UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS
Accessible pet care for all
U of G veterinary programs in underserved communities. p.14
Lessons from pandemics past. p.21
Arboretum at 50 The green heart of U of G. p.24
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21 24 38 29
FEATURES COVER STORY
14 Veterinary care, with dignity Improving lives for pets and people
21 Unprecedented? Hardly COVER ILLUSTRATION: JEFF KULAK PHOTOS: (THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM UPPER LEFT) COURTESY OF DIANA BOBO; RICHELLE FORSEY; ROB O’FLANAGAN: ROB O’FLANAGAN
Disease outbreaks over time VOICES
5 President’s message 34 Class notes
6 Around the ring
IN EVERY ISSUE
4 Leading edge 28 New chapters, sights & sounds 29 Alumni spotlight 35 Passages 36 Lives that improved life 37 Time capsule
News and views from around campus U of G research, innovations and ideas
32 Alumni matters
24 An outdoor laboratory Campus arboretum marks half-century
36 Lives that improved life Grandson honours lifelong learner
38 Last look Art history: The cannon
Events, updates and class connections
Fall 2020 PORTICO | 3
Fall 2020, Vol. 52, Issue 1 LEADING EDGE PUBLISHER
@UofGuelph University of Guelph University of Guelph Say hi and tag #UofG in your posts! #UofG #ImproveLife
Daniel Atlin, vice-president (external) EDITOR
Lori Bona Hunt ART DIRECTOR
Janice Van Eck COPY EDITOR
Andrew Vowles Members of the OVC ’51 hockey team celebrate their win in the 1947-48 OAC/OVC tournament.
Calling all OVC hockey alumni! Below is a message from Brad Hanna, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and a U of G alum, OVC ’89 hello, OVC alumni! I am working on a project to celebrate the 100th Ontario Veterinary College student hockey tournament. When OVC had its 150th anniversary in 2012, I made a hockey trophy for the students that turned out better than expected, being appraised at $53,300! Now, to celebrate the 100th student tournament, I’m making a large base for the trophy on which the names of all the 2,000-plus people who played for their classes will be stamped. The finished trophy will be displayed in OVC’s main building. Hundreds of OVC alumni have helped me to compile team lists going back to 1931, when the tournament started. However, some lists are incomplete or unverified by people who played for that class. I am
Connect with Portico email@example.com 4 | PORTICO Fall 2020
appealing to anyone who played hockey while in the DVM program to help check their class hockey player list in case I have missed anyone. I am listing anyone who played hockey for their DVM class team, and any DVM student who played varsity hockey between 1931 and today. For example, I hope the OVC ’42 grad who recently wrote to Portico will check his class list for me. OVC 1942 hockey player names to check: Gordon Baux, J.A.T. Behan, Bill Brisbane, Bill Cawker, Nelson Chiles, William Harvey Cowan, Robert Griesback, Peter Lingua, Donald MacDonald, William McCabe, Bernard McSherry, James O’Donoghue, Victor Prest, Alexander Rattray, Clement Reeds, Edward Rothmel, Jim Schroder, Danny Smith, John Sproule, David Thompson, Jack Thomson and Ross Walton. Please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deirdre Healey, Angela Mulholland, Rob O’Flanagan, Andrew Vowles CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Rob O’Flanagan 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
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U of G community remains united in improving lives
o you remember what life was like before COVID-19? So much of our world has changed in just a few short months. What remains unchanged is our Gryphon community spirit. As I begin my role as president and vice-chancellor this fall, I have been impressed and humbled by the support that our community members have provided to each other under new and often very difficult circumstances. As we emerge from this crisis – and we will emerge – we will draw upon U of G’s tremendous strengths. This institution enjoys an excellent reputation as a top comprehensive and research-intensive university that prioritizes the whole student experience, student success and student well-being. We also benefit from strong and long-standing relationships with government partners, donors, alumni and the broader community. Guided by our overarching mission – to Improve Life – I plan to focus on four key areas that will further build on those strengths. First, we will continue to strive for excellence in research, in teaching and learning, and in student success. We will continue to build international relationships, including attracting top international students. For all our students, we will emphasize experiential education that provides real-world opportunities to enhance their learning and research. Second, we must ensure the financial sustainability of the University today and into the future. Fundraising will continue to be a top priority for faculty support, capital projects and student awards. I will also emphasize the importance of collaboration and interdisciplinary thinking as one of our deep strengths that can spark innovation in academics, research and operations. A deep commitment to equity and diversity is foundational to our commitment to excellence. I aim to build a diverse and inclusive community through numerous initiatives including anti-racism training for students; a new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Fund; fundraising for scholarships for students from Black, Indigenous and people of colour communities; and a new EDI Action Plan. This work will be supported by a new president’s advisory committee focused on anti-racism and by Indira Naidoo-Harris, our AVP diversity and human rights. In pursuing these priorities, I will rely on our strong connections with community members, including our Gryphon alumni. While we may be apart for now, together we will remain united in improving lives. Dr. Charlotte Yates President and Vice-Chancellor Fall 2020 PORTICO | 5
Around the ring CAMPUS NEWS AND VIEWS
from left: U of G president Charlotte Yates; Prof. Lawrence Hill; Indira Naidoo-Harris, AVP (diversity and human rights). CAMPUS NEWS
U of G launches action plan to combat racism, promote inclusion “THERE IS SO MUCH WORK TO BE DONE — AT U OF G, IN CANADA, AROUND THE WORLD – TO HELP END THE CYCLE OF RACIAL INJUSTICE.”
The University of Guelph has a new action plan for addressing racism, hatred and discrimination, including a new presidential advisory committee and initiatives to promote equity, diversity and inclusivity. The action plan was unveiled this fall by president Charlotte Yates. It includes and builds on recommendations made by students, faculty, staff and community members who have advocated for change, especially in recent months. “Their hard work and calls for action were the impetus for our action plan,”Yates says. “The goal is to build on their efforts and bring together U of G’s Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) communities to advise and guide us in advancing real change on our campuses and beyond.”
6 | PORTICO Fall 2020
Working collaboratively, the President’s Advisory Committee on Anti-Racism will develop a policy to address racism on campus and promote anti-racism efforts.This includes identifying and addressing systemic barriers to full and equal participation on U of G campuses and in the University’s policies, procedures and practices. “U of G has a long-standing commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion on our campuses, but we have not done enough,” Yates says. Referencing the rise and increased visibility of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism in Canada and around the world, Yates adds: “The University of Guelph, like other public institutions, has an obligation to pay attention to historical and ongoing injustice and racism.” The President’s Advisory Committee on Anti-Racism will advise the senior leadership team about how to address racism and discrimination in the University community. The committee will comprise students, staff, faculty and community members, with at least 70 per cent representation from the BIPOC community. It will be co-chaired by Yates
and Prof. Lawrence Hill, a renowned author, advocate of racial equality and analyst of racial identity and discrimination. “We have an obligation to act, and to do so as quickly as possible,” says Hill. “There is so much work to be done — at U of G, in Canada, around the world – to help end the cycle of racial injustice.” The anti-racism action plan will also support and build upon successful Indigenous measures and actions that have improved student support, teaching and curriculum, research and scholarship, governance and the campus environment. “Working together, we aim to build a campus community where every member belongs, and is able to learn, live and work in an environment free of racism and discrimination,” says Indira Naidoo-Harris, AVP (diversity and human rights). “It’s time to take the lessons we’ve learned from recent events and use them to bring about action and positive change in our community.” Details of the anti-racism action plan are available online at uoguelph.ca/president/action-plan.
Jide Atilola founded an annual business scholarship. CAMPUS NEWS
Grad creates new scholarship, mentors students A new annual scholarship supported by a University of Guelph alumnus aims to boost opportunities for Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) students in the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics. Jide Atilola, B.Comm. ’08, launched the Atilola Real Estate Scholarship in Business for BIPOC students in the bachelor of commerce program. The student will receive a $1,000 scholarship, as well as mentorship from Atilola. “These students are the future leaders of this world and to empower them with mentorship and a scholarship is a dream come true,” he says. “It’s important for students to know that the University and the community are supporting them.” The first recipient of this scholarship, B. Comm. student Bila Souza, says the experience has been “incredibly meaningful.” Souza immigrated to Canada from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015 and enrolled in Lang’s accounting program in 2017. During their meeting, Atilola shared his experiences of being a Black aspiring business professional. “His generosity has inspired me to help others and serve our community,” Souza says. “I hope that I will be on the list of future donors to help future generations to accomplish their dreams just as Jide has done with us.” Atilola’s family immigrated to Canada from Nigeria in 1981. After graduating from U of G, he later returned to the Guelph area and now works as a real estate broker. porticomagazine.ca
Lang Plaza to become natural gathering place
Strong international recognition
Ongoing construction of Lang Plaza, a new outdoor meeting space for students on the U of G campus, is scheduled for completion in spring 2021. Offering green space and seating, the plaza will revitalize the entrance of Macdonald Hall, home of the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics. The 3,400-square-metre space will feature a remote-controlled firepit, a bio-infiltration garden and a water fountain named for Julia Christensen Hughes, former dean of the Lang School. A new ramp to the main entrance will improve acces to the building. “The design of Lang Plaza reflects the importance of well-being and connection to nature,” says interim dean Sara Mann. “When students return to campus, Lang Plaza will offer a natural space to relax and learn.” The plaza is part of a $21-million gift in 2019 from Stu and Kim Lang – the largest in U of G history – to elevate the University’s business school. The gift has also helped establish scholarships, faculty chairs and an innovation fund.
