Page 1



CAMPUS Hollywood Jokester

Writer-producer Chuck Tatham takes his wit to television

Cake artist Juanita Koo builds a life filled with sweet things Speaker of the Legislature Dave Levac keeps order at Queen’s Park

“I never thought my alumni group rates could save me so much.” – Kitty Huang Satisfied client since 2009

See how good your quote can be. At TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, we know how important it is to save wherever you can. As a member of the Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association, you can enjoy preferred group rates on your home and auto insurance and other exclusive privileges, thanks to our partnership with your association. You’ll also benefit from great coverage and outstanding service. We believe in making insurance easy to understand so you can choose your coverage with confidence.

Get an online quote at or call 1-866-352-6187 Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Insurance program recommended by the Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association

The TD Insurance Meloche Monnex home and auto insurance program is underwritten by SECURITY NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY. The program is distributed by Meloche Monnex Insurance and Financial Services Inc. in Quebec and by Meloche Monnex Financial Services Inc. in the rest of Canada. Due to provincial legislation, our auto insurance program is not offered in British Columbia, Manitoba or Saskatchewan. *No purchase required. Contest organized jointly with Primmum Insurance Company and open to members, employees and other eligible persons belonging to employer, professional and alumni groups which have an agreement with and are entitled to group rates from the organizers. Contest ends on January 31, 2013. 1 prize to be won. The winner may choose the prize between a Lexus RX 450h with all basic standard features including freight and pre-delivery inspection for a total value of $60,000 or $60,000 in Canadian funds. The winner will be responsible to pay for the sale taxes applicable to the vehicle. Skill-testing question required. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Complete contest rules available at ®/ The TD logo and other trade-marks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank or a wholly-owned subsidiary, in Canada and/or other countries.

contents Laughing matters Hollywood writer-producer Chuck Tatham dishes on working in Tinseltown, his love of writing and how a clogged toilet could end his career.


Research file


Are the apologies of death-row inmates sincere? Plus, helping to create a sustainable fishery, one lobster cell at a time.



Sweet things


Speaker of the House


Art ally

Juanita Koo leaves the corporate world behind to create delicious, one-of-a-kind cake creations.

Dave Levac is tasked with keeping order among 106 ornery MPPs in Ontario’s Legislative Assembly.

16 22

Tech maven Jacqui Murphy connects local artists and collectors using a website and an eye for talent.

3 Editor’s note

32 Keeping in touch

4 President’s message

38 Postcard to home

6 Campus news

39 Calendar of events

12 Research file

40 Flashback LAURIER CAMPUS Spring 2012


MAKE A DIFFERENCE — TOGETHER. Your gift matters. Every single donation to Laurier has impact, supporting library resources, bursaries and classroom technology to enrich our students’ campus experience. The benefits last them a lifetime. PLEASE GIVE TODAY.

campus corner EDITOR’S NOTE

Changes for Campus magazine

Waterloo | Brantford | Kitchener | Toronto

Volume 51, Number 3, Spring 2012 ISSN 0700-5105

Laurier Campus is published by the Department of Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing (CPAM) Wilfrid Laurier University 75 University Avenue West Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5 Publisher: Jacqui Tam Assistant Vice-President: CPAM Editor: Stacey Morrison Writers: Nicholas Dinka, Sandra Muir, Mallory O’Brien, Vanessa Parks Design: Justin Ogilvie, Janice Maarhuis, Dawn Wharnsby, Emily Lowther Photography: Tomasz Adamski, Dean Palmer Send address changes to: Email: Tel.: 519.884.0710 x3176

You will notice a few changes with this issue of Campus magazine. The design is fresher and more modern — a change that reflects the university’s new visual identity. As we noted in the last issue of Campus, Laurier’s new visual identity was developed by design agency Scott Thornley + Company following many months of discussion and consultation with alumni, students, staff and faculty. Laurier’s new look includes a new wordmark, font and refined colour palette. You will see all of these changes subtly incorporated throughout Campus magazine. Before even reaching this page, however, you likely noticed a change on the front cover. The title of the magazine uses the university’s new font, Calluna, which is both elegant and modern. We have also added a new feature called Postcard to Home, which you can find on page 38. With alumni based all around the

world, we hope this feature will help those of you living outside of Canada to stay engaged with your Laurier friends and colleagues. If you are living abroad and would like to share your experience, please email These updates occur at a fortuitous time. While delving into the university archives, we discovered with much delight that 2012 marks the magazine’s 50th anniversary. The first issue debuted in June 1962 when we were known as Waterloo Lutheran University. We invite you to join us in celebrating 50 years of Campus magazine, and we look forward to launching a new decade with a vibrant new look.

Stacey Morrison, Editor

Campus magazine celebrates 50 years! What better way to celebrate than have cake guru Juanita Koo bake us a magazine-inspired dessert! See page 16 for her full story.

Publications Mail Registration No. 40020414 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Wilfrid Laurier University 75 University Avenue West Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5 We welcome and encourage your feedback. Send letters to the editor to We reserve the right to edit all submissions.

Laurier Campus (circ. 58,500) is published three times a year by CPAM. Opinions expressed in Campus do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or the university’s administration. Cover photography: Dean Palmer Visit us online at

Questions, comments, rants or raves? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at Be sure to “Like” us on facebook.




A clear voice during unsettled times for universities

These are unsettled times for universities. The global economic downturn is forcing Canada, and Ontario in particular, to confront hefty deficits and mounting debt loads. This in turn is causing governments to reign in spending and push public institutions to find more efficiencies. At the same time, academic quality has become a focus for public debate as rapidly growing enrolment, new technologies and escalating costs affect how we teach and learn. As a result, post-secondary education is struggling through a period of considerable uncertainty. On the one hand, there is general agreement that universities are a key driver of social, cultural and economic prosperity in the knowledge economy. On the other hand, our provincial government — despite its excellent intentions and significant investments — lags behind other jurisdictions in providing the kind of stable funding needed to sustain and nurture an asset that is so essential to competitiveness and prosperity. In Ontario, these issues have been highlighted in the recently released report of the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services, chaired by economist Don Drummond. The report identifies many of the challenges facing universities, from rapid enrolment growth to escalating costs, unstable funding, rising pension obligations and the need for greater efficiencies. It also highlights the important role that universities play in strengthening the economy and generating prosperity. Drummond calls the postsecondary sector a “vital asset for Ontario,” noting that two-thirds of all new jobs in the province are expected to require post-secondary education. He points out, however, that Ontario’s funding levels for colleges and universities are the lowest in Canada, and that our province provides the lowest per-student operating grants in the country — lower for universities today than in 2007–08. “This reduction has occurred,” Drummond notes, “while the institutions’ costs have been rising by three per cent to five per cent. Just to keep the system operating as it does now, postsecondary institutions will need both more funding and more efficiency.”



Most university administrators would agree. What many of us would debate, however, is how much additional funding is needed, who should provide it, how we measure institutional success, and where operating efficiencies are to be found. In the absence of investment to bring Ontario in line with the rest of Canada, increased efficiency and productivity is the only way forward. The Ontario system is arguably the most efficient in the country already and, as Drummond notes, we have managed to keep quality at a high level. But I am concerned, as are my fellow university presidents, that quality is in jeopardy. Drummond offers a number of recommendations that would apply funding as an incentive to increase efficiencies, improve quality, and reward excellence. Incentives for positive change can be useful. However, significant questions remain about how institutional “success,” “quality” and “excellence” will be defined and measured. As well, there are numerous issues around the notion of “differentiation,” which would seek to decrease the duplication of academic programs across the system so that the “highest-quality” programs are funded to grow. There is no question that such concepts must be explored in an economic environment that demands long-term unit-cost stabilization. But at the same time they raise serious questions about the potential loss of institutional autonomy, the dampening effect on innovation and risk-taking, and the societal value of providing students at all institutions with a well-rounded selection of highquality programs. As the Ontario government confronts a substantial deficit and mounting debt, all sectors will have to do their share to build a sustainable foundation for our long-term prosperity. In this context, the months ahead will no doubt see a vigorous public discussion about the value, the price and the priority of post-secondary education in Ontario’s future. I can assure you that Laurier will have a clear voice in this discussion as we continue to advocate for high-quality education, an effective balance between teaching and research, and an outstanding student experience.

Dr. Max Blouw President and Vice-Chancellor


A focus on student support and engagement The Alumni Association continues to make student support and engagement a key priority. In January, the association was the lead sponsor of the Laurier Leadership Summit. The goal of this conference was to support and enhance the culture of student leadership engagement, provide meaningful leadership training and strengthen the identity of a Laurier leader. Students had the opportunity to network with a wide variety of Laurier alumni in key leadership roles. Over 450 student leaders attended this very successful event. At our Awards of Excellence event in May, we will be presenting the Alumni Association Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarships for the first time. All the applicants were simply outstanding, with impressive academic achievements and community engagement. It was a challenging task to select only seven recipients, which is a testament to the calibre of our student body. The Alumni Association has recently signed an agreement with National Group Mortgages, our newest GradVantages partner. We will be able to offer our alumni very competitive mortgage rates, with a portion of each mortgage dollar returning to the association to help fund our alumni and student event programming, as well as the many scholarships and campus development projects we support.

We are only a few months away from spring convocation. This year, we will mark another significant milestone by surpassing 80,000 alumni! Convocation provides a great opportunity for our alumni to be involved with this wonderful tradition by volunteering at the ceremonies taking place in Waterloo and Brantford. I encourage you to contact the Alumni Relations office and get involved! Sincerely,

Tom Berczi ’88, ’93 President Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association

The Laurier Leadership Summit was held in January.

