Karen Strong - Fall 2022

Our Board of Directors

Ross Peterson

Board Chair & Chair of Promotions Committee

Ross Peterson had a long career as a biologist and emergency manager before moving to the Island in 2000. During his career paths, Ross has been involved in many local, regional, provincial, and federal organizations where he has gained considerable experience in organization and leadership. Although retired, Ross still engages in biological work by volunteering for a local environmental stewardship organization. He also continues his emergency management work as a VIU ElderCollege instructor in emergency preparedness. Ross brings his skills and enthusiasm to the Board where he serves as Chair. 


Robin Fisher

Vice-Chair & Chair of Instructor Liaison Committee

Robin Fisher came to Canada from New Zealand to do his PhD at the University of British Columbia and stayed. His career path took him to a number of universities in four provinces as a teacher, scholar and administrator. He is an historian by discipline and has published several books on the history of British Columbia. He held senior leadership positions in the establishment of two new universities: The University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George and Mount Royal University in Calgary where he was Provost and Vice-President Academic. He moved to Nanaimo in 2012 and in “retirement” continued to work in the post-secondary sector including as chair of the Alberta Council on Admission and Transfer. He became more acquainted with Vancouver Island University by chairing a review of the quality of its academic programs for the Degree Quality Assessment Board of British Columbia. After his time in administration, he is also trying his hand at being an historian again. He strongly believes in the importance of lifelong teaching and learning as the way to make a better world. Learning is understanding and understanding was never more needed than now. He has taught in a variety of ways and in many places, including in First Nations communities. It has been a real pleasure for Robin to have the opportunity to teach and learn with the students in VIU’s ElderCollege. He hopes that he can now make a contribution as a Board member. 


Anne-Marie Lafleur

Chair of Media Relations Committee

Anne-Marie Lafleur, a long-time resident of Parksville was thrilled when she retired and finally had the time to take her first course at VIU ElderCollege. She was surprised, however, to learn that many of her friends and acquaintances knew very little about VIU ElderCollege and the wonderful courses that are offered.  Anne-Marie joined the promotions committee and started with media releases to publicize the programs and courses offered. Serving on the Board of Directors, Anne-Marie continues to seek out ways to recruit the media in the important role of community awareness. She constantly looks for new ideas for engaging the media and would like to recruit a retired journalist who could draft media releases and write magazine articles.  


Timothy Schewe

Chair of Programming Committee

Timothy Schewe comes from a family where involvement and service to the community has always been an important practice. Tim is a volunteer instructor at VIU ElderCollege, a member of the Board of Directors, and serves as chair of the Programs Committee. He likes to learn and finds volunteer roles allow him to accomplish both of these things at the same time. For Tim, the quality of the ElderCollege programs as well as the enthusiasm and commitment of the people involved make all the effort a pleasure. 


Jacqui Townsend

Chair of Volunteer Committee

Jacqui Townsend arrived where she is today, a proud part of ElderCollege, by many diverse paths. After Emigrating to Australia as young marrieds, where their son was born, the couple ‘came back’ to Vancouver, then Nanoose where she volunteered with the Nanoose Library before becoming Director for three years. Later, she worked as Constituency Assistant for her MP. Empty-nest time arrived and Jacqui went to Malaspina College, completed her nurse’s aide certificate, and had a twelve year career at Trillium Seniors Hospital. She retired in 2003 and took the Orton Gillingham course to teach dyslexic children to read. But then – she discovered something truly exciting – ElderCollege. She now knows “learning never gets old.” After many classes, she joined the Board of Directors, and presently serves as Chair of the Volunteer Committee. In Jacqui’s words, “She has discovered a special energy with an enlightening group of ‘friends’ found at VIU ElderCollege.”


Angus Weller

Chair of Technology Committee

Angus Weller was born in England, moved to Canada when he was two, and eventually attended UBC and acquired a degree in Geography. His skills include traditional drafting and digital cartography. Besides operating his own company specializing in cartographic services, he has taught undergraduate labs in cartography, air photography, and remote sensing. Now retired, he is an Instagram photo content poster. Impressed with VIU ElderCollege, Angus attended his first Board meeting at the beginning of 2020 just before the Pandemic forced the campus to close. All courses were moved online, using zoom, which fit his skill set, and he was able to assist in this transition. Going forward, VIU ElderCollege will offer courses both in-person and online. This will easily reach home-bound “Lifelong Learners.” And, Angus hopes to continue contributing in this new teaching paradigm.


Jane Juda

Chair of Student Liaison Committee

Jane Juda lived in Toronto most of her life working as a legal assistant with focus on corporate and securities law for over 40 years. She retired in 2014 and moved to Vancouver Island. After several years of “unlearning” city and corporate life and getting to know Vancouver Island, she feels better able to enjoy being a Mom, Grandma, and Great Grandma, all while exploring this fabulous and diverse Island. Jane puts her skills derived from the corporate and legal world into volunteering at VIU ElderCollege. She is a member of the Board of Directors and serves on the Programs Committee and the Volunteer Committee. For Jane her interests keep evolving and changing as she discovers new horizons through VIU ElderCollege. 


Rose Willow

Board Member

Rose Willow grew up in Saskatchewan, kept moving west, and ended up “off-grid” on Lasqueti Island for 30 years. There she earned a History degree from University of Waterloo by Distance Education. Next, she served two terms as Regional Director and two more terms as Islands Trustee; her last term as a vice-chair for Trust Council. She recently moved to Parksville and completed a Creative Writing degree from Vancouver Island University. Impressed with the courses offered by VIU ElderCollege, she volunteered to deliver Course Calendars. Joining the Board of Directors, she uses her writing skills to review documents and edits material for the Course Calendar. An avid supporter of Lifelong Learning, Rose considers her involvement with VIU ElderCollege as another learning experience.  


Pam Petrie

Board Member

Pam Petrie has an undergraduate degree in Economics & Commerce and a Master of Business Administration Degree from Simon Fraser University. Her career in Human Resources (CHRP) spanned the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. It included work with the City of Coquitlam, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre and the Vancouver Canucks. Throughout her career she was an active volunteer, mentor and instructor (BCIT), and served on two Boards: West End (Vancouver) Community Centre and Chown Adult Day Centre. Upon retirement in 2013 Pam moved from Vancouver to Nanoose Bay, and quickly started enrolling in a variety of Elder College courses which lead to volunteering with calendar distribution, some committee involvement, and assisting at Saturday Speaker events. Pam has also served on the Parksville Beach Festival Board of Directors and volunteered as a committee member for a local biennial luncheon event in support of Ovarian Cancer Canada. Currently Pam also is a board member for the Parksville Qualicum Adult Literacy Society. Pam enjoys travelling, walking the local trails, reading, and fitting in as many visits as possible with her seven grandchildren.