The University of Guelph made a strong showing in three international rankings this year. U of G placed in the top 50 among nearly 1,000 universities worldwide in the 2020 CWTS Leiden Ranking based on numbers of scientific publications and citations. Shanghai Ranking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects named several research disciplines at U of G among the best at more than 4,000 universities. U of G ranked 15th globally and No. 1 in Canada in veterinary science; 27th in the world and second in Canada in agricultural sciences; and 50th globally and third in Canada in ecology. The human resources program in the Department of Management in U of G’s Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics was recognized among the five best HR programs in Canada by Your Workplace magazine. “This is richly deserved recognition of the research excellence of our faculty and proof-positive of the global impact of their research,” says Malcolm Campbell, vicepresident (research). Fall 2020 PORTICO | 7
Around the ring
True colours: Despite the pandemic restrictions, U of G students are sporting some colourful school spirit. CAMPUS NEWS
A fall semester like no other Ever-changing provincial and public health directives. A potential second wave of infections. No current vaccine. A concerned greater Guelph community. These were among the challenges facing University of Guelph leaders as they planned the fall 2020 semester. “COVID-19 was and continues to be a complex, rapidly changing situation,” says Daniel Atlin, vicepresident (external). “It makes planning and decision-making incredibly challenging.” U of G – along with universities across the province – had to re-evaluate its approach for this fall semester. From late spring until classes began Sept. 10, faculty and staff created a hybrid model of instruction, with most courses being delivered remotely and only limited in-person classes and labs, all following public health and safety protocols. As a result, there are far fewer people on campus. About 1,000 students are living in residences and 8 | PORTICO Fall 2020
in family housing, compared to more than 5,000 in a typical year. Another 10,000 students are estimated to be living in the greater Guelph area. Some buildings are open only to students and faculty involved in face-to-face classes. However, the campus is open for all students wishing to study, with spaces designated in the University Centre and the library, following appropriate physical distancing and capacity limits. While it’s a quiet campus, there’s a buzz in new online learning environments and virtual communities. Numerous innovations were launched to ensure at-home, high-quality learning through new platforms and learning tools intended to offer a vibrant and varied educational experience. Faculty and staff in every college have embraced remote, interactive, multimedia models of online instruction to deliver engaging course material. “We’ve broken down the walls of
the classroom and taken that experience to their computer,” says Prof. Janet Beeler-Marfisi, Department of Pathobiology in the Ontario Veterinary College. The University also boosted efforts to safeguard student health and well-being, including launching an innovative and interactive safety campaign and developing protocols and guidelines. Student Wellness is offering vital health and wellness supports, both remotely and in-person, and Student Life has initiated numerous programs to engage and support students. “We were disappointed that we could not physically welcome most of our students back to campus,” says Carrie Chassels, vice-provost (student affairs). “However, we worked extremely hard to ensure that there are plenty of opportunities this fall for students to be supported, to get involved and to stay connected.”
Financial supports for students as pandemic continues
Lysa Porth has been appointed dean of the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics. She was formerly an associate dean in the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba.
U of G provided $4 million in new funding to support international students and reduced student compulsory fees during the COVID-19 pandemic. New one-time tuition credits and bursary and scholarship support for international students followed enhancements to emergency bursaries made in the winter and spring 2020 semesters. The University provided residence spaces to international
students who were unable to leave the country when the pandemic started, and offered counselling, wellness and accessibility services. “We recognize the challenges that many of our international students are facing during this crisis and so we are taking these further actions to help them continue their studies,” says Stuart McCook, assistant vice-president (international). The University reduced fall semester compulsory fees by 30-40 per cent and pursued innovative ways to provide quality student services online and through alternative platforms. For new and returning students, the University provides programs and supports ranging from health services to academic and career services. porticomagazine.ca
Grads receive convocation keepsake boxes COVID-19 forced postponement of in-person summer convocation ceremonies at U of G, but the University still marked the occasion for its Guelph and Ridgetown campus grads. All winter and summer 2020 graduates were mailed a convocation “keepsake box” prepared by the Office of Ceremonies and Events. Students graduating this fall will also receive keepsake boxes. Adorned with the University crest, the box contained each graduate’s degree, a souvenir program, a red and gold tassel, a congratulatory letter from the college dean and a biodegradable confetti cannon. An event ticket directed grads to a website for a video featuring the University’s outgoing president, Franco Vaccarino, and incoming president Charlotte Yates. “Our graduates will never forget the year when they had to move from on-campus and in the classroom to at-home and online,” says Ray Darling, University registrar. “I hope they have learned what is possible when we are challenged and how to turn a crisis into an opportunity.”
Cast of The Office gives shout-out to U of G grads Cast members from the acclaimed television series The Office offered congratulations to this year’s U of G graduating class. “Congrats on all your hard work and, most importantly, on your perseverance. You’re graduating during an unprecedented time,” says actor Kate Flannery. Along with actors Leslie David Baker and Brian Baumgartner (above), she encouraged grads to get busy and put their newfound knowledge to work to make the world a better place. The Office ran for nine seasons until 2013.
Jessica Bowes, M.Sc. ’07, will join U of G in February 2021 as the inaugural assistant vice-president (research innovation and knowledge mobilization). Baljit Singh, PhD ’94, has been named vicepresident (research) at the University of Saskatchewan. He currently serves as dean of the faculty of veterinary medicine at the University of Calgary. Jesse Popp has joined the Ontario Agricultural College as the Chair in Indigenous Environmental Stewardship. A member of Wiikwemikong Unceded Territory in Ontario, she holds a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Science. U of G graduate students Gordon Bell and Vicki Brisson were named as members of the inaugural Canadian Agricultural Youth Council. Animal biosciences professor Georgia Mason is the new director of the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare. Fall 2020 PORTICO | 9
Discovery RESEARCH, INNOVATION, IDEAS RESEARCH BRIEF
Dog bites more likely in cities City dwellers are nearly twice as likely to be bitten by a dog than people living in the country, and most of those bites involve an unleashed dog, according to researchers with U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College who surveyed more than 2,000 people for information to help prevent dog bites. Dogs are more common in rural households, but the percentage of dog bites in the country was only about half that in cities. Population medicine professor Jan Sargeant and PhD student Danielle Julien found 77 per cent of bites involved unleashed dogs. Seventeen per cent of bites were from dogs that were not vaccinated against rabies. Learning that dog bites are more common in urban versus rural settings is important because it spurs further inquiries into the causes, says Sargeant. “When you know these things, you can target messages more specifically. The more specifically you can target to people’s individual situation, the more likely it is to resonate with them and the more likely you are to effect some change.” The researchers set out to determine the 10 | PORTICO Fall 2020
differences between urban and rural communities in numbers of dogs, dog ownership dynamics and human exposure to dog bites, says Julien. “All are important considerations in the planning and implementation of public health strategies related to zoonotic disease awareness, prevention and control, and for the promotion of responsible dog ownership,” she says. Human exposure to dog bites is an important and often serious public health issue, Julien adds. “Some of the more important concerns surrounding the issue of dog bites include the repercussions of physical and emotional trauma experienced by bite victims, and the potential risk of transmission of rabies.” The main transmitters of canine rabies to humans are domestic dogs. “In Ontario, dogs three months of age or older are legally required to be vaccinated against rabies,” says Sargeant. “These findings will not only help shape public health measures related to preventing dog bites but also bring awareness to the need for the rabies vaccine.”
The mottled duskywing butterfly has nearly vanished from Ontario, but University of Guelph biologists hope to help restore the endangered species. Federal funding worth $825,000 will drive a five-year research project intended ultimately to reintroduce the insect. The goal is to reverse the devastating effect of habitat loss due to human development. The species was declared endangered in Canada in 2012, and lives in only a few small pockets in the province. “If it works, it will be a big achievement,” says integrative biology professor Ryan Norris, adding that he hopes the project will also yield insights about restoring other threatened creatures. He said no butterfly has been successfully reintroduced in Ontario.
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; RYAN NORRIS
U of G helping restore endangered butterfly species
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; CLEAN WORKS
Pandemic taking toll on women, girls with disabilities
Parental stress linked to low screen-time enforcement
Women and girls with disabilities face the highest rates of poverty and gender-based violence in the world, a problem believed to have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. U of G political scientist Deborah Stienstra will lead a seven-year study to learn about challenges for women and girls with disabilities around the globe and to identify ways to dismantle Deborah Stienstra barriers facing what is considered one of the most marginalized groups in the world. “By focusing attention, increasing knowledge and creating new opportunities with women and girls, we will create better inclusion,” says Stienstra, who is director of U of G’s Live Work Well Research Centre and holder of the Jarislowsky Chair in Families and Work. Supported by a $2.5-million federal Partnership Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the study will initially focus on the effects of the pandemic on women with disabilities in Canada, Haiti, South Africa and Vietnam.
Canadian parents under stress, including those dealing with COVID-19 pandemic pressures, are less likely to monitor and limit the screen time of their young children, according to a U of G study. Stressed parents are also more likely to use their own devices in front of their kids. The researchers found that when parents are under stress, household rules about screen time often go out the window. Moms and dads are not equal: mothers who reported high stress said they were more likely to use devices in front of their children
PARENTING STRESS INFLUENCED MOTHERS AND FATHERS DIFFERENTLY IN REGARD TO CHILDREN’S SCREEN TIME.
and less likely to monitor or limit their kids’ screen use, unlike highstress fathers, who were more likely to limit children’s screen time. Lead author Lisa Tang, a PhD student in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, says, “We found parenting stress does indeed affect how parents manage screen time but influenced mothers and fathers differently.”
U of G innovation helping with PPE A University of Guelph innovation is now being used to sanitize personal protective equipment for safe reuse. Clean Works Medical in Beamsville, Ont., and Pure Life Machinery are using “clean flow” technology developed by U of G food science professor Keith Warriner and post-doc Mahdiyeh Hasani. A portable disinfection device, the company’s Clean Flow Healthcare Mini kills pathogens using ultraviolet light, hydrogen peroxide and ozone. Each device can sanitize up to 800 N95 masks per hour and can also sanitize face shields and goggles. Clean Works adapted the U of G technology in April and was soon
serving 50 health-care institutions across Canada. The project is a partnership with a Niagara-area company and is supported by a $2-million provincial investment from the Ontario Together Fund. Fall 2020 PORTICO | 11
Discovery RESEARCH BRIEF
Monitoring river health in Indigenous communities
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Members of Blueberry River First Nations doing field training for ecosystem health assessments. Indigenous knowledge is meeting University of Guelph-developed technology to help assess the health of rivers in Canada.
STREAM project coordinator Chloe Robinson
two months using metabarcoding,” which is several times faster than methods that use microscopes to analyze single organisms, says Chloe Robinson, a post-doctoral researcher who is also STREAM’s project
coordinator. Many of Canada’s important but little-researched waterways are in lands where Indigenous peoples have lived for generations, Hajibabaei says. “We have partnered with Indigenous communities and seek their perspective to understand which sites are most important. So these partnerships have been invaluable to helping us study the health of freshwater ecosystems. “Without these groups, it would be impossible to access remote sites to do this research. We hope to create new partnerships with more Indigenous communities so we can broaden this research.” Data from the catalogued samples are shared with other STREAM project partners, including World Wildlife Fund-Canada, Living Lakes Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada.
