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Summer 2021


Amazing, awesome, inspiring accomplishments

this year that have absolutely nothing to do with COVID-19 p.14

On the gridiron

Alumni Stadium turns 50. p.22

Green grad

Growing gardens and resilience. p.28

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22 14 28


14 Beyond the pandemic How U of G alumni, faculty, staff, students improved life in 2020-21

20 The fight against COVID-19



U of G research from vaccines and PPE to food security and the workforce



4 Leading edge 4 Letters 5 President’s message 31 Class notes

6 Around the ring


News and views from around campus

10 Discovery U of G research, innovations and ideas

31 Alumni matters 27 Alumni spotlights 30 New chapters, sights & sounds 34 Passages 37 Time capsule


Events, updates and class connections

22 On the 50-year line Alumni Stadium celebrates Gryphon and alumni pride

27 Making waves Meet U of G’s varsity swim coach

28 Improving life, one garden at a time Growing through the pandemic

38 Last look U of G’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic

Summer 2021  PORTICO  | 3

Letters Summer 2021, Vol. 53, Issue 1

Let’s get social! Stay up-todate on news, events and moments from the University of Guelph through these social media channels: @UofG @UofGuelph University of Guelph University of Guelph   Say hi and tag #UofG in your posts!   #UofG #ImproveLife Fall 2020


Accessible pet care for all

U of G veterinary programs in underserved communities. p.14

Health history

Lessons from pandemics past. p.21

Arboretum at 50 The green heart of U of G. p.24


2020-10-08 3:54 PM

Follow Alumni Affairs and Development:

@uofgalumni #ForeverAGryphon #UofGAlumni

in the “Last Look” article of the Portico fall 2020 issue about the cannon, I noticed that there was one part of the story that got a date incorrect. On March 23, 1998, the cannon was moved in the night down in front of the Thornbrough Building by the engineers. I know this because the school would post police activities of the campus on the centralized news server and, as I was enrolled that year in the engineering program and was proud to see what my schoolmates had done, I saved the police activity posting of that week talking about the cannon being moved. After the cannon was moved, all the paint was stripped off either that day or in the next day in front of the Thornbrough Building, leaving the cannon down to the bare metal. The “Last Look” story stated that in 2011, Dawn Johnston removed about 30 years’ worth of paint, when in fact it was at most 13 years’ worth of paint. —Brandon Gingras, B.Sc. (Eng.) ’02 as a U of G BLA ’89 grad, I was dismayed that the designers for Lang Plaza were not mentioned or credited in “Lang

Connect with Portico portico@uoguelph.ca  4  |  PORTICO  Summer 2021


Plaza to become natural gathering place” (Portico, fall 2020) – this despite the University’s own renowned landscape architecture school. Nice work, professor emeritus Maurice Nelischer, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, and Kendall Flower, BLA ’09, master of planning ’15. —Pat Harrison, BCSLA, registered landscape architect, JPH Consultants, Nanaimo, B.C. 1. if OAC is ranked #2 in Canada in agricultural sciences (Portico, fall 2020), who is #1? 2. Our class of OAC ’56 has had a reunion every year since graduation (except 2020 due to COVID). Can any other class match this? —Ken Graydon, president, OAC ’56 editor’s note: 1. among 2020 international university rankings, Shanghai Ranking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects named U of G No. 1 in Canada in veterinary science. Nationally, the University placed second in agricultural sciences – behind the University of British Columbia and ahead of the University of Alberta, all within the top 36 universities worldwide in the category. 2. The Classes of OAC ’51 and OAC ’53 have both held an unbroken string of reunions every year, including virtual gatherings in 2020 and plans for online meetings this year. See “Class Notes” in this issue for more.


Daniel Atlin, vice-president (external) EDITOR


Janice Van Eck COPY EDITOR


Deirdre Healey, Angela Mulholland, Rob O’Flanagan, Andrew Vowles CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Rob O’Flanagan, Laurel Jarvis Portico is published by Communications and Public Affairs at the University of Guelph. Opinions expressed in the magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or the University. FEEDBACK

Send letters and story ideas to portico@uoguelph.ca or by mail to Communications and Public Affairs, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont., N1G 2W1. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. ADVERTISING

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Compassion and community will guide return to U of G campuses



he world has changed dramatically since March 2020. Our campuses have been quiet; while essential services and research are ongoing, most classes moved online. There is little I have missed more than running into students and colleagues while waiting for coffee at the Bullring and University Centre. Over the past few months, I have invited students, staff and faculty for coffee virtually. I have appreciated the candour with which community members have shared accomplishments, obstacles and lessons from the past year. What is most apparent in our discussions is the compassion: students checking in on peers’ mental health, instructors holding additional online office hours and staff keeping colleagues inspired with humour. And I have seen that compassion extend to the broader community. When we called for volunteers for the community vaccination clinic at the University Centre, the response was overwhelming. As of May, U of G has vaccinated over 22,000 people with the help of hundreds of volunteers. U of G’s partnership with Guelph-Wellington-Dufferin Public Health and the Guelph Family Health Team is truly helping Improve Life. Our mission to Improve Life has also seen U of G researchers and alumni make important contributions toward prevention and recov-

ery efforts. Drs. Lawrence Goodridge and Ed McBean are developing a wastewater test that facilitates early detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. To address vaccine hesitancy, Dr. Maya Goldenberg is providing expertise on building trust in public institutions and health providers. And alumnus Attilio Di Fiore, B.Sc. ’92, is president of ATTWILL Vascular Technologies, a company testing a tablet-based COVID-19 vaccine that would not require transportation in cold temperatures like injectionbased vaccines. The University has also made strides on our long-term goals. Consultations to support the Strategic Framework refresh are well under way. The University’s budget plan was reviewed to ensure it will offset sector-wide challenges caused by the pandemic and maintain our legacy of fiscal sustainability. We have also implemented plans to further equity through the President’s Advisory Committee on Anti-Racism and the launch of the Indigenous Initiatives Strategy Report. As U of G nears the end of the academic year, my respect for our community and my optimism for where we are headed continue to grow. As we look to the fall, I am confident the compassion that has fuelled our resiliency will guide the eventual return of more students, faculty and staff to our campuses.

Our mission to Improve Life has seen U of G researchers and alumni make important contributions toward prevention and recovery efforts.

Dr. Charlotte A. B.Yates President and Vice-Chancellor porticomagazine.ca

Summer Fall 2020  2021  PORTICO  | 5



Improving global groundwater protection focus of $10-million gift Better protection of groundwater and water resource engineering. These supplies around the globe is the focus of awards have supported 39 students to a new $10-million gift to the University date. of Guelph’s G360 Institute. From this new gift, $4 million will The donation by long-time U of G support renovations and capital improvebenefactor Edward (Ted) Morwick is ments to the Bedrock Aquifer Field intended to support significant advanceFacility, which will be renamed the ments in infrastructure, innovation, Morwick Groundwater Research Centre. research and training. “The building will be for research and About 2.5 billion people worldwide education and will help in advancing depend solely on groundwater technology as it relates to for basic needs. Climate groundwater,” said Morwick. change, population growth and “I am hopeful it will play a pollution from human activvery significant role in proities are causing groundwater tecting our global groundshortages. water supplies.” The G360 Institute studies Another $4 million will groundwater and surface water support an innovation fund. interaction in fractured sediThe fund will be led by the mentary bedrock to ensure safe Morwick Chair in Sustainable Edward Morwick and sustainable supplies. Groundwater Research, to be The institute, to be renamed held by Dr. Beth Parker, as the Morwick G360 Groundwater founder of the institute and a professor in Research Institute, brings together more the School of Engineering. than 20 institutions in 10 countries As part of the gift, the College of through field-based research. Engineering and Physical Sciences and An honorary U of G graduate, lawyer, the College of Biological Science will cattle breeder and published author, each receive $1 million for summer Morwick has contributed to the student research assistantships in water University since 2010 through scholarand climate change research. ships in creative writing, aquatic biology 6  |  PORTICO  Summer 2021

The University of Guelph’s College of Arts (COA) and College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS) are launching an online bachelor of arts general degree. Registration for the three-year online degree is now open for the fall semester. Dr. Gwen Chapman, provost and vice-president (academic) and former dean of CSAHS, said she is “thrilled to see this program officially launch and excited to see the ways it will fulfill our mission to offer an accessible, inclusive and intellectually engaging environment for students to learn.” Dr. Samantha Brennan, dean of COA, said the online BA extends the University’s history of excellence in distance education and sharpens its focus on meeting the needs of students by providing more flexibility. Students may take a range of subjects across the humanities and social sciences and will be able to choose their path of study and their pace. They can also choose to take courses in-person at any point in the program. Students who wish to distinguish their degree can complete up to three certificates in business, communication, or public policy and administration.


U of G now offering online BA



New program rooted in Indigenous wisdom and practice

OVC tops Canadian veterinary schools in global ranking


Indigenous and non-Indigenous approaches to environmental protection will come together in a new degree program that is the first of its kind in Canada. The four-year bachelor of Indigenous environmental science and practice program (BIESP) will be launched in the fall. Based in the Ontario Agricultural College’s (OAC) School of Environmental Sciences, the program emphasizes Indigenous knowledge

systems alongside cuttingedge training in western environmental science. Intended for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, it will feature field trips to Indigenous communities and organizations, land-based instruction and participation in discussion circles and ceremony. Students will work directly with Indigenous communities and organizations on projects, and will learn from First

Nations, Inuit and Métis Elders and knowledge holders. The new program will embrace multiple ways of knowing and seeing the world to support transformational environmental science, said Prof. Jesse Popp, School of Environmental Sciences. Named as OAC Chair of Indigenous Environmental Science, she will play an integral role in teaching and program development.



Women in science focus of new lecture series

House Calls program revised for pandemic times

Fostering innovation and inspiring women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) careers is the goal of the new Tremaine Visiting Speaker Fund for Women in Science at U of G. The fund will bring women science leaders to U of G for week-long visits each year to speak and participate in research or outreach activities in the departments of Chemistry, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics, and the School of Computer Science. “U of G is a very successful university for attracting women students, faculty and staff,” says Dr. Peter Tremaine, professor in the Department of Chemistry, who created the fund with his wife, Karin.

Just over 600 first-year students received a friendly phone call or online chat as part of U of G’s House Calls program, which was modified due to the ongoing global pandemic. Run by U of G’s Student Housing Services, the unique program begun in 2016 involves staff, faculty and student-staff volunteers who typically pay door-to-door visits to new students in campus residences. They check in to see how students are doing and to share resources. Under COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s program happened online and over the phone and involved residence students as well as first-year students connected online through the Gryphons Nest program run by Student Affairs. About 112 volunteers signed up for House Calls.


The University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) placed fifth worldwide and first in Canada in the 2021 World University Rankings by the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) international education network. The ranking lists the world’s best universities for research impact and academic reputation in 51 academic subjects and includes some 1,300 universities from 80 locations worldwide. OVC held onto its fifth-place ranking from 2020; the college has consistently placed in the top 10 since QS first included veterinary science in its rankings in 2015.

Summer 2021  PORTICO  | 7

Around the ring NOTEWORTHY



Forbes ranks U of G among top Canadian employers

New faces of leadership

U of G holds virtual convocation

No. 1: That’s the position held by the University of Guelph as Canada’s top employer among higher education institutions and one of the best employers overall in Canada, according to Forbes magazine. U of G was the top university and fourth overall in the ranking of Canada’s Best Employers released early this year. In a Forbes article, Martha Harley, associate vice-president

(human resources), says a sense of belonging and recognition is key to employee satisfaction “We are renowned in terms of our various areas of research and study around the world,” she says. “To combine that worldclass piece with a community feeling is really a feat, I think.” The ranking was based on a survey of more than 8,000 Canadians who worked for organizations with at least 500 employees.

