experience the joy of making “ask and you shall receive” a reality for STUdents with children. Imagining the happiness of these student families fills us with Christmas wonder,” said Claire Morrison, Campus Minister and organizer of the campaign. “To all our STU Santas, thank you!” •

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STU Tommies Host the Mary Cronin Memorial Game

The Women’s Soccer Tommies commemorated the life of Mary Cronin, a former STU student-athlete who died last year at the age of 23.

In partnership with the City of Fredericton, a tree has been planted near the Grant-Harvey Turf Field in Mary’s honour and a ceremony was held during a memorial game held in her name.

“We hung up Mary’s number in the locker room, and before going out for the game and in our pregame talk, we spoke about how important sports are, the amazing people you meet through them, and not to take for granted the time you have with the sport and the team,” said current Tommies captain Abigail Cameron, who was also the inaugural recipient of the Mary Cronin Leadership Award.

Mary Cronin was a Dean’s List student during her two and a half years at St. Thomas University and was the keeper for the Women’s Tommies Soccer team for three seasons before transferring to UNB to study engineering. She was also a popular coach of girls’ soccer

in Fredericton. She loved sports, and was a lifelong soccer player, spending years in the FDSA program.

She also played women’s rugby with the UNB Varsity Reds, where she continued to display her constant enthusiasm, competitiveness, and passion for sport and her teammates.

Michelle DeCourcey, former Tommies coach and one of the organizers of the event said Mary’s enthusiasm, competitiveness, and love for the sport and her teammates were infectious.

“On the field, she was a fierce competitor, off the field, she was the most loyal friend and teammate,” DeCourcey said. “During the years Mary led the team, it felt like a family. She had a knack for bringing people together, making moments fun, and making everyone feel heard, seen and valued. It's our hope that current and future players recognize the gift that playing sports and being part of a team is. Mary knew this and that things were better when everyone was in it together and supportive of each other.”•

CCAA Men’s Soccer Player of the Year

Josh Oakes from the Men’s Soccer Team was awarded the 2023 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men’s Soccer Player of the Year. Oakes is a third-year centre back from Kitchener, ON majoring in Criminology. Josh captained the Tommies to a league best 10-0-2 record in the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association. As a defender, Oakes led the conference in scoring with 13 goals and 26 points.

“Josh is a natural leader who commands his team and puts his body on the line every game,” said John-Ryan Morrison, St. Thomas Men’s Soccer Head Coach. “He plays the game the right way, which has earned him the respect of many players around the league. He is the type of player that every coach would want as their captain.” •

CCAA National Scholars

Thirty-three STU Tommies were named CCAA National Scholars for the 2022-23 academic year – a new record number. The CCAA National Scholar Award recognizes the outstanding academic accomplishments of studentathletes. To be recognized, a student-athlete must achieve honours standing at their institution in the current academic year.

CCAA National Scholars for 2022-23

Luke Ewen, Soccer

Nikolas Landry, Soccer

Matteo Neves, Soccer

Chidubem Nkoloagu, Soccer

Matthew Oprea, Soccer

Nicholas Reis, Soccer

Brett Springer, Soccer

Sydney Conrad, Soccer

Kaitlynne Benjamin, Soccer

Avery Erb, Soccer

Olivia Fillmore, Soccer

Jazmyne Lebel, Soccer

Jazmyne McLaughlin, Soccer

Amanda McNally, Soccer

Jayci Peck, Soccer

Ciera Meredith, Soccer

Grace Christie, Basketball

Charlee Connors, Basketball

Emma Connors, Basketball

Emily Owens, Basketball

Kathleen Quinlan, Basketball

Ava Prosser, Basketball

Vanessa Soffee, Basketball

Samantha Stordy, Basketball

Katie Vidito, Basketball

Alex Frederickson, Volleyball

Adam McDougall, Volleyball

Brendan Murphy, Volleyball

Noah Tulk, Volleyball

Madison Ball, Volleyball

Danica Godin, Volleyball

Lauren Moerike, Volleyball

Ethan Nylen, Cross-Country Running

St. Thomas University | Connections 20

Trick n’ Eat

For Halloween, St. Thomas University Students’ Union took part in their annual community-driven effort event called “Trick n' Eat,” going from door to door to gather food for donation to the STU Food Bank. Estefania Martinez, the STUSU’s Activities Coordinator, emphasized the significance of events like Trick n' Eat, especially given the increasing concern of food insecurity.