PHOTO: (TOP) CATHERINE PAQUETTE/WWF-CANADA
Under a multi-year environmental DNA metabarcoding project, researchers are identifying organisms to gauge the health status of waterways in little-studied parts of the country, including areas where Indigenous peoples have lived for generations. The STREAM (Sequencing the Rivers for Environmental Assessment and Monitoring) project involves citizen scientists and dozens of members of Indigenous communities in collecting samples for data to monitor freshwater health. “These communities are well aware of the potential issues affecting their environment and they want timely and comprehensive access to biodiversity information, especially for freshwater biomonitoring.We can provide that using cutting-edge metabarcoding techniques developed at U of G,” says project lead Prof. Mehrdad Hajibabaei, Department of Integrative Biology, and a member of the University’s Centre for Biodiversity Genomics. Metabarcoding technology developed by his lab allows scientists to analyze DNA and identify numerous organisms at once. “We can turn around results to a community group within
Novel project to detect COVID-19 in waste water Looking for early warning signs of a COVID-19 outbreak on a university campus? Check the sewers. U of G researchers aim to test waste water to detect levels of the SARS-CoV-2 virus – released in human feces – from student residences. Detecting higher levels of the virus in the sewer system may help prevent outbreaks on university campuses, says food science professor Lawrence Goodridge. He’s working on the project with other U of G researchers and scientists at Laval University and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Previous research shows that the virus appears in waste water roughly a week before it shows up in a population, says Goodridge, director of the Canadian
U of G app could improve COVID-19 contact tracing
Prof. Lawrence Goodridge
Research Institute for Food Safety at U of G. “If we find evidence of the virus in waste water, it’s an indication that there is potentially a problem coming up. With that information, we can then take steps to take early action against that potential problem.” Engineering professor Ed McBean and student research assistants are now taking waste water samples at East Residence. By identifying the virus in communities, says McBean, the research could help target individual testing more efficiently. It could also reinforce public health practices from mask-wearing to handwashing, says Goodridge. “We appear to be the first in Canada to test a campus residence and use the data to try to make the campus safer.”
PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM: U OF G
Study predicts increased exposure to extreme heat in cities Rising temperatures from climate change and increased urbanization mean city residents will experience more extreme heat in the future, but how much more? A study co-authored by a University of Guelph researcher projects that more people will be exposed to intense heat due to increased porticomagazine.ca
greenhouse gas emissions and urban population growth. “A major reason that cities are often warmer is the built infrastructure – the paved roads and the building and residential roofs that absorb and emit heat, the tall buildings that retain that heat – those are major factors that make cities hotter than rural areas,” says Prof.
Scott Krayenhoff, School of Environmental Sciences, who co-authored the study with researchers at Arizona State University. The researchers calculated that population-weighted exposure to extreme heat will increase at least 12-fold by the end of this century. As much as two-thirds of the world’s people are projected to be living in cities by midcentury. Study findings may help planners and policy makers in adapting to climate change and in implementing urban features from street treeplanting to additional cooling centres.
A University of Guelph-led project may make contact tracing technology more accurate, helping to curb the spread of COVID-19. Smart Contact Tracing, a smartphone app, ensures greater accuracy and privacy than other systems while identifying recent contacts infected with COVID-19 and reminding users to maintain physical distancing, says engineering professor Petros Spachos. “The application we developed could be very useful as an upgrade to any contact tracing application available,” he says. Apps perform well on phones that are “visible” to each other but lose accuracy when the devices are in a pocket, purse or backpack. The U of G app uses machine learning to improve accuracy in “hidden phone” scenarios from about 56 per cent to 87 per cent. The app also “learns” to distinguish when the user is at home or in another private space and stops recording contact information there. The researchers have worked with a Toronto wireless communication firm on development of the app.
Fall 2020 PORTICO | 13
Veterinary care where itâ€™s needed OVC PROGRAMS AIM TO BROADEN COMMUNITY ACCESS TO SERVICES STORY BY ANDREW VOWLES ILLUSTRATIONS BY JEFF KULAK
For each of the past eight years, the Community Outreach Club at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) has organized and hosted animal wellness clinics at Kettle and Stony Point First Nation in southwestern Ontario. OVC student and staff volunteers have also offered the program at nearby Walpole Island First Nation for the past four years. Early in 2020, the group was preparing for its annual outreach visits. Then came the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns and other public health restrictions. Fall 2020 PORTICO | 15
“We were gearing up for our largest clinics when COVID-19 struck and it became very apparent that in-person clinics would not be safe or possible this year,” says clinical studies professor Shane Bateman, who helps run the program in collaboration with the First Nations as well as local veterinarians and pharmaceutical companies. “We elected to proceed with offering some services virtually, including parasite prevention. We used telemedicine to ensure members of the community – humans and animals – would be protected.” Noting that internal parasites, as well as fleas and ticks, can transmit disease from animals to people, he adds,“Parasite prevention was deemed to be a public health priority this year.” Partnering with Indigenous communities is just one example of a growing movement to widen veterinary care and community practice for underserved animals – and often overlooked clients – in Ontario and across Canada. Over the past decade, the cost of providing gold-standard veterinary care has risen significantly, as practitioners looked to apply medical research and technological advances for their patients. Those increasing costs have prevented large swaths of people and their pets from receiving even basic veterinary care – often creating a moral dilemma for practitioners looking to provide care for clients while ensuring a thriving practice for themselves (see accompanying story). A 2018 study in the United States found that one out of four households with pets experienced a barrier to veterinary services, mainly financial. The “money gulf ” is what one 16 | PORTICO Fall 2020
Partnering with Indigenous communities is one example of a growing movement to widen veterinary care for underserviced regions.
Prof. Shane Bateman
Dean Jeffrey Wichtel
Florida practitioner called it in a 2017 article listing the top challenges for veterinarians. In a follow-up article two years ago in the Canadian Veterinary Journal, U of G pathobiology professor emeritus Carlton Gyles found that a similar divide exists in Canada. Says Bateman, “Veterinary medicine is very focused currently on supporting the usual clientele, but we’ve neglected a whole segment of our community and population who in some ways depend on that human-animal bond even more than the average citizen does.” that’s all changing, says OVC dean Jeff Wichtel. An $11-million gift announced in fall 2019 is intended to effectively reinvent veterinary education. As the largest single donation in the college’s history, the funding comes from longtime U of G and OVC benefactors Kim and Stu Lang through their Angel Gabriel Foundation. With its connections to top-flight academics performing clinical trials and benchtop research on everything from cancer treatment to heart health to infectious diseases, the college always provides gold-standard health care through the college’s Health Sciences Centre, says Wichtel. But he and others want to train tomorrow’s grads to meet the growing need for affordable care for all animals, including societal sectors that have traditionally
been underserved.“We want our graduates to leave veterinary college understanding, ‘This is what vets do,’” he says.“This shift is a real moment of transformation in veterinary medicine and probably the biggest reframing of our curriculum in 20 years.” Named the Kim and Stu Lang Community Healthcare Partnerships Program (CHPP) – the first of its kind in Canada – this initiative will refocus teaching, research and animal health care to include that neglected sector. To do that, the college will develop partnerships with humane societies, veterinary outreach organizations and social service agencies working in community health care. Students will gain broader experiential learning opportunities, including a clinical rotation in Northern Indigenous communities. For the first time in Canada, graduate students will have a chance to focus their studies on community or shelter medicine. The gift has also led to the creation of Remy’s Fund – named for one of the Langs’ numerous rescue dogs – that will help subsidize medical expenses for underserved owners with animals in need. The Lang gift will also support capital improvements on campus as well as new positions, including a full-time veterinary director and an academic professorship or chair in the field, both to be appointed by early 2021. For Bateman, the project makes sense for many reasons, not least the blend of expertise on campus, from the Health Sciences Centre and related services, to the college’s “one health” focus that encompasses well-being of humans and animals, to the University’s strengths in interdisciplinary research and learning. “We have the right
expertise here,” says Bateman, now serving as the program’s interim director. “A lot of features make OVC the right place for this to happen.” Indeed, it’s already happening – including through those annual wellness clinics to First Nations communities in southwester n Ontar io. Working mostly with dogs – several hundred in all – and supervised by Bateman as faculty adviser, about 15 student and professional volunteers normally visit to provide an overall health check, as well as vaccination, microchipping and protection against various parasites. Clients obtain those services for less than one-quarter of what they might pay in a regular veterinary clinic – no small consideration, porticomagazine.ca
For the first time in Canada, graduate students will have a chance to focus their studies on community or shelter medicine.
says club president Taylor Morris, a third-year doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) student. “It’s not that the people living in these communities don’t want to care for their pets or don’t understand the need,” says Morris, who has also volunteered at pop-up clinics in Guatemala.“They lack access to veterinary care and money is tight, so they can’t afford it.”The club raises money to buy supplies and medications and relies
on support from pharmaceutical companies to keep costs at a minimum for families. Tracy Bressette, a resident of Walpole Island First Nation, says the virtual care helps ensure the continued health of her dogs. “They were able to provide medicine for my pets, which they desperately need because we have lots and lots of mosquitoes and wood ticks in this area,” she says. “So they really needed the heartworm prevention and so on.” Bressette says the service helps area clients, few of whom can transport their pets to the veterinary clinic in nearbyWallaceburg. Even the reduced service due to COVID-19 was a big help to many pet owners, she adds: “The fees are great compared to what a veterinarian would charge, and I Fall 2020 PORTICO | 17
think that’s where a lot of people really benefit.” After the virtual appointments, medications were labelled and packaged for individual animals. They were then bundled together and shipped to the health centres in both communities, where they were distributed by local teams. Regulations preventing veterinarians from prescribing medications through telemedicine have been relaxed during the pandemic, says Bateman. “Our pharmaceutical partners – Boehringer Ingelheim, Elanco and Merck – all stepped up and allowed us to deliver this important care in a unique way. It allowed our students the opportunity to learn so much about not only telemedicine but also how to work with First Nations people in providing health care for their companions.” Since it began, the program has seen 1,000 pets from 665 families. This year’s telemedicine effort served more than 170 pets. Christina Jobson, entering her third year at OVC, worked on the project this year from her home in Guelph. “It’s very different than the clinics we’ve run in the past,” Jobson says. “Not being able to run the clinics in the First Nations this year, but still being able to find a way to provide support to the communities, has been a really great experience.” The medications and preventive care provided remotely will help until the team can get back into the communities, she adds. Supported through the CHPP, the program not only provides care to animals in First Nations but also ensures OVC students have the specific knowledge and skills to extend animal health care to these communities, 18 | PORTICO Fall 2020
“There’s a significant lack of access to veterinary care in many remote communities. Some communities have zero access.”
