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UBC Publications

UBC Publications

UBC Publications

Trek [2015-03]

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Top forensic dentist David
Sweet, OC, is frequently called
upon to help identify victims and
perpetrators of violent crime.
Citizens lead forensic
investigations in Mexico
ake a look inside the brand new
Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre
The rise and fall of the Old Gym
India's school for the marginalized FEATURE
Joan Rush, LLM'06, is on mission to get timely
and adequate dental treatment for developmental^
disabled adults - starting with her son.
Q: What was your nickname at school?
A: Chili pepper. I was feisty and would always think I was right.
Now I'm nicer and more diplomatic.
A movement that started in
Europe is taking a different
therapeutic approach to the
phenomenon of hearing voices.
Keep your head down
and hold your finish.
The Old Gymnasium and
the early history of women's
athletics at UBC.
In Short
IN MEMORIAM editor's note
When moving to a new office space, it soon
becomes apparent how long you've been at the
old one: a few years translates into a few hours'
worth of sorting, clearing, recycling, dismantling,
packing, and retreating in cowardly fashion from
spiders so large they could star in a B movie.
Those were the scenes this April at Cecil Green Park House, a 1912 mansion
perched on the northern tip of UBC's Vancouver campus where alumni UBC
has been headquartered for the past few decades (walking to meetings
held on the other side of campus requires a map and some sandwiches)
It's architecturally impressive, historically interesting, has a sea view and
is surrounded by idyl lie gardens. You'd think we'd be reluctant to leave
But not if you knew where we were moving to
On the morning of April 20, alumni UBC staff arrived at their new
workspace inside the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre - so new the paint was
still wet. As the building's earliest occupants, we were able to witness the
finishing touches being added to the spacious and inviting public areas,
from paving stones and shrubbery on the outside to hi-tech interactive
screens, display cases for UBC memorabilia, and some stylish lounge
chairs and tables I would steal if I were dishonest (or had a bigger purse)
on the inside. The alumni centre was coming to life - it was like watching
a building being born. And it's your baby. If you want to take a quick peek
at the new arrival on campus, turn to page 14
The Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre opens officially on September 30 to
coincide with the start of UBC's Centennial celebrations. It's significant
that alumni UBC has moved its operations from a former family home
that existed before the first campus building was erected to a new home
built specifically to serve alumni right at the heart of what has become
an expansive, energetic, and highly productive campus
UBC has come a long way in a century, and it's clear alumni are being
counted on to have a hand in shaping the next 100 years
Vanessa Clarke
EDITOR Vanessa Clarke, BA
CONTRIBUTOR Michael Awmack.B/Voi, MET'09
Elizabeth Powell, BSc
ELECTED CHAIR Michael Lee, BSc'86, BA'89, MA'92, LLB
VICE CHAIR Faye Wightman, BSC'8l (Nursing)
TREASURER Ian Warner, BCom'89
MEMBERS AT LARGE [2012-2015]
Blake Hanna, MBA'82
David Climie, BCom'83
Judy Rogers, BRE'71
an Warner, BCom'89
Faye Wightman, BSC'8i (Nursing)
MEMBERS AT LARGE [2013-2016]
Valerie Casselton, BA'77
Michael Lee, BSc'86, BA'89, MA'92, LLB
Gregg Saretsky, BSc'82, MBA'84
MEMBERS AT LARGE [2014-2017]
Robert Bruno, BCom'97
Ross Langford, BCom'89, LLB'89
Barbara Anderson, BSc'78
Barbara Miles, BA, PostGradinEd.
Arvind Gupta, BSc, MSc, PhD
Lindsay Gordon, BA'73, MBA'76
Jeff Todd, BA
Trek magazine (formerly the UBC Alumni Chronicle)
is published two times a year by the UBC Alumni
Association and distributed free of charge to
UBC alumni and friends. Opinions expressed
in the magazine do not necessarily reflect the
views of the Alumni Association or the university.
Address correspondence to:
The Editor, alumni UBC
6163 University Boulevard,
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T1Z1
email to
Letters are published at the editor's discretion
and may be edited for space
Jenna McCann
Address Changes
via email                             a
alumni UBC
toll free
UBC Info Line
Belkin Gallery
Chan Centre
Frederic Wood Theatre
Museum of Anthropology
Volume 71, Numberi | Printed in Canada
by Mitchell Press
Canadian Publications
Mail Agreement #40063528
Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:
Records Department
UBC Development Office
Suite 500 - 5950 University Boulevard
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3
Paper from
responsible sources
FSC8 C011267
"Clients are a bit confused when
they first come in and see it, she said.
"But then they say 'I really missed
that clickety-clack sound.'"
Ninety-five-year-old practising lawyer
Constance Isherwood, LLB'51, LLD'15,
commenting on her clients' reaction to
the typewriter she still uses in preference
to a computer. Isherwood received an
honorary degree from UBC this spring,
(The Canadian Press, May 21)
"My gift supports pillars of excellence in
human rights, and international integrity
and ethics, and my hope is that the law
school will become a beacon for justice,
and the promotion of human rights and
the rule of law around the world."
UBC alumnus Peter Allard, QC, who
has donated $3oM to the Faculty of Law,
(UBC media release, January 22)
"There are many rules that
everyone must follow and you're
constantly in the glare of the
public eye - all rightly so. It takes
experience and education to learn
how to manage those things in
a way that's legal, forthright,
transparent, and gets the
job done."
Former NDP MLA Joy MacPhail
discussing UBC's Summer
Institute for Future Legislators,
aimed at students who are
considering running for politica
office. MacPhail is on the advisory
board for U BC's Centre for the
Study of Democratic Institutions
(The Early Edition, CBC, April 26)
"The chief executive of Hong Kong, Leung
Chun-ying, took the oath of office in Putonghua,
unlike the former chief executives, who did it in
Cantonese. Many people think that his language
choice was a 'kowtow' to Beijing."
Zoe Lam, a UBC grad student researcher, who thinks
the Cantonese language is at risk of disappearing,
mainly as a result of the Chinese government's
promotion of Putonghua (Mandarin). (CBC,
April 29)
"My favorite journalist is a shrieking British
Columbian who dresses like an exploded
1970s Soviet golf catalog. He was born John
Ruskin, but changed his name to Nardwuar
the Human Serviette. ('Serviette' is Canadian
for napkin.)"
Author and TV host David Rees reveres UBC
alumnus Nardwuar in a column for the New York
Times Magazine (March 19, 2015). Nardwuar has
had a regular spot on UBC's radio station, CiTR,
since 1987,
"We always knew Braden
was especially gifted and super
smart, but he's laid back too -
not a Type A or anything. He's
modest about his successes."
Braden Lauer's sister, Megan,
on her brother being chosen as
a participant for CBC's Canada's
Smartest Person. Lauer is a second
year law student at UBC and
went on to win the competition
The runner-up was Johnny
MacRae, UBC alumnus and
spoken word poet. (St. Albert
Gazette, October 4, 2014)
The record-breaking
number of UBC
alumni who engaged
with UBC in some way
over the past year.
Increase in the number
of women registered in
UBC's first-year engineering
undergraduate programs
collided with the windows of
MOA, The Beaty Biodiversity
Museum, and the Barber Centre
respectively over a nine month
period, according to a report
co-authored by environmental
sciences student Carmen Leung.
The Canadian annual average
is five per year. Leung says the
Vancouver campus lies on the
route of many migratory birds.
The  proportion  of glacier
L        ice    in   Alberta    and   BC
that   could   disappear   by
'   the   end   of   the   century,
according  to  UBC  researchers,  who  used
vational   data,   computer  models   and
climate simulations to forecast the fate of
"Oiameter of the primary
lirror in what promises
to be the world's most
powerful telescope. In I
April, UBC celebrated the
Canadian government's
investment of $243-5
million towards this
international Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT)
project.    UBC    astronomy   professor    Paul
Science   Advisory   Committee   and   project
scientist for the adaptive optics syste]
$23.2 mil. 1
to  support 23
federal govern
. Research  Chai:
engineering,   biology   and
represents 11 new chairs, ar
psychology, message from the president
There are very few institutions that can be measured in centuries, but
universities feature prominently among them. Later this year, UBC will be
celebrating the Centennial of its first class in 1915-16. This Centennial year,
running from September 2015 to May 2016, will be all about reaching out
to our communities and inviting them to connect with us.
As connected alumni, you know the importance of keeping in touch with
the university and with each other, wherever you are. There are more than
300,000 alumni in more than 140 countries, and our UBC Linkedln Higher
Ed group already has close to 200,000 alumni and student members
In fact, alumni are UBC's single largest university community. This is
why the launch event for the Centennial will include the official opening
of the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre. This historic event will take place on
September 30,2015 - exactly 100 years since the first class began their
studies at UBC in 1915
If anything symbolizes the distance we have travelled in a relatively short
time it is the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre. This new centre - the first of its
kind in Canada - is a place for connecting, collaborating and lifelong learning.
It is a place that supports innovation, social discourse and the exchange
of knowledge and experience. It is a home and a resource for our alumni
community for life
Our alumni are a community but they are also working in our communities
through a vast spectrum of causes that align with UBC's desire to serve
and improve our society. The your evolution initiative (
highlights around 300 community projects that our alumni are involved in,
right here in BC and as far away as Guatemala, India and Burkina Faso. It is
inspiring to read their stories and to see other alumni joining in. This, to me,
is the very definition of community.
In our community closer to home, the university and the Alma Mater
Society have been deeply involved in the recent transit referendum in BC,
urging students to make their voices heard and help us all plan a sustainable
future for transit here in the Lower Mainland
Our community in the Okanagan - nowio years old! - continues to
demonstrate the truly transformational power that is unleashed when
universities and their communities grow hand in hand
Downtown, at UBC Robson Square, we welcome more than
40,000 community members for adult educational programs, meetings,
conferences and public seminars each year.
And our Learning Exchanges in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside
and in downtown Kelowna are hubs where faculty, staff, alumni, students
and local citizens come together for learning programs tailor-made for
their communities
So when I look back to 1915 at that first community of 379 students
who put their faith in this brand new entity called the University of British
Columbia, I am struck by their courage and their sheer optimism, even
as the Great War raged in Europe
Now, one century later, our university has been transformed by, with and
through our communities and I look forward to celebrating with you in the
Centennial year ahead. D
Calling all UBC alumni! Add your
pin to UBC's Global Impact Map!
Add your pin to UBC's Global Impact Map!
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C watia. and aont die wwld We #wrte ttuim xtudtnti hbH fjetity. tnefldi
#1J WW o* UK is «y * e* to ihe nup. ih*r V** uery. **f in" «on
itout the skitis rath of |hr UBC CfliaWj
a to UBC's Gtaballmpact Map
UBC is developing a Global Impact Map to visually capture
its footprint in British Columbia, Canada, and the rest of
the world. The map will be a highlight of the soon-to-be-
launched UBC Centennial website, which will be your go-to
guide for celebrating a hundred years of UBC: a look at our
past, a taste of our future, and information about all the
celebratory activities.
Alumni, students, faculty, staff, friends and partners of
UBC are all being invited to add a pin to the map to represent
themselves and their UBC connections and activities. UBC's
vast alumni network is made up of more than 300,000 members living
in more than 140 countries. Adding a pin to the map is an opportunity
for you to tell us where you are, share your story, and learn more about
your fellow alumni. What you share is completely up to you. Stake your
UBC claim at
Wesbrook Talks with Victor de Bonis
Vancouver - June 9, 2015
Victor de Bonis, BCom'89, 's COO of Canucks Sports and Entertainment
and Alternate Governor for the NHL. Find out how he got his start and learn
about the challenges he faced and opportunities he seized along the way.
Crosscurrents: The History of Trans-Pacific Migration
Hong Kong - June 12, 2015
Over the last so years, migrations between Hong Kong and Canada
have reshaped societies on both sides of the Pacific. Hear from Professor
Henry Yu, BA'89,as he discusses the effects of these migration patterns.
Computational Thinking for the 21st Century
Mountain View, CA - June 15, 2015
Join UBC president and vice-chancellor Arvind Gupta, UBC dean of Science
Simon Peacock, founding Google investor David Cheriton, and industry
panelists for a look at the promise of computational thinking.
The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in a Modern World
(Milton K. Wong Lecture, featuring Wade Davis, PhD)
Vancouver - June 22,2015
Every culture is a unique answer to a fundamental question: What does
it mean to be human and alive? Wade Davis leads us on a thrilling journey
to celebrate the wisdom of the world's indigenous cultures.
UBC Bound!
Summer 2015
This summer, grads in cities across Asia will introduce incoming students
to the global UBC community at UBC Bound! regional welcome events.
Alumni Reunions
There are many reunions scheduled for the summer months. To find out if
your class is planning one, please see
2015 alumni UBC Achievement Awards
umni represent an
inspiring account of positive social, cultural, and economic change in the
world. This October we will honour some outstanding individuals who,
through their extraordinary activities, have connected the university
with communities both near and far to create positive change.
Tickets available for purchase July 2015.
IUBCI      a place of mind
Now supporting preservation of bird habitats
Werner and Hildegard Hesse were passionate bird watchers and enthusiastic
conservationists. Inspired by the birds they spotted during a road trip through the Cariboo,
the Hesses' journey started with a UBC night course on birds of BC and turned into a
lifetime passion for avian research. The Hesses expressed this passion with a gift in their
wills to UBC, ensuring vital funding for ornithology research.
An estate gift can support research or education in sustainability, science, health care,
business, arts and culture — virtually any field.
To establish your legacy with a gift to UBC call 604.822.5373 or visit ubc reports
Time for an Oil Change?
By Corey Allen
Coconut oil sales are on the rise. Sainsbury's in the United Kingdom reports
coconut oil sales are up 442 per cent over 2013. The popularity of coconut oil
as a multi-purpose oil, used both as a beauty product and for cooking, has it
flying off the shelves. Avocado oil is not too far behind
Gail Hammond, a dietitian and food, nutrition and health lecturer in the
Faculty of Land and Food Systems, discusses the coconut oil craze and why
mixing it up in the kitchen can be a good thing
Why do you think coconut oil has gained popularity among consumers?
There are three things that immediately come to mind: consumers
are becoming more nutrition savvy, recent research has challenged the
longstanding notion that saturated fats are harmful to heart health, and
celebrity endorsements of coconut oil have turned up the heat on using
it for everything from beauty products to cooking.
What are the health benefits of using coconut oil versus other oils?
Despite a prevailing message to reduce our saturated fat intake, we
know that not all saturated fats have the same health effects. The
predominant type of saturated fat found in coconut oil is metabolized
differently than the majority of saturated fat that we otherwise consume
And, even though coconut oil provides people with a ready source of
By Lou Corpuz-Bosshart
Children today may no longer need to learn how to drive when they grow up,
if some of the world's leading automotive and technology companies have
their way.
In the future, if they need to go somewhere, an automated car may pick
them up, drop them off, and park itself - without any human intervention.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers anticipates that by
2040, three out of four cars on the road will be fully autonomous. A recent
report by the Conference Board of Canada points to the imminent arrival of
driverless vehicles, predicting it could save Canadians up to $65 billion a year
due to less traffic congestion and transit time, along with lower fuel costs
and fewer collisions.
UBC professor AnnaLisa Meyboom says getting there will mean working
with a lot of moving parts.
Meyboom is director of TIPSlab, a UBC research group studying transport
infrastructure and public space. She says intelligent policymaking and
technology refinements will be needed to smoothly integrate automated cars
into our urban designs and ensure the most benefits for everyone in society.
energy, the benefits of using it as your primary fat source need to be
weighed out with the need to consume essential fatty acids, which are
not saturated and not found to a great extent in coconut oil. So, if you are
crazed about using coconut oil it is important to also include other types
of oils in your diet.
What makes for the best cooking oil?
think using a variety of oils is the way to go depending on your preferences
and use. Some people prefer a more pronounced flavour such as the fruity
taste of olive oil whereas others favour a lighter taste such ascanola oil. Some
oils are best used unheated, such as using olive oil in salad dressings, while
others are better suited for use in cooking. Oils that have a high smoking point
- that is, the temperature at which they start to smoke in a hot pan and begin
to lose their health benefits - are good choices for cooking. Avocado oil can
be used at a high temperature up to around 520°F/270°C without smoking,
whereas coconut oil is better used at a more moderate temperature up to
about 350°F/175°C
What oils do you use?
use different oils. Typically, I'll use olive or flaxseed oil for making salad
dressings and I tend to use canola oil for cooking purposes
And with the first wave of automated vehicles already being tested, it's time
to start talking about their impact.
In thisQ&A, Meyboom reviews the state of driverless technology and
calls for greater public discussion into how it will change our cities.
When will we see self-driving, aka autonomous, vehicles on our streets?
Let's define what we mean by autonomous vehicles. There are different
levels of autonomy. Level 1 describes a car with simple assist features such
as stability control, brake assist, cruise control, lane centering, or self-parking.
These features are pretty common nowadays.
At the other end you have Level 4, completely self-driving cars that
don't require human intervention at any point. These cars can drive without
anyone inside and can operate in a "return to home" mode.
We are already seeing some autonomous features on vehicles. Tesla says
it plans to release a car next year that can drive itself 90 percent of the time.
Google says its fully autonomous cars will hit the road between 2017 and 2019.
But the specific date is uncertain, and it's because of the social, legal and
policy issues surrounding this new technology.
What are benefits of driverless vehicles?
Self-driving cars can provide all members of society great transportation
options, including the blind, disabled and the elderly. They can significantly
increase productivity by allowing people to work or socialize while being
transported. They can ease traffic congestion, pollution and parking issues.
Plus, automated vehicles will reduce the dangers of drunk driving and can
be much safer than cars driven by people. Similar to aircraft, there will still
be accidents but they will be much less frequent.
What's the impact on public transit?
There could be a huge effect. They could make local buses and urban
light rail obsolete. Private autonomous car sharing services could take over
public transit and taxis. Or public transit organizations could decide to run
autonomous vehicle fleets.
Professor Hasan
Information privacy
at threat by Bill C-51
By David Nixon
Bill C-51, known as the anti-terrorism bill, has drawn
criticism for provisions that many feel are excessive
and open to abuse. One of these provisions allows
government agencies to share information about
Canadians for reasons of national security. In March,
before the bill was passed, associate professor Hasan
Cavusoglu of the Management Information Systems
Division at the UBC Sauder School of Business weighed
in on the privacy risks for Canadians
What is the significance of the new information-sharing
provisions in Bill C-51?
Privacy concerns over Bill C-51 stem from the Security of
Canada Information Sharing Act, which is tucked in Bill C-51
What sorts of issues are you working on at the
Transportation Infrastructure and Public Space lab?
TIPSlab is a collaboration of researchers from
architecture, landscape architecture, business,
planning and engineering, and one of the things
we're looking at is how driverless vehicles will impact
urban form.
For example, much less parking will be required
in congested areas because the car can park remotely
or return home. Demand for retail and office parking
could drop significantly. You could own a car without
needing parking space. Entire families could share
a single car.
It's important to fully understand the impacts
of autonomous cars so all members of society can
benefit from the technology.
It's also important that governments plan for
its implementation in a way that is deliberate and
sensitive to the needs of Canadians.
Will the government allow self-driving cars?
Autonomous drive features are being introduced as
safety features and they're generally supported by
governments. The fully autonomous vehicle will be
a highly contentious issue and there will be significant
lobbying by many stakeholders. Eventually, however,
I think that the technology will be adopted. We will
look back on the days that we drove our own cars
as reckless, similar to the way we look back on the
days that we drove without seat belts and car seats.
The act is portrayed as a means to empower law enforcement agencies to prevent terrorist attacks
by quickly accessing information about potential terrorists from several government agencies
The scope of information-sharing is quite broad; it goes beyond just sharing information about
suspected terrorist activities and threatens Canadians' privacy.
What is the privacy risk involved in sharing information between government agencies?
The vagueness of the scope of the law could potentially lead to surveillance of the public for
any purposes deemed appropriate by the government. This is the major criticism of the law:
the power granted by the new act would result in an unjustified and significant loss of privacy for
Canadians in return for a negligible improvement in the nation's ability to prevent a terrorist attack.
The loss of privacy is excessive
Are these anti-terror provisions warranted?
The government justifies the bill by instilling fear, uncertainty and doubt, which is atactic used
by marketers and politicians to influence people's perceptions by disseminating inaccurate or
false information. There is no question that terrorism is a threat in Canada, like anywhere else
But one has to understand how likely it is. Dying as a result of a car accident is 1,000 times more
likely than dying as a result of a terror attack. Dying in a terror attack is less likely than being
killed by a lightning strike
The potential benefit of the information-sharing act is that more information will be readily
available to law enforcement agencies. This could be a good thing: more information could
potentially improve the odds of stopping terrorist acts. But once again, fear, uncertainty and
doubt are at play - information regarding a potential terror suspect in various government
institutions can already be accessed through the judicial system if a case is made
What other concerns do you have about the bill's information-sharing provisions?
While the act seems to facilitate information sharing between 17 governmental institutions,
in fact it grants authority to the government to expand the list. The government can share
information with other countries about Canadians if they see fit. Since there is no clear oversight,
there is no guarantee that information of a significant portion of the Canadian population cannot
be handed over to other countries as the government deems it appropriate. It's not clear who wil
monitor those who are accessing information
The vagueness of the scope, the lack of oversight, and the potential expansion of the reach
of the act make privacy advocates very concerned about the law. In fact, privacy commissioners
across the country are opposed to the proposed act. It's also concerning that the government
does not want to hear objections: the
privacy commissioner of Canada, who
was appointed by the government,
was prevented from appearing
before the committee in Parliament
It seems that the bill is politically
charged. The need is not wel
justified considering its risks against
personal privacy. The government
appears to be rushing the bill due
to the upcoming election. Add onto
that, the room for abuse due to poor
oversight and I am not convinced this
is the proper answer to mitigate the
terror threat. D TAKE
Research into new ways of fighting antibiotic-resistant
bacteria has received a $2 million boost from the
Canadian Institutes of Health Research, part of
a $4 million commitment for six projects involving
international collaboration with researchers at UBC,
McMaster University and Universite Laval
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are becoming
increasingly common. The problem has major health
and economic implications and has been described by
the World Health Organization as a "major global threat."
