March 10, 2020

The Short List

Your Guide to UCalgary Alumni Events and Programs

When I was a teenager my family moved to Zimbabwe for two years. Like a typical teenager, I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of leaving my friends and moving to another country. Little did I know at the time this would turn out to be an amazing adventure and prompt me to complete a BA at UCalgary focusing on African politics and international relations. I then went on to complete a law degree at UCalgary.

The law faculty’s focus on practical training (a.k.a. “performance-based learning”) prepared me for the “real world” of practising law and I have been a lawyer in Calgary ever since. In law school I competed in several moots, including the Jessup International Law moot, making it to the Canadian finals with my team. Since graduating, I have regularly come back to act as a judge for law students’ practice moots.

A few years ago, my connection to UCalgary prompted me to look for other volunteer opportunities at the university. This started with volunteering at the annual Skate with Santa event, and now I have the pleasure of serving on the Alumni Association Board. I recently finished a two-year term as chair of the board’s Programs & Events Committee.

Given my affiliation with the law faculty, I’m looking forward to attending the annual Merv Leitch, QC Memorial Lecture on March 17. This year’s speaker is Vassy Kapelos, the host of CBC’s Power & Politics. Kapelos has reported on stories and events all over the world, and covered elections and breaking news here in Canada.  These lectures focus on a topic of public importance — the distressed relationship between Alberta and Ottawa — and I know this year’s lecture will not disappoint

You are also likely to find me at one of the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory’s open houses. The RAO is located just outside Calgary near Priddis and is well worth the evening drive. I’m frequently in this area hiking at the Cross Conservation Area or in Kananaskis. Of course, at this time of year I swap my hiking boots for cross-country skis or snowshoes. Given the rural location and dark skies, be sure to come prepared with a flashlight. I learned about the celestial phenomenon “Steve” (a bright band of gas that occurs a couple of times a year and is, sometimes, visible for up to an hour) the last time I was there. The next open houses are on March 21 and April 18.

If you are looking for something more artistic, check out Katie Ohe’s new exhibit which runs until May 3 at the Esker Foundation in Inglewood. Katie Ohe is a renowned sculptor from Alberta. She is a mentor, leader and inspiration to generations of artists. Some of her work can be found around Calgary and at the UCalgary campus (think of the beloved Zipper that sits outside UCalgary’s science theatres and is often spun by students for good luck before exams). On April 29, there will be an Alumni exclusive tour with Naomi Potter, the Director/Curator of the Esker Foundation.

And speaking of exhibits, the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape has a couple exhibits opening in mid-March. The one taking place at the City Building Design Lab features visuals, prototypes and structures from students, professionals, faculty and instructors. The themes of this exhibit that interest me include Mass Timber, Indigenous dwelling/shelters, and Sustainability and Historic Preservation. I have a passion for home renovations and my design style favours incorporating natural or reusable materials where possible. (In my current home I’ve incorporated wood salvaged from my great grandfather’s house.) Check out these exhibits here.

As a born and raised Calgarian, I can’t go with out mentioning this event in New York. On Mar. 17, President McCauley will welcome NYC-based UCalgary alumni and friends to a Calgary Flames vs. New York Islanders hockey game. He’ll be joined by Dr. Reed Ferber, BPE’93, PhD, professor, Faculty of Kinesiology and Faculty of Nursing and founder and director of the Running Injury Clinic who will provide insight on the exciting developments in wearable technology taking place at UCalgary. Go Flames!

Whatever you decide to take in this month, I hope you have a chance to get out and enjoy the extra daylight that March brings.