Kody Baker MBA’14

It’s part electric vehicle, part bicycle, and part car to go. It’s called a VeloCar, and Kody Baker (MBA’14) hopes it will revolutionize transportation. It is currently in beta testing, with Baker and colleagues riding around on it on Vancouver’s back streets. Baker co-founded VeloMetro when he was in the MOT MBA program. <>

Top 40 Under 40

Three SFU alumni make the Business in Vancouver list. Sarak Lubik (BBA Hons’06, CLA’07), lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation at the Beedie School of Business and the director of Tech E at SFU; Joey Lin (BSc’05), CEO of Taipak Enterprises; and Amit Sandhu (BBA Hons’08), CEO Ampri Group of Companies.

Data Guru Retires

For almost four decades Walter Piovesan (BA’70) helped build and shape the university’s and the country’s digital landscape. As the pioneering Maps/Data/GIS librarian at the SFU Library, a VP Research operating unit, he has helped place it at the forefront of university computerization, digital library technology, distance education, wide-area networking, and other educational technologies.

Book and Video

Swedes’ Ferry (Coteau Books) by Alan Safarik (BA’76) now has a video to complement it. The book is in its second printing and Safarik was recently featured at the High Plains Book Festival in Billings, Montana. <>


Chancellor Anne Giardini (BA’80) is named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network. In addition to being chancellor, she is former president of  Weyerhaeuser Co., is a current board member of the Thompson Creek Metals Company, and is completing her third novel.

Soccer Impresario

Victor Montagliani (BA’88, CFP’88) is president of the Canadian Soccer Association and he is pitching hard for Canada to host the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup. North America hasn’t hosted the World Cup since 1994 in the U.S. The bidding process hasn’t been announced, so for now Montagliani is focused on organizing the biggest women’s sporting event in history: the 24-nation, six-city 2015 Women’s World Cup, which will culminate at BC Place stadium on July 5.

New Minister

Yohana Yembise (MEd’94) is the new minister of women’s empowerment and child protection in the president’s cabinet in Indonesia.

Director and Dramaturge

Mallory Catlett (MFA’00) wins an Obie Award, a Hewes Design Award, and a Bessie for best visual design for This Was the End, her reconstruction of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya presented at The Chocolate Factory in New York. <>

Still a Mystery

Scots publishers are showing interest in Harry McGrath’s (MA’14) thesis on Janet Smith, the Scots servant killed in Vancouver’s elite Shaughnessy district in the 1920s. Her murder remains unsolved and has been the subject of several speculative books.

Outstanding Alumni Awards

This year’s winners (l to r) are Darrell Burnham (BA’76, MBA’86), executive director of Coast Mental Health (service to the community); Kanwal Singh Neel (PhD’08), exemplary teacher and host of the award-winning TV series Math Shop (professional achievement); Diane Cockle (PhD’13), one of Canada’s leading forensic archaeologists (public service); and Ming-Sound Tsao (BSc Hons’73), one of the world’s foremost oncologic pathologists and cancer researchers (academic achievement). <>

Personal Risk Award

Ujjal Dosanjh (BA’73), Outstanding Alumni Award winner, former B.C. premier, and former federal health minister, is awarded the inaugural Wallenberg-Sugihara Civil Courage Award. Dosanjh receives the award “for his actions as a critic of sectarian violence and his advocacy for social justice, often at great risk to his personal safety.”

Children and Books

Margriet Ruurs (MEd’98) receives an honorary fellowship from Okanagan University College in recognition for her work in children’s literature, especially for her online ezine KidsWWwrite, her SFU master’s project. Ruurs has also written 30 books for children and educators.

Into Space

Helia Sharif (BASc’10) speaks at the International Astronautical Congress. She is competitively selected to discuss innovative ideas for exploring space in a panel called Next Generation Plenary – Innovations in Exploration. The panel focuses on near-term and attainable ways to make space exploration safer and more efficient.


Ladan Mahabadi (MSc’06) and a McGill colleague develop a wearable mobile device called Backtrack that modifies and quantifies individuals’ recovery from back injuries. It helps users visualize their movement over time to better understand their own progress in the recovery journey from back pain.

Fringe Bound

Several SFU alumni will be creating theatre shows for this year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival in September. Derek Chan (BFA’10), who won the Fringe New Play Award, will explore what happens when an astronaut’s reading material comes to life, while Elysse Cheadle (BFA’13) will present dance inspired by 17th-century Dutch paintings. Other SFUers with Fringe shows are Pedro Chamale (BFA’10), Christina Andreola (BFA’13), Kaylin Metchie (BA’13), Brandi Eliott (BFA’14), and former Peakie Jim Sands who attended SFU. <>

Key Influencer

Toronto Life magazine names Sara Diamond (BA Hons’90) one of the 50 most influential people in Hogtown. Diamond was recently appointed for a third five-year term as president and vice-chancellor of OCAD University in Toronto. She has steered the university beyond its traditional art and design roots to become a leader in digital media design, research, and curriculum.

Elizabeth LaPensée PhD’14

Elizabeth LaPensée (PhD’14) uses social-impact video games to change indigenous stereotypes. She is a former video games journalist of Métis and Anishinaabe background who has spent the last seven years creating and assessing the efficacy of a game called Survivance, designed to help young First Nations individuals process their lives and come to a place of healing.

Pain Management

Cheryl Yu (BA Hons’14) creates a game that distracts users from their pain. The game, called Mobius Floe, draws the focus away from the patient’s pain and into a virtual environment. It is expected that it will be used for burn patients and those suffering from chronic illness.

Prize Winner

Cherry Smiley (MFA’14), indigenous artist and activist, receives the Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy. Smiley, from the Nlaka’pamux (Thompson) and Dine’ (Navajo) Nations, exhibited Revolution Songs in Vancouver this past spring as part of her MFA graduating project and is co-founder of Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry.

Poetry Award

The Governor General’s Award for English-language poetry goes to Arleen Paré, who studied writing at Continuing Studies. Paré wins the prestigious award for the collection Lake of Two Mountains.

Justice for Women

In Within the Confines: Women and the Law in Canada (Canadian Scholars Press), Jennifer Kilty (PhD’08) points out that meaningful justice remains out of reach for many women and racialized minorities because the law turns a blind eye to the inequities that structure their daily lives.


Julie Saito (BBA’98), recently retired from the position of director of alumni relations and executive director of the Alumni Association, is this year’s recipient of the SFU Staff Achievement Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Super Bowl Crunch

Twins Graham Talbot (BFA’11) and Nelson Talbot (BFA’11) win a Doritos Super Bowl Contest. Their commercial “When Pigs Fly,” shot in Abbotsford, nets them $50,000 and a trip to the Super Bowl in Phoenix.

New Book

Christopher Hergesheimer (BA’06, MA’09) and Joshua Hergesheimer are out with an adventure travel story dealing with politics and food security in Canada and South Sudan. The book, out this spring, will be published by Caitlin Press.

New Chancellor

Gwendolyn Point (PEduc’93) is the new chancellor for the University of the Fraser Valley. Point is finishing her doctorate in education at SFU.

New Brew

Deep Cove Brewers is partnering with North Shore Rescue to create a Tim Jones (BA’80, PDP’85) tribute beer. The ale, named Shredder, is part of a fundraiser to benefit the volunteer team and honour Jones, the team’s late leader. Jones is also inducted into the SFU Athletics Hall of Fame. <>

Baker photo: Raeff Miles; OAA photo: Greg Ehlers/Creative Services; LaPensée photo: Nadya Kwandibens