Wider Horizons

True reciprocity in honouring Sinclair

The Hon. Murray Sinclair received a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Justice Studies as part of the college’s spring 2021 Convocation ceremonies in May. Sinclair, who is Anishinaabe and a member of the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba, was his province’s first and Canada’s second Indigenous judge, and he served in the Senate from 2016 until early 2021. In his more than 40 years of work as a legal professional and senator, Sinclair has been a powerful voice for Indigenous peoples and tireless advocate for reconciliation, including in his role as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Wider Horizons asked Marcia Black Water, a 2004 graduate of the college’s General Studies program who is now an instructor in the General Arts and Science program, to reflect on her interactions with Sinclair. We also asked her to share her thoughts on what the choice of Sinclair as the 20th honorary degree recipient meant to her, as a member of the Blackfoot community. To view Sinclair’s address to this year’s graduates, go to learnlc/Sinclair.

In May 2017, I attended the annual Colleges and Institutes Canada conference in Ottawa, where Lethbridge College was recognized with the Bronze Indigenous Education Excellence award. While in Ottawa, I visited Parliament Hill, and as I sat having lunch, the Hon. Murray Sinclair walked out of the building. I went over to introduce myself. Sinclair introduced himself with his Anishinaabe name, Mizhana Gheezhik (The One Who Speaks of Pictures in the Sky), and I shared my Blackfoot name, Iito’tawaohkaakii (Walking Beside). Sinclair held my hand the whole time he spoke to me, saying “Thanks for coming to say hello; I forget I am important.” Humour is always present among Indigenous people.

 I was proud when the college announced Sinclair would receive an honorary degree from Lethbridge College. I feel the intent is with true reciprocity, honouring Sinclair for the guidance provided to our Indigenous education efforts. I am reminded of how far the learning has come from a memory shared with President Paula Burns. In September 2015, the Blood Tribe hosted a two-day Truth and Reconciliation event, Moving Forward Together as a People. During that gathering, we placed an offering at the Aako’kaatsin, or Big Encampment, grounds; Elders prayed for residential school survivors and their families who continue walking  with perseverance.

 Leaders like Sinclair speak the hard truths. They provide us the tools to decolonize. As the road to reach the true circle of reconciliation is still at a distance, we need to continue to listen and learn. Maybe when systemic racism and intergenerational impact ceases for Indigenous people, we will know we have gotten somewhere. I encourage a further awareness beyond the 94 Calls to Action. I urge everyone to also read the TRC reports, as within are our Grandparents’ voices and their experiences. They are a reminder of how much our grandparents sacrificed moving from trauma disguised as education to the choices in the education we experience today.

Laplante family builds legacy for civil engineering technology

In more than 15 years as chair and instructor with Lethbridge College’s Civil Engineering Technology program, Al Laplante helped build the careers and futures of hundreds of students. Now, thanks  to the generosity of “Big Al” and his family, future generations of students will receive support to help them succeed through the Al Laplante Scholarship for Civil Engineering Technology.

Before Laplante passed away in October 2020 at the age of 82, he committed to a planned gift to Lethbridge College to add to the scholarship fund he established on his retirement in 2000. That gift is being supplemented by an additional commitment from the Laplante family to bring the total endowment to $120,000. To date, 19 students have been awarded scholarships, which recognize academic excellence in a student’s first year of the program, and many more will be helped by the additional gift.

“He was intensely proud of the college and of the fact that he was the founding chair [of the Civil Engineering Technology program],” says Dan Laplante, Al’s son. “He went to every scholarship banquet that he could and met a lot of scholarship winners. He wanted to make sure more students would have the opportunity to succeed in the program. As a family, we wanted to make sure we stepped up to support that as well.” 

“Al was the cornerstone of the Civil Engineering Technology program,” says Warren Salberg (Civil Engineering Technology 1985, 1992 Distinguished Alumni), who was a student in the first year of the program and later worked alongside Laplante as an instructor until the latter’s retirement. “As an instructor, he was 100 per cent dedicated to his students. As a colleague, it was amazing to have him as a mentor.”

