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 the portico

summer 2015

2   3     26   30


he university of Guelph and the Toronto Blue Jays team up to grow a natural turfgrass field in the Rogers Centre.


PLAN BEE How Guelph researchers are helping to protect our pollinators.

— 10 —

COMIC BOOK CRUSADER ntrepreneur Jennifer Haines promotes literacy with comics in the classroom.


4 Real estate expert and TV personality Scott McGillivray helps homeowners generate rental income.

— 12 —


HOW SHE ROLLS Photographer Kate Wilhelm’s portraits of roller derby women explore gender stereotypes and femininity.

— 24 — TOP CHEF

College News      The Portico. See page 18.

Vittorio Colacitti cooks his way to the top of the culinary world.

Summer 2015 1


EDITOR’S NOTE as you’re flipping through the pages of this issue of The Portico, you might notice a few subtle changes — in fact, you’re reading one of them right now. This editor’s note, along with a few new content areas, are a sign of what’s to come for The Portico. After more than seven years in its current state, the magazine will undergo a complete redesign in the near future — our goal is to make The Portico more modern, and give it a fresh, cohesive look throughout that better reflects U of G and its graduates. It’s an exciting opportunity for the magazine and for you as alumni. Now, more than ever, is the time to share your thoughts about the magazine: What do you like? What don’t you like? What do you want to read about? And most importantly, what can we be doing better for you, our reader? You can share your thoughts by emailing or by completing our online survey at Along with a new look, the magazine will also begin a new publishing schedule to better capture the most vibrant times of the university year. Look for your next issue in late November, and following issues in March and July. While we work to build a better Portico, the foundation of the magazine will stay the same — we will continue to bring you engaging stories about the professional and personal lives of alumni, and to showcase how the university’s innovations are making an impact in the world.We will also keep you connected to your alma mater with campus news and views. You can also now find us on Twitter! Follow us for updates, or share your news or U of G memories at @porticomag. Happy reading! stacey morrison, editor


1 was happy to read the article about the expansion and renovation of the athletic facilities printed in the Winter 2015 issue of The Portico. The existing Mitchell Athletic Centre is the oldest and possibly most obsolete athletic facility of any university in Ontario. As the article mentioned, it was built in 1957 for 3,500 students and today it serves 16,000 active students, plus multiple intramural clubs, community youth classes and thousands of summer camp children. The new 170,000-square-foot expansion will include a 25,000square-foot fitness centre, social spaces, new locker rooms and an event centre capable of hosting sporting and community events. I am so impressed by the students

2 The Portico

who voted to fund this project and committed millions of dollars to see it done, and by the Department of Athletics’ leadership and commitment to this project. I believe the differentiating elements of a university education are the many meaningful life experiences and learning opportunities. The pursuit of a degree is at the forefront, but social development, the arts, music, technology, the exchange of ideas, political awareness and of course, physical activities and sports, provide life-changing moments. This project will elevate our campus and be a source of pride and benefit to alumni and the entire community. Sincerely, tom heslip, ba ’81, ma ’83



Summer 2015 • Volume 47 Issue 2

ISSN 1714-8731 Editor Stacey Morrison Assistant Vice-President Charles Cunningham Art Direction Peter Enneson Design Inc. Contributors Susan Bubak Kevin Gonsalves Lori Bona Hunt Wendy Jespersen Teresa Pitman Andrew Vowles, B.Sc. ’84 Photography Dean Palmer

The Portico is published three times a year by Communications and Public Affairs at the University of Guelph. Opinions expressed in The Portico do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or the university. We welcome your feedback. Send letters and story ideas to or by mail to Communications and Public Affairs, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont., N1G 2W1. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. Send address changes to: or 519-824-4120 ext. 56550, or by mail to Records c/o Alumni Affairs & Development, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont., N1G 2W1. Printed in Canada. Publication agreement #40064673. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: The Portico Magazine, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont., N1G 2W1. WEBSITE:

TWITTER: @porticomag

WORKING TOGETHER FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE niversities are not only places of learning, scholarship and research, but also places that look to the future. Far from the “ivory towers� of yesterday, universities are evolving as their role in society changes. Here at the University of Guelph, we are increasingly engaged with our community and with our world. Since arriving at Guelph, I’ve had several opportunities to speak to local groups about our connections with community partners, including business, government and non-profit organizations. For example, Grow Guelph brings the University together with many local players, including the City of Guelph and the Chamber of Commerce, in an initiative to retain and expand local businesses. Through the U of G Institute for CommunityEngaged Scholarship, our students team up on projects with agencies and organizations around Guelph and Wellington County. Recent collaborations have looked at topics from improving public transit to alleviating poverty and homelessness to ensuring food security. Our campus Centre for Business and Social Entrepreneurship allows students to pursue business ideas and community-based projects with various groups. Students have worked on everything from starting a custom tea business to serving as project consultants with client companies. Through these connections, we help and often lead in tackling important issues here and further afield. We are eager to strengthen those existing ties and to pursue further connections that enhance the University, our local community and the wider world. More and more, those connections require us to look not just at the needs of the day but also the needs of tomorrow. In our fast-paced world, the gap has shrunk between knowledge generation and knowledge application. New ideas become new products much more quickly today, thanks to factors such as information and communications technology, and the democratization of learning and knowledge. Effectively, the distance between today and tomorrow has narrowed. That presents challenges but also opportunities for universities, including the University of Guelph. Universities are oriented toward the future in a number of ways. Our researchers anticipate problems and opportunities, and develop solutions — including solutions to problems that don’t even exist yet. And we teach students to be future thinkers by providing the analytical and qualitative skills to look beyond the world today,


and to succeed through innovation and problem-solving in new and interesting ways. Yes, we need to keep an eye on today, including ensuring that we look after day-to-day administration of this institution. But focusing on the immediate issues of the day should not distract us from the broader opportunities that will shape our future: the opportunities to redefine who we are, to see the future through a broader lens and be engaged participants in the process. Universities are among the few places in society where a large part of our purpose is to foster ideas and innovation, to dream and to inspire hope. That’s exciting. That’s bold. That’s imaginative. It’s why I took up the challenge of leading the University of Guelph. And it’s a challenge that I invite our partners — including you, as our alumni — to join. We all need to be involved in the discussion. Together we can continue to reach for a higher sense of common purpose. Together we can look for opportunities to further our engagement with our world, not just for today but for our shared tomorrow. Franco Vaccarino, President

Summer 2015 3

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Eric Lyons

Blue Jays and U of G hope to hit home run with natural grass he university of Guelph and the Toronto Blue Jays will collaborate on a research project to grow a natural turfgrass field in the Rogers Centre. Researchers will undertake a yearlong, intensive study to determine the impacts of growing natural grass in the Rogers Centre.The Major League Baseball (MLB) team aims to install natural grass with a dirt infield by the start of the 2018 season. Prof. Eric Lyons, Department of Plant Agriculture and turfgrass expert, will lead the project. He will help determine the types of grass to grow in the Rogers Centre — the turfgrass will need to grow indoors with the stadium’s retractable roof closed, which means figuring out which type of grass will do best under artificial light. Researchers


4 The Portico

will also need to consider other issues related to growing grass indoors such as humidity levels, air circulation and water, as well as

THE DIRT ON ARTIFICIAL TURF â– $)12%*,-/2/*!12 ,.%1--*.+0(20/)(1/1(0'1"2.+2%012,0--2*+202,1&(0,2-10 -.+20-2*+2 2)1+2/)12.&-/.+ -/,.-2 (0'1"2/)1*,2).!12. 1+1,20/2/)1 -/,.".!12.+2-/,.$&,%# â–  $)*-2'10,2.+('2/.2.%2/)12 2 /10!-2*((2 (0'2.+20,/*%**0(2/&,% 2/)12$0! 0 0'20'-20+"2/)12$.,.+/.2(&120'-# â–  *22-/0"*&!-2)012,1/,0/0(1 ,..%- 2/)12.1,-21+/,12*-2/)12.+('2.+1 */).&/2,10(2,0--#

ensuring the grass will stand up to the wear and tear of a baseball season. Lyons says he is up for the challenge. “It’s the perfect project for me. I’m a scientist. I love baseball, I love sports and I love turfgrass.� Lyons is expected to recommend the grass species to the Blue Jays in the spring of 2016. Blue Jays staff will determine next steps, including potential timing feasibility of renovations to accommodate ventilation, irrigation, drainage and cost. If the project proceeds after the initial year, candidate grasses will be grown on an Ontario sod farm and then tested in a simulated environment under artificial light. If all goes well, the natural turfgrass field will be installed in 2018 before the season opener.