WLUAA 2011–12 Executive

Board of Directors

President Tom Berczi ’88, ’93 Vice-President Megan Harris ’00 Vice-President Marc Henein ’04 Treasurer Mark Richardson ’95 Honorary President Dr. Max Blouw Past President Steve Wilkie ’82, ’89

Bruce Armstrong ’72 Scott Bebenek ’85 Thomas Cadman ’87 Marie-Helene Colaiezzi ’07,’08 Sourov De ’05 Paul Dickson ’03 Peter Gobran ’99 Paul Maxwell ’07 Michelle Missere ’06 Kiran Nagra ’02 Priya Persaud ’98 Patricia Polischuk ’90 Karen Rice ’87 Chris Rushforth ’80

Shirley Schmidt ’86, ’09 Kelly Schoonderwoerd ’03 Maeve Strathy ’10 Cynthia Sundberg ’94

Board of Governors Representatives Tom Berczi ’88, ’93 Tim Martin ’92 Steve Wilkie ’82, ’89

Senate Representatives Susan Lockett ’99 David Oates ’70 John Trus ’90



campus news Joseph Boyden visits campuses

Author speaks about next book, teen suicide

Laurier’s writer-in-residence Joseph Boyden likes to tell a good story. But he also wants to start a discussion about the cultural divide in Canada and the concern he has about the alarming number of teen suicides in the Aboriginal community. Boyden is the author of Three Day Road and Through Black Spruce, the winner of the

2008 Giller Prize. During a recent visit to the Brantford campus for public readings and a lecture, he announced he is working on the third novel in the trilogy, which will likely be out in spring 2013. He is also writing his first young adult novel. “When I set out to write, my No. 1 priority is to write a good story that people want to keep turning the pages on,” said Boyden. “The teen novel is helping to cleanse my palate from the big novel I’m working on.” Boyden, who has a mixed heritage of Irish, Scottish and Métis, gave a public lecture about the issue of teen suicide. “I’ve become a bit of an advocate for taking away the stigma of suicide,” Boyden, 45, said. “I made a serious attempt at 16, and rather than be a shameful thing and a stigma I think we need to talk about it. Even if one youth hears about it and changes his or her mind, I’ve done something important.” Boyden was inspired to start a not-

for-profit organization in 2008 after hearing about dozens of attempted suicides in James Bay that occurred over a six-week period. Through his organization, he aims to help Aboriginal teens by taking them on hunting and fishing excursions. It took him almost five years to finish Three Day Road. When it was released it won numerous awards, including the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. “I felt very blessed as a young writer to have such success right off the bat. It was stunning to me,” Boyden said. He says his second novel, Through Black Spruce, was fun to write. Much of the research had already been done with his first book. His third novel — the last in the trilogy — will feature three protagonists. “It will tie the other two together and complete the circle,” he said. Boyden also visited the Waterloo campus in early March where he met with staff and faculty, and gave a public lecture.

Even if one youth hears about it and changes his or her mind, I’ve done something important. Author Joseph Boyden on teen suicide LAURIER PREPARES FOR congress 2012

Conference will feature prominent speakers, including Margaret Atwood Wilfrid Laurier University is gearing up to co-host the largest interdisciplinary academic conference in North America from May 26 to June 2, 2012. Known as the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, this annual event draws nearly 7,000 participants from across Canada and abroad. The eight-day conference is organized by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and will be co-hosted by Laurier and the University of Waterloo this year. Most of the activities will be centred on Laurier’s Waterloo campus, with additional events at the University of Waterloo and in Uptown Waterloo. Congress is a “meeting of meetings” involving more than 70 academic associations whose members come together



to share ideas, discuss complex issues and enrich their research. The theme of this year’s conference is “Crossroads: Scholarship for an Uncertain World.” There is a real effort to engage the general public, and Laurier staff, students and alumni are encouraged to attend the public lectures, enjoy the social and cultural events, and get involved as volunteers. Of particular interest, Congress 2012 will feature a number of prominent writers and scholars who will deliver free public talks as part of the Big Thinking lecture series. Speakers include writers Margaret Atwood and Jane Urquhart, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, and respected scholars Thomas Homer-Dixon, Janine Brodie, Sidonie Smith and Mary Eberts. Laurier organizers are also working

with the City of Waterloo to create an exciting Evening Festival for delegates and community members. It will be held each evening May 28-30 in the train station parking lot adjacent to the Perimeter Institute and The Clay and Glass gallery in Uptown Waterloo. The festival will feature live music, a Bavarian fusion cabaret, and regional food and beverages. In addition, there will be a number of cultural and social events on Laurier’s Waterloo campus throughout the conference. For more information about public lectures and events specific to Laurier (including volunteer opportunities), please visit the website at lauriercongress. Additional details and updates are also available on the main Congress website at

GraduatING student-athletes 1980s

Excelling in student experience

Survey results bolster Laurier’s reputation for engaged learning Laurier continues to excel at providing students with a positive university experience, according to results from the 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The university met or exceeded the provincial average in each of the five categories covered by the survey, achieving particularly high scores on questions related to integrated learning. In addition, 88 per cent of first-year respondents and 85 per cent of final-year students rated their overall educational experience at Laurier as good or excellent. This was significantly better than the provincial average of 82 per cent for first-year and 77 per cent for finalyear students. Laurier’s integrated and engaged learning model is an educational philosophy that combines classroom learning with applied experiential learning opportunities, whether in the form of co-op, internships, collaborative research, community-service learning or other opportunities. Responses to a number of individual questions on the survey underscored the university’s emphasis on this approach: • Seventy per cent of Laurier’s senior students reported participating in community service or volunteer work, against a provincial average of 54 per cent. • Twenty-eight per cent of first-year students and 34 per cent of seniors at the university spent more than five hours per week participating in co-curricular activities, against provincial averages of 19 and 23 per cent. • Seventy-nine per cent of first-year students and 68 per cent of seniors said the university provides substantial support for academic success, against provincial averages of 71 and 58 per cent.

Athletes excel

Non-Athletes TODAY


Laurier student-athletes improve academically An analysis of three decades of research on Laurier student-athletes’ academic performance has revealed a significant improvement over time. The study, conducted by Professor William McTeer, shows that student-athletes in the 2000s are on average doing as well or better academically than other students. The results show that in the 1980s, 87.8 per cent of Laurier student-athletes graduated from their programs. Today, 94 per cent of student-athletes graduate compared to 86.7 per cent of non-athletes. Laurier student-athletes’ average grades on a 12-point scale also increased from 6.76 in the 1980s to 7.48 today. The average grade at Laurier today for non-athletes is 7.44. A further indication of academic quality is that the current admission average of student-athletes is 81.5 per cent compared to an overall non-athlete admission average of 81.4 per cent. Laurier officials attribute the improvements in part to the university’s holistic approach to student-athlete success. The university places a strong

emphasis on academic performance when recruiting athletes. It encourages athlete success in the classroom through academic mentorship programs and referrals to specialist tutors. And students must maintain a passing average in their academic coursework to continue to play their sports. McTeer, a professor in the department of Kinesiology & Physical Education, began collecting the data in the early 1980s, compiled a second set in the 1990s, and recently completed a third set for the 2000s. He says the average student-athlete invests about 20 hours per week in his or her sport. “We seem to have a healthy balance here between academics and athletics,” he said. The university’s student-athletes have received significant recognition. Between 2000 and 2012, the Laurier Golden Hawks won 35 championships, including eight national championships. Between 2000 and 2010, 248 Laurier athletes earned CIS Academic All-Canadian honours. Football’s Dillon Heap was named a CIS Top 8 Academic All-Canadian in 2009-10.

MBA grads honoured

Alumni awards celebrate leadership, innovation Laurier’s School of Business & Economics held its annual MBA Alumni Awards in November at a gala event in Toronto to recognize the career and community service achievements of Laurier MBA alumni. “Our graduates are outstanding individuals who truly are leading lives of leadership and purpose,” said Williams Banks, acting dean of Laurier’s School of Business & Economics. “As Laurier’s MBA program celebrates its 35th anniversary, I’m pleased we are able to honour our former students, while at the same time inspire our next generation of leaders.”

The 2011 award winners are: Outstanding Executive Leadership Award: Rena Crumplen (MBA ’04) Outstanding Innovation & Achievement Award: Ray DePaul (MBA ’94) WLUAA Alumni Award of Distinction: Ian GlynWilliams (MBA ’03) Community Leadership Award: Leanne Ferris (MBA ’08) MBA Alumna of the Year Award: Olga Pawluczyk (MBA ‘07) Outstanding CMA/MBA Alumna Award: Helen Harper (MBA ’10) Do you know a Laurier MBA graduate who deserves to be recognized? To nominate someone for a 2012 Laurier MBA Alumni Award, visit



campus news

Journalist Lisa LaFlamme goes beyond the headlines

Honorary degree recipient speaks about changing role of the media While covering the rescue efforts of 33 Chilean miners in August 2011, journalist Lisa LaFlamme had trouble getting her cell phone and satellite feed to work. “Guess what worked? My Twitter feed,” she recounted. “I was sending out news in 140 characters. You would be shocked at how much news you can actually get out.” LaFlamme, chief anchor and senior editor for CTV National News, recently visited Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus to discuss her life as a journalist, as well as the events that have shaped the world over the last year. LaFlamme is never far from the story. She was in Egypt during the uprising in February 2011, anchoring CTV’s National News live from her hotel room in Cairo as protesters called for President Mubarak to step down. She has also reported extensively on the aftermath of 9-11, the Canadian mission in Afghanistan, as well as the humanitarian crisis facing the Afghan people. Other major events she has covered include the death of Pope John Paul II, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the earthquake in Haiti.

LaFlamme said social media tools like Twitter are changing the way people receive the news. She believes it makes programs such as CTV National News more valuable. “If all day long you are absorbing 140 characters, don’t you want to know the context? At the end of the day, wouldn’t you like to know the whole story?” LaFlamme received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2006. The same year she brought the nation to Laurier when she suggested CTV broadcast its federal election debate reaction coverage from the university campus — giving students and faculty the opportunity to respond to the national audience.

If all day long you are absorbing 140 characters, don’t you want to know the context? At the end of the day, wouldn’t you like to know the whole story? Journalist Lisa LaFlamme

People at Laurier Laurier celebrated the book launches of two Indigenous faculty members: Kaandossiwin: How We Come to Know (Fernwood Press) by Associate Professor of Social Work Kathy Absolon, and Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings and Story Medicine (University of Manitoba Press) by Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies

Kim Anderson.

Quincy Almeida, director of the Sun Life Movement Disorders Research and Rehabilitation Centre, was a medal bearer in the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay in December. Almeida was among 7,000 medal bearers from 600 communities who took part in the relay, which retraced the Canadian segment of Hansen’s original Man in Motion journey. Laurier science student Alina Reid joined Almeida as a medal bearer. Dr. Corinne Dixon has been appointed director of Laurier’s Health Services. Dixon



has worked at Laurier as a staff physician since 1988. She succeeds Dr. Jim Hicks, Laurier’s first director of Health Services, who passed away in October 2011 after a long battle with cancer.

Prescott Ensign is the inaugural holder of Laurier’s School of Business & Economics’ Dobson Professorship in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. A Fullbright Scholar, Ensign’s current research involves entrepreneurship in outlying areas, in particular Canada’s far North and Aboriginal communities.

Philippa Gates, associate professor of Film Studies, has been nominated for a 2012 Edgar Award for her book Detecting Women: Gender and the Hollywood Detective Film (SUNY Press). The prestigious awards are presented each year by The Mystery Writers of America.

Lois Gingrich, a Laurier alumna and adjunct professor at the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary,

passed away on Jan. 2, 2012 at the age of 68.

Paul Heyer, professor in the Communications Studies Department, is consulting on a CBC documentary on the Canadian aspect of the sinking of the Titanic. The program is scheduled to air in April to coincide with the tragedy’s 100th anniversary. He also recently published a book, Titanic Century: Media, Myth and the Making of a Cultural Icon.

