Awards 2015

Presented at the CURAC/ARUCC Annual Conference,  Queen’s University,  May 2015

CURAC/ARUCC Tribute Award


Sandra Pyke
York University Retirees’ Association
Nominated by John Lennox, Co-President, York University Retirees’ Association

The York University Retirees’ Association is very happy to nominate Dr. Sandra Pyke for the CURAC Tribute. By any measure, Sandra Pyke has made an exceptional contribution to YURA and to our national association.

Given its remit to include all retirees, YURA has a co-presidential structure with one of the presidents coming from the non-faculty sector and the other from the faculty cohort. Sandra became co-president with the inimitable Nancy Accinelli and together, along with a programme committee, they were in the process of planning the 2010 CURAC annual conference at York when Nancy suddenly and tragically died. We were all devastated by Nancy’s loss, but the CURAC conference wheels were in motion and the event and its many details needed meticulous planning. As the lead person in this very important event, Sandra had the resolve and commitment (to Nancy as well as to YURA) to continue, now as the sole president, to bring the planning and the conference itself to a successful realization. I understand that the CURAC conference of 2010 was one of the most successful and highly attended in CURAC’s history. The guest speaker was York’s Harry Arthurs, Canada’s foremost expert on pensions, and his address on that subject drew a very big crowd. In addition and no mean feat, through sponsorships and university support, the conference managed to turn a profit. Sandra was the driving and sustaining force behind this success – one of the many demonstrations of her gifts as a leader and as a worker in the cause. She not only talks, but walks it.

As president, co-president and past-president of YURA, her commitment has never flagged. She volunteers in our office one day a week, she participates fully every year in the planning of Showcase, YURA’s annual fund-raiser for student bursaries and awards. For that event, Sandra co-ordinates the “Attic Treasures” table as well as supervises and volunteers at the sales table on the day. This annual event is a very big undertaking for YURA and Sandra is a very happy member of the group. On average, Showcase nets about $1500 that is donated for the support of two awards which are given annually to two or three undergraduate students.

Ever aware of the needs of graduate students, Sandra proposed – and the Executive Committee approved – the creation of a graduate student award for a Master’s student and proposed and coordinated the Silent Auction (held at our Annual General Meeting in October 2013) that generated the initial funds for this award which has been approved by the university and awarded to the first student. These are enormous, contributions to the ongoing work of the University that help inestimably in identifying YURA within York as an engaged and forward-looking association. In this respect, YURA has benefitted enormously from Sandra’s energy and vision.

Sandra is an organizer par excellence. She whipped the YURA office in shape; put together a procedures manual for every aspect of the association’s operation. She is also a bridge-builder and served as YURA’s representative to the other retirees’ association at York: The Association of Retired Faculty and Librarians. The two associations share very cordial relations thanks in large part to Sandra’s work and goodwill and absolute dependability. She is also a communicator who understands the value of keeping the community informed. During her tenure as YURA co-president, the association’s newsletter was developed to its full potential and now serves as a valuable tool for the membership.

Sandra also has raised the profile of YURA in her role as vice-president and now president of CURAC. She is forthright in her opinions, tenacious in argument, willing to take a leadership role and to see the other person’s view, and all this is balanced by a terrific sense of humour. Her recent reminiscence in a YURA newsletter about working one summer when she was fifteen as the employee of a Saskatoon laundry shows that side of Sandra. Sandra is  always the first to acknowledge that what is and has been done within YURA and CURAC is the product of lots of individuals working very hard together – and this view is certainly true. But she has the gift of leadership that gives shape to the efforts of our association and draws people together for whatever task is before them. Sandra can define areas of need, identify those who could be instrumental to the realization of each area, and then be willing to pitch in herself.

To use an old expression, she’s pure wool and a yard wide. For the reasons articulated above, we take tremendous pride in nominating Sandra Pyke for the CURAC Tribute Award.

