Lethbridge College at 60: Faculty and staff (retired)


D’Arcy Kavanagh
Communication Arts faculty member
{ 1984 to 2012 }

When I retired in 2012, I decided to make it a complete break from the college. I’d move on to new experiences and leave the college behind. And I did. But the college, as it turned out, didn’t leave me.

On a daily basis as I run errands, play musical gigs, do book signings or walk my dog, I encounter former college students, ex-instructors and current staff. We exchange updates about our lives and swap tales about the college. We’re not family but it almost seems that way.

One day in particular shows how connected college people are. The 2016 Tour of Alberta bike race was in town and I went early to the Galt Gardens to explore the vendors’ tents and see the competitors before they raced.
I had barely arrived when former student Jessica DeCoste (Communication Arts – Advertising and Public Relations 2012), spotted me and sprinted over to say hello. We hugged, she asked about my latest book – she had bought the first two, I believe – and then she told me how much she loved her new job as a recruitment officer for the college. Then she jogged back to her table where she was promoting college programs. A few minutes later, I bumped into a former instructor and good friend, Ian Hepher. Later I encountered Fred Neale, another instructor and friend. Then I visited with a couple of other college grads. I went to the beer gardens. More familiar faces from the college. My wife Lynda, (Communication Arts – Advertising and Public Relations 1988), a college grad and former Distinguished Alumna, joined me. It was like old home week.

Some people say our high school days create the strongest bonds. I think our college days have a more profound influence because that’s when students face fears and create futures, and when instructors and staff likely have the most memorable working experiences of their lives.

You can leave the college for sure. But the college definitely never leaves you.


Buster Burke
{ Accounting faculty member, 1983 to 2001 }
“Buster Burke was one of my favourite teachers when I came through college,” says James Reimer (Business Administration 1990), Accounting and Business instructor. “After I graduated and started teaching some accounting classes part-time, Buster became my mentor. He did everything he could, literally, to help me be successful as an instructor. It was his influence that created the passion in me to become the business instructor I am today.”

Elio Girardi
{ Electronics Technician 1976, Audio-Visual coordinator, 1989 to 2016 }
“In my time as both a student and employee at Lethbridge College, I found Elio to be the most supportive person on campus,” says Ryan Robinson (Communication Arts – Broadcast Journalism 2006), Audio-Visual technologist. “He was always willing to lend a helping hand even if it wasn’t his area of expertise.”

Joan Smith
{ Development officer, 1984 to 2006 }
“I had the privilege of working with Joan since I started at the college in 1989, and we worked on the wine festival and the dinner dance for years. She has such a great personality, always was so elegant – with beautiful high heels – and has a laugh that is contagious,” says Betty Van der Lee, Food Services supervisor.

Al Rudolph
{ Criminal Justice team leader, 1981 to 2004 }

“You always knew where you stood with Al; there was no misunderstanding or room for interpretation when it came to Al. He had a very gruff exterior but those of us lucky enough to see another side knew a very different person. He left a lasting impression in my life when he hired me, a young 30-something woman, to come and teach in the Correctional Studies program,” says Barb Mantello, chair of the School of Justice Studies.

Jim Manis
{ Multimedia Production faculty member, 1996 to 2015 }

“Jim Manis was a champion of students and their creative ability,” says former college instructor Leanne Elias (Multimedia Production 1998), who now teaches at the University of Lethbridge. “As someone interested in linguistics, he approached every new programming environment as a challenge and would work tirelessly to help students troubleshoot and create stellar projects. As a colleague, he kept us laughing! Never one to take himself too seriously, he hid his outstanding intelligence behind a veneer of self-deprecation.”

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