DVM Linda Bolton
Prof. Katie Clow
Prof. Gordon Kirby
says Bateman. “Going forward, this type of work will be a core activity of the CHPP, and we will be expanding our impact in other communities.” This year, under a grant from PetSmart Charities of Canada, OVC will offer similar services through a new fourth-year rotation in Aroland First Nation, about four hours’ drive northeast of Thunder Bay. Currently, the closest veterinary service is provided by a practitioner from Sault Ste. Marie who runs a mobile clinic once every two months in Geraldton, about an hour away from Aroland.“There’s a significant lack of access to veterinary care in many remote communities. Some communities have zero access,” says population medicine professor Katie Clow. Beginning in spring 2021, about eight students will spend a week there with Clow, Bateman and other OVC members, learning from the community and providing programs including youth education and scholarships to enable youngsters to visit U of G. Biomedical sciences professor Gord Kirby says the program partly reflects growing student interest in serving wider communities.“They are very plugged in,” he says.“A lot of this is being driven by students’ desire to explore alternative career paths.” Bateman says the program will likely benefit community members, too. “Veterinarians impact human health because of the
human-animal bond,” he says. Beyond that, caring for animals may enable the veterinary team members, along with practitioners from other disciplines, to address human health concerns from smoking cessation to vaccinations:“This is an opportunity to influence human health care decisions and behaviour through relationships with their pets.” In 2019, Kirby and Clow took part in another northern clinic program run by U of G grad Linda Bolton, DVM ’84 and owner of Mullen Small Animal Clinic in Walkerton, Ont. Under the Grey Bruce Aboriginal Qimmiq Team, she leads twice-yearly volunteer groups of veterinarians and technicians to semi-remote First Nations communities in Norther n Ontario to provide humane dog population control through spaying and neutering, vaccination, parasite control and microchipping. Running since 2012, the program has spayed and neutered more than 850 dogs and performed wellness treatments on more than 1,300. Bolton says the communities help to partially fund visits, and veterinary care is offered pro bono to owners.“By helping the dogs, we will be helping the community members,” she says. “Each community has different resources, cultural priorities and socioeconomic issues such as isolation and poverty. I wanted to see the North and help in my backyard. I have thought about rabies clinics in Africa, but why do that when there’s a need in Ontario?” Meagan Wellon, a veterinary technician in OVC’s large-animal clinic, has accompanied Bolton on three week-long trips to two First Nations commun-
ities. She says the project fits with her long-time interest in advocating for animals through their owners. “Education is important for the one health aspect,” she says. “Teaching owners about population control and helping them learn to interact with their dogs in a safe way helps make the community safer.” treat a pet and treat the person: That might be the mantra for Michelle Lem, a 2001 DVM grad who runs Community Veter inary Outreach from Ottawa. Now offered in several Canadian communities as well as Kansas City, Missouri, the program provides accessible care for people and their pets who are experiencing homelessness and housing vulnerability. Clinics are offered every other month for clients referred through community agencies. porticomagazine.ca
“For many people facing socioeconomic barriers to care, animals are incredibly important in their lives.” In an unusual twist, those pet owners can also obtain healthcare services for themselves, ranging from smoking cessation to oral and dental consultations to immunizations.“What makes the program unique is that human health services provided by collaborating practitioners from other disciplines are paired with veterinary services,” says Lem, who studied social work at Carleton University and completed a master’s degree at U of G on effects of pet ownership on young people who are homeless or at risk. She says many clients worry more about their animals’ health than their
DVM Michelle Lem
own. “For many clients, just getting out of bed in the morning is a huge challenge, and pets are huge motivators, so we work with that in a non-judgmental way.” She’s been working on animal care guidelines for shelters for people who are homeless or victims of domestic violence; those guidelines were released earlier this year. “For many people facing socioeconomic barriers to care, animals are incredibly important in their lives,” says Karen Ward, chief veterinary officer with the Toronto Humane Society (THS). Far from merely sheltering animals, the agency provides subsidized procedures, notably spay and neuter procedures, and has delivered outreach services to First Nations. The THS has partnered with Meals on Wheels and other organizations delivering food to households, Fall 2020 PORTICO | 19
Veterinarians facing mental health challenges Pets need veterinary care, but practitioners may need some attention, too. Canadian veterinarians have higher stress, burnout, compassion fatigue, anxiety and depression, and reported more suicidal ideation and lower resilience than the general population, says a landmark 2020 study published by University of Guelph researchers. The team surveyed all of Canada’s roughly 12,500 veterinarians working in companion animal care as well as food safety and agricultural support from February through July 2017. Some 1,400 practitioners (about 10 per cent) responded; just over three-quarters of respondents identified as women. About 30 per cent of women veterinarians reported a history of mental illness, compared with almost 27 per cent for men. Just over 15 per cent of women reported mental illness at the time of the survey, compared to just over 9 per cent for men – a key point, says lead author Jennifer Perret, a veterinarian now completing her PhD with Prof. Andria Jones-Bitton in OVC’s Department of Population Medicine. “Overall, female veterinarians have higher poor mental health outcomes than men,” says Perret, who works part-time at the Guelph Animal Hospital. “We really need to focus on supports for women.” The study says caregiver mental health can be improved through wellness interventions such as mindfulness and resilience training and improved workplace culture. The researchers also recommend management skills training, reduced working hours and more support Prof. Andria Jones-Bitton services for veterinarians. This winter, Jones-Bitton, DVM ’00, was appointed as director of well-being programming for OVC, including implementing training across the college curriculum. She says veterinarians often find themselves caught between a desire to help animal patients and clients’ inability to pay for expensive diagnosis and treatment. “It’s important that we train veterinary students and veterinarians in the profession to build resilience skills,” says Jones-Bitton, whose research includes studying aspects of communication and other interpersonal skills. “We all need a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.”
20 | PORTICO Fall 2020
“It’s about the simple act of caring and providing dignity and respect to another human being who has an animal.”
DVM Karen Ward
including dog food for pets. In 2019, the agency began offering access to free veterinary care for people in the city’s homeless shelters. Partnered with the People with AIDS Foundation, it provides temporary fostering of animals while their owners get treatment. From diagnostic tools to treatment options, veterinary care has improved since Ward completed her DVM in 1990.Those advances are double-edged, she adds. “There’s such a focus on technological advancement to the detriment of some folks of offering accessible care. Veterinary medicine doesn’t always have to function at that standard. You leave so many behind and that’s not right, not just and not fair. We are doing a disservice to the profession and the community at large when we chase that gold standard. The value that life has should not be reliant on your financial resources.” back at OVC, that sentiment resonates with Bateman. For its nearly 160 years, the college’s clinical training has focused on providing excellent veterinary care and equipping graduates to succeed in practice. The new community healthcare program is about widening access to veterinary care, he says, and growing practitioners’ hearts at the same time: “It’s about the simple act of caring and providing dignity and respect to another human being who has an animal.”
Macdonald Institute (left) and Macdonald Hall (right), November 1919.
LESSONS FROM THE PAST CURRENT PANDEMIC IS UNPARALLELED IN OUR LIFETIME, BUT IT’S HARDLY UNPRECEDENTED STORY BY GRAHAM BURT
his fall brought a new semester – and new ways of learning – for students of all ages, from primary classrooms to virtual university lecture halls. Although COVID-19 has been a first in our lifetime, earlier outbreaks on and off campus offer potential lessons for today, from quarantining and curtailing group activities, to keeping kids safe at school, to wearing personal protective equipment. Since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic on March 11, many people have referred to “unprecedented times.” But Graham Burt, a former archival assistant at U of G’s McLaughlin Library, says while the current pandemic is unparalleled in our lifetime, it’s hardly unprecedented. He explains why in an article published porticomagazine.ca
previously by U of G. Here’s an abridged version of his account: Beginning near the end of the First World War, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-20 killed about 55,000 Canadians and at least 50 million people worldwide. Among them were at least 15 students and faculty members at the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) and Macdonald Institute, two of the founding colleges of the University of Guelph. “It soon became evident that Macdonald Hall must be its own hospital, as one after another the students showed symptoms of the malady and were ordered to stay in bed.” – OAC REVIEW, NOVEMBER 1918
on oct. 2, 1918, OAC students and staff learned that
a student, Geoffrey Howard Scott, had died. Training with the Canadian Engineers that summer in Quebec, the 20-year-old entered hospital in late September after appearing “very ill and delirious.” Flu led to bacterial pneumonia, and he died five days later. By mid-October, half of the student body of 300 people had fallen ill. Those with serious symptoms were sent to hospital, but most were tended on campus. The whole of “Upper Hunt” in Moreton Lodge (the predecessor building to Johnston Hall) and a few rooms in Macdonald Hall were converted into hospital rooms, with patients assessed by doctors and nurses from town. OAC president George Creelman cancelled lectures for a week. Healthy students were either sent home or
quarantined in residence. A few Macdonald Institute students volunteered as nurses and cooks in city hospitals. Campus events, including student-run concerts, plays, dances and athletics, were cancelled or postponed. Within a few weeks, students and faculty returned to campus, and classes and events resumed. Reporting on a postponed sophomore dance finally held in mid-November, an article in the OAC Review said, “Not only was the flu a thing of the past, but the war’s end came with such a grateful relief that we could well afford to make merry.” The relief was short-lived. The flu returned in early December, coinciding with the annual provincial winter fair held in Guelph. After several OAC members began showing symptoms, Creelman again cancelled Fall 2020 PORTICO | 21
classes, postponed exams and sent students home early for the holiday break. That winter,the flu claimed three OAC members. Roy LindleyVining, a 1914 OAC graduate, had been wounded overseas with the Canadian forces. In fall 1918, he became a dairy specialist and lecturer in animal husbandry with the college. On Dec. 19, a week after attending the winter fair, the 31-year-old died of the flu at Guelph General Hospital. That month, Walter Herbert Scott, a 1916 OAC graduate and physics professor on campus, had volunteered to tend students with flu symptoms. Scott died on Jan. 8, 1919, leaving his wife and seven-month-old daughter. The final OAC victim of the first flu wave was student Harold“Lindsay”McLaughlin, who died on Feb. 14, 1919. By mid-February, it seemed that the flu had passed for good. “At first it was rumoured and then it became only too true: the ‘flu’ was with us again.”
From left: Lieutenant Roy Lindley Vining; Kate Morton Sinclair.