8  |  PORTICO  Summer 2021

Sharmilla Rasheed

Dr. Mazyar Fallah

Since early December 2020, two vice-presidents and a college dean have been appointed to help lead the University of Guelph. Sharmilla Rasheed joined U of G as vice-president (finance and operations) in December. Earlier, she was vice-president (financial and information services) and chief financial officer of St. Joseph’s Health Centre. On Jan. 1, Dr. Mazyar Fallah

Dr. Gwen Chapman

joined U of G as dean of the College of Biological Science. Previously, he was associate dean, research and innovation, in the Faculty of Health at York University. Dr. Gwen Chapman was named provost and vice-president (academic), beginning May 1. She joined U of G in 2016 as dean of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences and had served as interim provost since August 2020.


Presidential search recommenced The University of Guelph has recommenced its presidential search, naming a presidential selection committee and launching a community survey in support of the search process. In October 2019, the University had begun a search for its ninth president and vice-chancellor. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020 the University’s Board of Governors suspended that search and appointed Dr. Charlotte Yates to lead the University on an interim basis. Yates will complete her current term as president and vice-

chancellor on Aug. 1, 2022. The Policy on University Appointments requires that a presidential search begin at least one year before the end of the incumbent president’s term, and also provides that the incumbent may be a candidate. The search process will be led by a Presidential Selection Committee chaired by Shauneen Bruder, chair of the Board of Governors. A full list of members and other information is available on the presidential search website, www.uoguelph.ca/ presidential-search/.

About 5,000 new grads are joining the University’s alumni family this month through a virtual convocation. Under COVID-19 restrictions, U of G is holding a single online event for grads of all seven colleges, numbering nearly 3,900 students for summer convocation and 1,100 for winter. The June 24 event features a main video recording on the convocation website (www.uoguelph.ca/ convocation/watch) with messages from senior administrators, award-winning students, honorary degree recipients and international alumni. From the main website, grads will be able to access college videos to hear addresses by honorary degree recipients. A highlight will be a recorded roll call of grads’ names read alongside depictions of their submitted photos or videos. Earlier, all graduates were mailed convocation boxes containing their degree parchments along with items for their at-home celebration.



Learning forest goes global virtually How do you bring a small urban forest to students worldwide during a pandemic? Make it digital. In 2009, Dr. Alex Smith began using GigaPan photography technology to record weekly habitat panoramas in U of G’s Dairy Bush. The 8.5-hectare hardwood forest on the University campus is a research site for students in a popular biodiversity course in the Department of Integrative Biology taught by Smith and Dr. Shoshanah Jacobs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, they used 11 years’ worth of GigaPan images to create the Digital Forest, a virtual classroom that stands in for the real thing. “We are now working with GigaPan to make the user interface more accessible to more people, whether they are right next door or thousands of kilometres away,” Jacobs says. They expect to continue using the Digital Forest after the pandemic.

Brett Shepherd, B.A.Sc. ’04, MA (leadership) ’14, has been named director of U of G’s Ridgetown Campus. Dr. Natalie Carter, PhD ’15, Dip. ’98, is co-investigator of an ongoing research project intended to create new Arctic shipping routes that protect culturally significant marine areas that received a 2021 Governor General’s Innovation Award. David Drahos, BA ’14, was named as Atlantic regional affairs adviser to federal Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair.



New program teaches kids about endangered species Teaching children about endangered plants is the goal of a new University of Guelph program that aims to provide rare plants in zero-maintenance glass vessels to schoolkids across Ontario. Under an event called Conservation Through Propagation to be run by the University this fall, custom-made Living Glass orbs containing endangered Canadian plants will be sent to registered Grade 6-12 classes across Ontario. The project is sponsored by World Wildlife Fund Canada’s Go Wild school grant program and Living Glass, a new company founded by fourth-year biomedical sciences student Dennis Zhu. He is working on the project with Dr. Max Jones, a professor in the Ontario Agricultural College. A specialist in plant tissue culture, Jones belongs to U of G’s Gosling porticomagazine.ca

Sarah Douglas, B.Comm. ’17, will compete in the women’s Laser Radial sailing event during her first Olympic Games this summer. Dr. Gervan Fearon, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’81, M.Sc. ’84, has been appointed as the new president of George Brown College in Toronto. Patricia Tersigni, BA ’99, MA ’01, has been selected as campaign chair of the 2021 Guelph-Wellington-Dufferin United Way campaign. She helped lead the University’s recordbreaking UW campaigns in 2015 and 2016 as staff co-chair.

Research Institute for Plant Preservation, which uses micropropagation and cryopreservation to help conserve endangered plant species. Summer 2021  PORTICO  | 9



U of G researchers work to improve cancer treatments Cancer treatment may become more effective thanks to University of Guelph physicists who have developed an innovative way to accurately target radiation therapy. Radiation therapy aims beams of intense energy at a tumour to kill cancer cells. But if the ultranarrow beam is aimed inaccurately, it can hit healthy cells and “underdose” the target tumour. Led by Dr. Dennis Mücher, a professor in the Department of Physics, U of G researchers have come up with a technique called a “hadron tumour marker” to make proton radiation therapy more accurate. They tested the technique at TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for nuclear and medical physics in Vancouver. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada and half of all cancer patients are treated with radiation therapy. Cancer radiation therapy using ions, including charged particles such as protons, has become more widespread because it can target 10  |  PORTICO  Summer 2021

tumours and cancer cells with great precision. That makes it especially useful for treating cancers in delicate tissues like the eyes, brain or spinal cord. In a separate study, U of G scientists harnessed tumour-killing viruses that may one day help treat devastating forms of breast, brain and pancreatic cancer. A research team led Dr. Sam Workenhe has shown for the first time that a one-two punch of cancer-killing viruses and chemotherapy can help trigger tumour inflammation, stimulating the body’s immune system to control tumour growth. Workenhe, a professor in the Department of Pathobiology, said the study may ultimately help doctors enlist patients’ immune systems to fight cancers with especially poor treatment outcomes from conventional surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. “The implications of these findings for human cancer therapy are huge,” he said. “We wake up the immune system.”

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is all the rage these days, but it may not be as beneficial for weight loss and blood pressure as a moderate-intensity, more frequent exercise regimen, a new University of Guelph study has revealed. Researchers found that moderate-intensity exercise five times a week lowers body fat and improves blood pressure, but these health outcomes did not occur following a HIIT program three times a week. The study was led by Drs. Jamie Burr and Graham Holloway, professors in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, and PhD student Heather Petrick. “All exercise is good exercise, whether it’s fast, furious and infrequent, or slow, steady and sustainable,” Burr said. “But compared to infrequent interval training, daily moderate exercise appears to be more effective at improving blood pressure and blood glucose.”


Frequent, moderate exercise better for health



Early cannabis use linked to heart disease


Bee spotted in Canada points to climate change impacts A bee species recorded for the first time in Canada by University of Guelph researchers may provide further evidence that critical pollinators and other creatures are widening their natural ranges under climate change. The team members also say this first-ever Canadian sighting of the American migrant underlines the importance of maintaining a unique habitat in Ontario that has shrunk to a sliver of its historical size under urbanization, farming and other human activities. In a paper published recently in the Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario, the researchers describe their first-ever Canadian record of the hibiscus bee (Ptilothrix bombiformis). Janean Sharkey, a master’s student in the School of Environmental Sciences, wrote the paper along with Dr. Alana Pindar, a post-doc researcher in SES, and Dr. Nigel Raine, holder of the Rebanks Family Chair in Pollinator Conservation at U of G. The bee was found in the Ojibway Prairie Park Nature Reserve (OPPNR) in Windsor, Ont., in 2018. Sharkey said the find may mean the bee has taken advantage of climate change to expand its normal range from the eastern United States, although more research is needed to learn more. The OPPNR, a 65-hectare provincial park, is one of the largest remnants of oak savannah habitat in Canada. Despite its small size, it is considered a biodiversity “hot spot.” “It should definitely be a priority for conservation,” said Sharkey. “This area has a suite of other species of insects and larger animals and plants that are endangered and can only be found in these communities.” porticomagazine.ca


Is your PIN safe? How safe is your PIN passcode for using your debit and credit cards? U of G research suggests while many of us use PINs, or personal identification numbers, many times a day, few Canadians ever update their codes and others use the same one for everything. Solutions include digital wallets on smartphones or systems that compel user updates, but they’re not foolproof, said Dr. Hassan Khan, School of Computer Science. “This study offers compelling reasons why the research community should focus on developing new tools to assist users in remembering passwords.”

Using cannabis when you’re young may increase your risk of developing heart disease later, according to a University of Guelph study. In the first study to look at specific risk indicators for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in young, healthy cannabis users, researchers found increased arterial stiffness and lower cardiac function than in non-users. “Cannabis is really widely used as a recreational substance all around the world,” said Christian Cheung, a PhD student in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences (HHNS). “Scientists haven’t done that research with cannabis.” HHNS professors Dr. Jamie Burr and Dr. Philip Millar continue to lead studies of CVD impacts of cannabis use.


Mini donkeys bring farm to class Miniature donkeys are rarely part of class lectures. But Dr. Andy Robinson, Department of Animal Biosciences, employed them on his hobby farm this year as novel teaching aides in his animal and plant biosciences courses. “Donkeys are photogenic farm animals,” said Prof. Andy Robinson Robinson, who shared his experience in animal breeding and farm life in remote videoconference lectures. Other professors in the Ontario Agricultural College found ways to “bring the farm home,” including Dr. Mike Steele, who used videos and virtual farm tours for his dairy cattle nutrition course, and Dr. Katrina Merkies, who used virtual learning to teach equine management. Summer 2021  PORTICO  | 11

Discovery FINDINGS

Women’s voices needed for gender diversity, green companies

Dogs stressed without owners in clinic Asking pet owners to wait outside the veterinary clinic on visits during the pandemic might make dogs more stressed, say researchers at the Ontario Veterinary College. Clinics have sought to protect the health and safety of veterinary staff as well as patients with entry restrictions. The study found dogs separated from their owners during exams showed more physiological and behavioural signs of fear and stress than dogs with owners in the room. Solutions? Hold the appointment outside, if possible. Clinics with large, well-ventilated exam rooms could also allow owners to remain in the room where the dog can see them, even if they can’t stand close by, said Dr. Lee Niel, Department of Population Medicine and the Col. K.L. Campbell Chair in Companion Animal Welfare.

12  |  PORTICO  Summer 2021


A philosopher’s view of vaccines For people who hesitate over vaccinations, it doesn’t matter if they’re told that vaccines are safe for everybody. They need to be assured that the shot is safe for them. Dr. Maya Goldenberg, a professor in the Department of Philosophy, has become a “go-to” specialist in Canada and beyond on everything from vaccine hesitancy to safety of COVID-19 vaccines.  An expert in the philosophy of science and medicine, she has recently focused on why some people refuse vaccines or become wary of science – more or less the topic of her new book published this spring, Vaccine Hesitancy: Public Trust, Expertise, and the War on Science.  She says vaccine acceptance is less about vaccine science and more about people’s perception of social and government structures around vaccines.   For anyone discontented with government and institutional structures, that unease may be projected onto their view of vaccines, Goldenberg says.