Natalie Strynadka, a professor of biochemistry
and the Canada Research Chair in Antibiotic
Discovery and Medicine, uses advanced biophysica
tools to zoom in on this big problem. Her team visualizes
the individual atoms that make up critical proteins
in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, effectively creating
a molecular blueprint that is considered central to
unravelling their function in disease and drug resistance
"The blueprint gives us an understanding, at the
molecular level, of how bacteria infect and manipulate
human cells and in turn become so virulent," said
Strynadka, who is part of an international research
collaboration called the Joint Programming Initiative
on Antimicrobial Resistance. "With this atomic
three-dimensional information we can design drugs
to specifically blockthese actions and create new
antibiotics to be used in clinical settings."
The work of UBC researchers Raymond Andersen,
Horacio Bach, Julian Davies, Urs Hafeli and Charles
Thompson will also benefit from the new funding.
Huntington's disease is caused by a mutation in the
Huntington's disease (HD) gene, but it has long been
a mystery why some people with the mutation get
the disease more severely and earlier than others
Huntington's disease affects the brain and gradually
worsens, causing problems with coordination and
movement, mental decline and psychiatric issues. While
every person has two copies of each gene - one on each
chromosome - a single mutation in one copy of the
HD gene means the person will suffer from the disease
The HD gene is controlled by surrounding regions
of DNA that function to turn the gene on and off.
Dr. Blair Leavitt, a professor in UBC's Department of Medical Genetics, and his colleagues took
a closer look at this part of the genetic code. They identified critical regions where proteins,
called transcription factors, can bind to the DNA and control the function of the HD gene
Changes in these DNA regions can play both good and bad roles in the disease
"The gene for Huntington's was discovered over 20 years ago but there is very little known
about how the expression of this important gene is controlled," said Leavitt, who is also a scientist
with the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics. "This study helps us understand how
small genetic differences in the DNA surrounding the HD gene can both delay and accelerate
the disease."
Researchers found that when the DNA change is found on a normal chromosome with no
HD mutation, it turns off the expression of the good gene and allows the mutant gene on the other
chromosome to predominate, speeding up the onset of the disease. If the DNA change is found
on a chromosome with the HD mutation, it turns off the bad gene and offers individuals some
protection from the disease
According to Leavitt, these findings provide critical evidence to support the development of
new drugs that decrease the expression of the mutant HD gene, an approach called gene silencing.
Leavitt is already involved in the testing of one gene silencing treatment that shows great promise,
and will begin the first human trial of this therapy for HD later this year.
UBC has signed an unprecedented number of partnership agreements with leading Chinese
universities that are expected to pave the way for greater academic and cultural exchange
between Canada and China
Four agreements will establish joint degree programs between UBC and highly respected
institutions, including Peking, Zhejiang, Fudan, and Southwest universities
Two agreements will focus on promoting research collaboration. UBC and Chongqing University
have agreed to set up a new materials laboratory that will study alloys, and Beijing University of
Chemical Technology is partnering with UBC to establish a centre for clean energy research
UBC also signed student mobility programs with Zhejiang University and Chongqing Municipa
Education Commission that will establish two-way educational exchanges between UBC and China
The agreements were signed during UBC president Arvind Gupta's recent mission in China,
during which he met with key government and education officials and visited a research centre
for Alzheimer's disease and childhood development disorders at Chongqing Medical University,
one of UBC's largest and most successful joint projects in China
UBC researchers have discovered a unique nerve structure in the mouth and tongue of rorqua
whales that can double in length and then recoil like a bungee cord
The stretchy nerves explain how the massive whales are able to balloon an immense
pocket between their body wall and overlying blubber to capture prey during feeding dives
"This discovery was totally unexpected and unlike other nerve structures we've seen
in vertebrates, which are of a more fixed length," says Wayne Vogl of UBC's Cellular and
Physiological Sciences department. "The rorquals' bulk feeding mechanism required major
changes in anatomy of the tongue and mouth blubber to allow large deformation, and now
we recognize that it also required major modifications in the nerves in these tissues so they
could also withstand the deformation."
In humans, stretching nerves usually damages them. In these whales,
the nerve cells are packaged inside a central core in such a way
that the individual nerve fibers are never really stretched, they
simply unfold
"Our next step is to get a better understanding
of how the nerve core is folded to allow its rapid
unpacking and re-packing during the feeding
process," says UBC zoologist Robert Shadwick.
The researchers don't know yet whether anything similar will turn up in
other animals - the ballooning throats of frogs, for example, or the long and
fast tongues of chameleons
"This discovery underscores how little we know about even the basic
anatomy of the largest animals alive in the oceans today," says Nick Pyenson,
a UBC postdoctoral fellow who is curator of fossil marine mammals at the
Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. "Our findings add to
the growing list of evolutionary solutions that whales evolved in response
to new challenges faced in marine environments over millions of years."
Rorquals are the largest group among baleen whales, and include blue
whales and fin whales. Specimens the researchers studied were obtained
at a commercial whaling station in Iceland
A discovery by a team of astrophysicists including UBC researchers promises
to have major implications for the understanding of how structures in the
universe formed 10 billion years ago. Hidden within images of some of the
oldest light in the universe, the team identified what they believe are galaxies
clumping together into the larger galaxy clusters we know today.
Data for the study came from the observations of two European Space
Telescope missions, Planckand Herschel. The Plancktelescope catches
light from the early days of the universe, known as the cosmic microwave
background, while the Herschel telescope allowed researchers to zero in
on some of the objects they saw in the Plancktelescope data
"The objects found by Planck appear to be clumps of young galaxies,
seen early in the history of the universe," said Douglas Scott, a professor
in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. "By studying them we may
be able to learn how clusters of galaxies form and evolve."
Scott and UBC graduate student Todd MacKenzie are now working to
understand the Planck objects better by studying them at a range of other
wavelengths. "What's exciting is that we don't know if we're looking at
something really bizarre or if these clumps are what would be expected
It will change our view of how these structures form," said Scott
New research from UBC and the University of Toronto shows that universa
public drug coverage, also known as universal pharmacare, is within reach
for Canada even in times of government fiscal constraint
"It's a win-win," said Steve Morgan, lead author of the study and professor
of health policy at UBC's School of Population and Public Health. "A universa
pharmacare system would improve the quality and accessibility of health
care, while saving the Canadian economy billions of dollars every year."
The study modelled the cost of universal pharmacare based on data
from $22 billion-worth of prescription drug purchases in 2012-2013
The study's calculations included the cost of increased use of prescription
drugs by Canadians who currently can't afford to fill those prescriptions
Researchers found that increasing the use of generic drugs and bringing
Canadian drug prices in line with other countries where universal drug plans
achieve better prices through bulk purchasing and negotiation, would add up
to significant savings.
"For too long, policy makers have assumed that universal Pharmacare is
an expensive policy for governments. That assumption turns out to be wrong,"
said Dr. Danielle Martin, a co-author of the study and a professor at the
University of Toronto. "With the money saved from using generic medicines,
bulk purchasing, and better approaches
to pricing, we can afford to cover medically
necessary drugs for all Canadians without
increasing taxes."
The study shows that the private sector,
predominantly the employers and unions that sponsor work-related drug
benefits today, would save between $6.5 billion and $9.6 billion annually with
comparatively little increase in costs to government. Under many plausible
scenarios, total public spending on medicines would actually fall if Canada
had a universal pharmacare system
Government costs would be driven down by reducing the cost of medicines
already paid for under public drug programs - which currently cost taxpayers
almost $10 billion - and by reducing public spending on private insurance for
public sector employees - which currently costs taxpayers more than $2 billion
Canada is the only developed country with a universal health care system that
does not include prescription drug coverage
The number of seagulls in the Strait of Georgia is down by 50 per cent
from the 1980s and UBC researchers say the decline reflects changes in
the availability of marine food
Researchers collected 100 years of data on population numbers of
Glaucous-winged Gulls, the most common seagull species found in the
Lower Mainland, Victoria, Nanaimo and elsewhere in the region. They found
that the population increased rapidly beginning in the early 1900s, but started
to drop after the mid-1980s, with their investigation pointing to diet as one
factor in the decline of the bird's health
"These birds are the ultimate generalist - they can eat whatever's
around," says the study's lead author Louise Blight. "If they are experiencing
a population decline, the gulls may be telling us that there have been some
fairly profound changes to local marine ecosystems."
Gulls historically relied on almost a purely marine diet, largely eating smal
fish and shellfish, but over time moved to a diet that incorporated more foods
found on land, such as garbage and earthworms
"They're presumably turning to land-based prey
sources because the things they prefer to eat are
ess available," says Blight, explaining that there
are probably fewer forage fish in coastal waters,
and less diversity among them, than was the case
prior to industrial fishing - and that gulls need fish
to breed successfully.
"Gulls are an indicator of our coastal marine
ecosystems," she says. "We need to be restoring
ecosystems along the coast, and that includes
restoring fish populations."
Study co-author Peter Arcese, FRBC chair of
conservation biology in the Faculty of Forestry, says reductions
in marine food abundance and quality help explain why the population
of two other bird species in the region, Marbled Murrelets and Western
Grebes, have declined by 90 per cent since the 1950s and 70s, respectively.
"Our studies of marine bird populations in the Salish Sea showthat
restoration and management plans for the region can be improved by
incorporating historical information on the causes of ecosystem change,"
he says. D Top forensic dentist Dr. David Sweet,
oc, is all too familiar with the
tragic aftermaths of violent crimes
and natural disasters. And, more
than once, he has been forced
to confront his own mortality.
Yet this gifted and compassionate
scientist is as positive as they come.
It's well after midnight when a young waitress steps off the bus and walks
toward her apartment. Behind her, unheard and unseen, a man emerges
from the shadows. Clamping a powerful hand over her mouth, he grabs
the woman and forces her at gunpoint into his car. Then he drives to
a secluded area on the outskirts of town where he viciously assaults her
and dumps her body in the slow-running waters of a nearby creek. A few
hours later, an early-morning jogger spies the woman's body submerged
in shallow water near the edge of the creek.
The police find a phone and a shoe that they suspect belong to the
victim, but she has been beaten beyond recognition. They need to confirm
her identity so they can trace her last hours and get on the killer's trail
before it grows cold. The killer has also provided a vital clue: when attacking
the woman, he bit her left shoulder so hard that the pattern of his teeth is
branded in her flesh.
Who do they call to positively identify the body and analyze the bite
mark? A forensic odontologist.
UBC associate dean and professor of dentistry Dr. David Sweet, DMD'y8,
has been on the receiving end of such calls numberless times. Since he
became an odontologist (sometimes known as "forensic dentist"), he has
been involved in more than 1000 real-life CSI cases and has seen evidence
of the most depraved things human beings can do to one another.
Sweet got his first taste of forensic dentistry in the late 1970s when
he ran a general practice in Cranbrook, BC, his hometown. A police
officer called regarding a fatality in which a car had gone off the road and
burst into flames. From the license plate, they knew who owned the car;
he was one of Dr. Sweet's patients. Would Sweet mind bringing in that
person's dental chart to see if he could positively identify the body?
A gruesome scene greeted him at the morgue, one that his dentistry
courses had not prepared him for. But when the pathologist pulled back
the charred lips, the teeth were white as paper and perfectly intact. Teeth
are the hardest substance in the human body and protected by enamel,
making them resistant to fire. Sweet had done a crown for the man not
long before. "You have a creativity that you do fillings with," he explains.
"You put supplemental anatomy in if you're really good at carving; when
you do a restoration you shape teeth exactly the way
they look when they're normal. I do all that. And I knew
this was my patient." There's excitement in his voice
as he tells the story - it's the passion of one who has
found his calling in life.
A trim, handsome man with a warm smile and
silver-gray hair, Sweet's positive energy is contagious
and he looks the picture of health. But looks don't tell
the whole story.
At age 10, he was diagnosed as an insulin-dependent
diabetic. In those days it was not easy to maintain
healthy blood-sugar levels, and Sweet says that after
decades of insulin injections most people with diabetes
would develop challenging complications. But he took
"a scientific approach" to his illness right from the get-go,
which enabled him to carry on a full and active life while
balancing on the insulin tightrope behind the scenes.
He grew up around horses, haying and branding
and riding in rodeos. He taught himself to ski, played
a mean game of hockey and baseball, and went hunting
in the fall and ice-fishing in winter. In school, he won
sports and academic awards, all the while holding down
various jobs at school and around town. He even wo-
a photography contest with Canadian Living Magazine
and, in his graduating year, was elected prime minister
of his school.
His younger sister, Diane, says her brother always
had a strong work ethic. "We were brought up that
way, to do things well," she says. "And when bad things
happened, you didn't wallow in it; you dealt with them
and you carried on. That's Dave's conviction, t
his inner strength, and he never let the diabetes get
the best of him. He tried to stay in control of it rathe
than letting it take over, controlling him."
In 1982, biosynthetic human insulin was introduced, largely replacingthe beef- and pork-based
types of insulin that, until then, were prevalent. Over time, it emerged that a significant percentage
of people who use human insulin don't get symptoms, such as sweating and tremors, to warn
them when they're becoming hypoglycemic. Sweet was one of these people. Before long, his
kidneys began to fail. He would soon have to go on dialysis, the doctors said, and then he'd need
a new kidney.
So in 1984 he sold his thriving practice and moved to Vancouver to be close to his physicians.
His reputation as an outstanding dentist preceded him, and he was promptly invited to teach in
UBC's Faculty of Dentistry. "I felt like I'd fallen into a big hole and come out smelling really good,"
he says.
Within a couple of years, he won a UBC Dentistry teaching award. Despite this achievement,
he was informed that if he hoped to get tenure he'd have to specialize, develop a research portfolio,
and build a lab. "So they threw down this gauntlet in front of me," he says, "but when I picked up
the forensic odontology gauntlet they said, 'Forensic what?!'"
Forensic odontologists devote a lot of time to helping identify victims and perpetrators of
crime. As Sweet describes it, when a person has been "erased and thrown away" by a killer,
his team's main goal is to help repatriate that person to their family. They do this by confirming
the victim's identity through dental comparisons and bite-mark and DNA analysis, and by sharing
their insights as to how the victim met their death. Painful though this knowledge is, it helps give
closure to those left behind.
Not everyone is cut out for such work. In addition to extraordinary patience, fine motor skills,
precision, and accuracy, it demands a rare degree of resilience. Sweet has all of these, in spades. FEATURE   ■   forensic dentistry
He had been in third-year sciences and on his way
into medical school when John Anderson, a teaching
assistant in Dr. David Suzuki's genetics class, suggested he
consider dentistry. "You've told me you like woodworking
and you love building things with your hands, and you are
very good in the lab with your manual skills," Anderson
said to him. "Dentistry is a medical profession too. And,
here at UBC, you take medical courses for a couple of
years before you really start treatment in dentistry. I think
you'd thrive in something like that."
To this day, Sweet is grateful for the encouragement
Anderson gave him. "I love my work. The creativity,
the art as well as the science - it's just the perfect fit,"
he says. "Forensic odontology is like trying to solve
a jigsaw puzzle at the same time as reading a whodunit
The clues are coming in and there are different things
going on, and you're trying to physically match these
things. It's a really cool, complex, unusual exercise."
Sweet has an inborn knack for recognizing patterns,
an ability that is at the heart of forensic dentistry.
Because bite injuries are found in eight out of 10 sexua
assault cases and homicide cases that involve physica
altercation, the ability to match a bite mark conclusively
with a suspect's dentition can significantly influence
the court's decision to free or convict the suspect
But what happens to a person after they've been
immersed, day in and day out - for decades - in the
investigation of heinous crimes? "It's a very dark area,
dealing with mutilated bodies and murders," says
Dr. Daniel Berant, a recent graduate of UBC's denta
school. He is amazed by Sweet's "ability to see the
horrors of tragedies, murders and
natural catastrophes, and still get up
each day and say, 'Life is beautiful.'"
Sweet's hobbies are a huge
component of his coping strategy.
Whether turning out the next project
in his woodworking shop, or riding shotgun in a racecar
with a friend going full tilt around the track, or ziplining,
which he likens to flying, or quietly skimming the waves
on a friend's sailboat, he's having so much fun that
it leaves no room in his mind for the bad stuff.
The BOLD lab (Bureau of Legal
Dentistry) places Canada at the
forefront of forensic dental science.
His deep respect for those who have died also keeps him grounded. "Do you walk softly
when you carry the dead?" he asks, often, of colleagues and students. It's more a statement
than a question
"It's the code he lives by- being respectful of the person," says colleague Dr. Dirk van der
Meer, DMD'92. "Even though he has to approach them scientifically, which requires an unbiased,
almost cold manner, there's still the human element that he never forgets."
Van der Meer regards him as both friend and mentor. "In forensics circles around the world,
David Sweet is the 'gold standard' - he's the person you go to for the final answer, and he always
has it."
Those who know Sweet were not surprised when, in 2008, he was awarded the Order of
Canada to acknowledge the revolutionary forensic techniques he developed and his untiring
service on behalf of victims of crime and mass disasters
And, just a few months ago, he was awarded the Canadian Forces Medallion for Distinguished
Service, the highest award the military can confer on civilians. For years, Sweet has provided
training for Canadian military forensic dentists at his UBC lab, which the Armed Forces have
selected as the "touchstone" of excellence for this country's military dentists to emulate. He also
provides Canada's military forensic dentists with detailed advice, tailored to their specific mission,
every time they deploy to the site of a mass disaster or armed conflict
Sweet seems indomitable, even in the context of his own health. It was 1984 when doctors
told him the day would soon come when he'd need a kidney transplant; he carried on for more
than 16 years before that day arrived
During those intervening years, he built
UBC's Bureau of Legal Dentistry lab (BOLD lab),
which was tasked with education, research, and
forensic dentistry cases; he worked on hundreds
of murder cases; he invented a technique for
getting DNA out of teeth, making BOLD the place of choice to which police agencies across Canada
send teeth and bones for forensic analysis; he founded the British Columbia Forensic Odontology
Response Team (BC-FORT), a 90-member core group of dentists, hygienists and certified denta
assistants trained to respond effectively in the event of a mass disaster in Canada or internationally;
and he earned a PhD (cumlaude) in forensic medicine from the University of Granada, Spain,
where he invented a method that
enhances DNA recovery from
scant traces of saliva left on skin
near bite wounds.
When, at last, Sweet went on
the waiting list for a kidney, a young
general surgeon approached him
The surgeon said he had recently
earned how to transplant a pancreas
and wanted Sweet to get a new
one along with a new kidney.
Bite injuries are found in eight out of
10 sexual assault cases and homicide
cases that involve physical altercation
"You can't kid me," Sweet retorted. "I've dissected a body in medical/dental school, and I know
what a pancreas is like - it's like snot. It doesn't have a cortex. You can't tease a duct and a vein and
an artery out of a pancreas. You can't transplant it!"
"You leave that to me," the surgeon replied
So it was that, on June 25,2001, the family of a young accident victim generously enabled Sweet
to receive the new kidney he so desperately needed, together with a new pancreas, "and a switch
was flipped." No longer diabetic, to this day his blood tests are perfect. A couple of years later, the new
kidney became irreparably diseased, so a forensics colleague - so close a match it was like they were
brothers - gave him one more lease on life. "His name is John King, and John is a king, and then some."
Sweet had barely recovered from his second kidney transplant when he was asked to head up
the Canadian forensic dentists' response to the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. He served in this capacity
for 239 consecutive days and so impressed other scientists at INTERPOL that they elected him chief
scientist in INTERPOL'S Disaster Victim Identification section, a position he held until a new illness
forced him to step down
Although Sweet was cured of diabetes and his new kidney stayed healthy, life had even fiercer
blows to deal him. In 2011, he was diagnosed with cancer. With typical unflinching courage, he
submitted to surgery and chemotherapy and recovered. But one year later, to the day, his oncologist
phoned with bad news: it appeared the cancer was back. This time it was inoperable. The diagnosis?
Recurrent metastatic adenocarcinoma. Sweet would be dead within six months
But Sweet was not about to give up. For five weeks, with his wholehearted encouragement,
doctors dialled up the "chemical warfare" to the maximum possible dosage. Then, for five more
weeks, they bombarded him with an extremely high level of radiation, administered almost daily.
"He had such an upbeat, positive attitude the whole time," says van der Meer, "and this stee
determination to beat the disease."
After the onslaught on his body, there was nothing to be done but wait for an interminable three
months until his tissues could recover sufficiently for a follow-up scan. It was time for the bucket list
He wentziplining and snorkelling
with his wife, and he got strong
"I have a very deep belief,"
Sweet says, "that the power
of the mind and the power of
positive thinking can overcome
things by setting up the body
and the personality for success."
He shares a personal story
to illustrate the point:
"I was in a cove in Hawaii with my wife, Chris. We were snorkelling, looking at giant green sea turtles
was watching a female turtle that was lying on the bottom. She decided to come up. I guess she was
going to take a breath of air, but when she saw me swimming above her she came up and looked at me
really close, right into my eyes. I had to swim backwards so as not to touch her. Then she popped up
and had a breath and looked around. And then I went up, too."
A Polynesian man on shore asked Sweet what he had seen. Hearing the story, he exclaimed, "That's
incredible!" and added, "In our faith, the sea turtle means two things: peacefulness, and longevity."
Sweet clung to this as a sign that he was going to be okay. "I hadn't had my PET scan yet," he says,
knocking loudly on the wooden table he's seated at
A few weeks after their snorkelling adventure, he and his wife were sitting in the oncologist's
office, reading the pathology report. "I had to refer back to the original scans to confirm the size and
location of the tumor," the pathologist had written, "because nothing is visible on the current scan
Completely resolved."
