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For Alumni & Friends

Spring 2011

Shakespeared Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col have the Bard himself in their sights

Policing pioneer Rita Westbrook keeps on giving back John Trus takes his bike for a spin in the Peruvian Andes

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Cover Story Murder Most Awesome


Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col score a very palpable hit with their comic book series Kill Shakespeare.



Editor’s Note


On Campus

President’s Corner


Alumni News


Campus News


How the way we think of ourselves affects our brains and bodies. Plus, reading corporate reports for the pictures.

Keeping in Touch


Centennial Update


Calendar of Events




Badge of honour

13 13


She’s just retired after a trailblazing 35-year career in policing, but Rita Westbrook isn’t exactly putting up her feet.

The ride of his life



John Trus was a seasoned mountain biker, but could he hack it in the Peruvian Andes?

Fore a good cause Laurier alumni tee off to raise money for student athletes.

30 24



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editor’s note

Life cycles

Volume 50, Number 3, Spring 2011 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: Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing Editor: Nicholas Dinka Writers: Lori Chalmers Morrison, Mallory O’Brien ‘08, Sandra Muir Design and art direction: Erin Steed Photography: Tomasz Adamski, Dan Barham, Dean Palmer Send address changes to: Address Updates, Development and Alumni Relations Email: Phone: (519) 884-0710 ext. 3176

Each of our feature stories in this issue of Laurier Campus focuses on alumni at different stages of life’s journey. Anthony del Col and Conor McCreery, both in their early thirties, have recently made a big splash with Kill Shakespeare, an irreverent comic book series that may or may not have the Bard turning in his grave. But their sights are firmly set on the future, with dreams of a Hollywood franchise deal dancing in their heads. John Trus, at 43, is a little further along in his own successful business career. Recently, he took a break from his busy working life to explore the wider world, setting out to test himself on a mountain biking adventure in the Peruvian Andes. When he returned home, he brought with him both great stories and a renewed appreciation of the less extreme, but equally inspiring, forest trails closer to home. Then there’s Rita Westbrook, who recently retired after a trailblazing 35-year career in policing that saw her rise from humble beginnings as a raw recruit all the way to a senior role as superintendent of the Waterloo Region

Police Service. You’d think at this point she might be ready to put her feet up, but as I write this note she’s helping to renovate a hospital in a povertychallenged area of the Dominican Republic. Over the last 100 years, Laurier has gone through a life cycle of its own, from its origins as a Lutheran seminary, to its renaissance in the 1950s as an undergraduate powerhouse, to its recent expansion into a major national university with over 17,000 students. In our upcoming centennial special issue this summer, we’ll look at this evolution up close, and give you a glimpse of what the university’s future might look like. One thing’s for certain: taking our cues from this month’s featured alumni, we won’t be resting on our laurels.

Nicholas Dinka

Publications Mail Registration No. 40020414 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: CPAM 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



President’s corner

Centennial events reflect a vibrant university Laurier’s centennial celebrations are off to an exciting start. We launched our year of celebration last fall with kick-off events on the Waterloo and Brantford campuses. Since then, a variety of entertaining and informative events and activities have taken place, from a musical play about the history of the university to special lecture series, music concerts and engaging contests. The range of celebratory initiatives planned for 2011 reflects the breadth, depth and vibrancy of the Laurier community — and we encourage you to join in the fun! On the arts front, Laurier music students, faculty and alumni have already staged the opera The Magic Flute and performed in a special version of Monteverdi’s Vespro Della Beata Vergine, which included the premiere of alumnus Kerry Roebuck’s winning composition in the Laurier Centennial Fanfare Competition. There is much more planned for the coming months, including a gala weekend of opera, choral and orchestral performances in late October. On the academic side, there are conferences on music therapy research, applied mathematics, sport, exercise and health psychology, and the representation of memory in literary and film texts. The Canadian Political Science Association is holding its annual conference at Laurier in May, and the Academic Council on the United Nations System — an international association that has been based at Laurier for two consecutive terms — is holding its annual meeting here in July. There are also a number of speaker series, including the Lives of Leadership and Purpose series and another entitled, 100 Years After Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier: Canada’s Political Landscape. There are several activities dedicated to the university’s history, including an exhibition series showcasing the contributions of Laurier’s past presidents and chancellors, and a project to honour 100 Alumni of Achievement. Laurier’s centennial celebrations also include a variety of contests, including the 100 Hours for 100 Years volunteer challenge, a student essay writing contest, a 100-second video



contest, and a drabble-writing contest (What’s a drabble, you ask? A short literary work of precisely 100 words!). Laurier has also commissioned a bronze statue of Sir Wilfrid Laurier by renowned artist Marlene Hilton Moore. The statue, depicting a young Sir Wilfrid on a park bench, will be

located on the Waterloo campus, with the exact location to be decided upon in the near future. As well, the university has commissioned a book about the university to be written by historian and Laurier Professor Andrew Thomson. There are a number of events designed for Laurier alumni and friends of the university, including a gala evening in May to celebrate Community-University Partnerships, and, of course, Laurier’s annual Homecoming weekend, which runs from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. There are many other events and activities scheduled for the coming year. I encourage you to visit our centennial website at and make plans to join us for this wonderful year of celebration.

Dr. Max Blouw President and Vice-Chancellor Wilfrid Laurier University

ALUMni news

Planning for the future and marking a grand opening

WLUAA 2010-11 executive President Tom Berczi ’88, ’93 Vice-President Megan Harris ’00 Vice-President Marc Henein ’04 treasurer Chris Pehlke ’00 Honorary President Dr. Max Blouw Past President Steve Wilkie ’82, ’89

Board of directors Bruce Armstrong ’72 Peter Batson ‘69 Scott Bebenek ’85 Thomas Cadman ‘87 Paul Dickson ‘03 Peter Gobran ‘99 Caitlin Howlett ‘05, ‘10 Andrea Murik ‘96 Kiran Nagra ‘02 David Oates ‘70 Priya Persaud ’98 Patricia Polischuk ‘90 Marc Richardson ’95 Chris Rushforth ‘80 Shirley Schmidt ‘86, ‘09 Kelly Schoonderwoerd ‘03 Cynthia Sundberg ‘90

Honouring excellence has always been an important part of the Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association (WLUAA) mandate. You might be surprised, however, to learn that not only do we recognize alumni achievement, we also proudly award and encourage current students. Each year the WLUAA dedicates funds to awards that provide recognition of the academic achievements, commitment to community, and campus involvement of Laurier students. The Alumni Award of Merit recognizes that sometimes the decision to attend Laurier is “genetic.” Children or siblings of Waterloo College, Waterloo Lutheran University, or Laurier graduates are eligible to apply. The three recipients of this $1,000 award are selected based on academic achievement, participation in extracurricular activities, and demonstrated leadership qualities. The 2010 recipients of the Award of Merit are: Kylee Daley (Father, Jay Daley ‘84), Tyrone Maguire (Father, John Maguire ‘87), Katelyn VanMiddelkoop (Sister, Alicia VanMiddelkoop ‘08). The Partners in Excellence Program emphasizes the importance of extra- and co-curricular student initiatives. Individuals and student groups apply in the Fall term for financial assistance in support of activities that are of value to the Laurier community. Applications that fit Laurier’s mission of inspiring lives of leadership and purpose are of particular interest to the selection committee. For the 2010-2011 academic year, WLUAA has elected to support a national

Board of Governors representatives Frank Erschen ’81 Tim Martin ‘92 Steve Wilkie ‘82, ‘89

business competition, an alumni-founded and student supported charitable organization that provides assistance locally and internationally, a conference promoting diversity in higher education, and a group of students participating in teacher-training programs in the developing world. The John Gellner Award, valued at $500, is presented annually to a student who has made significant contributions through their work with the Laurier Student Alumni. The award was created in honour of the 50th wedding anniversary of John and Shirley Gellner. John is a distinguished alumnus of Waterloo College and is credited with a great deal of personal investment in the success of the Alumni Association. The 2010-2011 recipient, Katie Rose, exemplifies the spirit of the award. A long-term member of the Laurier Student Alumni, Katie has been involved with a number of campus clubs and has maintained notable academic standing. To learn more about WLUAA-supported awards, please visit and click “About Us.” In this issue you will also find our annual call for applications for the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors (see page 34). The Alumni Association is committed to board diversity – ensuring that our directors represent all of Laurier’s faculties and campuses as well as both established and younger alumni. With this in mind, for the upcoming year we are encouraging an increased number of applications from Music and Social Work alumni and from graduates of Laurier Brantford. Serving as a WLUAA director is a great way for you to get involved by being part of the team that serves as the representative voice for over 75,000 of your fellow alumni and is actively involved in the Laurier community.

senate representatives Susan Lockett ‘99 David Oates ’70 John Trus ’90

Back row (from left): Deanne Larsen, Tom Berczi, John Rose, Katie Rose, Cathy Rose, David Gellner; Front row (from left): John Gellner and Shirley Gellner.

Tom Berczi ’88, ‘93 President, WLUAA




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cAMPUsnews Artist selected for Waterloo campus statue of Sir Wilfrid Laurier Statue

The university has commissioned a bronze statue of Sir Wilfrid Laurier for the Waterloo campus in celebration of its centennial. The statue, designed by Canadian artist Marlene Hilton Moore, was one of five proposals, by three artists, under consideration. The selection committee chose Hilton Moore’s seated bench statue for its accessibility and playfulness. “It has to be somebody you can get photographed beside,” said selection committee chair Barry Ries, an editorial/communications officer at the university. “But despite his rather casual appearance, we still know who he is and what he will become.” The winning design features Laurier as he looked in the 1870s, when he was in his mid-30s and serving as a Quebec

Member of Parliament. He will be seated on a bench made of granite to be quarried near his birthplace in Quebec. “I chose the younger Laurier because this is going to be in a university setting, and to me it was very important that the people of the university, who are predominantly students, have a relationship with him,” said Hilton Moore, whose past commissions include the Valiants Memorial in Ottawa. “I love to think someone could sit down on the bench and have a personal conversation with Laurier.” The statue will be unveiled in October 2011, with the exact location to be decided upon in the near future. Members of the Laurier community were invited to comment on the proposals to help the committee in its decision-making.