Companies and organizations with more women on their boards of directors score higher on corporate environmental performance than those with less diversity, according to research by University of Guelph professor. The finding was particularly significant in industries with the greatest environmental impact, such as oil and gas and other resource extraction industries. “Women and men tend to have different perspectives on environmental issues, Prof. Jing Lu and my research suggests it’s important to have a mixture of those perspectives on boards,” says Dr. Jing Lu, a professor in the Department of Management. What’s more, with growing evidence that more socially responsible companies perform better financially, there is strong incentive for firms to think green as they recover. “It’s become clear that our society cares about environmental sustainability,” she says. “So there is pressure on these boards, and women board members tend to bring that perspective to the forefront.” Increasing the number of women in these important decision-making roles on boards of directors could be key to guiding companies to more sustainable recovery, Lu says, adding changes need to be made at the societal level. “The reality is that women still feel the pressure to tend to most of the child rearing and family care, even when they have full-time jobs,” she says. “So even though many have the potential to offer important contributions to these boards, they often cannot find the time.” Lu, an expert in sustainability accounting, calls for more mentorship for prospective women directors and more corporations pledging to increase the gender diversity of their boards.



Neonic-treated milkweed an ‘ecological trap’ for monarchs

Palm oil alternative good for human, environmental health

A commonly used neonicotinoid pesticide may harm monarch butterflies, University of Guelph research has revealed. The findings could help explain the recent massive decline in the North American monarch population. Led by U of G integrative biologist Dr. Ryan Norris, two studies examined effects on monarch caterpillars raised on milkweed treated with the insecticide clothianidin, which is coated on soy and corn seeds and taken up into the foliage. One study found poorer survival rates among caterpillars eating treated milkweed, although egg-laying survivors appeared unaffected. The other study found that larvae raised on treated milkweed were much smaller and lighter

than those feeding on untreated milkweed. Most of the corn and soy grown in North America comes from neonicotinoid-coated seeds, and much of the milkweed that monarchs feed on grows in agricultural areas. Even more worrisome for Norris is that monarchs may prefer milkweed grown in pesticide-treated soil. Monarchs lay eggs only on milkweed plants. The butterflies laid more eggs on treated milkweed than on untreated plants, although researchers aren’t sure why. Whatever the reason, the neonic-grown milkweed then becomes an “ecological trap” for the butterflies, Norris said. “Neonicotinoids have been shown to have both lethal and sublethal effects in other invertebrate and pollinator species, so we were not surprised to see that monarch larvae also seemed to be affected.”



Doctors sacrificing family life for work Work-life balance of doctors is severely impaired and has likely been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, a University of Guelph study has found. A snapshot of doctors’ experiences at a top research hospital revealed that they are overworked, overstressed and exhausted and are sacrificing their own Prof. Leanne well-being and life with Son Hing their families for their work. While doctors’ work may be satisfying, challenging and important, it comes at a great cost to personal health and family life, the study showed. Said Dr. Leanne Son Hing, Department of Psychology, “They don’t have much left to porticomagazine.ca

devote to partners when they get home, and they squeeze out as much time and attention as they can for their children.This means very little is left for self-care or sleep for themselves.” The study, co-authored by Rebecca Lee, PhD candidate in industrial-organizational psychology, was published in Frontiers in Psychology. Lee said the study recommends the promotion of a culture that supports excellence in research and patient care, as well as wellness for medical staff and healthy home lives for doctors. It concludes that hospital leadership should work to lessen unnecessary job demands, increase supportive job resources, recognize all aspects of job performance and encourage a work-life balance.

A discovery by University of Guelph food scientists could lead to a healthier, more affordable and more sustainable substitute for palm oil, which poses health and environmental problems. Palm oil is high in saturated fats, which increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Felling tropical forests for large-scale palm oil plantations, especially in Southeast Asia, destroys habitat and threatens biodiversity. The study is the first to demonstrate the use of a process called enzymatic glycerolysis to turn liquid vegetable oils into solid fats. Testing cottonseed and peanut oils to make margarine and peanut butter, food science professor Dr. Alejandro Marangoni and PhD student Reed Nicholson made solid fats with desired textural and structural properties. “Both the sustainability and health sides are important,” says Nicholson.

Summer 2021  PORTICO  | 13



14  |  PORTICO  Summer 2021


n a year that may have felt like You Know What was all-consuming, it might have been easy to lose track of the uplifting, one-of-a-kind, memorable and even amazing pursuits and achievements of the University of Guelph community. Here’s a roundup of some of our favourite accomplishments from the past year showing that our students, faculty, staff and alumni continued to do good and great things in 2020-21, pandemic or no pandemic.



Sustainability earns U of G global gold rating The University of Guelph earned a gold sustainability rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The independent global organization recognized U of G in 2020 for its sustainability efforts across academics, operations, community engagement, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.

Student-run MealCare project named as finalist for award MealCare Guelph, a student-led U of G project, was named as a finalist for this year’s Future Ground Prize presented by the David Suzuki Foundation. The volunteer group, founded by students Kiana Gibson and David Mahai, collects leftovers from campus food outlets and donates them to charitable organizations across the city. Some 16,000 pounds of campus-prepared food was diverted from landfills and donated to local charities in the last three years. Says Gibson: “As anyone who has eaten on the U of G campus knows, the food that is served here is absolutely incredible, and it made no sense to me that all of the chefs’ effort went to waste, especially when it’s perfectly edible.”

Student wins Terry Fox Humanitarian Award for wellness services In 2020, University of Guelph psychology student Wing Tse became one of 16 Canadian students from among 700 applicants to receive the prestigious Terry Fox Humanitarian Award for his humanitarian work promoting mental well-being. Tse’s monetary award will help with ongoing development of Smileage, the non-profit organization he co-founded to support young people facing mental health difficulties. Proceeds from its events and fundraising help to support programs at Toronto’s Stella’s Place, an organization that provides comprehensive mental health services to people aged 16 to 29 years. As a boy, he says, he had no understanding of the mental illness that broke up his family. But it took a huge toll on his own mental health and nearly left Tse homeless. “Ever since then, I have been really involved in the mental health community, not only to support myself because I was going through so much but just gaining knowledge on the subject in general.” porticomagazine.ca

U of G student named Inuk woman of the year Sharon Edmunds, a University of Guelph PhD candidate tracking an illness-causing parasite that threatens the health of Nunavut Inuit, was named a 2021 Inuk Woman of the Year by the Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada. She was selected by the non-profit organization for her work to increase testing for the trichinella parasite in walrus meat, a traditional food of Nunavut Inuit. “There are not many Inuit with PhDs,” said Edmunds. “I believe it’s so important to stay grounded in your culture, but I also think it’s important to ground yourself with western knowledge.”

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Grad helping save chimps in West Africa

Student launches group to support BIPOC businesses Fifth-year business student Nabeeha Pirzada led a student team that was among this year’s three winners of the Thinkathon Online Challenge: Our Digital Future C’est Ici. The world’s largest policy creation competition attracted more than 250 teams from Canada and Europe. The group developed BIPOC Capital, focusing on developing financial, digital and mentorship opportunities, including interestfree loans, for small and medium BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) businesses.

In 2016 and 2017, Dr. Ismail “Izzy” Hirji, B.Sc. ’10, DVM ’14, was the resident veterinarian and assistant manager of the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone. Over the past 15 years, a mysterious illness has killed chimps at the 140-acre reserve, more than 50 in all. Affected animals show loss of coordination, gas bloating, vomiting, diarrhea and disorientation – and most die. In early 2021, Hirji co-authored a research paper describing a new bacterial species linked to the disease. The team was led by researchers in Wisconsin who found the suspect microbe in tissue samples from sick chimps. Those samples arrived in 2016, thanks to the U of G grad’s extraordinary efforts to ship material that had been stored in freezers in Sierra Leone. After a planned police escort to the airport failed to show up, Hirji resorted to a private car and then – after the ferry turned out to be closed – a private boat to get the material to the airport. Across the ocean, the shipment was transferred from New York to Wisconsin, where his collaborator was waiting to unpack it. “He got them to the lab, and they were still frozen. The samples made it,” says Hirji, whose role was described in a New York Times article this year.

International project, award highlight impacts of DNA barcoding Helping to eradicate malaria while preserving local ecosystems in Ghana is the long-term goal of Target Malaria, an international research project involving University of Guelph scientists. The researchers will use DNA barcoding technology developed here to identify insect species from the West African country and help construct food webs connecting insects and their diverse predators.

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By understanding what eats what, the Target Malaria team aims to genetically control diseasecarrying mosquitoes while maintaining normal prey-predator relations. U of G-developed DNA barcoding was recognized this year with the international MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity for Dr. Paul Hebert, director of the University’s Centre for Biodiversity Genomics.

Documenting human rights for Down syndrome This year, U of G graduate and award-winning photojournalist Vanessa Tignanelli was selected for a volunteer assignment with Photographers Without Borders (PWB). She will spend about 10 days in November focusing her camera lens on families of children with Down syndrome in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan. There, says Tignanelli, “society is not kind to people with Down syndrome.”

English prof named Fulbright scholar Dr. Christine Bold, a professor in the University of Guelph’s School of English and Theatre Studies, was named a Fulbright scholar for the 2020-21 academic year. A self-described settler scholar, she was hosted by the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., where she studied Indigenous performers who travelled the world at the turn of the 20th century.

Many parents hide their children at home or put them up for adoption or place them into institutions, often on a doctor’s advice. PWB’s partner organization in Kyrgyzstan, the Sunterra Foundation, plans to use her work to raise awareness of numerous challenges, including ingrained stigma and lack of resources and supports for kids with Down syndrome and their families.

Heroism Award recognizes campus community safety officers Saving a life in sub-zero temperatures this past winter has earned a Heroism Award for two U of G campus community safety officers. On Feb. 15, sergeant Larry O’Connell (left) and special constable Mario Deschamps (right) spotted a 78-year-old man lying in deep snow near Cutten Fields after a fall. Doctors later said that without the officers’ intervention, the man would have died. The pair received their award from the Ontario Association of College and University Security Administrators.


Students form national group for diversity in veterinary medicine Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, three students in U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) have launched Canadian VIBE, a national non-profit organization for fostering diversity in veterinary medicine. Keisha Harris, Kayla Charles and Melanie Moore established VIBE (Veterinary professionals Instilling Black Excellence) in 2020 to make the veterinary profession more inclusive for Black people in Canada through mentorships, recruitment and financial support.


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Grad helps prepare device for pioneering Mars rover expedition As a scientist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, Dr. Chris Heirwegh, a 2014 physics grad, had spent nearly five years helping to prepare a high-tech instrument carried aboard the latest Mars rover. Perseverance touched down in the red planet’s Jezero crater on Feb. 18. PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry) is designed to help look for signs of ancient life on Mars. Along with a second device that looks for organic molecules, PIXL will give scientists a “bio-signature” of any fossilized microbial remains in the rock. Heirwegh and his JPL colleagues will analyze data and maintain the instrument from 300 million miles away during the rover’s planned three-year mission.

3M national teaching award for U of G educator Dr. John Dawson, a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, is one of 10 educators across Canada to receive this year’s 3M National Teaching Fellowship Award. Dawson is a leader in education research and is the inaugural faculty director of the College of Biological Science Office of Educational Scholarship and Practice, the only office in Canada focused on facilitating best teaching practices in biology. 18  |  PORTICO  Summer 2021

Researchers develop mental health program for farmers “In the Know,” a new provincial mental health program for farmers created by experts in the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, was launched early this year. The program aims to help farmers better identify, understand and cope with the many mental health challenges they face in their profession. Run by the Canadian Mental Health Association (Ontario), the program was developed by Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton and post-doctoral researcher Dr. Briana Hagen, both in the Department of Population Medicine.

