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Capilano University celebrates its 2012 Alumni Awards of Excellence

Seen with Chancellor Peter Ufford (second from right) and Cap U president, Dr. Kris Bulcroft (far right), are Capilano University’s 2012 Alumni Award of Excellence recipients (l-r): Stephen Lytton, Tricia Sibson, Rejean Marois, Erin Millar, Martin Littlejohn, Dr. Andrew Derocher, Shawn Williamson and Bill Thumm.

Erin Millar, Martin Littlejohn, Tricia Sibson, Dr. Andrew Derocher, Stephen Lytton (front), and Shawn Williamson were recipients of a 2012 Alumni Award of Excellence at Capilano University.

Recipients of an Award of Excellence in Empowering Learning at Capilano University’s 2012 Alumni Awards of Excellence are Bill Thumm (left), director of the Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation, and Jazz Studies instructor, Réjean Marois (right), seen here with Cap president, Dr. Kris Bulcroft (centre).

Thursday, May 10, 2012
Contact:  Janis Connolly at 604.990.7968

(NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.) – Nine outstanding recipients were recognized May 9 at Capilano University’s 2012 Alumni Awards of Excellence: World-renowned expert on polar bears, Dr. Andrew Derocher, and social and community activist in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, Stephen Lytton, were recipients of a Distinguished Alumni Award. Tommy’s Restaurant (Tricia Sibson) in North Vancouver and Shawn Williamson, principal of Brightlight Pictures, were recipients of a President’s Service Award. Co-founder and executive director of the Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association, Martin Littlejohn; freelance journalist and author, Erin Millar; and, Cirque du Soleil production manager, Christopher May, were recipients of a One to Watch Award. Longtime Jazz Studies instructor, Réjean Marois, and Bill Thumm, director of the Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation, were recipients of an Award of Excellence in Empowering Learning.



Distinguished Alumni Award:

Dr. Andrew Derocher
A world-renowned expert on polar bears, Dr. Andrew Derocher is also a former chair of the Arctic Institute of North America. With more than 125 published reports to his credit, his work has been instrumental in bringing to light the serious threat of global warming and the importance of habitat conservation. He studied Arts and Sciences at Cap from 1978 to 1979 before acquiring his PhD in Zoology at the University of Alberta.

Stephen Lytton
Born with cerebral palsy, Stephen Lytton has determinedly pursued his dreams while making countless contributions to the arts and public service. He has been associated with Cap as a student, volunteer and community partner board member since 1997, and has taken a variety of courses offered at the university’s partner site, the Carnegie Community Centre. Actively involved in numerous community affairs, Stephen was honoured in 2012 by Governor General of Canada David Johnston.

President’s Service Award:

Tommy’s Restaurant
Tommy’s Restaurant is a North Vancouver establishment that has provided ongoing support to Capilano University’s Access Work Experience programs via placements for students with a wide range of abilities and challenges. Through its enduring and important commitment to Cap’s program, Tommy’s Restaurant has nurtured and helped students gain confidence, self-esteem and the skills necessary to enable success in all of their future endeavours.

Shawn Williamson

As principal of Brightlight Pictures, an independent Vancouver television and film production company, Shawn Williamson has been offering groundbreaking internships to Capilano students since 2008. This hands-on real-world experience has provided numerous burgeoning filmmakers with an invaluable opportunity to immerse themselves in Shawn’s environment of passion and dedication, helping them to transition successfully into the film industry.

One to Watch Awards:

Martin Littlejohn
Co-founder and executive director of the Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association, Martin Littlejohn’s passion for mountain biking has forever changed the nature of the activity. A graduate in 2007 of Cap’s Bachelor of Tourism Management program, he is universally respected for his contribution to community tourism development and to positioning British Columbia as the most diverse mountain biking destination in the world.

Erin Millar
A creative juggernaut, Erin Millar’s passion for journalism led her to co-author The Canadian Campus Companion: Everything You Need to Know about Going to University and College, which was distributed nationwide in 2011. Erin completed her Bachelor of Music degree in 2005 while acting as editor-in-chief of Cap’s student newspaper, The Capilano Courier. She was founding editor of Maclean’s On Campus, and is a widely-published freelance journalist.

