Page 1

new trail S u m m e r

T h e

2 0 0 7

U n i v e r s i t y

o f

A l b e r t a

A l u m n i

M a g a z i n e

Nano-Sizing the Future Plus... Climbing Kilimanjaro for CARE Helping One! Person at a Time One Family — 14 U of A Degrees Special Inside: Hot Research in Cold Places

A General’s Salute to His Famous Father

Saturday events continued

..Thursday, September 27..  Alumni

Awards Ceremony & Reception  It’s a night to celebrate outstanding U of A alumni and their accomplishments! Time: 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.; Place: Winspear Centre Cost: free ..Friday, September 28.. 

Faculty Friday  A variety of open houses, tours and receptions hosted by the faculties.

Reunion Dinner  Sit with your classmates and enjoy the nostalgia of this evening celebration. This dinner is the marquee event of Reunion 2007 — a celebration of the history of your alma mater and a chance to reacquaint yourself with your classmates! Time: Reception: 6:00 p.m.; Dinner: 7:15 p.m. Place: Hall D, Shaw Conference Centre Cost: $45/person

..Sunday, September 30..

..Saturday, September 29.. 

Faculty Events, Open House

 Campus Tours  Time: 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m. Place: Meet outside of Alumni Lounge, SUB Cost: free  Empey Lecture  “Is Your Community Weighing You Down?” featuring renowned scholar and researcher, Dr. Kim Raine. Time: 1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Place: TELUS Centre Cost: Free

 President’s Breakfast  for those who graduated in 1957 or earlier. This is your chance to meet President Indira Samarasekera and hear her dynamic and daring vision for the future of the University. Time: 9:00 a.m. – noon Place: Hall D, Shaw Conference Centre Cost: $15/person

Save! Win!

Early Bird discount if you register before June 29!

A chance to win Bed & Breakfast for two at the Hotel Macdonald if you register before August 15!

Check out for more details and to register or contact Colleen Elliott, Coordinator, Alumni Special Events at (780) 492-0866 or toll-free 1-800-661-2593 for more information. Please note, pre-registration is required for all events. The registration deadline is Monday, September 24, 2007 depending on space availability.

September 27 – 30

Reunion 2007

All alumni are invited to take part in Reunion 2007 festivities!

new trail V o l u m e

6 2

N u m b e r



features 12

A General’s Salute

15 31

Nano-Sizing the Future

38 40

The Power of One!

On the cover: A Wentworth Probe in the NanoFab facility actuating a MEMS device with needle-like precision.

A son’s tribute to his famous father

Taking the measure of things to come

Kilimanjaro High Journey with a grad to the roof of Africa

A helping hand for the needy in India

The French Connection Nine children adds up to 14 U of A degrees

Special Canadian Circumpolar Institute Insert Hot Research in Cold Places

departments 2

Your Letters


Our readers write to us


University pages to be proud of

Bear Country

48 Evergreen

Goings-on around the U of A

11 Landmarks

49 Alumni Events

Accolades, honours and other milestones

36 Quaecumque Vera 45 Trails

52 Class Notes 56 In Memoriam Bidding farewell to friends

Grads making their mark in the world

H E R E ’ S

Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to Office of Alumni Affairs, University of Alberta 6th Floor, General Services Building Edmonton AB T6G 2H1

Our alma mater branches out Keeping classmates up to date

Whatsoever things are true

ISSN: 0824-8125 Copyright 2005 Publications Mail Agreement No. 40112326

Alumni association participation



60 Tuck Shop Taking a page out of the past



. . .

Comments, suggestions, letters to the editor, story ideas – New Trail welcomes them all. Write to us at New Trail, 6th Floor, General Services Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6H 2H1. Our reader response line is also ready to take your call. Leave us a message at (780) 492-1702, or e-mail: Your privacy is your right and our responsibility. If you would like to remove your name from future mailings from the University of Alberta, please contact us at (780) 492-3224 or 1-800-661-2593.




On the Move? To keep receiving New Trail wherever you go call (780) 492-3471 (1-866-492-7516 toll-free in North America) or e-mail your address change to

This issue brings you a large feature story about something very small — nanotechnology. It’s an exciting new field of research that’s so complicated that no one knows with any certainty exactly where it will lead us. But one thing is certain — the University of Alberta is at the leading edge in this ground-breaking area of research and development thanks to the world-class National Institute of Nanotechnology and our oncampus NanoFab — a micromachining and nanofabrication facility. The potential for nanotechnology and the new devices and techniques that scientists, researchers, academics, students and industry are collaborating to create is so promising that the provincial government recently announced it would commit $130 million to assist in the development of this burgeoning field. Our detailed nanotechnology story — which takes you from the building where the research is being done to the builders who are creating nanoscale devices — is, of course, not all we have to offer in this issue. If you’ve ever dreamed of climbing Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro, you’ll certainly enjoy the ‘armchair’ version of that ascent covered by a U of A alumnus who recently summited. We also have our usual diverse range of grads doing remarkable and noteworthy things, such as a musician acting in the most recent Johnny Depp film, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, a lawyer who’s also an opera singer, an alumnus who’s started her own aid organization in India to help teach the poor, a follow-up to a study done 12 years ago involving 75,000 alumni from various universities across Canada, and a family of nine children who among them have 14 University of Alberta degrees. Welcome to the summer and welcome to another issue of New Trail. As we move forward towards our 100th year in the pursuit of excellence here at the U of A, I’m hoping that as many of you as possible will be able to join us on campus for a year in celebration of our centenary, beginning in January 2008. Susan Peirce, ’70 BA Executive Director, Alumni Association SUMMER 2007

new trail


new trail S U






Executive Director Susan Peirce, ’70 BA Associate Director/ Manager, Alumni Education Programs Rick Pilger Associate Director/ Manager, Alumni Branches Gina Wheatcroft, ’94 BEd Executive Project Manager Coleen Graham, ’88 BSc(HEc), ’93 MEd Administrative Coordinator Jacquie Reinprecht Assistant, Alumni Branches Andrea Dunnigan, ’03 BCom Coordinator, Alumni Chapters John Perrino, ’93 BA(RecAdmin) Assistant, Stewardship Darcy Hoover-Correa, ’99 BA Communications Manager Kim Green Communications Associate Shelagh Kubish, ’85 BA Assistant to the Director Diane Tougas Assistant, Alumni Education Angela Tom, ’03 BA Coordinator, Graphic Communications Lisa Hall, ’89 BA Coordinator, Alumni Recognition Jodeen Litwin, ’90 BSc Assistant, Alumni Recognition Cally Wesson, ’07 BA Coordinator, Research & Marketing Tracy Salmon, ’91 BA, ’96 MSc Assistant, Alumni Services/Reception Ann Miles Coordinator, Alumni Special Events Colleen Elliott, ’94 BEd Assistant, Alumni Special Events Ashley Hunka, ’05 BA Coordinator, Students & Young Alumni Chloe Chalmers, ’00 BA How to contact the Office of Alumni Affairs

Write to us at: 6th Floor, General Services Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H1 Call us toll-free in Canada and the U.S.A. at 1-800-661-2593 or in Edmonton at 492-3224 Fax: (780) 492-1568 E-mail your comments, questions, address updates, and class notes to Join the Alumni Association’s online community at

To advertise in New Trail contact Bonnie Lopushinsky at (780) 417-3464 or New Trail, the University of Alberta Alumni Association magazine, is published quarterly (circulation: 125,000). The views and opinions expressed in the magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the University or the Alumni Association. All material Copyright©. New Trail cannot be held responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs.

new trail










Director Susan Peirce, ’70 BA Supervising Editor Rick Pilger Editor Kim Green Associate Editor Shelagh Kubish, ’85 BA Contributing Editor Jodeen Litwin, ’90 BSc Art Director Lisa Hall, ’89 BA



Executive Committee President Jim Hole, ’79 BSc(Ag) Past-President Heike Juergens, ’72 BA, ’79 MEd, ’87 PhD Vice-Presidents Stephen Leppard, ’86 BEd, ’92 MEd, ’03 EdD Mark Polet, ’77 BSc Kurian Tharakan, ’86 BCom Judy Zender ’67 BA Senate Representatives Jennifer Rees, ’80 BSc(PT) Kerry Day, ’80 LLB Board of Governors Representatives Ruth Kelly, ’78 BA Dick Wilson, ’74 BA, ’75 LLB Centenary Chair Jim Hole, ’79 BSc(Ag) Secretary Doug Irwin, ’73 BPE Faculty Representatives Agriculture, Forestry, and Home Economics Anand Pandarinath, ’93 BSc(For), ’00 MBA, ’00 MFor Arts Judy Zender, ’67 BA Augustana Stacey Denham Gibson, ’95 BA(Aug), ’98 LLB Business Kurian Tharakan, ’86 BCom Campus Saint-Jean Deni Lorieau, ’73 BA Dentistry Tom Mather, ’69 DDS Education Stephen Leppard, ’86 BEd, ’92 MEd, ’03 EdD Engineering Jim Funk, ’78 BCom, ’86 BSc(Eng) Graduate Studies vacant Law Bryan Kickham, ’71 BA, ’74 LLB Medicine Larry Jewell, ’63 BA, ’68 MD Native Studies Heather Taylor, ’97 BA NS Nursing Carol Duggan, ’59 Dip(Nu) Pharmacy Rose Anne Lawton, ’73 BSc(Pharm) Physical Education and Recreation Gerry Glassford, ’64 MA Public Health vacant Rehabilitation Medicine Grant Fedoruk, ’99 BSc(PT) Science Mark Polet, ’77 BSc Member at Large C.H. William Cheung, ’86 LLB Academic Representative vacant Ex Officio Executive Director Susan Peirce, ’70 BA Graduate Students’ Association Julianna Charchun, ’04 BA Students’ Union Michael Janz U of A Vice-President (External Relations) Sandra Conn Honorary President Indira Samarasekera

A Pleasant Surprise

Point Taken

I was pleasantly surprised while reading New Trail [Spring ’07] when I saw the Tuck Shop picture of the two women standing beside the ‘Start Alaska Highway’ sign. The girl on the right is Phyllis Burrows, who was 18 in 1943 when I started dating her. We were married in 1946 and she passed away in 2000. We have four children, nine grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. The picture brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for a wonderful memory. R.M. Lauer, ’41 BSc (Eng), ’47 MSc Trail, B.C.

I could not help but notice the irony in Susan Peirce’s Basecamp column [Spring ’07]. Global warming and vanishing glaciers, the weighty issues of the day, juxtaposed against an invitation to dream of booking that flight to San Francisco. In the spirit of treading more lightly, why no mention of a train ride or even a universitysponsored group bus trip? Ian Fischer, ’80 BA Edmonton, AB

A Sad Farewell Many recent alumni of the U of A will have been saddened by the news of Bruce Stovel’s sudden death on January 12, only a few months after his retirement. During his years in the Department of English and Film Studies, he was a muchadmired teacher. Among other honours, he won the Students’ Union Award for Leadership in Undergraduate Teaching and the Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Bruce is deeply mourned by his wife of 42 years, Nora, who is also a professor of English and Film Studies, and by his children Laura and Grant, as well as sadly missed by his colleagues. Those who would like to contribute to a scholarship in his name should contact Faculty of Arts Development and Alumni Coordinator Amber Nicholson at (780) 492-9399 or Juliet McMaster, ’63 MA, ’65 PhD, professor emerita Edmonton, AB

Timely Advice Thank you for your very timely article about water [Spring ’07]. It coincided beautifully with a trip to the UN in New York City I went on for World Water Day on March 22. I believe that we can all make a difference and your articles showed that we need to make a difference today vs. tomorrow. Thank you for giving us real examples of where we can and must make a change. Loretta Mitchell, ’77 BEd Lloydminster, SK

Aqua-Man I read with interest my daughter’s copy of New Trail [Spring ’07]. I am an executive member of the Battle River Alliance for Economic Development where one of my roles is as an advocate for effective water management, climate change awareness, and alternative energy development. Water supply is a real issue. Brian McGaffigan Strome, AB

Water Works I think the series of articles on water [Spring ’07] was excellent, timely and relevant. This was by far the best issue of New Trail in recent years. Sylvia Van Haitsma, ’63 BSc(Pharm) Edmonton, AB

It’s A Small World The last issue [Spring ’07] was of special interest to me because of all the people mentioned that I remember well. The late John Poole’s company [pg. 11] did an excellent job building my second seed processing plant in Winnipeg. Doctor Willox [pg. 30] eventually extracted a piece of troublesome steel from my head that I had the misfortune to acquire from a bullet grazing my head while in Europe during WW II. And Robert Macbeth [pg. 54] was a classmate of mine in Edmonton’s Victoria High School. Alon Johnson, ’41 BA Winnipeg, MN

Days of Our Lives Creator Remembered I was surprised to see the article [Spring ’07, pg. 58] about Teddy Cohen [Corday], a very talented writer, director and puppeteer. When I was eight or

Me? I looked at the Tuck Shop [Spring ’07] photo several times and thought how much the girl on the left with her arm raised looked like me. My husband thinks so, too, even though he didn’t know nine he bought me my first baseball glove and would take me to his puppet shows on Saturday afternoons held in a warehouse off Jasper Avenue [in Edmonton]. The shows were always packed with kids and Ted’s marionettes were sophisticated works of art — 24-string dolls with beautiful costumes. Perhaps the Jewish community in Edmonton and at the U of A should realize what a great man Teddy was. I’ve known it for 70 years. Sterling Haynes, ’49 BSc, ’51 MSc, ’58 MD Westbank, B.C.

me until 1960. I don’t remember the photo being taken, but I did have a coat with fur down the front like the one in the picture. Winnifred Jean McLean (McEwen), ’41 BSc (HEc) Naples, FL

Wauneita Watch The last word on “The Wauneita Way” (Tuck Shop, Autumn ’06) is that a reader called in to let us know the photo was taken in the Autumn of 1951.

A Class Act

Our Pleasure

The accomplishments of John S. Colter, as outlined in the 2006 Alumni Recognition Awards [Autumn ’06] are most impressive. Hearty congratulations to John from an old classmate are freely extended. As alumni we can all be proud of the growth and accomplishments of the University of Alberta, and it is highly appropriate that outstanding people such as John are recognized for their many contributions to that growth. Cam Ainsworth, ’45 BSc Redwood City, CA

Thanks for your work on New Trail. I look forward to receiving and reading the interesting and informative publication. John H. Doi, ’78 MEd Calgary, AB

We would like to hear your comments about the magazine. Send us your letters via postal mail or e-mail to the address on the previous page. Letters may be edited for length or clarity.

Comfort and care, every stay. Toll Free: 1 800 709 1824 11145 - 87 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta


new trail


bear country

Porky Portraits H

er drawing subjects often squealed with excitement. And, when one squealed, others joined in. The noise was just one of the things U of A student Amie Rangel had to get used to when drawing the unusual portrait subjects — pigs at the U of A’s Swine Research Centre on the South Campus. A graduate student in the U of A’s Department of Art and Design, Rangel has a background in figurative drawing, developed when she got her undergraduate degree at California State University–Long Beach. She was used to drawing humans and wanted to continue work with the figure “but with a different animal,” she says. At the U of A, she got the chance. Her thesis supervisors helped her connect with someone from the Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry, and Home Economics, who put her in touch with the manager at the Swine Research Centre. She got permission to visit the pigs and about once a month brought her paper and pencils (rules to keep the facility clean limited what she could bring) and started drawing. “I sketch from observation,” she says, “and just

let them be. Maybe it’s just me thinking this, but I think that some of them would stand still for me.” The resulting series of portraits show sows, boars, and piglets restful, playful, or busy feeding. The pigs surprised her many times. “I felt that I was totally taken out of my preconceptions,” she says. For one thing, “the smell wasn’t that bad. Even after birthing, everything remains really clean, though sometimes in the communal area it can be dirty.” She was thrilled to be able to witness the birth of a litter of piglets and see how quickly they grow. “It was amazing to see a piglet come out,” she says, “and one hour later see a size difference!” She also noticed differences among the pigs that she hadn’t expected. “Some are social, some anxious, some extremely dirty, others clean,” she says. “Their differences remind me of people.” After a while Rangel started noticing more and more just where these pigs were living. “I started realizing a creature is encased in this space,” she says, “and I felt an obligation to depict

Helping Hand Scraping by, pinching pennies, living on lentils. . . a skimpy budget is often part of student life. But when students don’t have enough money to eat properly or pay their rent, the situation can quickly turn dire. The U of A’s Department of Drama set up an emergency bursary fund in 2000 to help students in a financial crunch. Anna Wood (left) and Avia Moore

them in a certain way, to be sensitive to where they are kept.” She has now turned her attention from the animals to their environment and has begun a series of large-scale drawings of the various areas in the facility. Rangel’s time with the pigs has had a profound impact on her in other ways. She still eats pork, though a little less than she had before, and says that “since this experience began I am finding the importance of balance, where our food is coming from, and so on.” She grew up in Dinuba (near Fresno), an agricultural part of California, and notes that a lot of the farmland there is being sold for development. “If that happens,” she asks, “where will our food come from?” Posing questions, learning about others—these are just some of the benefits of art. Rangel believes the art world needs to exist alongside other worlds, rather than staying separate, and that we can all learn, as she has, from stepping into somebody else’s environment. Or in this case the noisy, diverse environment of pigs. —Shelagh Kubish, ’85 BA

Recently a fundraiser benefit was held to raise money for the fund. Called the Safety Net Benefit, the event held on April 20 raised more than $1,500. The benefit was the brainchild of Anna Wood, a third-year stage management student, and Avia Moore, ’07 BA, a recent graduate of the honors program in drama, both student representatives on the Drama Council. They were prompted by Department chair Jan Selman, ’79 MFA, who suggested they do something to bolster the emergency

Let’s Dance N

ot even Henry Marshall Tory could keep the dancers off the floor. The U of A’s first president is fondly remembered as a scientist and educational visionary, but students on campus in the early days were less fond of his attitude toward dancing. A Methodist who held a bachelor of divinity degree, Tory did not approve of dances that involved close contact between couples. Instead he promoted a strict, formal affair called a Conversazione. At such events couples promenaded in a circle and conversed while music was played. Eventually some brave souls who couldn’t stand the solemnity decided to take a few tentative steps at a Conversazione. In a written history of the University, professor Will Alexander described how “four valiant hearts ... gyrated softly” in the centre of a circle of chairs. President Tory, meanwhile, had softened his stance and smiled in assent. “From such a tiny seed,” Alexander wrote, “has grown the great dancing industry of the University of Alberta.” And what an industry it has become. Students through the decades organized regular dances, and in 1957 a group of about 20 students formed a dance club. By 2007, when many of those involved over the years took part in 50thanniversary festivities, membership ran to about 1,700. Rob Lake, ’79 BSc, ’90 MSc, works in the University’s Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic). He joined the Dance Club in 1981 not as a student but as a U of A employee. “The club is oriented to students but because of its popularity we have faculty and staff join as well,” he says. He served on the executive and was a teaching assistant with the club as well. He joined the club “to learn a social skill, to be able to dance at weddings and anniversaries. It’s good exercise, a fun, healthy activity. You meet nice people, establish friendships.”

bursary fund. “Usually we rely on private donors and donations at performances for the bursary,” says Moore, “but it’s not substantial. At performances we make anywhere from $25 to $300. So we brainstormed other ways to raise money.” The students came up with the idea of a benefit concert featuring well-known musician Andrea House, magician Sheldon Casavant, musical duo the Be Arthurs, and others — “all performing out of the goodness of their hearts,”

From its first tentative steps to a 50-year anniversary — the U of A Dance Club continues to kick up its heels.

The club organizes social events and offers lessons ranging from beginner to advanced levels in a variety of dances including cha-cha, jive, and foxtrot. Celebrations of the 50-year anniversary, held at the end of March, included a reunion of past executive and teaching assistants, dance workshops, and a gala dinner and dance held at the Shaw Conference Centre.  If you were an executive member or teaching assistant for the Dance Club and were not notified about the 50th anniversary events, please e-mail so the club can keep in touch with you.

says Moore. “We wanted to pull in a different crowd,” says Wood, “so we decided to use music instead of theatre.” Drama students in particular have a hard time making money outside school. “Students cannot work while in several of the programs,” explains Selman, “as they go to classes in the daytime and rehearse at night. They perform evenings and weekends.” Add to that the episodic nature of the work — when students can be part of a show for a month, then spend the

next few weeks catching up on other school projects — and it’s hard for these students to find a regular job. Moore and Wood agree that as much as they love what they are studying, the drama program “has a high commitment level, and high stress.” Thanks to the emergency bursary fund, students in need don’t have to add financial stress to their worries. For more information on the fund, contact Joan Greabeiel in the Drama Department at or (780) 492-1082. SUMMER 2007

new trail


bear country

trail-blazing politician and an internationally renowned musician were just two of the recipients of honorary degrees at the U of A’s convocation ceremonies in June. Wilton Littlechild, ’67 BPE, ’75 MA, ’76 LLB, is an athlete, an academic, and a politician. He is perhaps best known for a series of firsts — he was the first Treaty Indian in Alberta to graduate with a law degree, to be appointed Queen’s Counsel by the Alberta Law Society, and to be elected to the Canadian parliament. Littlechild has represented indigenous peoples at the United Nations since the 1977 World Council of Indigenous Development. At the U of A he was elected to the Sports Wall of Fame in 1986 — he played hockey for the Golden Bears in the ’60s and football in the ’70s — and received a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999. P.J. Perry Guloien is an internationally renowned jazz musician and one of Canada’s pre-eminent exponents of the bop idiom. He learned to play piano and clarinet early in life and at age 14 he became a saxophonist in his father’s band. Performing as P.J. Perry, he has shared the stage with such musicians as Boss Brass, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, and Clarence “Big” Miller. His recordings have won two Juno Awards and he has received the Jazz Report Magazine Critic’s Choice Award for Best Alto Saxophone an unprecedented six times. Other than a short stint in Toronto, Perry has made his home in Edmonton for over 30 years, maintaining affiliations with some of the top musicians in the city and with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.


new trail


Tracy Kolenchuk

Honoured Grads A P.J. Perry (top) and Wilton Littlechild.

Other honorary degree recipients:

Sir Keith O’Nions, ’69 PhD — has contributed groundbreaking research in ocean geochemistry, heat fluxes from the mantle and the origin of the Earth’s continents; received a knighthood for services to earth sciences in 1999. Maria Klawe, ’73 BSc, ’77 PhD — currently president of the Harvey Mudd College, a liberal arts college of engineering, science and mathematics in California; an advocate for women and minorities pursuing careers in engineering, science and mathematics. Norbert Morgenstern — a U of A professor emeritus who transformed the way geotechnical engineering is taught and practised around the world, was a member of the Expert Advisory Committee for the United Nations International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, and served UNESCO as an expert advisor on strong motion seismology.

Sheldon Bowles — a best-selling author, successful entrepreneur and international speaker known for his advice on effective business management. Robert Westbury — was director of curriculum development with the Edmonton Catholic School Board, vice-president of TransAlta, and vicepresident of Grant MacEwan College; he currently is chair of the Telus Edmonton Community Board, the Alberta Centre for Child Family and Community Research and the Enoch/Paragon Board. Allen Benson — a member of the Beaver Lake First Nation, former advisor to the minister of Aboriginal Affairs in New South Wales, Australia, and CEO of Native Counselling Services of Alberta; has pioneered work in rehabilitation and holistic healing services for Aboriginal offenders as well as program development in the areas of housing and homelessness prevention in Alberta. Honourable A. Anne McLellan, P.C. — served Edmonton Centre as a member of parliament for four terms; as deputy prime minister of Canada she served as the first minister of public safety and emergency preparedness and chaired cabinet committees. E. Hunter Harrison — an innovator and leader in the North American railroad industry, he was named North America’s Railroader of the Year in 2002 and has been president and CEO of CN since 2003.

