Peter Laughton, Civil Technology ’63
“I worked for R.V. Anderson Associates Limited until 2002, rising to become director of environmental engineering and chairman of the board. In 2005, I established my own business as a consulting engineer, before retiring in 2015. Over my career, I guest lectured at several Canadian universities and Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. I’ve received awards for service to the engineering profession, including the U.S.-based Water Environment Federation Fellowship, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering’s Dr. Albert E. Berry medal, and the Professional Engineers Ontario Engineering Medal. I also received an honorary degree from TMU and was inducted into University of Toronto’s Engineering Alumni Hall of Distinction.”
Rick Boulton, Journalism ’70
At age 77, Rick passed a series of City of Toronto training exams which have allowed him to continue teaching chess, contract bridge, volleyball and golf for Parks, Forestry and Recreation at four community centres in Scarborough that offer free programs, which he calls “very satisfying work.”
David Graham, Journalism ’76
“After 47 years of working, I am trying new things. The last six years with the Department of National Defence have been great. Prior to government work, I spent 23 years with CBC and CTV National News and Current Affairs. My last gig was as show producer of CTV’s Sunday Edition with Mike Duffy. My better half and I have travelled the world and we’re still travelling. Our century house is fully renovated. The university was a great place to learn and make lifelong friends. I played men’s volleyball and co-coached the women’s team for two seasons after graduation.”
Patti Pokorchak, Business ’74
“I’ve been a contract lecturer for TRSM Entrepreneurship faculty since 2019. My life changed when I played a computer game in 1971—I switched my major from accounting to business computing. IBM hired me as one of their first professional females when I was only 19, and after my first year, I headed off to explore Europe on my own. I worked at many tech startups in those decades, including one of my own, before becoming an ‘accidental farmer’ (also the name of my book), starting a hobby farm. In 2010, I returned to Toronto and started volunteering at TMU, as chair of the Business Alumni group, director at RUAA, on the Entrepreneurship Council and finally the Sales Leadership Council.”
Ed Burtynsky, Image Arts ’82
Ed has made art history by spearheading a technological innovation that has permitted the digitization of 89,000 artworks belonging to the West-Baffin Co-operative in Nunavut. Known as the ARKIV360, the machine consists of a rotating platform, a sort of turntable as big as a round dining table, and allows one to photograph an archive of prints. The public can now, for the first time, view art that has languished in storage at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ont., for decades.
Wayne Ng, Social Work ’88
“Guernica Editions has published my third novel, The Family Code, inspired by my 30 years as a social worker. I am retiring this year from the Ottawa Catholic School Board to write full-time. The Family Code is a gritty family drama featuring the troubled life of Hannah Belenko, a young single mother dogged by the brutality of past traumas and a code of silence that she must crack to be free–or lose her son, Axel. The book unabashedly reveals the power and perils of parenting, but also the vulnerability of children. Connect with me at waynengwrites.com.”
Jill (Turnock) Rose, Architectural Science ’82
“Early on in the pandemic, a few from our graduating class started to meet via Zoom, and the idea of a 40-year reunion was hatched. The Wheat Sheath Tavern was the starting point of our 22-person reunion, catching up with old friends and reminiscing about our university days. Next we visited the architecture building on Church Street, and we were given a tour and presentation by Professor Jurij Leshchyshyn. Sadly, we learned that four classmates had passed away and in their memory, we raised money to make a donation to TMU. Last January, the Class of 1982 Architectural Science Alumni Memorial Award officially came into being, to be given to a student who demonstrates financial need and plans to travel as part of an educational program.”
Arthur Smith, RTA School of Media ’82
Arthur has published a new book about his life titled Reach. Before graduating, Arthur was an actor, radio announcer and a segment producer for CBC Radio. He went on to be a Gemini-winning producer for CBC Network Sports and was eventually appointed head of CBC Sports. He later moved to Los Angeles to join Dick Clark’s company as senior vice-president, creating a variety of new programming.
After a stop at MCA Universal, he moved to FOX Sports News as executive vice-president for programming, production and news, and was also executive producer of their national programming. He fulfilled his dream of starting A. Smith and Co. Productions in 2000, and grew it into a very successful supplier of programming to more than 40 U.S. networks. He led the creation of hits such as Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and Trading Spaces.