Writing about Macdonald Hall on campus, the OAC Review reported that “the drawing room was quickly commandeered and in a few hours was completely transformed into a hospital. When more cases were discovered, the library was used as a ward.” Unlike in 1918, both Macdonald Institute and OAC remained open. Lectures and exams continued, and even OAC’s annual Conversat ball was held. On Jan. 30, Macdonald Institute lost its first and only student to the pandemic. Sophomore Kate Morton Sinclair was admitted to hospital after developing double pneumonia and died Jan. 30. John “Walter” Rutherford Dawson, a short-course OAC student, was also admitted to
– OAC REVIEW, JANUARY 1920
in january 1920, an article in the Guelph daily newspaper reported the death from pneumonia of Murray Fallowdown, an OAC shortcourse student. Four days later, another college student, George James Tocher, also succumbed to pneumonia. Doctors realized that their pneumonia was only a contributory cause of death. Influenza was back. 22 | PORTICO Fall 2020
Walter Herbert Scott
hospital, where he developed acute pneumonia and died Jan. 31. Between Feb. 1 and Feb. 2, four more OAC members died: students Roy “Victor” Wood, Lorne Victor McGee and Douglas Edward Pettypiece; and Walter Lawton Iveson, a professor of chemistry and geology. Oscar Wilbur Bennett, a 1916 OAC grad, had also been wounded overseas before returning to Canada, where he became a lecturer in the poultry department. He contracted flu and then pneumonia and died Feb. 4. Within almost two weeks, seven students and two faculty members in OAC and the Macdonald Institute died during the second wave of the Spanish flu. In all, the pandemic claimed the lives of 15 students and faculty, ranging in age from 17 to 32. Compared with the influenza pandemic of 1918-20, wrote Burt, COVID-19 has been met with improved medical research, health care and medicine. Scientists have a better understanding of how viruses act and spread – knowledge that has led to improved medicine, hygiene practices and general preventive measures. As well, technological advancements
give us up-to-date news and instant communications and the ability to continue to learn and work at home. Although no two pandemics are the same, lessons from yesterday can inform today. History warns us to be proactive against epidemics. Viruses may be invisible to us, but they can be fatal and must be taken seriously. Pandemics can overwhelm hospitals and medical professionals. Protective measures must be implemented early. Halting the spread is a shared responsibility. The 1918-20 pandemic discussed in Burt’s account was hardly the last outbreak of infectious disease to upend lives on campus and off in the following century. In an article published this year in The Conversation, U of G history professor Tara Abraham wrote about how Ontario’s worst polio epidemic in summer 1937 prompted school closings and left Toronto playgrounds and beaches deserted. Polio typically struck during the summer, meaning students lost just a few weeks; COVID-19 affected schooling for weeks earlier this year, with potentially more disruptions to come. In 1937, parents feared children risking infection. Today, parental anxiety over COVID-19 stems partly from infection fears (albeit much lower than polio infection in children) and partly from work-life stress over caring for and homeschooling their kids. As with earlier disease outbreaks, wrote Abraham,
PHOTO: COURTESY OF DIANA BOBO; COURTESY OF HEATHER SINCLAIR; COURTESY OF BETTY CLEMENS JONES AND ERIC TOLTON
PHOTO: A&SC, OAC 1918 YEARBOOK
back-to-school this fall has required parents to balance their sense of collective responsibility for ensuring public health and their personal responsibility for their own mental health and the health of their children. For kids returning to the classroom, masks are now as much a part of the back-toschool ensemble as backpacks and lunch bags. Mask-wearing has also become a fact of life for many of their parents in workplaces and other public spaces. Again, that’s nothing new. In another article this summer in The Conversation, history professor Catherine Carstairs wrote that medical mask-
Walter Iveson (front right) with the College Quartet, 1918.
wearing has a long history – going all the way back to the 17th-century plague. During the 1918 flu epidemic, cities around the world passed mandatory masking orders. Wrote Carstairs,“Historian Nancy Tomes argues that mask-wearing was embraced by the American public as ‘an emblem of public-spirited-
ness and discipline.’” That view was hardly universal in 1918-20. Many Canadians were reluctant to wear masks and questioned their effectiveness. At the same time, Japanese embraced maskwearing during the Spanish flu and again in the early years of this century with outbreaks of SARS and avian influenza.
In Canada today, controversies over masks continue, with complaints over lack of comfort and perceived ineffectiveness or concerns that masks impede communications for some people. As a visual representation of the threat of COVID, wrote Carstairs, masks can make people more fearful. Still, she said, support for mask-wearing appears to be growing in Canada. If earlier outbreaks from the 1918-20 flu pandemic to the 1937 polio crisis teach us anything, it’s that we all must be proactive and that we all have a part to play in ensuring health – our own and that of others around us.
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Fall 2020 PORTICO | 23
U OF G’S LIVING LAB
AT 50, THE ARBORETUM FOSTERS RESEARCH AND TEACHING, PROVIDES GREEN RESPITE / STORY BY ANDREW VOWLES
ven for a self-described nature geek, the University of Guelph Arboretum still holds surprises. Case in point: One summer day, Chris Earley was leading a tour group, just a handful among the tens of thousands of people he’s ushered around the grounds as interpretive biologist and education coordinator. Partway through the walk, one student invited him to look at her cellphone picture of a caterpillar. Earley has seen many of the 800-plus kinds of moths and their larvae found in the arboretum, but this was a species never recorded there.Where did you find that? he said. Gesturing to a cucumber magnolia tree, one of many kinds of endangered plants nurtured on the grounds, she said: Under that leaf, about five seconds ago. “You never know what’s going to pop out,” says Earley, who has worked at the arboretum since finishing his zoology studies here in 1992. Laughing at the recollection, he says, “All the students got to see me all excited. It’s fun not only to be surprised but it’s extra fun to be surprised when you’re with a group of students who can see that surprise and realize: Oh, this is awesome.” Fifty years after it was established through U of G’s Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) on former farmland, 24 | PORTICO Fall 2020
wetland and forest at the east end of campus, the arboretum has become a place for discovery and learning about the natural world.This year, COVID-19 has curtailed or altered many of the activities and programs that normally occur on the grounds, including events planned to celebrate the arboretum’s first half-century of existence. But in many ways, the pandemic has also underlined our need for fresh air and green spaces, says Justine Richardson, appointed earlier this year as the new director. During the shutdowns, essential work on living collections continued and walk-through access was allowed, she says.“People were coming – grandparents, dog walkers, families walking in the morning or evening.That trails were kept open is a recognition of one of our important roles and the need to be outdoors for mental well-being and physical activity.” Walking through the grounds offers more than just a green respite.As one of fewer than a dozen university-based botanic gardens and arboreta (collections of trees and other woody plants) in Canada, the U of G arboretum is variously called “the green heart of Guelph” and a “living laboratory.” The 400-acre expanse with its mix of open spaces, old-growth forests, provincially significant wetlands, cultivated gardens,
woody plant collections – oh, and a disc golf course – offers an experimental site for campus researchers, an outdoor classroom for learners and a natural sanctuary for some 100,000 visitors a year.That mix of research, teaching and outreach was already envisioned by members of the University-wide committee led by OAC from 1964 to develop plans for the arboretum. The arboretum was established under its inaugural director, Prof. Robert James Hilton, in 1970 (see sidebar). That fall, Alan Watson arrived as a marine biology undergraduate. One of his classes trekked through the nature reserve, a 100-acre portion of today’s arboretum lying south of Stone Road and containing an old-growth forest and wetland. Watson, who later joined the faculty in the School of Environmental Sciences (SES) and eventually became the arboretum’s longest-serving director, remembers his professor explaining that the reserve would become part of a planned nature sanctuary that would eventually green up the entire east end of campus. Recalling the sparse, young plantings in the early years dotting much of the area formerly occupied by farm fields, Richard Reader says some campus members called the area “a field of sticks.”After joining the former U of G
PHOTO: ROB O’FLANAGAN
The arboretum features nearly 10 km of trails, including the newly renovated boardwalk through Wild Goose Woods.
botany department in 1974, he regularly used the arboretum over the next 20 years for studies of old field ecology and routinely took plant ecology classes to the nature reserve. Now retired, he’s one of about 70 arboretum volunteers who work along with the arboretum’s roughly 12 full-time staff and an army of students; he now helps maintain the cultivated gardens and has donated funding for renovations to its rose collection. “The founders had amazing foresight to have thought about developing an arboretum. It provides an opportunity for research to be sustained over time,” says Reader. Echoing that idea, Watson says many porticomagazine.ca
of the arboretum’s trees afford a living record of climate variations over the past half-century – and even over the past two centuries for three old-growth stands: the nature reserve, Victoria Woods and Wild Goose Woods. “The great value of an arboretum within a university is that it provides such an opportunity for long-term research and teaching and opportunities to go back and look at what was happening in the past,” says Watson, who stepped down in 2012 after two decades as director. Besides its utility in tracking climate change, he says, the green space is effectively a 400-acre carbon-sequestering facility. “It’s a huge carbon sink. The
University could really highlight that in its quest to become a green university.” The U of G arboretum contains more than 1,700 kinds of trees and woody shrubs, including nearly all species native to southern Ontario. Specimens include common deciduous trees – beech, maple birch – and many familiar conifers. Maybe more important, says Sean Fox, curator and manager of horticulture, the collection contains about 90 per cent of provincial natives listed as endangered or threatened.“Very early in our history, we started to focus on rare flora in Ontario,” says Fox, a U of G graduate who has spent 19 years at the arboretum. Fall 2020 PORTICO | 25
50 GREEN YEARS
26 | PORTICO Fall 2020
Then and now: The arboretum’s cultivated gardens, including the Italian Garden with its signature pool, fountain and hedges, have evolved over the decades.
Those specimens are grown in the arboretum’s tree gene bank, begun in the 1970s.That genetic archive consists of DNA contained not in lab test tubes but in numerous trees collected in the wild and rooted in orchard-style blocks on the north side of College Avenue, near the arboretum’s R.J. Hilton Centre and Henry Kock Propagation Centre. In turn, the arboretum shares seed and germplasm with other organizations for research and conservation. Sharing plant material, especially rare specimens, is vital for efforts in rehabilitating endangered species and restoring landscapes. Equally important, the arboretum’s collection records the origin of every specimen planted over the past five decades – where it came from, who collected it, whether it came from seed or a sapling. That’s invaluable for ecologists studying longterm effects of anything from climate change to insect infestation. The arboretum’s signature rehabilitation effort is its Elm Recovery Project, begun in the late 1990s to save and re-
introduce white elm trees decimated by Dutch elm disease.Arboretum staff have collected material from more than 600 surviving elms in Ontario, tested responses to the disease-causing fungus and planted resistant specimens in the gene bank. Fox says he plans to share seed with other centres for reintroduction across Ontario in the next few years. Widening the lens, the arboretum also serves as a kind of outdoor laboratory for campus researchers and teachers. Those connections are fostered by Aron Fazekas, an educational developer in U of G’s Office of Teaching and Learning who is also a part-time research coordinator for the arboretum. Among researchers mostly from OAC and the College of Biological Science, scientists have visited the arboretum for studies of everything from perennials and pollinators to plant-fungi interactions to bee movement. Research conducted here has resulted in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. Fazekas also helps to connect faculty members looking to use the arboretum
PHOTOS: U OF G ARCHIVES; ROB O’FLANAGAN
The first proposal to establish a campus arboretum was a 1939 plan by Ontario Agricultural College professor Leslie Hancock for a small tree collection north of College Avenue. In 1963, a year before the University was established, Robert James Hilton proposed what eventually became today’s arboretum. With the facility’s 50th anniversary pending, the history of the arboretum became the topic of two experiential learning courses taught by history professor Kim Martin last year. Four senior undergrads pored over an extensive collection of materials in the McLaughlin Library archives and conducted oral history interviews. Fourth-year student Alexa Nitsis focused on conservation programs, including the Elm Recovery Project launched in 1998 by Henry Kock, former arboretum horticulturalist and namesake of the arboretum’s propagation facility. “He was such an important figure in creating this project and reintroducing genetically diverse populations of these elms to Ontario,” says Nitsis. The students’ findings will be posted on the arboretum website, and Martin hopes to publish the project results in a commemorative book. Now, using a Learning Enhancement Fund grant from the provost’s office, she is collaborating with the arboretum on a project that will enable visitors to hear recorded audio clips on their cellphones about specific locations and features.