“Trick n' Eat is one of my favourite activities by STUSU because it reminds me of how a community can work together to support a good cause,” she said. •

Lectures at a Glance

Michael Levitt, President and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (Toronto), spoke on the rising tides of antisemitism in Canada during the annual Dr. Bernie Vigod Lecture in Human Rights

During the Endowed Chair in Criminology and Criminal Justice Lecture, Prof. Kent Roach discussed recommendations for addressing the causes of wrongful convictions, including better legislative oversight of law enforcement and forensic experts, and the creation of a permanent and independent federal commission to investigate wrongful convictions.

As part of the Annual Political Science Lecture, Dr. Jack MacLennan discussed how a commitment to seeing Ukraine engage in maneuver warfare has shaped the war, defined the geopolitics around its conduct, and has ultimately produced the stagnation we see today.

Campus Watch

Bronze Medal at the Games of La Francophonie

STUdent Vivian Kutnowski won a bronze medal for Team New Brunswick at the IX Games of La Francophonie in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Vivian was competing in freestyle wrestling. •

Dr. Suzanne DupuisBlanchard delivered the Dr. T. Leroy Creamer Memorial Lecture in Gerontology. In her talk, she challenged the current approach to long-term care by advocating for inclusive aging in place.

Naiomi Metallic, Chancellor’s Chair in Aboriginal Law and Policy at Dalhousie University, delivered this year’s Chancellor’s Lecture on Indigenous Issues. Metallic spoke about the revitalization of Indigenous peoples’ legal orders in Canada.

Human Rights Advocate Omar Alshogre delivered the annual Dr. Abdul Lodhi Lecture in Human Rights. In his talk, “Behind Walls, Beyond Limits,” Alshogre spoke about his time being unjustly imprisoned in a Syrian prison.

Dr. Andrea Trenholm spoke on “Narrative (Re) Presentations: Reflections on Form and Teachings from My Elders” as part of the annual John McKendy Memorial Lecture on Narrative

Dr. Davide Parmigiani delivered the lecture “Teaching and Teacher Education in Challenging Settings.” In his talk, he explored the future challenges of the teaching profession at all levels from kindergarten to higher education.

In his talk, “Israel and Palestine: A Hundred Years of Anger,” Dr. Shaun Narine spoke about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. •

Winter 2024 21

Faculty News

New Textbook on Criminal Procedure and Evidence

Criminology professor Dr. Karla O’Regan and her former student Elizabeth Matheson, BA’19, are co-authoring a textbook on criminal procedure and evidence with Emond Press. Matheson just finished clerking for the Ontario Court of Appeal and is now completing her LLM at Dalhousie.

“Elizabeth’s previous research experiences at STU (including authoring the index for my Law & Consent book and co-authoring a brief for my project Family Violence in Family Law) went a long way with the publisher, who would not normally have signed such a junior researcher,” Dr. O’Regan said. “We expect the book to be out for January 2025 and while it will primarily serve undergraduate, community and police colleges, we also hope it will be a kind of criminal procedure “primer” or “Coles notes” for law students.” •

Dr. Kristi Allain Examines Importance of Intergenerational Physical Activity

Dr. Kristi Allain is throwing stones at the misconceptions that older athletes have less to contribute to their sport. Her latest research is focusing on the role of older curlers in the success of the sport, including how they are inspiring and training younger athletes.

“Curling is unique in that it is one of few sports where the bodies of the old are centred as experts and even sometimes celebrated as national champions. Curlers are often the oldest athletes at the Winter Olympics, making it an important sport for investigation, especially as countries like Canada grow demographically older,” she said.

Her study, “Little Rocks and Old Stones: An Examination of Intergenerational Physical Activity and Aging Across the Life Course” received a SSHRC Insight Development Grant.

She will examine what happens when the old and young come to play together at the curling club. Through an examination of learn-to-curl programs, she is looking at the ways that older coaches and instructors work with the young to teach them physical capacity in a way that challenges assumptions about the bodies of the old.

