Distinguished Alumni 2015 - present
|Bob MacDermott, Class of '91 - Lloydminster campus 2019|
Life is meant to be a struggle. What matters most is how you overcome those struggles, says Robert “Bob” MacDermott.
His left leg was amputated below the knee and his left arm below the elbow after he was electrocuted in a farm accident in 1987. The former oilfield consultant realized he needed to retrain for a new career to support his young family.
He enrolled in the Rehabilitation Services program at the Lloydminster campus. While at Lakeland he played golf for the Rustlers, a sport he started playing only two years before his accident.
After graduating with honours in 1991, MacDermott moved to Edmonton and joined the Government of Alberta as a rehab practitioner. He advanced through the ranks from supervisor to director to manager. He was senior manager for Persons with Developmental Disabilities when he retired in 2015.
As for golf, MacDermott is one of the top amputee golfers in the world, competing in Australia, Ireland, Japan, South Africa and the United States. He also shot a course record 65 at Belvedere Golf & Country Club in Edmonton.
MacDermott shares his love of golf by hosting golf clinics for amputees. He’s also involved with Wounded Warriors and serves on the Alberta Amputee Sport and Recreation Association.
He was inducted into the Alberta Sport Hall of Fame in 2007.
“Like everyone, I’ve had challenges. My Lakeland education helped open new doors for me. Determination, hard work and the support of my family helped me move forward in my career and golf.”
|Chris Cederstrand, Class of 2004 - 2019 Vermilion campus|
Giving the gift of sport to others is what Chris Cederstrand excels at.
The Class of 2004 firefighter alumnus is an avid sports enthusiast both on and off the ice.
From playing hockey for the Red Deer Rebels and Swift Current Broncos in the WHL to joining the national sledge hockey team, Chris Cederstrand believes in the power of sports.
Sport is what helped Chris Cederstrand move forward after his leg was amputated above the knee because of a workplace accident. He discovered sledge hockey and his love of sport led him to win silver with Team Canada at the World Championships in 2015.
Cederstrand successfully pursued his dream of working on the front lines by becoming the first above-the-knee amputee firefighter in North America.
Today, he supports children who face physical barriers to play sports thanks to the Cederstrand Foundation. By partnering with PX3 AMP, they’ve established a free hockey school in Calgary, Alta., for children. Cederstrand coaches Alberta’s provincial sledge hockey team and he also mentors several survivors of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. As a KidSport Ambassador, Chris Cederstrand was named one of Shaw’s 50 Outstanding Canadians.
“I get to teach kids to be part of a team and work together to overcome obstacles. When you teach them these core values and see how they transfer it into their everyday life, it’s very rewarding.”
|Gary Moses Class of '67 - 2018 Vermilion campus|
For Gary Moses, Class of ‘67, the limelight was never something he sought.
“To me, good leadership is achieved by working hard, behind-the-scenes, on any given project.”
When Gary wasn’t running an 8,000 acre family farm in the Vermilion area, he was making an impact in the community. He was the president of the Vermilion Agricultural Society from 1983-85, as well as a committee head of the society’s machinery display. Gary was a regional director on the provincial board of the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies and received the award for Outstanding Supporter of Agriculture in 2015. Gary was president of the Western Canada Fairs Association in 1985, and received an honorary life membership in 2000.
In 2005, he was one of 8,000 Albertans to receive the Alberta Centennial Medal. Gary was also a UFA delegate, and served a term as Exalted Ruler of the Elks.
The agriculture technology-farm management major alumnus also has a longstanding history with Lakeland. The Moses family has been neighbours with Lakeland for over 100 years. Gary was vice-chair for Lakeland’s Board of Governors from 2011-17. He was also a member of the crop technology program’s advisory committee and was involved in the founding of the Student-Managed Farm – Powered by New Holland. Being a part of the advisory committee, he says, is one of his biggest accomplishments.