The Civil Engineering Technology program Laplante helped to begin is still going strong nearly 40 years later, graduating skilled technologists who are contributing to build the world around us. To make a donation to the Al Laplante  Scholarship for Civil Engineering Technology or to learn more about planned giving, please visit lethbridgecollege.ca/give or call 403-320-3457.

Be ready to toast the 30th Clayton Allan Wine Auction

Talk about something to celebrate: after being postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, Lethbridge College is happy to announce the 30th Clayton Allan Wine Auction will take place on Nov. 5. The gala will raise funds for the Ready to Rise Bursary supporting students in financial need. Over the last 10 years, this event has raised close to $2.5 million for projects including library renovations, the new Trades, Technologies and Innovation Facility, and student support. 

New partnership supports trades students

A new partnership with Southland International Trucks will provide trades students with exclusive training opportunities, software and equipment to support their training and career development. The five-year partnership with Southland – a Lethbridge service, sales, rental and leasing highway truck and trailer dealer – will give students and faculty in the Crooks School of Transportation access to Navistar International Corporation and its International dealer network’s TECH EmPOWERment initiative. This initiative supplies accredited institutions with valuable training equipment, advice and insights into the opportunities available to aspiring technicians. Lethbridge College is one of the first Canadian post-secondary institutions to become a TECH EmPOWERment partner. Southland will also be supplying Global Positioning System (GPS) access to enhance the college’s heavy duty training. The TECH EmPOWERment program enables students to access valuable information on career opportunities available to service technicians and to other dealer/school partnerships. The Southland partnership also includes the creation of a new annual Southland Heavy Equipment Apprentice Award.

Luck of the draw!

Congratulations go out to Marcia Black Water (General Studies 2004), instructor with the Centre for Business, Arts and Sciences, who was the big winner of June’s Ready to Rise 50/50 College Lottery. “The enthusiasm with the Ready to Rise campaign has been amazing so far,” says Black Water. “In such an unpredictable time, studying through a pandemic, there was a want to help; somehow it provided a connection in a time of disconnect. I have witnessed students who needed some assistance. The Ready to Rise campaign has been part of making that possible. I am very proud of our Lethbridge College community for the effort put forth to support students’ endeavours.” To contribute to the Ready to Rise campaign, go to lethbridgecollege.ca/give.


Congratulations go out to these three Lethbridge College students and new grads for exceptional work in their programs:

Harrison Hadford (Civil Engineering Technology 2021, Wind Turbine Technician 2016) received this year’s Governor General’s Collegiate Bronze Medal at Convocation. The medal is awarded to the Lethbridge College student who, upon graduation, demonstrates the most outstanding academic achievement across the entire institution. Hadford, who earned a 4.0 GPA each term, told his instructors he was not much of a scholar until he started in the engineering program, as he finally figured out how much he wanted to excel once he determined his career path. He plans to move to Victoria to take a bridging program for the fall term and then continue his studies and pursue a bachelor’s degree at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan in Kelowna.

Danny Peeters (third year Heavy Equipment Technician Apprentice) earned the title of best in Canada in his age group when it comes to Heavy Vehicle Technology, winning the gold medal at the Skills Canada national competition this year. Peeters, a 21-year-old from Brooks, Alta., is believed to be just the second Skills Canada gold medallist from Lethbridge College and the first in this category. With this year’s event held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Peeters took part in a gruelling 7.5-hour test of knowledge and skills on May 27 and 28 at Lethbridge College that earned him the national championship. “This is an amazing accomplishment,” says Sheldon Anderson, Dean of the Centre for Trades. “It is great to see a competitor from one of the smaller institutions take top national honours competing against institutions with much larger budgets. We are so proud of Danny.”