A university is worth a thousand fans (and counting) SociaL media

Does a Laurier Golden Hawk tweet or squawk? Laurier set out to find out by getting its social media wingtips wet last September. Now a few months old, Laurier’s official Twitter and Facebook sites are taking flight, with more than 1,000 followers each. Followers and fans enjoy posts about Laurier news, research and upcoming events, are inspired by stories of those living lives of leadership and purpose, and read about Laurier experts on the hot news topics of the day. For those alumni who miss campus life, a taste of home is a click away in the “on campus” photo album on Laurier’s Facebook page. The photos

Join the Laurier community at:

provide regular snapshots of the people and events that make Laurier’s campuses a community. The university has also been working to build its YouTube nest egg. Right now, you’ll find videos from Laurier’s centennial celebrations, future students and Laurier Archives (did you know about the bed-push and Canada-wide pageant from ‘60s-era Laurier Winter Carnivals?). Look for more exciting videos about Laurier people and events, including a centennial video campaign to be announced in the coming months. What’s next? We have a growing number of followers and a wealth

of news to share – now we want to hear from you! Ask questions, post comments to let us know what you think of our news, share photos from events you attended, and reconnect with other members of the Laurier community. Tell us what would make a Laurier social media site valuable for you. Email your thoughts and ideas to



cAMPUs news

Hundreds attend opening for new Brantford Research and Academic Centre

Laurier Brantford

In the sun-filled foyer of the new west wing of Laurier Brantford’s Research and Academic Centre (RAC), Laurier officials, politicians from all levels of government, business professionals, donors and students gathered Jan. 21 to celebrate the latest addition to the campus. Laurier President Max Blouw applauded the work of the many people involved in making the state-of-the-art building a reality, noting that it was completed “on time, on budget and in good spirit.” The new building, which includes a 3,700 square metre east wing that will open later in the year, will help Laurier Brantford develop innovative academic programs, noted Lesley Cooper, acting principal/vice-president of Laurier Brantford. It will also allow the campus to expand from its current 2,600 students to 4,500 students in the next five years.

The new 2,800 square metre west wing houses advanced teaching and research facilities, administration and student facilities. It is also home to the new storefront Stedman Community Bookstore, which opened in December. The bookstore was built with the support of local philanthropists Mary and the late Ruth Stedman, who each contributed $250,000. At the opening of the west wing, Laurier officials paid tribute to the support of federal Minister of State Gary Goodyear, Brant MP Phil McColeman and Brant MPP Dave Levac. The federal and provincial governments each contributed $13 million toward the building. “We can put the dollars out but I know the hard work that goes into it,” said Goodyear. “Thank you for helping us get the economy on its way back on track.”

If you want to write, you should never be discouraged. But as someone wise said, if you can do something else, then do it. Laurier alumnus Chuck Tatham, co-executive producer of the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother, as told to the Guelph Mercury.

People at Laurier Ginny dybenko, formerly dean of the School of Business and Economics, is Laurier’s new executive – strategic initiatives. Dybenko’s new responsibilities will span fundraising, advocacy and special projects related to broad university interests. William Banks has been named interim dean of Laurier’s School of Business & Economics until a new dean is in place. Banks, a professor of accounting, has served in many administrative positions at Laurier, including BBA director and associate dean of SBE. He has also been a member of the Governing Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario.



Kate Brand has been appointed as the university’s manager, communications: Development & Alumni Relations. She has previously held communications positions at the universities of Toronto, Western Ontario and Guelph, and was most recently acting manager of communications and assistant to the dean for policy and planning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Laurier has appointed Megan conway as the new director of the Laurier Centre for Community Service-Learning, effective Feb. 1. Conway recently served as director, strategic planning,

evaluation and research at Mosaic Counselling in Kitchener. She is in the final stages of her PhD in Urban Planning at the University of Waterloo and holds a M.Phil. degree from Cambridge University as well as BA and B.Ed. degrees from Queen’s University. A team of three authors, including Laurier Assistant Finance Professor si Li, has won a 2010 Deutsche Bank Best Paper Award for an article published in the journal Review of Finance. The authors shared second place for their paper “The Limits of the Limits of Arbitrage.”

cAMPUs news

miLton campuS propoSaL

Memorandum of understanding supports exploration of Milton campus Efforts to bring post-secondary education to the Town of Milton will continue through a new memorandum of understanding that identifies specific areas to be examined in the development of the proposed Milton Education Village – a 450-acre neighbourhood centred on a 150-acre university campus. Eight municipal, business and education partners, including Laurier, are part of the new MOU, which was announced Jan. 24 at a meeting of Milton Town Council. The new MOU complements an existing memorandum between Milton and Laurier. Similar to the first memorandum, the new three-year memorandum of understanding outlines the intention of Laurier and Milton to continue investigating the potential for a university campus on 150 acres of land on the southwest side of the community, adjacent to the Niagara Escarpment. Funding remains a major consideration. The new document, which must be approved by the Laurier Board of Governors, states that the proposal “requires an acceptable level of funding from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities” for construction, capital and operating costs for the university campus. The provincial government’s 2011-12 budget is expected to include a new 10-year capital plan, including investment in post-secondary education infrastructure. “This new memorandum of understanding brings new partners to the Milton Education Village initiative and continues the exploratory work that is needed to assess the feasibility of establishing a Laurier campus in Milton,” said Laurier President Max Blouw.

Laurier acquires significant collection of Olympic and sports history oLympic archive

Laurier students and faculty now have access to 40 years of Olympic and sports history in the form of personal documents, reports and correspondence belonging to former International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Avery Brundage. Brundage, a controversial businessman and one-time Olympian (in pentathlon and decathlon), led the IOC from 1952 to 1972 – a politically-charged period that saw the rise of television in sport. “If anybody is interested in trying to understand the Olympic movement in the post Second World War era, and the early- to mid-stages of the Cold War, this is the place to start,” said Stephen Wenn, professor of Kinesiology and Physical Education. Wenn, who has written several papers on Brundage, suggested bringing the collection to Laurier with the help of an endowment fund. The 146 reels of microfilm include Brundage’s personal correspondence with IOC members during his tenure, minutes of IOC board meetings, personal correspondence pertaining to the Olympics, speeches, his personal newspaper and magazine clippings, and documents related to successful and unsuccessful Olympic bids. The collection is being housed at Laurier’s Waterloo campus Library in the Archives and Special Collections Department.

New environmental ratings show Laurier’s positive first steps on sustainability

environmentaL SuStainaBiLity

Laurier has received its first ratings from two different North American organizations dedicated to improving environmental sustainability on university campuses. The first rating is a grade from the College Sustainability Report Card, an annual evaluation of North American colleges and universities. Laurier received a B- in the report, with strong scores in the categories of food services and recycling and composting programs. The second rating is a bronze score from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in

Higher Education. Laurier excelled in sustainability research, dining services, and creating a diverse community, among other areas. Laurier’s Sustainability Office opened in January 2010 with a mandate to improve sustainability on campus. Last year’s “Going Greener” report by the Council of Ontario Universities recognized Laurier both for developing its sustainability policy and for adapting a green cleaning program and energy management plan. The results of the STARS assessment and the College Sustainability Report Card will aid in the development of Laurier’s Sustainability Action Plan in 2011.



cAMPUs news

Laurier professor explores family history in new book from WLU Press profeSSor turnS to memoir

Laurier Professor Thomas O. Hueglin explores his family history in a new book from WLU Press titled, We All Giggled: A Bourgeois Family Memoir. The book shares the intimate stories of two families that came together when Hueglin’s parents met and married in 1945. The Hüglins, as they were known at the time, lost most of their fortune over the course of the two world wars. The Wachendorffs survived the wars despite their Jewish ancestry; the book features a photo of Hueglin’s half-Jewish uncles with Adolf Hitler. Hueglin wrote the book based on his own memories, but he also read family journals and diaries and spoke with his 91-year-old aunt in Germany. He recollects growing up in postwar Germany in an environment of stability and comfort, and chronicles his family’s ups and downs and abiding love for music, food and art.

“When you put your mind to it, it’s amazing what you remember,” says Hueglin. “I just wanted to write down the old stories. What emerged was an entire family memoir, spanning several generations.” We All Giggled weaves a rich tapestry of anecdotes about opera singers, restaurants and travels, as well as family relations, romance and the kind of “impromptu reactions to people, places, and situations that often result in uncontrollable giggles,” Hueglin writes in the book. The author grew up in Germany and moved to Canada in 1983. He has been a professor of political science at Laurier since 1985. We All Giggled is available through WLU Press. For more information, visit

The ‘have a penny, leave a penny; need a penny, take a penny’ jars common in convenience stores are an implicit recognition of the existence of the user cost of the penny. Laurier Economics professors Dinu Chende and Timothy C.G. Fisher, who argue in a recent study that the penny isn’t worth keeping in circulation.

Alumni awards recognize MBA achievement

mBa gradS honoured

Laurier’s School of Business & Economics celebrated its annual MBA Alumni Awards in November with a gala event in the ballroom of the Toronto Board of Trade. “Every year we celebrate alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in their respective fields, from their leadership abilities and business acumen to their entrepreneurial spirit and community engagement,” said Hugh Munro, director of Laurier’s MBA program. “This year we are excited to present a truly outstanding lineup of alumni who excel on many levels.”

the 2010 award winners are: outstanding executive Leadership: Mitch Frazer (’03), partner, Torys LLP outstanding innovation & Achievement: Robert Tong (’94), vice-president, medical division, ON Semiconductor outstanding cMA/MBA Alumna: Maureen Tomlinson (’05), director, business services, The Economical Insurance Group WLU Alumni Association’s Award of distinction: Michael Dell (’05), president, Dell Corporation Realty Ltd.



From left: Michael Rea, Mitch Frazer, Robert Tong, Jeffrey Melanson, Maureen Tomlinson, Michael Dell

community Leadership Award: Michael Rea (’98), founder, MBA Alumnus of the Year Award: Jeffrey Melanson (’99), executive director and co-CEO, Canada’s National Ballet School The MBA Alumni Awards program was established in 2007 to recognize the outstanding women and men of Laurier. By honouring former Laurier students, the university hopes to inspire today’s students to strive for both personal and professional success.

cAMPUs news honouring diverSity

Hall of Nations celebrates Laurier’s international students Laurier has established a Hall of Nations at its Waterloo campus to represent the diversity of Laurier’s student community. Flags from approximately 70 countries were installed in the Dining Hall at an unveiling ceremony on Oct. 27. “The Hall of Nations acknowledges the country of origin of our entire student body,” said Adam Lawrence, manager of Laurier’s Diversity & Equity Office. “Being an inclusive community involves celebrating and educating all individuals at Laurier, and we hope this initiative will be a positive addition to the Laurier culture.” The Hall of Nations is a joint effort between the Diversity & Equity Office and Laurier International. “The university is already home to students from over 65 nations, and recognizing the diversity on campus is important to the Laurier community,” said Lise Pedersen, manager of programs and services for Laurier International. “We plan to host an annual event to welcome international students and to celebrate the cultural and national diversity of Laurier’s student body.”