Mark Lim, Graphic Communications Management ’92
“I retired in 2022 after working for the federal government since graduating. The university helped me gain valuable work experience through its co-op program, and more importantly, the practical and transferable skills that I acquired from TMU helped me perform well in my job in the public sector. For the next chapter, I look forward to spending quality time with my wife of 25 years and my two grown children.”
Arthur Milnes, Journalism ’93
Arthur had the honour of hosting U.S. President Jimmy Carter at his house in Kingston, Ont. in 2012. “I have been very privileged to have known President Carter through my work in journalism and as a public historian these past 20 years. I also recently penned a tribute book to the former president called 98 Reasons To Thank Jimmy Carter, published to celebrate his 98th birthday.”
Asifa Nurani, Environmental Health ’95
“Following graduation, I did a master’s in public health at Yale. I took my academic learnings back to my birth country, Kenya, where I spent the next 19 years working in development. I developed global and cross-cultural competencies and experiences that have taught me the complexities of working in fragile environments. Most of my working career has been with Aga Khan Foundation in Kenya where I worked as country manager and regional program manager, health.
Among my key accomplishments was the design of child care services that integrate health, nutrition and early childhood stimulation to enhance developmental outcomes of children aged up to three. My family immigrated to Calgary in 2017 and I have since completed a master’s in child development. My doctoral in social science research is focused on cross-cultural mother-child attachment-based sensitive parenting through the lens of poverty.”
Jennifer Prince, Hospitality and Tourism Management ’96
“After 30 years in Toronto, my husband, Ian Penny, and I moved to Belleville, Ont. and purchased a century home where we are going to start a new bed and breakfast business. Looking forward to making new connections in our new town and seeing familiar faces come to visit us soon!”
Will Farquharson, RTA School of Media ’09
“Since being hired by The Score Television Network in my second year as an RTA student, I have racked up more than 16 years’ experience producing and directing engaging live news and highlight shows. From my early days at The Score to my current role as a producer for Rogers Sportsnet, I have overseen production of shows ranging from The Footy Show to Tim & Sid/Tim & Friends, and Sportsnet Central.
What truly drives me is the ability to captivate audiences through creative visuals. Throughout my career, I’ve honed the skills in graphic design and video production that I gained at TMU, which have enabled me to enhance the visual appeal of broadcasts.”
Audrey Wubbenhorst, Master’s in Communications and Culture ’04
“This past summer, I was very privileged to spend time in Colombia on a project with Global Affairs Canada supporting the Colombian government with data collection and communication related to tracking Venezuelan migrants. Colombia is the largest host country of Venezuelans, welcoming more than 36 per cent of the Venezuelan exodus. Colombia had never experienced such an influx of migrants on its territory. My role was to help the Colombian government with data analysis and visualization, which is critical for making fact-based public policy decisions.”
Rochelle R. Atizado, Global Management Studies ’11
Rochelle is a senior advisor, partnerships and special initiatives at the United Nations Foundation where she works with companies, creative community, young people and the United Nations to advance the sustainable development goals. Atizado is also a UN published writer. A Filipino Canadian hailing from Toronto, she was recognized as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award winner under the Amex Emerging Leaders category.
Linds Christopher, Journalism ’18, on the set of Family Feud Canada.
Linds Christopher, Journalism ’18
“I have returned for my third season casting Family Feud Canada. I was the head casting producer on the second season of Canada’s Got Talent, and was part of the inaugural casting team for the brand-new quiz show Battle of the Generations.”
Julianna D’Urzo, The Creative School ’19
Julianna is an anchor producer for the New York-based show Elizabeth Vargas on NewsNation where she acts as liaison for veteran television reporter and anchor Elizabeth Vargas, formerly of ABC News, and the network team, producing live newscast segments daily during prime time. Her first internship opportunity with CBC’s daytime talk show The Goods started with a tip from her program coordinator. Building on her experience at CBC, D’Urzo was able to secure an internship with CTV’s The Social, a popular daytime talk series covering news, pop culture and lifestyle topics and co-hosted by four women including RTA alum Marci Ien.