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman (Digital Communications and Media 2021) was named this year’s recipient of the Troy Reeb Internship. Previous winners of the internship had the opportunity to spend 10 days in television and radio settings in Toronto and Ottawa, but with travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new solution was reached that allowed her to start a three-month paid internship with Global Lethbridge in July. “Alejandra has proven herself to be smart, worldly and passionate about storytelling,” says Reeb (Communication Arts – Broadcast Journalism 1988), the executive vice president, Broadcast Networks for Corus Entertainment. “We’re thrilled to have her join the Global Lethbridge team for this well-deserved opportunity to showcase her hard work and talent to the community.”

A place of pride and inclusion

In a show of support for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, the college raised the Pride Flag on campus in June as part of Lethbridge Pride celebrations. This is the sixth year the college has flown the Pride Flag, and the first time the Progressive Pride Flag has been raised. This new flag aims to bring a greater focus to inclusion and progress within but not limited to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

Unlock the secret to wellbeing

Come and experience an outstanding massage treatment in Lethbridge College’s on-campus clinic. Our Massage Therapy students are highly skilled at helping you relax and feel rejuvenated. Call today to book your exclusive therapeutic session. Appointments are available in both the fall and winter terms between 5 and 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Book today by phoning 403-329-7274.

Instructor’s legacy continues to make a difference to LC students in need

Instructors know sometimes you don’t see the fruits of the labour of teaching for years, even decades. So it seems fitting political science instructor Ronald MacDonald, who died in 2003 at the age of 49, is still making a difference in the lives of students at Lethbridge College. His legacy continues thanks to the commitment of the Lethbridge College Faculty Association (LCFA) and the Ronald MacDonald Emergency Fund his colleagues created in memory of the feisty Nova Scotian.

 Unlike a scholarship tied to academic performance or a particular program, the emergency fund is truly a last hope for students

in such dire financial need that they’re at risk of quitting school. Administered by Linda Sprinkle, manager of Student Awards and Financial Aid, the fund has provided more than $90,000 to students since 2004.  Sprinkle says the fund is unique in that it’s entirely flexible to meet needs when other sources of money are exhausted.

 LCFA President and Chair of the Crooks School of Transportation Kevin Wiber knew MacDonald as a fellow car enthusiast. In the early years of the fund, fundraising events were popular because so many people had a personal connection to MacDonald. Even as those connections dwindled, the LCFA’s commitment didn’t waiver. Today, the emergency fund is a line item in the annual budget, meaning all 350 or so members of the LCFA contribute. “It’s a commitment we make and it’s a way we can support our students who need help for reasons outside of their control,” Wiber says.

 MacDonald was diagnosed with tongue cancer which took away his ability to speak – a cruel twist for a man known for clever and thought-provoking words. “His gift was his speech,” says Keith Dudley, an instructor who retired in 2019. “You could hear Ron lecture from down the hallway. He was so animated and on fire in class. He was dynamic and outspoken, but he never had a mean edge about him. There wasn’t a nicer man around in terms of genuine kindness.”

Fred Neale, who retired in 2019 and now lives in Ottawa, shared an office with MacDonald for a decade. “He was one of the most dedicated instructors,” Neale says. “He put everything into his teaching. It was very clear how much he loved it, and how much he gave to students.” His lasting image of MacDonald is of him shuffling down the hall, with “50 pounds of books in one arm” and a gaggle of students following him, asking questions or just wanting to chat.

 There are still college faculty who remember MacDonald well. Marda Schindeler, associate dean of the Centre for Business, Arts and Science, was a student of MacDonald’s before they became colleagues. “He was always interested in sharing and debating ideas, whether a current event or a teaching strategy,” she recalls. Jeff Hamilton, chair of the Exercise Science program, also knew MacDonald before he started working at LC, and he appreciates that the fund carries on. “I’d like to continue to honour people from years past,” Hamilton says. “I didn’t ever know Paterson or Andrews. I faintly knew of Cousins, but I knew Ron MacDonald and Sharon Hendrickson (who also has a scholarship in her name). I like remembering them this way.”

The emergency fund is just one support for students in crisis. The college also offers bursaries through its Ready to Rise fund, and its goal of raising $1 million to support students’ urgent needs. Learn more about this fund and other ways to support Lethbridge College students at lethbridgecollege.ca/give.

Wider Horizons
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