“I think this work will draw attention to older athletes and their contribution. This is largely overlooked in popular media and in academic scholarship. We often think that younger is better and it is important to point out that seeing diverse bodies of all ages and abilities celebrated for their sport achievements sends important messages about which bodies matter in the Canadian imagination.” •

St. Thomas University | Connections 22
Elizabeth Matheson, BA '19

Campus Watch Faculty Book Launches

Dr. Andrew Moore launched Magic in Early Modern England: Literature, Politics, and Supernatural Power. His book reconsiders the role of magic in the foundations of modernity through the examination of plays, spell books, philosophical treatises, and narratives of witch trials.

Dr. Conor Barry launched his new book, Paradigm, Logos, and Myth in Plato’s “Sophist and Statesman.” His work examines the unique significance given to the term ‘paradigm’ in Plato’s Sophist and Statesman

History Professor Dr. Robin Vose Writing “Popular” History on the Camino de Santiago

Dr. Robin Vose has been awarded a STU Course Release Award for the 2024-25 academic year to write a book of “popular” history on the Camino de Santiago, which will explain its historical and religious origins and its later political, cultural, and economic dimensions.

The Camino de Santiago is a loosely defined series of historical pilgrimage routes whose origins took shape in the early twelfth century and served multiple purposes, resulting in a massive flow of temporary and permanent visitors, lasting into the seventeenth century. The Camino was revived at the end of the twentieth century and is now a huge cultural, tourist, and spiritual phenomenon.

Dr. Vose’s book will fill a void in literature devoted to the Camino, and his exploration of previously marginalized topics, such as Jewish-converso mysticism and the importance of the Camino in certain LGBTQ+ circles, will be of particular interest.

“The Camino de Santiago is a topic of interest to me both as a historian and personally, and I look forward to sharing my findings with my students,” said Dr. Vose.

The STU Course Release Award was created to fund a course release to support faculty research. The Senate Research Committee adjudicates the annual award. •

Research at a Glance

Dr. Bill Randall and Dr. Matte Robinson launched their book Things That Matter: Special Objects in Our Stories as We Age. This book sheds important light on the intricate intertwining of mementos with stories –and vice versa – in most people’s lives. •

Dr. Matthew Hayes (Sociology) was awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant for “Ordinary Suburbs: Lian Street and Experiences of Financialization in New Brunswick.”

Dr. Robin Vose (History) received a SSHRC Explore Grant for “The Directorium Inquisitorum: Edition and Study of a Medieval Inquisitor’s Manual and its Transmission.”

Dr. Kristi Allain (Sociology) received a SSHRC Exchange Grant for “A Winter’s Play: An Intergenerational Theatre Project on Old Age and Winter Sport.”

Dr. Arielle Dylan (Social Work) received a SSHRC Explore Grant for “Narrative Exploration of Canadian Buddhist Identity.”

Dr. Sarah Vannier (Psychology) received a SSHRC Explore Grant for “Language in Psychology Course Descriptions and Mental Illness Stigma.”

Dr. Brandi Estey-Burtt (English Language and Literature) received a Harrison McCain Faculty Research Grant for “Beyond the Empathic Plot Device: Representations of Autism in Children’s Picture Books.” •

Winter 2024 23

New & Noteworthy


Peter R. O’Brien (STU’6465), CM, reached out to the President’s Office to reminisce on his time at STU. Although he did not graduate from STU, he still considers STU played a pivotal role in his success. Peter transferred to St. Thomas in second year after what he calls a “disastrous first try” at Loyola College in Montreal, his hometown. “STU was good enough to take a chance on me and it turned my life around.”

In his letter, he also reflected on the classmates who welcomed him, in particular Barry Collrin, Pete McDonald and Joe Ashley. “My STU turn-around had me finish my BA at Bishop’s University, closer to home, and then to a law degree at Université Laval in Quebec City. This was followed by 50 years as a corporate lawyer in Montreal, which gave me a platform for taking on leadership roles in a number of health care, education and faith-based non-profit institutions. These found me being appointed to the Order of Canada in June 2023. This extraordinary recognition has had me, at age 77, reflect on how it all came to be and to the pivotal role that St. Thomas University played in it. STU seldom shows up in my bios as I’m of course not a graduate. But I know better. What St. Thomas did for me was worth much more than a degree.”


Margaret-Anne Ashfield (BT’72) and her husband Dale Ashfield have published a second book, MacDonalds Corner, NB: The Early Days; A Mosaic of Life. This book documents historic information about Macdonald Corner.

