History Students Represented at 50th Anniversary Awards Ceremony

The University recently honoured 5 exceptional UVic alumni with a 50th Anniversary Award.  Each honorand exemplifies the rich diversity and tradition of excellence at UVic and embodies our vision to be engaged citizens and leaders contributing to the betterment of our local and global communities.

Two of the five people selected are graduates of our MA program!  Congratulations to Alisa Smith and Tamara Vrooman!

Alisa Smith

BA (History in Art), '94, Faculty of Fine Arts | MA (History), '97, Faculty of Humanities

A commitment to sustainability is central to UVic’s mission and core to teaching and research across the university. Alisa Smith personifies this commitment and has captured the imagination of consumers with the publication of The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating, which she co-authored with her partner, former University of Victoria student J.B. MacKinnon.

The book puts sustainability to the test as the authors describe the challenges and triumphs of spending 365 days living on food produced within a 100-mile radius of their Vancouver home. Released in 2007, the book, struck a chord amid concern about climate change – especially considering that so many groceries originate from a distance of 1,500 miles or more. The book also coincided with widening interest in the “locavore” movement and farmer’s markets.

The book received a national Cordon D’Or culinary literature award in the United States and a Canadian Culinary Book Award, as well as the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Book Prize. Chapters/Indigo named it a best book of the decade. It is also reading material in colleges and universities across North America.

 The 100-Mile Diet was also adapted into a TV series, The 100-Mile Challenge, hosted by the authors. It aired on Food Network Canada and Discovery Planet Green in the US, and in Europe and Asia.

Tamara Vrooman

BA (History), '91, Faculty of Humanities | MA (History), '94, Faculty of Humanities

Educating socially responsible leaders for the public and private sector is a UVic tradition. Tamara Vrooman’s accomplishments exemplify UVic’s commitment to thoughtful leadership and affirm that the health and wealth of society are inseparable.

As the chief executive officer of Canada’s largest credit union, Tamara Vrooman is responsible for ensuring Vancity fulfills its vision of redefining wealth for members and communities. Her recent success builds on her prior career in the British Columbia public service.

Overseeing Vancity’s $16-billion balance sheet, she helped the credit union achieve, in 2011, the best earnings performance in its 65-year history. Under her leadership, Vancity has also become the first carbon neutral credit union in North America and the first Canadian financial institution invited to join the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.

Previously, as deputy minister of finance for BC, Tamara Vrooman led successful public service contract negotiations and helped the province achieve two AAA credit rating upgrades. She also oversaw the government's annual $100-billion borrowing and cash requirements and development of the government's $36-billion fiscal plan.

A recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Outstanding Public Service, she was also named three times to the Women’s Executive Network: Top 100 Most Powerful Women list. In 2008 she received the UVic Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award.