The Playmaker “G

etting this appointment is a neat continuation of the relationship with the U of A,” says new University of Alberta playwright-in-residence Kevin Kerr. That ‘continuation’ he’s talking about is a reference to his attendance earlier this year of a production of his play Unity (1918) at the U of A’s Augustana Faculty, in Camrose, Alberta. “The direction was really great and the cast was remarkable,” Kerr says about that experience. “I was blown away. And the production was really high quality.” Of course, the cast had a pretty good script to work from as well. Unity — a play about the Spanish Flu pandemic that swept through Unity, Saskatchewan, in 1918 — won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama in 2002. Other recent works by the co-founding member of Vancouver’s Electric Company Theatre include The Remittance Man, commissioned and premiered by Kelowna’s Sunshine Theatre; Studies in Motion, which was co-produced by Electric Company Theatre and Theatre at UBC; and the featurelength screen adaptation of The Score for CBC Television. Kerr — who follows Don Hannah as the second playwright to take up the Lee playwright-in-residence post — will occupy the position for two years. The permanent playwright-in-residence program at the U of A is the only one if its kind among Canadian universities and was set up with a $1-million endowment from the now-dissolved Clifford E. Lee Foundation. Kerr’s looking forward to taking up his new post in September when he will divide his time between writing new material and dispensing advice to other playwrights from his office in HUB mall. “This is a tremendous opportunity to complete projects at the same time as challenging myself to refine my process as I push myself in new theatrical terrain,” says Kerr. Being in the environment of the U of A’s Department of Drama will be inspiring and allow me to take part in an exciting dialogue with faculty and students.” SUMMER 2007

new trail


Kendal Harazny receiving the trophy as Student Entrepreneur of the Year (left) and during the Five Days for the Homeless fundraiser, back in the Business Building after a night sleeping outside.

Golden Boy Give and things come to you, says this young business guru


hen he was ready to start his own ticket brokerage in 2003, Kendal Harazny was too young to even have a credit card. Then 17, he convinced his older cousin to purchase tickets on his credit card so Kendal could resell them. Four years later, the born salesman — “I love sales!” he says — now has his own credit cards and a growing business called TicketGold. Harazny, a full-time student in the U of A School of Business, was recently named the 2007 Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship/CIBC Student Entrepreneur of the Year. Harazny won provincial and regional competitions before travelling to Toronto to compete against six other students for the national title. There, he presented the details of his business — “how I started, where the business has gone, the financial details, risks and things I’ve had to overcome”— to a judging panel of 30 business executives. Basically Harazny buys and sells tickets to events, though it’s a lot more complicated than that. If customers aren’t able to secure tickets from a direct seller (such as Ticket Master), they can turn to TicketGold ( and


new trail


Harazny taps into a large inventory — he belongs to a network of thousands of brokers — to find what the customer wants. Selling the tickets at a price higher than face value allows him to cover his fees and make a profit. “The price is set by the market,” he says of the basic supply and demand scenario. The key, then, is finding tickets that are in demand. Harazny spends his energy chasing down the markets that are consistently popular and planning for growth. TicketGold’s sales have doubled each of the past three years. To explain his success, Harazny says, “I work really hard (at least 40 to 50 hours a week), I have a great team (a staff of 16, including one full-time manager), and I keep hitting the right markets. If I’ve learned one thing it’s to focus on what I love, which is sales, and get the other stuff off to accountants and lawyers and whatever is necessary.” But it’s not all business. Harazny is part of many other activities on campus, including one close to his heart — the Five Days for the Homeless initiative. Along with two other students and one professor, Harazny lived outside

(when not in class) for five days last March to bring attention to the plight of the homeless and to raise money for the Youth Emergency Shelter Society (YESS). “We had no food, no shelter, nothing,” he says. “We slept on one little grate in the courtyard by the Education Building and our feet were on top of each other.” It was uncomfortable, sure, but Harazny knows it only approximates what too many people live through. “You realize what they have to go through on a daily basis,” he says, “and we got to come in and go to classes and be warm.” The important thing, he says, is helping others in whatever way he can, and if sleeping outside for a few nights helps, he’ll do it. Five Days for the Homeless secured matching donations from National Bank Financial and the School of Business and raised $24,000 to donate to the YESS. Harazny believes that a big part of business is giving back, and students can do their part. “In my business I sponsor events,” he says. “Not all students can give money but they can do something like this Five Days for the Homeless and raise money.” He says he’s only demonstrating the same giving attitude he’s noticed in some big Alberta companies. A member of a few U of A student business groups that have big fundraising budgets, Harazny says, “We couldn’t do any of it if not for these companies giving to us, sponsoring us, making opportunities possible.” As for his personal opportunities, Harazny sees TicketGold continuing for a few years. He’ll also showcase the company again when he represents Canada at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in Chicago in the fall. After graduation, he will likely continue to be self-employed but isn’t ruling out working for someone else. “If I get a job offer that allows me to have the freedom that I love and use my personality in the business, that could interest me.” — Shelagh Kubish, ’85 BA

Body Check

Nutrition master’s student Meghan Watson demonstrates the Bod Pod.


Nutritional Science, focuses her research on the role of nutrition in diabetes. “We’ve had a study going on with people with Type 2 diabetes where we’ve been interested in tracking during physical activity and diet programs how their body composition changes,” she says. “And we’ve had colleagues in the cancer side of things who are interested in preserving lean mass in people who are battling cancer.” The Bod Pod, says Bell, “really gives us a nice range of types of studies we can do.” The Bod Pod is a good complement to other body composition tools in HNRU’s arsenal that include a Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometer, which is useful but exposes children to radiation and can’t be used on pregnant women, and a Bioelectric Impedance Analysis which can be risky for individuals with pacemakers or other internal electrical medical devices.

esearchers at the U of A have a futuristic-looking tool to help them understand body composition and how it relates to such conditions as obesity, heart disease, cancer, and lifestyle issues. Though it looks positively space age, the Bod Pod uses the simple principle of displacement to determine body mass and composition. The Bod Pod is easy, non-invasive, and quick. Subjects wear skin-tight clothing and step into the chamber of the Bod Pod where they sit back and remain still, feeling a slight change of pressure as the machine measures the amount of air they displace. A technician inputs the displacement data into a computer program that calculates the person’s fatty mass and fat-free mass. It all takes less than 10 minutes. Children, adults, people with limited mobility, and of various sizes — up to 7 feet (2.1 metres) tall and between 50 to 500 pounds (22 to 226 kg) — can all be tested. The only potential side

effect is claustrophobia, and a subject can push a big ‘cancel’ button at any time if necessary. The Bod Pod, purchased by the U of A in late 2006 from a California company, is kept in the Human Nutrition Research Unit (HNRU) in the Agriculture/Forestry Centre, and various researchers in the unit will use the machine. Rhonda Bell, professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and

A L U M N I E D U C AT I O N P R O G R A M S Heads Up for Fall! Tour of Campus Trees July 19, 2007 (morning and afternoon tours) • $5/person

Alberta’s Ukrainian Heritage June 21, 2007 • $45/person (including transportation by motorcoach and lunch)

Join historian Radomir Bilash for a day of discovery exploring Alberta’s Ukrainian heritage. Our trip includes a visit to Mundare where we’ll visit the Basilian Fathers Museum and see the famous 42-foot sausage, and take a special tour of the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, which tells the story of Ukrainian settlement in eastcentral Alberta from 1892 to 1930.

Join tree enthusiast Dr. Paul Woodard, professor of forestry in the Department of Renewable Resources, on a walking tour to view the wonderful variety of campus trees. You’ll never look at trees the same way again!

Eco-gadgets & Green T-shirts: Designing for a Sustainable Future August 16, 2007 • $10/person

Bring your grandchildren (or children) for a morning of fun exploring ways in which you can design Earth-friendly products and promote environmental awareness. In hands-on activities, we’ll develop ideas for creating ecofriendly posters, clothing, vehicles, furniture, tools, appliances, buildings and even cities of the future.

Alumni Book Club — Our Own Voices Come join us next fall as we take another literary journey! Begins October 2007. Navigating the Career Path CO-SPONSORED WITH CAPS

(September 2007) • Career Transitions • Emotional Intelligence and Life Success • Effective Strategies and Tools for Finding Work • What is My EQ? Personal Retirement Planning (November 2007) • Five Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Retired • How Much is Enough?

Registration is required in advance for all programs. Space is limited, so book early! Call 780-492-1835 or toll free 1-800-661-2593. Visit us online at or email SUMMER 2007

new trail


bear country

Putting the Gold in the Green & Gold

Icelevel Action Photography

Rob Galbraith/Little Guy Media

Liz Durden

U of A sports teams celebrate a winning season


he U of A sports teams continued their dominance on the national scene in 2006–07. In a span of three weeks in March, Alberta teams played in four CIS finals, winning national titles in women’s volleyball and women’s hockey and losing heartbreakers in men’s volleyball and women’s basketball. Including the November championship win by the Bears soccer team, the U of A ended up with three national titles for the season. On the individual level, five U of A coaches were named the CIS Coach of the Year in their sports: Carla Somerville, ’98 BPE (Pandas Field Hockey), Len Vickery (Bears Soccer), Liz Jepsen, ’95 BEd (Pandas Soccer), Terry Danyluk, ’91 BPE, ’04 MA (Bears Volleyball), and Scott Edwards, ’97 BEd (Pandas Basketball). Pandas volleyball star Tiffany Dodds and Pandas hockey forward Lindsay McAlpine both won CIS Player of the Year and Tournament MVP status in leading their teams to national wins. McAlpine also won the U of A’s Bakewell Trophy as top female athlete. An education student, McAlpine is a four-time Academic All-Canadian and has overcome numerous injuries and a diagnosis of Addison’s disease to become one of the top student-athletes in Canada. Fourth-year wrestler Anthony Kulak won the Wilson Challenge Trophy as the top male athlete at the U of A. The science student won four gold medals in conference competition and lost only one match in ’06–’07, at the national final, where he settled for a silver medal. Our golden teams hope to repeat or even improve on their winning ways From the top: Hilaire Kamden prepares to kick in the game-winning goal at the CIS championship final in soccer in next season. November; Tiffany Dodds (#6) celebrates a win with her volleyball teammates; the Pandas capped off their dominance of CIS hockey with a championship win in March.


new trail


A Legend of A Man “You will never find a finer man, a kinder man, a man who took greater interest in what you were doing,” said Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel on the occasion of Bob Stollery, ’49 BSc(Eng), passing away in March of this year at the age of 82 after a lengthy bout with cancer. “When you have a children’s hospital named after you,” continued Mandel, “that says it all.” The hospital in question is The Stollery Children’s Hospital built within the University of Alberta complex on 114 Street and spearheaded by Stollery’s individual efforts and personal donations of both money and time. The former CEO of PCL Construction Inc., along with his wife, Shirley, also made many more contributions to the community in which they lived. These include establishing the Stollery Charitable Foundation that provides needed funds to such things as social services and community programs; the Edmonton Community Foundation, which supports charitable agencies and causes; the United Way Chairman’s Award presented annually to the PCL operation that achieves the highest level of participation and has seen employee contributions rise from $27,500 to more than $700,000 in the over 20 years it’s been awarded; and the establishment of the Stollery Executive Development Centre at the University of Alberta School of Business. “It is people like Bob Stollery, futurist and determined, who make a difference in the world,” said U of A President Indira Samarasekera. “As one of the University’s most distinguished alumni, he was an extraordinary man and made an everlasting impression on me for his caring, vibrant and personal approach to all.” As well as being a generous benefactor of the community and the province in which he lived, “he was also a quintessential business leader,” said Ross Grieve, current president and CEO of the PCL family of companies. “All of us at PCL who had the honour of working with him, meeting him, or hearing him speak know how special he was. Bob Stollery was a great leader and builder.” “As far as giving back to our community, it’s a state of mind,” Stollery said about his own philanthropy. “We can make time for anything; it depends on your priorities. A few hours a week is all it takes and the payoff is the great feeling of personal satisfaction when you’ve helped someone else. Sharing is good business, whether it’s with co-workers or those less fortunate.”

 Professor David Schindler has been named chair of the International Research Advisory Council of the newly formed Alberta Water Research Institute. The Institute, which will be operated by Alberta Ingenuity, is a $30-million investment by the Alberta government to implement a water research strategy focused on safe drinking water, efficient water use, and healthy watersheds.  Ivan Steiner, a professor of emergency medicine in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, and Frank Robinson, who teaches animal science in the Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry, and Home Economics, received 3M Teaching Fellowships in Steiner, March. The 3M fellowRobinson ships are presented by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and 3M Canada to reward exceptional contributions to teaching and learning at Canadian universities. The U of A leads the country with 28 recipients of 3M awards.  The Geological Association of Canada handed out its 2007 awards, and two U of A professors in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences were honoured. Robert Creaser, professor and associate chair (research), was named the 2007 Distinguished Fellow by the Association. Creaser is acclaimed for his outstanding contributions to innovative geochronology, many of which have been instrumental in keeping Canada at the forefront of isotope sciences research. Jeremy Richards received the Association’s Hutchison Medal, which is awarded to a young scientist for recent exceptional advances in Canadian earth science research.  Law professor Ron Hopp, ’62 BEd, ’71 LLB, received the 2007 Law Society / Canadian Bar Association Distinguished Service Award for Pro Bono Legal Service. Professor Hopp’s most notable pro bono contribution has been his long-time role as advisor to Student Legal Services. SLS offers free legal assistance to those who otherwise could not afford it.

 Professor emeritus Rudy Wiebe, ’56 BA, ’60 MA, was awarded the $25,000 Charles Taylor Prize, Canada’s richest prize for literary non-fiction, in late February. Wiebe’s book Of This Earth: A Mennonite Boyhood in The Boreal Forest (Alfred A. Knopf Canada), is a memoir of the first 12 years of his life growing up in the Speedwell area of Saskatchewan, north of North Battleford, before his family moved to Alberta.

J.D. Sloan


 Political Science Professor Andy Knight was appointed to the board of governors of the International Development Research Centre. The Centre, created in 1970 to help developing countries apply science and technology to solve social, economic and environmental problems, works with Canadian federal departments. Knight was appointed to a 21-member board that reports to Parliament through the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  The University’s Celebration of Excellence in Research, held in March, honoured four faculty members. The J. Gordin Kaplan Award for Excellence in Research was awarded to cardiologist and professor Paul W. Armstrong and to law professor Lewis N. Klar. Janet A.W. Elliott, professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering and Canadian Research Chair in Inter facial Thermodynamics; and Mark J. Gierl, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and CRC in Educational Measurement, both received the Martha Cook Piper Research Prize, a Armstrong, Klar, Elliott, prize given to a researcher early in his or her career. Gierl In Memoriam Richard Peter, professor, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences (1983–92), and Dean of Science (1992–2002). SUMMER 2007

new trail


A General’s Salute


Ernest Côté, ’38 LLB, continues to keep alive the legacy of a francophone pioneer with the Jean Léon Côté Scholarship

ean Léon Côté was born in Les Éboulement, on the St. Lawrence River east of Quebec City, the same year the country came into being — 1867. The eldest son of seven children, he grew up with close ties to the land so, as an adult, when he heard that the Department of the Interior was hiring young men to conduct land surveys in Canada’s Northwest Territories, he began a campaign in Ottawa to get himself hired on. He got his wish in the spring of 1886 when he was hired as an axeman/chainman for the survey party heading west. Soon after the strapping 185-centimetre-tall Côté — a recent graduate of l’Academie Commerciale at Montmagny, Quebec — climbed aboard the CPR transcontinental train bound for Calgary, he made the acquaintance of the other survey party members, predominantly Scotsmen from Glengarry County, Ontario. It was amongst them that he had his first total English immersion that would eventually see him become known as the francophone who spoke English with a Scottish burr. That summer, Côté and his coterie of Scotsmen surveyed the land along what was then called the Edmonton Trail, mapping out homesteads and townships. Returning to Ottawa in the fall, he studied for and passed the federal government exam to become a Dominion Land Surveyor in 1890. Côté plied his trade in the East for almost a decade, and might have stayed there forever were it not for George Carmack and Skookum Jim Mason staking a


new trail


claim to some mineral rights in the Yukon in 1896, setting in motion the feverish Klondike Gold Rush. Three years after the stampede north had begun, Côté was sent to Dawson City. He arrived to the chaos and anarchy caused by over 40,000 people in the region (Dawson City now has about 2,000 residents) intent on only one thing — finding their own pot of gold. Shortly after arriving in the Yukon, Côté gave up his federal employ and threw his hat in with brothers Richard and Reginald Cautley in a surveying partnership that was to last for several years. But as the gold rush played itself out business dwindled to the point where the partners decided to pick up stakes and move shop to the newly appointed capital of the new province of Alberta — Edmonton. In 1907, Côté returned to his hometown where he married Cécile Gagnon and brought her west to Edmonton where the fluently bilingual surveyor began to parlay his many personal friendships and connections as a surveyor into a political career. Well known in such communities as Athabasca, Lesser Slave Lake, Peace River and Fort McMurray, Côté was elected as a Liberal in the new Grouard riding in 1913 and re-elected by acclamation in 1918 and 1921. During his time in office he also served as minister of mines, railways and telephones, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Alberta Research Council. In 1923, Prime Minister Mackenzie King appointed Côté to the Senate but, sadly, he wasn’t to serve for long as he died of peritonitis the following year at the age of 57. Above: Ernest Côté poses with a picture of himself while serving with the Canadian Armed Forces during the Second World War.

Jean Léon Côté: a pioneering force in Alberta’s francophone community.

A small community in Peace country and a mountain in the Canadian Rockies are named after Côté, whom well-known Alberta archivist Ted Hart described as a man who not only made his mark on the province’s surveying history, but also one who recognized the importance that French language and culture played in the province’s early history. One of Côté’s sons, Ernest, was 11 when his father died. He later went east to earn a Bachelor of Science degree at Laval University and then returned to Edmonton to follow that up with a law degree from the University of Alberta. When war broke out, Ernest Côté enlisted in the army, first in the Royal 22nd Regiment as a platoon commander. In 1943, he was attached to the headquarters of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division where he was promoted to colonel. He participated in the D-Day invasion at Normandy and would later be inducted as a Member in the prestigious Order of the British Empire. After the war, Côté remained in the Canadian Armed Forces, rising to the rank of general at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. Over the next several decades, he served various roles, including 2nd and 1st secretary for the

Department of External Affairs, assistant deputy minister and deputy minister of northern affairs, deputy minister of veterans’ affairs, deputy solicitor general and as Canada’s ambassador to Finland. Although he spent many years living in Ottawa, Ernest Côté never forgot his Alberta roots and his father’s role as a francophone pioneer in Western Canada. In memory of their patriarch, in 1995 the Côté family established the Jean Léon Côté Scholarship at the U of A. Ernest Côté is now 93 years old and continues to support this scholarship awarded annually to students who successfully complete Grade 12 in a francophone high school in Alberta and who enter the first year of a degree program at the U of A, preferably at Campus Saint-Jean. As well as his annual contribution to the scholarship, Ernest Côté has also included in his will a bequest to enhance the scholarship endowment as his way of giving something back to a community that was very supportive of his family. “My family has always believed in supporting young people financially to assist with their studies,” he says. “Students who have a profound understanding of their maternal language will be more competitive in whatever field they choose.” —Michael Robb, ’89 BA

How the Côté Gift Works


Address:______________________________ Ernest Côté created the Jean Léon Côté scholarship with the help of the Student Awards Office and Campus St. Jean (formerly Faculté St Jean). The money that Ernest Côté donates to the scholarship is placed into an endowment fund to suppor t the memorial scholarship in perpetuity. In addition to the periodic gifts to the scholarship, Côté has also advised the Gift Planning office at the University of his intention to fur ther suppor t this

scholarship with a gift from his estate. For many donors this type of arrangement is a terrific fit. They have the satisfaction of seeing how their gift makes a difference today and also have the knowledge that the scholarship will be well funded for the future. We would be pleased to provide you with more information about our Student Awards, the University endowment, or ways to make a planned gift.

____________________________________ Telephone:____________________________ e-mail:_______________________________ Please contact us at: Development Office, Gift Planning 6th Floor, General Ser vices Building Edmonton, Alber ta T6G 2H1 Telephone: (780) 492-0332 Toll Free: 1 (888) 799-9899 e-mail: giving@ualber SUMMER 2007

new trail


by Kim Green



Sizing Up The Future

he world is looking at the University of Alberta right now because of something really, really small that we’re really, really big at — nanotechnology. We have here on campus one of the world’s leading institutions in this hot, new field, the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT). A pooling of financial, intellectual and physical resources between the provincial and federal governments (through the National Research Council of Canada — NRC) as well as the University, NINT has attracted some of the best minds in the world. They have gathered here to do something that has the potential to change the way we do any number of things, from curing diseases and extracting resources, to building machines and generating power. And if you don’t think that’s big news, you’re just not thinking small enough. A nanometre is one billionth of a metre — a human hair is about 70,000 to 80,000 nanometres thick. And what scientists and researchers are trying to do is build things one atom or molecule at a time to construct new nano devices that could be as profoundly worldaltering as the Industrial Revolution was to agrarian culture. It’s a multi-disciplinary, cross-faculty collaboration involving players in a

plethora of fields ranging from physics, engineering and chemistry to medicine, materials science and architecture. In NINT — and in the NanoFab lab at the U of A — they have the tools, resources, and funding to pursue their dreams and possibly create things that could be of enormous financial, environmental, and medical benefit to Alberta, Canada, and the world. We’re talking about such things as possibly finding cures for multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease; computers that take only a breath of energy to make them run and consume next to nothing in their manufacturing; and better and more efficient ways to clean up the toxic stew created by our consumer society and make sure our future impact on the environment is minimized to the point of sustainability. We’re talking about a whole new way of looking at the world because for the first time we have a way of seeing more than we’ve ever seen before and discovering the heretofore hidden physical properties that exist at the atomic level. What we’re not talking about is altering any fundamental laws of nature, which are as immutable today as they were at the dawn of time. Of course, with all emerging technologies where no one is certain of their final

application comes the possibility that there may be unknown adverse side effects that have yet to be fully understood. But this is true of anything new ranging from the internal combustion engine leading to environmental degradation (while also giving us the freedom and mobility we crave) to the splitting of the atom, which led to the atomic bomb (while also providing us with a clean, albeit controversial, source of energy). Moving forward is never without risk or consequence, but nanotechnology is not about creating a mutant cyborg future populated with the menacing self-replicating robots imagined in popular films. It’s about seeing the principles of nature as we’ve never seen them before and possibly applying nature’s own fixed laws to help us do, make, and mend things in a more efficient, environmentally friendly, and efficacious fashion. What follows is a look inside NINT and NanoFab and at just a few of the people who have come to the University of Alberta to participate in, as NINT spokesperson Shannon Jones says, “the sense of excitement around here at the enormous possibilities. You could say there’s a little bit of pixie dust floating about the place.”