Lise Pedersen and Adam Lawrence in the Hall of Nations

Laurier earns top marks in key university rankings rankingS round-up

Laurier earned top marks in a number of annual surveys of universities in the fall of 2010. In Maclean’s magazine’s annual rankings, Laurier placed first in Ontario and fifth in the country in the Overall Ranking category for primarily undergraduate universities. Laurier also placed first in Ontario and third in the country for “highest quality” among primarily undergraduate universities. In the Globe and Mail’s Canadian University Report, Laurier was among the “tops in quality of education” in its category across Canada for Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Math, Business and Commerce, and Health and Medical programs. It also ranked “tops in career preparation” for Arts and Humanities as well as for Business and Commerce. “Laurier continues to perform very well in the most important categories in these rankings,” said Laurier President Max Blouw. “Both reports show that our students are quite satisfied with their overall university experience, and that Laurier remains a very attractive choice among students.” The university was also named an outstanding business school by the Princeton Review in the 2011 edition of The Best 300 Business Schools, a book published annually by Random House. The book features profiles of selected schools with write-ups on their academics, student life and admissions, as well as ratings for academics, selectivity and career placement services.

internationaL Sport

Lady Hawks win gold with Team Canada in Turkey With the help of Laurier Lady Hawks Andrea Ironside, Andrea Martin, Liz Knox and Candice Styles, Canada successfully defended its Winter Universiade title in women’s hockey Feb. 5. The team defeated Finland 4-1 in the gold medal final at Cemal Gursel Arena in Erzurum, Turkey. “Finland came out really strong,” said team captain Ironside. “It was a tough game all the way through. We came here with a goal and we knew what we wanted to do. We’re really excited to come out of this game on top. It’s an unbelievable feeling right now.” The red-and-white squad, comprised exclusively of Canadian Interuniversity Sport all-stars, finished the 2011 tournament with an unblemished 7-0 record including a 2-1 shootout victory over Finland (5-1-1) in their preliminary round opener on Jan. 27. Four different players scored for Canada including University of Montreal’s Kim Deschênes and Guelph’s Jessica Zerafa, as well as McGill teammates Ann-Sophie Bettez and Carly Hill. Laurier netminder Liz Knox made 20 saves to earn her fourth win in as many starts. Canada also won gold in 2009 when the sport made its Universiade debut in Harbin, China, thanks to a 3-1 win over the host team.



Laurier lives here. LITERALLY.

Artist’s rendering

The spirit of Sir Wilfrid Laurier is alive in every corner of our vibrant campus. His legacy of leadership and courage inspires our students in their pursuit of knowledge, their desire to effect community change through extracurricular involvement, and their passion for making the world a better place. Now is a rare opportunity to help turn this spirit into a physical legacy to inspire future generations of students. To find out how you can be a part of creating this landmark and campus tradition, visit: LAURIER100.CA/STATUE

on campus

…interdependent or independent selfconstrual can either ramp up or dial down the person’s motor system…

The brain in action Social psychologists have long known of two distinct ways in which people define and make meaning of the self. When we define ourselves, or “self-construe,” interdependently, we see ourselves in terms of our relationships with others – as the son of X, say, or the co-worker of Y. When we do so independently, we’re a little more, well, self-centred: “My favourite colour is orange” or “I have a pretty good table-tennis backhand.” Now Laurier neuroscientist Sukhvinder Obhi, who runs a core lab in Laurier’s Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, and graduate student Jeremy Hogeveen have demonstrated that nudging a person toward interdependent or independent self-construal can either ramp up or dial down the person’s motor system – the system our brains use to control physical movements. Their experiment used suggestive words to put their subjects into an interdependent or independent frame of mind. While

“priming” each subject in this way, they showed him or her a video of a person squeezing a ball. Then they periodically stimulated the subject’s brain with a “transcranial” magnetic pulse and measured his or her motor response with electrodes on the person’s hand. When Obhi and Hogeveen primed their subjects with interdependence-associated words like “integrate” they picked up a big motor response – the subject’s motor system was ramped up and quick to resonate with the hand squeezes in the video. When the subjects were primed with independenceassociated words like “alone,” their responses were reduced. Less muscle activation, less motor-system involvement. Obhi speculates that the findings could one day be used to help people with disorders affecting social cognition, like autism, to process social information more successfully. They might also help people to learn physical tasks, by improving motor sensitivity. Ambitious table tennis players, take note. ❖

LAURIER CAMPUS Spring 2011 13

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on campus

We found that companies that are more inclusive of women…tend to have better financial performance.

Getting the wrong picture If there’s one thing AMC’s hit television series Mad Men has taught the younger female generation, it’s that women in the corporate world have come a long way since the 1960s. But not always as far as one would hope, as the work of Laurier accounting professor Bruce McConomy unfortunately attests. McConomy and his research partner, Merridee Bujaki of the University of Ottawa, have found a unique way to study corporate attitudes towards women: by analyzing the photographs in annual reports, and looking at the ways in which women are being represented in these images – or not represented, as the case may be. “What we found was that while the percentage of women who work in many industries was quite high, the percentage of photos that featured women was very low,” McConomy says. “This seems to indicate that women are not portrayed as being a critical part of the company.” On average across all industries, 47 per cent of the workforce

is female, but McConomy and Bujaki found that only 18.5 per cent of the pictures of people in annual reports include women. And when women are shown in the images, it’s not always in an equitable way. In one study, the researchers found that women in the images were less likely than their male counterparts to be dressed professionally and less likely to be shown as skilled employees or executives. Fewer than five per cent of the pictures showed men being a customer, but 33.3 per cent of the pictures showed women being a customer. All of which is more than a little disheartening, but there is some good news, too: “We found that companies that are more inclusive of women – reflected by the fact that women were represented in more photos – tend to have better financial performance,” McConomy says. Inclusiveness, it seems, is good for business. Something the Mad Men and Women of the world may want to keep in mind. ❖

LAURIER CAMPUS Spring 2011 15

By Mallory O’Brien

Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery score a very palpable hit with their comic book series Kill Shakespeare.



coVer story

Cold November rains darken the Toronto skyline, calling to mind the opening panels of a noirish comic – V for Vendetta, say, or Batman: the Dark Knight Returns. But the gloomy weather outside belies the mood inside the 918 Bathurst Centre, the trendy arts venue where Laurier alumni Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery are celebrating the release of the first trade paperback edition of Kill Shakespeare, their irreverant comic. The two are smiling like kids in a candy store while they sign copies of the six-issue comic collection they created with artist Andy Belanger. Signatures fly across glossy covers featuring a bloody hand – presumably belonging to a deceased Will Shakespeare – clutching a quill. As the provocative cover and title suggest, Kill Shakespeare is about a quest to kill the Bard of Avon himself. In the fantasy world of the comic, Shakespeare’s most memorable characters, including Othello, Lady Macbeth and Juliet, are pitted against each other as some try to find and kill their creator and others seek to protect him. Hamlet plays the role of the comic’s protagonist, and as one of Shakespeare’s most tortured characters, he is fittingly ambivalent about his role in this particular drama. “To kill or not to kill,” the Prince of Denmark might ponder between the pages. Del Col and McCreery believe their adventurous tale would have impressed old Bill himself, as opposed to having him rolling in his grave, but they are more concerned with reaching comic fans – and Hollywood. They have big plans for their brand, and picture a global audience not only for the comics, but also for movies, video games and even merchandise. “We think it could have the potential of something like Lord of the Rings,” Del Col gushes. Speaking with investors, he did not mince words when describing this ambition: “If this is done right, Kill Shakespeare could be a billion-dollar franchise.” While Del Col and McCreery are excited to have the Kill Shakespeare comic up and running, it’s only the first act, you might say, of their plan. And they are extremely eager to jump forward to Act Two.

t first glance, Del Col, 33, and McCreery, 34, do not look like your typical comic geeks. Smartly dressed for the launch party in dress shirts and ties – Del Col in a cardigan, McCreery in a suit jacket and vest – they are keen to mingle and discuss their ambitious goals. Seeing them in networking mode, it comes as no surprise that both are alumni of Laurier’s business program. So how the heck did they get into the comicmaking business?

It turns out they also have a love for the arts: McCreery (BBA ’98) graduated with a minor in theatre and Del Col (BBA ’00) insists he has an “unofficial” minor in film. “I was in first year when I realized that whenever I open a newspaper I go straight to entertainment,” says Del Col. He used his electives to take as many film courses as possible, staying in business so he “would have a good business acumen before heading into entertainment.” The marriage of business and the arts paid off even before he graduated, when in third year Del Col landed a role in a one-act play for Laurier’s Fringe Festival. “I did everything I could to market the hell out of it,” he says. “We sold out all of our shows, and ended up selling more than 50 per cent of the Fringe Fest tickets.” In fourth year, Del Col produced a full-length student film, The Nature of Reality, raising more than $10,000 to finance it. The movie eventually made it all the way to the Montreal Film Festival. McCreery, meanwhile, was the first of only three students to ever graduate from Laurier with a business major and theatre minor. The result of this unconventional pairing was that he was able to approach theatre classes with an open mind. Laurier English Professor Leslie O’Dell noticed McCreery’s capacity for comedic acting and wrote a role specifically for him in her play, The Regeneration of George McGrath. Janet Wright (of Corner Gas fame) directed the play, which featured notable Canadian actor Ted Follows in the lead role. “Watching them put the show together, sometimes by the seat of their pants, was inspiring and often entertaining as hell,” says McCreery, who continued to be involved with acting after graduating, joining the Toronto-based improv troupe The Six Bunches Gang. “I think improv definitely helps with writing the comic, since improv and writing are really the same thing – creating out of nothing,” he says. “You’re even thinking visually in improv because so much of the

Kill Shakespeare could be a billiondollar franchise. Anthony Del Col



At first glance they do not look like your typical comic geeks… Seeing them in networking mode,

fun comes from physical humour and the tableaus you create on stage.”

espite graduating only two years apart, McCreery and Del Col never knew each other at Laurier. They met in May 2001, that both are alumni after mutual friends noticed they of Laurier’s business both had similar passions. Del Col was working at the Canadian program. Film Centre and McCreery at the film production company Triptych Media Inc. “We bonded over the fact that we both really loved the Gordon Korman book No Coins, Please and thought it would make a fantastic film,” says McCreery. “The first thing we tried to do together, just having met each other, was pool together a couple grand to buy the option for this Korman novel.” Unfortunately, says McCreery, people who had a bit more money than they did had the same idea, and they were outbid. Over the next four years, however, they continued to pitch and brainstorm projects together, including a couple of children’s animated television shows. “One day, we were throwing around ideas for video games and Anthony made a joke about basing a game on Quentin Tarentino’s Kill Bill,” says McCreery. The idea evolved: What if it was a different Bill? The names started rolling: Bill Cosby! Bill Clinton! And finally: Bill Shakespeare, and the concept for Kill Shakespeare was born. They put the idea on the backburner for a few years – McCreery was doing well at Business News Network as a writer, producer and on-air talent, and Del Col was assisting with the management of Nelly Furtado’s world tour. It wasn’t until 2007 that they figured the idea had legs, and decided to pull it off the shelf.