Dr. David Sweet had fallen down yet another deep hole and come out smelling great
The BOLD lab relies on donations to fund its research. To find out more about the work of the BOLD lab,
or to make a donation, please visit: D
When the pathologist pulled back
the charred lips, the teeth were white
as paper and perfectly intact. Teeth  I
are the hardest substance in the  ^H
human body and protected by enamel,
making them resistant to fire.
In 2007, pig farmer Robert Pickton
was convicted of murder as part of the
investigation into the missing women of
Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. It used to
be that scientists needed at least two-gram
samples of bone to extract genomic DNA,
but bone fragments police found on Pickton's
farm were smaller than this. So Sweet devised
a method requiring just one gram, and was
able to extract DNA matching that of six of
the missing women. Pickton was convicted
of all six murders.
The skeletal remains of two children -
the "Babes in the Woods" - were discovered
in Stanley Park in 1953. A doctor identified
them as a boy and girl, aged about six and
eight, and estimated that they had died in 1947.
Witnesses came forward, recalling disquieting
scenes of a couple seen first with two boys -
one playing with a hatchet - and a little later
without the boys. Police dismissed the leads.
In 1997, a Vancouver police officer obtained
the children's remains from the Police
Museum, where they were on display, and took
them to the BOLD lab. When Sweet extracted
pulp from the teeth, using the freezer-mill
DNA recovery method he had invented, he
found that the children were both boys and
that they shared the same mother but had
different fathers. The case remains unsolved.
In 1995, Sweet earned a PhD in forensic
medicine for an innovative double-swab
technique he developed to retrieve DNA
from human bite injuries. Shortly after, the
police contacted him at BOLD to analyze
a bite mark on the body of Tanya Smith,
who was murdered by the "Abbotsford Killer."
The police did not yet know about his new
technique. Although Smith's body had been
immersed in the Vedder River more than five
hours, Sweet's swabbing method enabled
him to recover the killer's salivary DNA from
the bite wound, sealing the case against the
killer. The technique he invented has become
known as "Sweet Swabbing," and bite marks
- potentially yielding the biter's DNA - are
called "Sweet Spots." s Yours
Welcome to the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, your home for
life in the heart of our Vancouver campus - inspired by UBC's
unique modernist tradition of campus architecture. A LEED
Gold sustainable structure, it features expansive glass walls
and extensive use of Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar in
the public spaces of the interior, providing a warm and distinctl
West Coast home for current, past and future students.
Starting with a conversation in 1999 and 16 years in the making
the centre was imagined and driven by alumni volunteers and  J
funded, in part, through the generous donations of more than
1,000 UBC grads. Its primary purpose is as a meeting place where
alumni can learn, mentor, network and celebrate. The venue
will be the host space for alumni UBC lectures, social events and
continuing education. There are seven different function spaces,
each designed for unique needs and all available for rental with
preferred rates for alumni. The facility also includes the Graham
Lee Innovation Centre and vie Wong-Trainor Welcome Centre,
making it the front door for everyone who visits campus.
Inside, an exciting experience awaits in more than 40,000 square
feet of space that includes exhibits and an interactive display
chronicling UBC's history and the achievements of its alumni.
Our friendly and informative
staff in the Wong-Trainor
Welcome Centre will
introduce you to the rich
scope of campus activities
and help plan your day.
Opening in June, Loafe
Cafe brings a fresh
concept to campus.
It will offer made-
to-order gourmet
sandwiches, vibrant
seasonal salads,
homemade soups,
artisan local roasted
coffee and fresh baked
goods. Did we mention
Time is running out! The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see your name on the stunning Points of Light
donor wall in the new Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre ends soon. Donate $1,000 or more and your name will
be included on the donor wall, located in the main floor atrium. Visit 1
fcl i   w
With your help
JACK POOLE HALL An expans/Ve glass-walled space for
up to 300, for meetings, and celebration lunches or dinners.
ILp   ^*'    ^" w/'fh a commanding view over the UBC campus.
1      ^     '       -^
■, ■
■ - ■
A welcoming space with comfortable modern-classic
furniture and access to the top floor balcony.
setting on the third floor with a large U-shaped table that
can seat 32, with state-of-the-art audio/visual capacity.
over 300,000 UBC alumni
With the support of UBC alumni worldwide, UBC and alumni UBC are building a home for alumni to reconnect
with their alma mater and each other. The new Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre will foster entrepreneurship,
networking, mentoring and lifelong learning. To help the new Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre become a vital and
vibrant space, we invite your support,
Robert H. Lee
Alumni Centre
alur   liuBC "If 43 students can go missing in a town in Guerrero, there's no reason why
43 students from the university I teach at could not go missing tomorrow,"
says Rodolfo Franco, a part-time faculty member at Tec de Monterrey,
as he gravely describes the human rights situation in Mexico. The country
is on edge. It has been entrenched in a drug war for nearly a decade,
and lately it's become apparent that anyone could be a kidnapping target
The 43 young men he's referring to are the students from the Raul Isidro
Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa who disappeared from the
town of Iguala last September. The case made international headlines
and led to massive street protests in Mexico City and across the country
as citizens demanded answers. Although mass kidnappings are not
uncommon in Mexico, this case was different for a couple reasons. First,
these students were not involved with the area's drug cartels. And second,
from the beginning it was widely suspected that local authorities had played
a major role in their disappearance. Although dozens of arrests have been
made and at least one student's charred remains have been identified, many
questions still linger. There's a pervasive feeling that the federal government
"The government will never
come to terms with the idea that
this is a humanitarian crisis, and
I think they're very worried about
their international reputation."
only investigated the disappearances because the
case was receiving so much international attention
The official version of events (that the students were
likely killed after being handed over to a drug cartel by
corrupt members of local law enforcement) is not fully
accepted. The families of the missing men, along with
arge segments of the Mexican population, still believe
the government is hiding something
Their distrust is a result of deep flaws in Mexico's
justice system. Over the past decade, more than
27,000 people have gone missing across the country.
While some are eventually unearthed in mass graves,
official investigations are seldom thorough and
most cases are never solved. Many families are
eft wondering what happened to their loved ones
and unable to get closure
Franco, who is the director of strategy and fund
procurement for the recently formed Mexican NGO
Gobernanza Forense Ciudadana (citizen-led forensics),
offers his perspective on why these cases are not often
investigated. "At the local level it is a clear issue of
corruption," he says. "Police forces are certainly mixed
with criminal organizations, and sometimes they're
at their service."
While corruption explains why many individua
cases are not investigated, the scale of the problem
suggests a system-wide failure at the federal leve
is also to blame. "I think it's a matter of capacities
and organization," Franco says. He explains that the
office of the attorney general regularly tells him that
the government's DNA database will soon have the
capacity to distinguish between DNA samples from
discovered remains and from the families of the missing,
making comprehensive cross-referencing and potentia
identification possible. Although this would be a step
in the right direction, he finds it unbelievable that the
database could have ever been designed without this
function in mind
Franco, whose graduate studies at UBC focused on
human rights norms and the limitations of human rights
systems, suspects the federal government has other
reasons why it's unwilling to investigate the thousands
of missing persons cases that exist in the country.
"I think the general perception is that this is regular
crime," he says. "The government will never come to terms with the idea
that this is a humanitarian crisis, and I think they're very worried about their
international reputation." Because of this, he explains, the government's
recent focus has been on crisis management instead of on building the
institutions, rules and norms required to combat the underlying problems
Regardless of the reasons, the families of missing people are not looking
for excuses. They want answers. And in the absence of rigorous official
investigations, citizens have begun investigating cases themselves. It was
this reality that drove Franco and some friends from his undergraduate
university to recognize the potential for a citizen-driven approach
to combatting the corruption, arbitrariness and lack of investigative
transparency surrounding Mexico's missing people. His friends founded
Gobernanza Forense Ciudadana (GFC) in 2012 with this purpose in mind,
to provide resources and a collaborative forum for families searching for
oved ones
Franco explains that each state has its own definition of "disappearance"
and its own forensic system. Because of this, jurisdictional issues can
be a barrier to investigations. If someone disappears in Monterrey, for
example, and their family lives in Mexico City, the authorities would open
an investigation and begin their search in Mexico City. After a few enquiries,
he says, they might discover that it's impossible to gain access to remains
in Monterrey, or that local authorities won't cooperate. As a result, these
investigations don't lead anywhere. "There are families that watch the news
every day to find out if a mass grave has been opened somewhere in the
country, just so they can travel there and file a new complaint in that new
jurisdiction," Franco says FEATURE   ■   Citizen-led forensics
In the face of these bureaucratic hurdles, and the
fact that they rarely have access to remains themselves,
families have been forced to pursue creative avenues
in their investigations. When Franco's friends conducted
their feasibility study and started contacting families
of missing people to see what they had been able to
accomplish on their own, they were surprised. "We
realized that they had been very thorough with their
investigations," he says. Family members were learning
about GPS technologies - contacting mobile phone
companies to get data on the last known whereabouts
of their loved one - and would often go to coffee shops
and convenience stores to retrieve security tapes as
part of their timeline reconstructions
"We realized there was a lot of knowledge among
citizens," he says, "but there were some problems."
First of all, the authorities seemed reluctant to listen
to or act upon the information gathered by families
Second, the families were disorganized and not
exchanging information. It was clear they needed
a way to work together and leverage their collective
forensic knowledge to pressure the government to act
Recognizing this, GFC created an online Nationa
Citizen Registry of Disappeared Persons in order to
start identifying families of missing people. They then
got to work developing their idea for a citizen-controlled
DNA Biobank using mail-in DNA sample kits, like those
that are used for paternity tests. Franco explains that
the team wanted to build the Biobank using basic,
accessible technologies in order to demonstrate to
the government how simple the task should be, given
proper organization. "These Biobanks should be used
to make massive cross-references of non-identified
bodies and families that are searching for their relatives," he says. "Once the Biobank is built and
there is a critical mass of samples in it, we'd be able to argue due diligence and the government
would be obligated to use the Biobank as a tool of investigation."
Although building the Biobank is GFC's main objective, the organization also holds workshops
with the families of missing persons to educate them about forensic DNA so they are more
effective at holding government officials accountable. GFC often hears from families who have
contested the government's DNA results and requested DNA reports, but received no response
Then, after filing petitions for more information, they discover no proof in the investigation file
to suggest their DNA samples had been taken in the first place. "The way we see it," Franco says,
"the Mexican government will only be able to present legitimate and credible results insofar
as they open up the forensic processes and explain how they get the results they get." He says
that for this to happen, civil society organizations need to monitor the government and pressure
them to change their processes
By Glenn Drexhage
Near the end of September 2014,43 students went missing in the Mexican town of
Iguala. Reports indicated that the students were murdered, their bodies burned - another
tragic turn of events in a country that has endured horrific violence and state corruption.
In December, Agustin Goenaga, a Mexican doctoral candidate in UBC's Department of
Political Science, discussed the disappearance, examined its implications for Mexican
democracy and highlighted a Canadian angle.
Violence has plagued Mexico in recent years, yet the disappearance of the 43 students
has produced a particularly strong reaction. Why?
These developments challenge the narrative that victims of violence are involved in
illegal activities. If innocent civilians are targeted, they're viewed as collateral damage.
What's different now is that the 43 students had absolutely no ties with organized crime.
This is something that even the attorney general has publicly stated.
Second, the first actors involved in this crime were local police forces, following orders
of Iguala's mayor. They were the ones who opened fire against students, arrested them,
detained them and allegedly handed them overto members of a criminal organization
to torture and execute.
Franco is starting to see small signs of progress
in this regard. He talks proudly of a GFC member in
the state of Guerrero who recently stood up in a public
forum and questioned the government's DNA sampling
practices based on knowledge she learned at a GFC
workshop. "She was able to tell these people that they
were sampling the wrong family members, because
[this particular case, which involved identifying an older
individual, required] a special mix of DNA samples, and
not necessarily the ones they were taking." He says that
Guerrero's government is beginning to understand that
citizens are demanding more accountability and have
little tolerance for superficial investigations that are
only conducted for appearances' sake
It's a small step, and there's still a lot of work to
be done. GFC has funding to collect 1,500 samples
and aims to have the Biobank populated with complete DNA
profiles for at least 500 missing person cases by the end of this
year; an organized group of citizens will have accomplished a task
that the government, with all of its resources and expertise, has not
Although Franco hasn't had anyone close to him disappear, he knows he is not immune
and feels a moral obligation to continue the work. He is also driven by compassion. Late
last year in Monterrey, with the help of a Peruvian team of forensic anthropologists, GFC
performed the first independent citizen-led exhumation. For a number of reasons, the family
of missing woman Brenda Damaris Gonzalez Solis had serious doubts about the identity of
the remains that the government had given them. Following the exhumation, GFC was able
to conduct DNA tests that definitively proved the remains were those of their daughter.
Although the news was heartbreaking, this family could finally reach some sense of closure
"It's not all about finding what the government does wrong," Franco says. "It's also about
providing families with a scientific basis to mourn." D
Trek heard about Citizen-Led Forensics Mexico when information about the project was
added to, a purpose-built website where alumni and other members
of the UBC community can publicize the socially beneficial projects in which they are involved.
nm ;'i'H'#11
How have the government and opposition parties responded?
The president has started a new nationwide strategy to combat
organized crime, and deal with conflicts of interest and corruption
amongst public officials.
The brunt of the new program is an initiative to dismantle municipal
police forces, and create 32 forces at the state level, as an attempt to
fight the corruption of local police officers.
In many municipalities, local police forces are indeed the most
vulnerable to corruption. But dismantling them also removes actors
who historically served as mediators in illegal activities, managingthe
violent escalation of small conflicts in this ad hoc way.
There is also an assumption that corruption does not touch the state
or federal levels. This is false. Former state governors, national union
leaders and federal secretaries of state face accusations of corruption.
Even President Pena Nieto is trapped in a conflict-of-interest scandal.
What are the implications for Mexican democracy?
Civil society has mobilized in ways unseen until now. We've had
demonstrations in the streets all over Mexico and around the world.
These events are serving as a trigger for civil society to push the
political parties to be more responsive. Maybe there is also the potential
for a new coalition of political forces to emerge.
A recent Vancouver protest highlighted concerns about Canada placing
Mexico on a so-called "safe list." Can you expand?
Immigration Canada put that decision in place in February 2013.
This was based on the idea that it has limited resources to deal with
claims for asylum and refugee status. The implications are that Mexicans
potentially asking for asylum will face higher obstacles to achieve that.
The justification for placing Mexico on the "safe list" comes from
the way the Mexican administrations have presented themselves to
the international community: as defenders of human rights that are
trying to implement and enforce the ruleoflaw-andinthe process
are facing an escalation of violence.
But the recent events put this image of the Mexican state in question.
The state has not proven itself capable of defending human rights,
protecting vulnerable populations or prosecuting violations. In the
students' case, the state was actually the perpetrator of those crimes. your evolution
Doing your bit to change the world*:
your evolution is a unique project-sharing platform that supports the many ways the 300,000-strong global alumni community
is changing the world for the better. It allows the UBC community to share details of socially beneficial projects and connect with fellow alumni,
students, staff, faculty, volunteers and donors to find supporters and inspire others to make a difference. Launched in 2014, the website offers
many ways for projects to gain exposure as well as occasional competitions, the latest of which ran this spring. Participants stood to win a social
entrepreneurship kit - including a professionally produced video or photography session to help promote their cause, and mentoring sessions with
UBC experts, your evolution has already helped support approximately 300 projects. Its next iteration will have a matchmaking function, allowing
UBC social entrepreneurs to seek out volunteers with specific skill sets, as well as non-financial support such as equipment and meeting space.
If you're involved in a worthwhile initiative and want to support it by tapping into your UBC network, it's time to visit
Morogoro Youth Development Initiative | A movement to educate and
empower young people through their involvement in positive community change.
SwimSignal | A system that facilitates navigation in the pool for visually
impaired and blind swimmers.
REACH Initiative | An innovative program designed to engage, inform,
and educate the community with the goal of improving palliative, end-of-life,
and bereavement care.
Project Hands | A Canadian-based non-profit organization that has organized
surgical missions to provide otherwise unavailable care to indigenous populations
in rural regions of Guatemala.
Motivate Canada | An initiative that is giving young people the tools, training,
and confidence to make a difference in their lives and communities.
U BC Stem Cell Club | The first student-run group worldwide that has been
accredited to independently run stem cell drives in order to strengthen the
quantity and quality of membership on the Canadian stem cell donor database.
Psychiatric genetic counselling clinic | The world's first psychiatric genetic
counselling clinic was launched in 2012.
#IAmAntiBully: a movement to say NO to bullying | A group of UBC alumni
who made a commitment to raise awareness of and counter bullying.
Bumala Sewing Project | A project that aims to support the development
of marketable skills, such as tailoring and small business management among
young African women in their local community.
Joan Rush is on a humanitarian mission. She is calling on the BC government to fulfill what she views
as its legal and moral duty to provide timely and adequate dental care to adults with developmenta
disabilities. She describes the current lack of access to care as a crisis and in 2013 published a report
containing her recommendations for addressing the shortfall
As someone who has spent the past 10 years trying to secure much-needed dental care for her
28-year-old son, Graeme, who was diagnosed with severe autism at the age of three, Rush has had
first-hand experience navigating the complex, multiple-agency care system. She also holds a master's
in health law from UBC
Graeme does not speak, read or write. Throughout his childhood, he received the specialized
health and dental care his condition requires at BC Children's Hospital. Rush says her son received
excellent care there from paediatric dentists who were trained to deal with children with specia
needs. But when Graeme turned 17, he was referred to Vancouver General Hospital for his dental care
instead. It would mark the start of a struggle in which Rush felt she was pitted against a system that
simply was not set up to serve her son
Shortly after the referral to adult care, Rush was told Graeme would need to go on a waiting list of
at least two years to complete dental surgery that had been recommended by BC Children's Hospital
Like many adults with serious developmental disabilities, Graeme requires general anaesthesia for
even routine treatments due to complexities associated with his disability.
There is no specialized dental clinic with general anaesthesia capability at
VGH,and patients like Graeme are typically referred to the UBC Hospita
for dental surgery. Since there is no clinic dedicated to special needs denta
care there (or anywhere in BC), Rush says there is inevitably a long wait for
Operating Room time. Meanwhile, serious dental problems were developing
under Graeme's gum line, undetected
By 2006, he had started to beat his own face, especially the area around
his right ear. "We went to many specialists," says Rush. "He had started
having progressively more severe seizures. His neurologist thought he had
been tipped into the seizures from the pain. Graeme's GP was eventually
prescribing pure codeine to deal with the pain." Graeme's parents always suspected the head-hitting
was caused by dental pain, but Rush says Graeme's VGH dentist at the time insisted there was no link
and kept him on the waiting list. Even after mental health specialists ruled out psychosis as a basis
for the head-hitting, concluding it probably related to dental pain, Graeme's dentist was reluctant
to accept this analysis and allow him to access immediate care. When Rush later transferred him
to another VGH dentist, she met with similar resistance
"I couldn't believe what I was hearing, and my kid was killing himself!" says Rush. Although
there are private general anaesthesia clinics in BC, Graeme was having too many seizures at the
time to meet their criteria for treatment. Thinking she had run out of options, Rush threatened to
sue and Graeme was admitted to UBC Hospital for surgery in early 2008. Under his gum line, the
dentist found two severely infected teeth and several large cavities that she had previously failed to
diagnose. He ended up having five root canals completed
by an endodontist during 2008 and 2009. His right ear is
permanently deformed as a result of him beating his head
Rush is prepared to accept that Graeme's case is an
anomaly. Had proper X-rays been taken, routine in most
dental offices, the tooth decay would not have gone
undetected and he may have been admitted for surgery
sooner. But she also believes the failure to provide adequate
care was down to a lack of special needs dentistry training
within the profession. Unlike countries such as Australia
and the UK, Canada does not recognize a specialization in
special needs dentistry. In addition, there is only one program
(in Toronto) offering a specialization in dental anaesthesia,
and Rush says more such programs would allow more
patients to be treated in the community, freeing up precious
hospital Operating Room time for more complex cases.
Rush acknowledges that the Canadian undergraduate denta
curriculum is already packed, and it's difficult for instructors,
who themselves never received such training, to include it
in the agenda. It would also cost a lot of money to establish
and there are many other important needs to address
"On the other hand," she says, "they do find time to teach
about cosmetic dental procedures and some other types of
treatment that are extraordinarily expensive and financially
out of reach for the average Canadian."
The shortage of professionals with specialized training
became more apparent when, over the period from 2009
to 2013, VGH could not locate a prosthodontist who could
fit Graeme with crowns under general anaesthetic. Without
crowns after the root canals, there was a danger some of
Graeme's teeth would crumble. He had started hitting his
face again - enough to black his eye. Rush found a third
VGH dentist who was prepared to at least repair the teeth
Again, they faced difficulty getting Operating Room time
and again Rush threatened to sue. During surgery, the
dentist discovered a tooth on the lower right that was too
damaged to save and had to be extracted, as well as an
infection in the jawbone that Rush suspects was caused
by the delay accessing care
This dentist supported Rush as she campaigned
to find a specialist able to fit her son with crowns
Otherwise, he said, Graeme was likely to lose more teeth
They found a recent UBC prosthodontics grad who had
previously treated adults with developmental disabilities
under general anaesthesia in Alberta. He was excellent,
says Rush, but after he placed the first two crowns during
2014, he could not secure more time in the Operating Room
to finish the recommended treatment plan and resigned
his hospital privileges in frustration. Rush was distraught, but
because Graeme's seizures were now well under control,
theywereabletoget him into a private general anaesthesia
clinic. The same prosthodontist treated him there instead
- at a cost of thousands of dollars. The last two of eight
gold crowns were cemented into place this May.
