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Updated: 23 hours 36 min ago

Alum’s charity run to benefit children affected by war

Wed, 07/21/2021 - 00:52

Children shouldn’t have to grow up hearing gunfire every day, says UWindsor alumnus Jaydee Tarpeh (BSc 2016). That’s why he has begun a campaign to raise $100,000 for children affected by war.

“One out of every six children lives in a country affected by war — that’s 420 million children at risk,” he says. “They’re living under constant threat.”

It’s a threat Tarpeh understands. He grew up in Liberia during its first civil war, which killed some 250,000 people in the West African nation.

“There’s nothing normal about a kid’s life when every day they’re hearing gunfire,” he says. “I know how much that can impact a kid. Not too long ago, I was one of those kids.”

He has launched Jaydee Runs for War Child Canada, which will see him run 77 km (48 miles) over 48 hours, one weekend each month for a year. He is seeking sponsorships to support War Child, a humanitarian organization dedicated to helping children and their families overcome the brutal impact of violence. The charity’s founder, Samantha Nutt, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Windsor in 2016.

“They do important work and they need the money,” Tarpeh says. “Actually, the cause needs a lot more money, but this is a first step.”

He takes his runs on the selected weekends as four miles every four hours, even overnight.

“This challenge mimics some aspects of living through war, such as waking up and running in the middle of the night, not sleeping fully, or walking for days on end,” he says.

Now CEO of Xenia Education, which provides tools to ease the transition to Canadian universities for international students, Tarpeh served as president of the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance during his undergraduate career.

To make a donation to his War Child Canada fundraiser, visit the campaign website.

Jaydee TarpehStrategic Priority: Engage in community partnershipsAlumniAcademic Area: Science

Celebrate the arrival of summer with savings from the Alumni Association

Mon, 07/05/2021 - 00:38

The Alumni Association is partnering with Windsor Crossing Premium Outlets to bring UWindsor alumni an opportunity for great savings: purchase a Windsor Crossing Premium Outlet gift card (minimum $50) to receive a 10 per cent discount and enjoy savings on premium brands such as Levi’s, Roots, Adidas and more.

To take advantage of this promotion, visit the Windsor Crossing guest services office, located between Amour Fragrances and Children’s Place, and show an alumni card.

“The Alumni Association continues to seek exclusive partnerships that benefit our alumni family and offers the opportunity for our grads to show their pride of institution ,” says Patti Lauzon, director of alumni relations.

Don’t have a UWindsor alumni card? Request yours today by submitting a UWindsor Alumni Card Request Form and Alumni Relations will mail your card right to your door.

Celebrate summer and take advantage of this great offer. For a store directory, hours, directions, and curbside pick-up information, visit

Patti LauzonUniversity of Windsor Alumni AssociationAlumni

Windsor duo seeking CBC Searchlight spotlight

Mon, 06/07/2021 - 00:43

UWindsor alumni Austin Di Pietro (BMus 2018) and Andrew Adoranti (BASc 2021) are finalists in a national talent search sponsored by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The musical duo and songwriters known as “The Bishop Boys” and their song Dark Days have made it into the Top 100 in CBC's Searchlight competition.

The competition began with 2,400 applicants and was narrowed to the top 100 on June 2.

Fans have until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 8, to vote for their favourite band — and can vote once each day.

“The Searchlight Top 100 announcement was a huge surprise to both of us,” says Di Pietro. “The fact that our nomination came from the CBC Music producers themselves (and not the popular vote), makes it even more of an accomplishment for us, personally.”

Adoranti says the band almost didn’t submit an entry.

“We had tossed around the idea for a few days before making a last-minute decision to throw our hat in the ring,” he says.

The choice of song was a no-brainer for the duo. Their most recent single, Dark Days was written back in the first lockdown in May 2020 and features a pandemic-inspired music video and lyrics.

“Out of all our songs, we felt that this song's message would resonate with the most people,” says Adoranti.