Prof named one of Canada’s most powerful women Dr. Manju Misra, School of Engineering, was named as one of the Women’s Executive Network’s Most Powerful Women for 2020. Misra is a lead scientist at U of G’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre, which develops “greener” alternatives to petroleum-based products ranging from light-weight car parts to the world’s first fully compostable coffee pods.

Climate-conscious grad aims to shake up the establishment U of G alum Manvi Bhalla was named among Starfish Canada’s top 25 environmentalists under 25 in 2020. A 2019 biomedical sciences grad, Bhalla heads Shake Up the Establishment (SUTE), an advocacy organization she co-founded in her graduation year. The group, which includes U of G grads and current students, aims to encourage young voters to speak up and act on climate justice. In November 2020, Corporate Knights named SUTE executive members, including Bhalla, among its top 30 under 30 sustainability leaders.

U of G student spends pandemic helping homeless youth


Homeless youth are often forgotten, but U of G student Kartikay Pabbi is dedicated to bringing them hope. A founding member and part of the executive team of the Toronto chapter of Hygiene for the Homeless, Pabbi helped deliver 300 hygiene kits containing toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, feminine hygiene products and other items to youth shelters in the Greater Toronto Area in late 2020. “To be able to do this amidst a global pandemic and impact hundreds of lives, we were truly taken aback and humbled,” he says.

Student goes the distance for brain cancer awareness Haley Davis hoped to raise $10,000 this spring for Brain Cancer Awareness Week, but the bio-resource management student ended up raising more than $25,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation and the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. The Gryphon track and cross-country distance runner covered 150 km running from Guelph to Goderich in daily stints over a week in early May. Diagnosed in 2019 with a rare brain tumour, she has undergone surgery and radiation, including this past April. “It’s incredible how much support the campaign has received,” says Davis. “I keep seeing more people wanting to contribute. It blows my mind.”

To learn about other U of G highlights, visit www.news.uoguelph.ca. porticomagazine.ca

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IMPROVING LIFE DURING A PANDEMIC From vaccines and PPE to food security and the workforce, a look at how U of G researchers, scholars have helped understand and respond to COVID-19


e couldn’t recap the past year without mentioning You Know What. After all, it changed the world and the work and personal lives of all of us. Over the past year, U of G members did some amazing things to help us all understand and mitigate COVID-19, helping to improve life even in the midst of a global pandemic. University of Guelph researchers have repurposed innovations, conducted cutting-edge research and provided their expertise to provincial, national and global pandemic efforts. Confronting the virus was at the same time one of the University’s greatest challenges and one of its greatest moments, says Dr. Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research). “We recognized how vitally important our effort would be, how life-saving it could be,” he says. “The faster we could get projects up and running, the better it would be for our world. What we’ve achieved is truly remarkable.” Well over 100 U of G researchers have contributed their expertise to responding to the pandemic. Here are just a few examples:

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Searching for a vaccine A team in the Department of Pathobiology received $230,000 in provincial funding to develop potential COVID-19 vaccines, adapting research into using vaccines as cancer therapies. The technology uses a proven testing platform of viruses already used to develop cancer vaccines. By using live vectors to deliver the vaccine directly into cells, the approach ensures an appropriate immune response. The team expects a viable vaccine based on the technology to be ready for Health Canada approval in 2021.

Modelling the spread of COVID-19 Dr. Amy Greer, an infectious disease modelling expert in the Department of Population Medicine, began tracking the spread of the new virus early in the pandemic. Her lab group created a website that illustrates the virus’s spread across Canada (COVID-19 in Canada) by monitoring COVID-19 cases and deaths and tracking changes in case numbers. Greer also worked on other pandemic-related projects, including a $300,000 federally funded effort to forecast the near-term course of the

COVID-19 pandemic and a project that modelled the spread of the virus based on relaxing physical distancing measures in Ontario.

SARS-CoV-2 in pets In early 2020, some animals were found to be infected with COVID-19, and pathobiology professors Dr. Scott Weese and Dr. Dorothee Bienzle set out to understand why. In April, they embarked on a first-of-its-kind study to examine what risk COVID-19 in humans poses to pets and why some animals become infected while others do not. The researchers recruited pet owners with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test for the disease and tested their animals for the virus. They determined transmission of the virus to pets is not uncommon. The team also discovered the first dog in Canada with an active COVID-19 infection.

The pandemic and vulnerable populations The pandemic has disproportionately impacted vulnerable populations worldwide, including women and girls with disabilities. Dr. Deborah Stienstra, Department of Political Science, is leading a $2.5-million, federally funded research project to increase the global inclusion of women and girls with a range of physical, mental health, intellectual and other disabilities. The seven-year project is initially focused on the effects of the current pandemic on this largest minority of women in Canada and around the world. It will bring together academics, agencies and governments in Canada, Haiti, South Africa and Vietnam to work with policy makers.

Agri-food and COVID-19

Disease modelling expert Dr. Amy Greer

The University’s food and agriculture experts were significant contributors to a special edition of the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, focused on challenges faced by the Canadian agri-

at immunity passports, which might encourage more people to get the shot. But the idea might lead someone who’s vaccine-hesistant to “purposefully try to get the virus and go through the sickness in hopes to become immune.” Not everyone who contracts COVID-19 gains immunity, so this strategy poses a health risk not only to the individual but also to others.

COVID-19 and heart health links PhD student Kathy Jacyniak and Dr. Glen Pyle are studying COVID-19 and heart health.

food industry during the pandemic and what the future holds. Dr. Alan Ker, professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, co-edited the edition and seven of the 18 articles were written by U of G experts. Drs. Brady Deaton, John Cranfield, Getu Hailu, Alfons Weersink and Mike von Massow examined the pandemic’s effects on the pork, beef, grain and fresh produce industries. They also examined how pandemic shutdowns have affected the food service, retail and processing industries, food security, the food supply chain and labour issues.


Artistic innovations for challenging times More than 150 artists from more than 20 countries participated in U of G’s successful IF 2020: Improvisation Festival. Held in August 2020, the 24-hour event garnered some 2,500 viewers worldwide. Festival director Dr. Ajay Heble, a professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies and director of U of G’s International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, organized the “global community” event at a time when many arts and music events had been cancelled. In another arts project, enabling musicians to reflect on the pandemic and to showcase their work is the goal of A Sonic Tapestry, a nearly hour-long video curated by Dr. Alyssa Woods and porticomagazine.ca

Dr. Kimberly Francis, professors in the School of Fine Art and Music. The video’s musical compositions and a virtual roundtable discussion comment on the impact of COVID-19 on the music industry. “Our hope was to highlight the widely varied experiences – whether physical, emotional or creative – of Guelph artists, while allowing their music to draw us together to reflect, grieve and support one another through the pandemic and beyond,” said Francis.

Ethics of immunity passports Vaccine passports for COVID-19 are intended to help curb the spread of the disease, but are they ethical? Dr. Andrew Bailey, a professor in the Department of Philosophy, is leading a study looking

Treating or preventing heart damage caused by COVID-19 infection is the goal of biomedical sciences researcher Dr. Glen Pyle. He also aims to tease out why malefemale differences exist in heart injury and potential links to the coronavirus. He says the problem may arise when infection causes the immune system to go into overdrive and cause lifethreatening inflammation. “Viral infections do increase your risk for cardiovascular disease. Just because you recover from COVID doesn’t mean you’re free and clear. There can be longterm complications.” Pinpointing the cause of the damage could help in developing drugs and other therapies to treat the heart or the immune system.

Impact of the pandemic on the workforce Dr. Nita Chhinzer, a professor in the Department of Management, has consulted widely with media on labour force topics during the pandemic, including the challenges of the massive work-from-home shift, the ethics of layoffs through Zoom and paid sick days. Chhinzer, who has been appointed as advisory board member for Canadian HR Reporter, has also written commentaries for national publications on how the pandemic has impacted the workforce.

Festival director Dr. Ajay Heble saw Improvfest 2020 garner significant worldwide interest during the pandemic.

To learn about other U of G research projects related to the pandemic, visit the Office of Research website: www.uoguelph.ca/research/. Summer 2021  PORTICO  | 21




U of G students and other community members find multiple uses for Alumni Stadium, as here at Orientation Week 2017.


or 50 years, the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium has been a beacon of pride and inspiration for the campus community and beyond. Since opening in October 1970, the stadium on the northeast corner of campus has served as a hub of athletic aspiration and achievement and as one porticomagazine.ca

of the most active sports venues in the city of Guelph. The multi-purpose facility is so named because alumni were at the forefront of its development. A great many U of G grads have held an intense loyalty to the stadium from its beginnings to today, says Scott McRoberts, the University’s director of athletics. Alumni and others with special con-

nections to U of G continue to ensure its vitality. In particular, the contributions of former Gryphons football head coach Stu Lang have transformed the facility in recent years and sparked a renaissance in U of G’s football program, many say. “The support of alumni and donors has been huge,” McRoberts says. “The facility would not be what it is today Summer 2021  PORTICO  | 23


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Scott McRoberts, the University’s director of athletics.

“It’s probably the one facility that has the most community usage of any outdoor sports facility in our city.”

As a new post-secondary student and varsity athlete, Laidlaw stepped into his first training camp as the brand-new stadium neared its completion. He recalls feeling dazzled and overwhelmed. “I was an above-average football player. I played a couple of years and was so proud to be on the team,” says Laidlaw, who played under coach Dick Brown and became lifelong friends with many of his teammates. That 1970 squad was one of the best in the country and nearly went to the Vanier Cup, he says. “I remember my dad dropping me off for camp in August of ’70. There was a second-floor room under the stands with bunk beds, and that’s where rookies had to sleep. The stadium was just being finished and you got this sense that you had made it to the big time, that you were in the CFL or NFL, because in high school you didn’t have any of this.” One night during training camp, a

gale-force wind whipped through, Laidlaw says. The shiny aluminum bleachers had been set in place but not yet bolted down. The wind toppled them, sounding and feeling like “the end of time” to the rookies startled awake below. “The new stadium demonstrated that the University had a commitment to football and to sports in general, which other universities didn’t have,” Laidlaw says. “As a 19-year-old, to be in a change room that was brand new, with a whirlpool and a sauna room: it was the big leagues for a lot of us.” Football was all the rage in those days, said Dr. Steve Stewart, a St. Thomas, Ont., veterinarian, and a grad of OAC and the Ontario Veterinary College. He played five seasons with the Gryphons football squad, beginning in the late ’60s. He also chaired the athletics advisory council when the plans for a new stadium were being developed. Then, the Canadian Football League was cherished across the country, and every varsity player aspired to play in it, Stewart said. At a time when the Canadian professional game was at its height and university football was very popular, the old U of G stadium had outlived its usefulness. “The crowds were too big,” he says. “There was one incident where fans started throwing beer bottles on the


without that generous outpouring from people who have really strong feelings about the stadium and the important place it holds in the community. And it’s probably the one facility that has the most community usage of any outdoor sports facility in our city.” Over the half-century since the stadium was built – its construction cost $600,000, the equivalent of $4.1 million today – many momentous events and triumphs have happened here. “It’s been a hub and beacon for so many things over the years,”McRoberts says, “from world-class track events to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats calling Alumni Stadium home in 2013, to high school football on Friday nights, to the Toronto Argonauts holding their training camp here in 2016. And it was the home for our 1984 Vanier Cupwinning Gryphons, and it has hosted Guelph minor football and so many community track and field events.” Today’s stadium is part of a continuum of U of G athletic pursuits dating back to the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) football team of the 1880s. Young athletes who step onto the field today and experience a sense of awe over the splendour of the place share that feeling with athletes who were among the first users of the stadium. Bill Laidlaw’s love for and dedication to Alumni Stadium and the University of Guelph have been unwavering since 1970, when he was a first-year U of G history student newly recruited to the Gryphons football team. More recently, Laidlaw has been a U of G volunteer extraordinaire, including chairing the committee organizing Alumni Stadium’s 50th anniversary. The event was to have brought together hundreds of alumni in an unprecedented celebration, but it was postponed last year due to COVID-19. The celebration will occur perhaps as soon as this coming fall.


