71 staff lauded for longtime service

UBC's 25 Year Club welcomes 71 new members for 1999.

Club members -- staff who have worked on campus for a quarter-century -- will join UBC President Martha Piper at a celebratory dinner on May 13 at the Totem Park Ballroom.

New members include:

Agricultural Sciences: Retha Gerstmar, Kathy Shynkaryk * Anaesthesia: Elaine Dawn * Animal Science: Paul McRae Willing * Biotechnology Laboratory: Darlene Crowe * Bookstore: Wendy Truelove * Botanical Garden: Ronald Rollo, Thomas Wheeler * Botany: Robert Kantymir * Chemistry: Martin Carlisle, Guenter Eigendorf, Zoltan Germann, Brian Greene * Civil Engineering: Susan Harper * Commerce: Nancy Hill * Continuing Studies: Linda Fung, Pauline Gensick, Libby Kay * Dermatology Division: Remedios Gumboc * Disability Resource Centre: Catherine Mead * Education: Carol Kelly * Electrical Engineering: David Fletcher * Equity Office: Margaret Sarkissian * Financial Services: Lucy CC Chiu, Maria Miu, Nancy Young * Food Services: Peter Cunningham, Chee Ngan Lai * Forestry, Dean's Office: Charles Lai * Health Care and Epidemiology: Ronnie Sizto * Health, Safety and Environment: Ron Aamodt, Mumtaz Lakhani * Housing and Conferences: Lucia Bodt, Marinus Hooymans * Institute for Resources and Environment: Isgo Nercessian * ITServices: Anne Shorter * Library: Cipriano Ambegia, Balbir Aulakh, Gaylia Cardona, Peter Edgar, Rowan Hougham, Ivy Lee, Richard Melanson, Merry Meredith, Caroline Milburn-Brown, James Swartz, Jean Y.J. Tsai, Seta Yeterian * Mechanical Engineering: John Richards * Microbiology: Michael McClymont * Mining and Mineral Process Engineering: Sally Finora * Music: Isabel Da Silva * Nursing: Teresa Rostworowski * Obstetrics and Gynecology: Theresa Yang * Parking and Transportation/Campus Security: Philip Chee * Physics and Astronomy: Alan Cheuck, Ole Christiansen * Physiology: Joseph Tay * Plant Operations: Alain Albert, Adolf Becker, Frederick Biddle, Mary Blair, David A. Coe, Rolf Kullak, Linda Y.F. Low, Terrill Stanton, Hans Tautscher * Political Science: Nancy Mina * Research Farm Oyster River: Niels Holbek * Research Services: Shirley Thompson * Student Health Services: Rhoda Ree.

Margaret Sarkissian

by Hilary Thomson
Staff writer

Commitment to building community is a theme that runs through Margaret Sarkissian's life on and off campus.

As an adviser in the Equity Office, Sarkissian works with employment and education equity and discrimination and harassment issues at UBC.

"UBC is my community," says Sarkissian. "Equity work is really community-building work. We want to make this university an inclusive and supportive community for everyone."

A UBC alumna, she started her campus career after graduating with a BA. She signed on as a recruiter in the personnel department but soon discovered that her interests were in counselling. She transferred to the Student Counselling Centre, at the same time pursuing a MEd through UBC's Counselling Psychology program.

For the next 12 years, Sarkissian worked as a counsellor helping students deal with issues ranging from career planning to serious personal problems.

Her involvement with the student community continued with jobs as director of undergraduate programs for the Faculty of Commerce and director of the UBC-Ritsumeikan Academic Exchange Program.

She joined the Equity Office when it was set up in 1994.

"There is no cookbook approach to working with harassment and discrimination issues," says Sarkissian. "They are incredibly complex and challenging to resolve."

One of the most rewarding parts of the job for Sarkissian is facilitating equity issues workshops for faculty, staff and students. Energizing, stimulating and fun is how she describes this part of the job.

Her concern for community building is also evident in her personal life. As pres-
ident of a community centre association, Sarkissian helps develop community programs. She volunteers at a weekly community meal designed to provide restaurant skills training for at-risk youth and a sense of community for the seniors, families, single and homeless people who attend.

Merry Meredith

by Susan Stern
Staff writer

Twenty-five years ago Merry Meredith was manually pasting pockets in books as a library assistant. Today, as graphics supervisor for UBC Library, all of Meredith's publications and signs for the university libraries are electronically produced on her Macintosh computer.

"As fast as I learn something they bring out something else," says Meredith. "My job is more interesting and challenging because I have to keep up with new ideas and new software continuously."

Meredith holds a degree in Art History and also studied illustration and design at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Since her career at UBC began in 1974, she has worked in various positions in the library -- from circulation to cataloguing -- before becoming graphics supervisor in 1989.

Meredith works on special projects with librarians and staff, primarily in Koerner Library. One of her projects was to produce publicity for the Information Connections program which teaches students to negotiate the vast world of information in print or on-line.

"I like illustrating and detail and I'm always interested in a quality product," she says.

As well as creating the graphics for the UBC Library Web page Meredith collaborated with ITServices on the design of the I Files, a newspaper for students containing useful information about the library and computers.

"Everybody is great to work with and that makes it easy for me to work under pressure," she says. "I've made many good friends and I enjoy working on the campus. There have been enough changes that it doesn't feel like I've been 25 years in the same place," Meredith says.

Paul Willing

by Bruce Mason
Staff writer

"I've always wanted to be a farmer and for 25 years this is part of what I've managed," shouts Paul Willing as he strides through the sheep paddocks, oblivious to the bleating chorus of some of his 150 charges. "You think they would kill themselves the way they run around, but I keep an eye out."

"Always loved hockey too, and I bet I'm the only UBC person whose picture is in the Hockey Hall of Fame," he adds, while simultaneously bottle-feeding four lambs. "It's actually a photo of me and my wife with our family -- the caption reads, `Hockey is for kids of all ages.'"

In the evening and on weekends Willing has refereed hockey games for decades and plays defence for the Old Birds Hockey team.

At UBC, his busy day as the farm manager for Animal Science starts at 7:30 a.m. when he feeds the sheep, plans for lambing and performs myriad other chores. The closed flock is used for teaching, and pregnant ewes are studied before being returned to the paddocks.

He first set foot on the UBC campus in 1964 as an Engineering student on scholarship, fresh from the family dairy farm on southern Vancouver Island. He switched to Agriculture before dropping out in 1966 to earn enough to buy his own farm.

By 1974 he was "farm hunting" around the small Vancouver Island community of Port Alice when he heard the call.

"UBC was looking for a manager of the farm on campus and I got the job," he recalls. "It was much different then; I was in charge of a large staff of swine, beef, mink, dairy and sheep technicians. Now I'm on my own with the sheep and a few dairy cows."

His son Leo earned a degree in Microbiology and is just completing his second in Education at UBC. Daughter Sandra is finishing her third year in Arts and plays on the women's varsity hockey team. Son Ben is in third year Agricultural Sciences and president of the faculty's undergraduate society.

"Sheep are considered stupid and I suppose they are, compared to humans," he says as scratches the ears of a "rascal" marked #9152. "They're also affectionate and responsive and conduct themselves better than some people I see. It's the gentle soothing environment that makes mine the best job at the university."