Volunteering is in the DNA of new alumni president Lesley Patten, BCom '96

Volunteering is in the DNA of new alumni president Lesley Patten, BCom '96

One chapter ended and another started when the UVic Alumni Association’s annual general meeting came to a close on June 3. It marked the end of a two-year term as president for Dale Henley, BA ’71, and it marked the start of Lesley Patten’s presidency.

Patten, BCom ’96, (above) says volunteerism is in her DNA.

“My family has a history of volunteering. The SPCA was my first volunteer job on my own, I worked at the desk answering phones and filling out adoption docs. I was about 12,” says Patten, who joined the alumni board in 2008.

“I started as part of a committee, until former president Larry Cross, BA ’64, asked me to be on the board,” she recalls. “I said I was pregnant and would be too busy. He said, trust me, you will want to get out of the house!”

Her involvement with the board has introduced her to fellow alumni from across different generations and different academic backgrounds who share a special appreciation for their UVic experiences.

“It has also opened my eyes to the broader university, to all that goes on at the university: research, athletics, new courses and buildings, and student and alumni services,” she says.

As president, Patten will work with the other 16 board members to oversee the benefits and services offered to alumni and to grow the active involvement of alumni in university life and to encourage student engagement through programs like the Student Ambassadors.


The alumni board has agreed to make a contribution of $100,000 to the Center of Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA), with a matching donation from an anonymous donor bringing the total $175,000. Specific details are to be finalized, but the donation will create several endowed student awards and establish an endowed fund to help students in financial need to get CARSA memberships.

The 2015 Annual General Meeting included a talk by Alison Ross, MFA ’94. The owner of Kilshaw’s Auctioneers provided insight into “what’s hot and what’s not” in the world of antiques and collectibles (hints: post-World War 2 is in, so is original art, and hipsters want to buy your taxidermy collection).

The Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award went to Jeff McConnell, MPA ’08, a founder and vital member of the Economics Alumni Council.

Honorary Alumnus status was granted to Dr. Erich Schwandt of the School of Music and longtime organist at spring and fall convocation ceremonies.

Rebekka Schnitter received the Student Ambassadors Scholarship for her commitment community involvement and campus engagement.

Photos from the 2015 AGM | The 2015-16 Alumni Board of Directors

By Mike McNeney
Posted June 17, 2015