field and University president Dr. William Winegard wouldn’t tolerate it.” Stewart saved a brochure from 1970 about the opening of the new stadium. It includes the text of a speech by then director of athletics W.F. “Bill” Mitchell, who commented on the ultimatum that got Alumni Stadium off the ground. Mitchell said Winegard, who served as U of G president from 1967 to 1975, triggered the development “by suggesting that if we couldn’t accommodate the growing numbers of people who were interested in seeing our Gryphons in action, we would have to pack up the game.” That sparked the development of the new stadium, one that Winegard wholeheartedly supported. “Dr. Winegard was a great guy who did a lot for the University,” Stewart says today. “And he was really enthusiastic about sport. He provided the impetus to get this thing started.” The $600,000 cost was offset through a development fund, gate receipts and contributions from individuals and corporations.The alumni-backed Alma Mater Fund gave $20,000 of its $70,000 1969 campaign total to what would be the most modern football facility among Ontario universities, one with all the amenities – large locker rooms and rooms for coaches, well-equipped training rooms, a sauna and more. Stewart was a U of G student for eight years and the campus became his home. He is a also a long-time donor to the Department of Athletics – anything associated with the Gryphons, but especially the football program. “When I was a student there, football in the fall was the focus of the whole year and it spearheaded the enthusiasm on campus,” he says. “I continue to think that football is important to the life of the University and that’s why I continue to contribute to it.” Laidlaw has a similar personal attachment to U of G, one nurtured by football but also based in gratitude. porticomagazine.ca

Then U of G president Bill Winegard (front, second from left) and his wife, Elizabeth (third from left), were among the 1970 opening game crowd at Alumni Stadium.

Bill Laidlaw, No. 53 on lower left, joined the Guelph Gryphons football team in 1970.

“When I was a student there, football in the fall was the focus of the whole year.”

“I owe the University a lot because I was an average student and yet I managed to excel with all the support I received,” he says.“That set me on my way in life and I have to give back. That’s what you have to do – you have to support your alma mater because you owe it so much.” Named as winner of the 2020 Alumni Volunteer Award, Laidlaw

serves in several voluntary capacities at U of G. Currently, he heads a campaign to raise several million dollars for the performing arts on campus. “They took a risk on me and I’ve got to pay them back somehow.” Since 2012, Alumni Stadium has undergone a steady transformation to serve the community better – new turf and track, new lights, updated video screen and press box, the pavilion and landscaping in front of the complex along Lang Way. All have preserved the stadium’s history and legacy while modernizing and improving it. In particular, in recent years, the stadium has gone through an extraordinary transformation, McRoberts says, the result primarily of the generous support of a donor with a passion for football and a great love for the U of G football program. Stu Lang was a former professional football player for eight years with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos and the Gryphons head football coach from 2010 to 2015. He helped turn the Gryphons into one of the top university football programs in Canada during his six-year tenure, including capturing the Yates Cup in 2015, nearly 20 years after U of G had last won the trophy. Through their Angel Gabr iel Foundation, Stu and his wife, Kim, have given more than $25 million to Gryphon football, including funding for a 14,000-square-foot pavilion at the stadium. Completed in October 2017, precisely 47 years after the stadium opened, the pavilion added professional-calibre facilities, including a players’ lounge, a state-of-the-art locker room, a therapy room with cold and hot tubs, a study area for players, a boardroom, coaches’ offices and a game-day rooftop patio viewing area. Even earlier, a major expansion and renovation begun in 2011 added an eight-lane track and synthetic turf to the field. The campus road where the stadium is located is now named Lang Summer 2021  PORTICO  | 25


Former CFL pro Stu Lang coached the Gryphons from 2010 to 2015 and has been a major donor for stadium upgrades.

“It goes to show how important it is to reach out, make connections and build relationships.”

traditions and what alumni envisioned it to be,” McRoberts says. “There is nothing better than a homecoming game with 8,000 or 9,000 fans and a lot of students wanting to be up on that hill in their Gryphon gear.” Plans were all set for the 50th anniversary last October. But the pandemic dragged on and shut it down. Fortunately, the stadium has not sat idle during the pandemic. By observing

Alumni Stadium has been home to U of G varsity teams during COVID-19. 26  |  PORTICO  Summer 2021

strict COVID-19 prevention protocols, U of G’s athletic teams – football, soccer, rugby, lacrosse, field hockey and track – have trained and practised throughout the 2020-21 academic year in the stadium’s outdoor space. “It was truly a lifeline, more than ever, for these athletes over the past year. It was a safe place for them to train and be together at a time when they needed it the most,” McRoberts says. Laidlaw says the 50th-anniversary celebration is intended to show how important the stadium is to the University, its students and alumni, the wider community and the members of past football teams. Early this year, he said he hoped to have the 1970 team back to the stadium for the anniversary this fall and is eagerly awaiting the time when it can happen. “We will have a terrific celebration weekend with fellow teammates and friends, and with all the energy, emotion and awe that it deserves.” For now, he is focused on reflecting on what the stadium has become in recent times. “I think it’s just fantastic.You have to credit Stu Lang. Stu was asked by then head coach Kyle Walters if he wanted to do some volunteer work and he went on to become head coach and the University’s largest individual donor. It goes to show how important it is to reach out, make connections and build relationships.”


Way for the facility’s benefactors. “I had been wanting to build this while I was coach, to create a home for our players and alumni,” Lang said when the new facility officially opened in 2017. “Kim and I believe there are two classrooms on this campus: the traditional indoor classroom and the outdoor athletic field classroom. On the athletic field, you learn about dealing with challenges, handling success and pulling together with people who are different from you. That’s why we continue to support athletics at the University.” The Langs are currently supporting a major planned renovation at Alumni Stadium to be completed this year that will include a new fan entrance and improvements to the existing weight room to create a state-of-the-art performance centre. Alumni Stadium is now an iconic facility for the University community and the city in which it has stood for just over 50 years, says McRoberts. Until the pandemic hit in March 2020, as many as 250 Guelph community members, ages 5 to 65, used the stadium daily. “These are people sharing this one important facility, being active in what is truly a community hub. It speaks to the uniqueness of the stadium, its


Chantique Carey-Payne is championing a more racially diverse swim program.

Widening the pool


U of G head swim coach leading way for Black women in sport

The sensation of being immersed in water is something Chantique Carey-Payne, the recently named head coach of the University of Guelph’s swim program, has always loved. She took to swimming at age 3 as though she’d been born to it. Her athletic ability and intelligence drove her to perfection. Now she trains others to swim to the best of their ability. “I just love being in the water,” she says. “Just the feeling of it is something I find pretty fantastic. I don’t know why I loved the sport of swimming so much, but I just never got bored with it.” After a varsity career that saw her win numerous provincial and national medals, CareyPayne was named as U of G’s head coach in 2017. At the relatively young age of 27, she porticomagazine.ca

give me a chance as a very young, female Black coach was really amazing.” A multiple medal winner for the U of G swim team, CareyPayne was an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) All-Star in each of the four years she competed for the Gryphons from 2007 to 2011. She earned 11 OUA medals and eight national university medals in her varsity career. Her specialty was the butterfly stroke, but she also excelled in freestyle. After her competitive career, she began coaching with the Guelph Marlins Swim Club. She also served as a full-time assistant coach with the Gryphons and coached the Canadian Lifesaving Team. “With the U of G team, I try to make it as inclusive as possible, and I carry a really large team for that reason,” she said. “I try very hard to make sure everybody is equal on the team – everybody gets the same amount of attention and the same privileges, whether they are making the U Sports national standard or struggling to make it to OUA championships. Everybody is valued.” Carey-Payne longs for the sport to become more racially diverse, although it will take time and effort, she says. “There are very few Black kids who are swimming and very few Black kids who are looking at swimming when they come to university. Getting more Black people involved in competitive swimming is something I’m very passionate about.”

had become the first Black woman in Canada to be named head coach of a university swim program. “When I found out I got the job, I was so excited,” she says. “Being a head coach was my dream, but I never anticipated I “I TRY VERY HARD TO would reach that goal as early MAKE SURE as I did. Shock was my first EVERYBODY reaction. And then, I was so GETS THE grateful.” SAME While she had dared to dream AMOUNT OF of becoming a university coach, ATTENTION she understood the realities that AND THE SAME made fulfillment of the dream a PRIVILEGES.” long shot. As a Black woman, she knew that her race and her gender might limit her chances. “Being a female coach in the sport of swimming is not something that you see very often at higher levels. There are very few of us across all of Canada at the national and Have an idea for an alumni spotlight? Send us a note at varsity level. So for someone to porticomagazine@uoguelph.ca.

Summer 2021  PORTICO  | 27


U of G grad Ben Cullen and his dad, Mark, say the pandemic has sprouted more gardeners than ever.

In the pandemic garden U of G grad, dad team up to foster sustainable gardening practices

Two of Canada’s leading horticultural practitioners and communicators – Mark Cullen and his son, Ben – see one very good thing emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic: a sharp increase in gardening that has far-reaching implications for the well-being of the environment and people. Interest in cultivating gardens and landscapes had been steadily rising for years, says 28  |  PORTICO  Summer 2021

Ben, a U of G agriculture diploma graduate. Then came the pandemic, sparking an unforeseen spike in gardening that has the horticulture industry unable to keep up with the demand for seeds, soil, tools and landscaping services. “From what we’ve heard in the industry, they’ve never seen anything like what we’re seeing now in terms of year-over-year activity,” says Ben. “And I think


this trend could stick, because gardening is one of those things that once you start, you don’t tend to stop. I think a lot of these habits are here to stay in the post-pandemic world.” They foresaw some of those ideas in their 2018 book (Nimbus Publishing) called Escape to Reality: How the World Is Changing Gardening, and Gardening Is Changing the World. “We identified food, pollinators, native plants and other things as fast-moving trends a couple of years ago,” says Mark. “And then along came the pandemic and the trends just accelerated.” Ben says low-grade anxiety about food is coded into our DNA. Natural disasters, economic uncertainty and global virus outbreaks heighten that anxiety. “Gardening can help with that,” he says. “It’s a cathartic experience in terms of developing the capability to grow your own food and your resilience in life.” He adds that pandemic-bound gardeners now have more time on their hands at home. “They’ve been forced by COVID-19 to slow down. From a mental-health standpoint, when you look at what’s available to you – when you can’t go anywhere and there’s nowhere to spend money – it’s one of the best things you can do with that new-found time. People who are embracing gardening during the pandemic are certainly benefiting and will continue to benefit.” Mark says more young people are taking an active interest in sustainable growing methods, practising soil health and environmental protection and gaining practical skills to

grow food. In precarious times, those are good skills to have, he says, likening pandemic gardening to the Victory Gardens of the Second World War. “This interest is something they perhaps had before, but now it’s more intense.” For most of his own young life, Ben worked the soil with his professional gardener dad. In 2011, he completed his diploma at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus. His mother, Mary, is also a U of G grad, having graduated in 1979 with a degree in family and consumer studies. And his grandfather, Len Cullen, taught at the Ontario Agricultural College in the late 1940s. Mark is known across Canada as an expert gardener and awardwinning author, broadcaster and columnist (markcullen.com). Ben went on to study commerce at Dalhousie University, which led him into the food industry. In 2017, Ben joined his father in the family’s horticultural communications company, which aims to inspire others to nurture sustainable gardens and landscapes. Together, Ben and Mark work hard to simplify gardening for people looking for easy-to-understand answers to their questions about “green” growing. They recommend growing native trees, shrubs and flowers that require less fertilizer, pesticides and water than non-native plants. Native species are better adapted to local soil and growing conditions, they say. These plants have developed defences that allow them to live with other species, and they more readily propaporticomagazine.ca