John Schwieter, associate professor of Spanish and linguistics, has been named the 2012 Faculty of Arts Teaching Scholar. The annual award honours a full-time faculty member who strives to integrate research and teaching.

Rev. Arnold Weigel, former director of Continuing Education and professor at the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, passed away Dec. 16, 2011, at the age of 72.

campus news

A Hub for entrepreneurship

Laurier program gets dedicated space

A space at the Kitchener-based Communitech Hub, affectionately nicknamed “the sandbox,” will soon become Laurier’s playground for innovation and entrepreneurship. Laurier’s long-standing Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program (EAP) gives students the opportunity to launch new ventures while earning academic credit. Now the program has a dedicated space at the Hub. “Students will be able to easily connect with other entrepreneurs, community

partners, corporate partners, investors and the alumni mentors they are assigned,” said Steve Farlow, executive director of the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship. Laurier is one of the founding academic partners at the Communitech Hub, located in Kitchener’s historic Tannery building. Laurier’s Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship runs the program in partnership with the School of Business & Economics and the Faculty of Science. Undergraduate students from other

Building bridges

Dalton McGuinty visits Laurier

Program opens the doors to higher education

Ontario Premier officially launches tuition grant rebate program

The Ontario government ushered in the New Year by making clear the details of a new annual tuition grant rebate program, with Premier Dalton McGuinty choosing Wilfrid Laurier University as the official launching ground. McGuinty discussed the details of the 30-per-cent tuition reduction program — which officially came into effect Jan. 5 — during a visit to a first-year business class at

Laurier’s School of Business & Economics. “This is the single most expensive commitment we’ve made as a government and it’s for you,” McGuinty told the packed classroom. “The bottom line is if you do well, we do well. The equation is as simple as that.” Grants of $800 for university students and $365 for college students are now available to eligible students. Starting in September 2012, grant amounts will rise to $1,600 and $730 for university and college students respectively. “This is a great opportunity,” said firstyear business student Gracjan Oleksinki. “This means a lot less stress for my family. And it’s their loss if students don’t apply. This government program benefits us, but it’s also on us to use it.”

Toyota donates RAV4 to Laurier’s Special Constable Service Rod Curran, director of Laurier’s Special Constable Service, left, and Special Constable Jeff Hunt stand with the university’s new RAV4. It is one of 10 Toyota gave away to mark 25 years of manufacturing in the region.

Photo: Tomasz Adamski

In December 2011, the first 12 high school students in Laurier’s new Building Bridges to Success program completed their first university credit after attending lectures on Laurier’s Waterloo campus. Building Bridges to Success: Creating Links to Post-Secondary Education is a transition program for students facing financial and other barriers to postsecondary education. It offers senior high school students an opportunity to discover what it takes to be successful at university. Laurier launched the program in September 2011 with a gift of $425,000 from the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation in partnership with Pathways to Education. There are two components to Building Bridges: a four-month university credit course and a two-month program focused on study skills, which is also taught on Laurier’s Waterloo campus. Both programs are free. Over the next five years, more than 200 students will benefit from Building Bridges. Students chosen for the university credit course attend three hours of classes each week on Laurier’s Waterloo campus. They also participate in course tutorials on good study habits.

academic disciplines may also apply to be part of the program. Laurier has also partnered with Conestoga College to ensure Laurier students have access to Conestoga student volunteers who can build websites and design logos and marketing materials for start-ups using the space. As Laurier students complete the EAP, they will have the opportunity to graduate directly into Communitech programs offered at the Hub that will help them take their venture to the next level.



campus news Banner season for Laurier athletics

Curling gold, stellar season for women’s hockey The Wilfrid Laurier women’s curling team represented Canada at the Kariuzawa International Curling Championship in Japan, and took home the gold medal after a come-from-behind 9-8 victory in extra ends over Team Switzerland. Playing against some of the best players in the world, Laurier earned victories over Korea, Japan, China, Denmark and a select team from Nagano, Japan during the competition. Back in Canada, the team defended their Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship, winning the university’s sixth OUA banner in women’s curling. At press time they were preparing to defend their Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championship. The women’s varsity hockey team also had a strong season, closing out regular play ranked No. 1 in the country for the first time since 2006. The Hawks were the only team in the country undefeated in regulation competition. The wins continued in the OUA finals, where Laurier beat the

Western Mustangs to take home the gold medal for the eighth time in nine seasons. With the win, the Hawks advanced to the CIS Championship where they finished fourth.

Sport itself can teach a number of skills, such as leadership, hard work and cooperation, but it’s not the whole picture. The degree is central. Peter Baxter, director of Athletics & Recreation Transcending boundaries

Inside-Out Prison Exchange program brings inmates and students together to learn At first glance there was nothing unusual about the Diversity, Marginalization and Oppression course that Social Work Professor Shoshana Pollack taught last fall. Each week 17 students sat in a circle, sharing ideas, taking notes and preparing for papers. The difference? Their classroom was inside Kitchener’s Grand Valley Institution for Women (GVI) and only 10 of the students were working toward their Master of Social Work degree. The other seven students were incarcerated in the prison. The course was part of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange program, a partnership between institutions of higher learning and correctional systems. Students and prisoners come together to further their education. Founded in 1997, the program has grown to more than 300 classes and 9,000 participants across the United States. Pollack’s class at GVI was one of the first in Canada (the other, which also took place last fall, was at a federal men’s prison in British Columbia).



Being involved in this program far exceeded any expectations Pollack had at the outset. Much of her career as a social worker and an academic has focused on women in the criminal justice system, so when she was approached by Inside-Out about expanding the program into Canada she didn’t hesitate. The planning process took more than a year and included support from both Laurier and GVI. All Inside-Out instructors participate in a seven-day, 60-hour intensive training program that teaches the program’s transformative educational method. For two of the days the instructors are prisoners inside Graterford Prison, a maximum security facility for men near Philadelphia. “A really remarkable thing happens when you bring people together in this collective space and everyone is responsible for what’s happening,” said Pollack. “The result is that you have a really authentic communication in which everyone learns from everyone else. We learn that we can transcend the walls that

separate us.” While Pollack structured the class and framed the discussion topics, students engaged with each other’s ideas, personal experiences and the assigned readings. Inside and outside students shared their experiences and learned together through dialogue. First-year MSW student Kayla Follet says it is difficult to articulate what it was like to be part of the Inside-Out program. “I love talking about it, but explaining the experience is really difficult because it was so powerful,” she said. “It was so much more than a course.” As the course wrapped up at the end of November 2011, students participated in a graduation ceremony — a first for some of the inside students. This isn’t the end of the program, however. Laurier Social Work Professor Deena Mandell is instructing a second Inside-Out course at GVI for winter term, and there are hopes the program will continue in the future.

campus news EAST WING OPENS

Laurier prof climbs Mount Kilimanjaro

Brantford Research and Academic Centre celebrates milestone

Lea Caragata scales Africa’s highest mountain for charity

Phil McColeman, Member of Parliament for Brant, along with the Honourable Dave Levac, MPP for Brant, and Wilfrid Laurier University President Max Blouw, were on hand to officially open the east wing of Laurier Brantford’s Research and Academic Centre (BRAC) in January. The facility will provide important learning opportunities for students in the Brantford area, including Aboriginal students. The project received a Government of Canada investment of $13 million through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) and a matching contribution from the Ontario government through the 2009 budget. Laurier’s new Brantford facilities will house an additional 35,000-squarefeet of advanced teaching and research facilities, administration and other student facilities, in addition to the 30,000 square foot west wing of the building, which was officially opened in January 2011. The facility is highly efficient, with up to 33 per cent more energy efficiency than standard construction and 30 per cent less indoor water use.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Laurier Social Work Professor Lea Caragata hiked to the top of Africa’s highest mountain to support a program that helps empower abused women. Caragata was among a group of Canadians who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for Outward Bound’s Women of Courage Program. Since its inception in 1998, more than 1,000 women survivors of violence have participated in this eight-day wilderness program, which provides an opportunity to bond with others who share a common history and an opportunity for rediscovery. Caragata was inspired to become involved following her study on lone mothers, which showed that 70 per cent of the women had been abused. “Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is one way to step outside of the usual academic box,” said Caragata. “I wanted to support these women in a different way — not by doing more research or more academic-type activities, but by putting on hiking boots and trying to raise some money for programs that will make a difference in their lives.” The abuse women reported in Caragata’s study ranged from partner violence to childhood sexual abuse. Some of the mothers interviewed in Caragata’s study ended up going back to their abusive partner because they had no other way to feed their children. “When you think of this nice Canada that we imagine we live in, we don’t tend to think there are women who feel they should stay in a relationship where they get hit every day, or demeaned or both, just in order to survive,’” said Caragata. “But abuse was such a significant finding in our research that as a society we have to acknowledge the effects of abuse in public policy.” Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania. At 5,895 metres tall, it is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world.

Report recognizes Laurier’s “green” practices

Laurier’s sustainability initiatives, including an innovative energy management plan, received kudos in a recent report by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) on “green” practices at 19 Ontario universities. The Ontario Universities: Going Greener Report 2011 outlines nine areas where universities have taken steps to advance sustainability. In the category of emissions and energy use, the COU report details Laurier’s new energy management plan, which uses submeters to capture data about electricity use in buildings. The university will be able to benchmark the data through an energy management system that will track greenhouse gas emissions and allow for programs to reduce energy use. Laurier’s central recycling centres have had an enormous impact in a short period of time, with a 40 per cent increase in recycling since Laurier began introducing new centralized waste disposal and recycling bin systems two years ago. These

improvements were noted in the waste management category of the COU report. In the water management category, the report mentions Laurier’s use of water harvesting to capture groundwater for future grounds maintenance, which will save over 16,000 gallons of water each year for the university. Laurier’s Centre for Community Research, Learning and Action is one of the examples of new sustainability-focused research projects outlined in the category of Teaching and Learning. The centre is compiling information about local environmental organizations and initiatives as a resource for those at Laurier and in the community. The university was also mentioned in the partnership category for its membership in Sustainable Waterloo, a local not-for-profit that helps organizations set and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.



Apologizing for the unthinkable

Judy Eaton studies the final apologies of death-row inmates by Mallory O’Brien

Photo: Colin McConnell

Even if you don’t apologize but still take responsibility for what you did, people are more forgiving. That still applies on death row.