News from classmates and friends around the world

Mary Pendergast (BA’73) is a mother of four and grandmother to eight beautiful grandchildren. She retired at the end of the summer. After a career as an educator, she has been a Board Member of the Parole Board of Canada now for 10 years.

Jerome (Jerry) Collins (BA’74) has been practicing law in St. Thomas, Ontario since 1979. He has recently received the annual ‘Ad Valorum’ award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the Elgin Law Association and the community.

Peter Clark (BA’78, BEd’83) received a Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Literacy Award in the “Published Author” category.

Susan DesRoches (BA’79) lives in PEI and is very much enjoying her retirement years. Her days are filled with walks on the beach and crafting. Life is good! Having lived in several provinces throughout Canada, Susan has always appreciated the foundation of her university education at STU. “STU provided a wonderful nurturing and safe environment to learn and grow.”


Sheree Fitch (BA’87, LLD’10) received the Order of Canada for her outstanding contributions to children’s literature and to the Canadian literary community, as a writer, poet and literacy advocate. Sheree also received STU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019.

Neil Alexander (BA’81) retired from being a Foreign Service Officer for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in 2014, although he continued to do temporary foreign assignments up to 2022.

Spencer Belyea (BEd’82) and his community choir, the Saint John Chorale, have won first place at the 2023 FCMF National Music Festival. This is a rare achievement for any New Brunswick choir. Spencer is a graduate of Mount Allison and St. Thomas University, has studied at the Royal School of Church Music in England, and is a charter member of both the Provincial and National Choral Associations. Now retired from his school teaching career, Spencer continues with the SJChorale, Symphony Chorus & Orchestra, Diocesan Choir School, and Trinity Church, Saint John.

Brent J. Ludwig (BA’87) recently published Those Who Would Be King, a book about the corruption of power, the legacy of colonialism, and the failure of democracy. Those Who Would Be King is available on Amazon. When he is not writing, Brent is a reformed lawyer who currently runs his own boutique headhunting firm in Calgary and Vancouver, Canada. Brent practiced M&A law in Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary, but did not let it stifle his love for storytelling and writing, first inspired while completing his undergraduate degree at St. Thomas University. For more information about Brent or his book, visit:


Mark Manzer (BA’96) completed a master’s degree in Anthropology and has worked for 18 years at Manitoba Hydro.

Rob Cloney (BEd’99) is married to art gallery owner Nedia El Khouri, and has two adult children, Michael and Amanda. He has been a teacher with the Lester B. Pearson School Board for the last 20+ years, having also served as the Board’s English Consultant for several years. In addition, he has been a professional storyteller for several years, performing in Canada, the US and Brazil. He spends a great deal of time telling stories, and making and teaching art at Nedia’s gallery, Viva Vida Art Gallery.

St. Thomas University | Connections 24

Andrea Duplisea (BA’00) works for Horizon Health at Addictions and Mental Health in Charlotte County as clinical lead. She has been a social worker for 14 years.

On June 21, 2023, Julie Lohnes (BA’03, BEd’04) was presented with a Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) from the Governor General of Canada at Rideau Hall, Ottawa for her work as the founder and chairperson of Tusarnaarniq Sivumut Association - Music for the Future, a charity providing music education to youth in remote communities in Nunavut. This charity was formed from a music club she started while teaching in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, after receiving her BEd from STU. Now living in Lower Sackville with her husband and two children, she obtained an MEd in Counselling and MEd in Leadership and has been working as a School Counsellor on the South Shore of Nova Scotia for 15 years.

Dr. Melanie M. Doucet (BAA’03) has been named this year’s recipient of the Erminie Cohen Compassion Award, an honour given out by the New Brunswick Adoption Foundation. Dr. Doucet has been working for nearly two decades to improve the lives of youth in care while advocating for changes to the child welfare systems across Canada, starting in her home province of New Brunswick. In 2012, as an alumna of the foster care system, she was one of the first leaders of the New Brunswick Youth in Care Network (NBYCN) and presented at the first NB Youth in Care hearings. Dr. Doucet went on to complete her PhD in Social Work at McGill University. Her doctoral research, Relationships Matter for Youth ‘Aging Out’ of Care, provided a platform for youth from care to develop child welfare research, policy, and practice recommendations based on their lived experience expertise. In her current role at the Child Welfare League of Canada, Dr. Doucet is leading the Equitable Standards for Transitions to Adulthood for Youth in Care to ensure transitions to adulthood are healthy and supported for youth in care across the country.