Not every adult with developmental disabilities
can count on such a capable advocate, nor has parents
in a position to pay for private treatment. In fact, says
Rush, there is a high correlation between developmenta
disability and poverty - and this applies to the disabled
individuals' families as well as themselves. Couple this
with a provincial dental plan for adults with disabilities
that pays approximately 60 per cent of the treatment
fees recommended by the BC Dental Association, and
you have a situation where there is little financial incentive
for dentists to treat this patient group. "According to
the executive director of the BC Dental Association,
in many cases the coverage is less than 60 per cent,"
says Rush. "But dentists' average overhead is 60, so
if they take a patient with a disability who can be treated
in a community dental office - fairly high functioning
adults with a developmental disability - they are actually
doing it at a loss. Typically those adults take more time,
and there's no extra fee allowed under the provincial plan."
It had become clear to Rush that there was a gaping
hole in terms of care provision, so she decided to advocate
on behalf of the whole developmentally disabled adult
community. "In breach of their human rights, I think,
people are denied treatment that can be described as
nothing other than critically needed healthcare - except that our weird healthcare system separates
out dentistry," says Rush, pointing out suspected links between oral infection and serious physical
ailments, such as diabetes and heart disease. "I assumed that if I raised this issue, they would fix it.
What an idiot I was. More or less, everyone ignored me and said it may be a problem but there isn't
any money and there's nothing we can do. There's no help we can give. I could not believe that we
could be so callous towards a group of people who have no ability to assist themselves otherwise
If they can't be treated except under general anaesthesia, and you haven't provided a genera
anaesthesia facility, and you haven't provided enough coverage to get them treated, they're going
to lose a lot of teeth and suffer a lot of pain. We are truly mistreating this group and there must be
an obligation here."
Her preliminary analysis of current health law indicted to Rush that there was indeed a legal
obligation. She applied to the Law Foundation of BC for funding to research and produce a report with
recommendations for the provincial government. UBC law students provided assistance with lega
and historical research. A UBC library science student confirmed the report's citations and references.
Published in 2013, the report draws attention to the issue and calls for adequate coverage, training,
and the establishment in BC of a clinic dedicated to treating adults with developmental disabilities
Until the situation changes, Rush will keep campaigning. That's why she added details about her
initiative- Help! Teeth Hurt- to alumni UBC's your evolution website. She never expected to win
the competition, yet her submission rapidly attracted 1,000 votes to take the prize
She thinks others identified with her situation. "You have no idea how many emails I got from
people asking if I can help them to get their son or daughter with a developmental disability access
to dental care. It's been very revealing to me just how people struggle. People phone me in tears,
know how they feel. There's no question the disability community
is very united in believing this is critically needed.'
But Rush thinks it'sthe photo of Graeme
featured on the your evolution website that
helped her nail it. "It's a very engaging photo -
it focuses on his smile." And how is Graeme
these days? "He hasn't hit his face again since
the last of his treatments were completed," says
Rush. "He is as happy as a lark. The difference
in his life between good dental care and lack
of access to dental care is 180 degrees."
Rush's report, Help! Teeth Hurt: Government's
Obligation to Provide Timely Access to Denta
Treatment to B.C. Adults Who Have Developmental
Disabilities: A Legal Analysis, is available to read online. HEARING
The multiple Oscar-winning picture Birdman earned praise for its highly
choreographed visual technique, star Michael Keaton's physical performance,
and its multi-layered narrative. But to Natasha Merrick, who identifies
as someone who hears voices, the movie offered a new way of looking at
mental illness. While movies and books often portray psychosis as a sign
of a character's tragic descent, Birdman offers a more complex view. "Most
people have very fixed ideas of mental illness," she says. "It means the person
is not thinking in the correct way, and they need to be fixed, stopped, and
taken care of. But this movie is showing [Michael Keaton's character, Riggan]
in an expanded state where he's able to experience magic and also find
meaning and connection."
Years earlier, Riggan starred as Birdman in a Hollywood blockbuster series
As he tries to mount his own adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story
on Broadway, a series of backstage mishaps and personal dramas threaten
to upend his show. He is taunted by the voice of Birdman, but he also levitates,
moves objects with his mind, and flies. "He's having magical thinking, but
he knows the world doesn't see him that way," Merrick says. "People with
psychosis have that dichotomy, and it's very stressful. I think that's what
makes you crazy, is that split between your inner and your outer life. What
he needs is to achieve balance, to be able to work within that state of mind."
Through the lens of magical realism, the film doesn't make a distinction
between hallucination and reality, but focuses instead on the meaning of
Riggan's otherworldly experience. That's essentially the philosophy of Hearing
Voices, a grassroots movement started in the 1980s by Dutch psychiatrist
Marius Romme. Prompted by a patient experiencing auditory hallucinations
who argued that the content of her voices mattered, he began to explore the
idea that hearing voices is more than a symptom of disease that should be
treated with medication
Today, the Hearing Voices network is an international organization with
groups in many countries. Hearing Voices groups are facilitated by a voice
hearer and usually a health professional, and while different groups vary
in their methods, the basic idea is for people to learn to engage with their
voices and gain power over them. Controversy has often followed the groups
because they are perceived as being anti-medication (some are, and others
call themselves "pro-choice"). Tanya Luhrmann, an anthropologist at Stanford
University who has written widely on the movement, describes the origins like
this: "What Romme noticed was that attributing meaning to voices had made
a difference to someone who was hearing them. By the psychiatric standards
of the time, this was shocking. In the new biological psychiatry, which had
begun to dominate the profession in Europe and America in the 1970s, voices
were symptoms of psychotic illness in the same way that a sore throat was
a symptom of flu... In biomedical psychiatry, mental health professionals ask
whether the patient hears voices, not what the voices say."
For almost three years, Merrick led a Hearing Voices group in North
Vancouver. Her own experience of mental illness began in her late teens,
when she started feeling a hand on her shoulder. A fewyears later she began
to hear voices. It started with one child's voice, calling her name, and then
quickly became a multitude. The voices would pretend to be her friend, telling
her she was special, but they quickly drew her into a kind of paralysis. She
was working as a janitor in Vancouver at the time, and she would find herself
voices would tell her stories
ut crimes they had committed
f they were trying to elicit   I
ympathy from her. They would
ick on her when she was broke   '
nd destroy experiences she  H
enjoyed, such as listening to music
sitting in a room for hours listening to the voices. They
constantly disrupted her sleep, and one night, feeling
scared and fatigued, she saw a red vision of her soul leaving her body. She walked to St. Paul's
Hospital and checked herself in. Later she was diagnosed with schizophrenia
Over the next 15 years, her life was largely controlled by the voices. She managed to complete
a fine arts degree at Emily Carr University, but had several more stays in psychiatric wards. She
tried several medications. One caused her to gain a significant amount of weight. Another made
her chronically sleepy. None made the voices go away.
Into her mid-30s, she continued to be harassed by many voices and the feeling of hands on
her shoulders or fingers in her ears. The voices would tell her stories about crimes they had
committed as if they were trying to elicit sympathy from her. They would pick on her when she
was broke and destroy experiences she enjoyed, such as listening to music. One day she left her
home and went to stay with friends to escape them. On her return, she resolved that she wouldn't
let them control her anymore. Soon after, she was sitting on the couch and she saw a vision of her
great uncle Jack Ferguson giving her a thumbs-up. Ferguson was a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot
who was shot down in World War 11, and the brother of her grandmother. Merrick recognized
him from pictures she had seen. He started appearing to her regularly, and sometimes along with
her grandmother. They would hold up signs with simple encouraging messages, and they were
a calming presence in the midst of her terrible angst
Merrick continued to seek professional help, and during this period she was assigned to
a community mental health team. For her, this was a new model of mental health delivery.
It meant that instead of seeing just a psychiatrist, she would have a number of professionals
including a social worker, a nurse and an occupational therapist helping her with other aspects
of her life. She received help finding housing and was given a disability allowance. While she
had always felt she should work, her case manager told her she should focus on her recovery.
"That was the first time anybody had ever said that to me," she recalled
Encouraged by her mental health team, she decided to
map a new course. She had already explored many ways
of looking at her illness, reading all kinds of books and
theories. She wondered if she had experienced trauma,
which frequently figures in the histories of people with
schizophrenia, but concluded that she hadn't. She started
researching her uncle Jack and found out fascinating
details about his time in the war. She decided to ask her
uncle Jack and her grandmother if they could help her.
They said yes, they could
Merrick began experiencing new voices, but these
were different. They would have their own personas, and
they would help her with various things. One coached
her to face her fears, and another encouraged her to
notice positive things. She had visited a Buddhist temple
and learned to meditate, and over the next months she
would spend dedicated time every day communicating
with the voices she called her "spirit guides." Slowly, she
started to notice changes: her depression lifted within
weeks, and the negative voices
that had plagued her for years
started to leave her. Eventually
her team considered her recovery
complete, and her file was closed
Through her treatment with the
North Shore Adult Community
Mental Health Team, Merrick met
Gillian Walker, an occupationa
therapist. Walker had recently
worked in London, England,
where she had become familiar with Hearing Voices. She
iked the way people in the groups referred to themselves
as "voice hearers" rather than "schizophrenics." To her
that was an important shift. "It's the idea that these
experiences don't necessarily have to be entirely viewed
as mental illness. Aspects of these conditions can have
other interpretations. I find the current predominantly
Western medical model to be quite narrow and I don't
know that it's entirely helpful to be that narrow. So
Hearing Voices was a refreshing additional approach."
She and a colleague, Andrea Harowitz, both graduates
of the UBC Occupational Therapy program, had been
talking about several clients who had been repeatedly
hospitalized. They felt that the therapies available weren't
sufficient. Walker suggested they start a Hearing Voices
group. They felt that Merrick, who had completed peer
support training, would be an ideal fit to work with the
group. They asked her to be a co-facilitator along with
Harowitz. This was the first Hearing Voices group in
British Columbia
While she wasn't familiar with the Hearing Voices
movement, Merrick felt that it aligned with her own way
of thinking. She researched the method and began to work
with the group. One of the strategies she encouraged FEATURE   ■   Hearing voices
was for her clients to use their "good
voices" to help overcome the bad
ones. "Lots of people experience good
voices, but we don't associate good
voices with schizophrenia because
we've pathologized the experience,"
she says. "We think a voice is
a symptom of illness and therefore
it's always bad." She points to the
experience of Riggan, who is troubled
by the pestering voice of Birdman but
who also says it speaks "the truth."
She likens that character to the Greek
daemon, as described by Carl Jung
and Joseph Campbell
"The Greeks accepted the
experience of hearing voices, but
the daemons were not nice. They
would whip you and shove you and
make sure you did the right thing
They were like Birdman."
About six months after the group
began meeting, Harowitz and Merrick
spoke at the 2012 conference of
Psychosocial Rehabilitation Canada
in Vancouver. This helped generate
interest in Hearing Voices. Now,
Vancouver General Hospital and
Coast Mental Health have groups,
and a community group also meets
in Vancouver.
Walker also reached out to one
of her former instructors at UBC,
Michael Lee. She and Merrick visited his psycho-social rehabilitation classes
several times to talk to students in the Master's of Occupational Therapy
program. He appreciated their visits because he feels that the Hearing Voices
approach gives a necessary new dimension to the treatment of mental illness
"For the longest time we looked at hearing voices as a medical problem
and didn't really look at how it impacted on the person's daily life. We would
say, 'OK, you're hearing voices, take medication,'" says Lee, pointing out
that the role of the occupational therapist is to help a client resume their
normal activities. While more therapists are starting Hearing Voices groups,
there is not much evidence supporting its effectiveness. So in discussions
with Walker, Lee agreed to be the principal investigator on a multi-phase
small-scale research project. Three pairs of students will be contributing
towards this research project, which is part of the requirements of their
master's degrees. They will be investigating how participating in the Hearing
Voices group impacts on different aspects of recovery.
"We believe it is very crucial to enable people hearing voices to have an
opportunity to voice their perception, rather than what we've been doing
for the longest time, which is having professionals, doctors or therapists,
describing the problem. Now we encourage people with lived experience to
come forward and tell us the meaning. So this is quite a bit of a cultural shift,"
says Lee
Hearing Voices is
currently known as
an "emerging practice,"
not an "evidence-based
practice," and Walker
acknowledges that |
the model is not for
everyone and that more
peer-reviewed research
needs to be done.  I
Hearing Voices is currently
known as an "emerging practice,"
not an "evidence-based practice,"
and Walker acknowledges that
the model is not for everyone and that more peer-reviewed research needs to
be done. But she has seen the benefits that group members have gained. Much
research has supported the therapeutic effects of meeting others with similar
experiences, and people who hear voices have previously not had this benefit.
She thinks that Hearing Voices resonated with others in the mental health
community in Vancouver because they acknowledged the limitations of the
therapies currently available
"One of our clients right now is about 19, he was recently diagnosed, and he
comes to the group and he says, 'I'm okay with being diagnosed with the illness
model, I'm okay taking meds and with the idea that there may be something
wrong with my brain. But another part of me feels like I had a really spiritua
experience, and I'm interested in talking about that.' I think that means that
he's still holding on to who he is, and he's not seeing the experience entirely
as symptom. I thinkthat's an example of how Hearing Voices has helped
someone look at their identity, and where does it fit in the diagnosis. Whereas
in the past, I don't know if that conversation would have been possible." D
YOU don't have to be loud to be heard.
Learn the art of effective interpersonal and organizational
communication at our School of Communication and Culture.
To find out more, call 1.877.778.6227
or visit
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The Art of Varsity Golf
When Cory Renfrew, BA'og, walked up to the green at the 16th hole of the Phoenix Open in
February he had no idea of the ruckus he would cause. Golf fans are usually as demure as
tennis spectators, maybe more so, but the Phoenix Open has traditionally been a rowdier
event, especially in the bleachers behind the 16th green, known as "the loudest hole in golf."
Renfrew, a star during his time as a varsity player at UBC, and a regular on the PGA Canada
tour, made it into the Phoenix Open by shooting a 66 during a qualifying round. He ultimately
tied for 59th (ahead of the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson), but during his final round
he placed his second shot on the 16th just off the green, 55 yards from the pin. Renfrew sussed
the shot, lined it up and popped a little chip toward the pin. The ball took a couple of bounces
then rolled, rolled and rolled, right into the cup
Fans in the bleachers roared and leapt to their feet, throwing cups and cans over the
edge in a waterfall of beer. Renfrew pumped his fist, then watched the crowd in amazement
It's a moment in his golf career he's never likely to forget
Contrast that scene with one of an older gentleman practicing chip shots at Shaughnessy
Golf and Country Club in Vancouver. He struck a lovely shot that arced up, bounced a couple
of times and dropped into a hole 30 feet away.
"Wow, great shot," said a member of the UBC women's varsity team, practicing on the
same green. He smiled at her and said, "it would have been ifthat was the hole I was going
for." Those two examples pretty much cover the joys and the agonies of the game of golf.
Golf is a strange game. As a varsity sport it's not like volleyball, football, basketball, soccer
or hockey. For one thing, not many people who play varsity in any of those big five are likely
to still be playing in their 40s, 50s or 60s. The knees go, the back hurts, or the lungs just can't
keep up. A reasonable golfer, on the other hand, can play well into his or her 80s. Surveys show
that more Canadians golf than play any other sport
Another aspect about golf is that the very worst player - one who will never break 100 in his
or her lifetime - can hit at least one shot per round that would make any pro proud. It might be
a putt or a chip or a shot out of a trap, but that one shot will be great. Better golfers will make
more of these shots, and it's the hope of all golfers (or firm belief) that they will be able to hit
even more great shots the next round. Golf doesn't demand great prowess in the weekend
player, just determination
But of course the players on UBC's team aren't weekend players. They're the university
equivalent of pros, performing in the top five per cent, or better, of all golfers in the world
These are golfers who consider par the bare minimum of adequate achievement, who can
consistently reach a green in regulation and aren't daunted by sand traps, rough or undulating
greens. They are to weekend players what Milos Raonic or Eugenie Bouchard are to occasiona
tennis players. As they say on The Golf Channel, these guys are good
The Thunderbird varsity golf team is made up
of 11 men and six women, and plays in tournaments
against the best university golfers on the continent
T-Bird golf joined the NAIA (National Association
of Intercollegiate Athletics), a North American league
of 175 medium-to-small schools, in 1999. Since then,
the team has won a total of five championships
For comparison purposes, neither UVic nor SFU,
when it competed in NAIA, have won a championship
UBC is ranked number one among Canadian varsity
golf teams. The men's team is ranked third in the
entire NAIA, while the women's team is ranked fifth
As head coach Chris MacDonald says, UBC's program
is the gold standard for collegiate golf in this country.
MacDonald joined the program in 2000, and
is generally credited with its growth and success
He played at the high amateur level for many years,
then turned to teaching and player development
He was an assistant pro at Nicklaus North, where
he ran the Sea to Sky Junior Golf Tour, and is currently
associate pro at Shaughnessy, a position he's held for
11 years. During his time at UBC, he has been named
NAIA Coach of the Year four times
Under his leadership, the women's team has won
three NAIA championships, three silvers and three
bronze medals, and won the Royal Canadian Golf
Association's Canadian University Championship
ten of the last 12 years. In mid March, they won the
2015 Battle of Primm tourney in California by ten
strokes, carding the second best round in school history.
A week later, they placed third at the Montana State
Bobcat Springs invitational against an all-NCAA field
On the men's side, MacDonald led the T-Bird
team to the 2008 NAIA National Championship, the
first championship won by a team outside the US
The men's team is also a consistent winner at the
The players on UBC's tea
aren't weekend players.
They're the university   I
equivalent of pr
performing in the ■
five per cent, or br
of all golfers ir iU
Women's captain Reagan Wilson
holds her finish. Photo credit: Rich Lam
Canadian University Championships and places top
ten in the majority of its NAIA competitions
Coach MacDonald has strong ties with some of the
best golf courses in the Lower Mainland - Shaughnessy,
Point Grey, Beach Grove, Musqueam and Marine Drive
particularly - where team members get to play and
practice at no charge. "Learning and playing at home on
top calibre courses like these gives us a real edge over
other Canadian varsity programs," he says, and is part
of the reason the program attracts Canada's top golfers
He's also built relationships with teams and leagues
across North America, which helps him book courses
and tournaments other NAIA teams might not have
access to. "We get to play against Division 1 NCAA
teams," says MacDonald. "The NAIA has no limitations
on who we play, and NCAA ratings aren't affected by
NAIA teams, even when we beat them. We get to play
the best university teams in North America and our
players get to compete at the highest level."
Exposure to top-ranked NCAA teams pays off.
Not only does the team rank near the top in both men's
and women's divisions, current players are considered
some of the top university golfers in North America
"Evan Holmes, one of our third year players, ranks
in the top 50 in North America," says MacDonald,
"and Jack Wood ranks in the top 100. This is pretty
impressive for a Canadian school."
The women's team has also had a big impact
"Over the years we've built a strong women's varsity
team," he says. "Players like Kyla Inaba and Eileen Kelly
(both '09) were stars during their varsity years, and
have gone on to work as professionals in the golf world
It's a great training ground."
Reagan Wilson is both a typical and an exceptiona
member of T-Bird golf. A fifth year Kinesiology student,
she has been playing varsity golf since her freshman
year. "I started playing golf in Calgary when I was five," she says. "My dad was a fanatic and
he showed me how to play. Even as a little kid, people told me I had a great swing. I played a lot
of hockey and volleyball in high school, but when I was 17 or so, I decided golf was my game."
She didn't compete or play on the high school team, so she had no official golf resume to
qualify her as a potential scholarship golfer at any university. "I looked around at various schools,
but if you want to stay in Canada and play golf, UBC is the only place. UBC has the best varsity
golf program inthe country, andone of thebest academic reputations, so I came in to talk to
Chris. He watched me play and invited me to join the team as a developmental player. He took
me on faith, but I think I've done pretty well."
Pretty well, indeed. She struggled her first year, trying to get a rhythm going with her
studies, the gruelling travel for tournaments and the need to practice, but by third year she was
winning tournaments, and was named captain of the women's team. "It is demanding," she says,
"but it's been a great experience."
Wilson graduates this year and unlike many new grads, has a job to go to. "I start as an
assistant pro at the Calgary Golf and Country Club on June 1st," she says. "My goal is to get
my pro card and become a fulltime golf instructor. My coach at UBC, Keri Moffat, has been
an inspiration. Teaching is what I want to do. I can't wait to make other people love the game
as much as I do."
Players in all varsity teams are
committed to high achievement
in academics as well as their
athletic endeavours, and graduate
with degrees from every faculty
and department. And while many
grads, like Wilson, will pursue
employment in the golf world
as course pros, administrators,
teachers and broadcasters, many
others go on to become doctors,
awyers, teachers, accountants
and professionals in all fields
"I got a call from one of our grads
in California," says MacDonald
"She's an engineer in Los Angeles,
and went out for a round of golf
with her boss. She shot a 67."
Maybe not the best way to get
on the good side of your boss,
but what can you do? These
guys are good. D
xa\\       Aw
* * *
2014 Association of Independent Institutions
Champions. Photo credit: Wilson Wong
• "Have fun! Golf can teach you a lot if you
don't let it get you mad."
• "Keep your head down and hold yourfinish.
That's from my Dad. It works." The Old Gymnasium .
history of women's athletics at UBC
I '%M A :4Vi I £ 1VIM WJX llw+X A
When UBC moved to Point Grey in 1925, the facility most obviously lacking
from the new campus was a gymnasium. A gym had been included in the
initial plans, but the unexpectedly large costs of other construction had
forced its cancellation. Varsity basketball and other teams had to hold
practices and play "home" games at Vancouver school gyms, church halls,
or YMCA/YWCA facilities.
There was also a distinct inequality between men's and women's sports
in this era, and the lack of facilities made this even more obvious. Women's
teams had to schedule their practices around those for the men, usually very
early or very late in the day, and Women's Gymnasium Club sessions were
imited to an hour a week.
