Wider Horizons

Venturing out into the world of higher education is often filled with the dreams and hopes one places upon themselves in seeking opportunities for personal growth. For a young man who decided to further his education after hearing such positive feedback from recent graduates, James “Jim” Gratrix (Renewable Resource Management and Conservation Enforcement 1990) chose to begin his journey at Lethbridge College.

As a requirement prior to submitting his application, Gratrix was asked to share additional general information in offering supporting rationale toward his career choice.

“They asked me to do research prior to submitting the application, and I talked to Fish and Wildlife officers, the majority of whom had gone to Lethbridge College, and it was reputed to be the best program available at the time,” he says.

With hands-on teachings from former instructors who included Roland Mah and John Fallows, Gratrix looked ahead at the opportunities his training provided with a diploma in Renewable Resource Management and a certificate in Conservation Enforcement.

After graduation, Gratrix worked in Kananaskis Country, and when that term ended, he worked at the City of Calgary in their Animal Control division. It was a job he considered temporary as he was really seeking an occupation as an Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officer or as a Conservation Officer in British Columbia. Plans changed when, in 1993, Jim met Marilyn, who already had an established career in the oil and gas industry in Calgary.

“As we built our life together, it seemed very unfair to ask her to leave her career in Calgary for small-town Alberta or B.C.,” he says. “So I worked at Calgary Bylaw in various roles from September 1990 to December 2018.”

Jim and Marilyn married in 1994 and raised their daughters in Calgary. After Katherine and Abby both graduated, Lethbridge College was their destination. Abby, the eldest, enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing program in 2015, completing her first two years at Lethbridge College before finishing her degree requirements at the University of Lethbridge in 2019. Abby is currently working at the Chinook Regional Hospital specializing in stroke and acute medicine.

“I loved my time at the college,” Abby says. “It feels so much like a community. Every day I learned something new, and I’m going to be in the Master of Nursing program this fall. One day I’d like to return to the college and teach.”

Katherine decided to pursue a career in either law enforcement or in the legal field. She enrolled in the Criminal Justice – Policing program and after graduating in 2018, she transferred to the Mount Royal College Criminal Justice program. In 2020, Katherine graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, and she is currently studying Law at the University of Saskatchewan.

In reflecting on her academic career, Katherine acknowledges her family: “I give a lot of credit to my parents for all their support.” When Jim began his studies in the 1980s, he had no idea that one day, his children would follow his footsteps to attend Lethbridge College – and both Jim and Marilyn Gratrix are proud they did.

Are you a multi-generational Lethbridge College family? If at least three members across one or more generations attended Lethbridge College, let us know by emailing [email protected]. We’d love to profile you.

Wider Horizons
Story by Tom Russell (Communication Arts 1987)
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