Christopher May
Since joining Cirque du Soleil in 2009, Christopher May has earned the distinction of becoming the youngest company manager in Cirque du Soleil history. A 2003 graduate of Cap’s Arts & Entertainment Management program, Christopher started his career as a production coordinator for Burnaby’s Michael J. Fox theatre before becoming production manager for the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts.

Awards of Excellence in Empower Learning:

Réjean Marois
Réjean Marois is a unique and creative powerhouse in Cap’s outstanding Jazz Studies program. His unparalleled enthusiasm, intense musicianship and beautiful arrangements have been instrumental in bringing international recognition to Capilano University. An instructor for almost 25 years, he cares deeply about his students and never wavers in working to advance the university and its reputation. 

Bill Thumm
As director of the Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation, Bill Thumm was the driving force behind the centre becoming a reality. Highly-respected both in the classroom and in the industry, Bill is known to invest himself fully into the people and the responsibilities before him, with many film graduates attesting that he was a fundamental figure in shaping their futures.


Kentucky Derby winner found the right words at Hastings Park Learning Centre

Caption: Mario Gutierrez rode I’ll Have Another to victory at the 2012 Kentucky Derby. (Photograph by: Cecilia G. Felix Photography, Jim Reynolds/HorseRacingBC)

Thursday, May 10, 2012
Contact:  Shelley Kean at 604.983.7596

(NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—Winning jockey at this year’s Kentucky Derby, Mario Gutierrez, had his teachers at the Learning Centre at Vancouver’s Hastings Racecourse jumping for joy when he crossed the finish line in first place.

“I want to thank all my supporters in Vancouver and my friends at Hastings Park,” he gulped between breaths while bouncing towards the winner’s circle atop the race’s fastest horse, I’ll Have Another.

When the 25-year-old jockey first arrived at Hastings Park six years ago, his only language was Spanish. He participated in a Spanglish program at the Hastings Park Learning Centre, which is operated through Capilano University’s Community Development and Outreach department. In the program, Gutierrez honed his English-speaking skills and the rest, as they say, is history.

“There were a few tears and a lot of laughter and clapping,” said John Brooks, one of the learning centre instructors who watched the race that day. “You know how they say that good things happen to good people? Well, Mario is one of those people and we wish him continued success.”

The HPLC got its start in 2000 when the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association contacted Capilano University’s CDO.  They highlighted the need for literacy instruction at Hastings Racecourse, which eventually led to the establishment of the learning centre.

The centre is the pride and preoccupation of Jeannie Spence, a former jockey, current horse owner/ trainer, and a former director of HBPA. Spence has tutored employees for more than 30 years and was recently recognized by ABC Life Literacy Canada with the 2011 Dr. Alan Middleton Workplace Literacy and Learning Award.

Frank Fuentes is another jockey at Hastings Park who has benefitted from the learning centre. Originally from Mexico, Fuentes improved his English as a Second Language skills to better communicate with the owners and trainers about their horse before a race.

The centre also provides racetrack staff an opportunity to access another new on-site learning venture called the Hastings Racecourse Groom School. Groom School is an intensive two-week program that teaches participants how to properly care for and groom thoroughbred horses. Once accredited, a groom can work almost anywhere in North America.

Other courses offered through the learning centre include a Grade 12 equivalency program and a new Adult Basic Education program, plus courses in art, yoga and first-aid. Many students of the centre have gone on to attend university or trade schools. 

In addition to jockeys and grooms, the centre also caters to hot walkers, exercise riders, blacksmiths, various front-side people, such as tellers and hospitality staff, and workers from the Pacific National Exhibition, where the track is located. Their children are also welcome to attend. It is open seven days a week from noon until 10 p.m. More information on Capilano University’s CDO department can be found here.

As for Vancouver’s latest hometown hero, the board of HBPA said on its blog, “We are probably not going to see a lot of Mario on horseback at Hastings again … (but) the light that was shining on him on Derby Day was bright enough to reflect back on this place and those of us still here. It brightened up our corner of the world and we feel better about where we are and ourselves. We are proud of Mario and in many ways we were riding with him.”