8 '64*72043% Guelph grad Ayelet Tsabari wins prestigious literary prize

Ayelet Tsabari

r i t e r a n d Guelph alumna Ayelet Tsabari has won the 2015 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, worth $100,000, for her debut short story collection The Best Place on Earth, published in 2013. She wrote most of the stories in the collection as her thesis project for U of G’s master of fine arts in creative writing program. “I’m still a bit out of words,� says Tsabari, MFA ’11, of the win. “It’s amazing. It’s changed everything for me.� It’s also a win for the Mizrahi or Arab Jew characters in her stories. She wrote the stories partly to give a voice to what she calls a largely overlooked population that she belonged to while growing up in Tel Aviv. When she received the news,Tsabari

8 8 8


was in Israel on a Chalmers fellowship from the Ontario Arts Council — she was interviewing Jewish Yemeni women to learn about their stories, dances and songs for her next project. Tsabari, 41, grew up in Israel and travelled in Southeast Asia and North America before moving to Canada in 1998. She now lives in Toronto with her husband and two-year-old daughter. She has taught certificate writing courses at U of G and the University of Toronto. Calling herself “an exile of choice,� Tsabari says she appreciates Canada even as she feels a tug toward the heritage and culture of Israel. “Even writing about Israel is a way back.That’s the trajectory. Leaving and returning: it’s a very Jewish theme.�


1)8827/763.%85661'6/7-83,785((1463+7630 1)807*725.807641285-+464032534168(10434160#8 ,52.1337853708,508!77685((14637-8(21*103 56-8*4/7$(2704-76385/5-7+4/"843,8,728)4*7$%752 372+8!7&46646&8'&#8#82412831814646&8 81)8" 53708072*7-8508-756 1)83,785/'.3%81)81/45. /476/708538/50$ 3728 64*72043%#8 8,5*7858327+76$ -1'08270(7/38)1283,7 64*72043%856-8!7.47*7 81)88/568/16346'7831 5/,47*78&275383,46&0" 0,78054-#8384083,24..8$ 46&8318!78(52381)83,40 52+856-87./1+46& Charlotte Yates 43%# /1++'6 In addition, alumnus Malcolm Campbell has been named vice-president (research) for a fiveyear term starting June 1. Campbell comes to Guelph from the University of Toronto, where he has been a professor since 2004 and currently serves as vice-president research for the University of Toronto Scarborough. In March, Daniel Atlin started as U of G's vice-president (external). He was previously vice-president, strategy and college affairs, at Seneca College. He will oversee Alumni Affairs and Development, Communications and Public Affairs, and government and community relations.

Malcolm Campbell

Daniel Atlin

Summer 2015 5

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6 The Portico

77';:+?/=92?-=8<>?;:<7?>:>9+1 n i v e r s i ty o f g u e l p h researchers are studying how to make biofuels from farm waste, especially â&#x20AC;&#x153;wetâ&#x20AC;? waste that is typically difficult to use. Scientists have struggled to find uses for wet and green waste, including corn husks, tomato vines and manure. Dry farm waste, such as wood chips or sawdust, is easier to use for generating power. Often, wet farm waste materials break down before reaching their destination. Researchers led by engineering professor Animesh Dutta, director of the Bio-Renewable Innovation Lab (BRIL) at U of G, have found a solution: pressure cooking. Cooking farm waste yields compact, easily transportable material that will not degrade and can be used in energy-producing plants.

Dutta says the research, published in the journal Applied Energy, shows that in a lab setting, biofuels can produce the same amount of energy as coal. Biomass is highly rich in alkali and alkaline earth metals such as silicon, potassium, sodium and calcium. The presence of these metals in farm waste damages pipes at power plants during combustion.The new biofuel product made by the BRIL researchers produces a product that has less alkali and alkaline earth metals, allowing it to be used at power plants. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The next step is to take this outside of the lab. We have a number of industry partners and government ministries interested in this technology,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Essentially, the agri-food sector could power the automotive industry.â&#x20AC;?

PhD candidate proves 20-year-old math conjecture hile completing her doctorate work in matrix theory, Preeti Mohindru accomplished something unusual for a PhD candidate: she proved a mathematical conjecture that had gone without formal proof for two decades. A mathematical conjecture is a statement that appears to be true but has yet to be formally proved. When someone comes up with a proof, that conjecture becomes a theorem, such

Preeti Mohindru

as the Pythagorean Theorem relating the lengths of a triangleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sides. Sometimes it can take centuries for a conjecture to be proved. One of the most notable theorems in mathematical history, Fermatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Last Theorem, was proved in 1994 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; more than three centuries after its conjecture. That was the same year that three mathematicians â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Drew, Johnson and Loewy â&#x20AC;&#x201D; came up with another conjecture involving matrices, or arrays of numbers or symbols arranged in rows and columns.Their conjecture was actually disproved by other experts, but not necessarily for all types of matrices. When Mohindru started her doctorate in 2012, Prof. Rajesh Pereira in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics suggested a few problems to tackle, including this DrewJohnson-Loewy Conjecture. It took more than a year for Mohindru to show their conjecture holds for an exotic group of so-called completely positive matrices, or grids containing no negative entries. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What Preeti has done is to show that the Drew-Johnson-Loewy conjecture is actually true,â&#x20AC;? says Pereira. Her results were published recently in the journal Linear and Multi-Linear Algebra.



Predicting the impact of an oil spill on salmon

NOTEWORTHY â&#x2013; Teresa Crease /719$88297**452380 7114,57389087294-9(670+738913+05819-46 793/688'8769386%&9687189 45280994-9" 52997197295238(6735#89$54.4(' *64-8114697209*68#54+1.'9186#80971 7,352( ,/75694-93/89-46%8698*763%823 4-944.4('972093/89,+6682398*763%823 4-9238(6735#8954.4('& Karyn Freedman

Migrating sockeye salmon in a British Columbia river.

n a t h r e e - y e a r University of Guelph-led project, researchers will study how bitumen exposure affects Pacific sockeye salmon. They will look especially at cardiac health and aerobic fitness in the fish, particularly vital for migrating salmon that endure challenging conditions to complete their life cycle. Bitumen extracted from the Canadian oil sands is transported by pipeline for processing into petroleum products. Prof. Todd Gillis, Integrative Biology, says this project, which is funded by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is important as government, industry, environmental groups and policy makers discuss pipeline transportation from the oil sands. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Not to be too dramatic, but inevitably an oil spill will occur,â&#x20AC;? says Gillis, who is the studyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s principal investigator, working alongside scientists at Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the University of British Columbia. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What


weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to do is understand the impact so that appropriate management strategies can be developed. â&#x20AC;? The researchers will also study how bitumen exposure affects aerobic fitness and heart condition in juvenile salmon. Sockeye salmon spend up to two years in lakes where they are born and where they are most vulnerable to oil exposure; they migrate to the ocean to mature. Last fall, SFU researchers began exposing salmon embryos to low concentrations of bitumen. Previous toxicity research using crude oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico showed that young fish are particularly sensitive to such environmental contamination. The team also intends to identify plasma biomarkers for cardiac toxicity from crude oil exposure. Gillis says these biomarkers will help in monitoring and managing salmon populations in the event of an oil spill.

