Greg Kennelly

Sr. Medical Physicist, BC Cancer Agency (retired)

Founding member of the BC Association of Medical Physicists



My professional career began with training as a Medical X-Ray Technician in the pre-BCIT days when individual hospitals had their own training schools for nurses, x-ray and laboratory technicians.  Following graduation from that program in 1963, I was invited by the late Dr. Harold F. Batho to join the staff of the BC Cancer Institute - later the Cancer Control Agency of BC and currently the BC Cancer Agency - as a technician in the Physics Department.  By 1966, I realized that, in order to achieve future advancement, I would need to return to school and earn a degree.  Accordingly, I enrolled at SFU in January 1967 to pursue an Honours Physics degree, graduating in 1972.

Following graduation, I returned to the BC Cancer Institute as a Junior Physicist and, in 1977, was transferred to the Victoria Cancer Clinic as the sole physicist at that site. I moved back to the Vancouver Centre in 1979 following my marriage to a Vancouver General Hospital anaesthesiologist.  In 1984, I was elected to Fellowship by the Canadian College of Physicists in Medicine, becoming the first of only three people with only a baccalaureate degree to achieve this distinction.  I retired in 2003 as Senior Medical Physicist and Provincial Radiation Safety Officer from a BC Cancer Agency career that spanned 40 years.  Also in 2003, I was one of the founding members of the British Columbia Association of Medical Physicists and in 2005, the Canadian Organization for Medical Physics elected me to Emeritus Membership in recognition of my efforts to promote the profession.

In addition to professional activities, I served three years with the RCAF (Auxiliary and University Reserve); was active in the Scouting movement, serving 14 years as a Beaver leader, Scout leader or Regional Council member as our sons moved through the program;  have been involved in the RCMP Block Watch program since 1996; and, in 2013, was invested into the Order of the Diocese of New Westminster in recognition of long service to the Anglican Church of Canada at both the parish and diocesan levels.


Why did you choose to go to SFU?

SFU was a new university with new ideas that were of interest.  It was close to home and the prospect of being able to attend 12 months of the year was definitely appealing.  Ultimately, in its early implementation, the semester system  did not work as well for me as I had hoped.  The semesters that I took off to earn money for tuition were dictated by when there was work available for me but when I returned the following semester, in many cases the courses that were offered had as pre-requisites the courses that had been offered during the semester I was not in attendance.

Where did you spend the most amount of time on campus?

My non-class time was almost equally divided between the library and the cafeteria.

What is your favourite memory from your time at SFU?

Two people I met in Physics 101, Bob Hornal and Lorne Howell, both of whom went on to non-science degrees.  For three and a half years, we managed to arrange our schedules so that we all had the same afternoon free each week and that became our golf day!

Who was your favourite SFU professor and why?

Darryl Crozier would occupy that position.  If I remember correctly, he was my prof for four separate courses.   I particularly appreciated his encouragement on the occasions when I wanted to explore some ideas that were tangential to the main goal of a specific lab exercise.

How has your SFU degree impacted your career?

I was extremely fortunate to enter the medical physics profession at a time when there were people in department head positions who believed that there was a place for B.Sc. physicists in the field.  In today’s job market, a minimum of an M.Sc. in Medical Physics would be required and a Ph.D. would almost certainly be required to advance to a senior position.

What is your favourite SFU snow story?

Having to keep to the sides of the Mall, under cover, because of the potential danger of falling glass as a result of the snow load on the roof.

If you could give advice to students today, what would you tell them?

Take your studies seriously, but not so seriously that you miss out on the opportunity to enjoy life.

What is the one thing about SFU that must not change?

The university’s innovative approach to the learning process must always remain at the forefront.