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Advancement dinner celebrates achievements of ACC alumni

Advancement dinner celebrates achievements of ACC alumni

Written On: 20 February, 2015
Category: Alumni Awards Events Indigenous Community
Related programs:  Agribusiness Interactive Media Arts - Media Practical Nursing Business Administration

ACC's Alumni Association honoured four members of the alumni community at a dinner and awards ceremony yesterday evening in Brandon.

Jeff Vassart, a ‘96 graduate from the Agribusiness program, was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award. He has built a successful career in the agricultural sector and is currently president of Cargill Limited.

“I am honored to accept this award alongside three outstanding individuals,” said Vassart. “ACC helped establish a strong foundation for me and I am truly grateful for the role that the faculty and fellow alumni have had in my career so far. It feels great to have my journey since graduation recognized and celebrated in the community.”

Dave Botterill graduated from ACC’s Business Administration program in 1981 and was selected as this year’s recipient of the Community Service Award. A global humanitarian, Dave was unable to accept his award in person as he is currently in Haiti working to build clinics and schools with the charity Project Help Haiti. A video of his acceptance message can be found on ACC’s YouTube channel.

Leonard Sumner was awarded with the One to Watch award. Leonard graduated from the college’s Media Production program in 2007. He has since gone on to release his debut album in 2013 and was named Best New Artist at the 2014 Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards. 

The Excellence in Teaching award was given to Jerrylynn Manuel, an instructor in the college’s Practical Nursing program in Winnipeg. She has been teaching at ACC since 2012.

ACC considers all graduates who earned a diploma or certificate credential as well as those who are or were an employee of the college to be part of its alumni community.

2015 Alumni Advancement Recipients

[L to R] Leonard Sumner, Jerrylynn Manuel, Jeff Vassart and John Tataryn (on behalf of Dave Botterill)

Award Recipients - Biographies

Distinguished Alumni – Jeff Vassart

Jeff Vassart was born and raised on a farm outside of Pilot Mound, Man., and is a proud alumnus of ACC’s Agribusiness program. Jeff graduated in 1996 and began his career as a Facility Assistant at Cargill’s Yorkton, Sask., grain elevator. From there, Jeff held a variety of sales, marketing and merchandising roles including General Manager for Cargill’s Grain and Oilseed business in Australia and most recently, was appointed to the role of President for Cargill Limited in June 2013.

Jeff also serves as a Director of Wynyard Insurance and is involved with several of Cargill’s joint venture businesses. He is a member of the Business Council of Manitoba and the Canadian Council for Chief Executives.

Jeff has always been a proud ambassador for ACC and has mentored many graduates who are now Cargill employees. Jeff and his wife Lori (also an alumna from Office Administration, class of ‘97) and their three children have settled in the community of LaSalle, Man., where they actively participate in and coach a number of sports and activities.

Community Service Award – Dave Botterill

Dave Botterill was raised in Brandon and graduated from Business Administration in 1981 where he was co- captain of the varsity basketball team. After his diploma, Dave went on to complete a Computer Science degree and ventured on to a successful career in the IT sector, working in sales, management and business development.

Although Dave has had great success in the business world, his heart lies in humanitarian work. After visiting Peru on vacation with his family, Dave returned to aid in earthquake relief. He has been involved in humanitarian work in Haiti, Peru and Mexico, assisting victims of natural disasters, providing food and livestock to impoverished families, building homes, clinics and orphanages in various communities and bringing computer and school supplies to children in these countries. Dave and his family are traveling back to Haiti in February 2014 to expand clinics and have doctors from Calgary see patients, start up a soccer program and set up a Cisco lab to begin a network training program for people in the community.

In addition to his global humanitarian efforts, Dave is also involved in organizations in his own community of Calgary. He's on the board of directors for Inn from the Cold, Calgary's largest emergency family shelter. He's an avid runner and participates in numerous marathons and triathlons. He and his wife Carolin have three children and reside in Calgary.

One to Watch Award – Leonard Sumner

Leonard Sumner, originally from Little Saskatchewan River First Nation, graduated from ACC’s Media Production program (now Interactive Media Arts) in 2007. Leonard enrolled in the program because he wanted to learn about audio recording and had an interest in music, but while he was at ACC he learned how to play and write music and discovered a passion for performing.

His debut album, Rez Poetry, was released in June 2013 with 11 tracks. Leonard’s music is described as a fusion of rhythm and blues, roots, hip-hop and country. Among his list of many accomplishments, some highlights include: performing at Aboriginal Day Live at the Forks (a nationally televised event), being named Best New Artist at the Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards in 2014, performing at a variety of folk festivals across the country and visiting communities to share his songs and talk to young people about suicide prevention.

Excellence in Teaching Award – Jerrylynn Manuel

Jerrylynn Manuel, originally from Winnipeg, is an instructor in the School of Health & Human Services, teaching students in the Practical Nursing program at the college’s Winnipeg Campus. She began her career at ACC in 2012 and has also taught students in Southport, Man., and Peguis First Nation. A student noted Jerrylynn’s “complete and total dedication to her students” and “the art of teaching and her professionalism” as reasons why she was deserving of this award.

Jerrylynn organized student study groups, sought out peer tutors and arranged for students to take part in a true learn by doing experience during Bug Day held at the Health Sciences Centre, where students in her microbiology class learned from experts on pathogens and diseases. She also encouraged her students to get involved outside of the classroom by coordinating a running group at the campus.