â&#x2013; Karyn Freedman, *64-8114694*/5.414*/' 9 )429 3/89 *68135(54+1 65351/94.+%$579735427.9!)7609-469 7270572 425,3542&96880%729)42 3/89  9*65 89-469/869$449One Hour in Paris: A True Story of Rape and Recovery, )/5,/938..19/869*861427. 1346' 4-9 67*89 7209 *8618#8672,8& 3/86 -527.5131952,.+080994-9"97.+%27 Alison Pick -469/869$44 9Between Gods: A Memoir. â&#x2013;  !9.728)7'95294642349)7196827%80 -469Sky Gilbert, 79*64-8114695293/8 ,/44.94-92(.51/97209/8736893+0 581&9'9"5.$863972895193+,809$8/520 3/89+0058197095%89/87368 9)/868 "5.$8639186#8097197635135,90568,3469-46 9'8761& â&#x2013;  9 4-9 "9 7)760809 3/89 -527.9 & & 7,5..729 7+687389 529 !(65,+.3+68 7)7609349Tim McAllister 979*652,5*7. 681876,/91,58235139-469!(65,+.3+689720 !(65440972707 9)/49/719/8.*80 680+,893/895%*7,3194-9E.coli 7209%70 ,4)9051871894293/8972705729.5#8 134,9520+136'&9/897)7609)7198137$ .51/809529 9)53/9,!..513869$852( 3/893/97209-527.968,5*5823& 99!"9

Summer 2015 7

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8 The Portico


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In February about 250 students took a break from studying for midterms to take part in a giant snowball fight on Johnston Green.

.84:81?7.00=<;7??=2??/>8;96?5>96;5?0<=1<9/7 he university of Guelph received nearly $800,000 from the Ontario government for two new programs aimed at improving mental health and wellness in young adults. The initiatives focus on helping aboriginal students and assisting incoming university students with mental health issues. The funding comes from the Mental Health Innovation Fund and is part of the Ontario governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Identifying issues and providing support and services as soon as possible is key to helping students manage their mental health challenges in a healthy way,â&#x20AC;? said U of G President Franco Vaccarino, who is internationally recognized for his research in psychology and addiction. â&#x20AC;&#x153;These new initiatives will also help promote awareness and understanding.â&#x20AC;? The first project, which received nearly $600,000, aims to more effectively engage and


support aboriginal learners with identified mental health challenges or substance abuse issues, as well as those entering post-secondary education. The project will be headed by U of Gâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Aboriginal Resource Centre and Counselling Services, and involve Six Nations Polytechnic and Mohawk College. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s intended to integrate aspects of aboriginal wisdom and worldviews with western-based therapeutic approaches to mental health. The second program is designed to help incoming university students with mental health challenges. It involves U of G, Conestoga College, the Upper Grand District School Board and the Wellington Catholic District School Board. These partners will identify factors needed for a successful summer residence transition program with the hope of helping students manage mental health challenges before starting college or university.

HEART SURGERY AT COLLEGE ROYAL 98? 9;+?9?;5:<4"->9<?4=3;=<?=2?,>;><:89<-?/>4:3:8> 7;.4>8;+?5>607?&==0><?='><;7+? +?0><2=</?5>9<; 7.<1><-?=8?5:7?7;.22>4?2:75? >/=?9;?;5>?%8;9<:=?>;" ><:89<-?&=66>1>7?0=0.69<?#>44-?)>9<?$.<1><-?>,>8;( #5>?>,>8;?!97?09<;?=2??=2?7? 7;?988.96?&=66>1> =-96?=0>8?5=.7>?!>>>84?5>64?>9<6:><?;5:7?70<:81(

the Portico is getting a


look Be sure to check your mailbox in November for your new and improved alumni magazine!


TV PERSONALITY HELPS CASH-STRAPPED HOMEOWNERS GENERATE RENTAL INCOME ven home improvement stars encounter unexpected disasters. Last season while renovating a house for his television show, Income Property, Scott McGillivray and his crew discovered the previous owner had dug the basement floor down so deep that it was actually lower than the homeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s foundation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We knew he had dug down a bit, but not how far,â&#x20AC;? says McGillivray, B.Comm. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;01. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t until we removed the ugly panelling that was glued to the wall that we discovered the whole building was starting to collapse.â&#x20AC;? Fortunately, McGillivray was there to save the day, but fixing the problem didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t come cheap. The show helped cover some of the $50,000 price tag, but the homeowner was still hit with an unexpected expense. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just one of the obstacles McGillivray has experienced filming the popular home improvement show, now in its 10th season on HGTV and winner of multiple Canadian Screen Awards. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an impressive track record for a show that wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t expected to do well in the beginning. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People thought the topic was too specific,â&#x20AC;? says

Planning your own renovation? Scott McGillivray offers these tips on where to save and where to splurge: SAVE: â&#x2013; $)*)(+%++$++()$+(()#+(" '+(+$*%$++)*  â&#x2013;  +*)**()"#++!+' +)*"*)&%)*%+*(  $&++* "+!+"*&!#)*&+%)("+ +$!+*& â&#x2013;  )*)()**()"*'*$(+ #+%)((+)'#)*()*)'*(* #++!(*'*'*%+$)* +$#++!+)")*++!  '++( %+#(%**)*+()*  SPLURGE: â&#x2013;  &#()&)'*'+*+(* )*'(&+'*$$+&%)" +&++! â&#x2013;  ))&%(*++*+#('* !)*)'*++*(&)( â&#x2013;  %++$++(%+)*"(!* #'(&+%)**(* #&(

10 The Portico

McGillivray. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But investing in real estate this way resonates with a lot of people.â&#x20AC;? McGillivrayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s charm and good looks donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hurt, either. His personal income property story began as a secondyear U of G marketing management student looking for an off-campus house to rent. One of his courses required developing a business plan, so he used the research he did for that assignment to guide him as he took his first step: buying a house on Koch Street near campus, fixing it up and renting it to fellow students. Building on that success, he bought two more homes the next year and realized he could make more money as a landlord than working a regular job. Along the way, he became a licensed contractor, and developed expert home renovation and carpentry skills. It was his talent as a carpenter that landed him his first TV job, working on Facelift, hosted by designer Debbie Travis. Today, McGillivray, 37, has more than 100 rental properties, many of them multi-units, including 15 in Guelph. On Income Property, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s helped more than 150 homeowners create their own rental units in both Canada and the U.S. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also appeared on other shows such as All American Handyman, Flipping the Block, Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Handyman Challenge, Holiday Battle on the Block and From the Ground Up. While his career has flourished, so has McGillivrayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family life. He married his wife, Sabrina, in 2011 and they now have two daughters, ages one and three. The family splits their time between residences in Toronto and Fort Myers, Florida. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My wife and daughters are the best things ever,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They put things into perspective for me â&#x20AC;&#x201D; I still work very hard and I still work a lot, but my family is now a priority. I want to spend time with them, so I focus on working smarter, not harder, and being more efficient.â&#x20AC;? Last fall People magazine named McGillivray its â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sexy Man of the Week.â&#x20AC;? He was excited to share the news with his wife, but she had a different reaction. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She said she was surprised! I told her, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;You should already know this.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? He adds that working with construction crews meant there were also plenty of jokes at his expense. McGillivrayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s latest business project is teaching others about real estate investing â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he offers seminars and has written two books. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s amazing to look back and see that this all started with a school project and the decision to make it real by buying that first house,â&#x20AC;? says McGillivray. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are always opportunities out there. Sometimes they are harder to find, but they are there.â&#x20AC;?    


Summer 2015 11

KATE WILHELM PHOTOGRAPHS DERBY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;WARRIORSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; AT HOME hotographer kate wilhelmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; s latest project includes 25 portraits of mothers, daughters and wives. Or, if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going by their roller derby personas, Gender Bendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;her, Mandy Maggotbone and Suzy Slam, to name a few. Wilhelm, BA â&#x20AC;&#x2122;00, photographed these derby â&#x20AC;&#x153;warriorsâ&#x20AC;? not at the rink but at home, complete with costumes, body art and the odd bruise or two. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I want to show something to people they wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t otherwise notice or see,â&#x20AC;? she says.Whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to see derby girls in outfits in their homes?â&#x20AC;? For some viewers, posing these warriors at home and often with their families highlights the theatricality of the derby girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; appearance. Their â&#x20AC;&#x153;boutfitsâ&#x20AC;? are often hyper-sexualized â&#x20AC;&#x201D; fishnet stockings, tattoos, short skirts â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a campiness about their appearance and their derby handles. But rather than just play voyeur,Wilhelm aimed to portray the tension between her subjectsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; sport sides and their domestic lives. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not documenting a subculture,â&#x20AC;? says Wilhelm, who marked her first solo show when the series, called Yes These Bones Shall Live, was exhibited at U of Gâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Macdonald Steward Art Centre (MSAC) earlier this year. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m trying to pose questions about gender, identity, performance and home. I want to know who these women are.â&#x20AC;? Dawn Owen, acting director and curator of contemporary art at MSAC, recommended Wilhelm for funding under the Ontario Arts Council exhibition assistance program. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I thought her work was strong,â&#x20AC;? says Owen, comparing Wilhelmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work with that of American photographers Sally Mann and Nan Goldin in the tradition of the photo-narrative essay. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Family and motherhood are central to her work. That narrative is part of the show.â&#x20AC;?


