March 29, 2012

In this issue

Awards of Distinction 2012

The ninth annual President's Awards Lucheon was held March 6th at the Quality Hotel. At this event, GPRC recognizes the hard work of volunteers, alumni and other members of the community who have made extraordinary contributions to the College and the region through three prestigious awards.

The Board of Governors Award of Distinction was established in 2004, and is the College’s highest tribute to individuals or groups within our community. The award honours those whose actions have made exceptional contributions to our community and to the advancement of higher education.  Board of Governors Chair, Vincent Vavrek, presented this award to Beth Sheehan, for her lifelong work throughout the Peace Country and GPRC.



Her lifetime involvement in the communities of the South Peace has been extensive, and her research, writing and photographic skills are a consistent thread throughout. Beth Sheehan is well-known as the author and/or contributor to several of the regional history books published in the area. Her collection of historical information and photographs has become an important component of the South Peace Regional Archives. She has always been an important source of historical information for many who are interested in the history of the Peace Country.

Elizabeth Sheehan continues to be an enthusiastic supporter of educational and cultural events in the area, and is a particular friend to GPRC as generous donor and alumna. She was among the first students of the College when it was established, as an adult student in the general arts.

GPRC President and CEO, Don Gnatiuk, presented the Distinguished Alumni Award to Gary Allen Borstad, PhD.



Back in 1966/67 when the College first opened its doors to the students of our region, Gary Borstad was among the charter class of 66 eager learners. He enrolled in university transfer science, and then went on to complete a Bachelor of Science in zoology and chemistry at the University of Alberta, Edmonton.

In June, 2011, the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society awarded the prestigious François J. Saucier Prize in Applied Oceanography to Dr. Gary Borstad.  His work has taken him to all Canadian provinces and territories, most US states, and over 35 countries, including the high Arctic, the mountains of the high Andes, African deserts and jungles, tropical coral reefs and lagoons and many places in between.

Dr. Borstad is the eldest son of long-time Grande Prairie residents Elmer and Doreen Borstad, and the brother of Lane Borstad, an instructor in the Fine Arts program at GPRC.

The Distinguished Volunteer Award was awarded to Christina (Tina) Nelson. Tina Nelson is a young woman who has already built an impressive resume of community involvement and volunteerism. She has been a dedicated volunteer on the organizing committee for the GPRC President’s Ball committee for several years, with particular responsibility in recent years for décor. Last year she served as co-chair with Patricia Trout, and they achieved spectacular results.

Tina is currently serving as a member of Board of Directors, Prairie Art Gallery, and has helped organize the Art Auction fundraiser for the Gallery for several years. She is a graduate of Grande Prairie Composite High School, a GPRC Alumna, and a former employee of GPRC. Tina is married with three young children who are busy with school, Highland dance, and numerous other activities. She comes from a strong family tradition of volunteerism and community involvement, and says she feels that it is very important to contribute her time and energy.

Tina was unable to attend the President's Awards Luncheon because she was on vacation at the time. Her brother, Rob Thomlinson, attended the event and proudly accepted the award on her behalf. He is pictured here with Camen Haakstad, Vice President External Relations.

HL Fossil Road Show

GPRC’s Palaeontology Program travelled to High Level to present a “Fossil Road Show” in this northern community February 22-23. The palaeontology event was hosted at the Mackenzie Crossroads Museum and Visitor Centre, with the help of Darlene Anderson, Visitor Centre Director.

Fossils, rocks and mineral samples from our GPRC collections, together with posters and a large variety of activities educated and entertained an eager audience of young and old. Presentations to schools and to the public completed the program.

125 excited students and their 21 teachers learned about the prehistory of our Region and saw dinosaur fossils maybe the very first time. The public part of the program drew another 100 persons who were eager to learn about fossils, or share their knowledge of local finds.
Our GPRC educational outreach was much appreciated, as commented in our guestbook:

“Thank you so much for bringing this presentation up here”.
“How awesome! Thanks for displaying all these amazing bones.”
“I totally loved it and I love that my kids saw this!”
Submitted by: Katalin Ormay, Palaeontology Program Manager


The fossil display was huge draw for students from the
High Level Christian Academy


Students from the Spirit of the North Community School
examine the fossils

New Student Award Established

Joanne Ballance, GPRC Alumni Development Manager (left) receives a cheque in the amount of $1,000 from Rachelle Himer, VP Commercial Lines at Aon Reed Stenhouse Inc. for the establishment of a new annual student award at GPRC. Rachelle brought along a Manchester United Ball to the photo shoot as Aon Reed Stenhouse Inc. is also the uniform sponsor for the popular UK football club.












Excellence in People


At each monthly Board of Governors meeting, staff and faculty recognitions are presented to the Board by Don Gnatiuk on behalf of the Executive Team. The following recognitions were presented at the February 2012 meeting:

• The GPRC community holds in esteem the memory of two colleagues and champions of education in our communty: Melodie Wilton and Perky McCullough.

• Three of your GPRC Volleyball players have been selected to the ACAC All Conference teams. Women’s players, Tonya Dueck and Stefanie Tschechne, and Men’s player Adam Woods, all made 2nd team All Conference. Wolves Athletics congratulates these players are their outstanding performances that resulted in this selection.

• Congratulations to GPRC 's Elder in Residence, Miriam Youngchief, who has won the “Passionate Heart Award” awarded by the City of Grande Prairie.

• Congratulations to Dr. Desh Mittra who was granted Instructor Emeritus status by GPRC as of February 9, 2012.

• A special recognition to Francois Fournier, Dwayne Head, Leigh Goldie and Joanne Ballance for their involvement in the design and re-installing of the Wall of Fame. Special thanks to Alberta Infrastructure for providing the funding for this initiative.

• Congratulations to Bonnie Coates, a collaborative graduate from the Business Administration program. Bonnie was nominated for the Michael Lissey CA Memorial Award, presented by the Chartered Accountants Education Foundation of Alberta. The nomination package was very impressive, and the Foundation chose to name Bonnie as the recipient of the Gordon V. Rasmussen CA Memorial Award instead, which is of equal distinction to the Lissey Award (and an equal cash award component).

• Congratulations to Charles Sanderson, who has been nominated by registered apprentices for the 2011 Top Instructor Award, awarded by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. A nomination by students is very encouraging and very commendable.

• Thank you to the organizers of the Fairview Campus Chili Cook Off which was held for staff and students on February 16: Monica McDonald, Joan King, Karen Workun, Marilyn Sideroff, Yvonne Peterson. Thanks to all of the chili cooks who made this event possible.

• Thank you to Lynne Ness for her excellent writing skills and always coming to the aid of staff, often at the last minute, to prepare letters of support and showcase GPRC in the most positive light.

• The Executive Team recognizes the Board of Governors for their trip to the Central West Region to show their support and diligence in regional stewardship. Also, thank you to Shirley Pasieka, Bonny Hart, and Janice Yeaman for their assistance in organizing the tour and hospitality at each venue.