Thompson Rivers University

Videos | 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award winners

April 18, 2013

What does it take to win a TRU Distinguished Alumni Award?

Following are the videos created to honour the winners of the 2013 TRU Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Learn more about the nomination process and how to nominate someone.


Fred Phelps | 2013 DAA Grace Chronister, BSW Award

Fred Phelps graduated from TRU’s Bachelor of Social Work program in 2003. Three years later he obtained a Master of Social Work from Carlton University. In addition to casework, Fred has held positions as Chief of Staff to the Saskatchewan Minister of Culture, Youth and Recreation as well as Legislative Assistant to a Member of Parliament in Welland, Ontario. Currently, he is Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Social Workers. CASW promotes the profession of social work in Canada and advances social justice by working with social workers and consulting government and professional groups to improve social policy.


Richard Cane | 2013 DAA Neil Russell Student Leadership Award

In addition to achieving an excellent grade point average in TRU’s Bachelor of Natural Resource Sciences program, Richard Cane is credited with resurrecting the Natural Resource Science club at TRU and mentoring students who might otherwise struggle to pass their course. Richard was nominated by the faculty chair of the Department of Natural Resource Sciences who praises Richard’s leadership abilities—for example, encouraging student involvement in community events such as cleaning up of local parks and organizing social events. Richard himself acknowledges that thanks to his student leadership experiences he is confident to enter the workforce as a leader “who is ready to advocate for sustainable solutions needed to make this region, province and country leaders in their own rights.”

Amy Berard | 2013 DAA Neil Russell Student Leadership Award

Amy Berard was nominated by the Business Co-operative Education coordinator and was recognized as TRU Co-op Student of the Year in 2010 for her work with the United Way. In her role with the United Way, Amy facilitated the Youth Day of Caring and organized the Annual Community Carnival. She was also a part-time research assistant for the Homelessness Action Plan. Amy is credited for the partnership she forged between TRU’s former Students in Free Enterprise club and the United Way’s Youth Advisory which was the platform for the development of the United Way student club at TRU.


Teck Highland Valley Copper | 2013 DAA Milestone Achievement Award

This award recognizes the accomplishments of a group – for example, business, association or service clubs – whose collective efforts have created an institutional milestone and made a unique contribution to the lives and goals of TRU students and Alumni.

Highland Valley Copper has a diverse range of opportunities for TRU students and Alumni. Students often train on equipment donated by Highland Valley Copper and several TRU Alumni are employed in trades and professional fields.


Tom Williamson | 2013 DAA Outstanding Achievement Award

Tom Williamson was a student of Cariboo College taking university transfer courses until 1976. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, B.C.. Recently retired as the Chief Financial Officer of BCLC, Tom was nominated by TRU’s School of Business and Economics for his accomplishments in academic, personal and professional activities. BCLC supporters of his nomination speak to his team building focus and his impressive legacy at the corporation by strengthening relationships with residents, businesses and organizations. He played for the Cariboo College hockey team in 1976-77 and former Cariboo College athletic director, Pat O’Brien, has followed Tom’s athletic accomplishments and notes that Tom excelled in everything he tried and has displayed great leadership in his community while being dedicated to family and work.


Donna Munroe Lasser | 2013 DAA Community Service Award

Donna Munroe Lasser graduated from TRU’s Animal Health Technology program in 1996 and shortly after joined the staff at a Vancouver veterinary hospital. In 2005, Donna was moved to assist animals in New Orleans needing care after Hurricane Katrina. She mobilized teams of Canadian veterinary technicians and solicited donations of medical supplies to go to New Orleans. In nominating Donna for the Distinguished Alumni Award, the faculty coordinator of TRU’s Animal Health Technology program says that after Katrina, Donna single-handedly formed the Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT), a non-profit organization that provides veterinary care to animals in rural and remote communities within Canada and internationally as well as educating children about responsible pet ownership. Donna is the BC representative on the Canadian Animal Health Technologists and Technicians board and in 2008 she was named one of 15 Canadian Heroes, Volunteers for Change by Outpost magazine.


Christopher Flett | 2013 DAA Outstanding Achievement Award

Even before Christopher Flett graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1999, he was showing his leadership abilities as a board member on the students’ union. One of his former classmates who supports Christopher’s nomination, says it dawned on her how successful he had become when she saw him being interviewed on the Today Show sitting beside Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs talking about his newly published book “What Men Don’t Tell Women about Business” (Wiley, 2007). Christopher has founded 32 companies, including Think Tank Communications in Kamloops which grew into a multi-national research firm operating in 16 markets. Among his accomplishments, he has been a guest lecturer on Entrepreneurial Pursuit and Gender in the Workplace at UBC, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, Yale, Northwestern and UCLA. Christopher was named to “Top 40 Under 40” by Business in Vancouver, 2011.


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