It was not until 1929 that a workable scheme to pay for a gymnasium
was approved. The Alma Mater Society was legally incorporated under
British Columbia's Societies Act, enabling it to float a bond issue of $35,000
Students then committed the refundable portion of their Caution Money
(a $10 fee deposited as security for good conduct and against possible
damages) towards repaying the loan
"We would have liked more
opportunities to use War Memorial,"
recalls Marilyn Pomfret, a physical
education student during the 1950s,
"but we still liked the old gym."
1 Members of the Women's Basketball
I Senior A team on their way to Prague
The gymnasium was built over the summer of 1929, and officially opened on November 9
The main playing floor was 6,000 square feet and surrounded by seating for up to 1,400 spectators
As impressive as it looked, however, the building was practically an empty shell; there was
no money left to pay for furnishings or athletic equipment. To cover this shortfall, the Alumni
Association organized its own campaign to raise
$3,000 for equipment and furniture
The new building soon became a centre of student
activity. UBC varsity basketball teams played there -
not only against local teams, but against touring squads
such as the Harlem Globetrotters. Women's basketbal
was particularly successful; in 1930 the Senior A team
won the opportunity to compete at the Women's
nternational Games. Unfortunately, women's sports
were still treated like an afterthought. While the
university gave the team permission to go, it refused
to provide financial support. It took another student
campaign to earn the team enough money to trave
to Prague that September, where they eventually won
the world championship
The gym also hosted team practices, intramura
sports events, and athletic club sessions, as well
as pep rallies and post-game dances. Until Brock
Hall was built in 1940, it was one of the few places on
campus where clubs could meet and students could
socialize. According to legend it was a favourite haunt
of former UBC Chancellor and BC Chief Justice Nathan
Nemetz during his undergraduate days. "Sonny"
Nemetz supposedly spent so much time playing chess
and blackjack in one of the gym's meeting rooms that
he almost flunked out of first year. Only the intervention
of History Department head Walter Sage saved him
- he promised to recommend Nemetz for the history
honours program, but only if he would stop missing
so many lectures
The gymnasium campaign - the first such student-led
fundraising initiative - had set an important precedent
for the further development of the UBC campus. It
was followed several years later by the funding and
construction of the first stadium and playing fields;
the campaign to build Brock Hall in 1940; and the War
Memorial Gymnasium campaign of the late 1940s
Initial plans for Brock Hall included a "women's
gymnasium," as by the mid-i930s the increasing
student population was driving a growing demand
for recreational space. Although the gym never
materialized, and women's programs were still given
low priority, funds left over after the construction
of Brock Hall were at least earmarked for women's
sports equipment
The need for expanded facilities continued to grow
over the following decade - even during the Second
World War, when extra-curricular activities were
supposedly curtailed. While women's use of the gym
was restricted in favour of military requirements,
however, time was still found for men's programs
The disparity was also illustrated by the relative lack
of women's sports coverage in The Ubyssey. This was
addressed only when women reporters joined the
publication's staff.
The space shortage was not
rectified until the opening of
War Memorial Gymnasium
in 1951. The older building
came to be used largely for
women's sports and recreation,
and became known as the FEATURE   •   The Old Gym
Women's Gymnasium. While women now had their own space for athletics (although some
men's activities continued there), it was arguably a "hand-me-down" facility compared with
the brand-new War Memorial gym
"We would have liked more opportunities to use War Memorial,"
recalls Marilyn Pomfret, BPE'54, a physical education student during
the 1950s, "but we still liked the old gym." Pomfret, who was later
a UBC professor, coach, and women's athletic director, remembers
the Women's Gymnasium well. "The floor was just big enough for
a regulation-size basketball court, or two non-regulation volleybal
courts. The volleyball courts were small - to serve, you had to stand
on the bottom row of the bleachers
"The Women's Athletic Directorate, a student leadership group
made up of sport managers and an elected executive, had an office at
the south-east corner. It was very small, with a low, sloped ceiling that
the taller girls had to be careful about. But it had its own door to the outside - a small side-door
hidden behind some bushes - and we had a key, so we could come and go as we pleased, even
after hours."
Students could sneak in through the office for late-night pick-up games, according to
Pomfret and her friend, Thelma Sharp Cook, BEd'58, another student athlete from the same
period and later UBC professor of education. "The basement also became a popular place
to study or even sleep, especially during exam time," recalls Cook. "Sometimes the janitor
or night-watchman would catch us, but they knew we were good students, so we weren't
UBC's women athletes
had contributed  ^M
significantly to the
development of ^H
organized sport for
both men and women
across the province.
kicked out. There was another small room in the
northwest corner of the building - there were always
girls there playing bridge. The gym was like an unofficia
clubhouse for women students
in those days. Most were involved in
athletics, but all were welcome."
Despite its small size and obscure
ocation, the women's athletic
office regularly received at least
one prominent visitor. "Norman
MacKenzie heard about it from his
daughter - he must have figured that
since he liked her friends, he would
ike us," laughs Pomfret. "If he was
out walking his dog on Sunday he would stop by
to visit - he'd just knock on the little door. He'd sit
down, put up his feet, and chat with whoever was
there. It was a way for him to get inside information,
from the students' point of view that, as university
president, he might not otherwise hear."
During the 1950s and 60s the campus landscape
around the Women's Gymnasium changed radically.
Women's Gymnasium (1970)
"The women's gym will have to go," said UBC
president Doug Kenny in September 1969. ■
The decision wasn't a popular one.
What was originally open space was taken up by the Buchanan Building
in 1958. As the Faculty of Arts continued to expand, Buchanan became
too small to hold all its departments and programs. By 1969 it was obvious
that the gym's days were numbered. "The choice [for an extension of
Buchanan] is between a high-rise type semi-office establishment on the
present site of the women's gym and a large horizontal expansion down
East Mall," UBC president Doug Kenny told The Ubyssey that September.
"In any case the women's gym will have to go."
In response, the AMS Student Council passed a resolution calling
on the Board of Governors to provide "an adequate replacement" for all
students to share fairly. The resolution appeared to have no effect, and
Pomfret, by then director of Women's Athletics, remembers a further
student initiative in response to this lack of action
"As plans for [the gym's] destruction moved ahead, there was no talk
of an intended replacement," she recalls. "Well, this rather riled the girls."
After all, UBC's women athletes and managers were directly involved in
the operations of the Women's Athletic Directorate and over the years
had contributed significantly to the development of organized sport for
both men and women across the province
The students prepared a report outlining their position on the need
for adequate sports facilities and equitable access. Pomfret remembers
it getting backing from many prominent people on campus. A request
was made to present it to the Board of Governors, which was finally
granted. "Two students spoke," says Pomfret, who was in attendance,
"and we were told they were the first students ever to present to the
(rather secretive) board... Nathan Nemetz was board chair and, as the
girls paused [during their presentation], he asked several times: 'So you
want a new Women's Gym?' The response: 'No, Sir. We want a new Gym
where everyone can play - women, girls, men, boys.' And a little later
'So you want a new Women's Gym?' Same answer: 'No, Sir...' The point
was well made."
Cook and Pomfret remember plans to form a human chain around the
gym, to prevent or at least delay its demolition until a replacement facility
was approved. Students discussed it over the spring and early summer of
1970, assuming that the demolition would not occur until the fall. However,
work crews arrived in August, and by the time students returned from
summer vacation the site of the Women's Gymnasium was a vacant lot
"The only thing that survived from the gym were the floorboards,"
remembers Pomfret. "They were salvaged and re-sold by the university
because they were still in such good condition."
Fortunately, the pressure exerted by women athletes and their
supporters did have an effect. According to Pomfret, it was one of the
factors behind the board's later approval of the Bob Osborne Centre,
planning for which got underway in 1970. Opportunities for women
would flourish under Pomfret's tenure as Women's Athletic Director,
nducted into UBC's Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, she is credited with
developing athletic opportunities for women at UBC and across Canada,
in particular by initiating the establishment of national championships
for university women
All but forgotten today, the first UBC gymnasium, initiated and funded
by students, was a milestone in the development of the university.
In its later incarnation as the Women's Gymnasium, it offered women
opportunities for athletic accomplishment. And even in its demise, the
gym became the focus of a concerted team effort to save it that typifies
the spirit of Athletics at UBC today. D
One of three Big Block woman's   ,
( pendants found underneath a file
1 cabinet just before the Women's A
• Gymnasium was demolished.
Just before the old gym was pulled down, it divulged one more story to add to the history of women's
athletics at UBC.
"In the Women's Athletic Directorate office," remembers Marilyn Pomfret, "there was a file cabinet
containing the teams' files. When it became obvious in 1970 that the gym was going, the students came to get
the cabinet and rescue the files. As it was pulled aside, underneath it they found three gold pendants with the
UBC Big Block symbol."
Whom the pendants belonged to is forgotten. They were originally thought to have been awarded at the
inauguration of the Women's Big Block Club in 1931. The club had been organized in part to recognize the
Senior A women's basketball world championship the previous year. It was also intended to raise the status
of women's sports by including them in the Big Block program, initiated the year before.
Further research, however, revealed that the pendants had been commissioned from Birks Jewellers at least
a decade earlier. Most likely they were awarded in conjunction with UBC's first Presentation Day in March 1921.
This predecessor of the Big Block Club awarded letters to outstanding athletes (both male and female), as well
as participants in Literary and Scientific Department activities.
"The girls from the directorate presented two of them to Marilyn and me," says Thelma Cook. "The third one
had a little different design - a 'U' around the 'BC surrounded by blue enamel. That one was supposed to go to
BrendaChinn,whowas president of the Women's Athletic Association at the time and is now with BC School
Sports. Unfortunately it was stolen before it could be gifted to Brenda - so she'll inherit mine." nimuuTMiWM i: 11 * :vj 14 v
One of the biggest news stories at the end of last year was that of
hackers attacking Sony Pictures Entertainment and issuing a menacing
warning about what might ensue if The Interview, a comedy about an
assassination attempt on the leader of North Korea, were to be released
by the distributors. There was much speculation about who was behind
the hacking (likely North Korea, which had issued similar threats in June,
said the FBI. No, not us, but clearly someone righteous, said the North
Korean authorities). Fearing terrorist attacks, some cinema chains pulled
out and Sony cancelled the release. This decision drew criticism from
Barack Obama, among others. In the end, the film was released in select
cinemas and made available online, soon becoming Sony's most successfu
digital release
Diana Bang, BA'04, who was born in Vancouver to Korean immigrants,
played the character of North Korean government official Sook-Yin Park
- the romantic interest of Seth Rogen's character in the movie. You may
remember Bang from her previous roles in TV series The Killing and Bates
Motel, and her lead role in Rob Leickner's indie feature, Lost Lagoon, which
won Best Canadian Feature at the Reel World Film Festival. Here she talks
about her route into the profession and the experience of being cast in
a big Hollywood production
When did your acting ambitions first take hold and why?
think I've always wanted to do it from the time I saw kids on TV pretending
to be detectives. Their adventures seemed so much more exciting than my
mundane life. But before acting, I wanted to be a dancer. I think I just wanted
to perform in some way, shape or form. However, I was never encouraged
to act or dance, nor did I excel at it in school. I was shy when I was younger
and dreamt about performing rather than actually doing it
What was your route into the acting profession?
While at UBC, I actually took a 100 level acting course, but at the end was
told by the professor that I should not continue with acting as I did not have
the personality for it. While a comment like that did not completely scar
me or stop me, it did lead me away from acting for about a year. I ended
up really finding my voice and stride when I fell into doing sketch comedy
with a group called Assaulted Fish. It was an environment that fostered
my confidence and ability as a performer, and introduced me to the world
of writing. Within a couple of years of performing with Assaulted Fish,
was encouraged to pursue acting more seriously, so I took some courses
around town and found an agent. Then I began my roller coaster journey
towards becoming a working actor. It's still a work in progress
Tell us how you landed your role in The Interview.
auditioned for the role. It's very rare for someone who
doesn't have some star power to be in a Hollywood film,
but it was a niche role that I somehow, and luckily, fit
How would you describe the character of Sook?
She's strong, intelligent and badass
How did you prepare for the role?
watched whatever I could find on North Korea, and
read blogs from North Korean defectors to get a sense
of what was going on. I also had to work on my Korean
as my Korean skills are equivalent to that of a two year
old. I had to enlist the help of my mom and her friends,
and friends of her friends, to help me translate some
of the English into North Korean, which is different
from the South Korean dialect
What was the most challenging thing about it?
And the most fun?
I'd say the most challenging was trying to speak
Korean when I was just given new dialogue right
before shooting. I generally need to practice Korean
before I can actually say it properly and with ease,
so having to get things translated by random Korean
extras and then being able to say it properly soon after
was definitely a challenge. I'm sure there is tons of
footage of me speaking gibberish rather than Korean
The most fun was doing the physical action stuff, like
shooting the gun, punching people and kicking down
doors. I love pretending to be a badass
What was the atmosphere like on set?
The atmosphere was very relaxed and good-natured. Everyone in the crew always expressed
to me how lucky and spoiled they felt working on this set. Seth [Rogen] and Evan [Goldberg]
really set the bar high for maintaining a fun, relaxed and creative environment, and it all started
with their easy attitudes. They enjoyed playing and being spontaneous
What was the initial reaction among cast and crew to the hacking incident and cancellation
of screenings?
I'm sure people were shocked and probably disappointed about the cancellation of screenings,
but I don't really know, as I was in Vancouver, away from the hubbub
And in retrospect, what are your thoughts about this incident?
It's still very surreal for me and I wouldn't be surprised if there was a movie about this whole
incident in the future. In the end, I'm glad people got to see The Interview, whether in a movie
theatre or on their TVs at home. There were many people who worked extremely hard to make
it happen, and I'm pleased people are getting to see their work
How was the red carpet experience at the premiere?
It was just like any other movie-going experience, except I got fancied up, had to take photos
down a short red carpet, and saw random Hollywood stars. So, you know, typical
What's next?
Whatever comes my way! D
(ffithedianabang CASTE AGAINST TYPE
A school in India is offering children from the country's lowest-ranking
caste a path out of poverty. Its first class of students is about to sit
national exams, and a lot rests on their shoulders. UBC film production
alumna Madeleine Grant decided to document their progress.
I'm in India, in the dining hall of a school in the middle of
rural nowhere. The school is for children from the lowest
caste, the former "untouchables," but the only reason
know this is from reading about the school a couple
of months earlier, after my sister came across it on
a random Google search. We'd been hunting for quality
volunteer opportunities in India (surprisingly difficult to
find) and Shanti Bhavan School in rural Tamil Nadu stood
out. Now here we are, my sister and I, an aspiring teacher
and a Vancouver-based filmmaker.
In person, we find the students to be charming
individuals with big dreams. They range from
preschool to 10th grade and aspire to be everything
from astronauts through to nuclear physicists
Caste and class discrimination have no place in this
environment, for all their continued presence in the
slums and rural villages the students call home. The
goal of Shanti Bhavan School is to provide the highest
evel of education to children from the poorest of poor
backgrounds, those designated by the government as
belonging to "backward classes." South Indian-raised
entrepreneur Dr. Abraham George founded the
school in 1997, seeing quality education as key to
empowering the destitute and breaking entrenched
cycles of socio-economic disadvantage. The school
is an embodiment of the American Dream, but this is
a truth only driven home to me today, in the dining hall,
toward the end of my stay at the school
For weeks the school has been on collective
tenterhooks. The oldest students, the 10th graders,
have been preparing to write the national 10th grade
exams. Educated at Shanti Bhavan since preschool,
they will be the first of the school's students to face
nationally standardized exams. How they do will help prove or disprove the main hypothesis of
the school - that given the opportunity, any child can succeed. The school is tense with anticipation
and the 10th graders have been isolated from the other students to allow them to concentrate
Today is the first day of exams, and the 10th graders have already filed nervously into the exam
hall. The rest of the school carries on with their morning. It is lunchtime when the exam finishes,
and I am standing at the entrance to the dining hall when the 10th graders start coming in all at
once. I'm not sure who spots them first, but the reaction is instantaneous. Everyone rises from
their meal as one, bursting into a spontaneous standing ovation that includes the entire school,
from preschoolers to kitchen staff. The shared selfless joy at the accomplishment and potentia
embodied within the 10th graders almost overpowers me. It is a revelatory
experience. It isn't until this precise moment that I fully realize what it
means to have access to quality education, and the doors it can open
My sister and I carry on with our travels, but in the back of my mind the
Shanti Bhavan experience stays with me. I decide that one day I will write
a fiction film set there (after all, narrative fiction-filmmaking is what I have
training in). In the meantime, I meet more and more families all over the
world who are bending over backwards to provide their children with a I eve
of education I've received and taken for granted. It makes me think about
what I'm doing with this education I have, which is worth such sacrifice
to so many families
The global economic crisis hits in 2008 and
Dr. George (the main financier of Shanti Bhavan
School) suffers huge losses. It looks like the school
is going to close. The students with whom I was
recently studying geography and reading Macbeth
will go back to their families, to communities where
stone-breaking and housecleaning for pitifully
minimal wages is the norm. I don't feel capable of
singlehandedly taking on fundraising or other similar
missions, but I have trained in filmmaking and I like to think of myself as a storyteller. We had
an amazing documentary professor at UBC, Academy-Award winning director John Zaritsky,
and there is a real-life story happening at this school on the opposite side of the world that is way
better than anything I could ever write. The former 10th graders, who did exceptionally well on
Madeleine Grant: there is
a real-life story happening   $
at this school on the  ^^H
opposite side of the world
that is way better than  ■
anything I could ever write.
those initial exams, are now heading into 12th grade
Given the school's current financial status, they may or
may not be the last class of the school to do so. Whether
they graduate on to college or not will determine many
fates. It is a story that is happening now, and a story
which may no longer exist a year from now.
pitch the idea of a documentary to Shanti Bhavan's
director of Operations in New York and then - upon
return to Vancouver - to a variety of funding organizations
and colleagues in the film
industry. I continue to develop
the proposal even as I work
full-time in the art department
on other Vancouver-based TV
and film productions. The story
is overwhelmingly acknowledged
as having promise, but the fact that
am a first-time feature filmmaker
is an obstacle. I am encouraged
to shoot something short to begin
with, and bring it back to potential financiers for approva
and hopefully support. I set out to India with two UBC
film production grads as my crew, the extremely talented
Mike Rae (BA'05, cinematographer) and Greg Ng (BA'05,
sound-person/editor), with the intent of coming back in six
weeks. Five weeks in, the Indian government changes its
visa regulations and I have a choice: either leave with the
possibility that I might not be allowed back in the country
in time to complete filming on the documentary, or stay
on and shoot the whole thing on a shoestring budget
Due to prior commitments, my filmmaking team has
to go backto Canada, and they do. I do not. I find myself
in the corner of the school field, the only patch of campus
with cell phone reception (one bar), on the phone with
my producing partner Jessica Cheung, BA'06. Jessica, also
a UBC film production grad, goes into intense producer
mode and calls anyone and everyone she knows. The pitch
is simple, but demanding. We need a cinematographer
who can come film in India for three months on a deferra
basis, which essentially means three months of living with
children at a school in a developing country with limited
electricity, no Internet access, and no pay aside from
flight and accommodation throughout the entire time
In addition to all this, they'd need to leave within the next
two weeks
Jessica's top choice is Nathan Drillot, a Vancouver-
based cinematographer with international work
experience. She's worked with him before. Nathan has
a ton on his plate though, and initially declines. Within
24 hours he's called her back, however; this is a story
and opportunity he can't let himself miss. Within 14 days
he's on his way to India, and I meet him for the first
time at 3:00 am at the Bangalore airport. He integrates
within the Shanti Bhavan community in no time, and his
a cinematographer who can come film in India
for three months on a deferral basis, which   ■
essentially means three months of living with
children at a school in a developing country  I
with limited electricity, no Internet access,   ■
and no pay aside from flight and accommodation
cinematography helps shape the
entire look of the film. It is one
of many serendipitous episodes
that lead to the creation of the
documentary The Backward Class.
We end up spending eight
months in India, shooting at
Shanti Bhavan school for the
most part in 2009-2010 and then again in 2012. UBC film production alumna Aynsley Baldwin is
so inspired by the story she pays for her own flight to join the film crew in India as sound-person,
and ends up coming on board as editor once back in Vancouver.
The editing process is of epic proportions, spanning approximately three years (due in part
to financing - or lack thereof). The entire project, which I'd estimated would take us two or three
years in total, clocks in at approximately five years by the time we finally finish, three days before the
documentary's world premiere at North America's biggest documentary festival, Hot Docs. We're
able to bring two of the students along to the screening, and we end up winning the Audience Award
(top out of 197 films). The film goes on to win various other awards at festivals throughout Canada,
and we end up getting theatrical distribution, a big deal for an independent Canadian documentary.
The Backward Class has played to acclaim in Toronto and Vancouver and continues to play
at festivals nationally and internationally. It is an exciting time, and incredibly validating for our team
of collaborators to know that audiences are connecting strongly with a story that we've believed in
for so many years. As for the three students who've been to Canada to attend film screenings - each
has said it is as though their own memories are up on screen, which is for me the ultimate accolade
was fortunate enough to receive a world-class education, and I'm excited to be able to share the
stories of students who were able to receive the same. D
After double-sold out screenings
at its opening weekend in Vancouver
this April, The Backward Class will
continue to screen in a variety of venues
across Canada. It is also scheduled to
play on BC's Knowledge Network and
TVOntario in 2016. Grant is working
on facilitating international distribution
opportunities, including theatrical
screenings in the US.
For screening times, see
the website and social media:
@madeleine_grant BOOKS
IN VJIlY£l%a 14 'A CTiYcl*] a;
Arsenal Pulp Press
236 pp.
