A decorated alumnus

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I completed the Simon Fraser University Professional Development Program (PDP) in 1986. I graduated with a BA in history and geography in 1985 along with a B.C. Studies certificate; then I completed the PDP in 1986 and a Public History certificate in 1987. 

I was employed in the summer of 1985 as a historian for the Chilliwack Museum and Archives. While there, I co-wrote a book about the original city hall, which was saved from demolishment by our readers. The city hall became the new museum centered in the middle of the city of Chilliwack.  And in 1987, I became a teacher but was later laid off in the recession.

I went to another university to achieve an MA and then was employed as an instructor at a university college. I was laid off after four years in another recession, and once again, attended the other university to complete my doctorate. I then took on a professor position. 

By 1995, I decided to quit and join the Canadian Forces, where I had served before university, as a field engineer and a combat diver. It was relatively recession proof. In almost twenty-six years of service, I was posted or on temporary duty to the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Chilliwack, CFB Shilo, CFB Gagetown, CFB Camp Wainwright, CFB Wainwright, and finally, CFB Suffield - the largest army base in the Commonwealth.

I was decorated three times – once thanks to the Queen, once due to Premier Ralph Klein, and on one other occasion. I served in the ice storm that shut down the Fraser Valley on aid-to-civil power, and competed over twelve times in the Canadian Forces National Running Championships and many more times in the Canadian National ones. I won 29 national gold medals by the time I retired at 60 years of age as the oldest soldier in NATO to Calgary, Alberta. I am still competing at the national level.

Robert McKinnon finishing the 2012 Dino Dash in Calgary

I served until I aged out in 2014 as both a Royal Canadian Combat Engineer and a Royal Canadian Combat Diver. I am now living in Calgary concentrating on fitness instructor courses and my University of Alberta Health and Safety certificate in order to seek future employment in both those fields to supplement my pensions. 

I try to regularly attend SFU Alumni functions in Calgary and was honored to meet the current SFU President at my first event. I am a proud SFU alumnus. Go Clansmen!

Robert McKinnon
BA 1985, CBC 1985, PDP 1986, CPH 1987

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