CURAC/ARUCC Tribute Award


Dr. Orville Scott
University of New Brunswick Retired Employees Association
Nominated by the University of New Brunswick Retired Employees Association

Orville Scott retired in 1993 from UNB’s Chemical Engineering Department as Senior Technician. He immediately joined a group of retired professors and administrators, which – aided by his vision and enthusiasm – led to the founding of an all-encompassing retirees’ association: UNBREA.
Orville assumed the position of UNBREA’s Founding President in September 1993. With dedication and energy he started the process of successfully integrating the retirees into the UNB family. While president, he produced a few newsletters for the membership, and, after becoming past-president, he assumed the position of editor of the newsletter (The UNB Retiree). As such he remained on the Executive and was instrumental in converting the newsletter to digital form and distribution by e-mail, and ultimately in the design, testing and successful creation of the UNBREA website. Once that was accomplished, Orville resigned from the Executive in May 2013 ( after 20 years!! ), but not before having recruited, trained and instructed his successors as well as providing them with clear guidelines and the standing offer to help out when needed.
He still continues to share his retirement experiences on behalf of UNBREA at Human Resources’ well attended Pre-retirement Information Sessions. He also continues to share his culinary talents by cooking the ham for the Annual UNBREA Picnic.
Orville deserves to be recognized for his enthusiasm, dedication and long service to the retirees of UNB.

CURAC/ARUCC Tribute Award

JohnStager.jpgDr. John Stager
University of British Columbia Association of Professors Emeriti
Nominated by the University of British Columbia Association of Professors Emeriti

John Stager was instrumental in founding the UBCAPE organization and led it through its early years as a founding member, President, Past President and leader of the Executive Board. His contributions were so meritorious as President that the membership insisted upon his spending two years in the role. John was author of the UBCAPE constitution, with some help, and he has taken a continuing and effective interest in the evolution and management of our Association throughout its 17 years. Throughout the years of John’s leadership with the Association it has thrived. It established itself as a force with the university administration compelling them to recognize the importance of retired faculty to the reputation and capabilities of the University. Programs offered by the Association thrived. Its Newsletter developed into an eagerly sought after source of news about University activities and colleagues’ contributions. Colleagues across the University have conceived a respect for John as a person of integrity, approachability and high standards.
John’s accomplishments were enhanced by his long-term service as a CURAC Board member. From the first year of his retirement he identified with the goals of CURAC, recognizing that the vision of CURAC would enhance the wellbeing of retirees across Canada, and the UBC Association benefited from rich ideas inspired by John’s attachment to CURAC. John’s first association with CURAC took place when he planned, jointly with the Simon Fraser University Retirement Association, the 2005 CURAC Conference in Vancouver. This led to his election to the CURAC executive and a long history of service until recently as a Director and Vice-President and participation on Health, Finance, First Nations, Constitution and Nominating Committees.
John’s effectiveness with UBCAPE was enhanced by his senior leadership at the University. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the careers of professors emeritus/a at UBC and retired staff members, based upon his stellar service at senior levels of the Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts, and on his status as University Senator and Director of Ceremonies. He served as Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, 1969-75, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts, 1975-90, University Senator, 1969-90, and Director of Ceremonies, 1984-89.
John’s distinctive research focus and expertise was the historical geography of the Canadian North. He was a major figure in the development of the Canadian Northern Studies Trust. From 1967-77, he Chaired the Advisory Committee on Northern Research, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa. His experience led to his appointment as the founding President of the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies. He remained in a leadership role in the Canadian Northern Studies Trust and was the founding President for the Government of Canada’s Selection Committee for the Centennial Medal for Northern Science. He is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, a recipient of the President’s Service Award for Excellence at U.B.C. and a Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America.
In addition to all this, John is a charismatic individual with a uniquely effective conversational style. We are confident that among the numerous strong candidates for this award John Stager’s candidacy will stand out.

