Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

2010 Recipients

2010 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Lorianna Bennett | BSC Animal Biology, 1994
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TRU Distinguished Alumni: Community Service Award

A family lawyer, mom and engaged community volunteer Lorianna has inspired her peers and promoted a culture of change in many law firms striving to create working environments that balance the needs of professionals, families and communities in her capacity as the Yale County representative of the Canadian Bar Association.

Work life balance is important to Lorianna who is an active volunteer in her sons’ school and sporting activities, teaches a Commercial law course at TRU and fundraises for the hospital and university foundations. She often takes time to speak as a career mentor and as an advocate for anaphylaxis education.

Dean Fortin | TRU UT, 1979
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TRU Distinguished Alumni: Public and Community Service Award

Dean Fortin became the 51st Mayor of Victoria on December 2, 2008.

Prior to being elected as Mayor, he served as a Victoria City Councillor for two terms, from 2002 to 2008. For 17 years he was Executive Director of the Burnside Gorge Community Centre, before taking on full time mayoral duties. He practiced family and criminal law, worked with the Victoria Association for Street Kids (now known as the Youth Empowerment Society) before his political and executive roles. Dean also coached Senior Girls' basketball at Esquimalt and Oak Bay Senior Secondary Schools along with helping out with the Boys' and Girls' Rugby program at Burnside Elementary School.

Nick DeCicco | Horticulture Management Diploma, 1991
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TRU Distinguished Alumni: Lifetime Achievement Award

Over the past 30 years Nick has taken his passion for horticulture and helped create a parks system in Kamloops that is one of the best in Canada. Although he already had started as a labourer in the city’s parks department, Nick enrolled in Cariboo College’s fledgling horticulture program earning a certificate in 1980 that he laddered into a diploma in 1991. He steadily moved through the ranks from Gardener to Crew Leader in Horticulture and Turf and finally to his current position as Parks Operations Supervisor in 2004. Since then Kamloops has won the Communities in Bloom Best Turf Program in Canada twice. Throughout his career he has stayed connected to students of the horticulture program, either endorsing practicum opportunities for students in the city’s parks program, supervising their work experience, giving guest lectures and teaching courses in the horticulture program. Nick also played soccer on the varsity team and came back to help coach with Errol Wilde.

Twyla Russell | Bachelor of Social Work,1998
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TRU Distinguished Alumni: Grace Chronister Award

As the Regional Field Placement Coordinator for the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) Twyla has coordinated training for new employees, coordinated the Aboriginal Youth Work Exchange program, and provided support to the TRU BSW field education program. Her name is synonymous with student development, placement, mentoring and staff education. Her extensive work within the Ministry includes working promoting learning opportunities, reviewing procedures, developing provincial social work exams, and developing better policy to facilitate the adoption of foster children. She exemplifies the profession by her valued support and mentoring of social workers and social work students and her active involvement in the community promoting social justice.

Shannon Brooks | BSC Cellular Molecular and Microbiology,2009
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TRU Distinguished Alumni: Student Leadership Award

Currently completing her MSc degree at TRU, Shannon is an excellent leader through example, not ego. She is able to give thought provoking and passionate discussions on her graduate research on the biodegradation of hazardous organic pollutants, and has translated he love for animals into helping people in the community by becoming a trained therapy dog handler with St. John’s Ambulance, spending time each week at Hillside Psychiatric and Berwick Park. She also volunteers her time to be a judge at the Cariboo Regional Mainline Science Fair, and spurs her fellow graduate students, as well as undergraduates to be involved in the Canadian Society for Microbiologists, encouraging them to get involved with outside organizations through membership, participation, and presentations at conferences.

Interior Health Authority
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TRU Distinguished Alumni: Community Award

Interior Health is one of five geographically based health authorities in British Columbia, providing such services as Acute & Community Care, Mental Health & Addictions and Public Health. Interior Health strives to set new standards of excellence in the delivery of health services, to deliver those services in a timely, caring and efficient manner, and to promote healthy lifestyles.

Since the inception of TRU’s Nursing Program in 1974 and its Respiratory therapy program Interior Health and Royal Inland Hospital have contributed to the expansion and growth of health education programs at the university by helping students fulfill their education practice requirements. Education is a lifelong journey that is essential not only for professional development but for individual growth as well. An environment of continual learning needs to be encouraged so that both organizations maintain the highest level of professional excellence and continue to meet the needs of clients, patients, residents, students, faculty and staff. It has been In the interest of encouraging and enabling professional clinical education that Interior Health and Royal Inland Hospital is recognized for striving to facilitate education programs that reflect a commitment to quality learning.