Whether it was a big one or a small one, there is a good chance you made an apology at least once today. Maybe you bumped into someone in the hallway, or maybe you ended a disagreement with someone at the office. But what if they were the last words you ever spoke? Laurier Brantford Psychology Professor Judy Eaton has been studying apologies and forgiveness for the majority of her research career, but in 2009 she looked deeper at a unique sort of apology: the one a prisoner might make before receiving the death penalty. Funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, she and co-author Anna Theuer, a criminology student at Laurier Brantford, began reading and coding the last statements of death-row prisoners in Texas — about 300 in total. Capital punishment was eliminated in Canada in 1976. Currently, the United States is one of only five developed countries where the death penalty is still practised (the other four countries are in Asia). However, some states in the U.S. have abolished capital punishment. Not every death-row inmate gives a last statement, and not every last statement is an apology. Last statements can be as “insincere” as “Go Raiders!” says Eaton. If the prisoner did apologize, Eaton and Theuer looked at whether the individual had regrets or admitted to the crime. As it turns out, you can say sorry without admitting you did something wrong. “A person makes a good apology when they take responsibility for what they did wrong,” says Eaton. “Even if you don’t apologize but still take responsibility for what you did, people are more forgiving. That still applies on death row.” Eaton determined that 30 per cent of death-row inmates apologize. Some apologize to their own family or show concern for their family’s well-being. Some prisoners apologize to the victim’s family and show concern for the family’s well-being. Eaton believes the majority of the apologies are sincere, in part because prisoners on death row have nothing to lose. “They can’t change their fate by apologizing,” she says. Eaton admits there may be personal gains by apologizing — some prisoners might apologize to feel better or make peace with their God. While it’s impossible to know for sure, Eaton says that surely some are truly repentant. “What was most interesting to us about these findings

research file was they suggest victims and offenders often have common goals,” says Eaton. “We know that victims appreciate receiving apologies, and our research shows that many offenders want to apologize. Unfortunately, the traditional criminal justice system does not provide many opportunities for offenders to express this remorse directly to their victims.” Canada, she notes, is beginning to recognize the importance of apologies. Three provinces (including Ontario) have passed legislation that allows people to apologize without admitting legal liability. Eaton also discovered there wasn’t a certain type of person who apologized. “We looked at age, race, time spent on death row — we didn’t find any similarities,” she says. “The severity of the crime didn’t matter either. There wasn’t a certain kind of offender more likely to apologize.” A last statistic of note is the number of prisoners who claimed to be innocent in their last statements: about 10 per cent. While the last statements give death-row prisoners a level of humanity, they can be deceiving. “We coded the last statements before matching them with the type of crime,” says Eaton. “So if there was a full, sincere apology we’d think, ‘He seems like a nice person!’ and then we would look at the crime he committed and think, ‘Wow, how could someone possibly do that?’” ❖

What they said In 2010, there were 46 executions in the United States. Executions are covered in the news, so Eaton and Theuer researched news reports to discover final statements. Some states, such as Texas, are easier because the information is publicly available.

Retracing the past with Google Earth Decades have passed since Canadian soldiers lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars, and with each passing year it becomes increasingly difficult to comprehend the challenges those soldiers endured during largerthan-life battles such as Vimy Ridge and the Battle of the Somme. With help from Google Earth, Terry Copp, director of the Laurier Centre for Military and Strategic Disarmament Studies, Laurier PhD candidate Matt Symes and undergraduate student Nick Lachance have made it easier for Canadians to grasp what those soldiers faced. The group recently published a guidebook featuring satellite imagery from Google Earth, called Canadian Battlefields 1915-1918: A Visitor’s Guide. The guide follows the movement of Canadian soldiers through Europe during the First World War. Using the modern technology, the trio is able to not only show the battlefields as they exist today, but, thanks to historical imagery, the terrain as it appeared during the war. Up next for the group: a digital version of the guidebook, designed for tablet devices.

Billy John Galloway May 13, 2010 “If I can go back and change the past I would, there’s nothing I can do. I’m sorry. I love you Adonya. That’s it.” Oliver Cruz August 9, 2000 “First of all, I want to apologize to the family of Kelly Elizabeth Donovan. I am sorry for what I did to her 12 years ago. I wish they could forgive me for what I did. I am sorry. I am sorry for hurting my family, for hurting my friends. Jesus forgive me. Take me home with you. I am ready. I love you all.”




DEVELOPMENT DAY2012 fe a t u r i n g

Frank O’Dea, Founder, Second Cup Author -When All You Have Is Hope THE POWER OF HOPE VISION ACTION From panhandling for nickels and dimes to celebrated entrepreneur and humanitarian, Frank demonstrates this power by using his own story as a real-life experience of hope, courage, change and persistence.


8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. $130 per person


SPECIAL EARLY BIRD PRICE – ONLY $90 Other topics for the day include: • Financial Management • Leadership • Social Media

This exclusive rate through Laurier Alumni includes: A full day of development, including a keynote address from Frank O’Dea, lunch and coffee break refreshments. To purchase tickets and for complete event information, visit: developmentday

research file

Photo: Tomasz Adamski

Crustacean crusade

Lucy Lee’s research of lobster cell lines could save the species’ declining population by Sandra Muir

is now working on a cell line for lobsters. To date, no one has been able to create a cell line for any crustacean, and being able to do so would mean lobsters could be conveniently studied at their basic cellular level. Growing these cells requires both knowledge and patience. “You have to look at the cells, try to tell if they are starving for certain nutrients or if physical conditions like salinity and temperature are right,” says Lee. “It takes knowledge, but it also takes care. They are my babies.” In 1983, Lee started a rainbow trout liver cell line. That cell line is still being used in labs in Europe, North America and Asia. Her discovery has allowed researchers to study the effects of contaminants and changes at the cellular level without having to kill fish. Lee has several experiments on the go, and big plans for a variety of cell lines. After lobsters, she wants to develop lines for crabs, and then shrimp, which is also among her favourite seafood. “People don’t realize, but to survive in the ocean is one in a million,” says Lee. “These species are all economically important and the more we know about these species, especially at their cellular and molecular levels, the better we could understand the whole organisms and their ecosystems.” ❖

The next time you tie a lobster bib around your neck and get the melted butter and claw cracker ready, you may want to savour the experience. While there are still many lobsters in the sea, the population could soon be in peril — something that Laurier biologist Lucy Lee wants to help change. The Homarus americanus, otherwise known as the American lobster, is the No. 1 fishery in Canada. Not only do we eat it at home, lobster is Canada’s most valuable seafood export. In 2010, annual exports equalled $946 million, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “We eat a lot of lobsters, and we are going to get to a point where the lobster fishery will collapse, like what happened with cod in 1992,” says Lee. Why not grow them in captivity like salmon or mussels? There are lobster hatcheries but no farms, since lobsters are carnivores and will either eat each other or fight over territory. “Survival in captivity is a little bit better than in the wild, but it’s still not very good. This is because little is known about their basic biological functions.” Lee, who is Wilfrid Laurier University’s Research Professor for 2011-2012 and is known worldwide for her ability to create fish-cell lines (cells that can be grown outside the organisms in test tubes),

Survival in captivity is a little bit better than in the wild, but it’s still not very good. LAURIER CAMPUS Spring 2012



CAMPUS Spring 2012

campus feature

starting from Juanita Koo leaves the corporate world behind to fill her life with sweet things. story by Sandra Muir | photography by Dean Palmer



a cosy, yellow house on a quiet street in Toronto’s Upper Beach neighbourhood, superheroes, Louis Vuitton purses, Sesame Street characters and even Elvis are brought to life with the help of fondant, sugar paste and the nimble hands of cake sculptress Juanita Koo. Koo (BBA ’96) is the artistic genius behind SweetThings, a custom cake company that she runs out of a specially-designed kitchen in her basement. This is where she dreams up award-winning creations, including “the city’s most beautiful cupcakes,” as dubbed by Toronto Life magazine. The main level of her home, however, is currently anything but beautiful. With a renovation underway, boxes are piled high in Koo’s narrow living room. A plastic sheet hangs over the stairs.



In the middle of the disarray sits a small wooden table holding a delicate dessert stand. On top are five cupcakes wrapped in silver foil and beautifully decorated with a spiral of fluffy, pink buttercream icing. Koo, dressed comfortably in black yoga pants and holding a cup of tea, shrugs her shoulders at the mess and smiles. “Would you like a cupcake?” Her ability to stay calm in the face of chaos has come in handy over the last six years, during which she has experienced almost all of life’s major milestones: getting married, losing her job, changing careers and having a baby. “I feel very lucky. And I think I have surprised myself about how I don’t worry about the future that much,” says Koo. “Now I just feel like whatever happens, it’s going to be OK.”

Growing up in Hamilton, Ont., Koo never considered entrepreneurship or the culinary arts as a career. She excelled in math and won a scholarship to Laurier where she studied business and economics. After graduating, she began working her way up the corporate ladder in marketing roles for communication and technology companies. In 2006, Koo was putting in long hours as director of a software company when she began to look for a creative outlet. Over drinks with a friend, Koo mentioned she would love to create beautiful cakes. Her friend suggested a cake-decorating class at George Brown College. The next day, Koo signed up for the last spot in the class, and within a month she had decorated her first cake. She was hooked. “The cake was basic, just some fondant and some flowers, but at the time I thought it was the most beautiful thing ever,” she says. She took more classes and started trying different recipes, including her signature chocolate sour cream, and began to get more personalized in her designs. Koo started a blog and got the word out through Facebook. Within a year, she received her first wedding cake order. “People started telling other people. I started increasing my prices, and I began to realize I was pretty good at this,” says Koo. “And I loved it. I would stay up until two or three in the morning designing a cake and didn’t even care I had to work the next day.” By 2007, Koo knew she needed to make a change. “I felt like I was successful, but I wasn’t really good at my job,” she says of her corporate career. While on an overnight flight to London, England, she told her boss about her plans. “It was ironic because we were sipping champagne and sitting in business class, but I told him that I couldn’t do it anymore. It just wasn’t me,” says Koo. “I said, ‘You’re going to get one more year out of me.’” The company actually got two more years out of Koo. In November 2008, a week after moving into a new house with her now-husband, Steve, and a day before leaving for her first Ironman competition in Florida, Koo was laid off. She decided to compete anyway and had the best race of her career, finishing in 12 hours. After the race, the couple went to Disney World.

“It was kind of weird because we were in the happiest place on earth and I thought, ‘What am I doing?’” she says. “I joked that I was 35, unmarried, unemployed and had a mortgage.” Back home, Koo started to think about what she really wanted to do. There was space for a second kitchen in the basement, but they didn’t have the funds to build it. Koo applied to home renovation shows on television network HGTV Canada. In 2009 the couple appeared on an episode of House Poor, where homeowners are given financial challenges and rewarded with money to renovate a part of their home. During the renovations, Koo received an offer for a marketing position with a high salary. “I just remember showing the offer to my husband and saying, ‘I’m going to say no to this.’ And he didn’t flinch. He said, ‘Absolutely.’ There was no doubt in my mind that I was doing the right thing.”