Turning development on its head

Tuesday, May 8 2012
Contact: Cam Sylvester at 604.986.1911, local 2463

(NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.) – Youth poverty, gender-based bullying, sustainable energy:  three young Change Makers from Africa will discuss success stories from their own work in Kenya, Uganda and Sierra Leone and how the lessons they’ve learned might apply to the same problems we face here in British Columbia.

Turning development on its head will be held at the North Shore Credit Union Centre for the Performing Arts at Capilano Universtiy on May 14. Refreshments for the free event will be served at 6 p.m., with the keynote and panel discussion running from 7 – 9 p.m. The event, supported by the the Canadian International Development Agency, is open to the general public. The Centre is located in the Birch building at Cap U’s North Vancouver campus located at 2055 Purcell Way.

The keynote speaker will be Evans Wadango, an engineer from Kenya, named one of CNN’s top 10 heroes for 2010, who – along with Ted Turner and Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web – received the inaugural Mikhail Gorbachev “World Changer” award last year.   Wadanago and Daniel Ahimbisibwe from Uganda, and Esther Kanu from Sierra Leone will then join alumni of Capilano University’s Global Stewardship program and other Canadians working in Africa for a panel discussion, followed by Q&A.

(Please Note: Wadongo, Ahimbisibwe, and Kanu are in Canada to serve as mentors for the Global Stewardship Change Pilotz camp to be held in Pemberton from May 10-13. The camp will train high school students in the “business” of running their own projects and social enterprises to support international and local community development. This is to prepare them for the annual Eagles’ Nest event May 17, where teams of high school students pitch their social enterprise ideas to a panel of experts, competing for approximately $6,000 in seed money for their projects.)


TCR celebrates 40 years

TCR’s issue 3.17 celebrates the literary magazine’s 40th anniversary with wide-ranging work – poems, narrative, plays, a novella, a sit-com – by Daphne Marlatt, Steve McCaffery, Garry Thomas Morse, Stan Persky, Sharon Thesen, Fred Wah, and many more, plus Kim Minkus’s interview with Maxine Gadd. The issue also features a visual art portfolio with work by Pierre Coupey, Christos Dikeakos, Liz Magor, Jin-me Yoon, and more. Visit the Capilano University Bookstore to get your copy!

In addition, TCR will be holding a special event and reception at Performance Works on Granville Island on May 16, featuring readings by Steve McCaffery, Maxine Gadd, and Garry Thomas Morse. Plus Carol Sawyer and musical guests. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, available via Tickets Tonight, or $12 at the door.


Capilano University Business instructor new Honorary Consul of the Republic of Paraguay to B.C.

Capilano University Business instructor, Luis Villalba, has been appointed Honorary Consul of the Republic of Paraguay to British Columbia.

Capilano University Business instructor, Luis Villalba, has a new title to add to his name. As of March 29, Luis a resident of Burnaby, is the Right Honourable Luis Villalba after being appointed Honorary Consul of the Republic of Paraguay to British Columbia at a ceremony in Victoria.

Paraguay’s President Fernando Lugo and the minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay issued a presidential decree on February 3 appointing Luis to the prominent post, which is based in Vancouver. The diplomatic credentials were presented to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) by Paraguayan Ambassador to Ottawa, Manuel Shaerer Kanonnikoff.  Those credentials were accepted and then sent to the province of B.C. Luis was accredited by the province in a ceremony on March 29 with Mr. Marc-André Ouellette, director and chief of protocol – Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat, Office of the Premier.

“My main tasks will be to foster commercial, cultural and educational relations between B.C. and Paraguay,” the Right Honourable Luis Villalba said. “I believe that it is worth noting that the appointment was partially made by the fact that Capilano University participated in the Paraguay community-based tourism training program and we had the chance to contribute in a small way to Paraguay’s development.

“I believe that by bringing educational and professional perspectives from different points of the globe, including distant, yet growing countries such as Paraguay that today belongs to the South American common market powerhouse, will benefit our students and our academic community by fostering global citizenship.”

Capilano University grad and young mom on path to success thanks local donors

Recent Cap U Accounting Assistant program grad, Emily Solomon, and her daughter, Milly, are grateful for the support received from the university and the Spectrum Support Group.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Contact: Sally Livingstone at 604.562.553

(NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—Mother’s Day is always a special time for Emily Solomon and her young daughter, Milly. But this year, as Solomon graduates from Capilano University’s Accounting Assistant program, the twosome has even more to celebrate.