Above: A photo of a fruit fly — each hexagon shaped ‘eye’ is about five to ten microns in diameter (a micron is about a thousand times bigger than a nanometre). SUMMER 2007

new trail


The Builders L

et’s begin with the building itself, the 21,000 square metre physical facility known as the National Institute for Nanotechnology where researchers, scientists, academics, students and industry players are gathering to try to exploit the potential of materials that range in size from one to 100 nanometres. Perched on the north side of campus, from the outside it’s an attractive if not remarkable building, a six-storey rectangle with another one-storey square attached to the north wall. But inside it’s a whole new ball game. First of all you can’t get access to any of its floors without signing in with the security guard at the front desk who’ll issue you a pass and then call whomever you’re meeting to come and get you or meet you getting off the elevator. Even the elevator itself is a little different, as architect Donna Clare, ’79 BSc, who was senior project leader for the design of NINT, points out as she runs her hand over the unusual amount of written instructions on the elevator’s wall. “Because it’s a NRC and U of A co-venture,” she says, “all of the signage had to be bilingual, or trilingual if you count the Braille on the buttons.” This new partnership between the federal government, represented by the NRC, and the provincial government, represented by the University of Alberta, also meant that even before construction began some governance issues had to be incorporated into the design of the building. “From the NRC side you have the security protocols associated with all national research facilities,” says Clare. “But at the same time the upper floor for the university students is usually more open. So you have to address both these needs.” NINT is actually owned by the University and leased by the NRC. The Faculty of Engineering also sub-leases two floors. The top two floors are for the University while the fourth floor is called the ‘incubator floor’ and is 16

new trail


Phil Haswell (right) and Hal Amick run some tests on the vibration pads for the NINT building (under construction below). Amick is an engineer with Colin Gordon & Assoc., a Californiabased vibration-testing consultant firm.

described by Phil Haswell, ’75 BSc, ’77 BEd, Engineering’s director of facilities, as a place where “businesses that have an idea which may use nanotechnology are put cheek by jowl with the research being conducted here so they can use the expertise to bring their product to market. The whole fourth floor is dedicated to that with laboratory and office space.” “That’s one of the other things that’s interesting about this building,” says Clare. “It’s interdisciplinary. It’s not designed for chemists or biologists or physicists or mathematicians or medicine. It’s designed to potentially accommodate all of those groups. So

flexibility, both long term and short term, is important to the building. A lot of the design decisions were made around the concept of how do you create a space that’s very flexible while still accommodating the specificity you need for this kind of research. “One of the standard formulas is 80-20 — 80 percent generic and 20 percent specific. That’s kind of the balance you try to achieve.” One of the specific design challenges was the characterization area on the ground floor — the box attached to the side that’s dubbed ‘Canada’s quietest space.’ This is where the atoms and molecules that make up the material under scrutiny in nanotechnology are ‘characterized’ by very powerful and very finicky microscopes that don’t tolerate noise, vibrations, temperature variations or electrical interference. That’s why three different vibration pads were constructed on the site and their different tolerances tested before choosing the right design of the 11 vibration pads that now underlie this area. Clare, originally from Grimshaw, Alberta, and a partner at Cohos Evamy, the firm that designed the building, could not possibly have imagined

The view looking north from the lounge area on the sixth floor of NINT.

working on a building such as this when she graduated from the school of architecture at the University of Toronto in 1987. That’s simply because NINT was, and to some extent still is, unique in the functions that are required of it. “I think one of the biggest challenges was a lot of the kind of science that was going to happen in the building was unknown at the time,” Clare says. “So the team had to try to design a building around those unknowns. The other thing that was a really interesting challenge at the time this building was built is that there weren’t a lot of buildings of this sort up at the time, so a lot of the construction detailing was still in its infancy. It’s not like the client and design team could go visit six similar buildings and see what’s worked where.” She and a team of around a dozen others worked on the design of the building for about three years. During the technical drawings stage the number of people involved climbed to over 30. Part of that design of the building included planning for the future as the budget didn’t allow for everything all at once, so there are plans for a later addition to go along the southeast side of the building. “One of the early challenges for the project team, which also made it unlike anything we’ve ever done before, is that the program, the vision for the building, was bigger than the budget,” says

Clare. “And one of the things that was very important was making sure the building opened as quickly as it could because there’s competition for the scientists who are going to work here. It’s a very hot field.” “When you look at the projected market for nanotechnology products and services, it’s estimated that it could reach $1.5 trillion U.S. by 2015,” says Haswell, whose family emigrated from England in the late ’50s — “we got off a boat in Quebec City” — and who has been at the U of A for 35 years. “But the more I learn about nanotechnology, the less I think I know what it is. We don’t know exactly where the research is going, but we do know it’s going to be challenging. And to do that work you require a facility that gives an order of magnitude of greater environmental characteristics.” What he’s referring to extends beyond the 11 vibration pads under NINT’s characterization area — an area that also has wooden doors and chairs to cut down on electromagnetic interference — it encompasses the entire building, which in some areas has coved floors to cut down on dust, high efficiency particulate air filters in the ceilings, ‘mouse holes’ with seals on both sides so things can be transferred from a less-clean area to a more-clean one, temperature controls that allow for only one degree of variance and hundreds of air changes per hour.

“Unlike a lot of buildings,” says Clare, “this building becomes, to a certain extent, especially in the characterization area, an extension of the tool. We had to design the building to work very closely with the instruments that were going to be used in it. If the building doesn’t do its job, the instruments can’t do their job and the research can’t be undertaken. It’s a much tighter hand-in-glove fit than we were used to. “But the instruments to be used here also weren’t necessarily identified, so not only was the research not identified but the tool set that would be put in this building wasn’t identified either. We were working with potential parameters without knowing exactly if we were going to be able to hit the mark, so that latitude in the design had to be there.” But when all is said and done and all the technology has been accommodated for, this is still a place occupied by people who require a space that also suits their needs. To this end there are some interesting design features, including offices with horizontal windows placed more than two metres above the floor. This little design feature was incorporated so the office occupant could still enjoy the natural lighting from the exterior glass wall while only giants could look into the office and potentially glimpse some sensitive intellectual property on a computer screen or left lying on a desk. Clare and company also took into account that some of the best and brightest in Canada would be working here and created for them a place to gather and share ideas — not just any place, but the best place. The lounge area on the top floor features a small boardroom with a triple glass panel pocket door that slides into the wall to allow more people to hear what’s going on, or it can be closed for privacy. But the best part is the view. Looking north over the river valley that’s just started to bloom after a long winter, the sun is shining, flooding the space with natural light, the river’s sparkling, birds circle lazily overhead in a cerulean sky. It’s like looking towards the future. SUMMER 2007

new trail


The Visionary T

here’s a kind of dreamy ethereality in Robert Wolkow’s voice as he describes things that he can almost see being reality but are just tantalizingly out of reach. He’s talking right now about something that has intrigued him for 10 years, something he’s been working on, made innovations on, learned and reported about, and basically focused a lot of attention on. That something is essentially a single atom and right now, for today at least, it’s the project the University of Alberta physics professor and NINT’s molecular scale devices program leader is most excited about. “You know the way dominoes can be stood on end and tipped over in a long, beautiful chain reaction,” he says. “There’s a theory that you could make electrons do something like that. You would poise electrons kind of like dominoes and with the most gentle of touches at some point cause them to cascade and interact with one another.” His arms swim in the air and come together in a sort of double helix formation. “If you could get these electrons to do that it turns out that you don’t just have some interesting stream of dominoes tipping over, but you could get intersecting lines of such cascades. This could embody a computer: you could make logic functions, you could have different inputs coming together and making a decision, an ‘and’ function or an ‘or’ function — classic logic functions. It could be a new way to make a computer that would use an immeasurably small amount of electricity, virtually waste no power, be extraordinarily compact, and have so many other advantages. “It’s fundamentally different than the usual approach which involves transistors or switches. It’s partly just a thought exercise, but people can see how it would work. And we’ve now learned something that could have much more potential impact than we 18

new trail


ever realized. We’ve learned that these particular atoms in this particular environment can interact with one another in such a manner that they could embody some of these new computational ideas. So we’re hoping we’ve got one of the many ‘ifs’ covered that could actually make this a reality.” How Wolkow and the 20-odd people who work for him learned they might be on track to solving one of these ‘ifs’ was helped in no small part by the scanning tunnelling microscope (STM),

“Here we have a lot of resources put into capturing and getting value for ideas that come from this place.” a device, he says, which is really the key development that created nanotechnology and is unlike any other microscope. Although the majority of the people working in this burgeoning field of nano-research don’t actually work with an STM, it’s the device that allows scientists and researchers to peer inside matter so they can figure out what’s going on. “By using tunnelling scanning microscopy we can see matter on the atomic scale and we can even pick it up and move it,” Wolkow says. “It’s quite remarkable. It’s really the thing that’s made nano-everything possible. I always say we now have new eyes and new hands, and that’s the thing that has provided us with those.” An STM works much like a record player, albeit one that should only be used to play gold-plated records as it costs upwards of a million dollars. Using a very fine needle it moves over

the surface of the object under observation and traces its topography. “You can do that right now with your finger on the things in front of you,” Wolkow says. “And if you could measure out the lateral and the height position of your finger and write it down on a piece of paper you could make a topographic map, a picture. We do that, except our finger, or our probe, is so sharp it has a single atom on the end. Because of that it gets into little nooks and crannies that are the size of atoms, so we resolve the smallest possible things. “You’re able to move this probe around with human-scale controls and you can move it with a precision that’s a hundred times smaller than a chemical bond, a hundredth of an angstrom, which is a thousandth of a nanometre. Very small.” Wolkow mentions an article in the previous day’s newspaper about a group in Calgary that has made a new robotic surgical device that is particularly useful for brain surgery as it allows doctors to work with a control tolerance finer than a human hair, whereas before the best surgeons could only manage about an eighth of an inch. But this new robotic device that allows surgeons a hundred thousand times finer control is still manipulated by human hands. “The scanning tunnelling microscope is kind of like that,” he says. “You have this incredibly fine probe and with human-scale controls we actually manipulate it at the atomic bond length — so it’s a lot more dramatic than what they reported in today’s paper. But,” he laughs, “we’re not doing anything quite so important as saving someone’s life.” Well, that’s not altogether true. Many of the anticipated scientific breakthroughs in the nanotechnology field are likely to have beneficial applications to medical science. Even the innovative nanoscale computer Wolkow

talked about earlier would have enormous ramifications, not only in terms of how much energy could be saved in the manufacturing and powering of these devices, but also in how much knowledge they could help transfer around the world. Nanotechnology devices might also provide cleaner water, help to break down nasty chemicals and other pollutants in landfill sites, or make solar power panels that are infinitely more robust and efficient in transforming the sun’s rays into useable power than anything available today. “We’ve demonstrated for the first time that you could control the switching of electrical current, such as goes on in our computers all the time, with much, much, much less waste,” Wolkow says. “So you could turn on and off an electrical switch without generating a lot of unnecessary heat and just throwing that energy away. It could be a very green kind of technology.

Robert (Bob) Wolkow (and, above, a scanning tunnelling microscope) is more than just liking his work in his cross appointment between the University of Alberta and NINT. “For me,” he says, “it would be hard to imagine a better job.”

“Everything could be done much more efficiently and you could possibly make things that were easier to dispose of when they no longer worked and would simply consume less material in the first place because they’re so darn small and you’re making them out of the best material for their function rather than a random average of a bunch of materials.” Everything, he points out, is made up of averages and depending on your

scale or point of view of something you don’t see the details that make up the average. Wolkow likens it to seeing a group of people standing in a room. From a distance they look like a uniform mass until you get close enough to see that there’s a range of heights, sizes and colours. With nanotechnology if you needed, say, a person of a particular height to achieve a certain function, you don’t have to guess and pick a giant group of people — the average — hoping that one small part of them will have that property you need to get the job done. In the room of people you’d go and tap someone on the shoulder and ask them to perform this task for you; with nanotechnology, you can do the same thing on the atomic level. SUMMER 2007

new trail


“For instance,” Wolkow says, “when we make a silicon-based computer these days, through extraordinary engineering developments we can tailor the properties of matter to make it behave a certain way. But we’re still using average properties.” Adding a new twist to the old adage that form follows function, with nanotechnology it may be possible in the future to pick out just the right combination of elements required to make products that use just the right molecules to get the job done arranged in such a way that you’re getting the most strength from the material and the most desired properties. What you end up with is a machine that’s the ideal form for the function required of it. Wolkow points out that the material properties of everything, from the plastic casing of a tape recorder to the metal in a child’s toy, is made up of a bunch of molecules in a haphazard, random arrangement. “They happen to be of the required properties to make that machine strong enough to do its job,” he says. “But imagine if you could find out that some of the molecules in there are actually arranged just right so that you’re getting the most strength from the material, the most desired properties, the most long lasting product. If you could get those molecules to all line up that way — not in an unnatural way, just skewing the distribution to the way you want it — you could make that same machine out of material more ideally fabricated so that it achieves better properties.” But he’s very deliberate in stating that it’s not about defying nature or making new paradigms and that the old rules in quantum mechanics that define everything we do still have to be obeyed. In fact, Wolkow gets quite animated as he talks about how some people he thinks should know better misunderstand the whole science and misdirect people into thinking that with nanotechnology we are going to be able to fundamentally change the laws of nature and make anything we want. “There’s been a lot of misrepresentations of this kind of stuff by people who 20

new trail


profess to know what it’s about but really are less knowledgeable than lay people, because at least lay people don’t profess to know, but people who think they know but really don’t are teaching the subject. One particular person who’s famous for misguiding people is Eric Drexler [author of Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation]. He’s world famous. He’s tried to say that because we have emerging tools that will allow us to tailor the properties of matter and build things in certain ways that we

“There’s been a lot of misrepresentations of this kind of stuff by people who profess to know what it’s about.” can build anything. That’s not true. We can only build things within the ground rules that nature has established and won’t allow to be changed. “We’re working within the same rules that people have always observed and worked within. It’s just that we can see better, so it’s kind of like studying chemistry and physics all over again. Everything that was learned applies, unless there was some gross mistake made, but you can inspect things ever so much more closely.” And what Wolkow and his team hope is that with the new hands and eyes they’ve been given it’ll be possible to discover new properties in matter. “These won’t be unnatural or things that didn’t occur previously,” he says. “They’ll be subsets of things that were always there but we’ll be able to pick

out those narrower ranges of properties that are perhaps desirable for something or other and be able to get materials to agglomerate or build in that way.” With the assistance of the STM they can now see individual atoms, electrons and molecules and increasingly learn how to juxtapose them in desired patterns. Perhaps even more importantly, they may be able to figure out how to get these structures to create themselves because that, in the end, is the only way they’ll provide any utility beyond their function as an intellectual exercise. You can’t be using a million-dollar microscope to assemble molecules atom by atom — which has been done — because it’s not practical to make the uncountable numbers you’d need to make anything useful, as it would take lifetimes to make these materials. “That’s a major stream of thought in nanoscience,” Wolkow says. “If these things are ever going to be useful, they have to be made up of materials that kind of make themselves, or with a kind of minimum energy, like falling off a cliff — you know you’ll never fall up, you’ll always fall down. And some synthetic or molecular processes or materials processes are like that — you can put the ingredients together and then with just a spark, if you like, or the right starting conditions, they’ll come together to form something. Now they might form 50 different things and it’ll be a mess. But we’re looking to find the right starting conditions so they reliably form just one thing every time. We’re not really telling them what to do so much as setting the stage so that when you say ‘go’ they form what you want to form because that happens to be useful.” And making something of use, contrary to clichéd perceptions of the absent-minded professors who could care less about the utility of their experiments, is very much in the forefront at NINT. “Here we have a lot of resources put into capturing and getting value for ideas that come from this place,” Wolkow says. “There’s a lot of resources put into the business development

These micro-tweezers made in the NanoFab facility are small enough to pick up a single-celled organism, such as a paramecium, and each tooth on the combdrive is about five microns long.

office who also look after patenting issues and trying to make relationships between researchers and their ideas and local or distant companies and to avoid coming up with world-leading ideas that then someone else capitalizes on.” For instance, Wolkow and his team have come up with a way to do things better than has ever been done before with an electron microscope and the idea has been patented and is being pursued by a large electron microscope manufacturer. “We’re hoping that some kind of revenues come from that,” he says, “and hopefully later we’ll have some of those enormous patents that make giant revenues and can run this place forever. “Everyone here has more than just academic kind of interests, they all have some sort of pet gizmo they want to make or popularize or see manufactured. People here really want to make an economic impact, they want to create jobs, they want to modernize the economy. We’ve got this local and perhaps transient richness here in this corner of the world and can we take some small part of that and invest it in new ways of doing things in the future so when there’s no oil money we can still have other industries that take its place? I certainly hope to do that.” Wolkow, who’s originally from Hamilton, Ontario, has been with NINT for a little over three years now, and was the first scientist in the building.

He got his PhD from the University of Toronto before going on to do postdoctoral work for IBM in New York, later working as a staff scientist for Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, and then spending 10 years in Ottawa with the NRC. But when NINT came calling, he jumped at the chance to come here, where he’s now also a physics professor. “Almost all of us here were already established and could kind of do what we wanted to a large degree, even if we hadn’t become affiliated with this place,” says Wolkow. “But the real reason to come here was to do stuff that you could not do yourself. For me, for example, I could never know enough biology to make a sensor of biological molecules that was of any relevance because I wouldn’t know what the heck to sense. And I still haven’t done that, but we’re working toward it. That cross-disciplinary thinking and collaborative work is crucial.” One of the people Wolkow’s currently collaborating with is Mark Salomons, ’04 BSc(Eng). Wolkow describes Salomons, who’s part of his group, as “an incredible engineer who can take abstract design ideas or requirements and transform those into detailed mechanical drawings and then have those fabricated and test them and go around that circle again and again because inevitably we need to improve.” The two, with assistance from many others, just finished building a new STM

that, Wolkow says, “I think redefines the state of the art in this whole area in the world.” Instead of having just one scannable probe it has multiple independent probes. It also has another conventional electron microscope watching these microscopes work so you have a microscope watching a microscope so that you get even smaller scale detail. “They can actually scan each other and be used to define some region of interest on a surface and then, instead of using them in picture-taking mode, they can actually be ever so gently touched down on an object of interest to electrically characterize it, just like getting out your voltmetre to check a battery.” You can see how excited he is about the possibilities represented by this new STM... and how heartbroken he becomes when he’s about to demonstrate this finely machined, space-age device in action and finds out it has broken down before really being put through its paces. It’ll take weeks, perhaps a month to tear it all down again and rebuild it. That’s something they do all the time, but he was hoping to take this one out for a spin before having to work under the hood. “They’re like finely-tuned race cars,” he says, “where you’re always taking apart the engine and putting it back together again.” Although right now he’s depressed at the delay he’s facing in getting data from his newest creation, there’s still no other place he’d want to be and no other job he’d like to have. “For me,” he says, “it would be hard to imagine a better job, a better set up, a better facility — it’s pretty much ideal. It’s a dream job and I often try to say to people, to the local taxpayer who may read this, you have created a world-leading institute here. What we’re doing is respected and noticed and sought out all over the world. In many areas we are truly the best there is at what we do. And I think it’s unprecedented. I think we’re living through a period, and who knows how long it will last, where we have an ideal environment for scientific work. It’s simply phenomenal.” SUMMER 2007

new trail


The Dreamer L

eaning against the wall on the floor in Jillian Buriak’s office in the NINT building is a framed certificate attesting to the fact that the chemistry professor is one of six 2007 winners of the acclaimed Steacie Fellowship Award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council — the U of A’s 10th such winner, placing it second among all universities in Canada. It’s because of this award that Buriak is having lunch on this day with U of A President Indira Samarasekera; it’s also because of this award that she gets to forgo her teaching duties for two years so she can concentrate full time on research. And possibly, just possibly, that research being done by Buriak and her research team — in collaboration with medical doctor Fabrizio Giuliani at the University of Alberta Hospital — could lead to a cure for multiple sclerosis (MS) and other chronic degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. “That’s the dream project,” Buriak says, referring to her research into what exactly is happening to the neurons in MS sufferers and if a cure can be effected by somehow using a combination of nanotechnology and neuroscience to find out how this disease works and maybe find a cure. “With MS it’s like this,” says Buriak. The expert in semiconductor surface chemistry grabs a cable on her laptop computer and compares the plastic outer layer protecting the cable to the myelin sheath, a fatty, protective insulating layer that covers the neurons (electrically stimulated cells) that process and transmit information from the brain and spinal cord. “The outside coating gets frayed,” she continues, “causing a short circuit that leads to chronic degeneration of motor skills and things like that. Why does this come off, what causes the fraying? Is it due to some sort of inflammation, is it due to an autoimmune disorder, is the body attacking it? We 22

new trail


don’t know. So by taking individual neurons and monitoring them we can start to understand what exactly is happening to that myelin sheath and maybe we can prevent that fraying from happening. It’s very fundamental — how does this disease work?” To accomplish her goal Buriak and her team are trying to figure out how to get neurons to grow on silicon chips so that they can quantifiably measure the electrical activities of these cells. By understanding exactly how the cells work and how they respond to different stimuli, Buriak and her colleagues may be able to figure out why the myelin sheath starts to fray in MS sufferers and how that damage could possibly be prevented. To that end they’re attempting to build the nanoscale structures to encourage the neurons to grow in the way they want them to grow so they can isolate the different portions of the neurons and study the neural-protective factors to try to understand the basis of neural-degenerative disease. Giuliani is the expert on MS in western Canada, but he doesn’t know a whole lot about nanotechnology. Likewise, Buriak is one of the acknowledged experts in her field, but doesn’t have any in-depth understanding of MS. Both are learning on the fly. This collaborative cross-discipline exercise is one of the unique things about NINT that keeps coming up time and again. It is a unique experiment in itself — the pooling of intellectual and physical resources to come up with something that is much bigger (although the focus is smaller) than the sum of its parts. This unique collaboration — not only between disciplines and faculties but also between government and academia — was so attractive to Buriak that she turned down an offer to teach at an American Ivy League school to come to Edmonton. Before coming to Edmonton she was teaching at Indiana’s Purdue University when she attended a Gordon Research

Conference (“They’re fantastic,” she says of the conferences. “All the core people — maybe 70 or 80 — in the chemical, biological and physical sciences get together in some small place for five days.”) She was sitting with old friend Dan Wayner, the previous director of NINT, when his cell phone rang. He left the room to answer it. “When he came back he was all excited and said, ‘Do you want to come back to Canada?’ ” Wayner had just got the news that NINT was a go in Edmonton and he left no time in starting to recruit the core group of researchers that would eventually occupy the building on the U of A campus. But Buriak, who grew up in the Toronto region before getting her BA (they actually call it an AB) at Harvard and her PhD from Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, wasn’t thinking of making the move back north at the time. She was, however, actively looking beyond Purdue and eventually received job offers from other universities, including one she accepted — from Princeton, a university that counts 14 Nobel Prize winners among its alumni and 15 more among its faculty and staff. “But,” she says, “when the Princeton thing came through in 2002 I called up Dan because I’d read some more about NINT and the NRC.” She wanted to know if his offer to move back home was still on the table. It was. “We had to make the move quickly so I resigned from my position at Princeton before I even started and came here.” Why? Buriak pauses to collect her thoughts. “This place is a jewel in many ways. It has everything you could want. The NanoFab is fantastic with its micro and nano fabrication equipment that’s virtually unequalled in Canada — that’s the reason NINT came here instead of Montreal, Vancouver or Toronto. We beat out the U of T because of the NanoFab. There’s also the Alberta

Michael Brett

Jillian Buriak turned down an offer to teach at an American Ivy League school for the opportunity to pursue her dream — and to be only hours from the mountains.

Centre for Surface Engineering and Science that has equipment you won’t find anywhere else in North America. I also felt that it was time to come back. The writing was on the wall that the funding situation in the U.S. was going to get very tough. Academics in the U.S. are often willing to speak out against the Bush administration that doesn’t look kindly on dissent. So the funding situation is flat which, taking inflation into account, actually means it’s going down. This was a good time to come here.” Buriak arrived to much fanfare in 2003. “You come here and they make a big fuss over you and you’ve got some big expectations and it’s hard to live up to those,” she says. “So I figured, well, this is the opportunity to try some new things. You’re a full professor. You don’t have to worry about promotion anymore. You’ve got some resources and you have some expectations. So why don’t we start something new while also keeping our core strengths. So what we do is semiconductor surface science — basically silicon — but we work on some other things, technologically important semiconductor materials.