Michael V. Smith, MFA'98
Assistant Professor
of Creative Writing,
UBC Okanagan
In his provocative
and candid memoir,
My Body is Yours,
Michael V. Smith tells the story of growing up an
inadequate male in a small town. In sometimes
startling detail, he describes what it is like to be the
child of an alcoholic father, how obsessive compulsive
disorder creates addictions and compulsions similar
to alcoholism, and how difficult it has been to reconcile
his fey, sissy self with societal gender expectations
Attheheartofthe book is a community of queer
artists and left-leaning politicos who have helped
Smith create both an artistic and personal space
for self-expression while challenging notions
of masculinity.
Smith alternates between anecdotes that include
childhood memories, hospital visits to his father, and
explicit sexual encounters in private and in public, but
he balances all graphic details with deep, meaningfu
moments of reflection. He does so by referencing the
words of writers, philosophers and poets as well as
people like anthropologist Loren Eiseley, who says
that we are process not reality. To this, Smith adds
the idea that gender is something you create rather
than something you are born with. Gender, according
to him, is a theatre we all perform. It's just that some
performances, such as those of heterosexual males
and females, are more widely accepted than others
This idea is why people feel threatened by Smith,
and by his drag persona, Miss Cookie LaWhore
At the end of Smith's memoir, he has come to
terms with his inadequate masculinity as well as
his inadequate, alcoholic father. Anyone who believes
that gender is a simple binary should read this. But
be forewarned, it is as graphic as it is illuminating
V "I - - 1
Penguin Canada, 2013
Penguin Canada, 2009
Penguin Canada, 2008
384 pp.
A trilogy by Joseph Boyden
(UBC Lecturer, Creative Writing Program)
Joseph Boyden's trilogy, comprising The Orenda,
Three Day Road and Through Black Spruce, attempts
to reconcile the cycle of violence and injustice done
to First Nations peoples with the reality of day-to-day
existence. The books explore themes of friendship,
family, loss, redemption, survival, innocence and
identity, and while the novels unfold chronologically -
from the 17th century to the First World War up to the
present day - there is no need to read them in order.
In fact, Boyden wrote The Orenda, which takes places
in the 1600s, after the other two books. In combination,
the three novels tie together threads of violence,
racism and addiction so often emphasized in writing
about native peoples, but Boyden upsets this simplistic
narrative by telling a story across centuries and placing
the horrific alongside the human, revealing that the
need to love and be loved gives one the will to survive.
The seventeenth century Huron warrior, Bird,
from The Orenda is an ancestor of Cree sniper Xavier
Bird, whose story is told alongside his aunt, Niska,
and friend, Elijah Whiskeyjack, in Three Day Road,
a haunting tale of the horrors and brutality of the Great
War. Niska's life in the bush is in stark contrast to the
residential school, which wrecked Elijah, and the war,
which destroyed Xavier's body and spirit. The story
is one of death and devastation but in the end, it is
a tale of healing and love.
Both Niska and Xavier also figure in Through Black
Spruce, a story about legendary Cree bush pilot Will
Bird, son of Xavier. Will's niece, Annie, is a favourite
of her grandfather, Xavier. She also has the seeing
powers of Niska, her great aunt. Annie and Will's story
is characterized by obsession and addiction as well as
the juxtaposition of the urban and rural. Like the other
two novels, there is murder and mayhem. Women are
raped and beaten. Drugs and alcohol are abundant
and problematic.
In the end, Boyden's masterful storytelling shows
how it is possible to soldier on in the face of violence
and injustice. In combination, the three novels elucidate
a long, complicated history so often breezed over
in news reports and anecdotes. While there are no
answers here, Boyden reveals that life is as simple
as it is complex.
Three Day Road won the Amazon/Books in Canada
First Novel Award and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction
Prize in 2006. Through Black Spruce won the 2008
Scotiabank Giller Prize.
Douglas & Mclntyre, 2015
378 pp.
Adam Lewis Schroeder,
BFA'95, MFA'99
(UBC Lecturer,
Creative Writing Program)
Adam Lewis Schroeder has
used hyperbole, satire and
sarcasm in crafting All-Day
Breakfast, a humorous zombie
tale that is a social commentary on apathy, consumerism
and racism. A large part of the story revolves around the
gory, meaningless violence that has killed more than five
million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
since 1998. The book alternates between the loss of limbs
in the DRC with the body parts that fall off and are then
stapled back on to high school substitute teacher Peter
Giller and his zombie students. As with all humour writing,
All-Day Breakfast is transgressive. It uses the living dead
as a metaphor to highlight the wilful ignorance the genera
public shows toward global atrocities
Giller, whose wife recently died from stomach cancer,
tries his best to raise his two children in the most norma
way possible. But he is falling apart. When he refuses
to sign a petition in support of the Nbzambi March, an
initiative intended to raise awareness of the atrocities in
the DRC, one of his students accuses Giller of putting his
children's needs over the greater good. "Nice priorities,"
says Grace, who tells Giller that Nbzambi is the Congolese
word for the walking dead
Even before the accident during a class trip that turns
Giller and his students into zombies, Giller is half dead
After the accident, though, Giller and the students develop
an obsession with bacon, an inexplicable urge to commit
violence and an unnerving ability to drop fingers and other
body parts then staple them back on. Houses are burned
down. People are run down in the street. Violence escalates
So does the urge to eat bacon. Through all of this, Giller
attempts to maintain whatever shreds of humanity he can
"A zombie's anything that's wounded, like left for
dead, but keeps moving forward, against all odds," says
the mother of one of the zombie students. "It could be
a mouse in a trap, a whacked out substitute teacher
or... a reanimated corpse." To this her daughter replies,
"Could be an impoverished African nation."
All-Day Breakfast speaks to the absurd ability people have
of moving forward in their lives despite being half dead
Rini nr,ia FniirATnp Aiun rnKKFRVATiniuKT
Harbour Publishing, 2015
416 pp.
Edited by Wayne Campbell,
Dennis A. Demarchi, and
Ronald D. Jakimchuk
■{Si 1 ii-u 1 if.j notfRHpM) iiikii.iv, icpeccivt-nioMowunwin
Ian McTaggart-Cowan
Zoologist and biologist
Ian McTaggart-Cowan lived
to be 100 years old. During
his long life, he served as
the curator of biology and
assistant director of the
British Columbia Provincial
Museum, was appointed
head of the Department
of Zoology at UBC, served
as the dean of the Faculty
of Graduate Studies at UBC,
was named Officer of the
Order of Canada, became
a fellow of the Royal Society
of Canada, was awarded
the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award by the Wildlife Society, became chancellor
of the University of Victoria, co-wrote four volumes of The Birds of British Columbia
and was recognized in 1991 by the Order of British Columbia.
The Legacy of a Pioneering Biologist, Educator and Conservationist is a tribute to
his accomplishments and scientific contributions.
The book includes sections of speeches and lectures delivered by
McTaggart-Cowan during his illustrious career, details of his connections to
environmental organizations, as well as anecdotes from acquaintances and
students. Deborah Kennedy, the development and communications manager
for the Nature Trust of British Columbia, recalls a conversation she had with
McTaggart-Cowan about the importance of nature as the foundation of his career.
"If you spend part of your life alone in the wild," he said, "you are changed."
McTaggart-Cowan spent a lot of his time alone in the wilderness, researching
large mammals in Canada's national parks. His focus, from early on, had been
on learning about the complexities of the natural world so that he could apply
that understanding to the preservation of the environment. In a 1969 speech,
he wisely noted, "The laws of our society follow the pattern of ancient ethics
that are often poorly suited to governing a complex, crowded, rapidly changing,
technological world."
McTaggart-Cowan worked hard to counteract what he called the natural
tendency to do the wrong thing. His legacy as a leader in protecting the
environment lives on in the attitudes and wisdom he shared with his students.
This book is a testament to that legacy. D 1J 'J' I
The Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre was the
setting for the recent 94th annual Big Block Awards and
Sports Hall of Fame Banquet, which welcomed almost
150 current Thunderbird athletes into the Big Block Club
and honoured 125 former Thunderbird swimmers for
making Canadian university sport history by winning
10 consecutive CIS men's and women's national titles
from 1998 to 2007. During this aptly named "Decade of
Dominance," 42 international swimming competitors -
including 13 Olympians - emerged from UBC and won
a combined total of 109 medals
As the swimmers swarmed the stage, former team
captain Greg Hamm told the 900 in attendance that
the group boasted numerous high achievers. "We've
even got a nuclear physicist up here!" shouted Hamm,
a 1998 Commonwealth Games medallist, pointing to
former team mate Will Walters
The architect of the program, former head coach
Tom Johnson, was enshrined in the Builder category,
while two of his most successful swimmers, Brian
Johns and Kelly Stefanyshyn, were inducted in the
Athlete category. A three-time Olympian, Johns won
33 of 34 CIS races during his university career, including
his world short-course record performance in 2003
in 400-metre individual medley. Stefanyshyn won
31 CISmedalsdu ring her time at UBCandwasa gold
medallist at the 1999 Pan American Games
Eleven current Thunderbird teams were represented
among the winners of the 12 Big Block Club awards
The Bobby Gaul Trophy for Graduating Male Athlete
of the Year went to track and cross country star Luc
Bruchet, whose highlights include running the first
sub-four-minute indoor mile in UBC history and setting
a UBC record in indoor 3,000 metres. Bruchet was an
NAIA All-American in each of his four seasons and
has competed for Canada at the World Cross Country
Swimmer Savannah King and basketball player
Kris Young were named co-winners of the May Brown
Trophy for Graduating Female Athlete of the Year. One
of the most dominant distance swimmers in Canadian
university history, King wrapped up her career as
a four-time CIS Champion and a two-time CIS Swimmer
of the Year. A multiple record holder and Grand Slam
champion in both the 400m and 800m freestyle, King
also competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Young
Current T-birds celebrate their 2015 men's
and women's CIS National Championship victory.
finished her basketball career in second place among UBC's all-time scoring leaders with
2,384 points. She is the only T-Bird to ever win the Canada West Player of the Year award twice,
while earning CIS All-Canadian and Canada West All-Star honours three times. During her five
years at UBC, she twice led the Thunderbirds to the CIS Final 8 national tournament. Both times
she was named a tournament all-star. She also set a new school record for points in a game,
scoring 40 in a 2015 CIS quarter-final
The Bus Phillips Memorial Trophy for Male Athlete of the Year was awarded jointly to
swimmer Coleman Allen and baseball pitcher Conor Lillis-White. Allen led UBC to victory
at the 2015 CIS Championships, where he set three individual butterfly records while winning
four gold medals. He also is a member of the Canadian national team, representing his country
at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and earning his
first international medal at a FINA World Cup meet
in Singapore last fall. In 2014, Lillis-White allowed just
four earned runs in 78.2 innings, setting a new UBC
baseball record with a 0.46 earned run average, the best
in the NAIA. The left-hander also eclipsed the old mark
set by long-time Major League Baseball pitcher Jeff
Francis. Lillis-White finished the season with a perfect
9-0 record, 75 strikeouts and three shutouts while
helping the Thunderbirds to a NAIA West Grouping
championship and a berth in the opening round of the
NAIA World Series.
Cross country and track runner Maria Bernard
captured the Marilyn Pomfret Trophy as UBC's Female
Athlete of the Year. Last spring, she led the women's
track and field team to a third-place finish at the NAIA
national meet, winning the 3,000-metre steeplechase
and helping UBC win gold in the 4 x 800-metre relay.
This past fall, she paced the Thunderbirds to a third
straight NAIA cross country team championship,
winning the individual title in the process. Bernard
was an NAIA All-American in both track and field
and cross country. D
UBC alumnus and philanthropist Ken Woods has donated $1 million
to support awards and special projects for Thunderbird Varsity student
athletes in Athletics & Recreation. "To assist students who aspire to excel
both academically and athletically is indeed an honour and an excellent
way of giving back to my alma mater," said Woods... It's been several years
in the making but field hockey alumna Lesley Magnus and recently retired
head coach Hash Kanjee have completed their magnum opus salute to
a century of UBC field hockey. Their book, UBC Women's Field Hockey -
Celebrating 700 Years, was published thanks to a generous gift from UBC
Sports Hall of Fame member Charlotte Warren. The book is available for
purchase at the UBC Bookstore or Amazon... Architect and former UBC
Soccer All Canadian Alex Percy is back on campus working on a project
near to his heart. An associate with Acton Ostry Architects, Percy is
a member of the design team for the new National Soccer Development
Centre... Basketball alumna and scoring record holder Kelsey Blair
has returned to Vancouver following a pro stint in Sweden and is now
working as a children's and youth book author. Her latest book, Pick and
Roll, is part of the Lorimer Children and Teens Series... Football alumnus
and 1997 Vanier Cup champion Art Tolhurst is now an assistant strength
and conditioning coach at the University of Oregon, where he has worked
with the likes of Heismann Trophy winner Marcus Mariota... Olympic
track star and former UBC athlete and coach Thelma Wright is still in fine
condition, good enough to win her age category in this year's Vancouver
Sun Run... Back in March, former UBC steeplechaser Jeff Symonds won
his first career Ironman title, besting a three-time Ironman champion to
claim the Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne and securing a spot in
the Ironman World Championship this October in Kona... UBC women's
field hockey legend Shelley Winter Andrews and multi-sport star John
Haar were inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame on May 28. Selected
in the Athlete category, Winter Andrews starred for UBC from 1971 to 1976
and on Canada's national team from 1975 to 1986. Haar enters as a builder
for his tireless workin support of Canadian amateur baseball... Rugby
Canada's Senior Women's team has said farewell to Thunderbird alumna
Kim Donaldson, who recently announced her retirement after a decade
of international play. The arts graduate made the tough decision to put
an end to her playing career after finishing last season on a high note by
helping Canada to silver medals in the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup...
Entrepreneurial football alumni Aaron Horowitz and Zack Silverman are
at it again, this time with their all-natural craft Caesar mix called Walter
Caesar. Neither one started out in the food industry, but became heavily
involved in speciality beverages a few years ago with the launch of their
Brooklyn, New York-based award-winning Kelvin Slush trucks that are
increasingly ubiquitous across the USA... Former T-Bird catcher Greg
Densem is living the dream these days as a bull-pen catcher for the Toronto
Blue Jays. The former junior national team member got a call on Easter
Monday and two days later he was on his way to join the Jays at Yankee
Stadium... Former UBC rugby player Craig Chamberlin also has a new job
as president of Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario... Football
alumnus and former UBC assistant coach Joe Gluska was honoured for
more than 50 years of contributions to amateur football with the Bobby
Ackles Award for Lifetime Achievement at the recent BC Community
Football Association's Orange Helmet Awards. 't\
Michael D. Meagher, BSF'57 PhD'y6, has been granted life membership in the Association of
BC Forest Professionals. Meagher's career centered on reforestation, including establishing
plantations, examining logged or burned land to determine regeneration actions needed,
seed-needs planning, seed production, genetics and tree breeding. After earning an MSc in
Toronto, he served as lecturer before returning to UBC for doctoral studies in western hemlock,
during which he was a sessional lecturer. Meagher and his wife of 50 years, Birgitte, live in
Victoria and raised two UBC Students: Kirsten in Vancouver and Patrick in Victoria, both
the parents of boys. Mike's hobbies include lobbying and educating the public on the virtues
of Garry oak, BC's only native oak tree, and its role in the urban forest, the Forest History
Association of BC, tennis, golf and gardening.      Charles Krebs, MA'59, PhD'62, professor
emeritus (zoology), has been awarded the Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement
in Northern Research. He is one of the world's preeminent field ecologists, and accolades for
his work are numerous. They include Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Norwegian
Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Australian Academy of Science and of the Royal Zoologica
Society of New South Wales. He has also been awarded the President's Medal from the
Canadian Society of Ecology and Evolution and is an honorary professor in the Institute of
Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.      Cancer cells feed on cholesterol, and for
14 years, Andras Lacko, BSc'61, PhD'68, professor of integrative physiology and anatomy and
When Liam Harrap, BA'14, and Jake Alleyne, BASc'14, received their hard-earned degrees,
they wanted to do something "big" before life's commitments got in the way. But unlike
grads who choose to celebrate their academic excellence - and freedom - with a big bash,
or backpacking trip around Thailand, the friends opted to take a hike - 85,500 km hike from
Jasper, AB, to Mexico. This trek along the Great Divide and the Continental Divide trails had
been agreed upon and sealed with a handshake three years previously.
The hike required months of meticulous planning. The duo pored over maps, dehydrated
hundreds of pounds of food and, closer to their departure date, stored food caches along sections
of the route. On April 25,2014, the friends - both former members of the UBC Varsity Outdoors
Club and Triathlon Club - strapped on their 100 lb backpacks and embarked on the adventure
of a lifetime. They conquered the challenging, rugged terrain with skis, snowshoes and hiking
boots, covering an impressive 50 km each day. And of course, just like any epic adventure, it had
its highlights: skiing down Mt. Clemenceau (fourth highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies);
receiving care package deliveries from their parents; meeting fellow hikers; and playing cribbage
on the summit of Mt. McLaren (9,350 ft). And its low points: walking 121 km in ski boots; eating fire
starter-tainted food; endless blisters; falling down a moraine face-first at 6:30 am; and, tragically,
travelling through Pie Town, New Mexico, in the off season when all the pie stores were closed.
On New Year's Eve 2014, Harrap and Alleyne completed their trek in Puerto Palomas, Mexico,
and celebrated with the finest $10 bottle of bubbly from Walmart. The eight month trek not
only provided the pair with an epic adventure, but also some clarity regarding their future:
Harrap is considering enrolling in a journalism program and Alleyne is actively looking for
a job in environmental engineering. Harrap's advice for recent grads: "Don't worry if you graduate
and you're not quite sure yet what you want to do. We didn't. So we went on a long walkabout
and had a good ponder about it." As for any future adventures in store for the friends, there's talk
of hiking from Jasper to the Alaska Highway or Nahanni National Park, NWT, next year... maybe.
pediatrics at the University of Texas, has studied the
potential of drug-carrying synthetic "good" cholesterol
nanoparticles' (rHDL) for cancer-drug delivery.
This unique drug-delivery method makes it possible
to bypass normal cells and go straight to the cancer
cells, eliminating the harmful effects of chemotherapy.
And now, thanks to funding from the Cancer Prevention
and Research Institute of Texas, Dr. Lacko and fellow
researcher Anil Sood, MD, will be able to expedite
human clinical trials involving the use of nanoparticles
to fight ovarian cancer.      This June Lloyd Burritt,
BMus'63, MMus'68, will debut his opera, Miracle Flight 571:
An Opera in Concert, at Roy Barnett Hall. The opera is
based on the 1972 plane crash in the Andes and tells
the true story of survivors Nando Parrado and Roberto
Canessa who made the trek from the 12,000 foot glacier
to find safety and rescue for the remaining survivors
■  Last May, James Thorsell, PhD'yi, was awarded
"honorary citizenship" at the UNESCO conference
on sustainable development and protected areas for
his work advising on the management of natural world
heritage sites in China. In July, he was named to the
board of NatureServe in Arlington, VA - a non-profit
organization that provides high-quality scientific
expertise for conservation.      Olympian and long-time amateur sports
advocate, Joy Fera, BRE'y2, received the 2014 In Her Footsteps Award
from ProMOTION Plus, alongside renowned figure skater Bev Viger. The
Celebrating BC Women in Sport event honours female athletes, coaches,
officials, judges, pioneers or advocates who have contributed significantly
to girls and women in sport. Fera rowed for Canada at the 1976 Montrea
Olympics and won bronze medals with the eight crew at the World
Championships in 1977-78. She co-founded the Delta Deas Rowing Club
and has been a rowing umpire since 1989. In 1988 she organized the first
Scholastic Regatta on Deas Slough in Ladner, drawing girls and boys from
the Lower Mainland, the Interior and Washington State. She competed and
medalled at the 2005 and 2010 World Masters Alpine Skiing Championships
and has been a member of the Canadian Masters' ski team since 2008
The Delta Sports Hall of Fame has named Fera Master Athlete of the Year
on three occasions. In February 2015, she was inducted into the Canada
Games Hall of Honour.      Don Alper, PhD'y6, retired from Western
Washington University on December 31, 2014, after 43 years. A professor
of political science, he also directed the Center for Canadian-American
Studies from 1993-2014 and the Border Policy Research Institute from
2005-2014. ■ David Guy, EdD'82, winner of the Coolie Verner Prize in
his graduation year, was subsequently awarded a 1990 New Zealand
Commemoration Medal for his services to adult education in his home
country. Recently, Guy's been in the UK leading the implementation of
knowledge exchange strategies and systems to maximise the impact
of research and engagement between those who generate knowledge
alumni UBC Travel Club
It's your travel experience
and those who apply it in public, commercial and community sectors. ■
Graham Heal, BA'83, is now director of Africa Development for Stonecrest
nvestment Funds, adding Sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to SE Asia, as
a region of focus. "Stonecrest is building upon its investments in women's
capacity development in Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, to drive impact
investments in affordable housing, agri-business, renewable power
generation and 'conflict-free' mineral processing and trade," says Heal. ■
Jonathan Reinarz, BA'92, has been appointed professor of the History
of Medicine at the University of Birmingham (UK) and is completing
the manuscript of his tenth monograph (edited with Rebecca Wynter) -
Complaints, Grievances and Critiques of Medicine: Historical and Social
Science Perspectives, published by Routledge (London).      In celebration
of UBC's Centennial, Thunderbird field hockey alumna Lesley Magnus,
BA'oo, BEd'02, and former UBC field hockey coach, Hash Kanjee, MHK'02,
have released the book, UBC Women's Field Hockey - Celebrating wo Years
The book takes readers on a photographic journey into the minds and
hearts of players and coaches as they proudly represent UBC across the
years. All book sale proceeds will go to UBC's Women's Field Hockey
program.      Since publishing a Spanish novel last summer, Reza Emilio
Juma, BA'01, has appeared in more than 20 different media outlets. His novel,
Mil Besos, won an award and an honourable mention in the Andalucian
showcase after being nominated by the highly-respected Andalucian Centre
of Literature. Juma is currently working on finishing his second novel, set
to be released this summer.      Internationally-renowned storyteller and
best-selling author Richard Van Camp, MFA'03, is releasing six books this
Myanmar River Cruise led by Paula Swart,
UBC Continuing Studies instructor,
Art Historian and Museum Curator
March, 2016
Request a detailed itinerary today!