Wilhelm grew up on a hobby farm near Oshawa, Ont., and planned to pursue veterinary studies. Finding she liked the arts more than science, she switched her studies to English. She first picked up a camera in 1998 for a course with Prof. Susan Dobson in the School of Fine Art and Music. After graduation, she continued to train her lens on various subjects, sharpening her eye and her aesthetic sensibility.Viewers compliment Wilhelm for capturing the essence of her subjects, but sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not so sure.â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one essence of a person.You can catch a fragment.â&#x20AC;? No derby girl herself, the Guelphbased artist became interested in the subject after photographing a few members of a regional derby league five years ago. The subjects in Yes These Bones Shall Live belong to the Tri-City Roller Girls and the Royal City Roller Girls. Wilhelmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work has been exhibited as part of curated group shows locally and internationally, including the Centre for Fine Art Photography in Colorado and A.I.R. Gallery in New York City. But having her debut solo exhibit not just in her hometown, but also at her alma mater, held special meaning. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It definitely felt good to have the show there.When I started the project, my dream was to have it on those [MSAC] walls, especially so lots of derby girls could come to the opening.â&#x20AC;? One visitor to her spring exhibit said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re letting me see into their windows with no curtains.â&#x20AC;? The notion of being an observer is what Wilhelm loves most about photography. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I like to find moments of drama in peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lives,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I notice things. I make up stories about peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lives. I love the details that suggest a story.â&#x20AC;?    

#()* *$() &)' $ " #( &) **'' &*)' * )! &) & !*()$)*(" #%)  *)*%%* '%*()" 12 The Portico



Summer 2015 13

14 The Portico

How researchers and alumni are working to keep the bee population buzzing


Summer 2015 15

eing the daughter of a hobbyist beekeeper dad, Alison Van Alten helped out with the honey harvest each fall. But it was only after she began her studies at U of G that she started keeping bees of her own. She raised colonies on a farm and extracted honey from the hives on the front porch of her rented student digs in Guelph.Today she still raises bees for honey, but her expertise is raising queen bees for other beekeepers. As the owner of Tuckamore Bee

16 The Portico

Company in Freelton, Ont.,Van Alten supplies queens to beekeepers across Canada. Once a full-time researcher, she still works with other beekeepers and scientists, including biologists at U of G, on solutions to a range of problems plaguing bees and other pollinators. About one in three mouthfuls of food we eat depends on pollination by bees and other insects. Pollinators also help to maintain plant Beekeeper Alison Van Alten at work collecting queen bees.

diversity — eight in 10 flower species need pollinators to set seeds and fruit. Declines in pollinator numbers in Ontario and across Canada have been blamed on various factors, including disease and parasites, pesticide exposure, shrinking habitat and apiary management practices. Those factors worry U of G researchers, including Prof. Ernesto Guzman, School of Environmental Sciences (SES), although he’s careful to distinguish between annual losses and an overall decline in bee numbers. “More than 30 per cent of bee colonies have been lost every year over the last seven years,” he says. “But we still have more hives in Canada than 10 years ago.” Beekeepers have made up those losses by splitting colonies and importing bees each year, but that’s an expensive solution. Researchers are attempting to understand what’s driving annual losses and how to help preserve our pollinators. Paradoxically, as pollinators have declined, the number of apiarists has grown, including urban beekeepers maintaining one or more hives in their backyards. Van Alten, B.Sc. ’95, M.Sc. ’00, has been raising bees full-time since 2010, producing queens as well as nucleus (or starter) colonies. Her husband, John Van Alten, has been a beekeeper for three decades and produces honey under his Dutchman’s Gold Honey label. Beekeeping runs in the family for Van Alten, who grew up in Newfoundland. Her biologist father kept backyard bee colonies, and her sister, Andrea Skinner, B.Sc. ’98, runs the Newfoundland Bee Company, the largest operation in the province. After completing her undergraduate degree in apiculture,Van Alten went on to obtain her master’s degree in environmental biology with Peter Kevan, SES professor emeritus, as her adviser. Kevan also directed the Canadian Pollination Initiative (CANPOLIN), a five-year strategic network based at Guelph that ended last year. For her graduate degree,Van Alten worked on tracheal mites, which can hinder bees’ respiration and their ability to keep the hive at the right temperature. After graduating, she continued that research with the Ontario Beekeepers’Association (OBA) technology transfer program. There she tested treatments and breeding

programs for controlling both tracheal and varroa mites. The OBA researchers found certain queens and offspring that are less susceptible to tracheal mites, and the results are being used by keepers to breed bees with more natural resistance to the parasites.They hope to replicate that success with varroa mites, which have developed resistance to chemical treatments. At U of G, a colony of researchers is also studying pollinator declines. Among them, Guzman studies the effects of parasites and pesticides on honeybees. He and his research team are looking at natural products to control the fungus Nosema ceranae, known to hamper colony growth in the spring. So far, they’ve found several compounds that can knock down Nosema levels by more than half. They’re also studying the use of naturally occurring fungi to control varroa mites, with mixed results. Combining fungi and thymol — a natural plant oil — can control mites more effectively than fungi alone, says Guzman. He’s also looking at boosting bees’ immune system. Parasites are only one threat to pollinators; crop pesticides are also an issue. “Pesticides historically have killed bees by the hundreds of thousands,” says Guzman. “Bees are insects and insecticides are designed to kill insects.What’s the surprise?” Bee behaviour and pesticide impacts are on the research agenda for SES professor Nigel Raine, who arrived at U of G last year as the inaugural holder of the Rebanks Family Chair in Pollinator Conservation, the first research chair of its kind in Canada. An internationally recognized expert in pollinator conservation and ecology, last year he published two papers about the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides, which have also stirred controversy in Canada. In 2012, Raine’s study published in Nature was the first to show that combined pesticide exposure affects bumblebee behaviour, and colony growth and survival. Those findings led the European Union to ban three neonic insecticides used for treating seeds of crops favoured by bees. “The weight of scientific evidence suggests that we should be concerned about insecticide impacts on bees,” says Raine.“Even at comparatively low exposure levels as can be found in the field, I have seen negative

effects of these chemicals on bumblebee foraging behaviour and colony growth.” In contrast, a large-scale field study by Prof. Cynthia Scott-Dupree, SES, and holder of the Bayer Crop Science Chair in Sustainable Pest Management, suggests there is no link between canola grown from neonictreated seeds and honeybee deaths. In other field studies, she has found that bumblebees choose not to forage for corn pollen, meaning that they are spared exposure to neonic residues in corn grown from treated seed.