“I was looking enviously at projects that have a medical impact,” Buriak continues, “things you can tell people about and they’d say ‘wow, that’s really neat,’ as opposed to, ‘I don’t get it.’ That was part of the switch, the application, as opposed to the fundamentals we’ve been working on for a long time — which you can’t leave behind because you never know what you’re going to find there and that’s probably where your big discoveries are going to come from.” One of the things they’ve already made and patented before they knew what it would be good for has now been licensed by a British company for a silicon-based drug delivery system that is currently in phase-2 clinical trials. “We never knew it would be useful for that,” says Buriak. “But the whole point is if you’re going to make nanoscale materials, devices, biological structures that you’re going to harness for things, you have to connect them to the outside world. Look at our computers, wireless or not, they’re connected. Everything has to be connected.” That connectivity is both a literal construct in that you can’t use it unless

you can somehow control it, and a more metaphysical concept in that the goal is to make things that are of some use, that have a connection to people’s lives. To that end other research being done by Buriak and her team includes, as you might expect in Alberta, ways of using nanotechnology to improve the efficiency of converting oil sands goop into usable gas in the hope of saving huge amounts of energy and water. “The big thing for me now is photovoltaics — solar cells, solar energy conversion. But we’re also starting to tinker with tarsands. We needed a good problem. So we’re making these catalysts out of nanoparticles in the hope of cracking open the ring structure in the carbons of the raw oilsands material to get more efficiently to the linear carbon structure that you need before you have gasoline. We need a proof of principle application, so why not choose a proof of principle application that is useful to the province.” Speaking of which, how has the mother of two young children — one aged seven and one five — taken to living in her relatively new environment? “I love living in Edmonton,” she says. “The school system is fantastic, there’s lots to do and the mountains are within three hours. I’m very happy here. Sure, it’s a bit gritty in the spring but I’m very happy with this city, I don’t think people know how good it is. Traffic’s becoming hellish, but tell me in what big city it isn’t.” The traffic is less of an issue now since she’s moved out of the Riverbend area into a location much closer to campus and the new LRT line. That move will give her more time to spend with both her families, her real one and the 20 people on her team who do the hands-on lab work that just might possibly lead to that eureka moment. “Basically my job is very managerial now,” she says, “raising money, keeping everybody organized, running meetings.” And thinking the big thoughts? “Yeah,” she laughs, “that’s what you’re paid the big bucks to do.” SUMMER 2007

new trail


The Lightweight Contender T

he working lab that Wayne Hiebert, ’95 BSc, ’98 MSc, ’01 PhD, occupies on the third floor of the NINT building is still more an act of the imagination than a place for advanced research as he waits for all the parts he needs to assemble his mass sensing machine. So it’s fitting that Hiebert is demonstrating how he’s going to attempt to weigh the lightest things ever weighed with the assistance of a plastic ruler extending off the edge of his desk. “I’m going to ask you to picture a diving board that you dive into a swimming pool from, a spring board,” he says. His thumb presses down on one end of the ruler while he flicks the other end with his finger. “When you jump off, the board will flap up and down for a few seconds at about once-per-second, its natural resonant frequency that it oscillates at before it stops moving.” Hiebert explains that if that diving board were shrunk down about a thousand times or so — to something as thin as a human hair and only two millimetres long — and you were able to clamp down on one end of this hair and pluck it like a guitar string, it would similarly have a natural resonant frequency. In this case instead of having a frequency of one hertz (or one-per-second) it would be 10,000 hertz or 10,000 times that of the diving board. “If you take that same factor of shrinking by another factor of a thousand or so you have a diving board that is only a micron or two long and only 100 nanometres by 100 nanometres in cross section. Again its natural resonant frequency will go up by a similar order of 10,000, so if you were able to pluck this thing and get it resonating, get it mechanically vibrating, its frequency is going to be about 100 megahertz — which is the same frequency an FM radio station broadcasts at. But this is a mechanical moving object as opposed to electrons moving down a wire.” 24

new trail


The last device he describes is a state-of-the-art nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS) apparatus used for mass sensing. But Hiebert wants to go far beyond that. “The kind of size of the entity that I want to be able to sense, the scale that I want to work at, is in the zeptogram level and below,” says Hiebert. “That’s about the size of biological molecules, such as individual proteins.” The reason for wanting to do that is to use NEMS devices to do mass spectrometry on single copies of biomolecules. Currently mass spectrometry is done using billions of copies. “So if one can make a sensor sensitive enough to weigh single copies of molecules there’s a potential there to do something very interesting,” he says. It’s that potential that allowed Hiebert, who grew up in Ponoka, Alberta, the opportunity to try to realize his dream of breaking world records in mass sensing here at NINT. After getting his PhD from the U of A, he was doing post-doctoral work at Belgium’s Interuniversity MicroElectronics Center when he heard about this new place for advanced research in nanotechnology that was being planned for Edmonton. “This was in 2002,” he says, “and I thought it was a good time to try to get back to Alberta. It wasn’t obvious that would be easy because in academia people don’t like to see you end up in the same university department you got your degrees from, where your supervisors are from. NINT was a chance to come back to Edmonton but in a different department.” He applied for his position as assistant research officer and was flown back to Canada for an interview with the original director of NINT. Hired in late 2002, he was put on salary, and then sent away for three years, during which time he did what he calls “a glorified second postdoc” at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “There were three junior scientists that they hired, put on salary and then

sent away because we couldn’t do anything here,” Hiebert says. This was in 2003 when there was no NINT building and very little lab space. But the NRC wanted to start building the team for the future. It was slightly controversial at the time because the question was, what’s going to keep them in the fold? The thinking was, well, they’ll be on salary for three years and then they’ll just quit without ever getting to Edmonton and take off for jobs in the U.S. or elsewhere. “That was the fear,” says Hiebert, “but it was three for three who came. “When you looked at where you would go to work as a principal researcher in nanotechnology, this position in NINT was very enticing,” he continues. “You have other pockets of research in Canada that might be enticing, such as McGill or U of T, UBC perhaps. But what gave NINT an advantage is the possibility to be both half-university person and half-NRC person so that you can accrue the benefits of both systems and be exposed to wider research experiences, which make this one of the most attractive places to come of any place in Canada, and competitive with most any place in the U.S.” Those years in California gave Hiebert time to plan things, such as building a mass sensor that might break world records for sensitivity. “The reason,” he says, “that this two micron long or so resonator that I described to you earlier is state of the art is not because we can’t make things smaller, the problem is to get the signal in and out of the device, to be able to pluck it and make it vibrate and, more importantly, and more difficult, is to be able to tell it’s vibrating. So one of the first things I’m doing in the next two or three years here is trying to solve this issue of the fact that you can’t communicate with the smallest devices that we are able to make.” What he’s actually planning to do is to build a sensor of a sensor — one will

Wayne Hiebert’s lab is no longer ‘an act of the imagination’ as he poses with his new STM vacuum chamber that is the centrepiece of his first year or two of experimental work. The STM tip inside the chamber will be the displacement sensor for a NEMS device.

be the resonating sensor — highly sensitive to the least amount of weight change — and the other will be a displacement sensor to pick up the resonant frequency from that ‘diving board.’ That way, he can tell something is there and weigh it accurately. “I’m looking,” he says, “to sense the displacement at super gigahertz frequency, allowing smaller sensor masses, which should allow us to improve the world record mass sensitivity by several orders of magnitude.” The reason he has to build a sensor of a sensor is that the super gigahertz frequency he’s talking about is so fast it would only produce a blur on the sensors currently available. Therefore he has to figure out a way for that second sensor to slow everything down so he can get some accurate data from his machine. If he does manage, in collaboration with others on campus and at NINT,

to build the machine and make it go, what would it be used for? “It’s always hard to tell,” says Hiebert. “The medical application looks most promising at the moment. But at the same time things don’t usually work out the way you think they will. Often, something completely different happens. So I’m just going to try to break this world record, or push it by several orders of magnitude. I’m trying to build this sensor that can weigh single copies of molecules and eventually to have the sensitivity to one proton. Then we can try to get that out into the community and then from there the question is ‘well what can you do with that?’ I hope the answer is ‘a lot of things.’ ” The medical application he’s referring to would be using NEMS devices to do lab-on-a-chip work, almost like the fictional tricorder device on Star Trek. Of course, we’re a long way from

that and others — such as engineering professor Chris Backhouse, ’85 BSc, in collaboration with U of A cancer researcher Linda Pilarski — are actually farther ahead in this field. But the idea is to create a chip-like device that could take something like a blood sample and do mass spectrometry on it so you know its molecular composition. This device would be portable — current mass spectrometers take up a lot of room — and the actual sensor would be a device on the scale of something like one transistor on a chip, which you could make an array of just like you make transistors so you’d have a whole bunch of sensing sites on a chip. As for how exactly you’d go about making this device, well, “right now,” Hiebert says, “what I’m concentrating on is trying to push this world record in mass sensitivity. That’s the first step in showing that this is even possible.” SUMMER 2007

new trail


The Peer-Less Wonder ui “Julie” Qian (pronounced ‘Chan’), ’05 MSc, is one of the few women working in her field, but she almost never entered it in the first place. She arrived from southeast China — near Shanghai — eight years ago to be with her husband who was an engineering student at the University of Alberta. At the time she already had her first master’s degree in engineering and had been working in telecommunications in China. “I came here,” says Qian, “and I said, ‘what should I do?’ I don’t want to go back to school but I don’t want to stay at home. Okay, so have a baby first. And so we had the baby and I said, ‘what should I do?’ Okay, maybe go back to school and make it easier to find a job, right, because at that time, 2000, the telecommunications field went phhhht,” the sibilant noise is accompanied by her hand slanting towards the floor to indicate a nose-dive.



new trail


That decision to return to university led to the U of A’s Department of Physics and to the world of electron microscopes, one of which — the JEOL JEM 2200FS Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) — she now spends her days operating on the ground floor of the NINT building. Well, ‘ground’ would be a bit of a misnomer since the 11 vibration pads under the floor that houses JEOL make it as isolated from the ground as a protective custody prisoner is from the rest of the inmate population. This was done to insulate the area from vibrations that can really upset something like JEOL, the only one of its kind in Canada and one of only four or five in North America. Any vibrations and using an electron microscope is like trying to read a magazine from nine metres away through a telescope while balanced on a rocking chair. And that’s no way to treat a $3-million machine.

The room JEOL lives in also has water-filled cooling panels on the walls and ceiling to maintain a constant temperature. “We don’t want any fluctuation in the air pressure that might cause vibrations and so we control the temperature to make sure the air pressure remains constant,” says Qian. “If it fluctuates one or two degrees, that’s too much.” To make sure the cooling panels are doing their job, there are four sensors in the room constantly monitoring the temperature. Running around the ceiling of the room there’s also something that looks like a paper snake — think anaconda. “That’s our fresh air sock because we don’t want it blowing too much,” Qian explains. Behind JEOL sits a stubby trashcan-like device about a metre-and-a-half high that feeds it 200 kilowatts of acceleration voltage to make it do its thing. What JEOL (and the even more powerful and costly Hitachi HF 3300 TEM next door) does is peer into things at the atomic level. As opposed to a surface electron microscope which does just what the name implies, a transmission electron microscope can also break through the surface to see what’s going on inside. Both machines use electrons instead of optics to see what they want to see. “Our eyes cannot see the nano-sized stuff, right. The scanning electro microscope looks at surface information; this one you can see the surface and also see internal structures, you can see the atomic structure. We are looking at all sorts of micromaterials, like biological samples. You can look at a virus, and oil sand processing catalysts, all kinds of things.” What JEOL can give scientists and researchers a closer look at are the actual positions of atoms within materials as it can isolate particles 10,000 times smaller than a bacterium, which itself is 10,000 times smaller than a

A Transmission Electron Microscope (facing page) and Julie Qian: “Every day is different because every sample is different.”

mosquito. All the samples fed into JEOL have to be sealed in a vacuum because the molecules that make up air would disperse the electrons. And if you’re worried about some mutant virus escaping from the NINT building while under JEOL’s watchful eye, Qian says, “they’re not active. We do a sample preparation that can sometimes take a couple hours itself. We flash freeze them with liquid nitrogen or helium and then rapidly transfer them to a cryo-holder and then into the microscope.” Once the particle to be looked at lies in JEOL’s belly sealed behind what Qian calls “the ‘clam shell’ that also helps to reduce the air pressure, thus controlling the vibrations, it can take a whole day to actually see what you want to see. An image of the sample under observation only fleetingly appears on Qian’s

computer before floating off the edge of the screen while she fiddles with dials to try to get it to behave. “The

“You can look at a virus, and oil sand processing catalysts, all kinds of things.” sample is drifting,” explains Qian. “It takes a long, long time to do an alignment. It’s a complicated machine and could take one hour just for the align-

ment, sometimes it can take up to eight hours to get good data, or even longer if you’re doing a biological sample that you first have to cool.” At this point, Qian is the expert at NINT who knows how to get JEOL to perform its magic. So she runs all the samples for NINT and the student research groups, although she is training someone else on how to operate the machine. “Material science is quite amazing,” she says. “That’s one reason I like this job. Every day is different because every sample is different. Some people say, ‘don’t you find it tedious always operating this microscope, it’s boring, right?’ I say, ‘no, you can see lots of fun stuff. You see some new structure and it’s quite exciting. You see things no one else has seen before. Who else gets to do that?” SUMMER 2007

new trail


The Facilitator I

t’s all very well and good to dream the big dreams and think the deep thoughts about the possibilities inherent in nanotechnology. But if this new technology is ever going to be of any use to anyone, someone has to assemble the devices, the machines, the objects that give utility and add value to the little things with big potential. That’s where Edmonton native Ken Westra, ’85 BSc(Eng), ’89 MEng, comes in. Westra’s the director of NanoFab — a micromachining and nanofabrication facility that he calls “the machine shop of the 21st century.” Located on the ground floor of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Research Facility, it’s here in the clean room behind a waist-high windowed wall where people move about in masks and head to toe “bunny suits” that 98 major pieces of equipment costing over $20 million create the stuff that dreams are made of. “If you want to make something smaller than the diameter of a hair and bigger than about 50 atoms across,” Westra says, “this is the place you’re

going to come to make it. We have 200 active users and we’ve had close to 800 people in the last seven years come through the facility to make things.” You’ve probably heard about some of the novelty items that have come out of NanoFab — the oh-so-miniscule Edmonton Oilers logo that one of

“We train them so they can do what they’re doing, but they don’t necessarily tell us exactly what they’re doing.” Westra’s engineers (Kristy Beinert, ’06 BSc[Eng]) created last year during the team’s improbable playoff run, and the University of Alberta crest that’s only about 40 to 50 atoms wide (the Latin inscription on the crest is so small that

a single letter from it would fit into the period at the end of this sentence 20,000 times). And you might have seen the CBC’s Rick Mercer wearing a bunny suit in the lab during his January visit on campus. But there’s a lot more serious work going on here. Currently16 different faculties on campus, as well as people from other Canadian universities and private industry, use the open-access NanoFab facility. It’s a hands-on experience for all of them as what Westra and his staff do is basically make sure all the equipment is operational and that users are trained properly to operate it in a safe manner. “We also mentor them as they learn how to use the equipment,” Westra says. “But it’s really their job to push this tool set in their specific area to its extremes. The learning curve is shorter for us to show them how to make things instead of us learning enough about 200 fields that they need to push,” Westra says. “We give them the ability to make things and from there it’s up to them to push things to where they want to go.”

Photos above: Bunny-suited staff in the NanoFab facility and the miniature Edmonton Oilers logo created there (in comparison to a human hair).


new trail


Ken Westra in the NanoFab facility. “I would say we’re closer to retail than research in the sense that what we want to do is provide what our user community needs.”

What Westra and his team don’t do is their own research. Instead researchers come to them to get the tools or the device they need to further their study in whatever field they’re working in. Once they get what they need they take it back to their own labs for testing or to create whatever they need based on what they created at NanoFab. And it’s the scientists and researchers themselves who are doing the creating. “A lot of the time we’re not completely sure what they’re up to,” says Westra. “We train them so they can do what they’re doing, but they don’t necessarily tell us exactly what they’re doing and when they do, we often go, ‘oh wow, that’s really quite interesting.’ ” Right now, for instance, there’s a group in mechanical engineering that’s looking at making anti-wetting coatings for spacecraft windows to help water wick off them when they re-enter the atmosphere. They’re going up this sum-

mer in NASA’s ‘vomit comet’ to see if it works. Microfluidics — the lab on a chip stuff — is another big area of investigation. Chris Backhouse, ’85 BSc, from electrical engineering, is collaborating with oncology under the Alberta cancer diagnostic consortium to try to make devices that speed up cancer diagnosis. Other users are making such things as miniscule pressure sensors, gyroscopes the size of a hair, nano-electromechanical systems, ways to improve oil sands upgrading, and advanced chemical analysis technologies. “One of the groups working here is the Canadian Blood Services,” Westra says, because this technology gets you into all sorts of interesting detection techniques that simply didn’t exist before. “With all the tests they have to do with blood these days, it takes a lot out of the pint they collect. So if they can test just a drop or two and find out everything they need, so much the better.”

Nanofabrication is also helping to cut the cost of a lot of tests that previously were not financially viable. In a normal chemical setting you might need five or 10 grams of something that’s a specialized molecule that someone has to make and costs $5,000 a gram. So if you need five grams of it it’s going to cost $25,000. But if you shrink the sample size and the size of the reactant you need to react with it by a factor of 1000, you go from $25,000 to $25. How it all works is that you begin with a computer where you design whatever it is you’re going to make. From there it goes into a $2 million patterning machine that has a laser on it and writes the pattern on what is usually a piece of glass or silicon. It takes about two hours to write a four-inch area. Then you use other machines that employ electron beam lithography or the $500,000 plasma machines — which were used to make the Oilers logo — to etch away the parts you don’t want. “Every machine you see in this entire place does one of four things,” Westra says. “It deposits something, it patterns something, it etches something, or it helps you characterize something. Because you can’t see any of the stuff we make with the naked eye we need to have tools to tell us if it worked or not. “We have a lot of equipment that’s unique in Canada. We’ve also taken equipment that other people have in Canada and then pushed it into areas where no one’s gone before. Some stuff we simply can’t buy, so we build those. That’s sort of where we’re starting to go now because it’s taken us eight years to get from a very small facility in the old Newton Research Building to this facility, which has caught up to the rest of the world in terms of equipment set and skills set.” The whole industry is still very young. It began in the late ’80s to early ’90s as a child of the computer chip or microelectronics industry where it was soon realized that the technology to make computers and video games could SUMMER 2007

new trail


allow you to make things in the nano range. This particular NanoFab facility began life as a spin-off company from the Alberta Microelectronics Centre that went on to become Micralyne while the University part of it became NanoFab, which has now had six spin-off companies of its own come out of the facility. It’s an interesting mixture of industry and science, academia and alchemy — which actually reflects Westra’s background. After his first U of A degree, he went to work in private industry before coming back for his master’s, then working again in industry and a bit in academia, going on to get his PhD in Manitoba, working again in private industry, and finally ending up at NanoFab. “We’re very much driven here by our user community,” Westra says. “I would say we’re closer to retail than research in the sense that what we want to do is provide what our user community needs. If our user community says you’re doing this badly then we better put time and effort into this. Or if they say this is a new direction we feel it’s important for you to go in, we’ll say, ‘okay, we’ll look into it and see if it’s financially and technically feasible.’ “We’re different than a lot of other facilities on campus in the sense that we see ourselves as this pillar in the nanotechnology field driven by this user community so that we’re not spending our time building things that are not going to be of use to our community. We’re focused on what our community wants so we can ensure that they can do the best work they can do.” That best work has put the U of A’s NanoFab facility on the world map in a big way. Anywhere you go you’ll find that people in the field either know about it or have actually been here. And, because it’s the largest such facility at a Canadian university, the people who work here also field a lot of phone calls from across Canada from other people looking for advice on how to build their own facility. One piece of advice Westra is never shy about giving is to always keep the ‘clean’ in ‘clean room’ so that these 30

new trail


All the NanoFab machines have names. This is Doug, a Magnetron Sputtering System used to coat virtually any workpiece with a wide range of materials.

delicate and sensitive — not to mention very expensive — machines can do the jobs they were designed to do. The NanoFab clean room was actually designed as a class 1000 clean room, which means there are only 1000 particles of dirt bigger than a micron per cubic metre of air (a hospital operating theatre might weigh in at 100,000). However, Westra is running the space as a class 10 clean room. “This hallway we’re in is probably up at about 200,000,” Westra says. “Outside or in one of the older buildings on campus it’s about a million. To

keep it at a class 10 beyond these windows is basically good housekeeping protocols and procedures. We have a janitor who spends three hours a day cleaning and everybody, as you can see, is wearing bunny suits inside there. We also pass 74,000 cubic feet of air per minute through the facility.” But when you’re making things you can’t even see with the naked eye, things smaller than the diameter of a human hair, things 10 nanometres in size — “six on good day,” says Westra, “about 10 to 15 atoms big”— then keeping your work space clean just makes good sense.

Kilimanjaro High Summiting becomes a secondary goal for an alumnus as he climbs Africa’s highest peak by Michael Robb, ’89 BA


n day seven of our charity climb of Mount Kilimanjaro for CARE Canada, Paul Benoit headed down off the mountain. Benoit’s spirit was never in doubt. In fact, the exuberant president of the Ottawa Airport Authority was often the first one ready in the morning to hit the trail. But his body, struggling with altitude sickness at just over 4,000 metres — still 1,800 metres from the top — said no. So, at Barafu Camp, the Tusker Trail trip guides decided Benoit’s health must come first and Benoit, who had beaten cancer, would not conquer Kili — not this time, anyway. The other 15 in our group attempting to summit Africa’s highest peak would have to go on without him. That night would prove fitful for many of us. The wind blew ceaselessly. We slept poorly. On our minds was the next day’s ascent to Crater Camp, just

below the summit. It would be an elevation gain of well over 1,000 metres, straight up, in oxygen-thin air. By now, however, after seven days of trekking the Lemosho route up the western and southern flanks of the mountain, we knew we were up to the challenge. Some were doing it more slowly than others, some finding it more of a physical challenge than others, but they were doing it nonetheless. And our spirits were high as we recounted our experiences over a hot meal at the end of each day. We awoke to a bright blue sky the following morning and assembled for the day’s instructions with Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped summit looming impressively over us. Eddie Frank, the charismatic Tusker leader, a veteran of over 30 years of climbing Kilimanjaro, broke some bad news — Marcel Bujold, a

trekker in the companion CARE group trekking one day behind us, had died while being evacuated from the mountain. Suffering from altitude sickness, he had been given oxygen and accompanied by a medically trained guide and four porters for the return to the base of the mountain. But just hours into the evacuation Bujold died. Back in Canada, the tragic event would eventually hit the evening broadcasts and daily newspapers. This was the first time this had happened to a climber on a Tusker-led trip, explained Frank. But Kilimanjaro — we had been forewarned — can be dangerous. Every year the mountain claims five to 15 lives. Most times the cause is altitude sickness, which commonly occurs above 2,400 metres and can progress to high altitude pulmonary

Ascending Kilimanjaro involves trekking across five different ecological zones: forest, heather, moor land, alpine desert and summit terrain.

edema (HAPE) or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). In extreme cases it can be fatal. Medical experts still don’t fully understand what makes some people susceptible to HAPE and HACE and others not. Maddeningly, it doesn’t distinguish between the fit or unfit. While we stood there, each of us trying to come to grips with the news, Frank continued: he didn’t want this tragedy to be the focus of our climb; he wanted us to remember why we were here. Both he and Terry Soucy, our group organizer from Montreal, decided to join the group of Canadians one day behind us to help the group cope with their loss. Therefore, they would not summit with us. With the porters breaking camp and the gravity of the news still weighing heavily on us, our remaining guides, Gaudence Kessy, Simon Minja and Amy Frank, said we must get started. As we began our most ambitious ascent of the trip, we began to catch glimpses of the snowy Rebmann Glacier on our western side. On our eastern side the vast saddle between Kibo and Mawenzi Peaks was dotted with parasitic lava cones. “Pole, pole,” our guides — members of the Chagga people who make their homes on Kili’s slopes — advised in Swahili. In English, it means slowly, slowly. We had heard many times from our African guides and porters, “no hurry in Africa.” It’s good advice on Kili, where each step now had to be taken slowly and deliberately. Set too quick a pace and you would pay dearly. The day was unlike all the others — which had up until that point been filled with wonder, euphoria and spirited camaraderie. Tinged with the sadness of Bujold’s death and the realization that Benoit, Soucy and Frank were no longer with us, we were nevertheless exhilarated by our collective accomplishments as we slowly made our way upwards, knowing that staying hydrated and eating intermittently was critical. (It’s common at high altitudes for your appetite to diminish.) One of our guides relieved a climber of her pack. Two were watched closely 32

new trail


Hiking above the Furtwangler Glacier, a small group of climbers ascend to view the Reusch Crater, ash pit and fumaroles, the source of sulphurous gases on Mount Kilimanjaro.

by another guide and encouraged to set a pace they were comfortable with. By the latter part of the afternoon, several of us were cresting the crater’s rim, at Gillman’s Point, 5,689 metres up. We could see our camp in the crater’s floor a hundred metres below. It was one of the most awesome natural sights we had ever seen, this dormant volcano, capped impressively by four masses of ice: Furtwangler Glacier and three ice fields, the Northern, Southern and Eastern. When we arrived at what would be our camp before the following day’s final ascent, we threw off our daypacks, tried to catch our breath, and wolfed down some food. I, my wife, Kathy, brother-in-law David Brodeur, Sonia Roy, Anne-Marie Rouette and Peter Lindstrom, a Tanzanian naturalist who had joined us for the climb, set out to view the ash pit. As the sun set there was a pungent smell from the sulphurous gases escaping from the

fumaroles in the inner ash pit of the main summit of Kibo. Here we were, a few hundred metres from the “roof of Africa,” overlooking one of the world’s most amazing natural views, and not far away, the Furtwangler Glacier was blue-tinged from the faint light shining on it. Off to the east, Kili’s “kid brother,” Mount Mawenzi, towered over 5,100 metres. That night, the celestial show was glorious, the Milky Way stretching from one side of the crater rim to the other. We awoke to “summit day.” As the sun rose, bathing the last 150 metres of the snowy peak with light, we piled into our mess tents for a quick breakfast. John Manley, the former Canadian deputy prime minister, now a practising lawyer in Ottawa, recounted that the mercury in his tent had dipped to – 11° Celsius. It didn’t take long, however, for the equatorial sun to warm our campsite.

