It was 1969, a year of firsts; Bryan Adams got his 'first real six-string', Neil Armstrong took humanity's first steps on the moon and Don Chandler (BASc '73), University of Lethbridge Alumni Association (ULAA) president and partner at Meyers Norris Penny LLP, became the first person in his family to attend university.
"None of my family had ever gone to university. Most of them didn't even finish high school so going to university was not an expectation, but I was quite academically inclined and it just seemed natural to proceed on to the University," Chandler remembers.
Attending the two-year-old institution, Chandler's campus experience was quite different from that of today's students.
"When I started, U-hall did not exist and the campus was at the college site. We went from trailer to trailer for classes. I remember it was very small, only about 800 students and there were not a lot of places to do anything. We used the college library and our basketball games were at the Civic Centre downtown."
While some may have argued such a small institution could not possibly offer a good education, Chandler disagrees. Majoring in geography, he knew all his professors by name.
"They knew us so well that if we didn't perform to their expectations we did not get a good mark. I had senior courses with only four students, so you could not pull the wool over the professors' eyes," laughs Chandler. "It challenged me to work hard and do better."
An avid curler, Chandler got involved with the campus curling club and uncovered a passion for community involvement that would become a way of life.
"I was introduced to the sport in Grade 10 and began curling competitively right away. I became president of the University curling club during my second year and found out that I had abilities to organize groups and events, follow through with them and make them successful," Chandler explains. "I have done a lot of that since then."
Indeed, he has. Chandler received his chartered accountant designation in Edmonton in 1977. He and his wife Nadine then returned to Lethbridge where he would begin his accounting career, and his reputation as a driving force in the community.
"When I moved back, I immediately got involved with the Lethbridge Curling Club executive. I have been the treasurer for many years and was the president in 1985-86. I was involved in organizing the high school curling league in 2000 and still coach at the high school level. I also coached my children in curling and Little League," Chandler says. "Coaching is something I always enjoyed and it fit nicely into my other community activities."
Chandler's community service, which involves many organizations, also includes the University. After two terms on University Senate, Chandler got involved with the ULAA (University of Lethbridge Alumni Association) in 2008 and was elected president of the organization in June 2009.
"There has been a lot of growth in the ULAA in the last few years, and we have seen a lot of support from the University. I would like to see that continue," Chandler says. "I would encourage alumni to volunteer at activities or participate in events such as the John Gill Memorial Golf tournament. Getting involved will not only increase the association's visibility, it will help maintain the University's role as a vital part of our community."
GET THE FACTS
• Commercial Men's Slowpitch League treasurer for 10 years
• Coached the Alberta Junior Girls' Curling Championship Team (2006)
• Treasurer on the executive for McMan Youth Family and Community Services Association (ends this month) as well as board chair from 2003 to 2005
• Also involved with the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and United Way
• Canadian Curling Association's Volunteer of the Year for Alberta (2001)
• Inducted into the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame (2009)
• ULAA Honour Society member (2005)