“People started telling other people. I started increasing my prices, and I began to realize I was pretty good at this... and I loved it.” LAURIER CAMPUS Spring 2012


Photos: Juanita Koo

Juanita Koo’s custom cakes are personalized for each client. Her award-winning cupcakes for Toronto’s 175th birthday are above centre.

While SweetThings was getting off the ground, Koo pursued her other passion — fitness — and approached a women’s-only gym in Toronto’s financial district about working as a personal trainer. “My clients and I have this great balance,” she says. “I understand what their lives are like because I used to be where they are now. This helped me get more experience, more confidence and build my clientele very quickly.” Koo quickly discovered her two businesses could help each other. In 2009, she started training a client who worked for The Canadian Press. The following weekend, SweetThings was featured in The Globe and Mail and The Hamilton Spectator. That same year she won a cupcake contest to celebrate Toronto’s 175th birthday. Her design featured 12 multicoloured cupcakes, each representing a different part of the city. Tiny sugar paste figurines and landmarks topped each cupcake, including the CN Tower, the airport, TTC streetcars, dim sum from Chinatown, and city hall. After she won, hits to her blog tripled and orders started rolling in, some from as far away as New York. Koo’s business remains local, however, and she has no plans for expansion. “I don’t want to grow bigger because I don’t want to lose touch with my clients, and that’s OK with me.” It takes Koo about five hours to design a cake, not including the baking. She makes two to three cakes a week and takes orders six to eight weeks in advance. If the design is more technical, such as a car, she will take photos of various angles and post them on a wall, referring to them while she’s working. But often, her inspiration comes to her at night.



“Sometimes I’ll be sleeping and I’ll just wake up and say, ‘Oh, I should make it like that.’” Koo’s cakes are known for their personalization. If there is a character on the cake she will match the hair colour, clothes and jewelry to the individual. She has made fully detailed replicas of Star Trek’s Enterprise spaceship and the Sphinx, personalized Scrabble boards and multi-layered baby cakes complete with pacifiers, bottles and teddy bears. She has received a few unusual requests, including a bust of reality star Kim Kardashian and an order for “one male butt.” And she’s had a few cake-tastrophes. A nine-layer Yoda cake she made for a little boy’s birthday party fell over and split in half less than two hours before delivery. “I never worked so fast in my life, but the end result was great.” In addition to her cakes, Koo still competes in triathlons and marathons. Later in March, she will run in Hamilton’s Around the Bay 30K race with her husband. It’s where they met five years ago. “I knew Steve was going to be doing the race, and I was hoping we would bump into each other,” she says. “We did, and we exchanged email addresses. I was with my parents, so yes, I picked up in front of my parents.” The couple married in 2010, and of course Koo made her own wedding cake. Now parents to seven-month-old daughter, Sidney, Koo says she has finally found her sweet spot. “I wasn’t ready for any of this 10 years ago,” she says. “Everything I’ve done up until now has made me ready. I never really saw that I was preparing for the life I have now, but then it all came together.” ❖

BLAZE A TRAIL IN LAURIER’S SECOND CENTURY LEGACY DONORS GIVE FUTURE GENERATIONS A BOOST. University students are fuelled with hope for a bright future. Lead the way with a legacy of generosity through a charitable bequest in your will. Your encouragement will help carve a path of success for decades to come. To learn how easy it is, contact Cec Joyal, Development Officer, Individual & Legacy Giving at or call 519-884-0710 x3864. CAMPUS Spring 2012


2222CAMPUS LAURIER Spring CAMPUS 2012 Spring 2012

campus feature

Principal of parliament Speaker Dave Levac keeps the order in Ontario’s Legislative Assembly With Ontario’s Legislative Assembly out of session, the start of 2012 was a quiet period for the provincial government. Most of the Members of Provincial Parliament were back in their home ridings, meeting with constituents and perhaps taking it easy. But on a dreary afternoon in mid-January, Liberal MPP Dave Levac, the Legislature’s new Speaker, is going full throttle. A delegation of South African dignitaries is in town and in need of a host. There are briefings to attend regarding security at Queen’s Park and building maintenance plans to approve — lesser-known aspects of the Speaker’s role. And meanwhile, Levac is in the midst of moving into his stately, wood-paneled offices and apartment on the main floor of the historic building. “I found a coffee maker in the closet!” an aide exclaims. Judging by Levac’s full calendar, they’re going to need it.

story by Nicholas Dinka | photography by Dean Palmer

LAURIER CAMPUS CAMPUS Spring Spring 2012 2012 2323


he’s only held the role of Speaker since November 2011, Levac (BA ‘76) is no stranger to Queen’s Park. Last fall, the former educator was elected to his fourth consecutive term as MPP for the riding of Brant, centred in the city of Brantford, Ontario, where he grew up. He’s known as a skilled politician with an uncanny ability to connect with people of all political stripes, and a master of the technical minutiae of parliamentary procedure. He can also take charge when the chips are down. He might seem like someone who has been painstakingly groomed for the Speaker’s role, but Levac describes his path as one of intuition and happy accidents. “From early on in my career as a teacher, I think I had a feel for leadership in terms of if you want me to help you with something, I’ll step up,” he says. “There were some natural tendencies that were allowed to blossom. It’s an internal voice, an intuitive piece that guides you, rather than something that’s practised or canned.” Levac has a strong physical presence, something that comes in handy for a man tasked with keeping order during Question Period. Tall and broad-shouldered, he sports an ample moustache that brings to mind a sheriff from the Old West. His size was an asset when he played forward on the Golden Hawks basketball team in the mid-1970s. “He wasn’t the most gifted offensive player,” says Don Smith, then coach of the team. “But he was a great motivator of his teammates, and he was outstanding on defence. I would assign him to the best offensive player on the other team. He was tenacious.” Smith remembers the future Speaker as one of a generation of “good, hard-nosed kids” who came to Laurier from Brantford, Ont. Born in 1954, Levac grew up in the city’s Eagle Place neighbourhood on the

“From early on in my career as a teacher, I think I had a feel for leadership in terms of if you want me to help you with something, I’ll step up.” 24


“wrong side of the tracks.” But he remembers the area as idyllic. “The communal family attitude where we lived was spectacular,” Levac says. “Within three blocks there were 60 or 70 kids. Large families — six, eight kids.” Levac is the fourth of seven children raised by parents who came to Brantford from northern Ontario during the mid-century industrial boom. “My parents had more of a centrist attitude of don’t leave anybody behind and encourage progress,” he says. “Looking out for the little guy, everyone gets a chance to speak. And it probably explains my career before this as an educator.”


with Levac down the main hall in Queen’s Park, it’s easy to picture him in his former job as a high school principal. The walls are lined with huge oil paintings of previous Speakers, but Levac wears his authority lightly, warmly greeting a visiting group of grade-schoolers and suggesting a game of bocce with a security guard. Levac’s interest in leadership developed after he returned to Brantford following teachers’ college at Queen’s University (he received his bachelor’s degree from Laurier in Sociology and Physical Education). He landed a job at a local Catholic school and married his wife, Rosemarie, a couple of years later. The couple bought a modest home and settled down to start a family. They now have three adult children: two daughters and a son. As a teacher, Levac enjoyed organizing — sports teams, school dances and the district’s first science fairs — and in 1989 he was tapped to become principal. But even with the added responsibility, he kept taking on extra work. In 1997 alone, Levac spearheaded the installation of Brantford’s local Walk of Fame, co-founded the Walter Gretzky Canadian National Institute for the Blind Celebrity Golf Classic, and coordinated Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Brantford as part of her Canadian tour that year. “He was such a driving force in the community,” says Brantford Mayor Chris Friel, who brought Levac on board for the Queen’s visit. “As a volunteer, he was a roll-up-his-sleeves kind of guy. He’d take things on and make things happen.” Levac says his move into politics in 1999 was an intuitive extension of his volunteer work. Those were tough times for the city of Brantford, once Canada’s third-largest exporter of manufactured goods. Massey Ferguson and Cockshutt, the agricultural equipment manufacturers that had fuelled the city’s boom years,

had both shuttered their plants, putting hundreds out of work. Meanwhile, the local Conservative MPP was preaching the Harris government’s get-tough approach. “The mantra of the day was cut. Slash and burn. Education and heath care are too expensive, social welfare is a joke,” Levac says. “That was counter to what I’d grown up with, and I saw the community had so much potential.” Levac won that election by just a couple of percentage points, but the Conservatives were voted back into power provincially, so he began his political career as a member of the Opposition. Then in October 2003, the Liberal Party, led by Dalton McGuinty, swept into power with a strong majority. Re-elected by a healthy margin in his own riding, Levac was appointed the Liberal party whip in 2003, tasked to ensure — with a mixture of charm and toughness — that Liberal MPPs voted according to official party policy. Busy as he was at Queen’s Park, he was also a constant presence at local events and ribbon cuttings during those days, as well as a powerful advocate on behalf of Laurier Brantford, which has played a large part in the revitalization of the city’s downtown. “My constituency comes first because that’s who

puts me here,” Levac says. “If you make me choose between the party and my constituency, I would choose my constituency. If you make me choose between my constituency and my family, I’d choose my family, although that’s harder done than said.” He pauses. “There are times when I have not done things with my family or with my kids or with my wife that I should have done because I thought that doing the career thing was building a future for my family. There are times when you can find the right balance. There are probably times when I didn’t.”


may be in a reflective frame of mind in part because he has just come out of one of his busiest periods ever. Following a comfortable win in the 2011 provincial election (he bested the Progressive Conservative candidate by nearly 11 percentage points), he went straight into campaign mode for the position of Speaker. “I thought, OK, I’m not going to be offered cabinet, but I’m ready for another ramp-up of responsibility,” Levac says. The Speaker is elected by MPPs using a secret ballot, so he wrote letters, made calls, met MPPs for coffee,



spoke to each of the party leaders, made presentations to all three party caucuses, and liaised with Premier McGuinty and his staff. The ensuing election campaign was longer than the general election, and when the dust cleared, Levac had won again. “In a partisan, trench warfare kind of place, Dave is a team player,” says New Democrat MPP Cheri DiNovo, who worked with Levac on the Holdomor Memorial Day Act of 2009, the first ever tri-party bill in Canada. “That’s what went to his election as Speaker. When the candidates were before them, most members saw him as the least partisan.” It’s a refrain that one hears again and again from people who know Levac. Whether it’s in the Legislature or on the streets of Brantford, he is known as someone who listens, tries to do right and plays well with others. He’s also a fun guy to hang around with. “Yesterday we were both at the opening of a ceramic place here in town, called Crock a Doodle,” says Friel. “We both sat down at a table to paint a bowl and Dave had his tongue out, painting this thing, totally into it. I thought, ‘That’s so Dave.’ If there’s a flash mob, he’s the first person up there dancing. He doesn’t worry about how he looks.” Even so, it is clear there’s more behind Levac’s success than affability and a sense of humour. He doesn’t show off his intellectual side in public, but colleagues describe him as a keen student of history with an encyclopedic knowledge of parliamentary rules and procedures. Then there is his toughness, a trait that is serving him well in Question Period, where he is tasked with keeping order among 106 ornery MPPs. “I’ve teasingly and with some seriousness asked them

to use their inside voices,” Levac says. “I acknowledge and accept heckling. I think there’s a tradition to it — a good heckle is cool. It can break the ice and calm things down. But the type of heckling I’ve been exposed to recently has been very venomous. I’ve told them, ‘Until you decide this is really not acceptable, it’s going to be hard for us to change.’ My secret is to make them responsible.”