After breakfast, Kessy led the way up, using his ice pick to carve steps out of the steep, snowy slope. In slow and measured steps, our group ascended the final face, stopping frequently to appreciate one of the world’s great vistas. And then, with the clouds below us, we were on top of the roof of Africa with a glorious view in all directions. Once on the rim, it was a short hike to the much-photographed sign on Uhuru Peak, at 5,895 metres (19,340 ft). We hugged and congratulated one another. Our euphoria, however, was tempered by the absence of Benoit, Frank and Soucy at the top and the other CARE group’s tragic loss. We paused to remember Bujold and dedicated the climb to his memory. The flags flew, first the Canadian one, then the CARE banner, then an assortment of sponsor flags and banners. We took the customary photos. While all this was happening, I reflected on the journey: yes, this was the goal, to summit, but for me it had been such an amazing experience that the importance of summiting had diminished somewhat. The journey had been so rich with discovery and we had shared so many wonderful experiences with our fellow climbers. For most of us, the journey had started many months before we ever set foot on Kilimanjaro. As most things worth doing in life do, it started with a challenge: to raise $150,000 for the work being supported by CARE Canada, a non-governmental organization dedicated to helping the poor in developing regions and to providing relief to victims of natural disasters or social conflict. We were 31 climbers from Quebec, Ontario and Alberta divided into two climbing groups. Seeking donations from friends, relatives and colleagues, each of us committed to raising several thousand dollars. In the end, we raised almost $300,000. Benoit was particularly successful and, in addition, also sought support for a local orphanage that we had visited before our climb. With our fundraising efforts behind us, in mid-March we arrived in Moshi,

The group ascends the Barranco Wall, a tough series of switchbacks overlooking a deep chasm inhabited by giant indigenous Senecio kilimanjari.

a Tanzanian city of over 150,000 people nestled at the foot of the mountain. We drove over deeply rutted roads up Kilimanjaro’s western slopes, through pastures, plantations, grasslands and croplands. Tin-roofed, wooden houses dotted the banks of steep gorges, revealing a mountain very much inhabited on its lower slopes. Everywhere, people were intensively working the deep red soil. Irrigated by the water that trickles out of Kilimanjaro’s forests, that soil sustains over a million people living in the shadow of the mountain. To give our bodies the opportunity to acclimatize better, we had chosen the Lemosho route. One of the most remote and longer ways up the mountain, it is travelled by fewer than 10 percent of climbers who attempt the ascent. (Last year, 41,656 people registered to climb the mountain, up from 37,027 the previous year and from the 28,417 who registered in 2004.) As we began our climb the forest floor was carpeted by Impatiens kilimanjaro, a delicate orange-red flower that grows nowhere else in the world. Above us towered O. kilimandscharica, a tree that sometimes grows as high as 30 metres, and Nuxia congesta, a twisted tree laden with moss and lichen. Telltale signs of elephants crossed our trail, and above us, at our first campsite,

the noisy black and white colobus monkeys — known locally as messengers of the gods — crashed through the trees. Above 2,800 metres the heather was characterized by massive stands of Erica arborea. As did many of the other plants we encountered, this shrub looked familiar from our travels above the tree line in the Rockies. There, however, they were low-lying shrubs; here, their close botanical cousins towered over us. It was an assault on the senses, aptly described by one of our trekkers, Georgina Carson, as “the Rockies on steroids.” In the moor land above 3,400 metres the landscape — often enveloped in mist and fog — was exotic, wildly colonized by tree-sized giant lobelias and senecios. Overhead, three different species of swifts soared and an augur buzzard, with its rounded wings and reddish tail, rode the air currents. I was somewhat prepared for Kili’s mountainous wonders, given our extensive hiking experience in the Rockies. What I hadn’t anticipated, however, was how special the people we shared this experience with would be. Far from the centre of planning for the trip, our family in Edmonton had largely corresponded with trip organizers in Ottawa and Montreal by e-mail and had not met most of our fellow trekkers. SUMMER 2007

new trail


Porter Yured Mosha — the “Michael Jackson of Tanzania.”

Barely a few short hours into our trek, Sonia Roy, a mother of three children who lives in the Ottawa region, and Anne-Marie Rouette, a mother of three and cancer survivor from the Montreal area, started singing, establishing the esprit de corps that would be a constant throughout the trip — although we complained that they often seemed to know only the first three lines of the pop songs they sang. Their joie de vivre earned them our affectionate moniker, “the two Barbies.” We joked that they had likely been separated at birth, so instantaneous was their friendship. Despite evening fatigue, when others would crawl into their sleeping bags and get much-needed rest, Manley, with the assistance of CARE worker Anne Larrass, wrote regular dispatches from the mountain to readers of a Globe and Mail blog, highlighting the extraordinary things we saw and the exploits of the group. Often, his dispatches via satellite would include minute details that captured important aspects of the climb or perceptive vignettes that described the character attributes of group members. Every day, Pierre Bernier, a director with a CIBC Wood Gundy Montreal branch, emerged from his tent with a smile on this face and gazed up at the peak. He told us his childhood had 34

new trail


never included camping, yet here he was, climbing the world’s highest freestanding mountain — and sleeping in a tent. Amy Campbell, who underwent surgery to remove a large tumour from her cerebellum, showed remarkable resilience, never wavering in her commitment to reach the top. One step at a time, she willed herself up the mountain. Others in the group, despite sometimes debilitating bouts of diarrhea and vomiting, all rebounded to hike the next day. Minja, our chief senior guide, Kessy, Steven Malya and Eliakim Mashanga filled our heads with their knowledge of the local flora and fauna. Mashanga, an always-jovial extrovert, “adopted” our family, calling me “daddy” and my wife “mom.” Our daughter, Erika, became his adopted “sister.” He joked that he was the black sheep of the family, and explained that his “sister” was white and he was black because, “she was born during the day, and I was born at night.” Kessy, on the other hand, was a quiet, yet confident, man, who, with his wife and two children, lived on an acre of land in the shadow of Kili. In a country where the estimated per capita income in 2005 was about US$350, Kessy and the other Tusker guides make a good living on the mountain. We felt particularly fortunate that Lindstrom, who was born and raised in Africa and spoke fluent Swahili, had joined our climb. He identified local birds: alpine chats, streaky seed eaters, malachite sunbirds and turacos. He knew when the volcanic rocks had been laid down, and he pointed out the flowers, the Phillipia excelsa, the Impatiens papilionacea, the Hypericum lancelot and innumerable proteas. Occasionally he’d explain Swahili conversations among the guides and porters, providing us with a glimpse of Chagga life on the mountain. We learned that at least two Swahili words were essential: jambo (hello) and asante sana (thank you very much). Our porters — some of whom were gifted singers with voices developed in church choirs — would gather outside our tents to sing before the sun had risen. It was our wakeup call. When

our group arrived at Moir Hut on day three, the porters sang and danced, their deep African voices resonating off the cavernous walls that formed a semicircular backdrop for our campsite. And it didn’t take much encouragement for my wife, Roy and Rouette to join in the dancing with their Tanzanian hosts — endearing themselves to the porters and guides for the rest of the trip. One of the most touching moments of the trip happened after a particularly gruelling day of climbing when Eli Turk, a vice-president of the Canadian Electricity Association, entered Crater Camp long after the rest of us had arrived. The porters welcomed him with a song, filling the crater with their harmony. On the final day on the mountain, a Sunday, the songs of the porters took on a decidedly religious tone. While our spirits were nurtured with song and the warmth of our hosts, our health was meticulously monitored. Morning and night, the guides would ask us a series of probing questions. The medical inquisition unfolded like this: On a scale of one to ten, how do you feel? Nine. Headache? No. Diarrhea? No. Last pee? An hour ago. Last poo? This morning. Vomiting? No. Nausea? No. Diamox? Yes, took one this morning. (Diamox helps trekkers acclimatize to altitude; the downside, it makes you urinate frequently.) An oximeter was also applied to a finger to determine oxygen saturation and pulse. If you fell below established oxygen thresholds, you would receive oxygen. If it dropped too low, your trip would be finished. Using a stethoscope, the guides checked our lungs every morning for any fluid build-up. Tusker guides also monitored the health of porters. As one of the most professional companies guiding on the mountain, Tusker follows guidelines recommended by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project, an advocacy

Back row, from left to right, Peter Lindstrom, Georgina Carson, Michael Robb, David Brodeur, Pierre Bernier, John Manley, Eli Turk, Roy Wheeler and Anne Larrass; Front row, left to right, Amy Frank, Lorraine England, Kathy Brodeur-Robb, Erika Robb, Anne-Marie Rouette, Sonia Roy and Amy Campbell.

group for porters’ working conditions. On several occasions we encountered porters from other groups, some wearing footwear unfit for the conditions — sandals, flip-flops, shredded, treadbare runners. (In 2002, three poorly equipped porters, lacking proper gear, died of hypothermia on Kilimanjaro.) We spoke to other climbers who were ascending quickly up the mountain, attempting to do the climb more rapidly than in the measured way we had chosen, which allowed for our bodies to acclimatize to altitude. The members of one group we met, for example, were suffering excruciating headaches. The success rates for summiting generally exceed 90 percent for the longer routes and hover around 50 percent for the shorter routes. We agreed that the extra fees we paid for the longer route, and for the higher level of professionalism, were worth the cost.

As we descended from Uhuru Peak, sometimes “scree skiing” short volcanic scree slopes, our pace quickened. As much as we had enjoyed our climb, our minds increasingly focused on cold beer, hot showers, and clean clothing. We spent our final night on the mountain in Millenium Camp, still relatively high at about 4,000 metres. In the morning, following the particularly joyful songs performed by the choir, the porters and guides shook our hands and wished us well. “Asante sana,” we responded. We packed our day packs, the porters packed up the camp, and we continued our descent through the rain forests of Tanzania, sometimes encountering massive trails of ants and noisy colobus monkeys crashing through the canopy. At the trailhead, we were harassed by hawkers selling cheap memorabilia before we boarded a vehicle back to Moshi.

For an hour we drove past the bustle of Tanzanian life: the ubiquitous goats and cattle grazing by the roadside, children in small groups smiling and waving at us as we passed, cyclists peddling precariously with wood piled high on their carriers, labourers hacking away at roadside grasses with machetes. No one said much, each one of us reflecting quietly on the last nine days. Clean, refreshed, a few beers quaffed, we shared a last meal together at the Keys Hotel in Moshi. Each of us presented another climber with a certificate certifying that the climber had climbed Africa’s highest peak. And we all accepted Eddie and Amy Frank’s congratulations for fulfilling what for many of us was a life’s ambition. For me, it had been a surprise birthday gift from my wife, to celebrate a significant milestone. For all of us, it had been an extraordinary experience. SUMMER 2007

new trail


quaecumque vera

The Smelting Pot


Colin Cooke slicing a lake-sediment core into pieces. Each slice holds environmental clues to life at the time the sediment was deposited.

ncient metal pollution trapped in mud at the bottom of a Peruvian lake has revealed that the Andean people were smelting copper as far back as 1000 years ago. Colin Cooke, ’04 BA, a University of Alberta Earth and Atmospheric Sciences PhD candidate, was able to determine the amount and type of metal pollution deposited in the lake by retrieving and analyzing a one-metre lake-sediment core. “We found the Andean people switched from smelting copper to silver around 1450 A.D., about the same time the Incas moved into the area,” says Cooke. Cooke and his research team believe the switch to silver was made so the Andean people could pay the heavy taxes the Incas demanded in the form of silver objects. The research also revealed that atmospheric pollution increased 10fold when the Spanish arrived about 80 years later. He attributes that to a dramatic increase in production of silver once the Spanish came on the scene. Although it was known the Incas used silver extensively, this is the first time evidence of local smelting has been found. The research was published in the most recent issue of Environmental Science and Technology.

The Lizard King “T

his is a first,” says U of A paleontology professor Michael Caldwell, ’81 BPE, ’91 BSc, about the lizard fossil (Adriosaurus microbrachis) he and a colleague found in the Natural History Museum in Trieste, Italy, in 1996. It had been there for almost 100 years following its discovery in a limestone quarry in Slovenia. What’s unique about this 95-yearold marine creature is that it still has vestigial limbs, which offer clues as to the evolutionary origin of snakes. Many still believe that snakes first appeared on land and some fossil 36

new trail


records support this theory. But this 25-to-30 centimetre-long creature with an elongated neck and relatively large rear limbs is the first example of limb loss in an aquatic lizard. “This was unsuspected,” says Caldwell, “and adds to the picture we have of what was going on 100 million years ago. Although it’s been clear for centuries that snakes are

Cooke, the first author on the paper, believes there hasn’t been any evidence of smelting until now because archaeologists typically deduce matters based on finding artifacts rather than turning to environmental clues. As pre-colonial smelters were likely made of clay, they are poorly preserved in the archaeological record, so Cooke and his team looked for the environmental legacy of smelting. Other research team members include Mark Abbott of the University of Pittsburgh, Alexander Wolfe of the U of A, and John Kittleson from Pennsylvania State. Abbott and Wolfe had previously found evidence of preInca silver smelting in the Bolivian Andes in the pre-Inca period and published their findings in Science in 2003. The research team now plans to do a bigger survey to investigate how the smelting technology was spread throughout what was then the New World. Based on Spanish documents that indicate where colonial mining took place in the Andes from 1533 onwards, the team has identified and will study a series of sites from Ecuador to Bolivia in the hope of reconstructing the evolution of metallurgy in the New World. — Michel Proulx tetrapods [four-legged vertebrates] that lost their limbs, the process and pattern of how this occurred has remained a mystery for a long time. And until now all the examples we had were terrestrial while this lizard is aquatic. So this guy is pretty special.” Caldwell and Italian paleontologist Alessandro Palci published their findings in the March issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. And although Caldwell says their lizard does not constitute a missing link in the evolutionary scheme of things, “it is the first fossil record of vestigial limbs in lizards and helps scientists better understand the aquatic process of limb loss.”

The Bear Facts I

t’ll put hair on your chest is an old expression that gets new meaning when that hair is covering 200 kilograms of female grizzly bear. And the ‘it’ that’s putting that hair there is practically anything that bear living in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in west-central Alberta can cram down its throat. “Grizzly bears have remarkably diverse diets,” says University of Alberta biologist Mark Boyce, whose multiyear study of the eating habits of foothill-dwelling grizzly bears was recently released in the Journal of Mammalogy. Boyce and his co-authors of the study tracked grizzly bears for over three years and collected 665 scat samples from 18 bears for analysis so they could determine just what the animals were dining out on. That menu included a smorgasbord of everything from bugs, birds and berries to roots, leaves and freshly killed moose, deer and elk calves. This varied diet, particularly its protein component, allows the foothill-dwelling grizzlies to weigh as much as 100 kilograms more than their mountain residing cousins who are primarily herbivores. That’s the good news for these lowland dwellers whose varied diet makes them more adaptable to climate and landscape changes. But there is a downside to the foothill bears having easier access to such a variety of food sources. The ditches along bush roads used for logging and oil explo-

Face Facts “A

person’s culture plays a very strong role in determining how they will perceive emotions and needs to be considered when interpreting facial expression,” says University of Alberta psychology professor Takahiko Masuda. In a study, whose findings were published in the March edition of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Masuda and his co-authors set out to test the hypothesis that individuals in cultures where emotional control is the norm (such as Japan) would focus more strongly on the eyes than the mouth when interpreting

Mark Boyce studied the eating habits of grizzly bears like this bear and cub feeding on roadside vegetation.

ration that cut through their territory are often seeded with rapidly-growing clover or alfalfa to stabilize the soil — two plants the bears love to munch on. But that dietary proclivity puts them near the roads where they are at risk from poachers or being hit by vehicles. “We’ve been studying where grizzly mortalities occur and are finding that 90 per cent of mortalities occur within 500 metres of a road,” says Boyce.

others’ emotions and that people in cultures where overt emotional expression is the norm (such as the U.S.) would tend to interpret emotions based on the position of the mouth. Over 100 American students at Ohio State University and 95 Japanese students at Hokkaido University participated in the two-part study that asked participants to rate the perceived levels of happiness or sadness expressed in different computer emoticons and in computer-altered photographs of real people. The emoticons are interesting in that even with these common e-mail add ons North Americans use the mouth to denote emotion :) or :(

while the Japanese tend to use the eyes ^_^ or ;_; When asked to rate the perceived levels of happiness or sadness expressed in the emoticons and the real faces, the researchers found that the Japanese looked to the eyes for their clues while the Americans concentrated on the mouths. “We think it’s quite interesting and appropriate that a culture that tends to masks its emotions, such as Japan, would focus on a person’s eyes when determining emotion, as eyes tend to be quite subtle,” says Masuda. “In the United States, where overt emotion is quite common, it makes sense to focus on the mouth, which is the most expressive feature on a person’s face.” The research is the first of its kind to demonstrate that people from different cultures tend to weigh facial cues differently when interpreting emotional expressions. SUMMER 2007

new trail


The Power of One A U of A science grad computes a new way of helping Mumbai’s street children

Tania, Vinod, and Tania's parents, Marilyn and George, celebrate the wedding of the young man who led Tania to start One!


deeper connection with the people in Mumbai, “and it was great,” she says. “Vinod was so excited that someone wanted to take the time to see his life.” Vinod took her to their home but that day one of his brothers had been run over by a truck and had a broken leg, and another woman in the area took the kids to the hospital, so that’s where Tania met them. After she saw the kids, she sprung into action and ended up giving them a lot more than the milk powder Vinod had asked her for. She ensured that the boy got proper care for his broken leg and got the younger children into an orphanage she found through a Canadian friend who was volunteering with an organization setting up orphanages in India. She finished her exchange and returned to the U of A to complete her computing science degree, but wanted to do something to help the children she’d met in Mumbai, and others like them. In 2001 she formed an organization called One! International. Knowing that the key to a better future is education, she opened a school in a Mumbai slum — their first classroom was a mat

he didn’t plan to save any lives when she went to Mumbai in 1999 to work for a computing company on an AIESEC student exchange. That all changed when Tania Spilchen, ’01 BSc, met Vinod. Vinod was a beggar child Spilchen and the other exchange students met on trips downtown. “He would tell us about Mumbai,” she says of the then-15-yearold boy. “We would buy him dinner sometimes but he never begged from us. It was like he knew not to beg from us.” But one day Vinod asked Spilchen to buy some milk powder for his three younger siblings — ages six, eight, and 10 at the time. They lived alone in one of Mumbai’s large slums. Their mother had died and their father had disappeared. “It was strange,” she says of Vinod’s request. “I said, ‘I won’t buy you milk powder, but take me to your brother and sisters and I’ll see what they need and help them if I can.’” So Vinod led Spilchen to the kids who stole her heart and who changed the direction of her life. Meeting Vinod’s siblings was Spilchen’s first opportunity to make a


new trail


on the side of a road — and started teaching eight children for two hours a day. Lessons included how to hold a pencil, and the basic Hindi alphabet. But the lessons were only part of a holistic approach to getting the kids away from begging on the street and out of poverty. “The main focus is education to draw the families in,” she says. “Once the kids come every day to school, they have access to food. We provide lunch every day and access to any medical care they need, the kids and the parents.” From those eight students One! has grown to helping more than 100 children in a school located in an apartment in Mumbai’s Khar Dhanda slum. They are now starting a new school in a Mumbai suburb. “Our education isn’t only the basics — Hindi, math and science,” says Tania. “We also have exercise, art, dance, music, woodworking, sewing, and cooking.” One of the older children recently went through driver training and got his license, which “instantly bumps him up to the next bracket in terms of wage earning,” Tania says.

Terms of Indira Highlights from speeches made by University of Alber ta president Indira Samarasekera in her ongoing engagement with the University and the community it ser ves. Report to the Community — Edmonton, April 2007 “One hundred years ago, Henr y Marshall Tor y stood in a muddy field on the edge of a broad, fast-flowing river under the big blue skies of a brand new province and predicted: ‘Great things are about to happen.’ Now they are happening ever y day at the University of Alber ta, in Edmonton, and in Alber ta. “That buzz you feel is knowledge energy at work, vibrating all around us, informing, inspiring and empowering us as we per form our various roles and responsibilities.” Tania sits with 11-year-old Sonu, a student at the Mumbai school. Through education, One! helps one child at a time get out of poverty.

Spilchen works with other groups in Mumbai to arrange health care for the children, hires Indian teachers and counsellors for the school, coordinates visiting volunteers, and raises money to deliver the program. One! has received funding from private donors, from two charitable organizations in the U.S., and from fundraising events held in Edmonton. Spilchen returns to Edmonton twice a year to help with the fundraising and to see her parents. Her mother, Marilyn Spilchen (Humphrey), ’70 BA, is Canadian coordinator for One!, taking care of marketing, administration, and fundraising events. Her father, George Spilchen, ’70 BCom, supports and encourages Tania and has helped with woodworking lessons at the school. When Vinod, who worked at the school for about four years, got married in November 2006, George and Marilyn Spilchen came to the wedding as “grandparents.” As for her future, Tania knows only that it’s connected to the future of One! “I don’t pinpoint my own future. I just go with it and see where it will lead me, one step at a time.” — Shelagh Kubish, ’85 BA

Alberta Business Family Institute — “An evening with the Asper family” — Edmonton, May 2007 “While credit hours and degrees are impor tant, a greater emphasis must be placed on development of an individual’s inner intellectual life and cultivation of an openness of mind. We must foster moral development and an appreciation of truth and beauty; engender knowledge of great traditions and other cultures; inculcate critical thinking, healthy skepticism, and analytical skills, respect for others and a desire to improve the quality of life for humanity.”

Quaecumque Vera Honour Society luncheon — U of A Faculty Club — May 2007 “As I’ve often said before, a great university is not an island, nor an ivor y tower. Instead, it is a meeting place of ideas and of people who share a common desire to improve society through the discover y of new knowledge, the exploration of unusual and innovative ideas, the passing on of exper tise and skills, and the development of practical and effective solutions to the ver y real problems facing us.”