PHOTO: MICHELLE BELTRAN
for undergrad courses. For a fourthyear SES project course, dozens of students have undertaken projects such as enhancing wildlife habitat and encroachment and control of invasive species. These collaborations give the arboretum access to student researchers, while students and teachers benefit from a campus green space to study various topics.“That close access makes things easier for instructors and students,” he says. “It also fosters a connection to place that you can’t replicate elsewhere.” Normally, the arboretum plays host to about 100,000 visitors each year for everything from conferences and wedding receptions, to nature workshops and interpretive tours, to indoor and outdoor arts programs, to an environmental leadership program that has brought high schoolers to spend an entire semester learning at the arboretum’s nature centre. Over the years, staffers have led groups on owl prowls, maple syrup days, and plant and animal identification treks. Although the arboretum has remained open to visitors, this year’s pandemic has prompted a shift to virtual learning, including a family nature program that Earley ran online this past summer. Under a pilot program this past spring, he and Richardson partnered with experiential learning leaders at local school boards to send multilingual tree resources home to all Grade 6 students and classroom teachers for the biodiversity curriculum. They expect to broaden that virtual outreach to other topics and other boards. “We want to provide inquiry-based materials that parents, teachers and students can use to connect to the natural world,” says Richardson. That’s also happening through social media being shared by naturalist interns Jenny and Kitty Lin, hired by the arboretum in 2019 following their biology studies at U of G. The twins initially helped lead tour groups around the arboretum; this summer, they have provided weekly virtual tours through porticomagazine.ca
Naturalist interns Kitty (left) and Jenny Lin continue to provide virtual tours of the arboretum during this year’s pandemic.
videos available on YouTube, Instagram and other channels. In recent episodes, they’ve explored everything from parasitic wasps to plant defences against insect predators. “We’ve seen a huge increase in our social media following,” says Kitty, pointing out that virtual programming now brings the arboretum to viewers anywhere in the world. Closer to home, says Jenny, the arboretum continues to attract pandemiccloseted visitors looking for a dose of the outdoors. “It’s a place for people to come and enjoy nature,” she says. Fostering research, teaching and public connections is where the future lies for the arboretum, says Richardson. Referring to a pending update of the arboretum’s master plan, she says,“At 50, this arboretum has relevance to major issues of our day, from climate change, to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, to mental health and well-being. We want to look back and celebrate how we’ve grown and look forward to strengthening the role of the arboretum in research, teaching and connecting
people with nature. That connection is the first step to valuing nature.” Matured from those early plantings, the arboretum now nurtures extensive biodiversity, a key focus for a University that is home to internationally heralded researchers and global networks of scientists, conservationists and agencies. “People are not going to protect the planet without being aware of what they need to protect,” says Earley.“This is an amazing green space in the city. We have an incredible diversity in 400 acres that’s all part of a cityscape. It allows people to realize you don’t have to go to Algonquin Park or a big national park to learn about nature. Nature is all around you: you just have to get there.” The University of Guelph Arboretum has kicked off several months’ worth of 50th-anniversary celebrations. Events include an online speaker series, sharing pictures and stories on the website and launching both a fundraising campaign and a new master planning process. For information, see: uoguelph.ca/arboretum. Fall 2020 PORTICO | 27
New chapters, sights & sounds
The latest books, art and exhibitions by U of G faculty and alumni viewpoint, there is a need to deal with complicity and to share knowledge that can open more doors to equality,” she says.
Barns – Classic Structures From Across the Land
RBC Taylor Prize mentorship program Simone Dalton, MFA ’18, was selected as one of five writers for the RBC Taylor Prize emerging writers mentorship program. She’s currently writing a memoir.
Roderick Hodgson, BA ’78, has written his 14th book. Barns – Classic Structures From Across the Land details the evolution, style and construction of the grand rural structures. Barns have been his interest for more than 40 years. EUGENE BENSON
In his memoir The Symmetry of the Tyger, professor emeritus Eugene Benson, School of English and Theatre Studies, surveys 90 years of travel, adventure and engagement in Canadian culture. The book charts the author’s own adventures while travelling around the globe and includes recollections of his time at U of G. KATHLEEN HEPBURNE
The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open Kathleen Hepburne, MFA ’12, co-wrote and co-directed the critically acclaimed and multiple award-winning film The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open with Elle-Maija Tailfeathers. 28 | PORTICO Fall 2020
The Toronto Film Critics Association gave the Indigenous story the 2019 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, worth $100,000. Praised by critics across North America, the film was named one of the top 10 Canadian movies of 2019 and was named best Canadian film by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. MARK A. MCCUTCHEON
Shape Your Eyes by Shutting Them Mark A. McCutcheon, BA ’95, PhD ’06, a professor of literary studies at Athabasca University, has published his first book of poetry. Shape Your Eyes by Shutting Them was published by Athabasca University Press in 2019. Literary critic Di Brandt called
the inventive collection a “romp through the surreal landscape of our times.” LAUREN SATOK
Unsettled: The Art of Remapping a History of Erasure Visual artist Lauren Satok, BFA ’02, creates landscapes that explore the effect of colonization on the environment. Her exhibition Unsettled: The Art of Remapping a History of Erasure began in early 2020 at the Debajehmujig Creation Centre in Manitowaning, Ont. Originally from Toronto, Satok now lives on Manitoulin Island. “From a white or settler
GUELPH CLASSICS SOCIETY
Canta The Guelph Classics Society, consisting of U of G undergraduate students enthusiastic about ancient literature, art, history and languages, launched the student-led, peer-reviewed journal Canta/ἄειδε: A Journal of Classical Studies. The first edition appeared in early 2020. BRITTANY LUBY
History professor Brittany Luby’s Encounter, a children’s storybook, was shortlisted for the first annual Sheila Barry Best Picturebook of the Year Award, worth $2,500.
PAINTING: LAREN SATOK, MIDWINTER BEACH, MANITOWANING, 16x20 OIL
The Symmetry of the Tyger
U of G alumna Amreen Kadwa sees sports as a way for Muslim women to gain confidence in the broader community.
Field of diversity
PHOTO: ROB O’FLANAGAN
Empowering Muslim women by playing sports
Hijab is a state of being, says Amreen Kadwa, a University of Guelph alumna who founded the community organization Hijabi Ballers to help Muslim women and girls become empowered by sports. “It’s not necessarily a physical covering,” says Kadwa, 24. She explains that while the practice of hijab does include covering the head, it also encompasses the way one speaks and presents themselves. “It is you as a woman expressing your faith,” she says. porticomagazine.ca
Originally from Scarborough, Ont., Kadwa acquired a deep appreciation for non-profit organizations and community-building while studying economics and international development at U of G. Her degree program instilled in her a passion for helping others and making a difference in the world. “A lot of people think economics is about numbers and finance, but there is so much of the social sciences involved,” she says. “The program at Guelph really encompassed that and that’s why I chose to go there.” Fall 2020 PORTICO | 29
Spotlight Her four years spent working as a residence assistant gave her hands-on experience in community development. She learned how to make a community of people feel safe and welcome and how to create programs and services that meet their needs. Kadwa started playing rugby in high school. She excelled in the sport, which she says gave her strength, confidence, determination and a strong sense of community. In her first year at U of G, Kadwa tried out for the Gryphons camp, but a serious injury ended her dream of playing varsity rugby. One summer while at university, she worked for Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation (TIRF), a non-profit organization that uses rugby to help improve underserved, low-income and priority neighbourhoods. “It got me involved in this area of community development through sport, seeing the impact of sports in grassroots communities, with kids in schools and camps, in inner-city communities with low income. That got me really involved in that community.” Using that passion and experience, she started Hijabi Ballers in 2017 to give Muslim women
KADWA LEARNED HOW TO MAKE A COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE FEEL SAFE AND WELCOME AND HOW TO CREATE PROGRAMS AND SERVICES THAT MEET THEIR NEEDS.
and girls the confidence to participate in sports while showing their Muslim identity. Hijabi Ballers celebrates Muslim women playing sports and instills pride by sharing stories about what inspired them to play sports and the obstacles they faced, Kadwa says. “For a lot of women on the field, they choose to take off their hijab and don’t go out of their way to identify as Muslim because of the associated discrimination or stereotypes. And for many of these women, there are cultural pressures because participating in sports is frowned upon.” During her playing days, Kadwa says, she was often the only person on the rugby field wearing the hijab. And while she says it didn’t create problems for her – because of the diverse community she lived in and the supports around her – other Muslim women in sport have a much different experience. “When you are playing sports, if there are people staring at you when you’re on the field or making comments, it makes the experience of sport negative and makes it hard for them to be themselves while playing sports.”
Have an idea for an alumni spotlight? Send us a note at porticomagazine @uoguelph.ca. 30 | PORTICO Fall 2020
PHOTO: ROB O’FLANAGAN
Wearing the hijab on the playing field is a sign of strength for members of Hijabi Ballers.
Emmy Luo’s campaign uses donated tech to connect families during COVID-19.
Connecting during COVID-19
PHOTO: ROB O’FLANAGAN
Alumna’s campaign brings families together
The isolation of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and other care facilities – and especially loss of bedside connections to family and friends – moved University of Guelph alumna Emmy Luo to improve their lives. If hospital patients couldn’t meet family members face-toface, she thought, they should at least be able to see their loved ones virtually. Luo, who graduated this past spring with a bachelor of science degree, co-founded Frontline Connect Canada, a campaign to collect donated tablets and smartphones to help patients and their physicians communicate with families during the pandemic. “A close friend and I started a porticomagazine.ca
GoFundMe campaign to donate personal protective equipment to our local hospitals and other health-care facilities after seeing the shortage in supplies,” Luo said. “I actually reached out to several of my past professors during our campaign, who were so supportive and willing to share or donate. I’m always so amazed by the sense of Gryphon community.” Through that GoFundMe campaign, Luo connected with like-minded entrepreneurs and doctors who were passionate about making a difference during the pandemic. Several of the doctors faced a new challenge caused by visitor restrictions. Normally, family members provide information about the patient, advocate for
THIS INITIATIVE HAS HELPED KEEP FAMILIES UNITED WITH THEIR LOVED ONES, WHETHER IT IS IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM OR AT THE END OF LIFE.
them and provide emotional support, she said. “Obviously, this changed with COVID-19 infection control measures,” she said. “These doctors had to use their own phones to call family members or put family members on FaceTime so they could speak with their loved ones before they were intubated. As such, our group came up with a way to use donated devices and virtual communication apps like Zoom.” With her own plans disrupted by the pandemic, Luo used her time to do something that could truly help the community. “I loved this project because it’s such a simple solution to a huge need,” she said. “If I can use Zoom to attend my university lectures online, why can’t patients and physicians do that to connect with families? “I imagine it must be an amazing feeling for patients and their family members to stay connected, even though they can’t be there in person. This initiative has helped keep families connected with their loved ones, whether it is in the emergency room or at the end of life. It’s been so rewarding to be a part of it.” As of midsummer, about 300 donated devices had been placed in four hospitals and 63 other care facilities, all free of charge. “We are continuing to work hard to collect donated devices and connect them with other care facilities in need, with no plans to stop anytime soon,” Luo added.
