49 Langarans

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David Turpin

Langara Alum | Academic Leader & Scientist

This ‘problem kid’ became a university president

How Dave Turpin became a student at Langara College — and then the president and vice-chancellor at the University of Alberta — is an odd story.

Turpin readily admits he started as a student who was “profoundly bored in high school” and not doing well.

“I could be outstanding if I liked the teacher and I found the material exciting, I would be below average and be a discipline problem if I was bored,” he said.

One day during grade 9 Guidance class, the teacher announced that if anyone was interested in graduating early, they should stay after class for more information.

Turpin remembers everyone else leaving the classroom after the bell sounded, but he walked up to the teacher’s desk.

“The teacher looked at me and said, ‘Turpin, what are you doing here? You’re too stupid.’”

Later that night his mother learned of the teacher’s remarks, and by the next day the teacher had changed his tune and told Turpin what he needed to do.

“All of the sudden my marks went up,” he said, adding that by the end of Grade 11, he was only missing one course for graduation.

“Rather than hanging around high school I saw that I could register at Langara, I could make up that high school course, and I did a full first-year load,” he said. “I so enjoyed it that I stayed a second year there, too.”

He went on to complete further schooling and today he has a PhD as well as an established scientific research and leadership career.

“What Langara did for me is provide that opportunity to transition to post-secondary school in a non-traditional way,” he said. “We all have very different learning styles. What I found is I learn best when it’s experiential, really interactive, and when I can go at my own pace.

“High school was simply not motivating to me, whereas I found when I got to Langara there were opportunities to be independent and a self-starter.”

The learning style fits with his career as a scientist, he added.

“It’s not doing what somebody tells you, it’s doing what you recognize is important to learn,” he said. “That’s what any education should do; it should empower you to learn.”

As the 13th president of the University of Alberta and in former leadership roles, including 13 years as president of the University of Victoria, he said he supports courses offering different learning opportunities, such as lectures, readings, and interactive online material.

“Some people want to read a book, others want a lecture,” he said. “And people with different learning styles are now finding it easier to fit in.”

Courtesy of Black Press Media

49 Facts — NO. 46

Nursing students gain hands-on experience taking the pulse, blood pressure, and heart rate of our high-tech patient simulators (HPS) – computer driven human-like mannequins that can cry, sweat, bleed and even talk!

Meet more 49 Langarans.

  • Jim Goard

    Jim Goard

    Retired Employee | Langara Pioneer

    Jim was Langara’s first Director of Information and Educational Technology, a position he held until he retired after 37 years of service. During his tenure, the department grew from a team of three people to an organization of over 50 who supported both administrative and instructional systems and resources. An active supporter of Langara’s Co-op Program, Jim hired many Langara students to work in the department. Jim was heavily involved in the ongoing implementation and support of the College’s many administrative systems, including those developed and acquired to support the operation of Langara when it separated from Vancouver Community College. Jim was also responsible for acquiring, implementing, and managing instructional computer resources and technology including computer labs, networks, and instructional software applications. A passionate advocate for cooperation and knowledge sharing, Jim was a founding member of the Higher Education Information Technology BC organization and was actively involved with its annual IT4BC conferences, BC’s premier conference for post-secondary education. For many years, Jim was also the Chair of the Langara College Administrators Association.

  • Linda Hudson

    Linda Hudson

    Langara Alum | Business Owner

    Linda is the President and Owner of Kerrisdale Cameras, a family-owned chain of camera stores, and a long-time supporter of Langara College. Originally opened in 1961 by her father Bob Hudson and grandmother, Mary Hudson, Kerrisdale Cameras is a photographic retailer of new, used, digital, and film photo equipment. The company has seven stores in Metro Vancouver and Victoria. Linda works hard to maintain and grow the family legacy. She has been with Kerrisdale Cameras for over 35 years and learned the secret to running a successful business from her father: treat your employees, customers and suppliers honestly and with respect.  Today, over 40% of Kerrisdale employees have been with the company for ten or more years and over 15% are Langara alumni or current students. The company is now the Canada’s second largest independent photo retailer. 

    Linda has a diploma from Langara College (1981) and a BBA from SFU (1989) and held the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation (1999-2013). She was the first retailer in BC to sign the BC Safety Charter. Linda also volunteered for nine years as Treasurer at the BC Retail Safety Society, has been a Strata Council Member in Whistler for 17 years, and is on the Board of Directors of the Kerrisdale Business Association. She also volunteers with the new Kerrisdale Earthquake & Emergency Preparedness (KEEP) working group to help local businesses work together to become disaster resilient.

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  • Audrey Tolhurst

    Audrey Tolhurst

    Retired Employee | Nurse Educator

    Audrey began her career as a Nurse Instructor in the Langara Nursing department in 1972. Audrey graduated from the Montreal General Nursing program in 1966. She earned a Bachelor of Nursing in 1971 from McGill University, and a Masters of Education, Higher Education in 1995 from UBC. She was present for the first graduating cohort of the Nursing program, and later, was involved in the College offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Throughout her 35 years at Langara, she was responsible for many innovative curriculum changes and served as Curriculum Coordinator, Department Chair, and dedicated Instructor. She was also involved in Langara Nursing’s partnership with the University of Victoria. Audrey was an ambassador for the Nursing department on multiple provincial committees, and has served on several school committees. She was highly respected by faculty, many of whom she mentored, and was known as a nurturing, caring, and passionate instructor. Audrey’s incredible influence has touched hundreds of instructors and thousands of nurses.

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