June 20, 2013: Capilano University celebrates its 2013 Alumni Awards of Excellence recipients.

      (NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—Twelve exceptional people, including alumni, faculty and friends of the University and one prominent North Vancouver-based business were recognized for outstanding achievement and lasting connection to Capilano University at the 2013 Alumni Awards of Excellence.

      The 2013 Alumni Awards of Excellence recipients include: the Distinguished Alumni Award—Caterina Alberti, Catherine Barr, Graeme Langager and Chris O’Donohue; the One to Watch Alumni Award—Josephine Anderson, Jacquelyn Cragg, Lenora Joe and Dennis Pang; the President’s Service Award—Tom McDonald and Neptune Terminals, and the Award for Excellence in Empowering Learning—Debbie Jamison, Lars Kaario and Cam Sylvester, all Capilano University faculty.

      Now in its seventh year, the awards program has honoured more than 115 people and organizations who have distinguished themselves and Capilano University through their contributions and accomplishments. Previous recipients have included Dr. Thomas Kerr, world renowned HIV/AIDs research pioneer, and best-selling author and playwright, Anosh Irani. 

      The recipients were honoured at a celebration event held June 19 at Capilano University’s Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation, attended by more than 200 guests including past Alumni Awards of Excellence and inaugural honourary degree recipient, Dee Daniels, and past Capilano University president Dr. Greg Lee.

      “Capilano University is extremely proud of our more than 65,000 alumni whose ideas, passion and achievements have helped shape the University and the communities we serve,” remarked Capilano University President, Dr. Kris Bulcroft. “The Awards of Excellence recipients exemplify Capilano’s mission of preparing our students for fulfilling work and outstanding contribution to our global society.”

      Capilano University Alumni Board Member and Foundation Board Chair Jeri Krogseth also announced the establishment of the Alumni Board’s inaugural bursary in appreciation of its members’ positive post-secondary experiences while studying at Capilano. This endowed award provides emergency funding assistance to students at risk of discontinuing their studies as a result of unexpected financial hardship. Contributions over $1000 will be matched by the University. The Alumni Association also hopes to encourage future alumni support of Capilano students through this bursary.  

      Capilano University is a learner-centred university with campuses in North Vancouver, Squamish and Sechelt, British Columbia. Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), the University currently offers bachelor degrees as well as associate degrees and a range of diplomas, certificates and statements of completion. More than 7,500 students are enrolled in credit programs each term, with an additional 7,000 people taking non-credit courses annually. Capilano University has earned an international reputation for quality teaching, programs and services, instilling the knowledge, skills, motivation and attitudes that will enable students to become independent thinkers and learners, and to contribute effectively in a rapidly changing world. More information can be found on the Capilano University website.



      The Distinguished Alumni Award honours Capilano alumni of integrity and stature who have had more than 10 years of experience in their field prior to the award year and have distinguished themselves and Capilano through success in their professional endeavors or contributions in their field of work or humanity.

      Caterina Alberti
      An Advanced Tourism Management graduate and Certified Executive Business Coach, Caterina has helped many organizations in the Sea to Sky corridor implement effective leadership, management and sales strategies. She established the first Winter Farmers Market in the Lil’wat Cultural Centre, which led to the establishment of similar markets in the greater Vancouver region. Caterina began Crossover Coaching in 2009, helping primarily women and youth start up new business ventures. After the 2010 Olympics, she established the Whistler-based Multi-Cultural Celebration, which has become an annual event.

      Catherine Barr
      An accredited journalist with a background in print, television, radio and production, Catherine Barr is perhaps best known as a celebrity reporter for her social event columns and the radio version of her “Cat’s Meow”. Catherine gives countless hours back to community organizations. Commented Walter Daroshin, president of the Leo Awards, “She has promoted the events and activities she has reported on with firm objectivity and has done much to bring attention to causes that might otherwise go unnoticed.”

      Graeme Langager
      One of the first students to graduate with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from Capilano, Graeme is currently Director of Choral Activities at UBC. His conducting career has taken him around the world. A musical colleague at the University of Arkansas wrote, “He is a deep and insightful musical thinker, very good at his craft, unflappable under the crush of temporal constraints and logistical demands, and deeply concerned about the welfare of his students.”

      Chris O’Donohue
      Chris O’Donohue founded the Great Canadian Landscape Company in 2000, three years before graduating with a BBA from Capilano. Since then, his business has grown to 40 employees and has become one of the most well regarded landscaping companies in the region. Chris has won numerous awards for his commitment to excellence including the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the North Shore Chamber of Commerce. He is also a 40 Under 40 Award recipient from Business in Vancouver.