Amid the growing concern over the use of pesticides, the Ontario government is proposing to reduce the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments for corn and soybeans by implementing a licensing system for growers. Health Canada is also reviewing its assessment on the safety of neonics for bees, with a final report expected in 2016 or 2017. Other stressors on honeybees include farmers planting more corn and soybean, which are undesirable for honeybees, and trucking bees across great distances to

Summer 2015 17

pollinate crops, which can disrupt bees during the growing season and often expose them to simple monoculture diets that may hamper their health. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We move one-third of Ontario colonies to New Brunswick every year,â&#x20AC;? Guzman says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Some 30,000 hives from Ontario are trucked to New Brunswick to pollinate blueberries.â&#x20AC;? Despite the ongoing studies and discussion, Guzman wonders if researchers are fighting a losing battle. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Diseases will be with us for a long time. I doubt growers will stop using insecticides,â&#x20AC;?

he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s killing bees are modern practices of beekeeping and agriculture.â&#x20AC;? Back in Freelton, Alison Van Alten is doing her part to renew bee populations every year, and sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s raising a potential new beekeeper: her six-year-old son Yuri already helps identify and raise queens, and helps ship them to beekeepers during the busy spring season. Van Alten suggests the hive holds a lesson for farmers, apiarists, researchers and other stakeholders looking to solve the pollinator problem. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I love watching the bees â&#x20AC;&#x201D; how well

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bees are insects and insecticides are designed to kill insects. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the surprise?â&#x20AC;? PROF. ERNESTO GUZMAN

18 The Portico

they work together and how efficient they are,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Maybe they can teach us how to solve our pollinator problems â&#x20AC;&#x201D; we need to work together to find a solution.â&#x20AC;? â&#x2013;

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20 The Portico

Jennifer Haines combines her love of teaching and comic books to promote literacy STORY BY SUSAN BUBAK â&#x20AC;˘ PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEAN PALMER

Summer 2015 21

22 The Portico

Haines says comic books can be especially helpful for children who are struggling to read. very wednesday afternoon after school, The Dragon comic book store in downtown Guelph starts to fill up with kids and parents for its weekly Pokémon League. The game day is so popular, additional tables are set up outside the storefront to accommodate groups of players, who huddle with heads down, flipping, shuffling and “attacking” opponents with their game cards. For Liam Robertson, 10, the organized games are just one part of the store’s appeal. “I like how they have an adult section and a kids comic book section,” says Robertson. “I used to go to another store where the comics were all mixed together, and I like that at The Dragon they aren’t mixed together and I know where to find the comics for kids.” A welcoming atmosphere and happy customers of all ages is just what storeowner Jennifer Haines, BA ’98, was hoping to accomplish when she opened The Dragon 17 years ago in Guelph’s Quebec Street Mall. At the time, The Dragon was not the only comic book store in town. “I would not go into that other store,” Haines says of her now-defunct competitor. “It was dusty and dirty and inhospitable, and it just wasn’t anything that I wanted for my comic store. I didn’t feel welcome there.” That’s true of many comic book stores, she adds, which typically cater to male customers. When she and her husband visit other stores, a staff member usually approaches her husband and ignores her. “I wanted to bring a better experience to the people of Guelph.” Unlike traditional comic book stores, which she describes as “dungeon-esque boys’ clubs,” The Dragon appeals to readers of all ages, genders and interests. Brightly lit and easy to navigate, the store is filled with board games, toys, graphic novels and about 10,000 comic books that cater to a broad audience — from children to adults and to more specific audiences like the LGBTQ community. Women are also regular customers of the store. Gender preferences among comic book readers tend to mirror those of moviegoers, says Haines. A growing number of women are reading comic books, particularly those that are character-driven, whereas men


gravitate toward superhero comics because they’re more action-packed. “A good story is a good story,” she says, and her staff can help readers find the right fit. At 16, Haines went through a Star Wars and Star Trek phase, which drew her to her local comic book store to buy magazines and trading cards. “The comics just kept catching my eye,” she says.When she picked up her first comic — Batman — she was hooked. “The combination of words and pictures was unlike anything I had ever read before,” she says. “It really fascinated me.” As an undergrad at Guelph, she spent five years studying history and classical studies — including nine semesters in a row — because she “just wanted to take so many courses.” Instead of sending out job applications when she graduated, she developed a business plan, applied for a loan and scoped out locations to open her own comic book store. “I was 23 when I opened the business,” says Haines, who previously worked in a comic book store in Oakville, Ont., for three years. “You have to be kind of young and foolish to go into self-employment because it’s a huge gamble no matter what the business is.” Three years after she opened her store, Haines went back to school to earn a master’s degree at the University of Toronto. In her second year, she moved to Toronto and managed the store from afar between classes and at night. Although she wished she could have cloned herself like a comic book character, she did the next best thing and hired store manager Amy Chop, BFA ’03, to handle the day-to-day operations. After g raduating from U of T, she accepted a part-time teaching position at a private girls’ school where she taught Latin. She later completed a bachelor of education and taught full-time for several years, all while running her business. Haines now lives in Guelph with her husband, Robert, and two young children, ages three and 10 months. She works in the store full-time on weekdays and spends weekends with her family. Balancing it all is a constant struggle. “I never quite feel like I finish everything,”

Store manager Amy Chop, left, and owner Jennifer Haines.

she says. “As the owner, everything comes down to me.” Although comic books are becoming more widely accepted as a form of entertainment, and their literary merits are making them more popular among parents and teachers, there are common misconceptions — for example, that they lead to delinquent behaviour or promote a lower reading level — that Haines hopes to debunk by promoting their academic value. “It’s a far more intelligent medium than it has been given credit for,” she says. Combining her love of teaching and comics, she launched Comics in the Classroom, a program that helps schools incorporate comic books into their curriculum. She helps teachers and librarians pick comic books that are age-appropriate for their students, reinforce the school’s values and meet the Ministry of Education’s guidelines. She also leads graphic literacy workshops for teens to teach them how comic books use words and images to tell stories. For younger children, she hosts superhero workshops on how to be a good citizen. Haines says comic books can be especially helpful for children who are struggling to read. “The biggest benefit from reading comics is the text is broken up into manageable chunks,” she says. Speech and thought bubbles are less intimidating for young readers than full pages of text, and pictures can help them understand difficult words and concepts. The Dragon now employs two full-time and five part-time staff, and plans are underway to expand into a neighbouring unit in the mall. In 2012 the store won the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing Award, which recognizes excellence in merchandising and community engagement. Haines credits much of her success to the timeless appeal of comic books. “Comics have always been a way for the voiceless to have a voice,” she says. “They are unique — that combination of words and pictures is not possible in any other medium.” ■

Summer 2015 23


he challenge: make a creative and tasty dish focusing on the science of cooking by using kitchen gizmos such as circulators, sous vide machines and chemicals that turn foods into foams and bubbles. The reward: $10,000 and a spot in the finale of Top Chef Canada. Rather than breaking out the liquid nitrogen like some of his competitors,Vittorio Colacitti took a different approach and attempted to transform the humble tomato into a spectacular salad. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I chose to do a deconstructed tomato salad because it was August, and tomatoes were in season and full of flavour,â&#x20AC;? he says. In the end, his â&#x20AC;&#x153;simpleâ&#x20AC;? smoked burrata and heirloom tomato salad with tomato consommĂŠ and cured cucumber wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t enough to keep him in the competition. He was eliminated, ending up in fourth place in season four of the Food Network Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s culinary competition. He has no regrets. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The experience was amazing and I felt I accomplished a lot,â&#x20AC;? says Colacitti, B.Comm. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;04. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My friend Rene eventually won, and they brought me back for the finale to be his sous chef. If it couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be me, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m glad he won.â&#x20AC;? Colacitti almost didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make it onto the show. He submitted an application for season three, but was rejected for being â&#x20AC;&#x153;too serious.â&#x20AC;? He tried again the following year, along with 800 other applicants, and got the call. Filming lasted 34 days; even those who were cut had to stay until the very end. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was a phenomenal experience,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was mentally very taxing though, since we were so isolated â&#x20AC;&#x201D; no phones, no Internet, no TV. And the pressure is immense â&#x20AC;&#x201D; youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re working 17 or 18 hours each day and wake up the next morning with video cameras in your face.â&#x20AC;? When the show finished, it was time for Colacitti to take the next step. He opened his restaurant, The Good Son, on Queen Street West in Toronto. He is committed to offering locally sourced food and describes his menu as â&#x20AC;&#x153;very natural, simple, clean cooking.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;It has taken over my life at this point,â&#x20AC;? he says of the restaurant. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been there every day. I check every

single plate before it leaves the kitchen. I want to show that the people who trained me did a good job â&#x20AC;&#x201D; I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to disappoint them.â&#x20AC;? As a child, Colacitti travelled frequently because his father worked for an airline, so he discovered the varied tastes of good food from around the world. He lived with his family in Toronto most of the year, and often spent summers visiting relatives in Italy or his grandparentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; rural farm in Lowville, Ont. When he enrolled at the University of Guelph, he initially majored in economics. After spending a summer in British Columbia working at a restaurant owned by his cousins, he realized that hotel and food administration would be a much better fit for someone with his passion for food and cooking. His first food chemistry course convinced him that he wanted to become a chef. After graduation, Colacitti added another layer of learning by attending culinary school in Thailand for four months. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d been to Thailand about five times prior to that, and real Thai food is unique. I wanted to learn to create those flavours,â&#x20AC;? he says. Colacitti went on to gain kitchen experience by working for several well-known Toronto chefs, including Lorenzo Loseto at George restaurant and Scott Woods at Lucien. Both restaurants won awards during Colacittiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time in the kitchen. He also worked at Didier for chef Didier Leroy, one of only 400 French â&#x20AC;&#x153;master chefsâ&#x20AC;? in the world. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think he was the most talented chef I have ever worked with,â&#x20AC;? says Colacitti. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He taught me that the key components of being a chef are courage and finesse.â&#x20AC;? With one restaurant under his belt, Colacitti hopes to open a second in Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s downtown. He credits his U of G experience for playing a big role in his success. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Unlike many chefs, I can see the big picture,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were taught about the financial side, budgets and marketing, and this is information most chefs just donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have. I learned to manage my time and to work with others. I wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have my own restaurant today if I hadnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t gone to U of G.â&#x20AC;?    