1-800-387-1483   |   416-633-5666
or visit
to browse all upcoming tours.
alumniuBC class acts
Armed with a master's degree in entrepreneurship from Brown
University and an electrical engineering degree from UBC, Ashmeet
Kapoor, BASc'08, initially returned to India in 2010 to work on rural
electrification. However, as a consumer and proponent of organic
food, his focus shifted when he found it difficult to find genuine
organic produce. Naturally, the entrepreneur sought a solution.
After a year of planning and research, including visiting villages
and farmers across India and even becoming a farmer himself, Kapoor
launched I Say Organic. The business venture is an online organic
food company in New Delhi that purchases organic produce directly
from the farmer and delivers it to the customer's front doorstep.
Working directly with the farmers, Kapoor has successfully reduced
expenditures by streamlining what was previously an inefficient
delivery process with four to six middlemen, and substantially
reducing spoilage by utilizing cold storage facilities. The benefits
from these cost-saving measures are passed on to both the farmer
and the consumer. Kapoor pays his farmers 25 percent more for their
crop than the mandi (farmers' wholesale market) and the consumer
receives fresh certified organic produce at an affordable price.
Kapoor explains: "In urban centers, our efforts are focused towards
creating a convenient and affordable service for delivering fresh,
safe and healthy food straight from the farm to your plate. For rural
development, we want farming to regain the respect it once had
and become a profitable livelihood option." Kapoor also encourages
participating farmers to make their planting decisions based on signals
from the marketplace rather than what generations of their family have
grown for years. "We focus on creating a market for organic products
and promote a demand-based planning of the fields, so more and
more farmers find it profitable to convert to organic," he says.
The company employs 35 staff and partners with 100 farmers.
"Through the progress we've made so far, our farmers are earning
40 percent more than they were earlier, and over 5,000 households
in Delhi-National Capital Region have been able to lead a healthier
lifestyle by opting for organic fruits, vegetables, grains, oils, and
much more," Kapoor says.
Follow I Say Organic on Twitter @iSayOrgank.
year, including short stories, novels, graphic novels and non-fiction
Van Camp says they were inspired by his hometown of Fort Smith,
NWT.      Gregory G. Forrest, MASc'04 (mechanical engineering)
has qualified as a Canadian Patent Agent. Forrest provides patent expertise
at McMillan LLP.      YannickThoraval, BA'04, recently published his novel,
The Current. Commended by judges of the prestigious Victorian Premier's
Literary Award, the novel tells the story of one man's obsession with
saving a Pacific island from the effects of global climate change. Thorava
is donating proceeds from the sale of his book to Adult Multicultura
Education Services, Australia's largest provider of humanitarian settlement,
education, training and employment services for refugees and newly arrived
migrants.      On June 30, 2014, after a brief but energetic academic career,
Jack Miller, EdD'04, retired from the School of Education at Thompson Rivers
University (TRU). Miller, whose career as a full-time instructor at TRU
began in 2001, taught in both the Bachelor of Education and Master of
Education programs. After completing his EdD, Miller was elected chair
of the department. In 2007, Miller served as interim dean for four years
and was also acting dean of the School of Social Work and Human Service
Miller was active in campus life, supervising many master's students,
conducting his own research, and collaborating with local First Nations
in the search for culturally appropriate methods to assess First Nations
anguage proficiency. He was a long-time member of the TRU Senate,
including a term as vice-chair, and was also a member and vice-chair
of both the Budget Committee of Senate and the Academic Planning
and Priorities Committee. In 2005, Jack started the TRU Cross-Country
Running team, which eventually became a Wolf Pack varsity squad
He continues to coach the Wolf Pack Cross-Country and Indoor Track
teams, both of which are now in CIS competition. For his dedicated service,
Miller was awarded professor emeritus status in July 2014. Jack and his
wife, Verna, also retired, hope to do more travelling in their motorhome
as well as interesting rides on their Harley Davidson motorcycles. ■
Josh Hergesheimer, BA'04, and his brother, Chris (PhD candidate), take
readers on a cross-, continental journey into the meaning of '"local food"
in their new book, The Flour Peddler: a global journey into local food. The story
recounts the brothers' journey travelling from the lush rainforests of BC's
Sunshine Coast to the farthest reaches of South Sudan. Their goal: to build
a bicycle-powered grain mill in the world's youngest country and donate
it to a women's cooperative. Along the way the brothers battle overcrowded
buses, hazardous roads and impossibly short deadlines, and face their
biggest challenge when war breaks out.     Troy Conrad Therrien, BASc'05,
was recently appointed curator of Architecture and Digital Initiatives at the
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation in New York. As the first
person to hold this new position, Therrien will contribute to the development
of the museum's engagement with architecture, design, technology, and
urban studies, in addition to providing leadership on select new projects,
including the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition. His appointment
follows the announcement of a record-breaking number of architectura
submissions to the open and anonymous competition and the launch of
the project's popular, interactive, online gallery of entries. Therrien will help
organize an exhibition of six shortlisted submissions to be held in Helsinki
in the spring of 2015, and will play a key role in developing and articulating
the programmatic elements of the proposed museum.      After graduating
from UBC, Dylan Murphy, MSS'06, and Yuanyuan Yin, BEng'08, got married
three times - twice in New York and once in China. They both quickly
became leaders in their fields working for IBM and, although they were off to
a great start in the corporate world, something was missing from a persona
perspective. After the loss of a family member and an unexpected hospita
stay, Dylan and Yuanyuan left their jobs at IBM and started the company
SuperHealos, with the mission to empower kids who are facing challenges
Their first book, Adventures in the Hospital, introduces some of the things
that the kids might see in hospital and teaches them that it's not so scary
when you're a SuperHealo. For more information visit: www.SuperHealos
com ■ Tyler Mifflin, BFA'08, is the co-creator, writer, and co-host of the
award-winning series, The Water Brothers. Now in its third season, the
show features Tyler and his brother, Alex, embarking on adventures around
the world to explore the most important stories surrounding the planet's
water resources. The series is available in more than 40 countries including
the US, where it is now available in 50 million homes on Pivot, and wil
soon be broadcasted in BC on The Knowledge Network and in Quebec on
Radio-Canada.      In November 2014, UBC creative writing alumna Christine
Leclerc, BFA'08, MFA'10, received the bpNichol Chapbook Award for Oilywood
(Nomados Books). The award recognizes excellence in Canadian poetry
published in chapbook form. Oilywood draws on research conducted on
the beaches of Burrard Inlet and Kinder Morgan's tar sands pipeline.
Last summer, Zoe Shipley, BA'ri, studied the stunning ecosystems, diversity
of life, and fascinating array of unique desert plants at the Bahia de los
Angeles UNESCO World Heritage site, and in the crystal blue waters of the
Sea of Cortez. Shipley, a SUN AmeriCorps member at Clear Creek Middle
School in Portland, OR, took the graduate course in pursuit of her master's
degree from Miami University's Global Field Program.  • Paul Davidescu,
BCom'n, and Jonathan Hill, BASc'n, pitched their pocket concierge app,
Tangoo, on the CBC's Dragon's Den, and made it out alive. The app organizes
a night out based on the user's mood. Users select the occasion and their
'moods' and the app recommends a curated selection of restaurants and
bars based on the criteria selected. Although Dragon Arlene Dickinson
has made them an offer, Davidescu and Hill politely declined, confident
they could find more suitable investors who'd give them a better valuation
■ Willie Kwok, BSc'13, is co-founder and CTO of SeamlessMD, named one
of Canada's Top 20 most innovative companies in 2013 by CIX (Canadian
nnovation Exchange). The mobile software platform enables healthcare
providers to engage, monitor, and care for patients across surgical episodes
of care.      This fall, Sara Eftekhar, BSN'13, DipEd'14, will be pursuing a master's
degree in international studies, peace studies and conflict resolution at
the Rotary Peace Centre at the University of Bradford, UK, after receiving
a Rotary Peace Fellowship. Eftekhar was one of four Canadians selected
for the program and the youngest recipient to date. She has worked and
volunteered in nine countries around the world and has represented Canada
at the United Nations University and International Youth Conferences
The 25-year-old has initiated several projects for refugee and immigrant
youth within her role as the BC ambassador for the Canadian Council for
Refugees and the executive director and co-founder of Civic youth group,
and has represented Canada at the UN Headquarters on a youth program
with the UN Alliance of Civilization. Most recently, Eftekhar worked with
refugees in Cairo and represented Canada at the First Global Forum on
Youth Policies. In recognition of her work, Eftekhar has received a Queen
Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, an Outstanding Youth Award,
the YWCA Vancouver's Young Women of Distinction award and is the
youngest person to be named as one of Canada's Top 25 Immigrants. D
When Andrew Wilson, BHK'14, visited Nicaragua on a volunteer
trip in 2010, he witnessed the scarcity of medical care in rural
communities. He also met a gifted local student who dreamed of
becoming a doctor so he could provide health care in his community,
but who would never be able to afford an education. Meeting that
student was a game changer for Wilson: "I had no choice," he says.
"I had to do something about it."
Wilson saw the potential foryoungNicaraguansfrom rural
communities to become a catalyst for change. He recruited doctors,
health care professionals and activists, includingfellow UBC grads
Michael Carlson, BSc'09, and Sarah Topa, BA'08, and founded Doctors
for Doctors (DFD) and Nurses for Nurses (NFN) with the Canadian
charity Global Peace Network. The project provides medical and
nursing school scholarships to rural students in Nicaragua, providing
them with an opportunity that would otherwise be out of reach.
"We work with partner organizations on the ground in Nicaragua
to find high-potential young people in areas where medical care is
especially sparse, and build strong relationships with all stakeholders
to ensure long term success in these communities," says Carlson,
who is director of Operations.
The first student was funded in 2010, after Wilson biked
across Canada and ran a marathon to raise money. And, thanks to
a successful fundraising campaign in 2014, the project has recently
funded a second student and hopes to open a health care clinic that
will specialize in providing maternal and neo-natal health services.
"This is just the beginning for us," says Wilson. "We acknowledge
that the problems rural Nicaragua faces are about more than just
a shortage of doctors. In addition to helping students become doctors,
we want to make it possible for them to provide care in rural areas
where facilities and infrastructure do not currently exist."
What started as a one-man operation has grown to a team of
20 professionals with diverse backgrounds dedicated to improving
the quality of life for impoverished, rural communities. Wilson,
who recently graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic
College, makes it clear that this project is about removing barriers
to health care access, and that support from all types of health care
professionals will be vital if it is to realize its full potential. "The ultimate
goal is to help rural communities get access to the care they need,
and we think every health care profession can assist in that," he says.
To find out more about the project, or to volunteer, visit and follow Doctors for Doctors and
Nurses for Nurses on Twitter (S)dfd_nfn. Ml
rS T->
Wesbrook Villas
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Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada
Dr. Macdonald passed peacefully with family by his
side on Tuesday, December 23,2014, in his 97th year.
He will be deeply missed by Liba, his beloved wife of
'al     almost 50 years. He leaves behind his loving children,
Kaaren (David), Grant (Jan), Scott (Christine),
Linda (Jerry), and Vivian (Rob). He was a cherished
grandfather to Kristin (Scott), Jason (Veronica), Justine
(Tyler), Vanessa, Julianne (Robert), Christopher, Laura
(Jay), Richard, and Michelle. He was a proud great-grandfather to Tatam,
Kol, Jayde, Satchel and Lia. Dr. Macdonald graduated from the University
of Toronto (U of T) in the middle of World War II, served as a Captain in
the Canadian Dental Corps, and after the war, studied microbiology at the
University of Illinois and Columbia. On returning to a teaching and research
appointment at U of T, he rose quickly to become the founding director of
the Division of Dental Research. His reputation as a scientist and educator
ed to an invitation to move to Harvard in 1956 as a professor of microbiology
and director of the Forsyth Infirmary. In 1962 Dr. Macdonald became the
fourth president of UBC. His advice led to the establishment of Simon Fraser
University (SFU) and Victoria University, allowing UBC to concentrate on the
development and expansion of graduate education and research. In the 70s,
Dr. Macdonald was CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities, where he was
a powerful advocate for "collective autonomy," arguing that the 15 universities
should use the council as a vehicle for planning and implementing the evolution
of the Ontario system - because they were best qualified to do so, and because
failure to do so would invite government intervention. During the last years of
his career Dr. Macdonald was president of the Addiction Research Foundation,
a research affiliate of the World Health Organization. Dr. Macdonald served
as a consultant to governments, universities and colleges in both Canada and
the United States. For his contributions as a scientist and academic leader
he received honorary degrees from Harvard, the University of Manitoba, SFU,
UBC, Wilfrid Laurier University, Brock University, the University of Western
Ontario, the University of Windsor and U of T. He is an Officer of the Order
of Canada. In lieu of flowers, please visit for ways to donate
towards the preservation of Lake Simcoe
John passed away peacefully on Monday, June 16, 2014. The beloved husband
of 68 years to Myra Hammond, he loved his six children, 14 grandchildren
and nine great-grandchildren, unconditionally. His subtle sense of humour
will be missed. He was born in Nuneaton, UK, on March 8,1920, and grew up
in Kelowna. After receiving his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering,
he joined the Canadian Army, serving in the Royal Canadian Electrical and
Mechanical Engineers and spending a brief time in England. Upon returning
to Canada, he worked with Ontario Hydro operations. Looking to the future,
he joined the nuclear power division, becoming assistant superintendent and
then the commissioning operations superintendent of the Bruce Nuclear Power
Station at Douglas Point, and eventually finishing his career in Toronto. He was
a gentle, patient man of few words who enjoyed time with his family - bedtime
stories were his specialty. His creativity in his workshop was boundless
Children were happy recipients of handmade whistles, boats and other toys,
and his totem poles marked many a cottage, campsite or portage. Growing
up in the Okanagan, he sang in the Anglican Church choir for years. John
often reminisced about happy times spent at the UBC Outdoor Club cabin
on Grouse Mountain. His love of the outdoors was shared with his family,
who recall fondly the many canoe trips and camping holidays in Algonquin
Park. John was a keen badminton and tennis player. He enjoyed years of
Scottish dancing, bridge with adult friends, and endless cribbage and euchre
games with children and grandchildren. John's final years were spent in the
warm and loving care of his extended family and the staff of Post Inn Village
in Oakville, where he was affectionately known as King John. Dad was and
will always be an inspiration to his family and will be missed terribly.
Roy, aged 96, of Wilmington, DE, passed away on
September 3, 2014. In addition to his UBC degree,
he received a degree in civil law from McGill University.
He proudly served in the Canadian Army working in the
ab on chemical warfare products. Roy was employed
by Ridout & Maybee, LLP, a law firm practicing patent
law in Canada. He worked for DuPont in Wilmington,
Haseltine Lake in New York, Johnson & Johnson in
New Brunswick, NJ, and Hercules in Wilmington, from where he retired in
1994. He was a member of the Patent and Trademark Institute of Canada
and Mensa. Roy enjoyed attending the University of Delaware/Osher
Lifelong Learning Institute, both to teach and take classes. He had numerous
professional papers published. His passion was reading and writing. He was
an avid current events enthusiast and was very active in his community. He
enjoyed spending time with the family. Roy was predeceased by his parents
and his brother, John, of Victoria, BC. He is survived by his loving wife of
44 years, Monika; his sister, Marjorie (Ray) McFadden; daughters Francis Ann
(Edward) Borisenko and Victoria Stagg; grandchildren Adam, Andrea, Andrew
and Malcolm; great-grandchildren James and Thomas; and numerous nephews
and a niece. In lieu of flowers, you can donate to
Dave was born on January 14,1922, in Vancouver
and passed away peacefully on December 21, 2013,
just shy of his 92nd birthday. His father, Professor
Harry King, was one of the founding fathers of UBC's
Department of Agriculture and his mother, Aletta King,
was active in the Faculty Wives Association. In 1945
Dave received degrees from UBC in agriculture and
commerce. He married Ruthy Parnum in 1949 and lived
in Langley, where he was district manager for the BC Electric Company. Dave
believed passionately in the ability of the free enterprise system to create
a bigger pie that could be shared by all, and devoted his career to pursuing
the economic development of BC. Dave, Ruthy and their children, Julia, Harry
and Anne, moved backto Vancouver in i960, settling in Kerrisdale near his
parents. Following the expropriation of BC Electric, Dave remained with BC Hydro and later served as executive secretary of the BC Harbours Board and
as a commissioner on the BC Energy Commission. He played key roles in
the development of the Peace River hydro project and the port at Robert's
Bank. Dave and Ruthy moved to West Vancouver in 1974, where they enjoyed
a tranquil setting, great bridge club, and their four grandchildren, Christopher
and Eric Mueller, and James and Aletta Leitch. Following Ruthy's untimely
death in 1993, Dave married their long-time friend, Sally Carter, and after her
death in 1998, married Gail Gillespie who passed in January 2013. Dave was
a devoted son, cherished husband and responsible father. His children fondly
recall family excursions where "taking the scenic route" often resulted in
finding the latest pulp mill or highway construction project, and time in ferry
ine-ups was spent doing mental math games. He lived a good life, was well
loved, and will be missed
Eleanor Grace Bennett of Rye, NY, passed away on January 31,2014, in
Greenwich, CT, surrounded by her daughters and her dear aide, who held her
hands as she prepared for her final journey. Eleanor was born on February 25,
1925, in Victoria to Albert and Grace Mayo. She graduated from UBC in 1945
with a BA in physics, followed by a master's in 1947. After graduation, she
worked for the National Research Council in Ottawa in the field of optics
and co-authored a number of papers in that field. Eleanor married Reginald
B. Bennett, BASc'42, MASc'45, on September 15,1951, in Vancouver. Upon their
marriage, the couple moved to Bahrain, where Reg was employed at the
BAPCO oil refinery. Their first daughter, Eileen, was born there. Circumstances
ed them backto North America in 1957 and they eventually settled in the
New York City area, where Eleanor was a devoted wife to Reg and a devoted
mother to her two daughters. Upon Reg's retirement in 1982, the couple
enjoying travelling, visiting (among other places) Russia, China, Australia,
Norway, Egypt, and Chile. Reg passed away on January 13, 2011, after 59 years
of marriage. Eleanor is survived by her daughters, Eileen (Bill) Colleary and
Anne (Michael) Long; seven grandchildren: Michael (Kim), James (Katie),
Shannon and Thomas Colleary, Candice, Charles and Melanie Long, and
great-granddaughter Aibhlin Colleary.