U of A Convocation — November 2006 “Our graduates have built and led global companies in engineering, construction, energy, software and steel. Our alumni have ser ved the public at the highest levels as Governor General, Prime Minister, Premier, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Cour t of Canada. The men and women of the University of Alberta have contributed to the cultural and artistic traditions adding lustre to the national landscape through feature films such as Bye Bye Blues, through CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, and through the Discover y Channel’s Daily Planet, leaving their imprint on our national consciousness. In science there is a spectacular array of discoveries and inventions — the world’s first drug treatment for Hepatitis B, the technology for extracting bitumen and oil from the oil sands, the treatment for Type I Diabetes, and the discovery of quarks which led to a Nobel Prize —- these are a few of the many breakthroughs by alumni.”


new trail


One point five — that’s the average number of degrees each of the nine siblings in the LeFebvre family has ever, ever, in the LeFebvre family did anyone presume that education ended when a child graduated from high school. It was just assumed, says Hélène, the baby of the family, that all the children would go on to attend university. And since the family’s roots were firmly planted in northern Alberta’s francophone soil, and the U of A has a French faculty — Campus Saint-Jean — the university-of-choice was the University of Alberta. First there was Ernest, who earned his BEd in 1968, BCom in 1981 and MEd in 1988; then Adrienne earned her BEd in 1969; Bernadette got her BA in 1970 and her BLS in 1974; Sylvain received his BSc in Chemistry in 1973; Constance obtained her BEd in 1974 and her MEd in 1998; Denise earned her BEd in 1975; Julie completed her BEd in 1979; Juliette finished her BSc in 1979 and after-degree BEd in 1988; and, finally, Hélène convocated with her BSc in Mechanical Engineering in 1987. Fourteen U of A degrees divided by nine children. Reflecting on her family’s educational legacy, Hélène says her mother, Rollande, and father, Sylvain, created an environment within the family that encouraged sharing knowledge. “It was a basic instinct. My dad [a teacher] believed that education was Rollande LeFebvre: a woman who left a formidable educational legacy through her nine children, was born in 1924, grew up on a farm near Legal, Alberta, and never finished high school.


new trail

everything, and both parents always encouraged us to think about, ‘How are you going to give something back to the world?’ ” When Rollande and Sylvain married in 1946, they settled in Edmonton, where their first three children were born. Then, the North beckoned, and the family moved to McLennan in the Peace Country where three more children were born. Sylvain, meanwhile, taught in a one-room school, while Rollande home-schooled the three oldest children. Then, the family picked up and moved to the St. Paul area where Sylvain assumed the superintendent’s position in the Catholic School Board. The last three children were born in St. Paul. Eventually, the family moved to Fort McMurray where Sylvain was also the superintendent of schools. In 1970, however, Sylvain was admitted to the Royal Alexandra Hospital, suffering complications from diabetes. They were trying times, Hélène recalls. And in 1972, on a mid-winter’s February day, the patriarch of the family died. What was Rollande to do now? With three children still living at home and three attending the U of A, Rollande didn’t take long to decide to buy a house in Edmonton, on 112 Street, south of the University. Once in the new house, Hélène said to her children: “I’ll provide room and board.” Bernadette, Sylvain and Denise continued to study at the U of A. Two others attended secondary school, and Hélène attended elementary school. “My mom ran the house on very little money, which included a small Alberta Teachers’ Association pension and a Canada Pension Plan widow’s benefit,” explains Hélène.

“Everyone finished school and everyone finished university, usually beginning their studies at Faculté Saint-Jean [now Campus Saint-Jean] and then transferring to the main campus. It worked on love and faith.” While the majority of the siblings followed in their father’s footsteps and graduated with education degrees, Hélène broke the mould, earning a mechanical engineering degree, while also helping out with the cost of tuition and books by working summers and receiving bursaries. And for 20 years now she’s worked as a mechanical engineer in the oil and gas industry. “It’s been an awesome career, with a lot of rewards and the ability to change things within a dynamic industry,” says Hélène, who now works for Petro-Canada in Calgary and, along with her husband, Eric Hughes, is raising three children: Christine, 14, Sylvain, 12, and Martin, 9. Last Mother’s Day, Hélène was reflecting — as she does occasionally — on the extraordinary impact her mother,

“My dad believed that education was everything.” who died in 2001, had on her and her siblings’ lives. Happy and prosperous, Hélène and Eric often discussed how they were now capable of doing something to recognize her mother and finally decided to do just that. “Every year for the last few years we talked about it,” she says, “so I finally sent an e-mail to the University.” Hélène was told just how easy it would be to set up a bursary in her mother’s name and took the steps to do that. This year they established The Rollande Rose LeFebvre Bursary, an annual award of $500 designated for a Bachelor of Education student. “It was purposeful,” says Hélène. “It’s meant to help people.” Petro-Canada also contributed $1,000 to augment the endowment for the bursary, which is awarded to an Alberta resident with satisfactory academic standing enrolled in an undergraduate degree program in the Faculty of Education. The recipient is selected on the basis of demonstrated financial need. Meantime, five of Rollande’s 23 grandchildren have also obtained degrees from the U of A, and another three are currently pursuing degrees on campus, continuing an enduring educational legacy and a lasting remembrance of a woman who never wavered in her commitment to her children’s educational aspirations. “I’m trying hard to convince some of the grandchildren that engineering would be a great field in which to pursue a career,” adds Hélène with a smile. — Michael Robb, ’89 BA SUMMER 2007

new trail


Outstanding Students Alumni Association Scholarship Winners ach year, the Alumni Association awards scholarships to outstanding students who are active members of campus clubs, community organizations, and student government. New Trail spoke with this year’s recipients.


Tara Tancred, Science Reginald Charles Lister Memorial Scholarship Majoring in immunology, Tara has her sights set on a career in medicine, where she hopes to help curb what she sees as an alarming trend to unhealthy lifestyles. As if university studies and a part-time job aren’t enough, “I’m an avid volunteer,” she says. Tara is the chairperson of the U of A Undergraduate Immunology and Infection Students’ Association and volunteers with Campus Amnesty International, Oxfam International, the Alberta Heart and Stroke Foundation, and University orientation. This summer Tara is volunteering at a children’s hospital in Nepal with the group Volunteer Abroad and then will travel to Tibet, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. “I’ll probably be hooked on international travel after this,” she says.

Laura Lammers, Pharmacy Reginald Charles Lister Memorial Scholarship A competitive dancer until grade 12, Laura is part of the Orchesis modern dance group on campus. “I’ve been a dancer since the age of four and am very passionate about it,” she says. Professionally, Laura is passionate about pharmacists playing a bigger role in health care. In April, the Alberta government granted prescribing rights to pharmacists, and Laura says, “I am glad that when I graduate I’ll be able to work in a province that is leading the country in the advancement of pharmacy practice.” Laura is chair of Professional Development Week 2008, which will bring 800 pharmacy students from across Canada to the U of A in January. 42

new trail


Sheena Aperocho, Arts Alumni 75th Anniversary Scholarship Sheena used her scholarship money to fund a volunteer trip this summer to South Africa with the Students Working Abroad Program. At the time we spoke to her, she wasn’t sure what tasks she’d be doing there but was looking forward to learning more about the country. Sheena is a member of the U of A Students’ Union’s Student Life Advisory Committee. She is also very involved in the Delta Gamma fraternity. “Our motto is ‘Do Good,’” she explains, “and our focus is service for sight, so we do a lot for the CNIB.” She is the fraternity’s vice-president of member education, providing general education opportunities to the fraternity members on such topics as health and wellness and leadership.

Guillaume Laroche, Fine Arts Meloche Monnex Leadership Scholarship Guillaume is completely bilingual (French and English) and, as part of the U of A’s Debate Society, has debated in both our official languages at tournaments across the country. He says debate is one way to “develop the ability to critically evaluate aspects of the world.” In his academic life, he studies musical theory and composition and pursues the same goal of promoting critical analysis. His many campus activities include being chief tribune of the Students’ Union Discipline, Interpretation and Enforcement Board (the judiciary of the SU). Guillaume’s long-term goal is to work on the legal ramifications of accusations of musical plagiarism. But he might be sidetracked into education. As well as coaching other debaters, he has taught piano for years and loves teaching.

Shan Lu, Science Maimie S. Simpson Memorial Scholarship Neuroscience major Shan Lu plans to study medicine, focusing on neurology. “Everything we do is determined by how our brain is wired,” she says. “Neurology is a fantastic field to go into.” Beyond her fascination with the brain, her primary motivation for being a doctor is so she can “make a positive difference in people’s lives and participate in research to improve treatment of diseases.” Shan believes that people should try to continually improve themselves spiritually, physically, and intellectually and work to improve their society. She is part of the HUB Residence Association, the Baptist Student Ministry, and the U of A Tai Chi Club, and she tutors U of A students who have developmental disabilities.

Jessica Breton, Medicine Alumni Council Millennium Scholarship As a national officer, Jessica represents Canadian medical exchange students at the International Federation of Medical Students Association. She hasn’t gone on an exchange herself yet but has seen the benefits of the program. “Things aren’t the same everywhere,” she says, “and the students see that. A lot of people here in Canada take medical care for granted.” Jessica is the student leader of the Medical Students for Choice at the U of A, which hosts events related to the topic of reproductive choice. “I plan on completing my residency in family medicine with additional training in gynecology and women’s health,” she explains. “I hope to work in a clinic focused on holistic patient-centred health care.”

Shipra Seth, ’06 BEd, Graduate Studies, Education Alumni Advantage Scholarship–Graduate As youth director of the Hindu Society of Alberta, Shipra organizes fundraisers and religious and community events for Hindu Society members. Recently she organized an organ donation awareness event as well as a walk-a-thon to promote healthy living and help raise funds for schools in India and Canada. On campus, Shipra has volunteered with the Education Students’ Association and the U of A Sexual Assault Centre. As well, she is the graduate student representative for the University of Alberta Health Sciences Journal. She intends to focus her graduate research in education on the perspectives of minority teachers and why there are so few minority teachers.

Rhett Taylor, ’03 BSc(Eng), Medicine and Dentistry Alumni Advantage Scholarship– Undergraduate Rhett Taylor will soon take a break from his medical studies to spend one year in Peru and South Africa helping with medical care. When he becomes a practising physician he intends to focus on international mission work, and is currently involved in several community activities. He is past-director of the SHINE inner-city youth clinic, based out of the Boyle-McCauley Health Centre (BMHC), and is on the board of directors of the BMHC. He is also a youth group leader at his church. Rhett believes that we all share a responsibility to give to those who are less fortunate, “whether it be a gift of money, time, or muscle.” Note: Brynn MacDonald of the Faculty of Arts received a Reginald Charles Lister Memorial Scholarship, but was unavailable for this story.

Alumni Association Scholarships Alumni Council Millennium Scholarship ($2,500) This scholarship is financed by individual contributions made by current Alumni Council members. Alumni Advantage Scholarship ($2,500) The Alumni Association supports these awards, which were created in 1999 for the children and grandchildren of U of A alumni. One is awarded to a graduate student, and one to an undergraduate.

Reginald Charles Lister Memorial Scholarship ($2,500) The Alumni Association endows this award, established in honour of Reginald Lister for his dedication as superintendent of student residences. Maimie S. Simpson Memorial Scholarship ($2,000) Endowed by the Alumni Association, this award recognizes Maimie S. Simpson for her long service as the University’s Dean of Women.

Meloche Monnex Leadership Scholarship ($1,000) Offered for the first time this year, this award is open to alumni of the U of A or children or grandchildren of U of A alumni. It is financed by our affinity partner TD Meloche Monnex, which provides U of A alumni group rates on auto, home, travel, and small business insurance. Alumni 75th Anniversary Scholarship ($3,000) Endowed by the Alumni Association, this scholarship was established in 1983 to celebrate the University’s 75th birthday.


new trail


The logical solution ESPECIALLY for members of the University of Alberta Alumni Association. With TD Meloche Monnex, Canada’s leader in group home and auto† insurance, it all adds up to exceptional value. We offer home and auto insurance EXCLUSIVELY to members of professional and alumni associations like you. You receive high-quality insurance products at preferred group rates combined with exceptional service throughout the entire sales, service and claims process.

TO ENJOY preferred group rates and exceptional care:

1 888 589 5656 or Insurance program recommended by:

†Due to provincial legislation, our auto insurance program is not offered in British Columbia, Manitoba or Saskatchewan. The TD Meloche Monnex home and auto insurance program is underwritten by Security National Insurance Company and distributed by Meloche Monnex Insurance and Financial Services Inc. in Quebec and by Meloche Monnex Financial Services Inc. in other provinces and territories.

R E F L E C T I O N S It’s a very exciting time at the University as I step into the role of Alumni Council president for a two-year term. Before that term is up, I’ll have seen the University celebrate its 100th anniversary as an institution of higher learning — while also serving as the honorary co-chair of the 60-member steering committee set up to organize events connected to our centenary. In both these tasks I’m looking forward to working with everybody involved as we shine a spotlight on the U of A and celebrate a remarkable century of achievement. Simply looking around campus and taking in the ongoing physical growth of the University gives you pause to think about the incredible cooperation between the provincial government, private donors, and individual benefactors, not to mention the on-campus teamwork between governance and administration that have helped make it all happen. Playing no small part in all of this is the Office of Alumni Affairs. I’ve worked with the talented staff in the past and look forward to continuing that relationship as we work together to bring as many alumni as we can back to the University to help us celebrate our centenary — alumni that have included such luminaries as a prime minister, premier, governor general, chief justice of the supreme court, and Nobel prize-winner. The U of A’s 100th birthday should be celebrated as widely as the Alberta centennial was, because the University’s founding was a milestone event that has been instrumental in shaping the course of our province’s history. There are still far too many Albertans who think they have no connection to the University, or perhaps a tenuous connection at best. We need to help these people understand that while the connections may not be immediately obvious, they do exist and are profoundly important. That’s my goal as the new president of Alumni Council, and I appreciate this opportunity to be part of a team of individuals committed to working together towards the common goal of celebrating a century of excellence while laying the groundwork for a future of distinction.











erri Burnett (Avery), ’85 BA, ’89 BEd, has designed two of the nine collector coins produced by the Royal Canadian Mint

in recognition of the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. Her charging moose design will be on a $75 colourized gold coin. Burnett was first invited to enter a design competition for a platinum coin in 1998. She won that competition, as well as the following 10 she was invited to submit designs for. “Most of the coins have some Canadiana element, something from nature,” she explains of her designs (the other Olympic coin she designed features Canada geese). “Plus, I’m an opportunist,” says Burnett, who works out of her home studio near

Jim Hole, ’79 BSc(Ag) Alumni Association President

Sherwood Park, Alberta. “I depict what I see around me, and I see birds and moose around me all the time.”


new trail



im Raycroft, ’81 BMus, knows Johnny Depp. Well, ‘knows’ may be a bit of a misnomer. In fact, they may not even be nodding acquaintances. But Raycroft does appears in Depp’s swashbuckling franchise series as a singing pirate on his way to the gallows in the opening scene of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. And if you think it’s easy being a buccaneer, think again. Hair and makeup — by the same make-up artist who worked on Depp — took two hours a day to transform him into a scraggly pirate and included hairpieces, “some lumpy grey stuff,” blood-coloured corn syrup-based ‘reel blood’ and “this awful alcohol-based black gunk” that was applied — and reapplied — to his teeth. Plus he had to prepare beforehand for the two-day shoot by letting his beard grow wild. Raycroft’s big scene was filmed in a massive five-storey hanger that held two full-sized pirate ships — the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman. But it’s not the first time he’s been on a sound stage since moving to the left coast in 1982 to complete his master’s degree in music at the California Institute of the Arts. Through his affiliation with the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Master Chorale, the bass singer has worked on numerous film soundtracks, including Home Alone, Star Trek VI, and Jurassic Park. Raycroft got into the business even before he had completed his schooling, and in 1986 established Singers Elite, an L.A.-based vocal contracting service for professional singers and vocal groups. He’s also founder and principal arranger for the a cappella jazz group Pacific Swingline, and he sings with the Nickelodeon Barbershop Quartet, which has appeared on such shows as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The King of Queens. 46

new trail


With an incredibly wide-ranging repertoire — here’s someone who sang with the world-class L.A. Opera Company under Placido Domingo and with the popular Dapper Dans, a barbershop quartet found harmonizing on Disneyland’s Mainstreet, U.S.A. — Raycroft is a fan of all musical genres. He does, however, admit to having a soft spot for ensemble singing and expresses something of a bias for C & W. “Although I don’t have a preference per se,” he says, “I did finance my first two years at the U of A playing bass guitar in a country band six nights a week.” It should come as no surprise to learn that his wife, Eileen Raycroft (Armstrong)‚ ’80 BMus, ’82 MMus, is also musically inclined. The two are owners of Johannus L.A., a distributor of Johannus digital church organs for Southern California, Arizona, and Hawaii. And it was while turning sheet music for his wife that Raycroft came up with the idea to create OrganMuse, the world’s first automatic sheet music page-turning system. “I’ve been my wife’s page turner for years,” he says. “Every time I turned the wrong page I thought there has to be a better way.” Turns out there is. OrganMuse works on MIDI-equipped organs. The music sheets are projected onto a flat

Jim Raycroft, ready for his close-up.

computer screen monitor and, as the organist plays, the computer follows the music and turns the page when the organist gets to the bottom. His creation is bringing him back to Edmonton this summer where he’ll be demonstrating OrganMuse at Windspiration 2007, an organ festival being held at the Winspear Centre for Music. If you see him there, say hi. Just don’t ask for Johnny Depp’s phone number. — Jodeen Litwin, ’90 BSc

bookmarks A Memoir of Friendship: Letters Between Carol Shields and Blanche Howard Blanche Howard (Machon), ’44 BSc Encompassing 30 years of letters between Pulitzer Prize–winner Carol Shields, one of Canada’s most celebrated writers, and author Blanche Howard, this book is a record of their thoughts on other writers and the craft of writing within the context of the current cultural and political scene, as well as the disappointments and joys of their daily lives. (Penguin Canada, Blue Wings, Wild Roses: On the Trail of the Mountain Bluebird Lois Johnson, ’63 BSc(HomeEc) The author and her husband, Roger, worked to bring the Mountain Bluebird back from the brink of extinction. Here Johnson chronicles the work they did to realize their dream to re-establish the Mountain Bluebird in Alberta through the 350-house Johnson Bluebird Trail near Provost, Alberta. (Silver Willow Publishing, phone 780-753-2678)

Running Toward Home Betty Jane Hegerat, ’69 BA Running Toward Home is a novel about a 12-year-old boy who has been running away from his foster parents. When his foster mother takes him to the Calgary Zoo for his annual visit with his birth mother, the boy disappears, and his two mothers are forced into an uneasy truce in the search for their son. (NeWest Press, Looking Through Glasnost, Aware of Modern Russia Gil Parker, ’59 BSc(Eng) The heritage of the tsars and a century of communism have made the Russian people patient and tough; their love of community has brought them through a tortured period of their history. Through a dozen extended visits to Russia, Parker learned Russian and came to understand the crumbling Communist model and the faltering democracy that replaced it. (Aware Publishing,

Bees: Biology and Management Peter Kevan, ’70 PhD, ’68 MSc This book is not just about how to keep bees but why bees are kept and what it is about them that makes them amenable to management and domestication. Eleven sections and 51 chapters contain information on bees’ anatomy, physiology, behaviour, diversity, ecology, and value to agriculture and the natural world. (Volumes,

Killer Snow: Avalanches of Newfoundland and Labrador David Liverman, ’81 MSc, ’89 PhD Currently employed as a senior geologist with the Geological Survey of Newfoundland and Labrador, Liverman describes the various avalanche tragedies that have occurred in the last 250 years. Where possible, the words of those present as reported in contemporary accounts are used to describe the incidents, and in a few cases the direct accounts of survivors are used. (Flanker Press,

Pure at Heart: A Man’s Guide to Purity in a Sexualized World Simon Sheh, ’94 PhD Sheh is an Edmonton-based counsellor specializing in therapy with adults, couples, teenagers, and families. He wrote this handbook to help men overcome sexual addiction and achieve sexual purity. It is available at the bookstore in Beulah Alliance Church in Edmonton or through Sheh’s website,

Ultrasound Imaging for Rehabilitation of the Lumbopelvic Region: A Clinical Approach Jackie L. Whittaker, ’93 BSc(PT) Primarily for the use of health-care professionals outside the U.S., this book provides guidelines for integrating ultrasound imaging into daily practice for assessment and treatment of motor control impairments of the lumbopelvic region. (Elsevier,

Client-Centered Exercise Prescription (second edition) John Griffin, ’74 MSc Griffin coordinates the fitness and lifestyle management program at George Brown College in Toronto. This book, an updated and revised version of the popular first edition, contains more information to help fitness professionals listen to their clients, assess their interests, and prescribe exercise that will work for them. (Human Kinetics, The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting Darren Wershler-Henry,’90 MA This book covers the early history and evolution of the typewriter but it is primarily about the role played by this marvel in the writer’s life. WershlerHenry is an assistant professor in the Communication Studies Department at Wilfrid Laurier U and a writer, critic, and former senior editor of Coach House Books. (Cornell University Press, The Vrooms of The Foothills: Adventures of My Childhood Bessie Vroom Ellis, ’71 MEd For Ellis, growing up on an isolated ranch in the foothills of southwestern Alberta during the 1920s and 1930s meant riding her horse about 10 miles a day to a one-room elementary school and adventures including a terrifying encounter with a grizzly bear. Illustrated with more than 100 photographs and maps, the book offers a living history of Alberta ranch life. (Trafford Publishing, It’s Been Fun! The Story of Michael (“Mickey”) Hajash Mickey Hajash, ’47 BSc(Eng), as told to Gwen McLaws Hajash emigrated with his parents from Hungary to Saskatchewan and shortly after settled on a farm in Brooks, Alberta. Hajash went on to study engineering at the U of A, where he excelled at sports, particularly football. As a geophysicist, he worked around the world. It’s Been Fun! is a fascinating account of a remarkable life. (For ordering information, contact New Trail at [780] 492-0115.) SUMMER 2007

new trail


evergreen On The Move...


he Office of Alumni Affairs (OAA) is moving downtown this summer. In August 2007 the Alumni Affairs staff will be moving to Enterprise Square along with some other U of A offices. Enterprise Square is the name of the newly renovated Bay Building on Jasper Avenue between 102 and 103 Streets.

Music to Her Ears


ecent Science graduate Samantha Maxson,’07 BSc, is heading off this summer for a year in England. After that she plans to do graduate studies in either physiotherapy or athletic therapy. While exploring new places or hitting the books, she’ll have a collection of songs to listen to on the iPod she won in a contest through the Alumni Association’s online community (OLC).

“I like a wide range of music,” she says. “I listen to soundtracks a lot but when I’m studying I listen to classical music ... it helps me relax.” She’ll have room for all her music interests and lots more in the 30GB iPod video, which holds over 7,000 songs as well as video and photos. Samantha 48

new trail


won it for posting a profile and a photo of herself on the U of A’s OLC. “With the online community, it’s easier to stay in touch with people,” she says, “so I’m looking forward to using it to keep up with my friends, especially while I’m away in England.” The other winner in our iPod contest was Maureen Matthew, ’77 BSc(HEc), of Regina, Saskatchewan. A human resource consultant in Regina, Maureen was thrilled to win her iPod shuffle. “This is great!” she said when she heard the news. “I’ve never won anything in my life!” The OLC links alumni, students, faculty, and staff of the U ofA in one system. Sign up at Keep checking the OLC webpage for information on future contests.

Susan Peirce, ’70 BA, director of the Office of Alumni Affairs and executive director of the Alumni Association, says the department’s move downtown will help the OAA and the Alumni Association continue to grow. “We hope to be able to connect with our many alumni in the downtown area in a new way,” said Peirce. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses for the OAA will remain the same (see information box) and alumni are welcome to stop by our offices at Enterprise Square to purchase degree frames or meet with the staff as necessary. Please check our website for updated information on the move. “Enterprise Square is going to be a flagship building, and we are excited about our move downtown,” said Peirce. Contact information for the Office of Alumni Affairs Website E-mail Phone (780) 492-3224 or toll-free in Canada and the U.S. 1-800-661-2593 (voice mail available after hours) Fax (780) 492-1568

Alumni Travel 2008


rom the islands and waters of the Arctic to the spectacular sights of Antarctica, from China’s blending of the ancient and modern to the mysteries of Egypt, the Alumni Association’s 2008 travel program will take the celebration of the University’s centenary to all seven continents.