Gary was considered the go-to person for almost anything. If someone were to describe Gary, they would say he works hard and doesn't give up.
|Sean Lessard Class of '94 - 2018 Lloydminster campus|
Dr. Sean Lessard is an Indigenous education champion. He’s dedicated his life’s work to improving the lives and experiences of Indigenous youth.
Sean was born on the Montreal Lake Cree Nation and later adopted by a family in North Battleford, Sask. He graduated from Lakeland’s Rehabilitation Services program in 1994 and was a member of the Rustlers men’s volleyball program.
He later studied at the University of Alberta, earning a Bachelor of Education in 2000, a Master of Educational Psychology in 2009, and a Doctorate of Elementary Education and Teaching in 2012. Outside of his education, he focused on the education and wellness of Indigenous youth.
Sean worked as a respite worker, social worker, teacher, counsellor and consultant focusing on Indigenous education. He’s also had faculty positions at the University of Regina in Education and the University of Alberta in Teacher Education. While at the U of R, Sean helped establish the Growing Young Movers After-School program, an award-winning intergenerational wellness program for Indigenous youth.
While Sean shares his love of learning as a professor in the U of A’s Faculty of Education’s Department of Secondary Education presently, his passion for Indigenous youth takes him across the country for research, speaking engagements and program development. He’s also the CEO of his own company – Name to Place Educational and Community Consulting.
Sean’s commitment to Indigenous youth has earned him the Canadian Education Association’s Pat Clifford Award and the Myer Horowitz Outstanding Dissertation Award. He co-authored Engaging in Narrative Inquiries with Children and Youth (2016), and The Relational Ethics of Narrative Inquiry (2018).
|Mike Kotelko Class of '82 - 2017 Vermilion campus|
|Mike Kotelko is the operational mastermind behind Highland Feeders Ltd.’s growth from a small mixed farming operation into the sixth largest feedlot in Canada and one of Alberta’s leading agribusinesses.
Following in his father’s footsteps (Jack Kotelko, Class of 1938), Mike Kotelko attended Lakeland and graduated as class valedictorian from the Ag Systems Technician program in 1982 – a few years after he, his father, and brother Bern, diversified their Vegreville grain and purebred cattle farm to include a feedlot operation. He helped expand the family farm – which was settled by their Ukrainian ancestors in 1918 – into a large integrated crop and beef cattle operation. In 2013, Mike and his wife Denise purchased full ownership of the operation, which now includes 7,000 acres of cropland, a 36,000 head feedlot, and a 3,000 head cow-calf operation.
With an unwavering focus on environmental stewardship and sustainable agriculture practices, Mike Kotelko helped develop technologies that transform waste into energy. He is the co-inventor of Integrated Manure Utilisation System, a biogas digester technology used at Highland, and co-founder of Himark Biogas, a waste-to-energy technology and engineering services company.
In 1995, Highland was recognized as one of the “Fastest Growing Companies in Canada” by Profit magazine. In 1997, Highland received Alberta Cattle Commission’s Environmental Stewardship Award. Mike Kotelko was awarded the ATB Financial Growing Alberta Leadership Award along with the Emerald Award as a co-inventor of GPADS technology.
Mike Kotelko has been involved with many community and industry organizations including Vegreville Kinsmen, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Alberta Beef Producers and Alberta BioProducts Association. He served two terms on Lakeland’s Board of Governors.
|Scott Musgrave, Class of '87 - 2017 Lloydminster Campus|
|Experiences and opportunities, faced head-on, have shaped Scott Musgrave’s professional life and his career.
When Scott Musgrave enrolled in Lakeland College’s Business Administration diploma program in the mid-1980s, his goal was to develop skills in marketing, sales and accounting. He did just that at Lakeland, but more importantly, his experience fostered in him a passion for learning and a desire to find ways to continually grow and improve.
Scott Musgrave was the first Lakeland student to successfully transfer his business diploma credits to a university program. He earned Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Management degrees at the University of Lethbridge and a Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Saskatchewan.