To learn more or donate, visit www.frontlineconnect.ca. Fall 2020 PORTICO | 31
Alumni matters ALUMNI NEWS
A generous and inspirational community
he world as we know it has changed. Alumni Association issued a matching challenge, Social interactions, business practices and you responded – resulting in almost $30,000 and everyday living bear no resemblance in support of the campus food bank. In total, our to life before COVID-19. All of you, appeals for emergency student support this year our alumni family, have been deeply affected by raised $84,000. More recently, $350,000 for the burdens of the pandemic. While the reality student awards was donated and doubled by the of 2020 is hard to comprehend – a global University’s Awards Matching Program.You have pandemic, racist acts, economic upheaval, responded with the utmost care, kindness and wildfires – we’re proud that many of our generous support during a time of great need for graduates continue to embrace our students. Thank you. University of Guelph the University of Guelph’s You inspire us – we continue shared purpose to Improve Life. Alumni Association issued to hear about alumni bringing a matching challenge, and Sunny Nakra, B.Comm. ’18, food to others, donating and Samuel Boylan-Sajous were you responded – resulting in personal protective equipment, almost $30,000 in support inspired to create a Black Lives making masks for others, of the campus food bank. Matter app to empower and pivoting your businesses to educate the world about Black respond to the unique dehistory, slavery and segregation. Lang School mands of the pandemic and providing financial alumnus Tony D’Amato Stortz, B.Comm. ’20, support to those in need.Your response speaks used his extra time during the pandemic to build volumes about how much you care. Thank you gardens for his neighbours to alleviate food-driven for meeting U of G’s call to action.You Improve anxiety while giving back to his community. And Life every day and we are beyond proud of our Anne-Marie Connor, MA ’04, who was already alumni family. battling Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when COVID-19 erupted, was offered a flight home in April but gave up her seat to someone else. Christina Crowley-Arklie, B.Comm. ’09, Despite uncertain circumstances, our alumni President, UGAA, and proud donor to U of G community stepped in to help Improve Life for students during #GivingTuesdayNow in May. Jason Moreton, BA ’00, Associate Vice-President, With students in need of funding for food and Alumni Advancement, and proud donor to U of G emergency relief, the University of Guelph
In-person events have been cancelled due to the pandemic, but we are transitioning some of these to online delivery. We are also excited to offer new virtual events for U of G alumni, including a range of learning opportunities.
Visit www. alumni. uoguelph.ca/ events for current event information and registration.
CAA Take advantage of an exclusive CAA Corporate Membership offer available to all U of G graduates! Use code University of Guelph Alumni upon booking.
The Burger’s Priest Enjoy a 15% discount off meals at The Burger’s Priest location in Stone Road Mall, Guelph! Offer valid at this location only.
Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory U of G alumni and their families can save up to 20% off regular admission rates at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory!
For full details on these and other offers, and for information on how to get your alumni card, visit alumni.uoguelph.ca/promotions. 32 | PORTICO Fall 2020
At the 2017 Alumni Jays game ALUMNI EVENTS
Alumni Jays contest
Aggie Week 1996
The U of G Alumni Jays Game is a popular annual event that attracts hundreds of attendees. Although the game was cancelled due to the pandemic, alumni participated online by posting photos and reminiscing about meet-ups in Toronto.
Smiling faces with the Gryphon statue
Spring 1968 at Lambton Hall
A series of virtual 5-kilometre runs was held over the summer. Alumni were challenged to run, walk or bike the distance and share their progress on Instagram. Almost 100 alumni participated over three weekends, with registration fees designated to support athletic scholarships.
PHOTOS: SUBMITTED BY ANDREA MCLEAN, B.SC. (AGR.) ’00; JASMINE MERCHANT, B.SC. ’20; MARIE SHOUP, B.SC. ’70; CATIE SUTHERLAND, B.SC. ’16; SCOTT MCROBERTS
Virtual alumni week
A 5K run drew various participants, from Sonja Missio (back) to Scott McRoberts, director of athletics, with his two children.
The annual Alumni and Reunion Weekend was scheduled for June 19-21, but when the University closed in response to provincial emergency orders, a virtual Alumni Week was planned to reconnect U of G grads. An Alumni Week hub was created for the web, including a message from then president Franco Vaccarino, links to video campus tours and an invitation to the University of Guelph Alumni Association’s online annual general meeting. Contests on social channels called for alumni to submit “throwback” photos of their time on campus and to connect with other grads online. We continue to monitor provincial guidelines as we plan for 2021 and will provide details at alumni.uoguelph.ca as they become available. porticomagazine.ca
Fall 2020 PORTICO | 33
Alumni matters CLASS NOTES
Vandana Shiva, MA ’76, wrote the book Reclaiming the Commons: Biodiversity, Indigenous Knowledge and the Rights of Mother Earth, published this year by Synergetic Press. An Indian scholar and world-renowned environmental activist, she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy, which aims to develop sustainable agriculture, and is a leader in the global ecofeminist movement.
Mark Lautens, B.Sc. ’81, a professor in the University of Toronto’s department of chemistry, has received a U of G Alumni of Honour Award for outstanding achievements and commitment to excellence. His research in organic chemistry has led to the design of new medicinal molecules.
Kenneth Mitchell, BLA ’98, will move on from his role as the fierce and temperamental Klingon commander Kol in the TV series Star Trek: Discovery to play a human role in the series. He will also appear in the upcoming miniseries The Old Man, currently filming. Mitchell announced earlier this year that he has ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He has worked steadily as an actor for about 20 years, including roles as the father of the namesake superhero in the popular 2019 film Captain Marvel, and in six episodes of the TV series Nancy Drew. Born in Toronto, Mitchell studied landscape architecture and played varsity soccer at U of G. 34 | PORTICO Fall 2020
After studying biophysics at U of G, followed by master’s degrees in chemistry from the University of British Columbia and journalism from Carleton University, Sarah Everts, B.Sc. ’98, went on to a successful 17-year career as a science journalist. Everts has landed back at Carleton University in Ottawa. In early 2019, she became an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Communication, where she is the CTV Chair in Digital Science Journalism. One of her goals is to help journalism students identify legitimate science. When COVID-19 arrived, she launched a research project to look at how journalism is consumed across Canada during the pandemic and where Canadians are turning for their information – and misinformation – on the disease. Harpreet Kochhar, PhD ’99, was appointed as Canada’s associate deputy minister of health during efforts to fight COVID-19. He studied animal biotechnology at U of G and became a professor in the Ontario Veterinary College’s Department of Biomedical Sciences. Adam Cegielski, B.Sc. ’99, is founding president and CEO of Eyecarrot Innovations Corp. based in Toronto. Following studies in applied biochemistry, he worked as a consultant and executive, mostly for resource-sector companies. Eyecarrot’s
Binovi technology helps vision therapy and training providers improve client performance and is used in numerous locations in more than 20 countries. The company partners with leading optometric associations and sports teams, including the Dallas Stars and Sporting KC.
Dan Seider, BA ’15, created an app that helps people understand how their mood is affected by computer information overload. Seider launched Misu, a free moodtracking macOS desktop app, because
he wanted to understand how information overload affects our well-being. The mood tracker takes photos of users while they are on a computer, analyzing their emotions using artificial intelligence technology. All photos are instantly deleted. The software observes micro-changes in facial expressions – subtle squinting, a furrowed brow, the curve of a smile. Misu can tell users which websites cause them anxiety and which ones make them happy. “If we’re informed that we’re actually spending a lot of time on some social platform that is not helping our wellness, then we’re empowered to be more mindful and change our behaviour,” Seider says.
Mariam Abeid, B.A.Sc. ’18, a single parent of three children, earned a degree in early childhood education and teaching at the University of Guelph-Humber before completing an MA in child study and education at the University of Toronto. From a young age, Abeid dreamt of getting a good education, but that dream proved nearly impossible to fulfill in her home country of Kenya, where the education of girls was not a societal priority. She faced seemingly insurmountable barriers to education even after marrying a Canadian man and settling in this country. When her husband died suddenly about 10 years ago, Abeid was left destitute and was separated from her children by family members. At one point, she lived in a shelter for women. But she met people who recognized the injustice of her situation, as well as her exceptional way with children, her strong work ethic and her drive for excellence. A lawyer helped her win back her children and her home, and a teacher encouraged her to start post-secondary studies.
Tony D’Amato Stortz, BA ’20, used funding from his COVID-19related Canada Emergency Relief Benefit to build raised garden beds for his neighbours in Guelph and KitchenerWaterloo, Ont., enabling them to grow their own food during the pandemic.