The just-announced 2008 “Learning on Location” program features 17 varied travel itineraries, including an incredible opportunity to follow in the wake of the fabled explorers who sought a route to the Pacific and the nations beyond through the waters of the Canadian arctic. “The Northwest Passage,” a three-week expedition beginning in midAugust 2008, will begin in Greenland before turning to the historic route west. This trip of a lifetime is being co-sponsored by the Canadian Circumpolar Institute based at the University of Alberta and will include one of the U of A’s northern experts as a lecturer. Earlier in the year, the travel program will explore the other polar continent, giving alumni

Alumni Events For more information about alumni events, contact the Office of Alumni Affairs by phone at 780- 492-3224 or (toll-free in North America) 1-800-661-2593 or by e-mail at You can also check the alumni events website at

August 23, 2007 Yellowknife, NWT Alumni Reception Contact: Office of Alumni Affairs

an opportunity to be part of a 17-day “Expedition to Antarctica and the Falkland Islands,” which commences on January 20. Other highlights of the year include a trip to the Galapagos Islands and Quito in Ecuador, a cruise across the face of Europe, a grand tour of Egypt, and a “Celtic Quest” that begins in Spain and traces Celtic influences in France, England, Ireland and Scotland. The “Australia Discovery” scheduled for February makes for a good introduction to the land down under, around which an extended stay to the island continent can be planned. In addition, the 2008 travel program encompasses the Alumni Association’s popular Alumni School in Cortona offerings in the heart of Tuscany—the spring photography workshop and the foods and culture course offering in the fall. For a complete listing of the “Learning on Location” opportunities, see the inside back cover of this magazine or visit And be sure to let us know if you would like to be included on our travel mailing list.

August 24, 2007 Whitehorse, YK Alumni Reception Contact: Office of Alumni Affairs


Student send-offs We’re inviting U of A students–past and future–to informal receptions. Meet future alumni, share your memories of the U of A, and pass on valuable advice. August 25: Vancouver August 26: Calgary Contact: Chloe Chalmers at orJ (780) 492-7726. 2

July 19, 2007 Edmonton, AB

Alumni Shindig 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The Billiard Club (10505 Whyte Avenue) Summer’s here and it’s time to celebrate! Join your fellow alumni for a complimentary beverage and free pool, courtesy of the Alumni Association. You must RSVP for this event to receive your beverage coupon. Contact: Chloe Chalmers at or (780) 492-7726.

3 11 Feng Tao (left),’92 MSc, and George Lu,’94 PhD, at an alumni dinner in Shanghai in April. 2 U of A alumni in Beijing gathered with other guests at a dinner in April. From left to right, back row, David Wong, counsellor in the Alberta government’s China office; Yan Zhuang, ’91 MSc; Da Li, ’98 BCom; Yi-Gui Li; and Jim Huang, ’96 MEng. Front row, left to right, Margot Engley, ’96 BA; Kitty Guang Yang, ’02 LLM, and Robert Steadward, ’69 BPE, ’71 MSc, ’02 LLD (Honorary), professor emeritus. 3 At a dinner in Seoul, President Samarasekera visited alumni including Yun Sup Lee (left), ’72 PhD, and Mahn Seug Oh, ’86 PhD. At the dinner, the U of A Korea Alumni Association raised $35,000 towards the Korea-Alberta Young Scholars Award. SUMMER 2007

new trail


Singing at the Bar A U of A–trained lawyer turned opera singer lives out a dream ndrew Stewart, ’97 LLB, took a circuitous route — in more ways than one — to his present role as a bassbaritone with the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio based in Toronto. Ottawa-born, Stewart grew up in Vancouver before moving to Edmonton, then Cambridge, England, and back to Vancouver (and performing in the Czech Republic), but he’s wholly at home on stage at the impressive Four Seasons Centre in Toronto. That’s because opera, with its combination of drama and music, is a perfect fit for Stewart. “I have always loved performing and music in and of themselves, but opera really combines all the things I love into one art form.” And though he loves opera, it wasn’t his first career choice. Stewart got a law degree at the U of A, followed by a master’s of law from Cambridge University, and practised law in Vancouver before he decided to pursue an interest he’d always had in opera by taking singing lessons. Fast forward five years and his exploration of an interest has turned out very well. In last year’s season at the COC he performed in several operas, including La Traviata, Così fan tutte, and Elektra, and he’s loving it. “It is really a privilege to be able to continue the operatic tradition and perform in these fantastic music dramas,” he says. It seems like it all happened quickly, and that he’s done a complete turnaround from one career to the next, but Stewart’s ability to excel at both art and academics began with the well-rounded education he received at Collingwood School in Vancouver. Studies at the private K to 12 school included four strands of education — academics, music, athletics, and citizenship. Choir participation was mandatory, which turned out great for Stewart. “A lot of us who would otherwise have been more likely to be playing sports ended up getting hooked onto music and singing,” he says. “This made being in the choir a very cool thing to do.” Though music — and choir in particular — continued to be a cool thing to do, by the time he had to plan his university studies, he says, “music was a possibility but I opted for what I felt was more secure—an arts degree with an intention to go to law school and become a lawyer.” While at the U of A he kept his interest in music to the sidelines, singing in an a cappella group and at the inaugural Law Show Musical in 1996. Academically, Stewart did very well at the U of A law school. He added to the entrance scholarships he’d received with class prizes and



new trail


Andrew Stewart, left, and above (in background), performing the role of Luka in The Bear, has put his law career on hold to pursue a love of opera.

awards and eventually won the silver medal in law (for finishing with the second highest grades in his graduating class). Getting his master’s at Cambridge was part of his long-term plan to be able to teach law at university. He returned to Vancouver and practised law, but that inner voice refused to be silenced. Just as he began exploring his interest in opera by taking voice lessons at UBC, his singing ability and a knack for great timing saw an introduction to the director of the UBC Opera turn into the offer of a role in a production of Mozart’s Magic Flute. “It’s a principal role with three arias,” he explains, “so I was introduced to the world of opera performance pretty quickly!” He then got a diploma in opera performance at UBC and his quick introduction to the world of opera continued when he was offered a position in the COC Ensemble Studio — a coup after studying opera and voice for such a short time. The way he sees it, his law background is part of the reason he’s excelling in opera so quickly. Along with the music and the acting, opera has another required element: hard work. “That is definitely one skill I learned from my legal studies,”

he says, “that preparation is the key to success... there is nothing that will get you further than old-fashioned hard work.” Rehearsals begin six weeks before a show and performers have to come to those rehearsals prepared. “This consists of learning the role, including the music and the word-for-word translation of the libretto if it is in a foreign language.” In a recent production of Shostakovich’s Macbeth of Mtsensk, Stewart performed two roles and was understudy of another one, so he had to show up, music learned and memorized, from day one. “So much has to be memorized for opera,” he says, “and my legal background gives me a huge advantage in this regard.” It’s also given him the opportunity to pursue a career in the arts with little anxiety. “Everyone knows pursuing a career in the arts is difficult, so having my legal background gives me a great deal of comfort. With my law background behind me, I am able to live my dream to perform without worrying about the future.” For now he has put his law career on hold so he can follow that dream. “I’ve been invited back to COC next year, which is exciting. After that I hope to be making my way to performing on some of the other great opera stages of the world.” —Shelagh Kubish, ’85 BA SUMMER 2007

new trail




’37 Paul Gaboury, BCom, of Alamo, California, who is celebrating his 70th class reunion this year, briefly summarizes his life for readers: “married 1946, four children, planted many trees, still need to write a book to satisfy destiny.” If he does write a book, what a fascinating read it will be. He moved to Alameda, California, in 1939. He was drafted into the U.S. Army, and he received the Purple Heart in 1945 for his part in the Allied Campaign at Tacloban, Leyte, in the Philippines. (In October 1944 an attack force of more than 700 Allied ships landed troops in Leyte Gulf to begin the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese.) He writes “it’s hard to believe, seven Edmontonians from my block on 122 Street killed in action. Very few outside of Canada realize the tremendous sacrifice of Canada’s men in WWI and WWII.”


’51 Margaret K. Maerov (Katz), BA, of Wilmington, Oregon, has recently retired after close to 20 years as volunteer coordinator in a nursing home. “I enjoy baking, gardening, reading, and exercising at a cardiac rehab facility.” Margaret is the widow of Sidney B. Maerov, ’49 BSc.


’60 Jim McNamee, LLB, lives in San Pedro, California, which he says has one of the finest climates in the world. “I am absolutely convinced that the Garden of Eden was actually located in southern California.” He also notes, “I have finally quit my part-time job doing asbestos defense work. I did this for 15 years and it gave me the opportunity to visit every state in the lower 48 and a few foreign locales that I had never seen before.” He sends his regards to all his 1960 classmates.

’66 Sidney Rodnunsky, BEd, ’73 LLB, recently moved from Nunavut, where he was a school principal for six years, to Haiphong, Vietnam, to be the director of an international school. His wife, Teresita, will teach elementary school. “The children are thrilled — fresh fruit!”


new trail


’69 Eileen Mercier, MA, was appointed chair of the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan Board. Eileen, first appointed to that Board in 2004, is a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers. She is a director of CGI Group Inc., ING Bank of Canada, ING Canada Inc., Shermag Inc., Teekay Shipping Corp., Hydro One Inc., York University (where she received an MBA) and the University Health Network.


’71 Lynne Pearson (Seavy), MA, recently retired after spending 10 years as dean of the College of Commerce at the U of Saskatchewan. In recognition of her work promoting the College and U of S nationally and internationally, Lynne was awarded the honorary title of Dean Emerita. Lynne, who received her BA from the U of S and a journalism degree from Carleton U before studying at the U of A, has received numerous awards in the past few years. Among them are the YWCA Woman of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement, the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal, the Chamber of Commerce Athena Award, and the Lieutenant Governor Gold Medal for Public Service.

’72 Sandy Shandro, BA, has been appointed dean of the Faculty of Laws at University College London, effective September 1, 2007. Sandy, a Rhodes Scholar who received his law degree from Oxford U, was a law professor at McGill U and most recently served as the head of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Global Restructuring and Insolvency Group. He told the London Times, “I’ve always had strong academic interests so I’m thrilled to bits by the appointment.”

’73 Robert A. Graesser, LLB, ’72 BA, of Edmonton, has been appointed a justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench. He was sworn in on January 24, 2007.

Ramesh K. Gupta, ’80 PhD, ’76 MEng, has been named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He received an MBA from the U of Pennsylvania in 1989 and worked in various technical and management positions at COMSAT Laboratories in Clarksburg, MD. In 2001, Ramesh joined AMCOM Communications as a vicepresident of advanced business and technology. He is now part of the technical and management team at Mobile Satellite Ventures in Reston, Virginia. Ramesh has published more than 75 papers on satellite and wireless radio frequency technology and systems. He holds four U.S. patents.

’74 Soo Ping Lim, BSc(Eng), took up the position of auditor-general of Singapore in February. He began his public service career in Singapore in 1975 when he joined the Public Works Department as an engineer. Before becoming auditor-general, he had been deputy secretary of Singapore’s Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. Wayne Madden, BEd, of Fort McMurray, toured Europe, primarily London and Scandinavia, in the summer of 2006. The trip marked his second time in Europe. He is now preparing to retire in 2007 or 2008. Allen Ries, BEd, ’77 BCom, works in the warehouse at Edmonton’s The Brick. He says that though the job doesn’t use his education directly, “it is nearly stress free and a physically active job, so I get lots of daily exercise.” Allen has maintained contact with friends from his previous employer, Canada West Insurance Company, and notes that “warehouse people are not really different from office people.”

’77 Wally Baer, BA, of Edmonton, was appointed president and CEO of Enform, the Nisku-based training and safety arm of the Canadian upstream petroleum industry. Wally is a member of the Job Safety Skills Society, which is focused on youth safety, and of the Stewardship Advisory Group of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. He is past chair of the Advisory Committee for the Engineering Safety and Risk Management Program at the U of A’s Faculty of Engineering.

Kirpa Koundal, PhD, has been working as a professor and researcher at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi, India, since graduating from the U of A. He was recently appointed joint director (research) at the Institute.

’78 John H. Doi, MEd, retired after working as an educator for 37 years. John was a teacher, counsellor, vice-principal, principal, chief deputy, associate superintendent, and superintendent in 13 different schools and jurisdiction offices in Ontario, the N.W.T., B.C. and, most recently, in Alberta. He and his wife, Joanne, will reside in Calgary. ’79 Donna L. Shelley, LLB, ’76 BA, of Edmonton, was appointed a justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench. She was sworn in on January 30, 2007. Ben Wedro, MD, is a clinical professor at the U of Wisconsin and an emergency physician at the Gundersen Clinic in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Ben is also the founder of DocTalk Media Services. This company worked with CBS on its Olympic unit during the 1992 and 1998 Winter Olympic Games. Ben was a medical consultant for other TV shows, including Touched by an Angel and Promised Land. In 2002 DocTalk began working with CBC to provide medical background information to the news and sports media to help reporters and staff understand medical aspects in their stories. Ben volunteers with Special Olympics.

Linda Moore, BEd, is teaching Grade 4 in Watson Lake, Yukon.

’81 Mary Ann Eckstom (Slater), BA, a long-time county councillor in Grande Prairie, was recently elected president of Family Community Support Services of Alberta. In January, Alberta Premier Stelmach appointed Mary Ann to the Premier’s Task Force on Affordable Housing. ’82 Vivian Manasc, MBA, is a principal at Manasc Isaac Architects Ltd., one of Edmonton’s largest architectural firms, which describes itself as “Alberta’s leader in integrated sustainable design.” Joanne McNeal, MEd, of Edmonton, who completed her PhD in education curriculum and instruction at UBC 10 years ago, writes, “I’m still working on a book based on my Arctic research on women artists in the western Arctic.”

’83 Liz Stinson, MSc, took up a new position in October 2006 as the executive director of the international office of Deakin U in Melbourne, Australia.

’85 Katherine MacRae, LLB, ’82 BA, was recently named an associate at Parlee McLaws LLP in Edmonton. Katherine practises tax law, wills, estates and wealth management, and business law. ’86 Michael Tryon, BA, ’94 Dip(Ed), ’06 BEd, of Edmonton, is currently substitute teaching. He and his wife, Joyce Tryon, ’93 BSc(Nu), have two kids, Nicole and Nicholas. Michael spends his free time reading, running, refereeing soccer and travelling as much as possible.

John Geiger, ’81 BA, of Toronto, attended the 5th annual Wings Women of Discovery Awards in New York on March 1. The ceremonies honoured, among others, the primatologist Dame Jane Goodall. Geiger serves on the advisory board of the host organization, Wings Worldquest, which is a non-profit group that promotes women in geographic exploration and the field sciences. Geiger, actor Uma Thurman, and New York society columnist Liz Smith were guests of Leila Hadley Luce, who is a co-founder (with Milbry Polk) of Wings and the author of acclaimed travel narratives. Thurman has demonstrated her own adventurous streak in films like Kill Bill. Geiger is also a governor of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. His day job is editorial board editor for The Globe and Mail.

David Middleton

appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in March. Gillian’s husband, David D. McKay, ’80 LLB, QC, is a senior partner with the law firm of Roebothan, McKay and Marshall in St. John’s, Newfoundland. “I will be posted to the city of Corner Brook,” says Gillian, “and we are committed to making this 700-kilometre commute work!”

In 1999 Timothy Taylor, ’85 BA, stopped working in the banking industry and began full-time work as a writer. He’d majored in economics at the U of A and got an MBA from Queen’s U, but realized in the early 1990s that he wanted to write. Even when he began working exclusively as a writer, he kept up the discipline of a banker. He calls his approach to writing a “business model,” and he’s only partly kidding. In his Vancouver office he divides his time into writing novels, non-fiction magazine pieces, and film work. The business model is working. Taylor has won a National Magazine Award Gold Medal and his short fiction has appeared in Canada’s leading literary magazines and has been anthologized in such publications as Best Canadian Stories, Coming Attractions and Islands West. His recently released novel, Story House, delves into the lives

of feuding brothers, both architects, and a central mystery shaping their lives. It’s imbued with the same attention to detail that Taylor brought to his first novel, Stanley Park (2001), which gives insight into the restaurant business as it brings together the story of a young chef, an unsolved murder, and the homeless of Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Stanley Park was short-listed for a number of major awards, and CBC Radio produced and broad-

Gerald Wilke, BCom, ’85 BSc, was recently named a principal at Veres Picton & Co., LLP chartered accountants in Edmonton.

’87 Katie Oppen (Benschop), BSc(Ag), recently moved Ottawa to take up a new position as a seed standards specialist with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Previously she was a plant programs inspector with the CFIA in Edmonton. Katie’s two daughters are currently in post-secondary studies— Lisa at the Alberta College of Art and Design and Diana at the U of A, working on her master’s degree in anthropology.



’80 Gillian Butler, LLB, QC, was

John Geiger with Uma Thurman

cast a radio drama adapted from the novel. For the 2007 version of CBC Radio’s “Canada Reads,” the novel was championed by Blue Rodeo front-man Jim Cuddy, who debated with other panelists as they eliminated books one by one until only two remained — Taylor’s and Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill. Ultimately O’Neill’s novel was named the choice for 2007’s Canada Reads, but all the attention generated by the contest brought

’88 Roma Quapp, MA, ’86 BA, is working at the Department of Canadian Heritage in Ottawa, where she has lived for all but three years since graduating from the U of A. Tine Steen-Dekker, BEd, of Edmonton, taught throughout Alberta for several years and then lived for two years in Ladysmith, B.C. During that time she published a small book of stories, poems, and literary sketches entitled Lines on the 49th Parallel. Now back in Edmonton, she has retired from teaching and is working part-time at the Memorial Society of Edmonton and District, an association of people who respect the need for a simple, dignified alternative to elaborate and costly traditional funerals. Melvyn Wade, BEd, of Acme, Alberta, teaches junior high career and technology studies and physical education at Dr. Elliott School in Linden, and his wife, Pam, teaches high school French and English in Acme. They have a five-year-old son, Jackson, and twin four-yearold daughters, Gabrielle and Edan. “Cheers to all our friends from Augustana and U of A.” SUMMER 2007

new trail


Sports Wall of Fame Four U of A grads were inducted into the University’s Sports Wall of Fame in May:

Peter Thompson, ’85 LLB, who was part of the U of A’s Law School Band from 1982 to 1985, has released a CD. Taking a Dive (Heart First) features 14 favourite folk/country/pop songs. Peter Sarstedt (who had a hit with “Where do you go to my lovely?”) sings backup on two tracks. The CD can be purchased through his website, — one dollar from each sale will be donated to the Parkinson Society Canada. Samples of the songs are also available on the website.

Tracy David, ’82 BPE, ’88 BEd, played on the first Pandas soccer team in 1983 and coached the Pandas soccer team between 1984 and 2001. David was named CIAU Soccer Coach of the Year in 1989 and has been head coach of the U of Victoria women’s soccer team since 2003. She was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame in 2003. John Devaney, ’82 BCom, played his minor hockey in Edmonton with the Knights of Columbus hockey club, and joined the U of A Golden Bears hockey team in 1976–77. He led the Bears to CIAU championships all three years he played. He was co-captain of the Golden Bears hockey team in 1978–79 and alternate captain in 1977–78. He was part of Canada’s 1980 Olympic hockey team. He continues to coach minor hockey in Edmonton, is a former director of the Boys and Girls Club of Edmonton, and is still involved with the Bears Hockey Alumni Association, of which he was a founding member.

Stuart Robbins, ’73 PhD, was the founding coach of the Golden Bears soccer program in 1967 and continued as head coach until 1973. He also coached the Golden Bears and Pandas diving and sprint teams. He then moved to York U in Ontario where he coached the soccer team and served as chair and director of the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences from 1981 to 1998 and as the Chair of Senate in 19921993. For his many contributions Stu was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada, and Canada’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. He now lives in Calgary. Joan Thomson (McFarlane), ’53 BPE, of Calgary, starred on the Pandas basketball team from 1949 to 1953 and was awarded the U of A’s major athletic award in 1953. She was also vice-president of the Students’ Union and was named to the U of A Gold Key Society in 1953. In 1979 Joan and her family created and funded the Julia McFarlane Diabetes Research Foundation Chair (named after her mother). Joan remains actively involved with this program today. She was part of the gold medal–winning Retreads women’s basketball team at the 2005 World Masters Games held in Edmonton.


Centenary Homecoming



Alumni Recognition Awards  Football Game, BBQ & entertainment Tuck Shop Breakfast on Quad  Lectures  Faculty Receptions & Open Houses Unveiling of Centenary Legacy  Alumni Centenary Dinner & Fireworks If you are interested in planning a class reunion as part of Homecoming 2008 contact the Office of Alumni Affairs at (780) 492-3224, 1-800-661-2593, or 54

new trail


’89 BSc, of Redondo Beach, California, works as an Oracle database administrator for a multimedia company in Los Angeles. Annie has three children, including twin boys born in June 2006.

’91 Stephen Leach, LLB, ’88 BA, of Toronto, is senior program manager (Middle East and North Africa) for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (, a nonprofit organization working to strengthen and expand democracy worldwide. Stephen’s current assignment is conducting training on conflict resolution in the Kurdistan region of Northern Iraq. Charlene Rooke, BA, was recently named editor-inchief of Western Living magazine based in Vancouver. After working as associate editor of New Trail magazine at the U of A,

The Return of Golfzilla For a record fifth time, long drive golf legend Jason Zuback, ’93 BSc(Pharm), of Calgary, won the 2006 Re/Max World Long Drive Championship. His winning drive was 334 metres, 72.5 cm — roughly the length of four Canadian football fields. This pharmacist-turned-golfer is the most decorated athlete in power golf. He is the only Canadian to ever win the World Long Drive Champion title and the only competitor to win more than three championships. Nicknamed Golfzilla by the Japanese — a title that stuck — Jason has a ferocious swing, which has been clocked at 358 km/h (PGA Tour average is about 189 km/h), and he can strike balls through telephone books. And with the right conditions, Jason has hit balls as far as 460 metres. In 2003, Jason was inducted into the Long Drivers of America Hall of Fame, and he is also an inductee of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. He has been featured in Golf Digest and in People magazine. He was also on the Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn, and has been featured in several TV commercials.

Charlene became editor of Calgary’s Avenue magazine and then editor of enRoute, Air Canada’s in-flight magazine. With Charlene leading the team, enRoute won several awards. At the 2006 North American Travel

Journalists’ Association Awards, enRoute was named best travel magazine. Charlene also won first prize at the same awards in the category of culinary travel for an article she wrote called “Hawaii Five-0-0-0 Calories.”

What trail are you following? Please enclose all old address labels.  Revise my address to the one below.  I/We receive multiple copies — send one copy only to the address below. Name ________________________________________ Phone ________________________ Street ________________________________________________________________________ City ______________________________ Prov./State __________ Postal code ___________ Fax ______________________ E-mail ______________________________________________ Class Note ____________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Mail to: Alumni Affairs/6th Floor General Services Building/ University of Alberta/Edmonton, Alberta/T6G 2H1 or call (780) 492-7226. The personal information requested on this form is collected under the authority of Section 33(c) of the Alber ta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purpose of alumni and development programs at the University of Alber ta. Questions concerning the collection, or disposal of this information should be directed to: Coordinator, Research and Marketing, 6th Floor General Ser vices Bldg. University of Alber ta Edmonton AB T6G 2H1, ph: 780-492-2515.

Photo cour tesy of Long Drivers of America


’90 Annie Flippo (Chang), MA,

’94 Sandra Pietrzyk, BCom, ’91 BA, of Edmonton, recently joined the partnership of Grant Thornton LLP, chartered accountants and management consultants.

’95 Jack Watson, Dip(Law), was recently appointed a justice of the Court of Appeal of Alberta. Previously he served as a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, a crown prosecutor for Justice Canada, and an appellate counsel for the Alberta Attorney General.