Contributions to CURAC/ARUCC Award


Dr. George Brandie
Queen’s University Retirees’ Association
Nominated by Dr. Edgar Williams, CURAC/ARUCC Awards Secretary

George Brandie retired from Queen’s University in 2004 and joined the newly formed Retirees’ Association of Queen’s. He was asked to become its Webmaster and became proficient on the new method of creating and editing web pages on a server using just a browser on the Internet for the task. Early in 2007, he received an unexpected phone call from Peter Russell, asking if he would accept nomination as the CURAC Secretary at the upcoming AGM at the University of Windsor. He explained that he knew almost nothing about CURAC and even less about the responsibilities of the Secretary. Consequently, Peter asked him to come to Toronto so that he and retiring Secretary Ken Rea could explain it all. A few days later, they met me in Union Station and then had a good lunch where they explained how easy the job would be, and Ken promised to provide all his files and any help that he could. Peter and Ken were very persuasive resulting in George accepting the nomination and he began to familiarize himself with CURAC and soon Associations began to receive notices from him. He also took over management of the CURAC website, which Ken Rea had started when he was Secretary.
At the Montreal Conference in 2008, George had an extended discussion with Ken and Roch Meynard (Conference Co-Chair from UQAM) about the need to upgrade the website and move it to a more modern editing system. Based on his experience with the RAQ website, he felt it could be done and agreed to start a completely new site on a Queen’s server. Eventually (these things ALWAYS take longer than one hopes!) he developed the website that many of you have seen for many years.
2008 was also his first CURAC Conference, where he had the pleasure of meeting in person retirees across Canada who previously had just been names on emails. He has attended every Annual Conference since Montreal, along with Atlantic and Ontario Regional Conferences, and come away from each, newly energized by the people he has met, the speeches he has heard, and the small discussions during and after hours at the Conferences.
At the Regina Conference in 2011, George was elected President of CURAC. Due to unforeseen circumstances, he had to resume some of the duties of Secretary during that first Presidential year, until he was able to persuade Ed Williams that those duties were straightforward, etc., and pass his files into his capable hands. During his two years as President, initiatives by several Directors led to our becoming more active in taking positions on issues of broad concern to seniors. That activity has grown steadily since then, as you will have seen.
During his years as Secretary, he found that certain parts of our Bylaws were unclear, contradictory, or inadequate for current conditions and recommended amendments to the Board. Those amendments were approved at the 2010 AGM in Toronto and subsequently approved by Industry Canada. At that time he told the board, “Never again!” He should have heard Fate laughing, because the Federal Government passed a new Not-for-Profit Corporations Act requiring a new set of Bylaws. Since he had experience in drafting Bylaws, George took on the task of drafting the new By-laws which were approved at the St. John’s AGM in 2013 and subsequently accepted by Industry Canada, so that we continue to be a federally-registered not-for-profit corporation in good standing.
In the past year, the duties of Webmaster passed into the capable hands of Dave Swayne.
During 2014 it became clear that there was no host for the 2015 Conference so after the Hamilton Conference George proposed to the RAQ Executive Committee that it should be held at Queen’s. They agreed, provided that he would chair the Organizing Committee. He accepted, but only if another person would agree to be Co-Chair. Happily, RAQ Vice-President Eleanor Rogers agreed. He then had to persuade CURAC President Sandra Pyke that he could not also carry out the traditional duties of the CURAC Past President in chairing its Nominating Committee, and she agreed. The Queen’s Local Organizing Committee has put together the program and arrangements you are experiencing, and George cannot thank them enough for all their hard work. They have proved that it needn’t take several years to organize a CURAC Conference.
George is now retiring as a CURAC Director, figuring that eight years on the Board is enough for one person, and that he should leave before someone decides that our Bylaws need further revision. Serving CURAC and its members has been a privilege and a pleasure. He is confident that with the Board elected this afternoon, CURAC continues to be in good hands.

CURAC/ARUCC Association Award

The Retirees’ Association of Queen’s University
Nominated by Dr. Edgar Williams, CURAC/ARUCC Awards Secretary

On behalf of the Board of Directors, it is my pleasure to offer the thanks of all members of CURAC/ARUCC to the Retirees’ Association of Queen’s and particularly the members of the Local Organizing Committee for hosting the 2015 Annual Conference and General Meeting. This event is the most significant annual activity for CURAC/ARUCC and without the support of local associations such as RAQ, it could not take place.
In recognizing RAQ, we also recognize the strong support received by CURAC/ARUCC from the Queen’s community for many years. We hope that this support will continue and wish to advise George Brandie that we shall value his contribution in the future just as much as in the past. We also thank LOC Co-Chair Eleanor Rogers for her willingness to take on this responsibility and offer best wishes to all members of RAQ.