it comes as no surprise



The first issue was published three years later, in April 2010. Del Col bemoans the fact it took six months longer than their business plan anticipated, but at the launch party in November, spoiled plans barely temper the cheerful atmosphere: someone has forgotten to bring markers for autographing. Artwork from the comic hangs proudly on the wall behind McCreery, Del Col and Belanger as they share one pen and sign books assembly-line style. Despite the growing lineup, they all spend lots of time chatting with friends and fans – Del Col even pretends to sign a baby someone has brought along. It seems like a rare chance for the pair to stop looking forward and simply enjoy how far they have come.

el Col and McCreery are delighted to discuss just how much their education at Laurier helped them develop Kill Shakespeare. “Before we even wrote the comic strips, we put together a 100-page business plan,” says Del Col. “We spent about two months working on that plan, and it was exactly like all the work we did during ICE Week,” Laurier’s week-long case study competition for third-year BBA students. McCreery says they were never “laughed out of the room.” “We had one investor who said he wasn’t even really interested in the concept, but he wanted to meet us because the business plan was so well put together – that’s where Laurier was very helpful to us,” he says. “As business students it was drilled into us: not only putting together business plans and making presentations, but also not being afraid to take risks and put yourself out there. You can’t be offended if you get turned down.” “But we would still cry after,” says Del Col, deadpan, although they caught the interest of enough investors to raise $300,000 for the project. Winning over enough investors allowed Del Col and McCreery to focus on Kill Shakespeare full time: Del Col quit his job in September 2008 and McCreery followed suit a month later. They pay themselves enough to “cover the bills,” and the rest of the money goes toward the comic’s production costs (they are published by California-based IDW), as well as marketing and public relations in both Canada and the United States.

“Comics are well suited to Shakespeare,” says “One of the other things we learned at Laurier is to spend a lot of time laying the PR work,” says McCreery. He means a lot of time. They called more than 800 retailers to let them know they were publishing Kill Shakespeare. They lined up previews in The Globe and Mail and the National Post, and an interview on National Public Radio in the US. They had more coverage than many mainstream comics do before their first issue even came out. “Anthony especially is very passionate about this,” says McCreery. “What’s the point of doing anything if nobody is going to know about it? We worked incredibly hard to seed the ground so people knew this comic was coming.”

he pieces set in place, there was not much left to do except make sure Kill Shakespeare was good enough for people to like. “Comics are well suited to Shakespeare,” says McCreery, defending their work against those who don’t believe the Bard’s works should be juxtaposed against THWUMPS and THWACKS. “His plays are meant to be seen, and comic books are a visual medium too – there’s a similar kinetic energy to them. At the risk of sounding completely arrogant, it’s a really good idea.” The New York Times thought Kill Shakespeare was a good idea too, and put it on their gift list for the holidays. The comic has also received a number of rave reviews from critics within the industry and outside of it. Fellow comic writer John Layman called it “A fantastic concept, cleverly executed with style and smarts.” Reviewer Jason Kerouac from Panels on Pages said, “Kill Shakespeare not only makes me want to keep reading, it makes me want to read other things, as well.” Shakespearean scholar Kimberly Cox, partner of the comic icon Frank Miller, didn’t love it quite so much. In a quote boldly displayed on the Kill Shakespeare website – Del Col and McCreery subscribe to the old saw that all publicity is good publicity – Cox said: “I am shaking my head. I want to cry. [...] The comic book is seriously so poorly done, so flawed on even the most elementary levels of story-telling….” Not all criticism has been about the content. McCreery admits they have also met artists who don’t like the fact they are working the business angle so hard, and some business people who wonder why they’re wasting their time with comics, or even entertainment. “But most people think it’s great we’re doing something in the arts,” he says. “We’ve had artists who come to us and say they would love to be doing what we’re doing, they just don’t feel comfortable doing it because they don’t have that business background.”

McCreery, defending their few weeks after the launch party, Del Col and McCreery return work against those who to Waterloo to meet fans and sign copies of Kill Shakespeare at the local don’t believe the Bard’s comic shop, Carry-On Comics. Being their usual affable and works should be juxtaextroverted selves, they have no problem busting out funny faces posed against THWUMPS and poses for a local newspaper. They are buddies as much as and THWACKS. business partners, and share wildly false stories about each other’s childhoods, such as the one about how little Conor’s lemonade business led to his father’s untimely demise. Michael Seto, a Laurier media technician and Del Col’s former teacher, attends the local signing and offers up a true story: Del Col taking Laurier’s video production club’s year-end video a step further by “slickly” packaging it and selling enough copies to purchase better equipment for the following year. “Even back then he was extremely resourceful and motivated – he had that entrepreneurial spirit,” Seto says. Del Col and McCreery have used that spirit to make a big splash. They have been nominated for a Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Award for writing. They’ve had interviews on BBC World Service’s The Strand and on CBC Radio’s Q. Director Julie Taymor mentioned Kill Shakespeare on The Colbert Report. Even some Shakespearean scholars are embracing them: the world-renowned Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., invited them to speak this February. In all, more than 40,000 copies of Kill Shakespeare have been sold, with the first three issues selling out completely. Issue #9 was released Feb. 23, and IDW is reissuing a special edition of issue #1. After this 12-issue run is complete, Del Col and McCreery hope to get picked up for another 12-issue series set in the same Shakespearean universe. They’re also exploring options for a smartphone game and action figures, and are in the middle of writing a screenplay. McCreery hints they have new story ideas they’d like to implement if they get the chance. No bites yet, but they say they’ve garnered interest from Hollywood. With their movie script completed by spring, they hope, they’ll make the trip from their Toronto home base to Los Angeles to do what they do best. “The first time we got good reviews, we knew people were getting what we were up to,” says McCreery. “At that point, we were confident that films and video games were going to happen as long as we work hard and make wise decisions.” “It could all blow up tomorrow, of course,” admits Del Col. “But it feels sort of destined.” ❖ LAURIER CAMPUS Spring 2011



HONOUR By Sandra Muir

She’S juST reTIreD AfTer A TrAIlBlAzIng 35-yeAr CAreer In polICIng, BuT rITA WeSTBrook ISn’T exACTly puTTIng up her feeT.


a hazy, humid night in February 2004, Rita Westbrook stepped off a plane in Delhi, India for her first humanitarian trip to vaccinate children against polio. As a seasoned veteran of the Waterloo Region Police Service (WRPS), Westbrook was used to seeing death, poverty and despair up close. But when she walked out of the airport, she wasn’t ready for the sight of children sleeping on the street. “Can you imagine if you or I saw a child sleeping on the street here?” she says, bristling at the memory. “I was so upset.” Westbrook called her husband, John, as soon as she got to her hotel room, waking him at 3:30 a.m., Ontario time, to talk. When she got home two weeks later, he told her she shouldn’t ever go back. It was just too hard on her. “But I said, ‘Oh no, I’ll go back.’” Westbrook did go back to India with the Rotary Club of Cambridge Sunrise. She’s also vaccinated thousands of children against polio in West Africa, handed out mosquito nets in Tanzania as part of an anti-malaria campaign, and helped raise money to build homes and medical centres in the Dominican Republic. As this petite 55-year-old readily admits, it hasn’t been easy seeing the poverty and heartbreak. But Westbrook is used to overcoming challenges. As one of the first six women hired as a police officer in the WRPS, she had to learn how to navigate a male-dominated profession without the help of mentors or female role models. She succeeded. When she retired from the police service after 35 years on the job, in May 2010, she was



a highly respected superintendent, overseeing investigative services for the entire region. She was junior only to the chief and two deputies, and was the only woman from the original six left on the force. Nothing can stop Westbrook from doing what she believes is right, whether that’s giving back to her local community or helping people on the other side of the world. Instead of seeing challenges, she sees opportunities to work harder or do things differently. And if she occasionally wears her heart on her sleeve, that’s okay, too. “Rita is an emotional person,” says Larry Gravill, who was chief of the WRPS from 1992-2007. “She’s also very much a team player. She showed leadership qualities from very early on in her career.”


he bright-eyed, energetic Westbrook couldn’t wait to become a police officer. At 19, she was two years away from being old enough to qualify as a cop in Hamilton, where she grew up. That didn’t stop her. She fudged her birth date on the application and got an interview. “They said, ‘We’d love to have you start in six months.’ And I thought, okay, in six months I still won’t be 21, so I told them,” says Westbrook. “The inspector was not pleased with me. And I said, ‘I’m sorry, but I just wanted to talk to somebody.’” Impressed by her gumption, they overlooked the fib about her age and invited her to come back in two years time. But Westbrook didn’t want to wait that long, and as it turned out she didn’t have to. Shortly after her Hamilton interview, her father saw an ad in

FeAtUre story


The Globe and Mail for police officers in the Region of Waterloo, and showed it to her. “I remember the ad. It said policemen and policewomen. It didn’t say police officers. It said men and women,” says Westbrook. “And I said, ‘great.’” She took off down Highway 8 to a city she had never been to before, stopping a police officer in downtown Kitchener to ask where the station was. In March 1975, she and five other women became the first female officers sworn in on the force. It was the beginning of a stellar career, but there would be significant challenges. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, some of the male officers didn’t like having women around and would tell them they had bets on how long they would last. They left Playboy magazine centerfolds open in the lunchroom. Then there was the officer who liked to grab Westbrook’s behind in the locker room. “I went to the sergeant and he said, ‘Oh Rita, you’re a woman in this job. What do you expect?’ So I thought, okay, I’m on my own here.” As more women joined the force over the coming years, and more suffered the same treatment, they eventually banded together and pushed for change. That led to the creation of new internal policies banning discriminatory or abusive behaviour. “It was a gradual process. It was evolutionary, not revolutionary,” said Westbrook. “Collectively we changed the organization and we changed the laws.”


t’s a Thursday afternoon in January, and Westbrook is in a coffee shop in Cambridge, Ontario, for an interview with Laurier Campus. But before sitting down she finds a few minutes for an informal chat with pair of officers who have recently been promoted to the rank of staff sergeant. Open, encouraging and ready to listen – that is Westbrook, both on and off duty. But it took her a long time to develop her approach, she says. During her early years on the force, she tried to imitate the forceful policing style of her male colleagues, but it didn’t work. Her then-staff sergeant – and current husband of nearly three decades – gave her some advice. “John would say to me, ‘Use what you have to your advantage. Do not try to do something that isn’t you.’” One day, Westbrook responded to a call for back-up from a young officer with an arrest warrant for a powerfully built male suspect. The other officer didn’t think she was big enough to help bring the man in, but Westbrook recognized the name on the warrant and thought she could handle it. “So I knocked on the door, and the man opens it and says, ‘Hey Rita. Come on in.’ And the officer is just looking at me like – what just happened here?” Westbrook was calm. She listened to what the suspect had to say and then explained that she still needed to take him in because of the warrant. “And he said, ‘I know, Rita. You’re just doing your job.’” He asked her if she could be discrete about cuffing him, so the neighbours wouldn’t see, and soon after he walked out to the police cruiser and got in. “It was labelled ‘tactical communications,’” Westbrook notes. “We figured it out all by ourselves.”