in January, Levac was back in his riding for an eco fair (similar to a science fair) at a local high school. Students had set up displays of their projects in a classroom and were giving presentations. Levac listened to the presentations and spoke to each of the students individually, asking questions and encouraging them to keep working hard on their ideas. “That’s the way he is,” says Friel. “He wouldn’t just go to an event and shake a couple of hands. He spends the time, lets the kids do what they want, makes them feel important.” Given his background in teaching, it’s not surprising that Levac’s vision for Brantford puts education front and centre. He wants to keep expanding the presence of Laurier Brantford in the downtown core, so the area’s revitalization continues to progress. Education brings smart, ambitious people into the community, he believes, and prepares them for the kinds of jobs likely to matter in a post-industrial economy. As for his own future, Levac doesn’t have any plans beyond trying to be a good Speaker. “After that, the next step might not be Speaker of the House. It might not be MP. It might not be Premier. But it might be, ‘OK, there is a door opening over there.’” He chuckles. “And it very well might be, ‘I’m going to be the best retired guy around.’” ❖


BOARD OF DIRECTORS The Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association (WLUAA) plays a vital role within the university community. The Association is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 22 to 25 elected directors. The directors hold office for a period of two years and take office on September 1, 2012. The Board of Directors comprises volunteers from various years of graduation and faculties that demographically represent WLU’s over 80,000 alumni. The Alumni Association looks for people who are willing to donate their time, energy and talent to directing the affairs of the organization at WLU. If you would like to get involved with the Alumni Association, please apply at the link below. Deadline for application is Friday, April 20, 2012

Submit your application online at: We thank all applicants; only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.



Announcing the 2012 Wilfrid lAurier university

asad alvi farkhod aminjonov carlee Bannister andre Belisle Jordan Bishop chadwick Brenner Leah Buckley Jordan Burrows michael cestas stephanie chang Kara chiki sarah chong Warren clarke Danielle cook sarah cruickshank taguhi Dallakyan stephanie Desjardins eileen Devlin nipuni Dissanayake Livia Dittmer angad Dugal Janice edwards stephen franchetto suzanne Glenn ariane Goetz Jayne Hammond Deborah Hawksley Lindsay Helmers

stacy Horner Vanessa Humphries sean Jellow yan Jin christopher Jones nyiri Karakas siobhan Kerr Bilal Khan reanne Kruisselbrink Brian Lenguyen yu Wai Li Xi (Jason) Li siwei Li amanda Lowry Liu chen Lu shawn Lucas rhys machold mark macKew Pauline maillet anton malkin Keghani mardikian Branka marijan alexander marshall Jessica mcsavage Justin mindzak michele-Lee moore yasaman munro Karen ng

asietu numekevor eugene Osei-Bonsu Petrease Patton Kristina Perit tahni Phillips santiago Pombo Jennifer Prenger Joshua Proksch Laura reidel michael reynolds Veronica rubio Vega Daniel safayeni Bharati sethi nikolay sitnikov Benjamin skinner Vaiseekan srithayakumar michael suarly tara tait catherine thompson Ola tjornbo shannon Walters Gregory Wentworth sarah Whynot Jaclyn Woo sonia yuzhou ye Duohe Zhao ammar Zubaid ahmad

Laurier’s facuLty, staff and aLumni send warmest congratulations to the recipients of the 2012 awards of Distinction. these awards are among Laurier’s most prestigious scholarships. many thanks to our generous donors for supporting these outstanding students as they reach for their dreams. wilfrid laurier university

Waterloo | Brantford | Kitchener | toronto

campus feature


funny man C

story by Mallory O’Brien | photography by Dean Palmer

huck Tatham is sitting at a table with a dozen writers pitching story ideas for the hit CBS show How I Met Your Mother when a man bursts into the room. A writer’s assistant for the comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the intruder is wearing a baseball hat with his show’s name on it, and nothing else. “Who is the mother?” he demands. How I Met Your Mother has spent seven seasons dodging the answer to this key question: Who is the mother of character Ted Mosby’s children? The writers aren’t about to give up the secret. “We said, ‘We aren’t telling you, get out of here!’” says executive producer Tatham (BA ’85). “I think at some workplaces there might have been a lawsuit or something. We were just offended because we hadn’t thought of it.” Tatham, who has spent more than two decades writing and producing in Los Angeles, admits there is nothing quite like working in a writers’ room. “First of all, you’re ankle-deep in snacks, it’s unbelievable. You don’t know how important that is — to have good food. I mean, you’re sitting in a chair, burning seven to eight calories a morning, just staring at a wall, pitching jokes, cheeks packed with doughnuts.” Tatham has worked on a number of sitcoms, including Full House, Suddenly Susan, The Ellen Show, Less than Perfect and Arrested Development, and has earned three Emmy nominations. He also “punches up” movie scripts (makes them more funny) and has written stories for The Globe and Mail, New York Times and Variety. Despite the impressive resumé, Tatham is incredibly selfdeprecating. And after 20 years in Hollywood, still a proud Canadian. He’s also laugh-out-loud funny. A conversation with Tatham is like a one-man comedy show, and every sentence has a punchline.

After 20 years in the television industry, Chuck Tatham still has a sense of humour.

“In the writers’ room everyday I pitch jokes, jokes, jokes and it’s just ‘No, no, no’. And then I get home and it’s more of the same! I’m just kidding, I don’t go home.”


atham’s story begins in Guelph, Ont., where he grew up the youngest of three children. A class clown, Tatham was well acquainted with the principal of College Avenue Public School. “In hindsight, I feel bad if my behaviour was a detriment to the other kids who were trying to learn,” he says. “But I didn’t see any evidence at that time that anyone was trying to learn.” After similar high school years, Tatham says he “cooled down” during his time at Laurier. He was a residence don in fourth year, but admits his charges in Little House probably got away with more than they should have. Tatham majored in English, and understands how hard it can be for Arts students to find their way in life. “I met business students who were on the fast track to work at IBM, or wherever, and I envied them because they seemed to have such direction. I was still figuring stuff out.” It was at Laurier that Tatham discovered he enjoyed writing, and he started a weekly humour column in The Cord called “What’s Up Chuck?” After graduating in 1985, Tatham went into advertising and worked at firms in Toronto and Chicago. He was “selling hammers” for The Brick and Home Hardware, and needed a change. “I thought, ‘Is there anything I can do that is more deceitful than advertising?’ That was show-biz calling.”


atham was 28 when he moved to Los Angeles with his brother Jamie. It was 1991. They wrote two “spec” scripts to highlight their talents, one for The Simpsons and one for Seinfeld. They managed to find an agent



won’t read your stuff, and when they do read your stuff they won’t like it.” Even when it does work out and a writer gets hired, staying employed in Hollywood is a constant struggle. Good shows regularly get cancelled, whether it’s due to bad numbers, a bad time slot or poor promotion. Tatham says if a network buys 60 pilots in a year, only two or three will actually get filmed and only one will make it on the air. Odds are, it will probably be cancelled. Even after seven seasons with How I Met Your Mother, a long run by sitcom standards, Tatham doesn’t take his job for granted. “I am always aware that a million different factors can end a TV show without much warning,” he says. “Let’s just pray the cast continues to have good health and the clogged toilet in the writers’ building doesn’t lead to some sort of contagious disease.”


who sent the scripts to every show he could. They landed at Full House. “They needed writers and we were cheap,” says Tatham. It was the eighth season of the popular family sitcom, and it was “just printing money for ABC.” The brothers wrote eight episodes for the show before Jamie “came to his senses” and moved back to Canada. Tatham decided to stick it out, and has gone on to work on a wide array of comedies. For Tatham, the key to success in Hollywood is caring about the craft, and his enthusiasm for writing is clear. “Whatever you’re writing, whether it’s a grocery list or a eulogy, you have to write to the best of your ability. You have to care enough to keep going.” It’s a difficult feat for a writer in Hollywood, where shows come and go, and rejection is a fact of life. “A lack of resiliency, I think, is what drives most people out of Hollywood,” he says. “It’s not lack of talent, it’s not lack of money. You are going to be rejected over and over and over again. Agents won’t want you, shows won’t want you, people



fter Full House, Tatham worked as writerproducer on a number of shows, including Living Single, Suddenly Susan and Oh, Grow Up. He also met his wife, Joanne, who worked at a New York-based public relations firm. They went on a blind date while she was in Los Angeles for business, and maintained a long-distance relationship until eventually marrying. For Tatham, one of the highlights of his career was working on Arrested Development, a comedy created by Mitch Hurwitz. “I deserve no credit because it was Mitch’s idea, but I’m so flattered when people say that I’ve inspired them, and they’ve seen every episode 20 times.” Tatham worked on the pilot, which aired in 2005, but declined when Hurwitz offered him a job on the show. Tatham had worked with Hurwitz on The Ellen Show and knew it would mean working long hours. The crew would often break to watch the Late Show with David Letterman. Following the show’s second season, and after winning multiple Emmy Awards, Hurwitz again tried to woo Tatham. At the time, Tatham was working on Less Than Perfect, and had to work out a deal to do both shows, putting in 80-90 hours a week. Despite critical praise, Arrested Development didn’t win an Emmy that year. It also got cancelled.

According to Chuck On being a sitcom writer

If you’re a playwright, you’re probably quiet. If you write sitcoms you’re not quiet. You’re

talking, talking,

talking. I bet you I sit at a laptop 20 minutes a week, but do 50 hours a week of blabbity-blah.

On how tough the industry is

There are 30 teams in the NHL and there are 23 players on each team — that’s 690 professional hockey players.

You have a three times better chance being in the NHL than writing on a sitcom.

