May 2019

Dear Colleagues,

It’s the time of year when many of us turn our attention to graduation ceremonies. Whether it’s our child crossing the stage to receive a high school diploma, a spouse accepting a post-secondary certificate or degree, or a grandchild graduating from kindergarten, we share in the joy of their achievement.

At universities, we are fortunate to take part in this every year during our spring and fall convocation ceremonies and commencement in Williams Lake. As this will be my first year as president, I’m particularly excited, and encourage you to attend one of our ceremonies and wish our graduating students a final farewell. You’ll see more about convocation in this month’s President Report as we recently announced our honorary degree recipients. These are leaders who have made significant contributions over their lives and will be an inspiration to our students.

In fact, this report, as with others, is full of inspiring achievements and contributions from our own TRU community—those of our students, faculty and staff. Please read on and be inspired!

Note, this is the last president’s report until September. If you would like to share a publication, presentation, external award or other recognition from within the past six months, please send the details to This report covers up to May 10; the deadline for submissions to the next report is Sept. 5.


Brett Fairbairn
President and Vice-Chancellor


Inspiring individuals to address TRU graduates

At Spring Convocation June 5 to 7, five outstanding individuals will receive TRU honorary doctorates and address graduating students. This year’s recipients (shown left to right above) are: Charles Mossop for his work to advance internationalization; world-renowned mathematician and UVic Professor Emeritus Dr. Pauline van den Driessche; Kamloops educator and community leader Karl deBruijn; celebrated Métis actress Tantoo Cardinal; and heli-skiing entrepreneur Mike Wiegele. Read more on the convocation website

Envision TRU

Online questions and comments, and small group discussions on campus continued through the month of May in support of Envision TRU, the consultation process that will help shape a new vision and strategic priorities for the university. Additionally, President Brett Fairbairn travelled to Williams Lake with senior leaders to gather unique perspectives from faculty and staff there. In summer, the discussions continue online as well as in person, with individuals and groups within the region TRU serves. For more information and the latest updates, visit

Banners in TRU trades building

Trades students storm provincial competition

TRU trades and technology students won six Skills Canada Provincial Competition medals in April. Gold medalists Maik Stuermer, Calvin Skjeie, Jordan Brown and Aidan Gow, representing carpentry, heavy duty equipment, plumbing and welding respectively, gear up to compete at Skills Canada’s National Competition, May 27–31 in Halifax. Read more

Lepin awards support 203 students to date

Kamloops philanthropist Ken Lepin has been supporting students at TRU since 2006. One of our most generous contributors, his lifetime giving totals over $3.7 million dollars. This year, the April 17 Lepin Awards ceremony recognized the hard work of 17 students across various programs (shown in banner above) with a total of $67,500.00. Shown here left to right, Dean of Arts Richard McCutcheon, Lepin Prize for Excellence in Arts recipient Nikola Klassen, Ken Lepin and President Brett Fairbairn.

TRU researcher joins Canadian Mountain Network

Mason joins Canadian Mountain Network

Dr. Courtney Mason, Canada Research Chair in Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Communities, joins the Canadian Mountain Network on a project that investigates the management of national parks and food security. Read more

Town hall gathers input for 2020 sustainability plan

The Sustainability Office invited the TRU community to a town hall on May 14 to identify sustainability issues and actions to incorporate in its 2020 Campus Strategic Sustainability Plan. The 2014 plan, which contributed to TRU achieving a STARS Platinum rating in 2018, is set to expire this year.

Bridging the gap from high school to post-secondary education

Bridging the gap from high school to post-secondary education

High school students got a better idea of the options available to them in post-secondary education through the Mind the Gap project, a new partnership with Kamloops-Thompson School District No. 73. Read more

A Masquerade Ball

Guests at the eighth annual TRU Williams Lake Gala on April 27 enjoyed a masquerade-themed dinner, dancing, silent and live auctions, and raised funds to support TRU Williams Lake students through scholarships, bursaries and financial awards.

Celebrating retirement and long-term service

Faculty and staff who have recently retired or are about to retire were honoured by colleagues and guests at a dinner on May 9. The event also included employees with 25, 30, 35, 40 or 45 years of service. 

Welcome to summer programs

A grand opening ceremony and breakfast on May 2 launched TRU World's annual orientation for international students arriving for the summer. All current international students attended the two-day event, featuring Q and A's with international student advisors in four languages, course planning and career education sessions, games and the second annual Summerfest.

Holi celebration creates burst of colour on campus

Holi celebration a burst of colour on campus

Dozens of celebrants gathered on April 21 to toss around vivid paint powders for Holi, the Hindu festival which marks the end of winter, the arrival of spring and the renewal of relationships. Read more

Trades hosts Construction Month breakfast

The School of Trades and Technology celebrated the important contribution the construction industry makes to BC communities and the provincial economy at a Women In Trades-themed breakfast on April 30 to mark Construction Month. Harrison Industrial Contracting Ltd. was honoured for offering apprenticeships and employing a higher number of female tradespeople than the average employer in BC.


