FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Contact: Janis Connolly at 604.990.7968
(NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.) – Nine outstanding recipients were recognized May 9 at Capilano University’s 2012 Alumni Awards of Excellence: World-renowned expert on polar bears, Dr. Andrew Derocher, and social and community activist in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, Stephen Lytton, were recipients of a Distinguished Alumni Award. Tommy’s Restaurant (Tricia Sibson) in North Vancouver and Shawn Williamson, principal of Brightlight Pictures, were recipients of a President’s Service Award. Co-founder and executive director of the Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association, Martin Littlejohn; freelance journalist and author, Erin Millar; and, Cirque du Soleil production manager, Christopher May, were recipients of a One to Watch Award. Longtime Jazz Studies instructor, Réjean Marois, and Bill Thumm, director of the Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation, were recipients of an Award of Excellence in Empowering Learning.
Distinguished Alumni Award:
Dr. Andrew Derocher
A world-renowned expert on polar bears, Dr. Andrew Derocher is also a former chair of the Arctic Institute of North America. With more than 125 published reports to his credit, his work has been instrumental in bringing to light the serious threat of global warming and the importance of habitat conservation. He studied Arts and Sciences at Cap from 1978 to 1979 before acquiring his PhD in Zoology at the University of Alberta.
Born with cerebral palsy, Stephen Lytton has determinedly pursued his dreams while making countless contributions to the arts and public service. He has been associated with Cap as a student, volunteer and community partner board member since 1997, and has taken a variety of courses offered at the university’s partner site, the Carnegie Community Centre. Actively involved in numerous community affairs, Stephen was honoured in 2012 by Governor General of Canada David Johnston.
President’s Service Award:
Tommy’s Restaurant is a North Vancouver establishment that has provided ongoing support to Capilano University’s Access Work Experience programs via placements for students with a wide range of abilities and challenges. Through its enduring and important commitment to Cap’s program, Tommy’s Restaurant has nurtured and helped students gain confidence, self-esteem and the skills necessary to enable success in all of their future endeavours.
As principal of Brightlight Pictures, an independent Vancouver television and film production company, Shawn Williamson has been offering groundbreaking internships to Capilano students since 2008. This hands-on real-world experience has provided numerous burgeoning filmmakers with an invaluable opportunity to immerse themselves in Shawn’s environment of passion and dedication, helping them to transition successfully into the film industry.
One to Watch Awards:
Co-founder and executive director of the Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association, Martin Littlejohn’s passion for mountain biking has forever changed the nature of the activity. A graduate in 2007 of Cap’s Bachelor of Tourism Management program, he is universally respected for his contribution to community tourism development and to positioning British Columbia as the most diverse mountain biking destination in the world.
A creative juggernaut, Erin Millar’s passion for journalism led her to co-author The Canadian Campus Companion: Everything You Need to Know about Going to University and College, which was distributed nationwide in 2011. Erin completed her Bachelor of Music degree in 2005 while acting as editor-in-chief of Cap’s student newspaper, The Capilano Courier. She was founding editor of Maclean’s On Campus, and is a widely-published freelance journalist.
Since joining Cirque du Soleil in 2009, Christopher May has earned the distinction of becoming the youngest company manager in Cirque du Soleil history. A 2003 graduate of Cap’s Arts & Entertainment Management program, Christopher started his career as a production coordinator for Burnaby’s Michael J. Fox theatre before becoming production manager for the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts.
Awards of Excellence in Empower Learning:
Réjean Marois is a unique and creative powerhouse in Cap’s outstanding Jazz Studies program. His unparalleled enthusiasm, intense musicianship and beautiful arrangements have been instrumental in bringing international recognition to Capilano University. An instructor for almost 25 years, he cares deeply about his students and never wavers in working to advance the university and its reputation.
As director of the Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation, Bill Thumm was the driving force behind the centre becoming a reality. Highly-respected both in the classroom and in the industry, Bill is known to invest himself fully into the people and the responsibilities before him, with many film graduates attesting that he was a fundamental figure in shaping their futures.