|Richard Starke - 2020 Vermilion Distinguished Citizen|
Community is what you make of it.
Richard Starke has been doing his best to improve his community through volunteerism, service and support since he first moved to the Lloydminster area from Edmonton in 1983.
“The better quality of life in any given community is determined by the willingness of individuals to pitch in and make that community better,” Starke says.
The desire to improve his community is one of the guiding principles in Starke’s life. Among his many acts of volunteerism, he has been involved with the Rotary Club, the Lloydminster Regional Health Foundation Board, the Lloydminster German Heritage Society, coaching and officiating youth sports, including speed skating and soccer, and more.
In his professional career, Starke holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with Distinction from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. He became an owner of the Lloydminster Animal Hospital in 1985 and opened a second practice, Companion Animal Care Centre, in 2008. He sold both practices before entering provincial politics, serving as MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster from 2012-2019, previously having served on Lloydminster City Council.
“As MLA, I was always extremely proud to speak on behalf of Lakeland College to my colleagues in Edmonton,” Starke says. “I repeatedly told them that our college was doing things the right way when it comes to post-secondary education in Alberta. The college leadership, including Dr. Wainwright-Stewart, Mike Crowe and Georgina Altman, were always very helpful in my advocacy on behalf of the college. I'm proud of the many improvements that happened at Lakeland College during my tenure, including the Centre for Sustainable Innovation (CSI), Energy Centre, Rowing Club Boat Storage Facility, Dairy Learning Facility and Animal Health Centre, as well as the repairs to the roof of the Trade Centre.”
For Starke, being chosen as a distinguished citizen for Lakeland College is a particular honour.
“It’s very humbling. I’m grateful, obviously. You hear names like Beckie Scott, Jean Paré or Judy Woyewitka and these are people that I’ve looked up to for a long time. Two of the distinguished citizens, Bill Kondro and Don Mazankowski, were political mentors of mine and I was friends with both of them. When I see their names on this list and realize that now, I’m going to be on the list as well, it’s very humbling.”
It is with great respect that Lakeland College recognizes Richard Starke of Lloydminster as a Distinguished Citizen and awards him an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Business Degree.
|Robin Acton - 2020 Lloydminster Distinguished Citizen|
There is a difference between optimism and hope, and Robin Acton considers herself very hopeful.
“I’m a big believer that if you want to change something, the way to do it is to get involved,” Acton says. “Lloydminster is an amazing community. I think our border status and our complicated way of being in the world have led to a lot of community activism. As Lloydminsterites, we’ve had to be active to better our community.”
Spending nearly the entirety of her life in Lloydminster, Acton has been bettering the community for decades, inspired by the desire to enact positive change and her children.
Alongside her career as a consultant and businessperson, Acton has been committed to building inclusive communities. She has been involved with Inclusion Lloydminster and Inclusion Alberta for over 25 years, in both volunteer and professional roles, including serving as president for both organizations. Acton is currently the president of Inclusion Canada. She dedicates her efforts to working with communities to ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities are given the same opportunities as all Albertans and are seen as contributing and valued members of their communities.
Acton is actively involved in the development of inclusive education at the post-secondary level, including the Inclusive Post-secondary initiative at Lakeland College.
Acton’s many other community contributions include being both a member and past president of the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce, 20 years of involvement as a Rotarian, serving on the Physician Recruitment Committee, working to improve access to primary health care in her community, among others.
She also supports the family business, Acton’s Lower Shannon Farms.
Despite her many community contributions, being named Lloydminster campus’ Distinguished Citizen of the year took Acton by surprise. “I was very surprised and honoured,” she says. “I think Lakeland College is such an integral part of our community and having it in Lloydminster and Vermilion has enhanced our whole region.”
Acton’s endless drive and energy to improve her community comes from a place of hope.
“Optimism is when people just think things will magically work out, but hope requires action. Hope requires a bit of faith. You can believe in the capacity for things to change, but it requires action. I am always hopeful.”
It is with great respect that Lakeland College recognizes Robin Acton of Lloydminster as a Distinguished Citizen and awards her an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Business Degree.
|Doug Elliott - 2019 Vermilion Distinguished Citizen|
|Doug Elliott’s commitment to learning has played a key role in Lakeland College’s success.
From 2005 to 2011, Doug served as the chair of the Lakeland College Board of Governors. He oversaw progressive changes at Lakeland while always stressing the importance of financial stability, program quality and excellent student service. Lakeland’s programming increased, student enrolment grew and facilities and land base expanded during Doug’s tenure as chair. The former schoolteacher and lifelong farmer also served as a program advisory committee member for the crop technology program and was a panel member on producer forums organized by students.
“Education is absolutely critical because it’s the first step in a lifelong journey of learning. The best thing that any student can learn is how to learn and how much there is to learn,” says Doug. “The purpose of Lakeland College is to give our students an opportunity to reach their potential, achieve their goals and get a great start on life.”
A longstanding supporter of Lakeland, Doug purchased a lifetime alumni membership and established the Joan Elliott Memorial Scholarship in memory of his late wife.
Doug’s volunteerism goes beyond Lakeland. Over the years, he’s served as a board chair or director of several co-operatives and industry organizations, including the Eastalta Co-op, Vermilion Seed Cleaning Co-op Association, Alberta Canola Producers Commission and the Canola Council of Canada, among others. For his significant contributions and achievements, Doug was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
“The highlight of my work has been the people. I feel very fortunate to have been surrounded by good people and they deserve so much credit.”
It is with great respect that Lakeland College recognizes Doug Elliott of Vermilion as a Distinguished Citizen and awards him an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Business Degree.
|Mary Holtby - 2019 Lloydminster Distinguished Citizen|
An act of kindness is never wasted, according to Mary Holtby, whose accomplishments have significantly influenced her family and community.
While Mary and her husband, Harold, were building their multi-generation, mixed farm operation near Marshall, Sask., they were also building their community. Together, they helped with several initiatives including the Marshall Three Links Community Centre and the first covered ice-skating rink. With the Odd Fellows and Rebekah Lodges, Mary spearheaded the Marshall School breakfast program. The surrounding community also benefitted from their community spirit. They contributed to the development of Lloydminster’s Junior A hockey team and projects such as the indoor swimming pool and the Vic Juba Community Theatre.
For over 55 years, Mary has been a proud member of the Marshall Golden Jubilee Rebekah Lodge #133 and served as noble grand (president) several times. She also served at the provincial and international levels. Mary was awarded the Decoration of Chivalry for outstanding service to the Rebekahs and community.
Mary served on the Lloydminster and District Co-op Board of Directors and as a Lakeland College Advocacy Committee chair. She was also a member of the Lakeland College Board of Governors and supported the Bill Kondro Wing addition.
“It was important to us to be involved in the community and help build it to be a great place to live and raise our family. A leader works hard, tells the truth and always strives to do the right thing. They help where and when they can, and they never stop learning,” says Mary.
It is with great respect that Lakeland College recognizes Mary Holtby of Marshall as a Distinguished Citizen and awards her an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Business Degree.