After working as an instructor at Lethbridge College, Scott Musgrave returned to Lloydminster in 1995 to manage Musgrave Agencies Ltd. His leadership style and belief in finding and creating opportunities has helped the family-oriented business expand and diversify its holdings.
Today Scott Musgrave is an executive and shareholder within the Musgrave group of companies, primarily a real estate and development company. In addition to this core business, the Musgrave group of companies has ownership and provides managerial involvement for a diversified group of businesses throughout Western Canada.
Throughout his career, Scott Musgrave has been involved in various industry boards including the Saskatchewan Information Services Corporation and Saskatchewan Real Estate Association. Locally he’s volunteered with the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce and the Lloydminster Real Estate Board. An IFR rated high altitude professional pilot, Scott Musgrave is also a member of the Lloydminster Flying Club.
|Edmund Lefsrud, Class of ‘65 - 2016 Vermilion Campus|
|Since graduating from the Vermilion Agricultural and Vocational College (now Lakeland College) in 1965, Edmund Lefsrud has been dedicated to the agriculture industry. He credits his college education and former principal, Bill Baranyk, with providing a strong foundation for a successful career in agriculture.
Edmund started his career working as a seed inspector with Agriculture Canada for two years before purchasing the family farm near Viking. For almost 50 years, Edmund and his wife Ellen have worked together to expand their farm to 5,000 acres and several companies, including Lefsrud Seed and Processors Ltd., and 6 King Genetics. As an accredited seed grower, Edmund provides clean certified seed to farmers and companies across Alberta, across Canada and even around the world.
For more than 30 years, Edmund has dedicated his time to the Alberta and Canadian Seed Growers’ Associations and he has held several roles on these boards including the presidency for both the Alberta Seed Growers’ Association and the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association. For his significant and dedicated service, Edmund has received several awards including the Canadian Seed Growers’ Robertson Associate Award, the Long Service Award and the Outstanding Service Award.
From 4-H to the local Lions Club, Edmund is a committed volunteer for numerous organizations. Lefsrud Seed and Processors donates to fundraisers and supports research for the development of a new oilseed pea product and has sponsored youth to attend leadership courses. He’s also a proud member of Lakeland College’s Alumni Association.
In 2003, the Lefsrud family farm became a century farm, with Edmund’s son, Kevin, being the fourth generation to work the land. As an active member of the farming community, Edmund continues to share and teach the value of agriculture.
“I believe that being a farmer and a seed grower has truly allowed me to contribute to my community. I believe in seeing the next generation of farmers develop and grow into this honourable profession,” says Edmund. “That’s what we’re doing – feeding the world with the best knowledge, best education and best product that we can.”
|Laryssa Whittaker, Class of '91 - 2016 Lloydminster Campus|
|Lakeland College proved to be the starting point for academic excellence and innovative research for Laryssa Whittaker.
Originally from Marwayne, Alta., Laryssa enrolled in Lakeland’s university transfer program and was among the first students to study at the new Lloydminster campus, which officially opened in 1990. She then completed a bachelor’s degree in church music at the Canadian Bible College before she obtained a bachelor of arts and a master’s degree in ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta.
As she worked towards a PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London, Laryssa undertook research in South Africa at the meeting point of two of the discipline's subfields: medical ethnomusicology and economic ethnomusicology. She researched music outreach programs for youth that aim to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities by intervening musically and practically to reduce South Africa’s profound socioeconomic inequality.
Royal Holloway awarded Laryssa with a PhD in 2015 – a culmination of four years of research, travel, analysis and writing. Her work was also recognized by the Society for Ethnomusicology, an American-based international academic society, in 2014, when she was awarded the Charles Seeger Prize for the best student paper at the previous year's conference. Laryssa now shares her expertise as a teaching fellow and visiting lecturer at Royal Holloway.
“I am glad that there are places like Lakeland in smaller communities because it makes higher education accessible. And it can be the start of finding those new vistas, those new points of view that you might not have come across otherwise,” says Laryssa.