Brian Munn (BA ’07) has been appointed as the Executive Director of the Public Prosecution Service of New Brunswick.

James McKay (BA’08) started his own management consulting firm specializing in supporting early-stage technology companies.

Fraser MacAlpine (BA ‘09) and his wife Cynthia Mancinelli welcomed their first bundle of joy, Giovanni Ian Mancinelli MacAlpine, on July 3, 2023. Gio came into this world at 8 pounds, 10 ounces. You will hopefully see Gio follow in his dad’s footsteps and be a STU Tommie in 2043!


Mark Henick (BA’10) recently started as the nationally syndicated mental health columnist for the CBC. Each week, he focuses on the mental health perspective on a variety of breaking news and current affairs stories. The segment airs live on CBC Radio every Wednesday, during morning drivetime in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and about two dozen other markets across Canada.

Aviva Silburt (BA’10) obtained a PhD in 2022 in Global Governance, focused on extractive sector conflicts and now works at Natural Resources Canada managing the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan to address challenges in the extractive sector in Canada.

Elizabeth Corney (BA’10) is married and has two beautiful children. In 2018, she co-founded a nonprofit organization called Blooming House, a shelter for women experiencing homelessness. At that time there was no low barrier shelter option for homeless women on all of PEI (there hadn’t been a shelter for homeless women in Charlottetown for seven years). “We knew that there was a need for a permanent shelter, but we didn’t know how extensive the need was,” she said. “We just knew that at the end of the day, women deserved to have a place to sleep, period. We were met with our fair share of adversity through this process. We had to rapidly learn and adapt, find a location, secure funding, furnish the house, and hire staff. It was a daunting task, but we did it. We’ve now been open for four years, have continued to expand our services, and are making a difference in our community every day.”

Dr. Eric Plant (BA’12) received the Student Leadership Award at the New Brunswick Medical Society’s Celebration of Medicine awards ceremony in November. This award recognizes students who have demonstrated exemplary leadership, commitment, and dedication within and/or outside the medical community.

Alexander Carleton (BA’13) is currently a Criminal Defence Lawyer working for the New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission out of Woodstock, NB.

Jessica Jordan-Munn (BA’14) backpacked in Europe the summer after graduation, and then started her career at Skillsoft the following year. She has since become a licensed makeup artist (her personal passion) and earned two certifications in the coaching space. She is now a certified Neuroencoding Specialist and traumainformed coach and speaker.

Pediatric occupational therapist Amelia (Secord) Medel (BA’15) recently published New Brunswick Baby, a children’s book that highlights cultural elements unique to the province of New Brunswick. New Brunswick Baby is a rhyming book with rich watercolour imagery that supports language development and encourages children’s imagination. New Brunswick Baby is available on Amazon.

Winter 2024 25

New & Noteworthy

Nathan Peardon (BA’15, BEd’16) taught in BC for 6 years, enjoying extra roles like the Early Careers LSA Co-President. He also hosted Annual Trivia Competitions for their district and was a Club Volleyball Coach.

In 2021, Oriana Cordido (BA’19) was named to the “30 under 30 Innovators” and “30 under 30 Sustainability Leaders” lists. She co-created the Social Enterprise Program with STU’s Office of Experiential Learning & Career Development. She currently works at Ignite, the Economic Development Agency of Fredericton where she helps entrepreneurs build their businesses.

Abbie LeBlanc (BA’19) who is pursuing a PhD in Government at Harvard, recently received a Fellowship from the O’Brien Foundation. The Leonard and Kathleen O’Brien Humanitarian Trust provides postgraduate fellowships to current/ former residents of New Brunswick who are pursuing advanced postgraduate study.


After graduation, Justys Wood (BA’21) used his Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Thomas University to get enrolled in NBCC’s Human Resources Management program. He recently completed a practicum with St. Thomas University’s human resources department as an intern.

Megan Gibson (BA’22) is in her final year of studies at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University where she is completing an MA in International Affairs with a specialization in Health, Human Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy and a concurrent specialization in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She just finished a work term at the Public Health Agency of Canada where she worked as a Junior Policy Analyst and is now in her second work term rotation working as a Junior Analyst at the RCMP.