Mark with an “insect hotel” for attracting native insects.

gate themselves through seeds. Native varieties also attract diverse insects, which in turn attract other animals, especially birds. “We really encourage gardeners to attract pollinators, the over 4,000 species of bees native to North America and other insects that are part of the pollinator universe,” Mark says. “It is so important to make a contribution to the pollinator corridor in your neighbourhood. Everyone can do it.” Ben says seed-saving groups help to preserve local plant genotypes and seed stock. Recently, and especially during the pandemic, small seed-saving businesses have sprouted across Canada. “It would be lovely if every garden got to that level of commitment to natives.” Growing sustainably requires looking after soil health year after year, says Ben, who last year on Father’s Day delivered a large contractor’s bag of


compost to his dad. Ignoring soil quality is the fastest way to fail as a novice gardener. Growing in “garbage soil” – like the subsoil of a new subdivision – doesn’t give your seeds a fighting chance. Many gardeners, and especially those gardening for the first time during the pandemic, worry about failing. Mark has heard those concerns ever since he began a gardening radio show out of Toronto in 1982. His first advice for beginners is to find the right state of mind – advice echoed by his son. “The whole act of gardening is a leap of faith from start to finish,” says Ben. Climate change is making growing conditions more difficult to predict, with more frequent dry spells and extreme weather events. But he says you can still rely upon recurring conditions through the seasons. “You have to have faith in the germination of what you sow but also have faith that good conditions are going to continue throughout the season and end in a successful harvest. What we tell new gardeners is, relax. Whatever you imagine the hurdles to be, they’re not that difficult to get over and not as high as you think.”

Chair supports sustainable food engineering at U of G Besides gardening, Mark Cullen pursues sustainability through his involvement as a board member with the Barrett Family Foundation (BFF). The foundation works with qualified organizations that impact education, environmental sustainability and humanitarian well-being, including the University of Guelph. In 2018, BFF supported the establishment of U of G’s Chair in Sustainable Food Engineering, the first of its kind in Canada. Bob Barrett, president and CEO of Polytainers Inc., established the foundation with his wife, Francine Rouleau Barrett, and their daughters, Kim Barrett McKenna and Rebecca Barrett. A long-time friend, Cullen joined the board six years ago.

Summer 2021  PORTICO  | 29

New chapters, sights & sounds

The latest books, art and exhibitions by U of G faculty and alumni


Oakville Galleries


2020 Governor General’s Literary Award Dr. Madhur Anand, a professor in the School of Environmental Sciences, has won this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction. She won for This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart: A Memoir of Halves. The experimental memoir focuses on immigration and storytelling through generations and is rooted in the themes of partition and divide. Dr. Thomas King, College of Arts professor emeritus, was nominated for a Governor General’s fiction award for Indians on Vacation.

U of G alumna Sally Frater was named executive director of Oakville Galleries in Oakville, Ont., in March. She earned a BA in studio art in 1999 from U of G and an MA in contemporary art from the University of Manchester. Before joining Oakville Galleries, she was curator of contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Guelph and artistic director of Centre[3] for Artistic and Social Practice in Hamilton. CANISIA LUBRIN / DIONNE BRAND

Windham-Campbell Prize


Gutter Child Jael Richardson, a 2010 graduate of U of G’s MFA in creative writing program and a 2003 BA alumna, released her first novel, Gutter Child, early this year. The book was shortlisted for the 2021 Amazon Canada First Novel Award. Richardson is the founder and director of the popular Festival of Literary 30  |  PORTICO  Summer 2021

University of Guelph alumna Canisia Lubrin and her mentor, U of G professor Dionne Brand, were among eight winners worldwide of the 2021 Windham-Campbell Prize for outstanding international writers of fiction, non-fiction, drama and poetry. A professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies, Brand was recognized in the fiction category for her novel Theory, which won the

2019 Toronto Book Award. Lubrin, a 2015 graduate of U of G’s MFA creative writing program, was honoured for her poetry collections, Voodoo Hypothesis and The Dyzgraphxst. SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA / SHANI MOOTOO

2020 Giller Prize Two writers and thesis advisers in the creative writing program in the College of Arts had outstanding showings in the 2020 ScotiaBank Giller Prize, one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards. Souvankham Thammavongsa won the $100,000 literary price for her short-story collection How to Pronounce Knife, her first work of fiction. Shani Mootoo, a 2011 MA grad in English and drama from U of G, was one of four other finalists for her novel Polar Vortex. BARDIA SINAEE

Intruder Bardia Sinaee enrolled in U of G’s MFA in creative writing program in 2015,

right around the time he was diagnosed with cancer. His studies helped him write through his treatment. His inaugural poetry collection, Intruder, published in 2020 by House of Anansi Press, explores the theme of encroachment, whether from cancer, COVID-19 or the internet. He completed the book during the pandemic.


Painting Award Painter Azadeh Elmizadeh, a U of G grad, garnered the 2020 Joseph Plaskett Foundation award in postgraduate painting, valued at $30,000. The Tehran-born artist and graduate of the master of fine art program at U of G in 2020 will use the award to further develop her art practice in Europe when international travel allows. DR. BARRY HEATH

Odyssey and Shammy Go to School Odyssey and Shammy Go to School, a children’s book by Saskatchewan veterinarian Dr. Barry Heath, DVM ’72, portrays the roles, training and needs of service dogs.


Diversity, held online this year in early May.

Alumni matters    ALUMNI NEWS


Please visit alumni. uoguelph.ca/events for up-to-date listings of virtual events returning in the fall and for in-person events as soon as we can safely gather.

Reasons to celebrate


e’ve made it this far together – with all the ups and downs over the past year, greeting June 2021 feels worthy of a celebration. We have been inspired by your enthusiasm and the chance to offer new virtual connections. Before the pandemic started, we heard from alumni that lifelong learning and professional development were of great interest. Our goal was to serve as many alumni as possible, although we could not have imagined Our Improve how quickly we Life Webinar Series welcomed needed to adapt to online delivery. more than We’ve learned a lot 2,000 alumni along the way and are participants pleased to report that over the fall and our Improve Life winter Webinar Series welcomed more than 2,000 alumni participants over the fall and winter, covering topics like how to ace a virtual interview, the science of gratitude and ways to maximize LinkedIn. The theme of our virtual Alumni Week is Connecting Communities, and this idea will continue to guide us as we plan for more ways to virtually connect with you over the coming year.

Our traditional Awards of Excellence Gala has been transformed into an online celebration of alumni excellence. We will honour our incredible alumni winners during a “Three Cheers Celebration” as part of the virtual Alumni Week (June 21-26) lineup. Congratulations to:

Save the date

• Mark Lautens, B.Sc. ’81, D.Sc. ’16 (Alumni of Honour Awards) • Bill Laidlaw, BA ’74 (Alumni Volunteer Award) • Yvonne Su, BA ’11, PhD ’20 (Young Alumni Award) You make your alma mater proud. If you haven’t been receiving our email notifications about upcoming events and professional development opportunities, be sure to update your contact information at alumni.uoguelph.ca/update. Have a safe and enjoyable summer – and let’s continue to celebrate our U of G connections throughout 2021.

Next year’s Alumni Weekend is scheduled for June 24-26, 2022. If you are celebrating a class anniversary in 2022, we are here to help. Leading and participating in a class or group reunion is a rewarding experience, and our team is available to support your planning. Please contact us at reunions@ uoguelph.ca, and visit alumni.uoguelph.ca/ alumniweek for more information.

Christina Crowley-Arklie, B.Comm. ’09, President, UGAA, and proud donor to U of G Jason Moreton, BA ’00, Associate Vice-President, Alumni Advancement, and proud donor to U of G


The Making Box U of G grads receive a 10% discount on live comedy shows and improv classes purchased online using the discount code IMPROV(E)LIFE.

Softmoc Enjoy 10% off regular and sale merchandise. Your online discount code at www.softmoc.com is 555000019356. Some exceptions apply.

U of G Bookstore Celebrate Alumni week with 25% off U of G spirit wear until June 30. Visit bookstore.uoguelph.ca and use code alumni25.

Visit alumni.uoguelph.ca/benefits for more exclusive offers. porticomagazine.ca

Summer 2021  PORTICO  | 31

Alumni matters


(above) Catherine Dang (below) Susan McDade


32  |  PORTICO  Summer 2021

Lifelong learning programs for alumni launched during the pandemic with an online course on pandemics and a webinar series focusing on a variety of professional and educational topics. More than 2,200 alumni registered for 15 virtual events during the fall and spring semesters. Alumni learning opportunities will be offered again in the fall. Please visit alumni.uoguelph.ca/ events for details.


Welcoming the Class of 2021 The Class of 2021 was celebrated online and welcomed into the alumni family with virtual interpretations of traditional Grad Week activities. One highlight of the week is the Last Lecture, which brings grads together to reflect on their University experience. This annual event features an address by a graduating student, a faculty member and a distinguished member of the alumni family. More than 500 students, staff and faculty tuned in to this year’s Last Lecture, featuring Catherine Dang, B.Eng., biological engineering (Class of 2021); Dr. Matthew Demers, Department of Mathematics and Statistics; and Susan McDade, BA ’86, renowned Canadian economist and energy expert.

Lifelong learning

Calling alumni making headlines Many U of G grads make the news headlines in Canada and abroad for noteworthy achievements and activities. Maybe you’re one of them with a recent appearance in print, on the air or in social media. Please share your stories with us and maybe we’ll include you in Portico or on the magazine’s website.

Dr. Matthew Demers

Connect with us by email at portico@uoguelph.ca.


the chief medical officer at Pfizer. She leads the company’s Worldwide Medical and Safety organization, whose 2,400 employees provide information on medication use to patients, physicians and regulatory agencies.


Marking its 70th anniversary this year, the Class of OAC ’51 raised $51,000 for U of G student awards for 2021 intended to foster leadership. The one-time awards will support six entering diploma students at the Ridgetown Campus, three entering undergraduate students in the Ontario Agricultural College and 10 OAC undergraduate students at convocation this year. “We set up the special 70thanniversary awards because my classmates and I believe in the old adage of giving something back, and we wanted to recognize and encourage student leaders and potential leaders,” says Clayton Switzer, former OAC dean and an Order of OAC inductee. “We also hope that we might be seen as an example for other OAC graduates to emulate.”


Jane Eliza Stark, B.Sc. ’80, has written Journeyman: William Garner Sutherland, The Formative Years (18731900). It follows the early life of an osteopathic doctor who developed the osteopathic cranial concept and is published by Roe House Press.