There are a little over 200 sitcom writers. Tatham recalls other moments when his timing has been less than perfect. “Alan Ball wrote American Beauty. Then he created Oh, Grow Up. Then he created Six Feet Under. Oh, Grow Up — the only show I worked with him on — was a miserable failure. Basically, Alan Ball’s career went: American Beauty, worked with Chuck, Six Feet Under.”


espite the missed opportunities, Tatham is enjoying a successful career and busy home life. His job on How I Met Your Mother winds down at 6 p.m. every day, leaving him lots of time to spend with his family, including sons, Trevor, 14, and Nicholas, 12. Both boys play hockey and Nicholas’ lacrosse season recently started, which means “Joanne and I will go back to having approximately nine minutes of free time every week. Which is nice.” The only Canadian writer on How I Met Your Mother, Tatham is often asked if he writes the Canadian jokes (one of the show’s characters, Robin, is Canadian). “I actually don’t!” says Tatham. “I’m usually just vetting the jokes. The other writers will say something like, ‘We want to do this joke — is there a hamburger chain up there?’ And I’ll say, ‘Harvey’s?’ And they’ll say, ‘Perfect!’ It’s like whatever I say they’re like, ‘Exactly! That’s so Canadian!’” Although he loves his job on How I Met Your Mother, the great cogwheel of Hollywood is forever turning, as is Tatham’s creative side. This year he sold three pilots to Fox, Disney and Canadian network CTV. As for how and when the show will end, Tatham says it’s entirely out of his hands. “The show’s creators have a very good grip on how and when things will wind down. I generally concentrate on whether some interloper is in my parking space and what time the lunch will arrive.”

On rejection

The quintessential rejection is when you pitch your own pilot idea for a brand new show. I have pitched many,

Not a single frame of anything I ever sold has been shot. I say that with pride — they didn’t waste any film! many pilot ideas and sold about seven.

On punching up movies

I was asked to punch up Alvin and the Chipmunks — I know, I’m bragging — and they were like, ‘Can you find an area that needs a joke?’ and I thought,

‘Can I find an area that doesn’t?’ On being Canadian

I couldn’t be more proud to be Canadian for a lot of reasons. We can take just about any joke. We’re proud people, we’re productive people, we’re good global citizens, and if you want to take a shot at Canada bring it on because

it’s the greatest country in the world.



keeping in touch

“ I want to be a translator or bridge between the business community and artists in this community,” says Jacqui Murphy. “I think really interesting things happen when you smoosh things together.” Photo: ©2011 Waterloo Region Record, Ontario Canada



keeping in touch

a new canvas for promoting local artists As a teenager, Jacqui Murphy would spend hours photographing abandoned buildings and turning them into art. Today, the Laurier business alumna is a tech executive committed to making Waterloo Region a thriving market for local artists and collectors, while feeding her soul at the same time. by Sandra Muir In November 2010, Murphy started Art Allies, an online organization that showcases the work of local artists in Waterloo Region. Since then, Murphy (BBA ‘95) has promoted dozens of artists and turned many unknowing art lovers into collectors. Murphy, 39, has made a career out of bringing people together. For more than a decade, she raised funds and supported local technology start-ups through Tech Capital Partners, a Waterloobased venture capital fund. The firm’s success stories to date include VideoLocus, Sandvine and PostRank. By 2010, the economy and other factors were making it difficult to raise capital. The management team at Tech Capital reduced their hours by 50 per cent to keep the business going while waiting for the sector to turn around. It was just the break Murphy needed to stop and take a deep breath. “I was sort of at this mid-life crisis point where I looked around and thought, ‘There has to be more to life than just working,’” she says. “I thought about what I wanted to do to improve the quality of my life, and I knew I would love more music, more theatre, more visual art, and to start having more fun.” It’s not surprising that Murphy was starved for a creative outlet. Growing up in London, Ont., she dreamed of going to the Ontario College of Art and Design. Her father encouraged her to go to Laurier for business instead, saying it would be beneficial to have some business sense as she developed her art career. “I knew nothing about business at the time, but trusted my dad, and in hindsight it was a great decision,” she says. If art was Murphy’s first calling, she realized her second calling shortly after starting a first-year marketing class at Laurier. “I called my dad and told him I had just found the absolute most perfect spot for myself,” she says. “In marketing, I could be creative and be in business. It was a huge ‘aha’ moment.” Murphy excelled in the business program, and at age 22 was recruited by the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western

University to teach in a program featuring young faculty. Two years later, her career brought her back to Waterloo Region, where she had a string of successful roles at several marketing and technology companies. When she started Art Allies, it was the first time Murphy had run a business on her own, and she applied many of the marketing skills she acquired at Laurier. She met with artists to discuss their needs, organized exhibits and made a decision early on to forgo a storefront. “I knew I didn’t want to be open in the evenings and weekends, which is when most people have time to go to galleries, since that’s the only time I get to spend with my family,” says the mother of two young children. Murphy set up a website, started profiling artists, and began a newsletter distribution list that went to everyone she knew in the tech community. Not long after, she was getting calls from people who never considered themselves collectors, but had fallen in love with a painting exhibited in a local space such as Kitchener’s Communitech Hub or Waterloo’s Accelerator Centre. “I want to be a translator or bridge between the business community and artists in this community,” says Murphy. “I think really interesting things happen when you smoosh things together.” Since founding Art Allies, Murphy has signed close to 50 painters, printmakers and photographers, and sold over 100 works of art. She’s also hosted seven group shows. She recently hired a staff member to help with the day-to-day running of the business. Murphy left Tech Capital last year, but is still involved in the tech community. She recently signed on as vice-president of marketing at a new company called Fongo, which provides free mobile-phone service. Murphy says incorporating two of her passions in her work life has given her balance. “I don’t think I could have done anything more productive in terms of rebuilding my soul.”




LIFE HAPPENS. WE’RE WITH YOU ALONG THE WAY The early Alumni years bring milestones: arranging credit, buying a car, choosing a home, negotiating a mortgage and protecting people you love. GradVantages partners have a lot to offer.



keeping in touch


Chris Porteous: Folding up the furniture market

For years we’ve been hearing about the paperless office — but Laurier grad Chris Porteous (BBA, ‘10) may have just killed off the whole concept. In early 2011, Porteous co-founded Our Paper Life, a new company that sells inexpensive, lightweight cardboard furniture aimed at post-secondary students on the move. The company’s products, which currently include a desk and bookshelf, cost under $20 each and are made of 95 per cent recycled materials (they’re also 100 per cent recyclable). Campus magazine recently checked in with the young entrepreneur, aged 24, about what it’s like to think outside the cardboard box. Where did the idea of cardboard furniture come from? I bought some Ikea stuff in my second year at Laurier and had to get rid of it a few months later — it became very unstable when I tried to move it to my new place. My business partner, Geoff Christou, came up with the idea of using a different kind of

material, something cost-effective and light enough to easily transport. Geoff studied architecture at the University of Waterloo. I have a background in finance at Laurier, and took courses in marketing and operations that have helped on the business side. Tell us about the design phase. Cardboard’s not really accepted as a furniture material yet, so you really have to get it right. Our initial designs were quite rickety, but we kept adding more and more bends with each revision. You get strength in cardboard from the bends, and now we can put 32 kg (70 lb) on the desk and a total of 41 kg (90 lb) on the bookshelf (14 kg or about 10 big textbooks on each shelf). We did most of the prototyping in Geoff’s parents’ basement. There were piles of cardboard everywhere — you could barely get down there by the end of it. What were some other challenges? When we first started, the biggest challenge was to demonstrate that our products actually work. We always display them with

stuff on them — heavy books, a laptop — so people can see that they’re strong. Geoff and I originally wanted to produce the products ourselves by hand, which I’m so glad we didn’t do because it would have been too much. We eventually found a manufacturer in Burlington, Ont., which also offered us a coating of water resistant glue so that spills just wipe off. Do you have any plans? A cardboard couch? A cardboard bar? We recently opened a subsidiary in Mexico, with a local manufacturer down there to reduce emissions from shipping, and we’re also working on a bed. The other day we put a mattress on it and started jumping up and down on it. The force of that would be well over 315 kg (700 lb) and it was no problem. Cardboard’s an amazing material — if it’s designed properly, it can take a huge amount of abuse.



keeping in touch


Dan Jerred: A Pilgrimage to the home of golf Avid golfer Dan Jerred (BA ’73) travelled to the game’s oldest and most storied course, St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, to witness the 150th anniversary of The British Open. Most golfers will tell you their life would be complete if they could play one round on the most hallowed and sacred ground in the sport: The Old Course at St. Andrews Links. Attending The British Open, which has been staged there 28 times, would likely come a close second. In 2010 I reached a milestone birthday, and as a reward I travelled to the oldest major championship in golf to witness the venerable competition’s 150th anniversary. With a bit of luck, I also hoped to tee up on the Old Course — a golfer’s ultimate form of self-actualization and fulfillment (with apologies to my first-year Psychology Professor Don Morgenson). St. Andrews is a small seaside town in the northeast of Scotland, about one hour north of Edinburgh. In many ways it is frozen in the 1800s. Every second storefront is a golf shop. The locals eat, breathe and sleep golf, especially during The Open. Strangers asked me who I “fancied” to take the title. And where else could you wear golf shoes around town and not be viewed as some absent-minded



golfer who forgot to take his spikes off after a round on the links? Despite the lack of drama on the tournament’s final day — South African Loius Oosthuizen easily won by six strokes — it was an amazing experience to see some of golf’s greats hole out on the infamous Road Hole, and finish their round on the 18th hole in front of the St. Andrews Links clubhouse and Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R&A) headquarters. I had the wonderful good fortune to be in the right place at the right time to witness the shot of the tournament. On the Saturday afternoon, one of European golf’s most colourful and likeable characters, Miguel Angel Jimenez (aka The Mechanic) found his ball lying almost directly against the wall behind the Road Hole’s 17th green — an unplayable lie for most golfers. The Mechanic calmly positioned himself facing away from the green and caromed the ball off the wall onto the putting surface. The crowd went wild. Later, when asked

how difficult it was to execute this seemingly impossible shot, Jimenez deadpanned that it was no big deal since he practised that shot “all the time.” My pilgrimage to the home of golf was truly memorable and the trip of a lifetime. But I left St. Andrews with one piece of business tragically left unfinished. No round of golf at The Old Course! If you want to tee it up at the home of golf, it’s best not to travel to St. Andrews near The Open Championship when demand for tee times easily exceeds supply. I settled for an excellent consolation: a round at Balcomie Links (partially designed by Old Tom Morris himself) with old friend Arthur Stephen (BA ’73), also in St. Andrews for the tourney. All going well, I’ll be back.

This story is dedicated to the memory of Wilfred McIntyre ‘Mac’ Wilson (BA ’67), who was a scratch golfer and multiple club champion at Westmount Golf & Country Club.

keeping in touch



Violet Konkle (BA ’75, MA ’77) has been appointed president and chief executive officer of the Brick Group. Prior to joining the company in 2010, she held a number of positions with Wal-Mart Canada and Loblaw Companies Ltd.

Dennis Kavelman (BBA ’93) has been named chief operating officer of Desire2Learn, a Kitchener-based online education firm. Kavelman previously worked as chief financial officer and chief operating officer of Research In Motion, which he joined when the company was a start-up with just 20 employees.