Solomon – this year’s winner of both the Spectrum and Soroptomist Awards – told her story at a recent awards breakfast for Capilano University award winners and donors.

It began when she was 16 and pregnant. Unlike her parents, who chose not to finish high school when they found themselves in similar circumstances, Solomon was determined to finish her schooling and, as she related in her speech, “teachers and classmates alike were stunned while I waddled to classes even after my due date.”

By 17, she was breastfeeding in between Math and English; by 18 she had graduated on time – in the top 10 per cent of her class and ready to enter Cap U last fall. Her daughter, Milly, came along to university, too, spending her days at the Capilano Children’s Centre. Along the way, Emily learned how to cope with the demands posed by teen motherhood, and when it was time to ask for help.

“People need to look into things and ask around,” she urged fellow students and awards donors at the Cap U event. “There are kind people out there who genuinely want to help. The greatest obstacle to your success is yourself – you need to ask for the resources.”

One of those resources was the Spectrum Support Group, a charitable organization composed of North Vancouver mothers who mentor young, struggling moms. While Spectrum offers free, professional caregiving that gives the moms a chance to catch up on errands or sleep, Solomon felt she should leave that service to mothers she felt were more in need of it. Instead, she says Spectrum’s greatest gifts were the financial aid that helped her complete her Accounting Assistant certificate, and the inspiration she got from Spectrum’s compassionate philosophy.

“Spectrum was started in order to provide mothers with the support they needed to create more successful families, so that foster care would not come between mothers and their children,” Solomon said in a recent interview. “To me, this speaks of an intense care for others, a devotion to the community, and a will to make the world a better place. This is what I strive for in my own life and when things seem at their worst in life, the example that Spectrum sets makes me optimistic and happy again.”

Solomon’s speech to the award winners and donors was a moving one. After it was finished, she was approached by Jim Belsheim, president and CEO of Neptune Bulk Terminals, who was keen to help her with the next step in her career. Within a week, she was given a practicum placement at Neptune Terminal, which begins in May.

New employment, mothering, and a plan to continue on to her bachelor of Business Administration degree and an eventual Chartered Accountant designation aren’t the only items on her to-do list, though one would think they were enough. Solomon also plans to repay the kindness she has received by becoming one of Spectrum’s volunteer mentors.

“I know how important it is to have a friend and how hard it can be to get things done with a new family in your home,” she said. “The program makes parents feel truly cared about and a little less alone in the world.”

People who are interested in helping young mothers along the path to success are invited to learn more about the Spectrum Support Group and its annual Spectrum Award at Capilano University. Visit www.supportingmothers.ca, or call Sally Livingstone at 604.562.5530.


Capilano University to offer free ESL courses

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

(NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—Capilano University has begun offering English as a Second Language courses at no charge to Canadian citizens. Cap joins 16 other post-secondary institutions in British Columbia that have also started providing free ESL courses.

English as a Second Language (ESL) programs provide language instruction at basic, intermediate and advanced levels to people whose first language is not English.

“We want to make sure all British Columbians have the adult education opportunities they need to find jobs, raise families, participate in their communities and fulfil their dreams,” said Naomi Yamamoto, minister of advanced education.

Under the Canada-B.C. Immigration Agreement, ESL courses are being provided tuition-free to new immigrants, such as permanent residents. As well as ESL in the 17 public post-secondary institutions, this includes WelcomeBC’s English Language Services for Adults (ELSA) program in communities throughout the province.

The province is extending this tuition-free policy to Canadian citizens at public post-secondary institutions, ensuring that they have access to the same opportunities as recent immigrants.

The Ministry of Advanced Education will also continue to provide financial assistance to ESL students with a demonstrated financial need under its Adult Basic Education Student Assistance Program (ABESAP) to help with associated fees, books, transportation, child care and other costs.

For information on ESL services in British Columbia visit www.aved.gov.bc.ca/esl/welcome

To find out about WelcomeBC programs including English Language Services for Adults (ELSA) for new immigrants visit www.welcomebc.ca/wbc/immigration/settle/learn/index.page?WT.svl=LeftNav

To learn more about adult learning programs in British Columbia visit www.aved.gov.bc.ca/adultlearning/welcome