In March 1975, Westbrook and five other women were sworn in. It was the beginning of a stellar career, but there would be significant challenges.

LAURIER ON PATROL There are more than 70 laurier grads helping to keep communities across Canada safe. This includes Chief of the Waterloo regional police Service (WrpS) Matt Torigian, halton regional police Chief gary Crowell, london’s Chief of police Brad Duncan and Chief of police for Wellington County opp Scott Smith. retired WrpS Chief larry gravill is also a laurier grad. you may see some of these alumni around campus as well: WrpS Staff Sergeant Tom Berczi is the president of the Wilfrid laurier university Alumni Association, which is dedicated to engaging alumni in the affairs of the institution. And Adam parsons is a special constable at the university. Before coming back to laurier, parsons was a special constable at the legislative Assembly of ontario.

Tactical communications was one of the terms Westbrook learned as a student at Laurier. In 1980, after five years on the force, she decided to attend the university part-time to get her sociology degree. “I was getting into that routine way of taking calls, and doing things and dealing with people,” Westbrook says. “I wanted to expand my thinking.” She found it exciting to learn the theoretical ideas behind tactics she had already put into practice. Professors, for their part, were intrigued by her profession and impressed that she could often provide insights that drew on her experience in police work. During one class there was a discussion about embalming. Other students thought the practice was unnatural, but Westbrook had a different take. During the break, Westbrook asked the professor if she could offer students a different point of view. “Trust me, you don’t want to see somebody when they are dead,” she said. “Whether it’s by suicide, or car accident, or natural death, or younger or older. “So I explained to them what I do. And explained my take on it to students,” she said. “I brought in a viewpoint that nobody else would have.”


estbrook’s intelligence, curiosity and empathy would serve her well in the coming years, and she rose steadily through the ranks, but the challenges of being a pioneering woman on the force continued even as she moved into more senior roles. In 1988, she was transferred to Investigative Services as coordinator of the Crime Stoppers program. After a few months on the job, her manager asked her if she’d like to go to a staff meeting where they were discussing current investigations. She was of an equal rank to the other officers at the meeting and deserved a place at the table, he said. But when the superintendent arrived at the meeting, he looked around and stopped on Westbrook. “What are you doing here?” he asked. “The staff sergeant asked me to come,” she remembers stammering. “Why? Do you have something to contribute?” “Well, I don’t really know,” she said. “I’m not really sure what you would like from me.” “You have nothing to contribute, so you can go.” Westbrook says some of the male officers in the room had their heads down as she got up and left. But that wasn’t the end of the story. In the years that followed, she continued to prove herself and to take on more responsibility. In 2001, Westbrook was promoted to superintendent, and six years later, she was put in charge of Investigative Services – the same position that the man who had thrown her out of that meeting had held. One day, one of the staff sergeants asked her if he could invite a female sergeant in Crime Stoppers to sit in on a meeting. “And I just looked at him and I didn’t hesitate. I said, ‘Absolutely she can come.’ And it all came back to me.

She still finds it difficult to keep her emotions in check when describing life in the poorest shantytowns. “When she got there, I made a point of saying, ‘Welcome to our meeting. I hope you enjoy it.’” Larry Gravill, the former WRPS chief, says female officers in the 1970s and ‘80s had to work twice as hard as their male counterparts to get the same recognition. He says that Westbrook had a big positive impact for women on the force, and that she “inspired women and showed them this was entirely possible.”


n late January of this year Westbrook headed to the Dominican Republic as a volunteer with a local group called the Dominican Service Projects. She helped out at a school and medical centre, and delivered care packages to patients. The group also brought food donations with them, and helped build homes for local families. Westbrook says she’s still figuring out exactly how she’ll be spending her retirement years, although she has no doubt she’ll go on more humanitarian trips. In addition to keeping up her volunteering in the developing world, she’d also like to return to Laurier to pursue a second degree. She’s been going to the Dominican for several years now, but still finds it difficult to keep her emotions in check when describing life in the poorest shantytowns. She is equally sensitive when talking about the children she has given the polio vaccine to in India and West Africa. The serum that protects against this highly contagious and potentially fatal illness is administered orally with two drops on the tongue. “The little ones will open their mouths,” she says. “They remind me of little sparrows waiting to get food from their mothers.” Westbrook’s humanitarian efforts don’t end when she lands back in Canada. She is always fundraising – asking her family to donate to her Dominican initiatives rather than give her birthday presents – and talking to as many people as she can about her experiences. She also recruits family members. On her most recent trip to the Dominican, Westbrook brought along her 24-year-old step-granddaughter, who just graduated from Laurier. But she doesn’t think she’ll ever be able to convince her husband to go. “He won’t admit it, but he has a real soft spot for children,” she says. “And if he saw little girls in their malnourished condition…” The reality of life in these cities, towns and villages can be stark, but Westbrook is proud of being able to hand-deliver donations to the Dominican, or administer life-saving drops of vaccine on a child’s tongue. She is determined to continue. “I figure if I stop caring, I stop going. That is the key.” ❖ LAURIER CAMPUS Spring 2011


The ride of his life John Trus was a seasoned mountain biker, but could he hack it in the Peruvian Andes?

I was surfing on a wave of loose sand down the side of a

downhill? Having nearly convinced myself I’d be okay, mountain in the Andes of Peru. Plunging down a narrow ledge there was only one way to find out for certain. So with and gear packed up, I on the edge of certain death, dodging razor-sharp boulders, one bike boarded a plane. The itinerary had us thought dominated – what the heck have I gotten myself into? operating from hotels in three locations – Lima, Cusco and Ollantaytambo – with connecting flights and shuttles The landscape around me was vast and stunning, in between. Each day our group of 10 riders piled into but my thoughts were not on the scenery. Instead, I a van with bikes strapped on top for transport to a was focused on the sketchy downhill run in front of new starting location. me, dropping a precipitous 8,000 feet over a mere 10 Driving into the mountains on our first full day of kilometres. With the acrid stench of burning brakes riding with Lima at our backs, we passed through in my nostrils, a white-knuckled grip on the bars and neighbourhoods of makeshift dwellings – a stark brief flashes of fear washing over me, it suddenly hit: view into local economic challenges – as the landscape I was mountain biking in Peru – and loving it. became increasingly desolate. The last hour of our I’d booked my trip through a Canadian mountain drive took us through a rocky moonscape surrounded bike adventure company that promised challenging by endless mountain peaks. riding, astounding landscapes and unique cultural After unloading at our dusty, sun-bleached launch experiences in high-mountain regions far off the point, we quietly made final preparations – smearing beaten tourist track. on sunscreen, filling water bottles, adjusting gear and Such trips are rated on a self-assessed scale keeping busy to control pent-up energy. measuring required ability levels to join. This one Mounting our bikes, we ground our way up a short demanded seven out of nine for technical prowess rocky incline and then, one by one, set off. and four out of five for fitness – and it was the This ride began without any defined trail as technical requirement that made me nervous. we swooped through giant furrows in the barren Granted, I’d been mountain-bike riding and racing landscape and blasted down dry creek beds for some years, including adventures in the Rockies carved out of hardened earth born of ancient and throughout Ontario. mudslides. We ground up narrow, muddy trails But Peru was stepping up to another level. Could cut into terraces down the side of the mountain, I ride exposed ledges and manage the technical




only to shoot back down the steep drop-offs on the back side. Covering 30 kilometres that day, we crossed through several climate zones and gained our first look at the varied topography of this huge country. We also encountered our first Incan ruin. Known as Pampa de Flores, it was an eerie and haunting area of fallen walls and loose stones. It was my first exposure to such a place, and I was struck by the air of desolation and loneliness I felt there.

Our lead guide

for the trip was a legendary Peruvian mountain-bike racer by the name of Wayo Stein. A former national downhill champion who continues to compete at a high level, he handled his bike like he was born on it. And everywhere we went someone seemed to know him and would offer a wave or engage him in idle chat. Tall and wiry with an easy smile, he was a fantastic guide – introducing us to obscure routes, ensuring our safety, and schooling us on the local culture and history with expert knowledge and quiet pride in his country. Wayo displayed a knack for managing a dynamic group of strangers – assisting the swaggering Toronto urbanite, engaging the talkative and eccentric New Yorker or helping me, the guy who miscued and



brought a cross-country racing bike to the backcountry of Peru. Early on, one of my riding mates commented on my bike. “It’s like bringing a knife to a gunfight,” he said with a laugh. At that point I truly understood it wasn’t the right bike for the terrain ahead, but figured if I survived intact it would make me a much better rider. And so it was that our memorable day three began cold and cloudy in the wee hours, as we wound our way up potholed roads that spiralled along the mountain’s lip, minus any protection from long drops down the steep face. After almost five hours of driving, we broke through the clouds into sunshine at the day’s start point, near a small village perched at an altitude of 11,500 feet. After an initial hour of carving across open landscape, we descended to a colourful village called Domingo de los Olleros where we enjoyed a unique encounter. Visiting a tiny elementary school with only a few classrooms, we passed out simple pencils as gifts for the children, who regarded us with smiling curiosity and excitement – it was obvious that gringos did not often come to this tucked-away slice of Peru. Leaving Olleros, we descended 8,000 feet faster than I thought possible barring a direct plunge over the edge. With each turn, I gained confidence in handling the terrain and speed of riding while fears for my

After an initial hour of awesome high-mountain riding, we descended to a colourful village called Domingo de los Olleros, where we enjoyed a immediate safety were fading. On these extreme downhill sections, I cautiously took up position near the back of the pack, but didn’t crash or hold up the crew so was guardedly proud. Still, I was relieved when we disgorged from that twisting descent into a cavernous dry riverbed at 3,000 feet. From there we finished the remaining 30 kilometres of the ride through slaloming and varied terrain as we made our final descent right down to the ocean. The salty Pacific air enveloped me as we completed the day’s ride – a 51-kilometre epic – with a walk into the cold, thundering surf.