Business students Cynthia ChinyereudePalak DhingraJonelle JosephMd Safiul Bari Shawn and Ashish Wadhwa won first place at the national CFA (Chartered Financial Accountants) Societies Ethics Challenge competition on May 1 in Calgary, delivering the best case study analysis of 27 teams from across Canada. Each TRU teammate took home a $500 prize and a better understanding of ethics issues in the CFA profession. Read more from Kamloops This Week

TRU's “Knowledge Makers” program has won the 2019 Alan Blizzard Award from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, recognizing excellence in collaborative teaching and learning in post-secondary education. Since 2015 close to 40 university leaders, Elders, faculty, staff, and community members have contributed to this non-credit, four-month annual program, which supports Indigenous students to learn how to research and publish as Indigenous researchers. Listen to Radio NL


Congratulations to faculty and staff who received their master's or doctoral degrees in the past six months. If you know someone who has achieved theirs, please email the name of the recipient, title of degree and institution to

Joanna Urban, Biological Sciences: PhD in Molecular Genetics, Darmstadt Technical University, Germany.


Note: These citations follow MLA Handbook (8th edition) format. We respectfully ask that you please format citations for your work in MLA prior to submitting them for inclusion in the President’s Report. Thank you!


Sarah Ladd, Career & Experiential Learning

Ladd, Sarah. “Workplace Ethics, Engineering students, and… Poetry?” Association for Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (ACE-WIL) Conference, 12-15 May 2019, Hotel Grand Pacific, Victoria.


Naowarat Cheeptham, Biological Sciences

Gosse, Jessica Thandara, et al. “Whole Genome Sequencing and Metabolomic Study of Cave Streptomyces Isolates ICC1 and ICC4.” Frontiers in Microbiology, 10 May 2019.

Florriann Fehr and Michelle Funk, Nursing, and Paul Clark, Marketing & International Business

Fehr, Florriann, Paul Clark, and Michelle Funk. “Interdisciplinary and Cross-Cultural Literacy: An Activity Increasing Business and Nursing Students Cultural and Health Care Industry Awareness.” International Journal of Teaching and Education, vol. VII, no. 1, 2019, pp. 41-55.


Charis Kamphuis, Law

Kamphuis, Charis, and Leah Gardner. “Effectiveness Framework for Home-State Non-Judicial Grievance Mechanisms.” Extractive Industries and Human Rights in an Era of Global Justice: New Ways of Resolving and Preventing Conflicts, edited by Amissi M. Manirabona and Yenny Vega Cardenas, LexisNexis, 2019.


Tory Handford and Haiying Li, Education

Handford, Victoria, and Haiying Li. “School Agents Benefit Both Canada and China.” The Conversation Canada, 7 Jan. 2019.

Charis Kamphuis, Law

Kamphuis, Charis. “Why Does Justin Trudeau Succumb to Corporate Pressure?The Conversation Canada, 5 May 2019.

Courtney Mason, Tourism Management

Mason, Courtney. “Indigenous Protected Areas Are the Next Generation of Conservation.” The Conversation Canada, 29 Nov. 2018.

Michael Mehta, Geography & Environmental Studies

Mehta, Michael. “Blame Wood-Burning Stoves for Winter Air Pollution and Health Threats.” The Conversation Canada, 7 Mar. 2019.

Tracy Penny Light, Philosophy, History and Politics

Penny Light, Tracy. “Mothers and Others: My Aunt May’s Memoir Gave Us Stories to Learn From.” The Conversation Canada, 10 May, 2019.


TRU Bike to Work and School Week

May 27–31

Every bit of riding helps, even if it's driving part way and riding the rest. Or avoid riding uphill by using the bus rack. Read more

Diversity on the Bench

May 28

Presented by the Canadian Bar AssociationDiversity on the Bench​ aims to equip the legal community with detailed information on the judicial application processes and empower lawyers from all walks of life to apply. Read more

Garden tours

May 29 – Wednesdays all summer

Learn more about what’s growing on campus during a tour of the Horticulture Gardens. Gain insight into flowering plants and trees, what's in bloom, annuals and perennials, ground covers, grasses and the gardens themselves. Read more

AlumNight Williams Lake

May 30

Alumni and guests are invited to reminisce, catch up and meet others who attended the Williams Lake campus.

TRU Williams Lake Commencement 2019

May 31

Celebrate commencement with all 2019 graduates of the TRU Williams Lake campus at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, May 31 in the TRU Williams Lake Auditorium.

Spring Convocation 2019

June 5–7

Celebrate the success of graduates in six ceremonies in the Tournament Capital Centre Fieldhouse. Brett Fairbairn's installation as TRU's fourth president and vice-chancellor will precede the first ceremony on June 5. If you can't make it to the ceremonies in person, watch the live broadcast.

Startup Basics Series: laws of attraction

June 6

The TRU Generator presents best practices for reaching out to customers and for defining the difference between selling and validating. Read more

Startup Basics series: business basics

June 6

The TRU Generator helps you get a complete picture of your company by breaking it into nine easy-to-consume, highly vital elements contained in your business plan. Read more

Startup Coffee: conversations with entrepreneurs

June 7

Discuss new business ideas with experienced founders and mentors at Startup Coffee—a monthly meeting of students, entrepreneurs, and community members. Read more

Startup Basics series: resources

June 7

The TRU Generator shares what resources are available to you for your startup journey, many of them free. Read more

Charter alumni brunch

June 16

Join alumni from Cariboo College and University College of the Cariboo for the annual celebration brunch for those who attended between 1970 and 2004. Read more

Educational Technology Users Group annual conference

June 20–21

The theme for this special gathering of the Educational Technology Users Group (ETUG) is Back to the Future: Looking Back, Moving Forward. Read more

Four Eldest Daughters at Kamloops Art Gallery

Runs until June 29

TRU visual arts instructor Darlene Kalynka presents Four Eldest Daughters at the Kamloops Art Gallery. Learn how scythes played an instrumental role in her family history of women who took on labour roles in farming. Read more