July 14,1921 -May 16,2014
Gordon passed away, aged 92, leaving lola, his best
friend and partner for 68 years; son Tony (Margaret);
daughter Tami (Phil Hollman); and grandchildren
saac and Dominique LeBlanc. Born in Vancouver to
A. Richard (Dick) Knight (Herefordshire, UK) and Lily
Blanche James (Nfld), Gordon had a rich, varied and
wonderful life. He graduated Kitsilano High School in
1939, attended UBC and trained in the RCAF as a navigator from 1943 to 1945
n 1955, Gordon set up a private practice as a consulting engineer specializing
in water and waste management projects. In 1965, in partnership with
classmate Martin J. J. Dayton, he founded Dayton & Knight Ltd., Consulting
Engineers, which operates today as Opus DaytonKnight Consultants Ltd
Gordon and lola were early members of the Hollyburn Country Club and
West Vancouver Yacht Club. After retiring in 1982, Gordon enjoyed travelling,
boating, cycling and hiking, and was an avid swimmer at the West Van
Aquatic Centre right up to the last few months of his life. He contributed to
the communities of West Vancouver and Lions Bay and volunteered on various
commissions. He began his lifelong sport of skiing on Hollyburn Mountain in
the 1930s and was a member of the UBC Ski Club in 1942 and of the post-war
Varsity Outdoor Club in 1945. When Whistler opened, Gordon and lola were
weekend skiers, hikers and cyclists there for 37 years, eventually finishing these
activities back on Hollyburn. It was while pursuing these activities that Gordon
and lola sought to retain the venerable Hollyburn Lodge. With Bob Tapp they
formed the Hollyburn Heritage Society with goals of restoring the lodge and
collecting the history of the local mountains. Donations to Hollyburn Heritage
Society to rebuild the lodge are appreciated:
■• >   . Bill passed away peacefully at Lions Gate Hospita
_   ^Jr*    in North Vancouver on February 8, 2013. He was
t£    predeceased by his brother, Jim, BSc'50, and his parents
IkSg     Bill is survived by his wife of 55 years, Kirsten, BSR'83;
i^Uf^    sons Gordon (Jean) of North Vancouver and Peter
^^■1 I    of Berkeley, CA; grandsons Rob (Nicola) of Vancouver
and Alex of North Vancouver; sister Fran of Burnaby;
brother-in-law JU of Denmark; sisters-in-law Lotte of
France and Maureen of Illinois; nephews and nieces Michael, Kemp, Sandy,
Lizette, Michael, Michelle, Fred, Jakob, Ida, Niels and Catherine; and extended
family and friends throughout the world. Bill was born in Winnipeg on
December 9,1925, and at an early age moved with his family to the Victoria
area. He attended Victoria College then graduated from UBC in electrica
engineering. He helped work his way through college and university by
playing professionally in the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and various swing
bands. After graduation, Bill worked in Montreal, Windsor, Syracuse and
San Francisco, before settling in North Vancouver in 1964. As a professiona
engineer, he was an electrical discipline specialist and held senior positions
on major projects, mainly in the pulp and paper industry, in Canada, USA,
Turkey, China, South America and Southeast Asia. His memberships included
APEGBC and IEEE. He was also a registered professional engineer in severa
American states. Bill played trombone in various musical groups and toured
with his bands in Switzerland, Germany, Mexico and the Bahamas. He enjoyed
the BC mountains and spent many happy hours skiing and hiking. His other
hobbies included photography and international travel. Bill was a wonderfu
and generous family man who gave freely of his time to friends, neighbours
and community activities. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him
Predeceased by his beloved son, Scott, and his
cherished wife, Joyce, Jim is survived by his loving
family: son Dorian (Yvonne); daughter Jan Currie
(Don); daughter-in-law Candice Melton; sister-in-law
Jan Cummings and brother-in-law Ken Moore;
five grandchildren; nieces and nephews; and many
wonderful, lifelong friends, and colleagues from the
Vancouver School Board and beyond. Jim was a kind
and generous soul and he made a difference in the lives of those lucky
enough to know him
Jim passed away on August 13, 2012, in Naperville, IL. He is survived by his
wife, Dr. Maureen (nee Kleba) McCorquodale; sons James Alexander (Margi)
and Dr. Michael Shannon (Dr. Ruba); daughters Lizette
Jean (Paul) Hudson and Michelle Erin (Brad) Artis;
grandchildren Jessica McCorquodale, Austin James
Artis and Dylan Artis; sister Frances (the late Samuel)
Levis; and nephews Dr. Michael and Kemp Levis, Gordon
and Dr. Peter McCorquodale; and predeceased by
his former wife, Annette (nee Cole). Jim was born on
August 27,1927, to Alex and Annie Elizabeth Catherine
(nee MacKay) McCorquodale in Winnipeg, and grew up in Victoria. He
worked a year as a chemist with British American Paint Company (BAPCO)
in Victoria, and went on to earn a PhD in biochemistry from the University
of Wisconsin-Madison. He then held a post-doctoral fellowship at the Max
Planck Institute in Munich and spent the rest of his career as a professor
of biochemistry. He made notable research contributions in biochemistry,
cytogenetics and virology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Emory University, the University of Texas at Dallas, the Medical College
of Ohio in Toledo, the Northwestern Memorial and Michael Reese Hospitals
in Chicago, and Midwestern University in Oak Brook, IL. He taught courses
in medical school curricula and was research advisor to numerous graduate
students who went on to make their own contributions to science. He fondly
appreciated the fine arts as both a baritone and trombone player, and
a self-taught piano player. He enjoyed travelling, practicing his German, nature,
poetry, gardening, bike riding, football, golf, stimulating conversations, fine
dining, bridge, square dancing and taking long walks with his family. His loving
family will dearly miss his unwavering love, patience, support and wisdom
Ronnie Wilson, director of classic television series such as The Pallisers,
To Serve Them All My Days, The Mill on the Floss and How Green Was My Valley,
died aged 84. While at UBC, he immersed himself in The Players Club, directing,
painting sets and taking leading roles in many productions. When he was 22,
he went to London and for 12 years worked as an actor on stage and in radio,
television and film, appearing in The World ofSuzy Wong, The Dambusters and
The Avengers. In 1959 his agent sent him and a young actress, Gay Cameron,
to audition for a stage production of Fool's Paradise - they married in 1964
That same year, Ronnie received a grant from the Arts Council enabling
him to begin his career as a director. He went on to direct many successfu
television productions over the next 20 years. He was a BAFTA and Emmy
finalist and winner of the Broadcasting Press Award for To Serve Them All My
Days. For 20 years he taught at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where
he was well loved by his many students. Ronnie died of a heart attack while
swimming in the sea off Milford, in Hampshire. He is survived by his wife,
Gay; his children, Charlie and Fanny; and two grandsons
Born in Dunblane, Scotland, on July 15,1922, Ken passed away in Victoria on
April 19, 2014, with his wife of 30 years, Jane, at his side. Ken joined the RCAF
in 1941, and after being discharged, attended Victoria College from 1946 to
1948. In 1953 he joined Harman and Company, subsequently becoming senior
partner at Harman MacKenzie Sloan and Murphy. From 1953 to 1969, he served
as the Saanich prosecutor and also as a defence lawyer. He represented trade
unions and companies in the labour law field and was a labour arbitrator. He
served as president of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Victoria Bar
Association, as returning officer for Oak Bay constituency, and as director
of the Victoria GolfClubandCJVI Radio Station. He held memberships
in the Oak Bay Police Commission, the National Council of the Canadian
Bar Association of the Provincial Council of the BC branch, and the University
of Victoria Board of Governors. Ken took a great interest in young people,
coaching Little League baseball and managing the YMCA Swim Team
He was a great role model for younger lawyers and judges. In 1981 he was the
first Victoria lawyer appointed a judge of the County Court of Vancouver Island
since 1963 and in 1990 he was appointed a Supreme Court justice. After retiring
in 1997, he served as a mediator until 2002. In 1999 he served as adjudicator
for the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. Ken was a member of the
Union Club of BC, and an avid golfer and member at the Victoria Golf Club for
47 years, where he once had a "single digit" handicap. He loved golfing, hiking
and travelling the world with Jane. Ken is survived by Jane; his children, Lynn,
Lloyd, Susan and Steve; stepsons Tony and Shaun; and by 15 grandchildren,
12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Ken had a wonderfu
and often subtle sense of humour and was a gentle man. He will be missed
by all who knew him
In September 2013, the BC high-technology sector
lost one of its pioneers. Werner (Vern) Dettwiler
died suddenly at the age of 78 in Switzerland, where
he had been living with his wife, Cecile. Vern was hired
as the fifth employee of the fledgling UBC Computing
Centre. That first computer (only the second in the
province) had a 34-kilobyte memory and was so large
that it was delivered in a moving van. Between 1957
and 1968, UBC used five different mainframe computers. Vern witnessed
amazing changes during his working life, as computers kept getting faster and
developing more capacity: Resisters replaced tubes, printed circuit boards
replaced individually soldered circuits and were in turn replaced by microchips
Vern eventually became head of New Projects at UBC, a job he loved for its
novelty and challenge. His drive and enthusiasm lead Vern to team up to start
MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) in 1969, a high-level computing
firm supplying complete systems: hardware and software. He was involved
in creating satellite receiving stations, weather prediction programs, and
robotics (such as the Canadarm on the US space craft); the Canadian Police
nformation System; and air traffic control systems. MDA, which started
with a handful of men working part-time from the corner of a basement,
has grown to become an internationally recognized leader with more than
4,800 employees. Vern was on the executive of the Institute of Electrical and
Electronics Engineers. He served for two terms on the Canada Standards
Council and was involved with the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Vern loved music, flying, trains, walking in the Alps, and his family. Vern is
survived by his wife, Cecile, BA'y8; daughters Pamela, BSc'86, and Sarah, BA'86;
and granddaughter Katherine
Don was hardworking, irrepressible and known for his humorous, flippant
remarks. Don grew up in Powell River and attended UBC from 1955 to 1959
Following graduation, he worked in a variety of fields in the Canadian Rockies
including avalanche control, construction and teaching. In 1972, he moved back
to the coast to become the resource centre coordinator for the Burnaby Schoo
Board, a position he held for 25 years. In the 1980s, Don and his wife, Heather, founded Galena Publishing, which created postcards of
the Kootenays, an area they loved and eventually retired
to, settling in the town of Nelson. Don was an active
member of UBC's Varsity Outdoor Club (VOC), first as
a student and then as a grad member. For more than
50 years he was coordinator for past members who were
in the club during the 1950s and 60s, helping to organize
a yearly ski reunion in the Okanagan and, later on, an
annual "Larch Lurch" autumn hike in the Rockies. As a mountaineer, Don was
described by alpine historian Chic Scott as one of Canada's leading alpinists
in the 1960s. He was a member of successful expeditions to Mt. Logan, Yukon
(1959), and the first ascent of the Pioneer Ridge on Mt. McKinley, Alaska (1961),
as well as quarter master of the First Canadian Himalayan Expedition (1964)
In 1966-67 Don was seconded by the Alpine Club of Canada to mobilize the
government-sponsored Yukon Centennial Expedition to the Icefield Ranges
of the St. Elias Mountains. In all of these alpine endeavors he was joined by
a large contingent of VOC grads. As Marion (nee Gardiner) Boyd, BA'63, BSW'64,
MSW'66, stated at Don's celebration of life, he "was the glue that kept our VOC
community of the late 1950s and '60s together for many years." He will be
missed by family and friends.
George, beloved husband of Iris, passed away peacefully
on April 10,2014, in Toronto. George studied economics
and political science because he believed a strong
economy was a precursor to implementing change in any
society. His passion for improving the living conditions
in his homeland, Jamaica, compelled him to complete
a master's degree in public administration at Carleton
University and a master's degree in economics at the
University of Toronto (U of T) before returning to Jamaica in 1962. From 1962
to 1966, George worked at the Central Planning Unit, the Development Finance
Corporation, and the University of the West Indies (UWI) hospital in Kingston,
JM. As assistant administrator of the UWI hospital, he received a fellowship
to study at the School of Administrative Medicine, Columbia University, NY.
After returning to Canada in 1966 and gaining a master's degree in socia
work in 1968 at U of T, George joined the Ontario Human Rights Commission
(OHRC) becoming its executive director in 1976. He will be remembered for
his strength of character, integrity, sense of outrage at injustice, engaging
personality and infectious laugh. George's legacy is his vast contribution to
the arena of human rights in Ontario. He was a fantastic leader who provided
stimulus for change, led the struggle for equal opportunity in every endeavor,
and was instrumental in establishing new structures within the OHRC, such as
a community race and ethnic relations unit. George used his fine intellectua
powers to combat injustice, which was rampant in the social fabric of Ontario
His remarkable achievements at the OHRC changed the social dynamics of
Ontario. George spent his entire life thinking about how to rid our society of the
evils of harassment and discrimination. Now that his earthly watch is over, he
can rest in peace having realized his dream of making the world a better place
Born in Glasgow in 1936, Robert died in White Rock of lung cancer in 2014
In his early career, he worked as head of circulation at UBC library, chief
ibrarian at BCIT, and subsequently served as the consultant on libraries to
the provincial government and was instrumental in
improving library services to educational and medica
systems. After serving as executive director to the
Management Advisory Council, Robert started his
own consulting firm, advising on systems and training
staff from more than a hundred small Lower Mainland
businesses. Robert was a founding member of the
Council of Post-Secondary Library Directors; one-time
President of the BC Library Association; and an officer or member of severa
committees of the Canadian Library Association, receiving several awards
for his contributions. After retiring, Robert and his wife, Betty, volunteered
for Rotary International and the Canadian Executive Services Organization,
helping plan, organize and improve computer and library services at overseas
institutions and businesses. Robert worked tirelessly on developing and
improving the computer program that connects the public health system to
the remote area around Jeremie, Haiti. This system has been recognized as
unique and outstanding in its outcomes by US Aid, the UN and other health
organizations. He founded "Help for Haiti Consortium" and was awarded
the prestigious "Service Above Self" Rotary award in 2012. That same year,
he was recognized by the President of the Haitian Health Foundation when
he was honoured at the White House. He was an honourable, unassuming
man. His intellectual curiosity and sense of humour made him an interesting
companion. He was a loving husband of 33 years to his wife, Betty; a loving
father to his two stepchildren, Zakiya of Seattle and Waleed of Singapore; and
a loving grandfather to his two granddaughters, Jasmin and Jade. He will be
much missed by his family, by those he worked with, and by all who knew him
Bill was born on June 17,1933, in San Fernando,
Trinidad. He completed his high school education in
I    Trinidad and then moved to Vancouver in 1956, having
been accepted into the engineering program at UBC
Bill married Elma in 1959 and graduated from UBC
in 1961. He then completed a two-year post-graduate
scholarship with the UK government. Bill and Elma have
five children (Natalie, Steve, Cathy, Dana, BSN'01, MSN'14,
and LeeAnn, BEd'07); 16 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. In 1971,
Bill returned to Vancouver, where he worked as Chief Electrical Engineer
with DW Thompson & Co. A year later, he incorporated his own engineering
consulting practice and completed more than 1,000 projects. In 1982, Bill
undertook a five-year overseas contract with the Government of Trinidad and
Tobago as electrical consultant. In 1987, Bill's practice resumed in Vancouver
and he was active in it until 2013. Bill died on October 24,2013, of ALS. His life
was eventful and satisfying, filled with the joys of a long marriage, large family,
many friends, and the success of his professional career. His family marked the
first year anniversary of his passing with loving memories of his outrageous
stories, the pride he took in his family, and a generous spirit
J.F.D. ILOTT,S£d'64
I938 - 2074
A gentle giant to everyone he knew, our dad communicated in actions,
not words. Born and raised in BC, Fred finished his master's degree at the
University of Western Washington in 1967. He finished his PhD in education
at the University of Missouri in an astounding three years. The motivation
behind his speed became apparent when, upon graduation, he returned
to Bellingham and quickly married his former classmate, Helen Matthews
(nee Bresnahan). The new family moved to Canada, where Fred became
a professor at the University of Alberta. In 1996 Fred and Helen moved to the
Hood Canal and built their retirement home. He is predeceased by his parents,
Fred and Cecilia, and his wife, Helen. He is lovingly remembered by his sister,
Leslie (Leo); his children, Lorin Matthews (Kerry), Marna Matthews (Paul),
and Wendy llott (Tobi); and his grandchildren, Sarah, Tom, Alex and Chris
Don was born in Kingston, ON, on October 23,1943, and died in Nelson,
BC, on April 20, 2014, aged 70. He was a long-time resident of Nelson,
where he worked as a lineman for the City of Nelson before retiring in 2003
Before that he worked for the Federal Government as a meteorologica
technician in various postings including Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. During
the last third of his life he became a Catholic, and his faith and his church were
very important to him. He was a very shy, kind and loving man, beloved of all
who knew him. He was a nature and animal lover, a patron of the arts, an avid
reader and had a great appreciation for poetry, literature, fine art and classica
music. Predeceased by his parents, Viva and Frank Flood, he is survived by his
dog, Shadow, his brother, Steve, and his sister, Elspeth. He is also survived by
nieces, nephews and cousins, and by many friends including his close friends,
Ron and Sara, Danielle and James. He will be much missed by them, by his
neighbours and by his church community
Karen Rowden Milne passed away in comfort on June 12, 2014, after suffering
18 months with cancer. She is mourned by her partner of 44 years, Graham
Milne. Born in Halifax, Karen grew up in Whitehorse and Kamloops. Karen
was an artist with Canada Council Bursaries in 1970 and 1971, which led to
an exhibition of her wearable sculpture at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1971
She was awarded Canadian and US patents in 1973 and 1974 for a garment
design and method of dressing. From 1974 to 2004 she and Graham operated
Graham Milne Photolab, making fine prints for enthusiastic photographers
In 2002 Karen was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for
her relentless work in protecting the environmental values of North Vancouver.
In 2014 she was given the Living City Award from the City of North Vancouver.
She created and If you knew Karen
please remember her well
his passion for the rest of his life. He received a Bachelor of Rehabilitation
and Medicine degree at the University of Alberta, establishing the Hys
Centre Physical Therapy clinic shortly thereafter. David sold the clinic to
LifeMark and became a regional vice president of the company, managing
clinics in Alberta and Manitoba. David was a man with numerous hobbies
and interests who travelled the world. He loved being with young people
and touched the hearts of many during Serve trips to Mexico and El Paso,
and while coaching teams and leading youth groups. His playful mind games
always left kids shaking their heads, scheming for their chance to retaliate
David always said that he would be forever young. He will live on in the
hearts of those who knew him. We love you, Dad
1934 - 2071
Geoffrey was born in Bramley, Yorkshire. In 1952 he
received a state scholarship to attend the University
of London, graduating from the London School of
Economics in 1954 and receiving the Allyn Young
Honours Prize. A Fullbright Scholars grant enabled
him to obtain his PhD at the University of California at
Berkeley, his thesis being classical theories of overseas
development, a subject he pursued throughout his working life. He taught
at Harvard from 1958 to i960 while supervising the study program for foreign
service fellows under the Harvard Development Advisory Service, along
with participation in Pakistan's Second Five-Year Plan. He spent i960 to
1965 as a research fellow and instructor at the Australian National University
in Canberra, with research work in Papua New Guinea. His three children
were born in Canberra. Returning to the US, he taught at Williams College
in Massachusetts while supervising specially selected mature foreign student
fellows at the Centre for Economic Development. Geoffrey started his career
at UBC in 1968, where he founded the Centre for Southeast Asia Studies,
retiring as its director in 2001. He was one of a select Canadian Educators
Group invited in 1976 to visit institutions in China. He organized the first
international conference for Southeast Asian Studies in 1979 and was twice
elected president of the Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies. He was
greatly respected and valued by colleagues in Canada and abroad, having lived
in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam working with their governmental agencies
and their universities. Dedicated to equality, justice and compassion, he
touched the lives of many. Learning, understanding and laughter was his way.
7967 -2072
In Prince George, on September 29,1961, God blessed the van Driesum
family with a most precious gift - a son, David Alexander. First and foremost,
David loved God profoundly. Each day, he lived his motto for his life with his
words and actions: love God, love family and love others. He taught us the
art of living life to the fullest, as well as serving God and others wherever and
however we can. David was and will always be the rock of our family. David
spent his childhood roaming the forests and fishing along the banks of the
Nechako River. In 1984, he married Mary and was blessed with two daughters,
Emily and Alison. He loved all "his girls" dearly. No mountain was too high,
no task too great - anything to put a smile on their faces - they were the
centre of his being. After receiving his degree, he worked as a social worker
in Prince George, later returning to school to pursue a career that became
Please note that the next two print issues of Trek will be special
centennial issues that may not include all of our usual departments.
Although we are still accepting obituaries, unfortunately we are
unable to guarantee their timely publication.
Please submit obituaries to including
"In Memoriam: first name, last name, class year" in the subject line,
or mail to:
alumni UBC, 6163 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6T1Z1
Obituaries should be 300 words or less (submissions may be
edited for length and clarity where necessary). Mail original
photos or email high resolution images - preferably 300 dpi. What is your most
prized possession?
My life experiences. They are
something nobody else has and
they teach me how to become
a better person
Who was your childhood hero?
My mother. She is a hard worker and
has given me the best life I can have,
no matter what struggles she went
through to do it
Describe the place you most like
to spend time.
Singer-songwriters need alone time
like spending time in my home to
think, reflect and write songs. If you'd
asked me three years ago, I'd have
said Hawaii, because I love warmth,
nature and swimming with turtles
What was the last thing you read?
The Consequences - a book I bought
when stuck at the airport because
Wanting Qu moved to Canada from China as a teenager in order
to improve her English and attend school. Although she stuck to
the plan for the first few years, by 2005 she was focusing most
of her attention on writing and performing songs on piano, while
sidestepping parental pressure to pursue a career in business.
During the summer of 2009, Qu took some music courses at
UBC and was in the process of applying for a full-time program
when something big happened: Terry McBride contacted her.
McBride is CEO of the Nettwerk Music Group, which has managed
artists such as Sarah McLachlan, Dido, and Coldplay, and Qu had
sent him a demo of her music. Soon after meeting her, McBride
signed Qu to the label. Since that pivotal summer, Qu, who sings
in English and Mandarin, has become a platinum-plated superstar
in Asia with millions of fans. (This has not gone unnoticed by
Tourism Vancouver, which appointed her Vancouver's first tourism
ambassadorto China in 2013.)
With her home base in Vancouver, Qu has been leading
a dual life: superstardom in Asia and relative obscurity in North
America. Determined to crack the market here, she has released
an English-language album and last year went on tour at venues
across North America. You can watch how her career unfolds
by following her on social media:
North America: (fflWantingQu |
China: |
of the cover image. I spend a lot of
time on planes and so have usually
seen all the movies
What or who makes you laugh
out loud?
My friends
What's the most important lesson
you ever learned?
That everything happens for
a reason. If you expect something
to happen and it doesn't, just
be patient and know there is
a reason. You won't know what
it is immediately, but you'll
know eventually.
What's your idea of the perfect day?
It would start after a really good
sleep. It has to be sunny and warm
and I'd have to be near the oceans
or mountains - close to nature
would spend it surrounded by love
What was your nickname at school?
Chili pepper. I was feisty and
would always think I was right
Now I'm nicer and more diplomatic
What would be the title of
your biography?
The Things You Don't Know
about Wanting
Or: Life is Like a Movie
What item have you owned
for the longest time?
came to Canada from China
when I was 16. I still have
a traditional Chinese dress from
my childhood and a lot of photos
What is your latest purchase?
Recording software for a friend
Whom do you most admire
(living or dead) and why?
admire Amy Winehouse - not
because of her personal lifestyle,
but because she was so real and
so vulnerable. She didn't sugarcoat
anything. I find her honesty brave
and rare. It touched a lot of people
What would you like
your epitaph to say?
"She lives on through her music."
If you could invent something,
what would it be?
A potion that makes someone
understand how others feel and
think. If everybody understood
each other there would be more
harmony in the world
In which era would you most
like to have lived, and why?
'd be a flying dinosaur, millions
of years ago
What are you afraid of?
The unknown
Name the skill or talent you would
most like to have.
wish I could do my own
accounting and I wish I could
speak more languages
Which three pieces of music would
you take to that desert island?
Coldplay: "FixYou"
Amy Winehouse: "Our Day Will Come"
Anything from the movie soundtrack
by Hans Zimmer for The Holiday
Which famous person (living or
dead) do you think (or have you
been told) you most resemble?
My friends in Asia say I look like
the writer Sanmao My younger
fans say my music style reminds
them of Taylor Swift
What is your pet peeve?
Stupid and slow computers that
don't do what they're told
What are some of your
UBC highlights?
took a Balinese music course in
the summer of 2009. I had to learn
to play a Balinese instrument and
all the different rhythms, and the
teacher was awesome. The campus
is beautiful, but the music school
is too far away from the SUB
Sometimes there wouldn't be time
to get there and back for lunch! D
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