Cusco, with a population of about 360,000,

was once the capital of the Incan civilization. It was only after the Spanish conquest of the 1500s that the capital of what became Peru was moved to Lima. Walking around the city after flying in on our fourth day, I felt the antiquity of the place and the complexity of its history, despite the tourists ambling about. I was grateful for our having acclimatized through the first days of riding, because at an altitude of 11,000 feet Cusco itself is already situated thousands of feet higher than the peaks of Whistler/ Blackcomb. And our plans were to climb much higher yet in the days ahead.

unique encounter.

Meals in Lima – tacu tacu, fresh fish, and cebiches – had been excellent. But our first lunch in Cusco, at a quirky little place called Victor Victoria, was the best meal of the trip. It was so good that we returned for dinner that night, including an unforgettable quinoa soup. My first attempt at alpaca meat, however, suggested that it would be my last. After lunch, we re-assembled our bikes in the courtyard of our spartan hotel, then embarked on a grinding climb out of the city to a site called Saqsaywaman. I welcomed the pain of that half hour ascent in this thin air, silently thankful for my light bike and good conditioning. We rode on through a fragrant eucalyptus forest and down through craggy terrain that took us past more Incan ruins. I’d joined this trip partly to improve my skills and push my limits and the end of this day forced me to conquer a lingering fear. To get back down into the city from a ledge high above, we would descend hundreds of rough stone stairs. Developing the right cadence and speed would have you riding it like a champ. Otherwise, you’d launch over the bars and be hoping for a hospital nearby. Watched by locals lining the route and chased by the occasional mangy dog, we blasted our way



What’s in a name? 1911-1924 Waterloo Lutheran Seminary

1924-1960 Waterloo College

1960-1973 Waterloo Lutheran University

1973-today Wilfrid Laurier University

For Wilfrid Laurier University, it’s a 100-year-old legacy of inspiring lives of leadership and purpose. In 100 years from now, what will your legacy be? Help Laurier ignite the minds, spirits and hearts of our communities for another 100 years by leaving a charitable bequest in your will today. To find out how, please contact Cec Joyal, Development Officer, Individual & Legacy Giving at or 519.884.0710 ext 3864.

FeAtUre story down flight after flight, passing through cobblestone laneways until the final steep descent into the city square. High fiving with my riding mates, I couldn’t stop smiling.

…it was time to hop

On day seven of the trip we took a break

– slightly battered,

from our bikes for an obligatory full-day trip to the popular tourist destination of Machu Picchu. Over the previous few days, we had continued to hammer out incredible rides and immerse ourselves further in the culture of rural Peru. One lung-busting day of climbing was aided by an ancient Incan trick to oxygenate the blood – chewing coca leaves folded around a sticky black paste procured in the local market. Another day’s ride took us through the Sacred Valley, a lush alpine oasis of subsistence farms and beautiful landscapes cupped by high peaks. The Sacred Valley was the namesake of the company guiding this trip: Sacred Rides. Some years back Wayo had invited the company’s founder to Peru to plan out the itinerary, and their ride through the valley was so inspiring it eventually begat the new company name. Certainly, Machu Picchu – a grand and mysterious feat of ancient engineering – offered inspiration of its own. But the throngs of tourists, western style restaurants, and commercial focus of the place were jarring after our days riding in unspoiled wilderness. While there we wandered the ruins and hiked to peaks high above that ancient city, but I was pining for more backcountry riding.

the red-eye back home immensely satisfied, and reflecting on my adventure. It was messy and fun, and we were gratified to offer our small gift of labour to these people who offered us their hospitality during our visit. Before leaving, we proudly carved our initials in the wall, hoping they would remain for years to come. And we browsed colourful traditional fabrics dyed and woven by the local women, finally finishing the day with a long, cruising descent on our bikes, the remnants of rough mud still on our hands.

After one more

day of wide open downhill riding and crisscrossing through cavernous valleys, it was time to hop the red-eye back home – slightly battered, immensely satisfied, and reflecting on my adventure. Having grown up in rural Sault Ste. Marie, which due to my happiness at is situated on the Canadian Shield and dominated being back on the bike, the best day of the trip for me by bush and lakes, my love for playing in nature was the eighth. Beginning at a frigid 14,600 feet, we began early. Today at the age of 43, I try to balance my were to drop through the Patacancha Valley, a terrain business obligations with that continued need to be largely unexplored by outsiders but a special route outside playing. Wayo knew well. When I returned home after the trip, many people Near our peak elevation, we encountered a asked me whether the experience had ruined me for gathering of local women who would congregate riding less epic terrain. But my perspective is slightly weekly to sell their vegetables. Here on the rooftop of different. It was a joy and privilege to ride the glorious the Americas, with barely a man-made structure for Andean ranges of Peru for nine days while sharpening miles around, these women appeared to materialize my mountain-biking skills, learning some of the from nowhere, later melting back into the landscape. culture and rolling with great riders. The riding that day offered the perfect mix of single Yet I remain enthralled with riding anywhere, track, flowing descents, challenging technical sections including my favorite trails around the Niagara and harsh climbs. But the highlight was a stop in Escarpment just a short distance from my home in the Quechan-speaking village of Patacancha, for a Oakville, Ontario. Each trail is an adventure and planned visit during which we would donate some challenge unto itself and I wring pleasure from them labour through a local NGO. all. As we entered the village, local children swarmed Astride my bike on any trail, those are my calmest us for rides on our bikes, and we happily pushed moments in life. ❖ them about. But our job for the afternoon was to seal the exterior of a round mud-brick building. Some An active member of the Laurier alumni community, John of us used our bare feet to mix up a mud and grass Trus (BA, ’90) is principal at Canadian Sales Resources, a concoction, while others smeared and smoothed down contract sales outsourcing company, and currently director the walls with this natural mortar. with a Canadian east-coast software company.

Perhaps in part



FOre a good cause The annual Laurier golf Classic gives alumni a swing at giving back


he Brantford Golf and Country Club, with its winding fairways and beautiful setting on the Grand River, is usually a slice of golfing paradise that only members and their guests can enjoy. But for one day each spring, members of the Laurier alumni community have the opportunity to play here, when the club opens its doors to the Laurier Golf Classic. Founded in 1997, the tournament has raised more than $785,000 for scholarships and student-athlete funds over the years. And for 2011, the organizing committee has set a fundraising goal linked to the university’s centennial celebrations: it’s aiming to raise $100,000. “The driver of the tournament is to make a difference and have some fun,” says Randy McGlynn, a Laurier alumnus who plays in the tournament every year and also sits on the event’s organizing committee. “It’s a way to give back and support the student experience.” The course itself is a big part of the tournament’s charm. The fourth-oldest in North America, it was designed by legendary golf architect Stanley Thompson and opened in 1879. It’s ranked 29th in Canada by Score magazine, and features Thompson’s trademark tight fairways – posing a tough challenge for even seasoned golfers.



“It’s just a good old-fashioned course,” says alumnus and organizing committee-member Sonny Kumpf. “There are a lot of trees, and the narrow fairways make it tough.” The Laurier tournament is played in a format known as two-ball low gross, in which each participant plays his or her own ball from tee to green and the group’s best two scores for the hole are recorded. “When you’re playing at a great course like this one, especially one that you can’t play every day if you’re not a member, you want to know your true score,” notes McGlynn. Funds raised go to three Laurier causes. The Golden Hawk Scholarship fund provides athletic scholarships for all of the university’s 22 OUA and CIS sanctioned teams. The Student Horizon Fund provides financial assistance to students pursuing activities outside the classroom that enhance their educational experience, like competitions, international events or conferences. And the Robert G. Rosehart Athletic Scholarship, named after the former Laurier president, is given annually to an outstanding student athlete. Danielle Inglis, a member of the women’s curling team for three years, received support from the tournament during her athletic career at Laurier. With her teammates, she won both provincial and national titles and traveled to China to compete in the World University Games. “We’re so lucky as a school to have that support,” she says. “It allowed us to focus on our main goal of winning championships.” Inglis says student athletics taught her life skills like time management, teamwork, group dynamics

and communication. A recent graduate, she plans on making full use of those skills as she embarks on a career in public relations. RBC has been a sponsor of the tournament since its early years. “We’re delighted to have this opportunity to support Laurier’s student athletes,” says Frank McAuley, a tournament participant and a regional vice-president at RBC. “The students are present as hosts at each hole, speaking to the golfers and expressing their gratitude for the support. You see the quality of individual that Laurier is able to attract, and it’s very impressive.” With 128 slots, the tournament has sold out almost every year it’s been played, and the organizing committee is optimistic that the $100,000 goal is within reach this time out. Plans for the 2011 tournament include a number of special centennialthemed components in addition to the usual golfing activities. The tournament still has a ways to go before it celebrates its own centennial, but it’s well on its way to becoming an established alumni tradition. “I think that what we deliver is a first-class experience,” says Randy McGlynn. “We like to link that to the experience that students have at Laurier.” ❖

The driver of the tournament is to make a difference and have some fun.

the 2011 Laurier Golf classic May 31, 2011 at the Brantford Golf and country club For more information or to register contact Teresa Smiley at or 519-884-0710 ext. 2266.

Images from the 2010 Laurier Classic. Olympic curling gold medalist John Morris (above left, and facing page) was the tournament’s guest of honour in 2010. Alumni (middle images) reconnect on the course and in the clubhouse. Danielle Inglis (right) thanked attendees on behalf of Laurier student athletes.





