The new University of Lethbridge Alumni Association president understands the value of a community.
“I love growth, development and opportunity. Anything I can do to make things better for my community, for the University or my neighbourhood, I try to get involved in,” explains Grant Adamson (BSc ’03), who was elected as the University of Lethbridge Alumni Association’s 26th president in July.
“Community involvement has been an unwritten part of my family philosophy forever; that goes back to growing up on a farm. Being on a farm is not a place where you can grow or develop on your own. You need community,” says Adamson. “About 10 years back we received a farm century award. It was pretty important to our family and community, but when I graduated from high school I wanted to see who I was away from the farm. Someone suggested I would be a good teacher, so I researched and found that the University of Lethbridge had an excellent program for teachers and chose to come to Lethbridge.”
Adamson, however, discovered he had no desire to teach, so in his second year he switched his studies to biology. That same year, he developed a severe case of mononucleosis and was subsequently unable to take a full course load for the next several years. It was then that he truly experienced the fellowship and support found within the University community.
“I was a very strong student academically going into university, but when I found myself suffering academically due to my health, I relied on services provided by the U of L. I sought out help when I needed it and I found it all over the place,” he says. “I became involved with the Organization of Residence Students, the Students’ Union and the curling club. My residence experience was particularly impactful because I got to be a part of governance and make a difference, which I loved. I also met my wife Rebecca (BA/BEd ’99, MEd ’09) and her friend Janet, who would later become my sister-in-law. Being involved in extra-curricular activities was very fulfilling and kept me going until I was well enough to take on full course loads.”
As he began to take more advanced theoretical courses, Adamson could not imagine himself being confined to working in labs for the rest of his life. He began to wonder if it was time to take a small turn in his academic direction once again.
“After exiting from the C-stairwell on 7th, I’d always turned left toward the bio-tech labs. One day, I felt drawn to the geography labs so I turned right instead! I sat there for about an hour reading the presentation boards about the projects and research going on in the department. I saw displays about things I cared about and it played to my roots. That fall, I switched my program to geography. Finally, I could look to the future and visualize what my life would look like.”
Adamson graduated in 2003 and began his career in the oil industry, working in environmental sciences. After the project he was working on shut down, he spent several years pursuing an interest in real estate investment, but his agricultural heritage always beckoned. In 2007, everything came together when Adamson began working with hybrid canola seed production at Monsanto Canada Inc. It was the perfect combination of biotechnology and agriculture all in one. Three years later, Adamson accepted a position at Dow AgroSciences where he continues to work as their lead agronomist for canola seed production in southern Alberta, the Pacific Northwest and Chile. One of his secondary duties is liaising with the University, recruiting students to work with Dow AgroSciences as summer interns and potentially as long-term employees.
“The hybrid canola seed industry relies heavily on student interns in the summer, as it is extremely busy during this season,” says Adamson, who is happy to support students through his work and as a member of the ULAA. “The University is a great supplier of excellent students who have a background in, or knowledge of, agriculture, or who are willing to learn about it.”
Adamson became involved with the ULAA in 2005. He has served as a director, treasurer and vice-president and was elected as president in July.
“I got involved with the association because I missed the connection with the University. Participation with the ULAA is a great way for alumni to foster and maintain that link. As part of the executive, I have seen the association become increasingly involved in the community and take on a more formal role. My goal is to lead the maturation and formality process. With 36,480 alumni coming of age in the workforce, we are at a tipping point. I encourage alumni to reconnect and get involved. We want to hear about your stories, your successes and your adventures.”
GET THE FACTS
• Adamson is very proud of his family connection to the U of L – his wife Rebecca (BA/BEd ’99, MEd ’09), sister-in-laws Janet Adamson (BA/BEd ’00), Lauren Adamson (BSc ‘ 04) and brother Lowell Adamson (BSc ’04) are all a part of the alumni family
• Adamson has been a member of the University Senate since 2011
• A former member of the board of directors for the Youth Federation of Canada, Adamson also serves as a construction volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, of which his wife is the organization’s local vice-chair
• The 2013 ULAA Executive consists of Adamson as president, vice-president Randy Kobbert (BMgt ’86), past president Kathy Lewis (BN ’83, MEd ’99), treasurer Jason Baker (BMgt ’02) and secretary Sharon Malec (BEd ’73)