’96 Miranda Ringman, MA, opened Zocalo, a store/restaurant/ flower shop in Edmonton’s Little Italy district with business partner Ken Bregenser. The four-year-old store recently received the 2007 Small Business Award of Distinction, co-sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and the Alberta Chambers of Commerce. Zocalo was recognized for its excellent business contributions, its interesting courtyard, garden and floral gallery, and its distinct impact on the community of Little Italy in Edmonton. “People are finding Zocalo, even though we’re a little off the beaten track,” says Miranda. She invites alumni to “come by for a coffee and check out what we’re up to.” Ian Wachowicz, LLB, of Edmonton, recently joined the partnership at Parlee McLaws LLP in Edmonton. SUMMER 2007

new trail


In Memoriam The Alumni Association notes with sorrow the passing of the following graduates:

’30 Josephine Isabelle Connelly, BCom, of Edmonton, AB, in November 2006 ’33 Mary Stevenson Hood, BSc(HEc), of Calgary, AB, in March 2007 ’34 Frank William Barnhouse, BSc(Eng), of Brockville, ON, in February 2007 ’35 Mary Esther Palethorpe, BA, of West Vancouver, BC, in February 2007 ’36 Wyatt S. Hegler, BSc(Eng), of Amherstview, ON, in February 2007 ’38 Nettie Carline Pedlar (Garfield), BSc(Nu), of Calgary, AB, in November 2006 C. Eloise Umbach (MacDiarmid), Dip(Nu), ’46 DipPH(Nu), of Camrose, AB, in March 2007 ’41 Peter Chariton Voloshin, MD, of Santa Monica, CA, in January 2007 ’42 Jack Pullar Mitchell, BSc, of Consort, AB, in February 2007 R. Alva Gross, BSc(HEc), of Calgary, AB, in August 2006 ’43 Douglas Kendal Taylor, MSc(Ag), of Agassiz, BC, in February 2007 ’44 Calvin Mehring Fletcher, BSc, ’46 MD, of Calgary, AB, in February 2007 Jean Isabel Crawley, BA, of Toronto, ON, in March 2007 Robert Stewart Fraser, BSc, ’46 MD, ’50 MSc, of Edmonton, AB, in March 2007 ’45 Albert Hedley Manifold, BSc(Eng), of Abbotsford, BC, in December 2006 George W. Shewchuk, BSc(Ag), of Edmonton, AB, in November 2006 Doris Hilda Anderson (McCubbin), BA, ’73 LLD (Honorary), of Toronto, ON, in March 2007 Rachel Helena Young, Dip(Nu), of Edmonton, AB, in March 2007 ’46 Patricia Rose Marie MacLeod (Robertson), BSc, of Stittsville, ON, in August 2006 E. Mary Ellenwood (Huston), Dip(Pharm), of Phoenix, AZ, in February 2007 Mary Theresa Fraser (MacDonell), BSc(HEc), of Edmonton, AB, in March 2007 ’47 Kenneth Kuwahara, BSc(Eng), of North York, ON, in October 2006 Arthur Howard Elliott, BSc, ’56 BEd, ’64 MEd, of Edmonton, AB, in November 2006 J. Lea Millar, BSc(Ag), ’69 BEd, of Edmonton, in March 2007 E. Louise Hemphill, BEd, of Mara, BC, in March 2007


new trail


’48 Leon F. Wendt, BEd, ’58 BA, of Edmonton, AB, in October 2006 Keith Johnstone, BA, ’50 MA, ’52 PhD, of Saskatoon, SK, in October 2006 Richard (Bud) Earl Patterson, BSc, of Edmonton, AB, in February 2007 ’49 Donald Gilbert Hymas, BSc(Eng), of Haddonfield, NJ, in December 2006 William Robert Brennan, BA, ’50 LLB, of Calgary, AB, in March 2007 Jerry Joseph Necyk, BCom, of Rio de Janerio, BRA, in April 2006 John Elmer Hyde, BCom, of Edmonton, AB, in February 2007 ’50 Donald W. Wilson, BSc, of Calgary, Alberta, in March 2007 Nykolay P. Hrynyk, BEd, ’55 BSc, ’62 MEd, ’66 PhD, of Edmonton, AB, in March 2007 ’51 Martin Hoyt, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in December 2006 Alexander Moysa, BCom, of Edmonton, AB, in February 2007 Robert Henry Thornton, BSc(Ag), ’53 BEd, of Lethbridge, AB, in March 2007 ’52 John Pugh Chamberlain, BSc, of Camrose, AB, in February 2007 Robert W. Wintemute, MD, of Kelowna, BC, in March 2007 ’53 Arnold Delhart Peterson, BSc, ’58 MD, of Camrose, AB, in October 2006 M. Stephen Dubas, BSc(Eng), ’55 MSc, of Pickering, ON, in March 2007 ’54 Peter Ray Kutney, BSc(Eng), of Calgary, AB, in September 2006 ’55 Frank Lowell Peterson, Dip(Ed), ’57 BEd, ’63 DDS, of Edmonton, AB, in December 2006 Ruth L. Cuthbertson (Reid), BEd, ’62 MEd, of Victoria, BC, in February 2007 ’56 Clifton Arnold Shook, BSc(Eng), of Edmonton, AB, in September 2006 ’58 David McMahon Gilmour, MD, of Calgary, AB, in October 2006 Myroslaw Dmytro Muzyka, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in January 2007 ’60 David George Malchow, BA, of Edmonton, AB, in November 2006 Leslie Gyula Szmolyan, LLB, of Calgary, AB, in January 2007 Edwin S. Cook, BA, ’61 LLB, of Edmonton, AB, in March 2007 ’62 Wesley Gilbert Cummings, BEd, of Edmonton, AB, in December 2006 ’63 James Charles Malone, BCom, of Edmonton, AB, in September 2006 Percy Alfred Smith, BSc, of Roberts Creek, BC, in February 2007 ’64 William Nick Cherniwchan, BSc(Eng), of Naperville, IL, in March 2007

Robert Alexander Hall, BEd, of Calgary, AB, in March 2007 ’65 John Digby Prentice, BSc(Ag), of Calmar, AB, in March 2007 ’66 Walter Harasym, BEd, of Two Hills, AB, in October 2006 Henry Richard Popek, BSc(Eng), of Grande Prairie, AB, in December 2006 ’68 Joyce Phyllis Goodall (Thain), BEd, ’80 MEd, of Edmonton, AB, in January 2007 George Charles Naylor, MEd, ’71 PhD, of Edmonton, AB, in March 2007 Franklin John Pickering, BEd, of Stettler, BC, in March 2007 ’69 Nancy Meier, BEd, of Leduc, AB, in December 2006 Keng Eok Goh, BSc, ’69 MD, ’73 MSc, of Edmonton, AB, in February 2007 Georgina May Rogan (Desjardins), BEd, of Vermilion, AB, in February 2007 ’70 Lorna Caroline Obst, Dip(Nu), of Coquitlam, BC, in February 2007 Michael John Dibdin, BA, of Seattle, WA, in March 2007 Joan Alexis McLean (Trenchard), BEd, ’84 Dip(Ed), of Edmonton, AB, in February 2007

Doris’ Days As our centenary approaches, we take a look at alumni past who stand out in our 100-year tradition of excellence.


ike many feminists, I never dreamed — or wished — to be rich,” Doris Anderson (McCubbin), ’45 BA, ’73 LLD (Honorary), wrote in her 1996 autobiography, Rebel Daughter. “We wanted far more than that: We wanted to change the world.” As editor of Chatelaine magazine for 20 years, as an advocate of political reform and a champion of women’s rights, Anderson did change the world for Canadian women. The only daughter in a family of five children, Anderson grew up in her mother’s boarding house in Calgary. From a young age she bristled against established expectations of women, including her mother’s opinion that the only desirable lifestyle for a woman was marriage and motherhood.

Albert Krankowsky, BEd, of St. Paul, AB, in February 2007 John Patrick Day, BA, of Edmonton, AB, in March 2007 ’72 Henry John M. Metera, BSc, ’74 Dip(Ed), of Sherwood Park, AB, in February 2007 ’74 Margaret Randall Nordby, BEd, ’76 BA, of Drayton Valley, AB, in January 2007 ’75 B. Ruth Wood (Welter), BSc(Nu), of Grande Prairie, AB, in March 2007 Nicholas Robert Kuchmak, BSc, ’77 MD, of Dallas, TX, in September 2006 ’77 Richard Newton Brochert, BSc, ’80 LLB, of Edmonton, AB, in March 2007 ’78 Bruce Gordon Naylor, PhD, of Drumheller, AB, in April 2007 ’79 Glenn Booth Foulds, BSc, ’86 BA, of Edmonton, AB, in December 2006 ’80 Walter Flueck, BA, ’82 BEd, of Mayerthorpe, AB, in February 2007 ’83 Edna Marie Woloshyn (Emms), BEd, of Sherwood Park, AB, in February 2007 ’85 Joseph Michael Magel, Dip(Ed), of St. Albert, AB, in February 2007

She went to teacher’s college and made enough money teaching to pay her way through the U of A. After graduation Anderson moved to Toronto to begin a career in journalism. She worked in magazines, radio and advertising before becoming editorial assistant in the advertising promotion department at Chatelaine. Six years later she was appointed editor, a job she was given only after she had threatened to quit if management hired another man for the position. At Chatelaine Anderson gave readers the recipes and beauty and parenting tips they expected, but also investigative pieces on issues vital to women, including abortion, birth control, and discriminatory divorce laws. She pushed for a royal commission on the status of women, and through editorials and articles exposed horrors such as child abuse and racism. Under her leadership circulation more than quadrupled by the late 1960s to 1.8 million readers while providing a way to get feminist ideas to Canadian women.

Four members of the Hermansen family died in a terrible car crash near Revelstoke, B.C., in October. They were travelling together to Revelstoke where Andy Hermansen, ’71 BA, and his wife, Sylvia Anne Hermansen (Prodaniuk), ’71 BA, of Calgary, were planning to retire. Their nephew W. David Hermansen, ’93 BA, and his wife, Mia Lynn Hermansen (Shragge), ’87 BA, of Canmore, leave behind two young children. They are also survived by U of A alumni Michael Hermansen, ’60 BSc(Eng), a brother of Andy, and Dan Hermansen, ’88 BA, a nephew of Andy and cousin to David.

’86 R. Gordon Ness, LLB, of Edmonton, AB, in February 2007 ’87 Anne (Barbara) Burrows, LLD (Honorary), of Edmonton, AB, in February 2007 ’94 Trudy Lyn Sorensen-Diaz, BSc, of Pensacola, FL, in February 2007 ’97 Memory Anne Jimmy Marshall (Dimitriou), BSc, ’99 BSc, of Calgary, AB, in January 2007 ’99 Andrew Peter Starzyk, BCom, of Edmonton, AB, in January 2007 Todd Ryan Liske, BCom, of Edmonton, AB, in February 2007

Anderson quit Chatelaine in 1977 when she didn’t get the job as publisher. She ran for the Liberals in Toronto in a 1978 federal by-election, losing to the PC candidate. That same year, she published the first of three novels. In 1979, she became chair of the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women. She resigned in 1981 in protest over governmental interference in the work of the council. This initiated a chain of events that led to a new section in the Canadian constitution confirming the equality of men and women. President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (1982–84), chancellor of the University of Prince Edward Island

’02 Myra Jean Moore, BSc(Ag), of Edmonton, AB, in February 2007

’03 Cara Leanne Knowles, BEd, of Kamloops, BC, in December 2006

’04 George Edwin Dochuk, BA, of Burnaby, BC, in September 2006 *** Alumni interested in submitting remembrances about U of A graduates can send a text file to Tributes are posted on our website at

(1992–96), and chair of the Ontario Press Council (1998), Anderson’s impact upon Canadian women’s rights and Canadian journalism is unparalleled. She died in Toronto in March 2007 from a combination of pulmonary fibrosis and heart and lung problems. She is survived by her three sons and her extended family. Asked in a 2006 interview what she was most proud of, Anderson answered, “Firstly, having kids. Next, it would be Chatelaine. That magazine and I, we were made for each other. It was floundering when I took over and it was time to give women a new message. I had an amazing opportunity.” — Shelagh Kubish, ’85 BA

’97 Kingsley Leung, BCom, ’95 BA, recently moved back to Edmonton with his wife, Sari Leung, ’99 BSc(PT), and their twoyear-old son. Kingsley is the director of operations and business development for the Canadian Back Institute and is involved with the Edmonton Musical Theatre and the Broadway Chorus — “where we sing, dance, and act our way to utter silliness.” Kingsley attributes much of his success to the U of A’s School of Business, saying that his professors, fellow students, and his involvement in student associations taught him that school “was more than mere grades — it was about networking, building confidence and gaining valuable experience.” Jason Marino, LLB, ’93 BCom, of Edmonton, joined the partnership at the law firm Bennett Jones LLP in March.

’98 Jesse Graham, BSc, and Sheila Graham (Soder), ’98 BA, would like to announce the December 2006 birth of their son, Ronan, a brother for Patrick. Jesse works for Fujitsu Consulting in Edmonton and Sheila is on leave from the provincial government. Bryan Morris, BSc(Eng), and his wife, Rachelle Morris, ’94 BA[Augustana], live in Edmonton and have three daughters — ages seven, four, and nine months. Emmy Stuebing, BA, began her career in fund development right out of university, working for three Edmonton charities. In September 2006, she started work as the fund development and communications coordinator for ISTAR (the Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research), an institute of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the U of A. “I’m really enjoying being back on campus and am very proud to work for the U of A!”

’99 Wade Clark, LLB, recently moved back to Edmonton with his family to take a position with Alberta Justice in its environmental law section after spending seven years in private practice in Calgary.


’00 Joel Tennison, BCom, received his law degree from the U of Calgary and is articling at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Calgary. He intends to focus on securities law. His wife, Melissa Moulton, ’02 LLB, ’99 BCom, practises corporate commercial litigation at Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP in Calgary. ’01 Monica Chahal, BEd, ’99 BSc(Env&Cons), has been teaching science in an inner-city boys school in London, England, for the past four years. In association with Kings U, she has helped create and pilot a book to help underprivileged children enter medical school. Monica is working to get British teaching qualifications and is studying at the U of London’s Institute of Education, completing her master’s in education policy. Douglas Sadler, MBA, ’95 BA, of Edmonton, was recently named a principal at Veres Picton & Co., LLP chartered accountants.

’02 Kevin Delorey, BEd, recently completed his master of arts in integrated studies (specializing in community studies) at Athabasca U where he was a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Distance Education Research. He recently accepted the position of director of Community Learning Centres for Northern Lakes College in Peace River, Alberta.

’03 Gregory R. Bentz, LLB, ’96 BSc, recently became a partner at McGregor Stillman LLP in Edmonton. Charlene Hiller, LLB, is working at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP in Calgary as a securities and corporate lawyer. Carson Nattrass, BFA, received the Emerging Theatre Artist Award from the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association in September 2006. Based in his hometown of Winnipeg, Carson has taken his work across the country. Both on stage and on film he has worked as an actor, writer, fight choreographer, and stunt person. Currently he is developing a radio drama for CBC. You can catch Carson in Nova Scotia where he’ll SUMMER 2007

new trail


’04 Benjamin Block, BCom, was recently appointed a member of the board of directors of Snow Valley Ski Club in Edmonton. James Makokis, BSc(Nutr/FdSc), received a youth award at the 2007 National Aboriginal Achievement Awards held in Edmonton in March. James, from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta, was dismayed by the plight of urban Aboriginals when he first left the reserve to move to Edmonton. Determined to help his community, he joined youth committees, got involved in health and wellness initiatives, and started working toward a career in medicine. The National Aboriginal Achievement Awards were created in 1994 to celebrate and promote positive role models to Aboriginal youth.

’05 Sarah Manduca, LLB, ’99 BA, of Edmonton, was recently named an associate at Parlee McLaws LLP, where she practises commercial real estate, securities law, and business law. Aaron Schulha, BPE, was recently named head coach of the Red Deer College men’s volleyball team. Aaron is quite an accomplished athlete — he played three seasons at Red Deer, winning three Canadian College Athletics Association titles, before joining the U of A Golden Bears volleyball program in 2003. He spent two years at the U of A and was co-captain of the Bears team that won the CIS gold medal in 2004-05. After playing in Denmark for a season he returned to the U of A in 2006-07 as an assistant coach to the Bears volleyball team. Several graduates of the Business School at the U of A are now working as business advisors at KPMG in Edmonton and recently passed their final examinations to be designated chartered accountants. They are Lawrence J. Eade, ’05, Simon Kan, ’05, Chenelle Beck, ’03, Sarah E. Scott, ’05, Scott Manson, ’05, Steven Carlstrom, ’04, Jacob Coonan, ’04, and Lawson Branch, ’04.


new trail


The night Ava Karvonen, ’92 BA (RecAdmin), arrived in Afghanistan to shoot footage for a documentary about the sacrifices made by military families, seven rockets landed on the base in Kandahar, and Ava had an insider’s view into the stresses of a military tour, stresses soldiers often hide from the people they leave back home. Ava, founder and executive producer of Reel Girls Media, had already spent a few months getting to know five soldiers and their families back in Edmonton in preparation for filming the documentary, called Homecoming.

Cour tesy of CARAS/iPhoto Inc.

be part of Festival Antigonish’s repertory company this summer and catch even more of him in the fall of 2007 when he will be playing the lead in The Full Monty for Ground Zero Theatre in Calgary.

“I had no idea how stressful this tour was going to be for the families,” says Ava. Though they aren’t usually recognized for their contributions to a tour, she calls the family members left behind heroes for the support they provide to their soldiers and to this country as a whole. “They are under-appreciated links in the mission to keep our soldiers on task in a treacherous war zone.” The show, which won awards at the Alberta Film and TV Awards and Hamburg's World Media Festival, aired on Global television and can

be viewed through the website at shows/globalcurrents/index.html.

Leela Gilday, ’97 BMus, won a 2007 Juno Award in the Best Aboriginal Recording of the Year category for Sedze, which means “my heart” in the North Slavey language of the N.W.T. With a hint of excitement still in her voice, Leela describes the whole Juno experience as being “absolutely incredible.” When asked what it was like to hear her

name called after the famous opening of the envelope, Leela says it was overwhelming, a huge surprise — “a shocker.” “These songs were very close to my heart, and it was incredible to be recognized by the industry for this work,” says the Vancouver-based singer and songwriter adding, “I was also very proud that my parents were able to be there with me.”

Time to get your hard-earned degree out of storage and up on display!

Display your degree with pride! Makes a great gift for a new grad

• Six styles to choose from,

all featuring a dark green mat with gold foil embossed U of A crest

• Canadian-made • Acid-free materials • Matching photo frames and custom sizes also available

For details and pictures of the frames visit To order, phone (780) 492-3224 or 1-800-661-2593 toll-free in North America. Save if you buy frames in person at the Alumni office (6th Fl General Services Bldg, U of A)

Health Study Clips Along


n the early ’90s, while employed by the National Cancer Institute of Canada’s research unit based at the University of Toronto, Tom Rohan came up with the idea of doing an ongoing, long-term study designed to gather information about the connection between lifestyle, diet, and cancer. His determination to move that idea forward resulted in an initiative called the Canadian Study of Diet, Lifestyle, and Health, and in the mid-’90s (and in a follow-up in 2000) almost 75,000 alumni from four universities participated. Among these were graduates of the University of Alberta where School of Public Health epidemiology professor Colin Soskolne has been the principal contact since the study’s inception. Participants were asked to fill out a detailed personal questionnaire as well as provide toenail clippings and hair samples. “Toenails and hair clippings are known to accumulate toxins that are diet and lifestyle related,” says Soskolone. “Toenails, for instance, can be used to measure trace element levels of things like selenium [necessary for cell function but toxic in high doses], while hair also can be used to extract DNA for molecular analyses.

So by storing these we have a method for validating exposures among our participants, and thereby glean a more precise measure of the body burden from specific toxins.” Much of the information collected during the original sampling has been computerized and is now archived at the University of Toronto, a task Soskolne describes as “a massive undertaking.”

“The establishment of such a rich source of research data will provide scientific information important to future research for years to come.” Another undertaking that’s been completed is the linking of the records of study participants with the Ontario Cancer Registry. Linking to Alberta’s and British Columbia’s registries is to follow. The Ontario Registry has shown that over the 12-year period of 1992 to 2004, 3,427 cancer diagnoses were identified among study participants. Ontario residents constituted 63 percent of the cohort group. Based on the 21 percent from Alberta who were sampled and the seven percent in B.C., it’s estimated that an additional 1,151 and 372 cancer cases respectively will turn up in these two provinces for a total of 4,950 cases. “The next step in the study,” says Soskolne, “is to determine what

lifestyle factors may have contributed to the cancers in study participants, including the association between the use of supplemental vitamin E, vitamin D, and glycemic load to the risk of prostate cancer and the association between smoking, physical activity, and hormone replacement in relation to breast cancer.” Research funding to pursue some of this data has been secured from the Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Initiative and the Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative, and the process of computerizing the baseline questionnaire data for the cancer cases, and a comparison group of cancer-free cohort members, is nearly complete. “The establishment of such a rich source of research data will provide scientific information important to future research for years to come,” Soskolne says. “And everyone involved in the project would like to express our debt of gratitude to those who participated in this project to advance cancer research. Stay tuned for future updates.” Although at this point there is no website for the ongoing study, participants who have any enquiries or want to update their contact information should e-mail

Colin Soskolne (left) and the envelopes used to collect hair and toenail samples (above). SUMMER 2007

new trail


tuck shop







Those Were The Days You could probably recognize yourself from a picture taken a long time ago. But can you identify someone else whose face you are most likely familiar with today? That’s what we’re asking you to do with the distinguished University of Alberta alumni pictured above. If you think you have the names that go with the faces, send them to us by August 10, 2007, and we will send out a prize to the person with the most correct answers. If more than one person correctly identifies all the people pictured or if there’s a tie, we’ll put the names in a hat and draw a winner. Good luck, and happy head hunting. Send your answers to New Trail, 6th Floor, General Services Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6H 2H1 or e-mail us at 60

new trail


7Centenary 2008 continents

Explore the world with us as we celebrate the University’s centenary with trips to all seven continents.

Cruise the Face of Europe August 25 – September 10 From $4,895 (plus air)


Learning on Location To celebrate 100 years of discovery at the University of Alberta, the Alumni Association, in conjunction with the Canadian Circumpolar Institute, presents a trip of a lifetime...

The Northwest Passage


Treasures of Southern Africa January 23 – February 5 From $6,095 (plus air)

Grand Tour of Egypt March 3 – 14 From $2,268 (plus air)


Celtic Quest April 29 – May 11

August 18 – September 7, 2008

Alumni College in Greece September 21 – October 1 From $3,095 (plus air)

From Budapest to Bucharest September 25 – October 6 From $2,466 (plus air)

Bella Toscana October 21 – 31 From $3,045 (plus air)

From $4,195 (plus air)

 South America

Alumni College in Ukraine April 29 – May 12

From $2,395 (plus air)

Alumni College in Peru February 14 – 21

From $2,145 (plus air)


he historic quest for the Northwest Passage inflamed the imagination of millions and occupied navies for centuries. Join us in the University’s centenary year as we begin sail in Greenland and trace the route of fabled explorers through the Canadian arctic, passing straits, islands and peninsulas bearing the names of those who charted this forbidding coastline. From $9,395 per person (plus airfare)

Imagining Tuscany May 26 – June 3


From $3,095 (plus air)

Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands November 6 – 17 From $4,395 (plus air)


Antarctica & the Falklands Expedition January 20 – February 5

China & the Yangtze River Oct. 1 – 13

From $8,110 (plus air)

From $2,745 (plus air)

 North America


Romantic Rhine June 7 – 15

The Northwest Passage August 18 – September 7

Australia Discovery February 13 – 24

From $2,099 (plus air)

From $9,395 (plus air)

From $2,895 (plus air)

Call 492-1835 or toll-free 1-800-661-2593 or visit

Profile for University of Alberta Alumni

New Trail Summer 2007  

University of Alberta Alumni Magazine

New Trail Summer 2007  

University of Alberta Alumni Magazine