2012 Alumni Honour Society Inductees

Introduced in celebration of the University's 35th Anniversary in 2002, the Alumni Honour Society recognizes the achievement of successful alumni within the global community. The alumni inducted into this prestigious group have served as role models to our students and the broader University community through success in their vocation, outstanding community service or superior accomplishment in their avocation.

René Barendregt (BASc '71)

René Barendregt has been a faculty member of the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Lethbridge since 1982 and took on the role of associate dean in 2001. Dedicated to his profession and respected by his peers, Barendregt's work in the field of physical geography is currently funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada. In addition to his research, Barendregt has served the U of L community as a member of the Board of Governors, the Senate and the General Faculties Council.

Viola Cassis (BA '97)

Viola Cassis started her career in international humanitarian work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), where she was instrumental in revising the organization's guidelines on the prevention and response to sexual- and gender-based violence, and helped to develop policies to ensure gender-equitable access to UN refugee interventions. Cassis currently works with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and has been involved in various CIDA programs in Afghanistan. She has made field visits to Kabul and Kandahar to liaise with Canadian Forces, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, and other government agencies.

Marilyn Smith (BFA '96) (Multidisciplinary)

Marilyn Smith has more than 30 years of experience in the arts and culture sector and is currently the executive director of the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG). Since Smith took on this role in 1999, SAAG has increased revenue over 200 per cent, while membership, programming and sponsorship have also increased. Recently Smith oversaw renovations of SAAG and implemented a three-year strategic plan designed to capitalize on the new facilities. Last fall Smith was honoured with the 2011 Rosza Award for Excellence in Arts Management from the Rosza Foundation.

Gayle Strikes With A Gun (BEd '88)

Raised on the Piikani Nation in southern Alberta, Gayle Strikes With A Gun has been a leader in education for 25 years. After completing her bachelor of education, she worked as the project co-ordinator for the Four Worlds development project, an initiative aimed at helping Blood and Peigan women develop the skills and training necessary to prepare them for post-secondary education at the University of Lethbridge. Over the course of her career, she worked as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and acting superintendent in schools across Alberta and in the Northwest Territories. In 2011, Strikes With A Gun was elected the first female chief of the Piikani Nation where she remains committed to helping her people's youth.

Bruce Thurston (BASc '78)

With close to 35 years of experience in business, Bruce Thurston brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to his teaching role in the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Management. He is also currently the CEO and president at Management Resource Services, a company that provides management consulting and training in leadership
development, organizational change, workforce diversity and staff development. In addition to his professional responsibilities, Thurston has generously served the community by volunteering his time with local organizations including the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce, the Society of Management Accountants of Alberta and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery.

Keith Walker (BASc '79)

As the director of Library Services at Medicine Hat College, Keith Walker is respected for the innovation and passion he brings to his profession. As the first college librarian to serve as president of the Canadian Library Association in the organization's history, Walker successfully led a major review and restructuring that saw the organization's first balanced budget in over a decade and a doubling of memberships. In 2003, Walker received the Community and Technical College Libraries Outstanding Academic Librarian Award and the Industry Canada Award. The following year, he was honoured with the College and Technical Libraries Innovation Achievement Award.

This story first appeared in the June 2012 issue of the Legend. For a look at the entire issue in flipbook format, follow this link.