!)& )"$%# $)#&&$''' () "()#)(" &% )()(!(%' 24 The Portico


Summer 2015 25

2 7. #2:8,)


Summer fun for alumni art of the University of Guelph Alumni Associationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (UGAA) mandate is to engage and support U of G grads. One way the association does this is by using its collective bargaining power to secure benefits and discounts for alumni.With summer vacations approaching, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the perfect time to showcase some of the special offers available. Families will appreciate alumni discounts at theme parks and attractions such as Great Wolf Lodge, Ripleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Aquarium of Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum, Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Wonderland, CN Tower and the Ontario Science Centre. For a full list of all the options available,

visit the Services and Benefits web page at June is just around the corner and that means Alumni Weekend is almost here! The UGAA is pleased to introduce the new Awards of Excellence Gala, which will kick off the weekend on Friday, June 12.The rest of the weekend will be filled with class reunions, campus tours, an alumni celebration dinner, concert and family picnic. Everyone is welcome and we hope to see you on campus next month. Have a great summer! /!%(!=(+/!*= &'(++&=$


OVCAA HOLDS INAUGURAL SYMPOSIUM ):=(;6<497=-:6:49;<4 ='788:#:=/821;9 /55709<697;=(-'//=)756:3=965=9;<2#24<8= '7;69;29;#= 320<697;= " 1,75921= 9; +<40)*=)90)=.7025:3=7;=51<88=<;91<85& +74:=6)<;= =(-'=<821;9=<66:;3:3 <;3=8:<4;:3=.471=.:887=<821;9=<;3=.<0 286 =5,:09<89565&=2624:=67,905=988=9;0823: :29;:*=:76905=<;3=.773=<;91<85&=90 624:3=.471=8:.6=<4:=7=-<;=%:856*=%-+ $ =.471=988$5='<;<3<=<;3=(-'//=,4:5 93:;6"6:,)<;9:=! <1,*=%-+=$ =<;3 (-'=<55709<6:=3:<;*=089;90<8=,47#4<15 <;34<;=767;37*=&"0&=$ =<;3=%-+ $=.471=+:49<8&

26 The Portico

:1,6988:=#4<35=4:2;96: ixty years ago the Class of â&#x20AC;&#x2122;56 started at Kemptville Agricultural School. Meeting for their reunion last fall at the Chamberlain Homestead east of Peterborough were (front row, from left) Edward Tobin of Madoc, Harvey Graham of Port Perry, Jim Cruickshank of Sault Ste. Marie, Thomas Haffie of Mallorytown, (back row, from left) William Chamberlain of Guelph, Larry Rosevear and Robert Brewser, both of the London area, and Archie Kerr of Picton.



New beginnings pring is a time to celebrate new beginnings, and while the campus may seem quiet over the summer months, there are new and exciting developments in the works â&#x20AC;&#x201D; all of which will shape the future of the University of Guelph. Alumni are an important part of this visioning.


$,(&2.5*.453851-0/(*-53044052.*-1) he School of Engineering recently hosted a career night in the atrium of the Thornbrough Building. Almost 50 alumni from a wide variety of industry attended and shared career advice with more than 150 students. Pictured above, Kate Northcott, B.Eng. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;08, from the

City of Toronto, shares career advice with a student. The annual HAFA/HFTM career and networking night was also a success. Held at PJâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, it featured rotating sessions and roundtable discussions, allowing students to meet with alumni from all sectors of hospitality management.

COMING EVENTS .).153,(&2.(/*(4,-35

GRADS GATHER FOR FLORIDA REUNION %30,.4051-.)5)0.2*5&/0451-32555/!5 53,(&2. .25,/0.'35*31-404'5.25/015-30,/1145!/0532 322(3,504(2./25%,. 341-5+1/24"5'4325/!51-4 2130./54140.230 5/,,4*4"53)5.2531142'324 32'50/(*-155/!5 5*0441.2*)51/51-45*0/(5 .1(04'5!0/&5,4!153045+3.245+-,44)4"5+ "5+-4.,350'"5$5"532'53*'3-5 -/&)/2

June 12-14 $,(&2.5644842'5 June 26 $$7 5$$5 /,!5 /(023&421 Richmond Hill Golf Course July 9

0 -/2)5/253 5+10441 Sept. 11 $$$5 /,!5 /(023&421 Victoria Park East Golf Club, Guelph Sept. 19 /&4/&.2*55)53)1405 Nov. 7 +5.'4)15$,(&2.5%4215.2 -.3*/

U of G president Franco Vaccarino recently announced the University of Guelph will launch a strategic planning process â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a consultation and learning exercise that will guide us into the next chapter of our history. With a commitment to the principles and beliefs that formed a strong foundation and identity, the University will ask alumni and friends to contribute their ideas and feedback about ways to ensure long-term sustainability, global reach, excellence and innovation. As the University considers longterm priorities and develops strategies to strengthen its position, alumni participation is important. Sharing your ideas and lending support will help to strengthen U of G and, in turn, reconnect you with your alma mater. $+#5% #"5$5 $+++ $# 5%%+ %# $#5$ $#%%#

Summer 2015 27

    Join alumni and friends to celebrate the University of Guelph. More than 35 reunions are planned! Whether you are celebrating a class milestone or want to reconnect with classmates on campus, this fun-filled weekend offers something for everyone. Visit for details and registration. FRIDAY, JUNE 12


NEW! UGAA Awards of Excellence Gala

SATURDAY, JUNE 13 â&#x2013; Alumni hospitality tent â&#x2013;  Presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Milestone Lunch â&#x2013;  NEW! Great Gryphon Race â&#x2013;  NEW! Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Get Crafty! â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Beer Tasting and Food Pairing â&#x2013;  Alumni Celebration Dinner â&#x2013;  NEW! â&#x20AC;&#x153;Rock the Hallâ&#x20AC;? concert and dance featuring God Made Me Funky â&#x2013;  OVCAA welcome breakfast and annual general meeting â&#x2013;  CBSAA breakfast and annual general meeting â&#x2013;  UGAA annual general meeting â&#x2013;  CSAHS alumni association annual general meeting â&#x2013;  EAA annual general meeting SUNDAY, JUNE 14

28 The Portico


Alumni family picnic

CAMPUS TOURS: â&#x2013; OVC featuring the Small Animal Hospital â&#x2013;  Macdonald Institute â&#x2013;  Centre for Business and Social Entrepreneurship (CBaSE) â&#x2013;  Biodiversity Institute of Ontario â&#x2013;  Insect collection â&#x2013;  Macdonald Stewart Sculpture Garden â&#x2013;  Ice cream technology â&#x2013;  Honey Bee Research Centre â&#x2013;  Mona Campbell Animal Cancer Centre â&#x2013;  Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation (GRIPP) â&#x2013;  Macdonald Hall â&#x2013;  School of Engineering

The University of Guelph Alumni Association

UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH University of Guelph alumni are living and working around the globe, attaining extraordinary achievements, and contributing to their professions and communities in remarkable ways. This year we recognize four exceptional alumni for their outstanding achievements and commitment to excellence.