Martin Chartrand, user

As a volunteer with the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) West chapter of the WLU Alumni Association (WLUAA), Martin’s connection to Laurier means a lot to him. This is why he carries a BMO Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association MasterCard® – a GradVantage service from WLUAA. A WLU graduate in History and Political Science, Martin was actively involved in student leadership as a Laurier Ambassador, a dispatcher for WLU Security, a director for the WLU Students’ Union Board, and a member of the Laurier Student Alumni Association. The skills he picked up along the way help him daily in his job as the IT manager of Sports Distributors of Canada, which has over 200 stores across the country. Martin appreciates the advantages of using the BMO Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association MasterCard, which he’s been proudly carrying since 1996. Revenues from GradVantages programs are invested back into alumni services and capital projects, so each time he swipes his card, he knows he’s giving back to his alma mater. The card has no annual fee1, and gives him the choice of collecting AIR MILES®† or receiving CashBack®*. Stay connected and enjoy the benefits of the BMO Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association MasterCard like Martin does. To apply, visit

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE FEATURED in the next edition of Laurier Campus magazine, describing how you benefit from one of Laurier Alumni’s GradVantages programs? Please send your story to For more information about this and other GradVantages programs, visit

1 Award of AIR MILES reward miles or CashBack is made for purchases charged to your account (less refunds) and is subject to the terms and conditions of your BMO MasterCard Cardholder Agreement. ® MasterCard is a registered trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated. ®† Trademarks of AIR MILES International Trading B.V. Used under license by LoyaltyOne, Inc. and Bank of Montreal. ® * Registered trade-mark of Bank of Montreal.

w urie ra lumni.c a

V I S I T W W W. L A U R I E R A L U M N I . C A / G R A D V A N T A G E S

KeePinGin touch

Mr. Laurier

retires By Sandra Muir

It’s been 40 years since Mike Belanger first stepped onto campus as a first-year geography student. Some of his friends still affectionately call him “Bones,” a nickname he earned back then for being so tall and skinny. The retiring director of residential services is also known to many as “Mr. Laurier” for the various staff and volunteer roles he’s played on campus. “He’s been here forever. He’s touched every part of Laurier,” says Chris Dodd (’92), a friend and the university’s director, residence. “He is Mr. Laurier.” As a student, Belanger wanted to get a master’s degree. But after finishing up his undergrad he decided to pay off his student debt first and got a job managing the Turret. That’s where he met Leah, who worked in the games room. The two married in 1980. That same year – while he was helping to launch the original Wilf’s – the director of housing position opened up. It was a door to a new career path, and an opportunity for Belanger to fully showcase the leadership skills that former dean of students Fred Nichols recognized in him. “I kind of watched him grow from when he first enrolled here. I saw leadership qualities in him right away,” said Nichols, who hired Belanger. The opportunity to showcase those leadership skills came early on when Belanger decided to revamp the don system. Back then, don camps were held the weekend before students arrived at the residences. The majority of the time was spent socializing, with a few hours

of instruction on first aid and what to do when kids stepped out of line. “We thought, why don’t we try teaching students not to do things, rather than waiting for them to do something wrong,” said Belanger. Today, dons arrive almost 12 days before students to undergo a 10-day training program. The program still includes team building, but also incorporates instruction on how to help students participate in the more positive aspects of residence life. Belanger also played a key role in physical changes to residence life, helping develop plance for the Bricker Residence. The apartment-style residence – the first on a Canadian university campus – opened to wide acclaim in 1991. There have also been challenges. Enrolment has outpaced housing space. Parents often call with day-to-day issues. And then there are the devastating tragedies Belanger has had to deal with. “I remember getting a call in the middle of the night in 1986. A young fellow had collapsed in one of our residences. So I got up and got dressed and

went down to the hospital in time to the meet the don who was there. The doctor came out and said, ‘he didn’t make it.’ “And then the doctor said ‘I’ve got another critical emergency that I’ve got to go to. Could you stay here and meet the parents?’ My gosh.” Belanger’s ability to deal with any challenge has made him a sought-after member of the Laurier community – and he has been a willing participant. He volunteered on several committees over the years, many of them for athletics, and was Laurier’s golf coach for almost 25 years. He helped implement the Laurier One Card, was a head negotiator for staff, and served as acting director of Information Services. Going forward, his ties to the university will also include a $1,000 bursary in his name co-founded by Chris Dodd and Rob Hums (’92). The Mike Belanger Residence Life Award was created to provide financial support for future student members of the Residence Life team who improve the Laurier student experience and demonstrate financial need. As he heads into retirement, Belanger is looking forward to some down time. But it’s likely that Laurier will still play a big part in his life. “Most of the activities and events and things that we do as a family are with Laurier people, or at Laurier events or Laurier activities. In many ways, they are more of a family than anything else.”



KeePinG in touch

A p p l i c a t i o n


f o r

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 between 22-25 elected directors. The directors hold office for a period of two years and take office on September 1, 2011. The Board of Directors is comprised of volunteers from various years of graduation and faculties that demographically represent WLU's over 75,000 alumni. The Alumni Association looks for people who are willing to devote 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 applications is Friday, April 22, 2011 at 5 p.m.

Submit your application online at:

We thank all applicants, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

Where in the world are you? Keeping in Touch is a great way to let your fellow alumni know what is happening in your life, from family news, to career changes, travels and personal milestones. Sending us an update makes connecting with your classmates easy. Here’s A sAMPLe: John Doe (BBA ’95) has joined Toronto law firm Smith & Smith, where he practices commercial law. John and his wife, Michelle (Brown) Doe (BA ’96), live in Mississauga with their two boys, Sam, 3, and Michael, 5. Your Keeping in Touch submission can run in length from one line to a paragraph. Feel free to share your favourite Laurier memories! We also encourage photographs (if submitted electronically, they should be 300 dpi). If possible, please include your student number with your entry.

send YoUr UPdAte via web: via email: via fax: (519) 747-2106 via phone: (519) 884-0710 ext. 3176 via mail: Sandy Krall, Alumni Hall, Wilfrid Laurier University 75 University Ave., W. Waterloo, ON N2L3C5



Don’t forget to update your profile online for a chance to win a $500 Homecoming package! Visit for details.

Ward Kaiser (BA, ‘45) is the author of Seeing Through Maps, a book about the power of cartography and the specific messages maps can convey. Already available in North American and British editions, the book has received support from educators, cartographers and social activists. It is currently being translated into Thai, and negotiations have begun for a German edition.

1980s rhonda K. Wade (diploma, Business Administration, 1987, née edwards) has been awarded the professional insurance designation Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) by the American Institute for CPCU. Rhonda is currently an underwriter for Security Mutual Insurance Company in Ithaca, New York. She is also serving as an officer of the Syracuse Chapter of the CPCU Society in the position of secretary. John Kuypers (BBA ‘80) has published his third book, Who’s the Driver Anyway? Making the Shift to a Collaborative Team Culture (Feb 2001, Carwell), for mid-level managers and owners. He enjoyed reconnecting with classmates at the 30th anniversary reunion last fall. John is married with kids, living in Burlington, Ontario. shawn donnelly (BA ‘89) is assistant professor of European Economic Governance at the University of Twente in the Netherlands and has published his second book, The Regimes of European Integration: constructing governance of the single market (Oxford University Press). The book, which has been nominated for the Best Book Prize by the University Association of Contemporary European Studies, focuses on financial market regulation in Europe. Donnelly is now researching and giving a series of invited guest lectures on global financial market regulation in the wake of the crisis and the challenges facing the euro zone, based on an updating of his first book, Reshaping Economic and Monetary Union (Manchester University Press).

2000s rob Wagner (BA ’01) married Melissa Martin (BA ’03) on Dec. 27, 2010. The two met on campus during Melissa’s first year and began dating. The wedding was well attended by Laurier alumni, and there were several alumni in both wedding parties.

KeePinG in touch

Keeping in touch


Congratulations to our recipients AWARDS OF

Mary Shaw (BA ’87) is celebrating the recent release of her 15th children’s book: Brady Brady and the Missed Hatrick. It’s no wonder that the Brady Brady series follows the exploits of a young hockey player – the author is married to former Ottawa Senator Brad Shaw and has three children who all play Canada’s game.

Shaw currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where Brad is assistant coach of the St. Louis Blues. Their son Brady is now 18 years old, and they also have two daughters: Caroline, 10, and Taylore, 20, a student at Queen’s University. The family spends their summers in Ottawa. “We fell in love with the city when Brad played for the Senators,” the author says. “Hockey has brought me and my family to many cities, where we have met many friends and have had some wonderful experiences.” Why did you start the Brady Brady series? I decided to write a children’s book because I was trying to get my son, Brady, to read. His older sister loved to read, but Brady, like most little boys, wasn’t interested. All he was interested in was hockey (now it’s hockey and girls). I decided to write a hockey book for boys like my son, who didn’t want to read about fuzzy bunnies and bears – they wanted to read about something they were crazy about. What do you want children to learn from Brady Brady? I’m hoping my books show kids that hockey is the best sport in the world. Being on a team can teach you life lessons and many friends can be made. More importantly, I wanted to remind parents that hockey is just a game, and to not take it too seriously. What’s the hardest part about writing for children? When your own children grow up (like mine did), it is harder to come up with story ideas. I used to be able to get ideas and dialogue just from sitting in the bleachers at my kid’s hockey games or on the sidelines at their soccer games. What’s the most rewarding part? It’s wonderful when I visit schools and the kids are dressed in their hockey jerseys and are so enthusiastic to tell me about their hockey games. When they are little it doesn’t matter if they win or lose, they just love playing the game. Their enthusiasm is infectious!

DISTINCTION 2011 In recognition of outstanding student achievement, Wilfrid Laurier University’s fourth annual Awards of Distinction dinner and ceremony was held February 3, 2011. More than 200 faculty, staff, students, friends, family and donors gathered to celebrate the most prestigious scholarships available to Laurier students. In all, 38 students were honoured with Awards of Distinction certificates from 25 different awards and scholarships. Wilfrid Laurier University would like to congratulate all of the recipients and is grateful to the generous individuals, families, foundations and corporations who make these Awards of Distinction possible.

100 years inspiring lives of leadership & purpose.



To find out how you can save money through alumni affiliate programs, visit our website:

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Virginia Poly: placed for success Virginia Poly (BA ’95) is the owner of Poly Placements Inc., a recruiting company. The Toronto Star named Poly as one of the top 12 people to watch in 2011. She was also listed on the Profit W100 list of top female entrepreneurs in 2010. I always knew – even in my early twenties – that I would one day start my own business. My parents have owned several companies, so the entrepreneurial model has always been very familiar to me. The first time I was solely responsible for the success or failure of an entrepreneurial venture was at Dimitri’s Place, an eatery in Guelph. My father and I co-owned Dimitri’s, but I was responsible for the day-to-day operations. I did that for three years before selling the restaurant to my brother. I loved that place but it felt like the Internet was changing the world and I wanted to be a part of that. For the next 10 years, I worked in the information technology sector. When I was eight months pregnant with my son I lost my job. That experience made me realize that I never wanted anyone else to be more in control of my career than I was. natalie Gallo (BA ‘10, Brantford) published her final-year journalism project in This Magazine’s January/February 2011 issue. “Missed Conceptions” explores the struggles of Canadian couples with infertility and asks whether fertility treatments should be publicly funded. She also recently worked as an editorial assistant at Holmes Magazine in Toronto. Peter cebo (BBA ’09) travelled to South Korea after graduating. He spent a year there teaching English, and exploring Asia during his breaks. He has now partnered with one of his Korean friends, Eun Ju Lee, on a website that helps people find teaching positions in Korea: christopher Giffin (BMUs ‘06) knew he was always destined for a career in music education. He just didn’t know in what capacity

In 2006, I opened Poly Placements out of my home in Toronto. It actually started a few months earlier than planned. I was still on maternity leave when a former client approached me and said, “Look, I know you’re on mat leave, but I really need some recruiting help ASAP. Could I hire you for a small project at least?” Once I got my feet wet again, it just seemed to snowball. We didn’t start out with a big office, a big staff, or a big fanfare. We started out just trying to do recruiting better than it had been done before, and the organic growth soon followed. We believe that when clients, candidates and employees are happy, the bottom line naturally follows. I credit my success partly to my years at Laurier. The university’s relatively small size and close-knit community helped boost my confidence in my late teens and early 20s. It was big enough to offer a great education and great resources, but small enough to make it easy to get involved. So instead of feeling like a tiny cog in a huge, impersonal machine, I felt part of a community. that would be. Upon graduation from Laurier, Chris moved back to Toronto, his hometown, where he completed his B.Ed. in Music at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at U of T. He currently holds a position with the York Region District School Board at Rogers Public School in Newmarket, where he teaches music to all students, grades one through eight. He leads several ensembles, including the Newmarket Enrichment Band made up of nearly 100 students selected from elementary schools across Newmarket. In Chris’s first year of teaching he was nominated for the Premier’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He credits Laurier’s Faculty of Music with encouraging and strengthening his love of music and music education.