Yvonne Tremblay, B.A.Sc. ’80, has published Culinary Herbs: Grow, Preserve, Cook!, the sixth cookbook she has written or coauthored since 2001. She runs Quisine as a food, marketing and nutrition consultant, serves as a recipe developer and TV spokesperson for Foodland Ontario, and teaches in Georgian College’s food and nutrition management program.


John Domm, BAA ’07, has been named as band administrator for the Saugeen First Nation. Formerly he was chief of police at Rama First Nation.

André-Denis Wright, M.Sc. ’93, PhD ’98, has been appointed senior vice-president and provost of the Norman campus of Oklahoma University.

She tracks sow health and well-being using SIMKits whose computer vision allows for livestock monitoring. In early 2021, Aida Habtezion, M.Sc. ’93, took a leave of absence from her faculty position at Stanford University’s School of Medicine to become

Several members of the Class of OAC ’51 met in 2019 for their annual reunion. Front row, from left: Art Bennett, Don Rutherford, Don Huff, Arnold Brown, George Lustig. Back row, from left: Bill Weir, Ken King, Doug Mitten, Ross Cowan, Joe Maxwell, Clay Switzer.

OUR WEBSITE HAS CHANGED! A & C Photography is now at

www.gryphonphoto.ca Images available from 2004 to present

Carol Hochu, B.A.Sc. ’81, was named president and CEO of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada. Previously, she was president and CEO of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, and executive director of the Ontario Electronic Stewardship.


Madonna Benjamin, DVM ’95, is a professor and swine extension veterinarian in Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. porticomagazine.ca

For info or appointments . . . andersoncoats62@gmail.com Quarter_COATES_SUM2021.indd 1

2021-05-19 4:12 PM

Summer 2021  PORTICO  | 33

Alumni matters

Martin Haulena, DVM ’93, M.Sc. ’99, was featured in a docuseries aired this spring about the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre run from the Vancouver Aquarium. The centre runs the largest program of its kind in Canada. Produced by White Pine Pictures in Toronto, Wild Pacific Rescue aired in three one-hour episodes through late April on Cottage Life TV. Filming took place over 2019 and 2020. The series, Wild Pacific Rescue, follows “Dr. Marty” and a team from the aquarium as they track down and rescue wildlife reported to be in distress. In each episode, they work with four or five creatures, ranging from rescuing harbour seal pups separated from their mothers to disentangling fishing line from sea lions.

Matt Dixon, B.Comm. ’01, has been named chair of the Ontario Craft Cider Association. Dixon worked for a collection of wineries, craft breweries and cideries before fulfilling his

dream of opening his own cidery, the Niagara Cider Company. He has served on the boards of Wine Growers Ontario, Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc., and the Cool Climate and

Passages ALUMNI 1940s Mary (Molly) Nix, DHE ’41, Oct. 25, 2019 Hazel Westfall, DHE ’41, Oct. 30, 2020 Roger Cloet, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’48, March 31, 2020 John Jackson, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’48, April 11, 2020 Allan (Al) Wall, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’48, Dec. 4, 2020 William Fedorkow, Dip. ’48, Aug. 24, 2020 Margaret (Isabel) Cnoop Koopmans, DHE ’48, July 3, 2020 John (Joe) Leggett, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’49, Sept. 28, 2020 Hugh (Glen) Henderson, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’49, Oct. 26, 2020 David (Dave) Adams, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’49, Oct. 7, 2020 Kenneth (Ken) Hartin, DVM ’49, Jan. 21, 2021 Nicholas Colotelo, Dip. ’48, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’51, Nov. 19, 2020 Francis (Frank) Johnson, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’49, M.Sc. (Agr.) ’52, May 3, 2020 34  |  PORTICO  Summer 2021

Amira Mikhail, DVM ’06, lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she works for the federal government as the technical manager for operations for animal disease outbreak responses. In 2017, she published a book, Mission to Motherhood: A Powerful Story of Infertility, Surrogacy and the Journey to Becoming a Parent, with Calico Publishing. She writes: “I was reading Portico magazine this morning and thought: ‘I know there will be lots of Portico readers that will be enduring their own fertility struggles and perhaps my book could help them.’ Quite separate from my vet career, but obviously happening in parallel, I had two children via surrogates, sending my embryos from New Zealand to Canada where two Canadian surrogates carried and delivered my two boys, now 3 and 6. I wrote about and published my journey in my book in hopes that it would help others navigate the relatively mysterious world of surrogacy and to give those battling infertility some hope.”

Viticulture Institute. He lives with his wife, two children and dog in Fonthill, Ont.

2010s Charles-Étienne Ferland, M.Sc. ’20, and David Cheung, B.Sc. ’07, M.Sc. ’11, work with

1950s Joseph Drury, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’50, Jan. 31, 2021 James (Jim) Kearns, Dip. ’51, May 11, 2020 Gordon Philpott, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’52, Aug. 25, 2020 George Smith, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’52, Aug. 30, 2020 Murray Parker, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’52, Jan. 4, 2021 Fred Dobbs, Dip. ’52, June 23, 2019 Betty Stewart, B.H.Sc. ’53, July 11, 2020 Gordon (Mac) Coutts, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’53, June 14, 2020 Robert (Rob) Vanderham, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’53, Oct. 14, 2020 Donald (Don) Hatch, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’53, Sept. 24, 2020 Stuart Smith, Dip. ’53, Oct. 29, 2020 Jemima Danard, B.H.Sc. ’54, Aug. 10, 2020 Joan Caruso, B.H.Sc. ’54, Nov. 1, 2020 Brian Jones, Dip. ’54, July 24, 2020 Robert (Bob) Sheard, M.Sc. (Agr.) ’54, Oct. 21, 2020 Frank Holik, Dip. ’54, Nov. 3, 2020 Robert Bird, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’55, April 17, 2019 John Robson, Dip. ’55, Sept. 7, 2020 John McGuffin, Dip. ’55, Nov. 19, 2019 Mary (Mary Jane) Harding, B.H.Sc. ’56, April 5, 2021

Bugdex, a non-profit project led by the Natural History Museum of Denmark that provides a free, interactive guide to insect diversity and identification for mobile devices (dkbdigitaldesigns. com/bugdex/). Ferland is social media manager for the project, and Cheung is lead designer.

Michael (Mike) Zawalsky, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’56, Aug. 29, 2020 David (Dave) Scales, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’56, Sept. 27, 2020 Allen (Al) Gastle, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’56, Oct. 15, 2020 Frank Forbes, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’56, Jan. 19, 2021 Lois MacLeod, DHE ’56, Jan. 3, 2021 Frederick (Fred) Stewart, DVM ’56, Dec. 15, 2020 John (Gord) Hill, DVM ’56, Jan. 16, 2021 Sylvia Hearn, B.H.Sc. ’57, Oct. 9, 2020 Robert (Bob) Harrott, Dip. ’57, Oct. 8, 2020 John (Jack) Crozier, Dip. ’57, June 30, 2020 Mary (Ellen) Fex, DHE ’57, June 6, 2020 Kenneth Owen, Dip. ’57, Dec. 17, 2019 David (Dave) Snyder, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’58, Sept. 23, 2020 Edward (Ted) Asselstine, DVM ’58, June 18, 2020 Gerard (Gerry) Bayley, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’59, Oct. 29, 2020 Michael (Mike) Boyer, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’52, M.Sc. (Agr.) ’53, Nov. 13, 2019 Robert (Geoff) Rowberry, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’55, M.Sc. (Agr.) ’57, June 7, 2020

four seasons and in the Ontario Women’s Soccer League with Guelph Soccer’s Gryphons.

Jasmine Mah, M.Sc. ’19, is a Web content developer with Omni Calculator, which makes apps including the Vaccine Queue Calculator that she co-developed in early 2021 to enable users to estimate their likely COVID-19 vaccination date based on various factors. At U of G, Mah studied plants in growth chambers and greenhouses in the School of Environmental Sciences. Among other projects early this year, she was developing a new calculator to help greenhouse growers gauge horticultural lighting.

Ann-Carolyn (AC) Lang, B.A.Sc. ’19, has been appointed as a player/coach with Guelph Union of League1 Ontario women’s soccer. She led an advisory group looking to recruit more women coaches into the league. She played with the U of G Gryphons for

Eilish Neilly, BBRM ’19, is heading a cigarette butt cleanup called Butt Blitz in Uxbridge, Ont., as a volunteer with A Greener Future, an organization that promotes environmental preservation with local communities. A graduate in environmental management, she leads a team of nearly a dozen volunteers that had collected some 30,000 cigarette butts in Uxbridge by late April. After completing justice studies at the University of GuelphHumber in 2011, Jeff Martin joined York Regional Police. Also a graduate of U of G’s certificate in leadership program, he has been a police officer since 2005, a personal coach and a motivational speaker. He is the author of the children’s book Brothers from the 6/Sister from the 6: Role Models in My

Harold (Ben) McEwen, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’56, M.Sc. (Agr.) ’57, April 3, 2021 Charles (Charlie) Whitehead, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’56, M.Sc. (Agr.) ’59, March 9, 2021 Gordon (Gord) King, DVM ’59, M.Sc. ’66, PhD ’68, Jan. 7, 2021 1960s Fern Koenig, B.H.Sc. ’60, Nov. 16, 2020 Marcia Brown, B.H.Sc. ’60, July 31, 2020 Francis Winger, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’60, Nov. 26, 2020 William (Bill) Mulchinock, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’60, July 17, 2020 Benson (Ben) Riehl, DVM ’60, Jan. 8, 2021 Betty (Kathy) Johnston, B.H.Sc. ’61, Feb. 20, 2021 Robert (Bob) Bennett, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’61, Jan. 11, 2021 William (Bill) German, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’61, Dec. 12, 2020 David (Dave) Harman, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’61, Dec. 1, 2020 Robert Lush, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’61, March 17, 2020 Ross Veitch, Dip. ’61, Nov. 25, 2020 Andrzej (Andy) Kolski, DVM ’61, Oct. 17, 2020 porticomagazine.ca

Allan Mai and Cole Pearsall met at U of G as food science students. After graduating in 2018, they launched Acid League, a 30-employee company that makes wine proxies and other acidbased ingredients for foods and non-alcoholic beverages. Besides experimenting with vinegar at home, the duo worked on their project in the Guelph Food Innovation Centre on campus and took part in the business incubator program run by the John F. Wood Centre for Business and Student Enterprise in U of G’s Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics.

Community. Martin grew up in a tough Etobicoke, Ont., neighbourhood and is a founding member of the not-for-profit organization Brothas from the 6, a group of men raised in underprivileged neighbourhoods and challenging conditions around the Greater Toronto Area.

Audrey Budden, B.H.Sc. ’62, May 19, 2020 Glenn Powell, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’62, Oct. 29, 2020 George Johnston, Dip. ’62, Aug. 19, 2019 Ronald (Ron) Durst, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’64, Oct. 4, 2020 Norman (Norm) Powell, Dip. ’64, Nov. 18, 2020 Roy Robinson, Dip. ’64, Nov. 4, 2020 Paul Fanjoy, DVM ’64, Oct. 27, 2020 J (Warren) Staples, DVM ’64, May 17, 2019 Kuo Kao, M.Sc. (Agr.) ’64, April 29, 2019 William (Bill) Libby, Dip. ’64, Jan. 13, 2021 Allan Cohoe, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’66, May 13, 2020 Allan (Al) Knight, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’66, Oct. 4, 2020 Tony Damen, Dip. ’66, Feb 26, 2020 Harold Hodder, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’67, Dec. 3, 2019 Donald (Don) Macaulay, B.Sc. ’68, Dec. 5, 2020 Wesley (Wes) Ford, Dip. ’68, May 2, 2019 William (Bill) Taylor, BA ’69, Nov. 9, 2019 Otto Weninger, DVM ’69, Nov. 4, 2020 Frederick (Fred) Gilbert, PhD ’66, M.Sc. ’68, Nov. 2, 2020 Forest (Lloyd) Wieringa, DVM ’67, M.Sc. ’72, Feb. 11, 2021 Hubert Lue-Kim, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’61, M.Sc. (Agr.) ’63, Sept. 5, 2020

Lars Mueller, B.Comm. ’12, has gone all in-on his combat sports equipment business called Techniques. He sells a branded line of boxing gloves, headgear, shin guards and other Muay Thai equipment. The long-time combat sports fan started Muay Thai lessons at a Guelph gym during his undergrad.