Alumnus of Honour Karl Stensson, BLA ’73 President, Sheridan Nurseries

Alumni Volunteer Award Ken (BSA ’50) and Marilyn (B.H.Sc. ’55) Murray Supporting their alma mater through decades of volunteer service

Alumni Medal of Achievement Sarah Rothwell, B.Sc. (Eng.) ’07 Senior Program Engineer, Orbis International

Congratulations to this year’s Awards of Excellence winners! You make your alma mater proud. Read more about these distinguished alumni at

Awards of Excellence Gala, June 12, 2015, 6 pm Alumni Concourse, Rozanski Hall Please join us for a special celebration of alumni achievement at the new Awards of Excellence Gala on Alumni Weekend. The evening will feature a gala dinner, awards presentation, silent auction, and much more! For tickets and information, visit



atalie Metcalfe used to be terrified of comedy. Although sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been performing since she was eight and attended U of Gâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s School of English and Theatre Studies, comedy wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a natural fit. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what you find funny,â&#x20AC;? says the sketch comedian. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re throwing it in front of other people and just hoping that something lands. You think youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re funny, your friends think youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re



â&#x2013; Ivan Stinson, BSA â&#x20AC;&#x2122;49, and his wife Margaret received Car ing Canadian Awards, presented by Governor General David Johnston.The awards recognize volunteers who have made a difference in their communities. The couple has dedicated their time largely to environmental and horticultural causes.


30 The Portico

funny, but who knows if the outside world will think the same way?â&#x20AC;? Fortunately, Metcalfe hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t heard much silence from her audiences, but when a joke falls flat, â&#x20AC;&#x153;you just want to crawl into a hole and die,â&#x20AC;? she says with a laugh. Just because a joke fails the first time doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean it canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be reworked into something funnier â&#x20AC;&#x201D; some of her funniest jokes started off as cricket chirpers. Knowing your audience is

Jean Norry, B.H.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;52 reports her class had its reunion at the Elmhurst restaurant last September.

1970 Stephen Jeffery, BA â&#x20AC;&#x2122;70, is retired, and his kids â&#x20AC;&#x153;have launched.â&#x20AC;? Son Cameron, 22, is living in Toronto and working


also key. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you can make a group of comedians laugh, you killed it.â&#x20AC;? A coupon for comedy lessons at Second City gave Metcalfe, BA â&#x20AC;&#x2122;06, the courage she needed to take her first step towards a comedic career. After graduating from Second Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s conservatory program, she began performing in bars. Three years later, sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still making people laugh as part of two sketch comedy groups: 2 Humans, which has been nominated for NOW Magazineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Readerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Choice Award for Best Sketch Troupe, and O Dat Dum. She refers to O Dat Dum as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;super troupeâ&#x20AC;? of six comedians (Metcalfe is the only female performer), including drama grad Matt Kowall, BA â&#x20AC;&#x2122;05, who she met in second year at U of G. Metcalfe says she enjoys playing characters that allow her to use her â&#x20AC;&#x153;huge facial expressionsâ&#x20AC;? to convey her feelings without saying a word. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not necessarily the physical comedy type, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s taken me out of my shell entirely into doing things I never ever thought I would do,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sketch comedy lets you put your whole heart out on stage.â&#x20AC;?

for RBC, and daughter Stephanie, 25, works in communications for various federal government departments. â&#x2013; Robert Harvey, B.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;74, moved to a two-acre property with a trout pond. The family continues to breed Schapendoes dogs. â&#x2013;  Paolo Serventi, M.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;78, is retired and living near

Parma, Italy. He would love to hear from former classmates and can be reached at â&#x2013; Patricia Vanderkooy, B.A.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;78, says she has worked in almost every sector of dietetics. She says,â&#x20AC;&#x153;This job is a great place to land â&#x20AC;&#x201D; lots of opportunity for advocacy on issues of nutrition and food policy!â&#x20AC;?

!'" GUELPH GRAD TO PLAY IN UNDERWATER HOCKEY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS e re used to seeing Canada excel in ice hockey, but this August, for the first time, Canada will send a team of women to the world championships in underwater hockey, and one of the players is a U of G grad. Michelle Yu Hua Chan, B.Comm. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;14, was a first-year student in hotel administration when a friend persuaded her to try underwater hockey. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I agreed to give it a try and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been playing ever since,â&#x20AC;? says Chan, who is now based in Vancouver. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I love the three-dimensional aspect: you have to watch for other players not just to your left and right, but above you and below you as well. Game strategy is complex.â&#x20AC;? Teammate Nadine Perron also has a U of G connection â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a former U of G student, she is originally from North Bay and now trains in Guelph. U of G has had an underwater hockey club for more than 25 years. The sport involves two teams with six players on each side. A lead and brass puck is placed at the centre of the pool bottom and a gong signals the faceoff. Wearing snorkeling gear and carrying

1980 Gervon Fearon, B.Sc. (Agr.) â&#x20AC;&#x2122;81, was recently appointed president of Brandon University in Manitoba. â&#x2013; Lynn Robinson Johnson, B.A.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;82, is looking forward to new adventures and opportunities when she retires in June after 30 years of teaching. â&#x2013;  Marc Hurwitz, B.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;83, â&#x2013; 

#&'')) ()&(!)%&#$) $ )$#&%)#")() ' '$) )(!((") '!")!'$(%'$ &')%'( ) &')%'( )#)()(%)%&')$)&( #!"&#")#!)"%

30-cm-long sticks, players score by shooting the puck into a three-metrelong trough to score goals.Timing is an important part of the game because players have come up for air regularly. The game is intense: Chan says you can often spot underwater hockey players by the scattering of bruises on their arms and legs, and the occasional black eyes

published his first book, Leadership is Half the Story: A Fresh Look at Followership, Leadership and Collaboration (UTP-Rotman Press), which he co-wrote with his wife Samantha. Together they spent more than 10 years researching the book. Hurwitz co-founded FliPskills, an HR thought-leadership firm, and is a full-time lecturer

caused when someone hits their masks. Team members are scattered across Canada, so getting together to play as a group is challenging, but Chan says: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re pretty motivated to stay fit, and some of us are able to train together.â&#x20AC;? The competition runs from Aug. 615 in CastellĂłn de la Plana, Spain. For more information, visit

at the University of Waterloo. â&#x2013; Drew Byford, OAC Dip. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;85, has been farming in Prince Edward County since 2006. â&#x2013;  Greg Keefe, DVM â&#x20AC;&#x2122;88, MBA â&#x20AC;&#x2122;02, has been appointed dean of the University of Prince Edward Islandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Atlantic Veterinary College. Keefe has worked at UPEI

since 1996 and became a full professor in 2005. His areas of research include milk quality and mastitis, dairy production medicine, infectious disease epidemiology and Johneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disease. â&#x2013; Dave Scott-Thomas, B.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;88, M.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;91, is the head coach of the Guelph Gryphons  )))

Summer 2015 31

Alumni: recruit from from Guelph! recruit                 - Post your jobs now! - Students available for 4 or 8 month work terms (program specific)

Get  a head start on hiring for the fall - Interview as early as May 28th

Post your jobs today!

(519) 824-4120 x52323

Spread Your Wings

32 The Portico

  On campus in â&#x20AC;&#x2122;72

Off campus in â&#x20AC;&#x2122;72

1972 Ralph Nader, the American crusading lawyer, came to U of G in March 1972 to address an audience of about 1,800 people. Nader spoke for two hours without notes on several of his current projects. Prior to his public talk, he held a press conference attended by some 40 representatives of radio, TV, newspapers and magazines.

award-winning track and field team. Along with assistant coach Chris Moulton, B.Comm. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;05, he organizes the New Balance Inferno Track and Field Festival, which will be held at U of Gâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Alumni Stadium May 30.A community race called the Downtown Road Mile is open to everyone, and alumni can register at â&#x2013; Sandra Vandervalk, B.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;88, is working on her

masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree in cultural anthropology.