Making music during a pandemic has definitely had its challenges. They weren't even allowed to be in the same room for much of the writing process.

“We were sending phone voice clips back and forth to each other for a few weeks before the original gathering limits were eased and we could finally get together to finalize the song structure and lyrics,” says Di Pietro.

The pandemic also limited their ability to work with musicians in the studio and a film crew on the video, so they actually ended up doing much of the recording and filming themselves. It hasn't been all bad, though. While working on the music video, they actually ended up learning a lot about filmmaking, videography, and directing. Watch it here.

The pair have been jamming and writing songs together since high school. At UWindsor, Di Pietro majored in music (trumpet), while Adoranti took jazz piano and accompanying as electives, while majoring in electrical engineering. They are perhaps best known as core players of the Windsor jazz ensemble the Coffee House Combo. Prior to the pandemic, the group held the longest-running residency at the nationally acclaimed music venue Phog Lounge.

The Bishop Boys emerged in 2018, as a 10-piece band fronted by the duo, immediately selling out venues and showcasing at festivals across the Windsor-Essex region.

Besides Di Pietro and Adoranti, the band features Natalie Culmone, vocals; Johnathan Kosty, lead guitar; Alex Leite, bass; Vanessa Harnish, drums; Derek Impens, auxiliary percussion and guitars; Sebastian Bachmeier, alto sax; Kelly Hoppe, tenor sax; and Matthew Lepain, trumpet.

—Susan McKee

Andrew AdorantiAustin Di PietroAlumniAcademic Area: Arts, Humanities and Social SciencesCreative ArtsEngineeringElectrical and Computer Engineering

Science alumni event going virtual

Thu, 06/03/2021 - 00:38

A new event called “Science Leads the Way” aims to virtually gather science alumni for talks, trivia, and team spirit on Thursday, June 10, at 7 p.m.

In the absence of in-person parties, the Faculty of Science and the Department of Alumni Affairs joined forces to create a science-themed evening of entertainment that could be enjoyed online.

The one-hour event features two guest speakers:

  • Lisa Porter, biomedical health sciences, will explore the role science has played during the pandemic in her talk, “The Pandemic Paradox: Trusting Science During a Health Crisis.”
  • Dan Mennill, integrative biology, will discuss a species of toad that changes its colour for one day each year as well as how his team used lifelike robotic models to learn more about the mysterious toads in a presentation entitled “Toads and the Colour-Changing Frogs of Costa Rica.”

In addition to two lightning lectures and trivia, when attendees log in they may be toasting each other with drinks from Craft Heads Brewing Company. The Windsor-based brewery, owned and operated by UWindsor alum, will offer a specialized science six-pack at a discounted price, just for this event.

Tickets are $10 per person with all money donated to the LEAD Medallion Scholars program. Register now on the Alumni website.

Lisa PorterDan MennillAlumni AssociationAlumniAcademic Area: ResearchScience

Firm honours retiring executive with learning space naming

Thu, 05/27/2021 - 00:30

A collaborative learning centre in the Odette School of Business will soon bear the name of one of its alumni.

John Friedrichsen (BComm 1984) is retiring as chief operating officer after a 23-year career with the real estate services and investment management company Colliers. The firm made a philanthropic commitment to name the John Friedrichsen Centre for Student and Community Engagement in tribute to him.

Colliers global chair and CEO Jay Hennick says Friedrichsen exemplifies business success and personifies the importance of lifelong learning.

“For more than two decades, John has been one of my closest allies in building two great Canadian companies, FirstService and Colliers,” he says. “We wish him every success in the future and are proud to honour his legacy by naming the centre and investing in our future business leaders.”

For his part, Friedrichsen says the Odette School of Business gave him the foundation on which he built a rewarding career in enterprise.

“I am humbled by this tribute and take great pride in deepening my ties with the Odette School of Business and the rising talent that will emerge from its programs,” he says.