80s Marianne Hasold-Schilter (BBA ’82) was promoted to executive vice-president and chief administrative officer, international banking, at Scotiabank. In her new role, she is responsible for finance, operations, mergers and acquisition integrations, and joint oversight systems for international banking. A chartered accountant, she has been with Scotiabank since 1988. Music therapist Noreen Donnell (BA’86, BMT ’88, MMT ’03) has released a CD called Singalingalong, a collection of songs for children, through Blueballoon Health Services. Originally written for children with communication challenges, each song has a clinical focus, such as encouraging vocal sounds, promoting fine motor skills or targeting language development. Donnell and co-producer Kim Kearns-Pace co-founded Music Express, a music-based program at Blueballoon that combines music therapy and speech/language pathology to improve communication skills in children. Singalingalong is a collection of the best songs from 10 years of practice with the program. “Some songs we’ve used over the years didn’t make the cut because we knew they just didn’t work as well as others. What we have now has been approved by the most honest of critics — the children.” The CD has a strong Laurier connection — all but one of the musicians and composers involved in the recording are Laurier music therapy graduates, including Adrienne Pringl, Robert Harris, Anne Faye, Sara Varvas Klinck, Michelle LePage Robinson, and Linda Chan.

Email your updates to

Greg Dowdall (MA ’94) has been appointed vice-president at Burgandy Asset Management Ltd., and managing director of Beaujolais, a division of Burgandy. He holds chartered financial analyst and certified financial planner designations, and has been with the company since 2009. Jeff Melanson (MBA ’99) has been appointed president of The Banff Centre, a respected arts, cultural and educational institution in Banff, Alta. Prior to his new appointment, he was executive director and co-CEO of Canada’s National Ballet School.

00s Joseph Rooney (BA ’02) has been appointed vice-president at Burgandy Asset Management Ltd. He is a chartered financial analyst and has been with the company since 2006. Tyler James (BBA ’06) started his own company,, which creates original branded content using Internet stars. The idea, says Tyler, is to leverage the established fan base of popular YouTube talent. The company has a roster of comedians, musicians, gadget gurus, and health and beauty experts whose videos attract millions of views. Advertisers can team up with these web stars to create specific content for their brands. “It’s a super fun space to be working in,” says James. “As more and more living room TVs become Internet-connected devices, the YouTube stars of today will become the entertainment stars of tomorrow.” (Jennifer) Michelle Cook (BA ’07) and Brent Harris (BA ’07) married January 4, 2012, on the

beach in Antigua. The couple met at Laurier while playing on the women’s and men’s varsity volleyball teams. After graduating, they travelled before earning master’s degrees from Ryerson University where they also played a final year of volleyball. The couple now lives in Kelowna, BC, where they enjoy lots of outdoor recreation with their two huskies. Sarah Widdifield (BA ’08) and Eric James (BA ’09) married in St. Jacobs, Ont., in August 2011 and live in Kitchener, Ont. The couple met while studying in the Geography program at Laurier. Eric recently completed a post-graduate program in Environmental Management and Assessment at Niagara College, and Sarah is an elementary teacher with the Region of Waterloo District School Board. Andrea Moscoe (BA ’11) is living in Tel Aviv, Israel, while pursuing a master’s degree in Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University. She is also interning at an environmental NGO, researching renewable energy sources and educating the public on renewable energy strategies. “My work and research is very rewarding and I love what I’m doing,” she says. In her free time, Moscoe enjoys travelling and hiking. Maria Sutton (BA ’11) is working as a community coordinator at the University of Waterloo’s Residence Life program. In her new role, Sutton works with student leaders and gets to share her experiences as a Laurier residence life don and student. It was these experiences that inspired her career in student services. “Once a Golden Hawk, always a Golden Hawk!” she says.

In memorium Walter William Jowett (BA ’65) passed away December 9, 2011, at Toronto General Hospital. He was 69. He is sadly missed by wife Jan, and his children, Barry Jowett (BA ’95), Brian and Vanessa.



postcard to home

By Heidi McCall (BA ’99) I met my husband Matt McCall (BMus ’98, DipPerf ’99) while studying at Laurier, and since graduating 13 years ago we have grown into a family of four with a daughter who is almost five, and a son, 3. Two years ago, we packed up our lives and became a family abroad when Matt accepted an international assignment in Basel, Switzerland, with his company Syngenta. In my third year at Laurier, I studied abroad in Nice, France, but relocating to a new country with two toddlers in tow is an entirely different kind of adventure! I initially feared that my son would be too young to have any memories of our adventure abroad. But now that he has spent more than half of his little life here in Switzerland (and visited 11 different countries so far!), I worry the opposite may be true: Will he remember Canada? Are our annual trips back to visit family enough? It has really made us question what it means to be home.

When we encounter other Canucks (and even the odd Golden Hawk alum!), it is our Canadian roots that connect us. But here in Switzerland, instead of French, our kids are learning to speak German. We have traded vacations in cottage country for mountain views, and cross-border shopping now means a quick drive to Germany or France. And while we miss our traditional Christmas turkey dinner, we have embraced Swiss specialties like rösti, fondue and raclette. We miss our faraway family and friends, but for us, for now, this charming Swiss city feels like home. Our adventure has connected us as a family. Can you have two homes? Our daughter seems to have it figured out: Home is where our family is and Canada is where the Timbits are. She is a clever little thing — perhaps a future Laurier scholar? We’ll see!

Are you a Laurier alumna/us living abroad and interested in sharing your story? Email 38


calendar of events


For a complete list of events, tickets or more information, visit

Economic Outlook: Calgary 2012 April 17, 2012 Join fellow alumni at the Calgary Petroleum Club for this presentation featuring Craig Wright (BA

Proceeds go to the Student Horizon Fund and the Golden Hawk Scholarship Fund. For details visit

’85), chief economist at RBC Financial Group,

Women’s Golf Event

and Jeffry Frieden, professor of government at

May or June, 2012

Harvard University. For more information, visit

Building on the success of last year’s event, the

GTA West Chapter will again host a Women’s Golf event in late May or June 2012. This

Steamwhistle Brewery Event with Cameron Heaps April 18, 2012

Class of 2007, 2002, 1997, 1992, 1987,

of the game. Watch your inbox for emails with

1982, 1972 and Brantford Class of 2007

more event details.

Join the Toronto Chapter at one of Canada’s premier breweries as co-founder Cam Heaps

Niagara Wine Tour

(BA ’95) hosts Laurier alumni. One of Laurier’s

June 23, 2012

100 Alumni of Achievement, Heaps will speak

Join the KW Chapter on a tour of unique and

about his experience growing one of the nation’s

award-winning wineries in the Niagara Region.

most recognizable brands. Details, including

This year’s wine tour features Greenlane Estate,

registration information, can be found at

Riverview Cellars and Stonechurch Vineyards.

Note: On May 26, the KW Chapter will also rerun last year’s wine tour for anyone who

Development Day 2012: Inspire. Create. Lead

Calling all members from the Waterloo

interactive clinic will focus on the fundamentals

missed it. For details, visit niagarawinetour.

Celebrate your 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th, 40th and 50th reunion! WE NEED VOLUNTEERS TO: choose your events, plan the celebration and contact your classmates!

May 11, 2012 Featuring Frank O’Dea, founder of Second Cup

Toronto FC Game

and author of When All You Have Is Hope. For

June 23, 2012

more information visit developmentday.

Join fellow Laurier alumni to cheer on Toronto FC as they take on the New England Revolution at BMO Field. Don’t miss your chance to register

Laurier Golf Classic

for this Toronto Chapter favourite, as this event

May 29, 2012

will quickly sell out. Visit

Join fellow alumni at the Brantford Golf and

torontofc for more information or to register.

To volunteer or for more information about getting involved, visit Interested in planning a reunion not mentioned? We can help! Contact for more information.

Country Club for the 15th annual golf classic.

Get with the program! Update your profile. If you haven’t updated your alumni profile, here’s what you’ve been missing: • invitations to events and reunions • connect with former classmates • our online alumni newsletter, Alma Matters

E YOUR PROF ILE DAT UP for a chance to



Log on to and GET CONNECTED!




Jim Heldmann in costume as his character Miss Winks in the 1957 Purple and Gold show.

The man behind Miss Winks “Sometimes one wonders how going to college and participating in extracurricular activities affects one’s life,” reflects Jim Heldmann, a Waterloo College grad. Heldmann (BA ’58, MA ’90) certainly didn’t expect his college experience to transform him from a young student into a senior citizen. As a member of the editorial staff for the News Weekly, Heldmann created the character of Miss Winks, an old woman who doled out advice to students via a weekly column. Her advice was, at best, questionable. Dear Miss Winks: My personal problems are getting me down. They are English 20, Economics 20, Mathematics 20, Zoology 20, French 20, English 29 and Library Science. What should I do about them? – A Frizzled Frosh Dear Frizzled: There are two practical approaches to any problem. Firstly, there is an old saying: Simply ignore a problem and it ceases to be one. Then the school of modern psychology teaches us that the busiest people are those who get the most done. Perhaps it would help if you signed up for another course or two.

What would you do with this kind of advice? Heldmann thought it would make a funny play. For the 1957 Purple and Gold Show, he wrote and performed a short skit featuring Miss Winks. His full transformation can be seen in the accompanying photo. Leading up to the play, however, Heldmann struggled with his stage adaptation. “Rehearsals the night before the performance showed my script lacked punch and humour,” he says. “A rewrite was imperative. Together with friends I reworked the script. Names of prominent college officials and professors were interwoven with funny problems and advice. I used a highpitched voice to add to the humour. The happy outcome was a genuine hit!” Although he didn’t pursue a career in theatre, Heldmann’s success as Miss Winks led him to write and perform in a few amateur plays. It would seem that sometimes the university experience can simply lead to “acting silly and bringing joy and laughter to audiences.”

Do you have a photo of your a high-resolution image to Laurier days? Email and it could appear in Flashback.



As a member of the Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association, you can save on a mortgage with the best available rates in Canada while enjoing outstanding service. Whether purchasing your first home, considering a renovation, renewing or refinancing, trust National Group Mortgage Program to you with your mortgage. Call us for a pre-approval today and ask us for our “Home Buyer Guide�. Mortgage program recommended by

What if there were no curveballs?

Alumni Insurance plans can help prepare you for whatever life throws your way. Term Life Insurance Income Protection Disability Insurance Major Accident Protection Health & Dental Care Critical Illness Insurance

Call us at 1-888-913-6333 Or visit us online at


Underwritten by:

INSURANCE PLANS The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company

Spring 2012 Campus Magazine  

The Spring issue of Campus magazine, Wilfrid Laurier University's alumni publication.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you