Thompson Rivers University

#ICYMI: the top 28 TRU headlines of 2015

December 18, 2015

TRU's 45th Anniversary celebration, Sept. 18, 2015

From unique research and partnerships, to major funding for students and momentous campus events, TRU’s 45th year as an institution has been a memorable one.

Ground-breaking studies published in Nature and Science. A new journal launched by TRU Law. Across the globe, a Tourism double degree developed with the Netherlands, and here at home, a new Millwright pre-apprenticeship offered with School District 73. Podium finishes by law, business, and tourism students competing against other top university teams. And many opportunities for students, faculty, staff, alumni and our wider community to increase our understanding of sustainability, global citizenship, Truth and Reconciliation, and human rights.

Here are the Newsroom editors’ picks of the top 28 TRU stories you don’t want to miss from 2015.

Mistletoe creates a fever
Ground-breaking findings by Cynthia Ross Friedman, Biological Sciences and a team of researchers including Mark Paetkau, Physics and undergraduate student Rolena deBruyn (’14) were published on Feb. 9 in Nature Communications, one of the highest-ranked multidisciplinary journals in the world.

Research to monitor impact of Mount Polley Mine breach
A $300,000 research project led by Lauchlan Fraser, Natural Resource Sciences, aims to improve strategies for monitoring the ecological impact of the Mount Polley Mine tailing breach and provide environmental remediation recommendations.

Grant to study deadly bat disease
Microbiologist Dr. Naowarat (Ann) Cheeptham and Adjunct Professor Dr. Cori Lausen have been awarded a $75,000 USD research grant to advance the search for effective biological controls of the fungus that causes White Nose Syndrome, which is decimating North American bat populations.

First step toward Centre for Ecosystem Reclamation
Genome BC has pledged $250,000 towards the creation of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Industrial Research Chair position at TRU. The chair position will in turn support the creation of a proposed Centre for Ecosystem Reclamation.

TRU Law launches new journal
The Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law (CJCCL) launched on Feb. 2. The first issue examines the intersection between health law and human rights, and features contributions from some of the leading scholars in these fields.

Insight Development Grant awarded
Wilson Bell, History, has been awarded an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), for his project, “44 Lenin Avenue: Siberia’s 20th Century History as Told through its Most Remarkable Building”.

Published in Science
Results from an international research project on plant biomass production and species diversity led by Lauchlan Fraser, Natural Resource Science, were published on July 16 in Science, the leading journal for cutting-edge research. This new research reaffirms a previously held theory of biodiversity and challenges a four-year-old article in Science that claimed to disprove it.

Justice Murray Sinclair lecture
The TRUSU Storytellers Gala and President’s Lecture Series jointly presented keynote speaker Justice Murray Sinclair, Commissioner of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Oct. 26. His talk addressed the fundamental questions of the six-year commission: what happened in residential schools, who is responsible, and what can we do to assist moving reconciliation forward.

Cornel West
The TRUSU Common Voices Lecture Series presented a free public talk by civil rights activist Dr. Cornel West on Jan. 29. West has taught at both Princeton and Harvard, and has written books that include Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and the memoir Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud.

Inspiring individuals recognized
Five inspiring individuals received honorary degrees from TRU in 2015: judge and humanitarian Thomas Berger, broadcast journalist Michaela Pereira, former provincial politician Kevin Krueger, entrepreneur and philanthropist Kenneth Lepin, and indigenous rights advocate and researcher Dr. Cindy Blackstock.

Q & A with Justice Abella
Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, sole commissioner of the 1984 Royal Commission on Equality in Employment and originator of the term “employment equity”, visited TRU on Nov. 24 for a question period and reception with TRU Law students and alumni.

45th anniversary celebration
An estimated 1,500 students, faculty, staff, alumni and Kamloops community members celebrated TRU’s 45th anniversary with an evening of live music—featuring Van Damsel, Anita Eccleston and Serious Dogs—a food fair and beverage garden, activities and children’s play area on the Campus Commons on Sept. 11.

Law students argue their way to Moot Court win
Five TRU law students won the BC Appeal Moot Court competition held Feb. 13 to 15. It was TRU Law’s first win and the second time it has participated.

MBA students take silver at Games
TRU’s Master of Business Administration students won silver in the first ever BC MBA Games held at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo Oct. 16-18—remarkable given that the four other teams from VIU, UBC, SFU and UVic had 25 members to TRU’s 12.

Tourism students take first at LinkBC
Bachelor of Tourism Management students won first place at the annual LinkBC Case Competition on Nov. 20—the third year TRU has ranked in the top three.

First place in CPA case competition
Accounting students Sydney Heichert and Faline Lidstone placed first in the CPA Case Competition against 17 other university and college teams from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Law wins environmental case competition
TRU Law students argued their way to first place out of 24 teams in the 12th annual UBC Environmental Law Group Negotiation Competition.

Schmietenknop awarded Woman Leader of Tomorrow 
Enactus Thompson Rivers president Acacia Schmietenknop was named the Enactus 2015 HSBC Woman Leader of Tomorrow during the student club’s national conference and competition held in Toronto in May, for her dedication to the club and the Kamloops community.

Campus-wide emergency exercise
TRU’s emergency management plan was tested on May 14 in a simulation involving 425 participants and many local, provincial and national observers. It was an important training exercise for both TRU’s emergency operations team and the community’s emergency response partners.

Rising STARS
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has recognized TRU with a Rising STARS distinction. Our performance on our 2015 Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) submission moved up from silver to gold.

Campus architecture achieves gold
On Jan. 30 the Brown Family House of Learning obtained LEED Gold Certification from the Canada Green Building Council for its environmentally-conscious design and construction.

Funding to expand industrial training programs
Western Economic Diversification committed $2,039,000 to TRU on July 7 to develop a two-year instrumentation engineering program, providing training in the operation and maintenance of automated process control and measurement systems, as used in oil and gas production.

Scotiabank supports students
On Sept. 10 Scotiabank donated $150,000 towards awards and bursaries for domestic, international and Aboriginal TRU students in the School of Business and Economics, who are enrolled in entrepreneurial courses and programs.

Funding for trades training equipment
On Feb. 4 Hon. Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education, visited the Kamloops campus to announce $325,274 in funding for TRU to purchase new trades training equipment to support trades students entering in-demand occupations. Wilkinson also visited the Williams Lake campus Jan. 16.

TRU expands global reach 
TRU has expanded its global involvement with the signing of an agreement with Maple Leaf Educational System (MLES)—the largest BC curriculum teaching offshore school in China. Under the agreement of cooperation, 20 MLES students will be offered guaranteed employment as BC-Certified Teachers by MLES once they have successfully completed TRU’s Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education programs and obtained BC Teacher Certification.

New tourism double degree partnership with Netherlands
TRU has recently partnered with NHVT Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands to offer a double degree in Tourism Management. Students will complete three years at TRU, and finish their fourth year at NHVT to earn a second credential.

Engineering transfer program adds second year
A recent agreement signed with University of Victoria’s School of Engineering will enable students to complete two years of engineering studies at TRU and directly transfer into UVic’s third-year Computer Engineering or Electric Engineering programs.

Millwright program comes to TRU
In a successful partnership with School District 73, TRU will utilize the new space and equipment available at the NorKam Trades and Technology Centre to offer a millwright pre-­apprenticeship. The Ministry of Advanced Education recently announced it would fund 16 seats in the Foundation program.

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