Victor Findlay, Sport Media ’18
Victor is the new play-by-play announcer for Montreal Canadiens game broadcasts for TSN 690, the official English-language radio voice of the Canadiens. In addition to calling Canadiens and Ottawa Senators games for TSN, he has also lent his voice to the Champions Hockey League on TSN and has covered hockey at the Beijing 2022 Olympics. Sports fans may have also heard him on live calls for the IIHF U18 World Championship, the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, the Memorial Cup, the CHL and OHL.
Fernanda (Diaz) Jakeman, Nursing ’12
“I am currently working on the critical care outreach team at the London Health Sciences Centre. It was a difficult position to obtain, and I’m happy to become a part of the team. I am so proud to have graduated from TMU, it opened up the possibility for so many nursing positions. I am now a mother of three young children and wife to my husband who is CEO of a maple farm.”
Leland Harper, Philosophy (MA) ’12
Leland recently published a book titled Racist, Not Racist, Antiracist: Language and the Dynamic of Racism. Leland is an associate professor of philosophy at Siena Heights University.
Ellen Mclaren, Image Arts ’16 and Nick Ager, Architectural Science ’14
Ellen and Nick were married December 10, 2022. “Ellie and I met in August of 2010. We had just moved into residence at Toronto Metropolitan University, and our rooms were across from each other. We had a floor meeting on our first day and were supposed to say a bit about ourselves. I couldn’t think of anything, so I just said that my favourite TV show was Dexter. Ellie, from across the room, yelled out, ‘That’s an excellent show!’,” Nick told Toronto Life.
Mai Nguyen, Journalism ’10
Mai is the author of Sunshine Nails, published in July. The book follows the Tran family, Vietnamese immigrants who settle in Toronto and open a mom-and- pop nail salon. When a luxury chain opens across the street, their community and livelihood come under threat, and the book follows them as they get into all sorts of hijinks to try and survive. The book touches on the immigrant experience, race, gentrification, class and more. Though the book is not autobiographical, Mai’s family actually owns a nail salon in Halifax, where she used to moonlight when she was younger.
Janika Oza, Immigration and Settlement Studies (MA) ’19
Janika published her first book of fiction earlier this year, The History of Burning, which was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award. The book touches on themes of migration, racism, colonialism and the notion of home. Though a work of fiction, the book does explore themes close to her heart. “Something I’ve been sitting with is the idea that my family were refugees, but also immigrants, and we’re also settlers. So what does it mean to be all of those things, and what does home mean?”
Angelica Stirpe, RTA School of Media ’11
“One of my first film jobs out of university was as a production assistant (PA) for the press junkets for all the gala presentation films at TIFF, thanks to the referral and support of the wonderful professor Richard Grunberg,” said the 34-year-old Vancouver resident, who grew up in Richmond Hill, Ont. “It’s a true joy to return home with a world premiere,” she said, as Bloom, the short film she produced, appeared at TIFF, one of 42 shorts selected out of more than 5,000 submissions for the 2023 film festival in Toronto.
Thomas Swayne, Acting ’12
Thomas was nominated for two Tony Awards in 2023 as a producer of The Piano Lesson, starring Samuel L. Jackson, and the new musical New York New York! Thomas had worked for a number of production companies in Toronto, London and New York City. He previously associate-produced The Ferryman and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which both won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Anuja Varghese’s short story collection, Chrysalis won the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction. Photo: Jesse Valvasori
Anuja Varghese, Non-profit and Volunteer Management ’19
Anuja’s debut short story collection, Chrysalis, won the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction. Varghese took home the $25,000 prize for her stories that blend elements of Hindu folklore with modern diasporic life.
Siu Mee Cheng, Public Policy (PhD) ’22
The executive director of Street Haven, Siu Mee has been named a recipient of the 2023 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award for her leadership in affordable housing and social services for women who are experiencing homelessness in Toronto.
Annalee Dimpfel, Image Arts ’22
“I am thrilled to share that my thesis film, Copping Justice, which was co-created with fellow 2022 Film Studies graduate Alexandra Dunlop, was officially selected to be screened at the 56th edition of the Worldfest Houston International Independent Film Festival. This is the oldest independent film festival in the world and is responsible for giving first awards to incredible filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ang Lee, the Coen Brothers, Ridley Scott, and David Lynch! Alexandra and I travelled to Houston, Texas, last April to attend the festival and accept a Remi Award on behalf of the film.”