1970s Douglas (Doug) Broughton, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’70, Feb. 29, 2020 Walter Carlson, PhD ’70, Feb. 14. 2021 Richard Wade, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’70, Aug. 24, 2020 William (Jamie) McIntosh, BA ’71, March 2, 2021 James Metzler, BA ’71, Aug. 20, 2020 Carol Peckett, B.H.Sc. ’71, Dec. 20, 2020 Judith Fleischauer, B.H.Sc. ’71, Jan. 26, 2021 Sundaram Venkataraman, PhD ’71, July 11, 2020 Brian Decker, Dip. ’71, March 30, 2021 Michael (Mike) Doersam, BA ’72, Aug. 4, 2020 Warren Gear, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’72, Sept. 23, 2020 Roderic (Rod) Eller, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’72, Dec. 23, 2019 Karen McDougall, B.A.Sc. ’73, Aug. 10, 2020 Christine Karcza, BA ’73, Sept. 2, 2020 Peter (Pete) Dowling, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’73, Sept. 6, 2020 Arthur (Art) Carefoote, BA ’75, July 2, 2020 M. Goddard, BA ’75, Oct. 26, 2020 Mike (Michael) Chadsey, B.Comm. ’75, Jan. 3, 2021 Margaret Sharp, B.A.Sc. ’76, Aug. 14, 2019 Summer Fall 2020  2021  PORTICO  | 35


Laurie Murison

research at the station, which was founded by Gaskin, a marine biologist, in 1981. He died in 1998. Murison helped create the Gaskin Memorial Museum at the station in North Head, which receives thousands of visitors each year. As part of her research to protect habitats and species, she conducted aerial surveys of endangered right whales in the Bay of Fundy that linked deaths of the mammals to shipping lane traffic. Her

Dennis Dick, Dip. ’76, Aug. 21, 2020 William (Bill) Logan, M.Sc. ’76, June 6, 2020 Carolyn Cooper, BA ’77, May 22, 2020 Douglas (Doug) Shaw, BLA ’77, Jan. 19, 2020 Gregory (Greg) Vukson, B.Sc. ’77, Sept. 24, 2020 Donald (Don) Noakes, B.Sc. (Eng.) ’77, Oct. 19, 2020 Cheryl Ballantyne, B.Sc. ’77, Sept. 3, 2020 Timothy (Tim) Sullivan, Dip. ’77, Nov. 17, 2020 Peter Dembski, PhD ’77, March 7, 2021 James (Jim) Thomson, B.Sc. ’79, March 27, 2020 Charles (Keith) Scotland, DVM ’79, Oct. 14, 2020 Alex McCorquodale, Dip. ’79, Oct. 10, 2020 Ian Archibald, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’72, M.Sc. 77, Jan. 9, 2021 James (Jim) Goit, B.Sc. ’75, M.Sc. ’76, June 21, 2020 Kenneth (Ken) Bridge, B.Sc. ’76, DVM ’80, Nov. 12, 2020 1980s Eric Henderson, Dip. ’80, Oct. 4, 2020 George Johnston, Dip. ’81, April 26, 2019 William (Bill) Szkotnicki, M.Sc. ’81, Sept. 18, 2019 36  |  PORTICO  Summer 2021

advocacy helped to move the shipping lanes in 2003; numbers of new whale calves increased over the next decade. She arrived at Grand Manan while studying right whales for her degree at U of G in the 1980s. Among her projects on the island, she helped lead efforts to protect and restore historical buildings, including the Swallowtail Lighthouse. She helped her husband, Ken Ingersoll, as a volunteer light keeper.

Allan Bodnar, ODH ’82, Dec. 22, 2019 Jean Julian, BA ’85, Dec. 1, 2020 Peter Lemon, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’86, Jan. 17, 2020 Laurie Murison, M.Sc. ’86, Jan. 3, 2021 Scott Jermey, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’87, Nov. 20, 2019 Joan Barham, B.A.Sc. ’88, Jan. 21, 2021 Yves Surry, PhD ’81, M.Sc. ’88, March 6, 2021 Sophia Podrozny, B.A.Sc. ’85, B.Sc. ’00, Nov. 12, 2020 1990s Hugh Murphy, B.Comm. ’90, July 2, 2020 Melanie Grein, DVM ’91, Sept. 27, 2020 Sarah Maddocks, BA ’94, Sept. 18, 2020 Cameron (Brett) Dakin, BA ’96, July 17, 2020 Gordon Hardy, Dip. ’97, April 19, 2020 2000s Richard Cressman, MBA ’00, Nov. 23, 2020 George Ewan, Hon. D.Sc. ’01, Dec. 7, 2020 Brie Aitkin, B.Sc. ’02, Dec. 7, 2020 Michael (Mike) Nielsen, B.A.Sc. ’07, Jan. 19, 2021 Alexander (Alex) Marshall, B.Comm. ’07, Oct. 10, 2019

2010s Daniel Calendino, BA ’10, Feb. 21, 2021 Katharina (Katie) Ellis, BA ’11, MA ’14, March 30, 2020 Michael Bennardo, M.Sc. ’10, Sept. 20, 2020 Melissa D’Ambrosio, B.Sc. ’11, Sept. 25, 2020 Anita Stewart, Hon DLaw ’11, Oct. 29, 2020 Krista Rowan, BA ’12, Aug. 29, 2020 Frederick (Fred) Ketchen, Hon DLaw ’12, Feb. 11, 2021 David Hoeg, BA ’13, Oct. 14, 2020 Thomas (Tom) Gutteridge, DVM ’13, Aug. 4, 2020 Katherine (Katie) McLeod, B.A.Sc. ’15, Oct. 16, 2020 Sean Hudson, B.Sc. ’16, June 7, 2020 2020s Jesse Benudiz, B.A.Sc. ’20, Feb. 17, 2021 Benjamin (Ben) Muus, B.Comp. ’20, June 12, 2020

To honour alumni who have passed away, the University of Guelph Alumni Association makes an annual donation to the Alumni Legacy Scholarship.


Conserving Atlantic whales and maintaining iconic lighthouses were among Laurie Murison’s passions during her influential research and teaching career on New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy. Executive director of the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station and a champion of marine conservation, the U of G master’s grad died Jan. 3, 2021. She was 61. After Murison completed a master’s degree in 1986 with then-zoology professor Dr. David Gaskin, she kept up ties with both U of G and her adviser. Many U of G graduate students carried out

A long-time volunteer on Grand Manan, Murison taught local students and visitors, consulted with the local fishers’ association on whale entanglement reduction, served as naturalist with a whale tour boat company, and created and installed educational panels along hiking trails. M.J. Edwards, curator and director of the Grand Manan Museum, told CBC Radio that Murison continued to chair board meetings and help with renovations through her chemotherapy treatment. “We accomplished more in the last five years at the museum than in the last 50,” said Edwards. “She never let anything get in her way. I don’t think anyone has touched the lives of islanders so many different ways as Laurie.”


Alumni matters

Time capsule



1964 Call it a hat trick for these Mac ’64 and OAC ’64 students. Their grad year marked not just the establishment of the University of Guelph but also a College Royal win for their combined square dance team for the second year running. Writes team member Graeme Hedley: “We had a great time, and it is always fun to win. After each win, we got to travel to Wingham to appear on CKNX TV.” Front row, left to right: Jackie McCoomb (married name: Dockstader), Carolyn Gardhouse (McDonell), Margeree Edwards, Mary Ellen Foote (Stewart). Back row, left to right: Graeme Hedley, Dave Van Loon, Bruce Hutchinson (caller), Dave Williams, Wayne Stephen.

Share your own College Royal photos at porticomagazine@uoguelph.ca. porticomagazine.ca



+ The provincial University of Guelph Act established the new institution. + Wellington College was created to offer degree programs in the arts and sciences. + Dr. John MacLachlan, a professor of botany, became U of G’s first president. + Dr. Hugh Branion, first head of the Department of Animal Nutrition, was named dean of U of G graduate studies.

+ The 18th Summer Olympics were held in Tokyo. + The U.S. Civil Rights Act was signed into law. + The Beatles played on the Ed Sullivan show as part of their North American tour. + American pilot Geraldine (“Jerrie”) Mock became the first woman to fly solo around the world. + Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) defeated Sonny Liston for the world heavyweight boxing championship. Summer 2021  PORTICO  | 37

Last look


“It’s like going to Disney but for a vaccination.” That was a comment from one of the thousands of grateful community members who received their COVID-19 shot this spring at the U of G vaccination clinic run in partnership with the Guelph Family Health Team (GFHT). Not that the clinic, which opened in the University Centre courtyard March 16, was offering the thrill of an amusement park ride, but that it was operated with efficiency and friendliness. By mid-April, the U of G clinic had vaccinated 12,500 people,

38  |  PORTICO  Summer 2021

helping Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health reach its goal of providing at least one dose of a vaccine to 25 per cent of eligible residents in the region by that point. By then, the clinic was vaccinating about 600 people a day, with plans to reach at least 800 daily injections into the summer months, says Ed Townsley, executive director of Hospitality Services and vaccination clinic manager. He expected total vaccinations at the U of G clinic to reach about 60,000 people by the end of June.

The weekday clinic is staffed by members of the GFHT and U of G’s Hospitality Services along with University and community volunteers. About 200 students, staff, faculty, retirees and community members have since assisted regularly. Says Townsley: “They really believe it’s the right thing for the University of Guelph to do.”


Campus COVID-19 clinic draws thousands of community members


FEAR OF MISSING OUT anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere.

Don’t miss out on anything – alumni perks and benefits, lifelong learning opportunities, networking events, and much more! Update your email address and we’ll make sure you don’t miss a thing.


HIRE A UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH CO-OP STUDENT recruit@uoguelph.ca (519) 824-4120 x52323 • Students are ready to be hired from over 40 co-op programs including Business, Engineering, Computing, Science & Arts • Hire a student for 4 or 8 month work terms (program specific) • We support work-from-home placement solutions • In addition to the Co-op Tax Credit, your organization may be eligible for up to $7,000 in wage subsidies. Visit our website or contact us to learn more


Summer 2021  PORTICO  | 39

NOMINATIONS FOR 2022 ARE NOW OPEN The University of Guelph Alumni Association (UGAA) honours distinguished alumni and celebrates their accomplishments with its annual presentation of the Awards of Excellence. Do you know a fellow grad whose inspiring talents or achievements should be recognized?


To submit a nomination, please visit: uoguel.ph/aoenominations

PM #40064673

Profile for University of Guelph

Portico Magazine - Summer 2021  

The University of Guelph's Alumni Magazine

Portico Magazine - Summer 2021  

The University of Guelph's Alumni Magazine

Profile for uofguelph

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