Torey Solomon (BSW’23) was the inaugural recipient of the Viola Jean Sappier-Van Dijk Memorial Prize. This prize is awarded annually to a graduating Wolastoqiyik / Wolastoqey or Mi’kmaq Social Work student. Special consideration is made for a student who has demonstrated an interest in advancing the rights of women, especially Indigenous women. •

The Hon. Noël A. Kinsella  (1939-2023)

We were saddened to hear of the passing of the Hon. Noël A. Kinsella on December 6, 2023. Senator Noël Kinsella was one of the longest serving employees of STU, and from 1965 until his retirement in 2006 he played a significant role in shaping our university. He was a faculty member, department chair and vice-president. He taught philosophy, human rights and psychology, established the Department of Psychology, and was instrumental in the early development of the Education and Social Work programs. He was also very active in the fundraising campaigns for each new building on campus. In 2008, STU named the auditorium in McCain Hall in his honour.

A native of Saint John, Senator Kinsella earned degrees at the University College in Dublin, St. Thomas Aquinas University in Rome, and the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. He returned to the province in 1965 to take a position teaching at STU. At that time, the province was in the midst of its own equal opportunity and civil rights movement, and he joined with minority leaders protesting discrimination in housing, services, and employment. The government later asked him to review human rights in the province. He recommended a codification of anti-discrimination legislation and equality rights be protected for all citizens irrespective of language, race, colour, ethnic origin, etc. To this end, he provided an initial

In Memoriam

We extend condolences to the family and friends of the following alumni and friends who passed away recently:

Sandra Campbell, BT’75

December 6, 2019

Frank Kilravey, BA’73

June 9, 2022

Viola Leger, LLD ‘86

January 28, 2023

William “Bill” Harkins, BA’63

February 23, 2023

Gerald Preston, BA’59 BEd’70 April 18, 2023

Ralph Yeomans, BA’71 July 17, 2023

Hon. Joseph Bérubé, LLD ‘91 August 23, 2023

Teresa Witlib-Paré, BA’74 August 31, 2023

Jeffrey Curtis, BSW’87 October 3, 2023

Mary “Betty” Cummings, BT’69 BA’70 November 18, 2023

Deborah Daggett, BT’73 November 26, 2023

Pamela Harvey, BA’72 BEd’73 December 4, 2023

The Hon. Senator Noël Kinsella, LLD’07 former faculty and Vice-President December 6, 2023

Bette Miles, BA’00

December 9, 2023

Paul Giallonardo, STU ’05-08 December 10, 2023

Philip Warren Brown, BA’69 BEd’72 December 11, 2023

draft of a Human Rights Act

In 1967, Premier Louis J. Robichaud asked Kinsella to serve as the Chair of the newly established New Brunswick Human Rights Commission. Some of the human rights cases advanced by Kinsella include the first anti-age discrimination case in Canada, an early anti-sex discrimination case, and the first application of the anti-retaliation provisions. On the international level, he successfully pursued the Sandra Lovelace v. Canada case at the United Nations.

It was under New Brunswick Premier Richard Hatfield that Kinsella made one of his most significant national contributions. He was invited to join the New Brunswick delegation which participated in the series of federal-provincial conferences that sought to patriate the Constitution and enshrine a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.   Kinsella’s parliamentary service began with his appointment to the Senate in 1990, and he later became Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Opposition, and served as Speaker of the Senate from 2006 until his retirement in 2014. •

St. Thomas University | Connections 26
Keep learning about yourself and what you do and who you want to be.

Sister Eleanor McClosky received an Honorary Doctorate at St. Thomas University and worked in the Education Faculty and Campus Ministry for 15 years. "I have loved being a teacher and I am always grateful for the happy and adventurous life." Sister Eleanor is a resident at Parkland Fredericton where she continues to work with committees in the city and socializes with other residents to learn about their story. She is a pursuer of new learning and Parkland o ers her opportunities to try new things.

Learn more about Sister Eleanor's life at St. Thomas University and Parkland at:

Want to learn about Parkland? Book a personalized tour at any of our communities.

Nova Scotia | New Brunswick | Ontario

Winter 2024 27
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