Class Notes Fall 2023

Saluting Education’s 2023 Alumni Award and Sports Wall of Fame recipients.

31 October 2023

In this edition of Class Notes, we salute the University of Alberta Education alumni making the world a better place through their professional achievements, community service and innovation. The Alumni Awards recognize these contributions and tell the stories of our exceptional alumni, inspiring us all to lead with purpose.


Recognizes the significant achievements and contributions over a number of years by University of Alberta alumni to their profession and/or their community.

Norma DunningNorma Dunning, ’12 BA(NativeStu), ’12 Cert(IndigGov/Ptnshp), ’14 MA, ’19 PhD

Inuk writer Norma Dunning uses personal stories to preserve Inuit culture while building understanding about Inuit history. An academic latecomer who started university at age 50, Dunning’s master’s thesis explored Canada’s little-known Eskimo identification system — a government law replacing Inuit people’s names with numbered discs, which became a book that is part Inuit Canadian history and memoir. Speaking her truth is part of how Dunning erases stereotypes and inspires students in the U of A classrooms where she is a professor. Dunning’s personal story speaks to following dreams. In the 14 years since arriving on campus, Dunning has earned three degrees, published numerous works of poetry, fiction and academic research, and earned dozens of accolades including a Governor General’s literary award. 

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Patricia Marie Paradis, ’75 BA, ’76 Dip(Ed), ’83 MEd, ’88 LLB

As a legal professional and educator, Patricia Paradis created opportunities for Canadians to understand the fundamental nature of their Constitution and how it impacts their lives. During 12 years as executive director of the U of A’s Centre for Constitutional Studies, Paradis encouraged diverse academic perspectives on constitutional issues — especially from Quebec scholars — in the two academic journals she edited, and in the national conferences and webinars she organized. Her commitment to educating the public about their Constitution manifested in a Charter of Rights series, interactive grade-6 student workshops, and a National Film Board project. Paradis taught human rights law at the U of A for 23 years and served on several boards, notably as national chair of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund.

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Darrel Robertson, ’92 BPE, ’94 BEd

As the school superintendent for Edmonton Public Schools, Darrel Robertson’s responsibilities include a billion-dollar budget, 10,000 employees and tens of thousands of students whose success is at the heart of every decision. Robertson believes in empowering division leaders, creating environments where staff and students thrive, and seeking creative solutions to unique issues. After becoming the division’s superintendent, Robertson helped create a set of cornerstone values based on integrity, accountability, collaboration and equity that have guided and anchored the division’s work. These four principles have positioned the division to tackle old problems like school closures and infrastructure, as well as evolving issues — a global pandemic, systemic racism, and Truth and Reconciliation — without ever losing sight of the best interests of students.

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Recognizes the outstanding professional achievements and/or contributions to community of recent graduates. Nominees must be 40 years of age or younger at nomination deadline.

Andrew Gersham ParkerAndrew Gersham Parker , ’08 BA, ’14 BEd

Creating community is a point of pride for Andrew Gersham Parker; it’s even in the name of the basketball tournament he started 15 years ago to get kids out playing the game he loves. Pride of the Northside has grown into a weekend celebration of streetball, while Parker has grown into a role model, mentor and anti-racism leader. An educator with Edmonton Public Schools, Parker teaches social studies and physical education alongside lessons about Black history and being good citizens. In June 2020, Parker spoke to 15,000 people at a Black Lives Matter protest. Before the month had ended, he’d co-founded the Black Teachers Association of Alberta, creating another community that supports colleagues while continuing his efforts to advocate for racial justice.

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Recognizes the contributions of alumni as athletes and builders of University of Alberta sport.

Dale Henwood, ’74 BPE, ’76 MA, ’76 Dip(Ed)

An accomplished athlete, administrator and advocate, Dale Henwood dedicated his life to the development of sport. A man who seemed to have the Midas touch at every stage of his career, Henwood was a trailblazer for the advancement of hockey for athletes, coaches, referees and staff across North America. Learning under the tutelage of coach Clare Drake, Henwood was an integral member of a championship-caliber Golden Bears hockey team, highlighted by winning the 1975 University Cup. Using the core principles of Coach Drake and the Bears, Henwood established a successful career in coaching and administration, which saw him coach in three winter Olympic Games, craft a women’s hockey development program and coaching certification programs with Hockey Alberta, and become the first-ever President & CEO of the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary.

Heather Parrish, ’99 BSc(Spec), ’03 BEd, ’03 MEd

Few U of A student-athletes have accomplished as much as Heather Parrish did during her time with Pandas Rugby. A tremendous athlete, leader, role model and student, Parrish checked every box as one of the faces of the newest Pandas program. Parrish and the Pandas won four consecutive Canada West and CIS titles from 1999-2002, losing just once in 30 matches across four seasons. Displaying finesse, speed and strength at the flanker position, Parrish was the pinnacle of the Pandas success, named national player of the year twice, Bakewell trophy recipient, four-time Academic All-Canadian and team captain. A high school teacher and coach in Edmonton, Parrish is still a familiar face with the U of A, having supported the varsity program since graduating.

Upcoming Alumni Event — You’re Invited!

Webinar: From Chalkboards to ChatBots 
Tuesday, Nov. 28, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.


Join us for a captivating conversation with Faculty of Education AI expert Dr. Cathy Adams  ('81 BSc, '08 PhD), professor of educational computing at the University of Alberta, whose research investigates digital technology integration across K-12 and post-secondary educational environments including Artificial Intelligence and K-12 Computing Science curriculum.

Dr. Adams will dive into the complicated world of AI in education with relational ethics researcher Dr. Gillian Lemermeyer, assistant professor in the Faculty of Nursing and assistant adjunct professor in the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.


Feature image: Alumni Honour Award Winner Darrel Robertson