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      The One to Watch Award honours Capilano alumni who have distinguished themselves early on in their professions and who have attended Capilano within the last 10 years of the award year. Previous recipients include Toronto’s Sound of Music and Rock of Ages star, Elicia MacKenzie, and award-winning documentary film maker, Dianne Whelan.

      Josephine Anderson
      Josephine Anderson has been called one of the most illustrious and edgy filmmakers to come out of Capilano’s documentary film production program. Among her award winning films is an interactive documentary, The Sticking Place, which earned two major digital media nominations. Her nominator, Brittany Baxter, indicates that there is a small group of pioneers emerging within Canada’s film industry who are engaged in pushing the frontiers of digital storytelling. “Josephine is at the front of this visionary group.”

      Jacquelyn Cragg
      Although not yet 30, Jacquelyn Cragg, who studied science at Cap, is well recognized as a leading academic and scientist, receiving a NSERC grant, a Killam Doctoral Award and most recently, the Vancouver Coastal Health award for top graduating doctoral student. She is currently completing her doctoral studies in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UBC, with plans to conduct research in neurological science in the field of spinal cord injury. A former instructor shared, “She had the lovely gift of approaching subjects with freshness, humility and intelligence.”

      Lenora Joe
      As Director of Education with the Sechelt First Nation Lenora works closely with Capilano University to develop meaningful educational opportunities for her community. Lenora’s commitment to build participation in Capilano’s early childhood program was exemplified by her own enrolment in the program. She has mentored fellow students, helping them understand the challenges faced by aboriginal learners. “Lenora understands what we, as a university, need to do to build a learning environment that really works for First Nations students,” explains Jean Bennett, dean of the Sunshine Coast Campus.

      Dennis Pang
      Since graduating with a BBA from Capilano, Dennis Pang has founded three web development and internet marketing companies. Most recently he started Popcorn, a boutique social media and PR agency serving Vancouver’s restaurant industry. He has been nominated for Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 Under 40 and featured in BC Business magazine as a Master Networker. A sought after speaker, he also gives back to in the areas of youth mentorship and entrepreneurialism, lending his social media expertise to organizations including the Vancouver Board of Trade and the YMCA.


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      President’s Service Awards recognize individuals or organizations whose outstanding contributions have advanced the mission of Capilano University. Former recipients have included acclaimed jazz vocalist Dee Daniels, founding performer of the popular Capilano Jazz Series, and RBC, a significant supporter of Capilano University’s emerging artists programs. 

      Tom MacDonald
      As former Executive Director of the Local Government Management Association of BC (LGMA), Tom built a strong partnership between Capilano and the LGMA, widening the range of local government administration programs offered at Capilano. He directly contributed to the success of four executive management courses at Capilano as well as the development of a Public Administration Master’s program. His vision and commitment has made a significant, positive difference to how local government professionals contribute to their communities as public servants.

      Neptune Terminals
      Neptune Terminals has been a champion of Capilano University, sponsoring the School of Business’ China Field School, hosting students at key events and creating alliances for Capilano with other community and corporate partners. Graham Fane, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Professional Studies shares, “Capilano is truly indebted to Neptune Terminals and especially Tony Nardi, vice-president of logistics, for consistently recognizing the key role that good community partners play in meeting the needs of our students and the local and global communities.”

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      Nominated by Capilano University Alumni, the Award for Excellence in Empowering Learning recognizes exceptional faculty, staff and administrators who have made a difference in the lives of students and significant contributions to teaching and learning support that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn.

      Debbie Jamison
      A respected instructor in Capilano’s Paralegal Program, Debbie is well known for her ability to demystify and simplify the complex world of civil litigation. Debbie re-wrote the B.C. Guide to Civil Litigation as a result of changes to the B.C. Supreme Court Civil Rules. A former student who works now as a paralegal for the Abbotsford Police Department observes, “Her passion for the law is infectious and she excels in teaching complex issues, making them understandable to everyone.”

      Lars Kaario
      Lars Kaario had a vision: that music students can be inspired to greater musical heights if they develop a deeper understanding of the context of the music they perform. His vision materialized into an exceptional educational experience that marries history with musical performance. Every two years, Capilano music students accompany Lars on a European venture that highlights the venues of the leading choral composers in history. Imagine students’ awe in performing Vivaldi's Gloriain the Venetian church where the composer’s work was originally performed.

      Cam Sylvester
      Founder of Capilano’s Global Stewardship program, the innovative, cross-disciplinary and groundbreaking social entrepreneurship program, Cam is a cherished instructor and mentor to students. “Cam brought ingenuity to a learning environment that allowed me to push my boundaries and achieve in areas that were new to me” explains one former student. “His enthusiasm, dedication and insight into the difficulties faced by the forgotten and marginalized on our planet are unparalleled,” added another.

      View vignettes of the Capilano University’s 2013 Alumni Awards of Excellence recipients.


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