1990 Joseph Mutunga, M.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;91, recalls his college-day discussions with Prof. George Brinkman about land-use conflict around St. Catharines, Ont.These talks came back to Mutunga in Nairobi earlier this year, when he noticed the agricultural land he once knew had turned into a leafy â&#x2013;

â&#x20AC;˘ The first handheld calculator goes on the market for $395. â&#x20AC;˘ Hockey player Paul Henderson scores the â&#x20AC;&#x153;goal of the centuryâ&#x20AC;? to give Canada the win in the Summit Series, the first-ever toplevel hockey showdown between Canada and the Soviet Union. â&#x20AC;˘ The first female FBI agents are hired. â&#x20AC;˘ Canadian singer Neil Youngâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s album Harvest is the best-selling album of the year. â&#x20AC;˘ The Godfather is the highest-grossing movie of the year.

suburb and later a block of office buildings. â&#x2013; Glenn Wagner, M.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;94, was one of 50 international finalists for the 2015 Global Teacher Prize. Wagner is a science and math teacher at Centre Wellington District High School in Fergus, Ont. He has won eight teaching awards and scholarships, and has developed more than 30 workshops and presentations for educators, among other

â&#x20AC;˘ The University of Guelph Alumni Association establishes the Alumni Medal of Achievement to honour the excellence of recent graduates. â&#x20AC;˘ The three-tower East Residences open and construction begins on the University Centre. â&#x20AC;˘ The Macdonald Steward Art Centre opens as a public gallery and a space to feature the 4,000-piece University of Guelph and art centre collections. â&#x20AC;˘ The Guelph Alumnus reports that faculty members with professional ranking at Guelph earn an average of $17,081 annually. â&#x20AC;˘ Enrolment reaches 8,500.

accomplishments. â&#x2013; Patricia Wong, B.Comm. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;98, recalls the fun times she had in the hotel and food administration program. She says the client-based skills she learned are useful in her career in the talent field.

2000 â&#x2013; Kelley Powell, MA â&#x20AC;&#x2122;00, has written her first book, The Merit Birds (Dundurn Press).    

Summer 2015 33

Science grad pursues opera career

ike Fan hit the right notes when he recently won the gold medal for the highest mark in Grade 10 Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music. He began

piano lessons at age six and received an associate diploma from the Royal Conservatory in Piano Performance at age 17. He also studied the flute and euphonium, a brass wind instrument, in grade school. After graduating from biomedical science at U of G in 2014, he pursued his love for opera by taking classical singing lessons. “What I love about classical singing is its complexity and the amalgamation of art, music, language, history and culture,” he says. “I am currently singing in six languages and I speak three fluently with a few in progress.” Taught by Tannis Sprott, Fan is currently completing his second associate diploma in voice performance with the Royal Conservatory of Music. He also tutors and teaches music in Guelph, and hosts a monthly opera event called Opera@Guelph at U of G. “I have aspirations to continue training my voice and hopefully become a professional opera singer,” he says. “I am auditioning to return to university to continue my voice studies.”

PASSAGES ALUMNI James Anderson, B.Sc. ’13, May 29, 2014 Larry Argue, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’58, Jan. 13, 2015 Joan Budd, DVM ’50, Feb. 14, 2015 William (Bill) Campbell, BA ’55, MA ’57, Dec. 26, 2014 John (Jack) Cote, DVM ’51, Feb. 16, 2015 Don Franco, OAC Dip. ’57, Jan. 31, 2015 Kenneth Just, DVM ’63, March 3, 2015 Marian Morgan, OAC Dip. ’51, Jan. 12, 2015 Merlin Wilson, DVM ’55, Jan. 20, 2015 FACULTY, STAFF AND FRIENDS John Eccles, OAC Dip. ’40, former director of public relations and accommodations, Feb. 17, 2015 William (Bill) Garner, farm operations coordinator at the New Liskeard Agricultural Research Station, Feb. 14, 2015 Ron Harris, former chair of the Department of Environmental Biology and professor emeritus, Dec. 9, 2014 Harold Muller, designer of U of G’s ceremonial mace, March 5, 2015 Tom Powers, former director of the School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management, Jan. 11, 2015 Leslie (Les) Thomas, former professor in the Land Resource Science Department (now the School of Environmental Sciences), March 3, 2015 To honour alumni who have passed away, the University of Guelph Alumni Association makes an annual donation to the Alumni Legacy Scholarship.

34 The Portico

 Mountain climbing for a good cause he sight of Mount Everest is something that Dan Gillis will never forget.The computer science professor and U of G grad (B.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;00, M.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;02, PhD â&#x20AC;&#x2122;10) trekked to the mountainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s base camp in December 2014 to raise money to help those who are blind or visually impaired.To date, he has raised more than $2,300 for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. His goal is to raise $5,361 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; one dollar to match every metre of the mountainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s height above sea level. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Everest is another three kilometres up from base camp,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking at this mammoth piece of rock, and it never seems to get smaller.Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going up and up and up, and it still towers above you.â&#x20AC;? Although he began the journey with his friend Rick Chin, B.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;05, M.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;07, Gillis completed the 130kilometre round-trip hike without him after Chin had to be airlifted out due to altitude sickness. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We both love being in the mountains,â&#x20AC;? says Gillis, adding that he and Chin previously climbed together in the Rockies.

A blend of action, suspense and humour, the book tells the story of a teenager who moves to Laos with his mother and is falsely accused of a crime. â&#x2013; Kevin Shughnessy, B.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;02, received a master of science degree from the University of New Brunswick. â&#x2013;  Mary Wyga, BA â&#x20AC;&#x2122;03, has held progressive roles at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Currently, she is a project analyst and designs funding programs to match political


During the Everest trek, Gillis says he often felt like he was having an asthma attack due to the lack of oxygen, which is 50 per cent less than at a lower altitude. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The steepness of the inclines started becoming even more of a challenge because youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re just not getting enough oxygen,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Even when we were walking at a slower pace, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re breathing almost as if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re running.â&#x20AC;? The cold also posed a challenge, he

platforms, assesses applications and manages client contracts with the province. She is also a professional belly dancer and choreographer with Guelphbased Ishra & Invoketress Dance, and is a freelance editor. â&#x2013; Tyler Sharp, B.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;04, is an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he studies tropical infectious diseases and conducts outbreak investigations around the world.

adds, because it was often -20 C outside and not much warmer in the unheated lodges he slept in at night. His sleeping attire included multiple layers of thermal clothing covered with blankets, hot water bottles and a sleeping bag. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There were a few moments when I thought, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;What am I doing? Why am I doing this?â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? Undeterred, Gillis wants to climb more mountains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I still want to go higher.â&#x20AC;?

â&#x2013; Christopher Kay, B.Comm. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;07, and Elyse Kay (nee McKenzie) BA â&#x20AC;&#x2122;08, welcomed their first Arctic baby, Jakob Wendel, on Oct. 17, 2014 in Iqaluit, Nunavut.The couple has been living in Iqaluit since 2011. â&#x2013;  Lisa Maldonado, BA â&#x20AC;&#x2122;11, passed the exam to become certified as a Spanish-to-English translator and a French-toEnglish translator with the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario. â&#x2013;  Minahil Akhtar, B.A.Sc.

â&#x20AC;&#x2122;14, is enrolled in York Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s master of social work program. As part of the New Opportunities for Innovative Student Engagement project, she works with youth from the Jane and Finch community to enhance their academic success. â&#x2013; Andrew Hand, M.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;14, works as a scientist at MedReleaf, a licensed medicinal cannabis producer, along with colleague Juan Gutierrez, B.Sc. â&#x20AC;&#x2122;13.

Summer 2015 35

Photo: Kyle Rodriguez

 36 The Portico

   earlier this spring, the varsity menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hockey team defeated the University of Quebec at TroisRivières Patriotes (UQTR) 4-0 on home ice in front of a sold-out crowd to win the Queenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cup. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the Gryphons first Ontario University Athletics hockey title since 1997, and it marked the first time in 21 years that the competition was held at U of G. The win was the culmination of an impressive

comeback for the team. Earlier in the season, the Gryphons were ranked last in the West Division, winning just three of 16 games, before sweeping the division final against defending champions the Windsor Lancers. Advancing to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship in Halifax, the team won its first medal since 1996, taking the bronze in an overtime 3-2 thriller against UQTR.

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The Portico Magazine, Summer 2015  

University of Guelph, The Portico Magazine, Summer 2015

The Portico Magazine, Summer 2015  

University of Guelph, The Portico Magazine, Summer 2015