Awards and Honours daniel c. Andreae (MsW ’80) was the 2010 recipient of the Ontario Medial of Good Citizenship. The award citation notes Andreae’s leadership role

That’s something we try to do with Poly today. There are plenty of huge recruiting companies out there, but our clients tell us they like working with us because they feel like their relationship with us goes beyond vendor-supplier. You don’t have to be a huge, process-driven organization in order to be successful. It’s important for me to have work/life balance. Entrepreneurs don’t really have off-hours, but I make it a priority to spend time with my husband Peter Sr. and son Peter. I’m also fortunate to have a great team of employees, many of whom were my friends before they joined Poly. So it’s not so much “work vs. life” but “work and life all mixed up together,” which I think is more interesting anyway. in social work, including his leadership of the campaign that led to the creation of a college of social work to regulate the profession. Andreae was awarded the 1992 Governor General’s Medal for his contribution to the Alzheimer Society and the Ontario Association of Social Workers. Heath Applebaum (BA, ’99) won a Gold Quill Award from the International Association of Business Communicators for developing Cadillac Fairview’s dynamic GREEN AT WORK™ communications strategy to encourage sustainability. He is currently manager of corporate communications and media relations at Cadillac Fairview. tim einwechter (BBA, ‘77) was named the 2010 Phoenix private company CFO of the Year award. As Chief Financial officer of Ascent Healthcare Solutions since 1999, he helped grow the company from an early stage startup into a $160 million corporation.



centenniAL update

centenniAL calendar of events Memory, Mediation, Remediation 2011

will serve as a second venue host for empty Bowls in 2011. each ticket includes your

April 28-30

choice of bowl, which will also be used

laurier’s Department of english and film

to enjoy a modest meal of gourmet soups

Studies is hosting a new international

and bread. Two lunch sittings: 11:30 a.m.

conference on memory in literature and film.

and 12:45 p.m. Tickets are $40 and will be

nearly 100 scholars from thirteen countries

available beginning April 1 by contacting

will present papers on such topics as memory

and witnessing, memory and trauma, and forms of memorialization. Cost to attend the conference is $140 for all three days, or

Third International Music Therapy Research Conference

$50 per day. for more information, contact

May 25-28

eleanor Ty at

This conference will explore past and present research on clinical improvisation

Celebrating 100 years of communityuniversity partnerships

and create a community of innovation and collaboration. highlights of the conference

May 5

will include a concert of paul nordoff

This evening gala will connect donors,

compositions, and an Inauguration of the

alumni, and faculty members with laurier’s

Music Therapy Improvisation Collective. for

many community partners to recognize their

more information, please contact hahonen@

contributions to laurier’s success. The event

will run from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the Senate and Board Chamber. Invitation only.

Empty Bowls

24th Academic Council on the United Nations Systems (ACUNS) Annual Meeting June 2-4

May 19

This event brings together scholars

In the spirit of giving back, the

You’re probably wondering: “What the heck is a drabble?” Well, a drabble is a fiction story that is exactly – exactly! – 100 words long. And to celebrate laurier’s 100th anniversary, we want you to write one. The 100 Words Drabble Contest has great prizes, including a kobo e-reader, Chapters gift certificates and the opportunity to become a published writer. each submission must explore one of the following topics: “inspiration,” “purpose” or “leadership.” remember, however: drabbles are fiction, so have fun. for full contest details, visit lAurIer100. ca/drabble. If you’re wondering how long 100 words is, count the words in this article!

robert langen Art gallery,

and practitioners looking at the un,

in collaboration with the

international organizations and global

Waterloo potters’ Workshop,

governance. See for details.

Laurier to get its own commemorative envelope from Canada Post In celebration of laurier’s centennial, Canada post will issue a special commemorative envelope, to be released in june in conjunction with Spring Convocation. erin Steed of laurier’s Communications, public Affairs and Marketing team is designing the envelope, which will be available as a collector’s piece immediately following its launch.

Visit for more information about these events as well as contest information, a historical timeline and much more!

Laurier alumni hold centennial reunion in Hong Kong In late 2010 a group of laurier alumni held a small reunion in hong kong to mark the university’s centennial. peter kuo, who was the first president of laurier’s Chinese Student Association, says the attendees enjoyed a long session of reminiscing about their “joyful” laurier days. he expressed his special appreciation to those who travelled long distances to celebrate with the group. Back row, left to right: laykhuan Soh ‘85 (Singapore), Davies lee ‘84 (Malaysia), Maurice kwong ‘85 (hong kong), Ivania Wong ‘87 (hong kong); front row, left to right: hendrik utama ‘85 (Indonesia), peter kuo ‘83 (hong kong), Sai Tak Chu ‘84 (Canada).



cALendAr of events

MArK YoUr cALendAr For a complete list of events, tickets or more information, visit Pagoda Pads: Opium Den

Toronto FC Game

To April 9, 2011

A Toronto Chapter favourite - don’t miss

Artist karen Tam’s site-

the chance to cheer on the Toronto fC with

specific installation uses

fellow laurier Alumni!

May 28th, 2011

a combination of artificial and authentic borrowed objects to examine how Chinese

Golf Classic

stereotypes such as Dragon ladies, geisha

May 31, 20

girls and drug-addicted Asian men continue

join fellow alumni at the

to be perpetuated in Western society.

Brantford golf and Country Club for the 14th annual

Dallas Alumni Reception

golf classic. proceeds will go

April 14, 2011

to the Student horizon fund and the golden

join Dean of Students emeritus fred nichols

hawk Scholarship fund.

and fellow alumni for a reception in Dallas, Texas. hors D’oeuvres and drinks included.

Niagara Wine Tour June 18th, 2011

Vancouver Alumni Reception

Calling all members of the Class of 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1971, 1961

celebrate Laurier’s centennial and your 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th, 40th and 50th reunion!

jump on the bus bound for

April 29, 2011

niagara Wine Country with

As part of the Student recruitment office’s

kitchener-Waterloo Chapter

BC Case Competition, an alumni reception is

members for a relaxing day

We need VoLUnteers to: choose your events, plan the celebration and contact your classmates!

being held at the Dockside restaurant in the

sampling wine at three different wineries.

granville Island hotel.

lunch and dinner included!

Double Degree Program 10 Year Anniversary Gala Event

MBA Information sessions

April 30, 2011

Are you thinking about furthering your

hosted by the Double Degree Club along with

education with an MBA? learn about laurier’s

laurier’s School of Business & economics and

MBA degree and the many flexible program

Waterloo’s faculty of Mathematics. live jazz

options. free information sessions take place

mentioned? We can help! Contact


at the Waterloo and Toronto campuses. Visit for more information

To volunteer or for more information about getting involved, visit

Ongoing Interested in planning a reunion not for details.

Development Day 2011: Learn. Achieve. Succeed. May 6, 2011 featuring robert herjavec, star of the Canadian hit television series Dragons’ Den and its u.S. counterpart Shark Tank.

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 IL E DAT UP for a chance to



Log on to and Get connected!




Up in Smoke The university in 1960 was a thoroughly modern campus, a place of sleek news buildings with its eye on a dynamic future. But stately Old Willison Hall still stood in those days as a reminder of a more tradition-bound era, and sometimes the students who resided there took their cues from the surrounding architecture. The pipe smokers in the photograph look as if they might be members of a tobacco aficionados club, meeting to savour the finest blends while pensively talking over the issues of the day, but no. Evan Bryson, who sent us the photograph, says that the pipe-smoking trend that year was a spontaneous and somewhat random occurrence, not connected to any formal organization or wider fad. One of the guys happened to bring in a pipe one day, the others liked it, and for the next few weeks there were pipes everywhere. It was just one of

those things that sometimes happen in a residence, fondly remembered precisely for their random, fleeting quality. The pipe smoker in the back of the group is John Gillies. The three gentlemen in the front row are, from left, Gary Cox, Dennis Tascona and Jack Korpela. The others are, from left, Findlay Cook, Bill Jarret, Ralph Reichert, Evan Bryson and Colin Campbell. Carl Hanninen took the shot, using an early Polaroid. Bob Henderson – at back, minus pipe – was not an early anti-smoking activist but an upper-year student who wandered out to see what all the fuss was about, although his position next to a fire hose suggests he may have had some safety concerns.

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





When John fell into the boards, here’s what it cost:

John’s provincial health plan paid for none of it. His Alumni Health & Dental Plan paid for most of it.

Discover how the Alumni Health & Dental Plan can help you save on both routine and unexpected health care expenses. Call 1-888-913-6333 for a free personalized information package, or to get more info now visit: Underwritten by:

The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company Expense amounts are for illustrative purposes only.

100 years inspiring lives of leadership and purpose.

At Laurier, we live and walk in the shadows of giants. Yet there are few opportunities to pause and acknowledge the journey of those who came before us. Or to celebrate the fact that we too are casting shadows that will shape the next century of Wilfrid Laurier University. During 2011, we acknowledge and we celebrate. Both what is past and what is to come.

1911-2011 | Wilfrid Laurier University | LAURIER100.CA

Spring 2011 Campus Magazine  

Spring 2011 issue of Wilfrid Laurier University's alumni magazine, Campus.

Spring 2011 Campus Magazine  

Spring 2011 issue of Wilfrid Laurier University's alumni magazine, Campus.