Katie Heggtveit, Nutrition ’20
At age 21, Katie founded Bootcamps for Change, an organization focused on providing fitness programs for youth experiencing homelessness. This program is geared towards 16- to 29-year-olds who live in shelters and aims to build their physical and mental health and confidence by removing barriers to participation. In 2018, Katie and her team launched Sweatier for the Better for vulnerable youth to gain skills and knowledge for employment. Through scholarships, the program supports youth in shelters to become certified fitness instructors as well as connecting them with local job and mentorship opportunities. Recipients were able to complete certifications and secure full-time employment in the fitness sector, allowing them to leave the shelter system.
Amanda Johl, Law ’23
“I passed the bar exam and found out on my grad trip to the Bahamas!”
Mallory Maynard, Marketing Management ’20
Mallory founded Gibbly, an e-learning platform that leverages generative AI to help teachers create curriculum-aligned lessons and quizzes in seconds. She’s on a mission to help teachers and make learning fun! Visit gibbly.co.
Hanen Nanaa, Politics and Governance ’23
Hanen came to Canada as a Syrian refugee in 2011 and is the first in her family to graduate from university. In addition to graduating in 2023, she received a Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award. At TMU, she co-founded @BAMCollective, Ontario’s first youth-led collective, created to empower young, equity-seeking individuals through art, policy, innovation and community engagement. Hanen is an Ontario regional advisor to the Minister’s Regional Office - Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
Eemaan Qadri, RTA School of Media ’23
New graduate Eemaan is working on her MFA in Film + Television Production at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Steven Spielberg’s alma mater.
Bill Lawrence, RTA School of Media ’54
Bill died July 4, 2023, in Hamilton at age 91. Bill was a television star, director, producer, writer and teacher who emerged as an early celebrity during the live, black-and-white days of Canadian television. From 1957 to 1992, he hosted Tiny Talent Time, a program for viewers in southern Ontario, showcasing the skills of children aged four to 12. Tiny Talent Time frequently beat NFL games for viewership and remains Canada’s second- longest running TV show after CBC’s Front Page Challenge. His reach and fame eventually extended across the country as he presented weather, documentaries, game shows and specials for the CBC. With his broadcast days behind him, he returned to his alma mater as a professor for 16 years until his retirement.
Rob Roland, The Creative School ’72
Rob died May 24, 2023. Rob was born on December 15, 1948, in Oxford, England. After TMU, he spent 12 years with the Toronto Musicians Association, a job he described as ‘paid to party’ followed by a successful career as a real estate broker. A talented musician, he played with many bands over the years and was musical director of RIOT 73. Rho Alpha Kappa (Rho) is grateful for Rob’s thoughtfulness and forward thinking. Back in 1998 at a Rho party at Richard Todd’s, it was Rob who came up with the idea to start a bursary for students in RTA. Over the last 23 years, that annual bursary has grown to become the Rho Alpha Kappa Alumni Association Award; last year, it distributed $4,000 to students.
Dave Woodburn was inducted in the TMU Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
Dave Woodburn, Business ’63
Dave, who was also manager of the men’s hockey teams (1961-63), died March 15, 2023. After graduating, he initially worked for Hudson’s Bay and was one of the first Canadians in the furniture industry to escort study groups to the Far East. He was also editor of Forum, a respected monthly furniture magazine, and became the national furniture buyer for HBC. In 1983, he formed his own consulting company which he directed until retirement. He was inducted in the TMU Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
Alumnus Rob Young
Rob died June 11, 2023 in Albi, France, from complications of a fall he sustained during a trip to Morocco. He was 76. Rob was a sound mixer in the film industry for nearly 40 years, earning an Oscar nomination in the category of Best Sound for Clint Eastwood’s 1992 Western Unforgiven. Among his other notable credits were Jumanji, Catwoman, Night at the Museum and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. While studying at the university, Young worked at a small sound studio that began his career as a sound mixer. He went on to travel for CTV’s investigative news show W5. A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Cinema Audio Society, he retired to the south of France where he was writing a novel and screenplay.