As a Fullerton post-doctoral researcher at California State University, physics grad Philippe Landry, PhD ’17, helped detect an extraordinary cosmic event this past summer. Gravitational wave detectors in the U.S. and Italy received an unusual wave signal from the merger of a black hole with a smaller object. The signal arrived from a previously unknown cosmic system about 800 million light years from Earth. Landry was part of the research team and co-author of a paper in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
PHOTO CREDIT: PHOTO: (ABEID) NICK TK FOR IWANYSHYN HERIOUS DIPSO
ALUMNI 1930s Margaret Taylor, DHE ’39, March 1, 2020 Mary (Molly) Smith, DHE ’39, April 16, 2020 Wallace (Wally) Jennings, Dip. ’37, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’40, May 10, 2020 1940s David (Dave) Thompson, DVM ’42, June 17, 2020 Charles (Murray) Riach, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’49, Aug. 27, 2018 Marion Spillette, DHE ’49, March 19, 2020 1950s Ellen Donald, DHE ’50, April 5, 2020 William (Bill) Bourchier, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’51, May 19, 2020 Kenneth (Ken) Phipps, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’51, June 13, 2020 Harvey Just, DVM ’51, May 1, 2020 Barbara Mason, B.H.Sc. ’53, May 27, 2020 John Lindley, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’53, March 20, 2020 porticomagazine.ca
Wilmer (Will) Collett, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’53, March 22, 2020 Ernest Edward (Ted) Wiffen, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’54, July 9, 2020 Janet (Jan) Buckley, DHE ’54, April 17, 2020 Colin Campbell, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’55, July 5, 2020 Torgny Fredrickson, DVM ’55, April 17, 2020 Judith (Judy) Hall, DHE ’57, March 29, 2020 Donald (Don) MacDonald, DVM ’57, April 24, 2020 Virginia (Jeanne) Ikeda-Douglas, DVM ’57, May 9, 2020 Ronald Fletcher, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’58, Jan. 24, 2020 George (Stuart) O’Neil, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’58, June 9, 2020 Michael (Mike) Rogers, Dip. ’58, April 27, 2020 Peter (Pete) Biliski, DVM ’58, Dec. 2, 2019 Roderick (Rod) Davies, DVM ’58, Feb. 21, 2020
Jane McNicol, B.H.Sc. ’59, June 15, 2020 Robert (Bob) Webster, DVM ’59, April 22, 2020 Joseph (Joe) Leach, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’54, M.Sc. ’66, Sept. 28, 2019 Robert (Bob) Mason, BSA ’57, MSA ’62, July 14, 2020 1960s John Ogilvie, MSA ’60, March 20, 2020 Elizabeth (Betty) Rogers, B.H.Sc. ’61, |Feb. 25, 2019 Beverley (Bev) Slater, B.H.Sc. ’61, Oct. 21, 2019 Robert (Bob) Hinton, DVM ’61, March 26, 2020 Marguerite (Marg) Percival, B.H.Sc. ’62, Dec. 31, 2019 Shirley Ann Holmes, B.H.Sc. ’62, April 3, 2020 Thomas (Tom) Nunn, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’63, Nov. 2, 2019 Henry Pauls, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’63, May 16, 2020 Karen Eadie, B.H.Sc. ’64, May 14, 2019 Fall 2020 PORTICO | 35
Katie Ellis Back in 1959, while still a teenager, Katherina “Katie” Ellis left her home in Germany and came to Canada seeking adventure and a new kind of life. Determined, independent and bright, she would go on to become a top executive in a printing company at a time when few women rose to such positions. And she became mother to three sons and a grandmother many times over. When her beloved husband, John, died in 2002, Katie envisioned a new path forward, one that would see her fulfill her dream of advancing her education. She was 65 when she began attending classes at U of G. She earned a BA at age 71 and a master’s degree in
English at 74. Katie Ellis died peacefully at her home in Guelph on March 30, aged 79. With the COVID-19 pandemic declared just a few weeks earlier and with provincial restrictions limiting the size of gatherings, her family planned a celebration of life for a future date. But Katie’s grandson Jason Ellis wanted to do something extraordinary to celebrate his grandmother and to honour her tireless spirit, her influence and her love. This past summer, Ellis and his wife, Marilyne, embarked on an ambitious
Clarence (Art) Barkey, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’64, April 2, 2020 Donald (Scott) Robertson, Dip. ’65, April 10, 2020 Donald (Don) Wilson, DVM ’66, July 5, 2020 Douglas (Doug) Burnard, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’67, April 3, 2020 Gerdina (Dini) Verwey, DVM ’67, Feb. 3, 2019 Eleanor (Elly) Hart, B.H.Sc. ’68, Dec. 30, 2019 Vernon (Vern) Miller, Dip. ’68, Feb. 24, 2020 Harry Pearce, PhD ’68, Feb. 8, 2019 Francis Kaufman, Dip. ’68, March 28, 2020 Desmond (Des) Doran, BSA ’60, MSA ’61, May 18, 2020 William (Bill) Muir, Dip. ’60, Dip. ’61, March 24, 2020 Donald (Don) Pletsch, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’61, M.Sc. ’66, April 22, 2020 Robert (Rob) Rogers, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’64, M.Sc.’66, March 9, 2020 Thomas (Ron) Sutherland, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’64, M.Sc. ’67, June 3, 2020 Gordon (Gord) Finley, DVM ’67, GrDip. ’71, Nov. 12, 2019 36 | PORTICO Fall 2020
cycling journey spanning nearly 2,000 kilometres in memory of Katie and to support a cause that was close to her. Their ride would raise funds and awareness for the Canadian Women’s Foundation, an organization focused on gender equality and removing barriers faced by women, particularly those who identify as women, girls, trans, genderqueer, nonbinary and 2SLGBTQI+. The Chute-a-Blondeau couple began their Wheels of Strength trek in May, cycling through eastern Ontario and western Quebec. In an article in The Review newspaper, Jason spoke about his grandmother’s extraordinary character. “What defined her was being a powerful woman who really did things very differently – especially 50 years ago when she did
things that were not even thought of for women,” he said in the article. “That is why we decided to do something to raise awareness for the Canadian Women’s Foundation.” His grandmother, he added, had “a massive taste for adventure.” Marilyne said Katie was an inspiration to the women who knew her. “She worked as a mom, which was almost unheard of back then. She wasn’t a single mom – she had a husband – but she didn’t want to just be a mom, she wanted to be herself, too.” Katie Ellis’s determination to pursue higher education in her senior years serves as an example for all those in later life, Marilyne added. The Wheels of Strength cycling challenge ended Sept. 13 on what would have been Katherina’s 80th birthday.
1970s Robert (Bob) Morton, BA ’70, Dec. 18, 2019 Elizabeth von Keitz, BA ’71, March 17, 2020 Alison (Starr) Ellis, BA ’72, May 31, 2020 Richard (Rick) Longfield, DVM ’75, Feb. 26, 2019 Allan (Al) Baker, BA ’76, July 15, 2020 William (Steven) Brown, Dip. ’78, Nov. 15, 2019 Debra (Deb) Jago, B.Comm. ’79, May 22, 2020 Wayne Lee, B.Sc. ’79, Jan. 29, 2020 David (Dave) Gregory, DVM ’65, M.Sc. ’70, PhD ’74, April 22, 2020
1990s Flora (Jean) Little, Hon. DLet ’90, April 6, 2020 Robert Reid, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’91, May 10, 2020 Nancy Doring, B.A.Sc. ’95, July 8, 2020 Tammy Brown, BA ’95, May 20, 2020 Jack Halip, M.Sc. ’96, April 7, 2020
1980s Donald (Don) Sanderson, B.Sc. (Eng.) ’80, May 2, 2020 Paul Willoughby, Dip. ’80, Feb. 2, 2020 Jeffrey Dewit, Dip. ’82, Oct. 25, 2018 Robert Harris, B.Sc. ’86, March 20, 2020 Sandra (Sandy) Odegard, MA ’87, Feb. 12, 2020 Brian Koroll, B.Comm. ’89, March 4, 2020 Ronald (Ron) Mergl, B.Sc. ’81, DVM ’85, July 4, 2020
2020s Sophie Breen, B.A.Sc. ’20, March 4, 2020 Raymond Gibara, B.Comm. ’20, May 10, 2020
2000s Matthew Marrack, MBA ’07, April 16, 2020 Mike Von Gunten, Dip. ’09, May 7, 2020 2010s Michael (Mike) Austin, BA ’12, Feb. 6, 2020 Marley Yott, BA ’17, June 3, 2020
To honour alumni who have passed away, the University of Guelph Alumni Association makes an annual donation to the Alumni Legacy Scholarship.
PHOTO CREDIT: TK FOR HERIOUS DIPSO
LIVES THAT IMPROVED LIFE
PHOTO: U OF G ARCHIVES
1984 The Gryphons football squad was an underdog in Canadian university competition in 1984. But after winning the coveted Vanier Cup as the best varsity team in the country, the red and gold were thought of as a team of destiny. The Gryphons beat four-time Vanier Cup winner Western Mustangs to win the Yates Cup, becoming champs of Ontario. Then, on Nov. 24, U of G rallied to defeat the Mount Allison Mounties 22-13 at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium, in front of a crowd of 19,842. Gryphon receiver Parri Ceci, who went on to a professional career in the CFL, was the game’s MVP. He made two receptions in the game, both for touchdowns. One was carried 89 yards, the longest in Vanier Cup history to that point.
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+ Burt Matthews, an OAC grad, became U of G’s fourth president. + New head football coach John Musselman replaced Tom Dimitroff. Musselman would coach the Gryphons to a Vanier Cup victory. + Macdonald Stewart Art Centre got the go-ahead to begin landscaping work on the expansion of the Donald Forster Sculpture Park. + The J.D. MacLachlan Building was named after U of G’s first president.
+ The Soviet Union boycotted the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, in retaliation for the U.S.led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games. + The space shuttle Discovery’s inaugural flight lasted Aug. 30 to Sept. 5. + China and Britain reached agreement to return Hong Kong to China. + Canadian film director James Cameron released his critically acclaimed film The Terminator, starring bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. Fall 2020 PORTICO | 37
A COLOURFUL CAMPUS TRADITION FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY
A British naval cannon affectionately known as “Old Jeremiah” or simply “the Cannon” has spent more than 100 years on the grounds of the University of Guelph and its founding colleges. It is the target of one of the most intriguing, creative and colourful traditions on campus. Rumoured to have been fired in the War of 1812, the imposing antique weapon has been pacified in modern times. Each academic year, it is repeatedly painted after
38 | PORTICO Fall 2020
dark in vivid colours and assorted messages. The cannon has announced U of G events, programs, fraternities and community causes, and occasionally been dive-bombed with political statements. It’s delivered marriage proposals and giggle-inducing lines like “Have you been debugged lately?” (from the School of Computer Science). Over the years, the message board has been transformed into a Canada goose, penguin, dragonfly,
giraffe and squirrel, and even the Titanic. Old Jeremiah was last fired in 1913 before its barrel was sealed. Pranksters can no longer wheel it around campus, as it is now permanently anchored to the ground. Dozens of times each year, it receives a new coat of paint. In 2011, Dawn Johnston, a master of fine art student, stripped the cannon of about 30 years’ worth of paint for an art project.
PHOTOS: ROB O’FLANAGAN
Antique cannon long a campus message board
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2020 AWARD WINNERS The UGAA is proud to recognize three exceptional alumni for their outstanding achievements and commitment to excellence.
ALUMNI OF HONOUR AWARD
ALUMNI VOLUNTEER AWARD
YOUNG ALUMNI AWARD
Mark Lautens B.Sc. ’81, D.Sc. ’16
Bill Laidlaw BA ’74
Yvonne Su BA ’11, PhD ’20
To learn more about the winners, please visit:
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