The collaborative space is used as an alternative to a traditional classroom for guest lectures, student team projects, employer recruitment, and other University events.

Dean Mitchell Fields expresses thanks on behalf of the Odette School of Business.

“We are genuinely grateful to be a part of this tribute to John that represents a lasting honour to an extremely accomplished alumnus,” says Dr. Fields. “This generous gift in his name is a profound investment in Odette and will impact many current and future students.”

John FriedrichsenMitch FieldsAlumniAcademic Area: Business

Law alum aims to reduce vaccine hesitancy

Mon, 05/17/2021 - 00:49

While COVID-19 counts in Canada show no signs of slowing, more needs to be done in order to reduce vaccine hesitancy, says Windsor Law alumnus Guri Pannu (JD 2007).

“Although vaccine supply in Canada is ramping up, vaccine hesitancy is a big problem and is prolonging the pandemic,” he says. “Our chance of getting back to normal depends on how quickly we can get all Canadians vaccinated — this is our shot.”

In April of this year, Pannu brought together a handful of grassroots organizations to launch the #ThisIsOurShotCA campaign. The online campaign encourages Canadians to participate by getting the vaccine when it is their turn, buying a “This is Our Shot” T-shirt, and sharing their favourite pictures or videos of Canadians wearing it on social media.

This is Our Shot officially launched on April 28 and the movement has the support of more than 300 influencers across Canada. High-profile supporters include Ryan Reynolds, Hayley Wickenheiser, Tessa Virtue, Michael Buble, Clara Hughes, and Sara McLachlan. The shirt is available in 27 languages and all proceeds will be donated to Kids Help Phone, Canada’s only 24/7 mental health national service offering bilingual professional counselling, information, and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people. To date, over 50,000 shirts have bee sold across Canada.

“We all need to act now to replace vaccine hesitancy with confidence,” says Pannu. “Let’s help spread the message that we can end the pandemic in Canada by getting vaccinated and, before you know it, be together again.”

To support the effort, the group is hosting a virtual Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, May 19, at 8 pm. Olympic cyclist and speed skater Clara Hughes will moderate a panel of medical specialists ready to answer any questions attendees may have about the vaccines.

To learn more or to purchase a T-shirt, visit the website.

Guri PannuStrategic Priority: Engage in community partnershipsAlumniAcademic Area: Law

Grad to launch poetry volume

Wed, 04/28/2021 - 00:29

UWindsor alumna Vanessa Shields (BA 2002) will launch her fourth collection of poetry with a public online event Thursday, April 29.

Via Zoom videoconference, she will read from and discuss works from Thimbles, published by Windsor's own Palimpsest Press.

The evening is the first in a series of launch events that will see Shields virtually visit Halifax, Montreal, Detroit, and Philadelphia. Find details on her promotional tour webpage.

Thursday’s event begins at 7:30 p.m. and requires registering to receive a confirmation email with details to attend.

The book is available for pre-order from the publisher; email Shields at to request she sign a copy during the launch.

Vanessa ShieldsAlumniAcademic Area: Arts, Humanities and Social SciencesEnglish

Revue showcases law school talents

Thu, 04/08/2021 - 00:29

A one-hour program March 31 provided law students with a break from the drudgery of “Zoom” schooling. The Windsor Law Revue featured spoken word and musical performances, stand-up comedy, and inspirational greetings from alumni.

“As the term winds down, it was an opportunity for us to come together and celebrate the resilience of our community,” says assistant dean Francine Herlehy. “We’re pretty proud of it, and so I thought it was worth sharing across the campus.”

A recording of the event is available on YouTube. Herlehy promises viewers “lots of familiar faces.”

Francine HerlehyAlumniAcademic Area: Law

Contact the UWindsor Alumni Association

Alumni Relations & Advancement
Welcome Centre, University of Windsor

Wyandotte at Patricia
Windsor, ON  N9B 3P4