Lakeland provided strong foundation for alumnus

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June 6, 2016
Since graduating from the Vermilion Agricultural and Vocational College (now Lakeland College) in 1965, Edmund Lefsrud has been dedicated to the agriculture industry.
Georgina Alltman presents Edmund Lefstud with a distinguished alumnus plaque at Vermilion convocation June 2016.
Edmund Lefsrud credits his college education and former principal, Bill Baranyk, with providing a strong foundation for a successful career in agriculture.

“I went back to college just after I graduated for some reason and Mr. Baranyk told me he had a job for me,” recalls Lefsrud. “In a roundabout way he put me into the world of the seed business, certainly agriculture. He was the one who pointed me in the right direction and I needed some discipline in my life and that position gave it to me.”

More than 50 years after his own convocation, Lefsrud received the Distinguished Alumni award for the Vermilion campus on June 3 and was inducted onto the college’s Alumni Wall of Distinction.

Lefsrud 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, Lefsrud 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, Lefsrud provides clean certified seed to farmers and companies across Alberta, across Canada and even around the world.

For more than 30 years, Lefsrud 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, Lefsrud has received several awards including the Canadian Seed Growers’ Robertson Associate Award, the Long Service Award and the Outstanding Service Award.

“I always wanted to be in farming,” says Lefsrud, who’s also a licensed pilot. “I kind of adored my father and he was pretty good at farming so I just followed in his footsteps somewhat.”

From 4-H to the local Lions Club, Lefsrud 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.Edmund Lefsrud in 1965 yearbook photo

In 2003, the Lefsrud family farm became a century farm, with Lefsrud’s son, Kevin, being the fourth generation farmer in the family to work the land. As an active member of the farming community, Lefsrud 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 Lefsrud. “That’s what we’re doing – feeding the world with the best knowledge, best education and best product that we can.”

Photo: Top, Georgina Altman, vice president of advancement, presented Edmund Lefsrud with a commemorative plaque in honour of being chosen as the 2016 Distinguished Alumni (Vermilion campus). Lefsrud was inducted onto the college's Alumni Wall of Distinction. In his address to the graduates, Lefsrud said: "What you know is worth a lot; who you know is worth more. Join you alumni family." Bottom, Lefsrud's Class of '65 yearbook photo.
What Students Say
With the Student-Managed Farm you learn to be accountable for what you’re doing and the choices you make. You get an understanding of what it’s like to be out in industry or on a farm making decisions that count.

– Anthony Biglieni

Agribusiness Class of 2006

What Alumni Say
Lakeland College has been a integral partner in growing our own through the school of business. As an alumnus of the college, I have first-hand learning experience in the school of business. The professors welcome Servus Credit Union to facilitate classes in the Business Ethics course each year.

– Sandi Unruh

Senior Human Resources Consultant

What Faculty & Staff Say
Vertex has had great experience bringing on students from Lakeland College. We have found the Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Management) program to provide students with good academic knowledge of the environmental industry and the criteria that governs the land reclamation

– Sean Fuller B.Sc., P.Ag.

Vice President, Environmental Services, Vertex.

What Alumni Say
There is no way I would be where I am today without Lakeland College. It inspired me to be a better person and to get a job in something I love doing. I am so thankful I had such a great experience at Lakeland and I hope future students do as well.

– Danielle Gaboury

Business studies, Class of 2016.

What Students Say
I recommend the UT program to people all the time. The smaller setting Lakeland offers, is very conducive to learning. It's less intimidating than the larger universities and allows for more class interactions and discussions

– Kelly Mykytuk

2nd year UT student, 2017-18

What Alumni Say
Choosing to attend Lakeland College was one of the best decisions that I’ve made in my life so far. The welcoming and friendly Lakeland environment encourages a place of excellence, and fosters the ability to be successful not only in school, but in life.

– Mariah Van’t Hof

University Transfer, Class of 2015

What Alumni Say
I have loved my experience at Lakeland. The teachers are personable, and quick to share about their own experiences. They encouraged me to run with my own ideas and see what would happen; they got excited about my designs, which gave me the confidence to do my best and be more creative.

– Payton Ramstead

Class of 2016, Interior Design student.

What Alumni Say
At Lakeland College you are guaranteed to have time out of the classroom where you can put everything you learned together and actually see that what you’re learning is relevant.

– Alisa Brace

Animal Health Technology, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The friendships I made, the experiences we were provided with, and the welcoming atmosphere of the Vermilion Campus made my time at Lakeland extremely valuable and memorable

– Grayden Kay

Animal Science & Agribusiness, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
Lakeland College was a learning environment unlike any other school. It allows students to learn beyond the classroom, and staff and faculty genuinely want to see students succeed. It’s a place where you can feel comfortable asking questions and where everyone has a place and fits in.

– Carson Reid

Agribusiness, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The instructors were the highlight of my time at Lakeland. It made a huge impact on my college experience to have instructors who challenged, encouraged, and believed in me.

– Jessica Cadrain

Child & Youth Care, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
At the beginning of my first year, I was really stressed out as I felt I had no artistic ability. But with the instruction and time put in by the interior design faculty, I was able to develop my artistic abilities. Now I am fully confident in and exceeding well in the artistic side of this career!

– Naomi Mason

Interior Design Technology, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I just feel like you get the best education at Lakeland, especially from the time that the instructors can actually spend with you. I like the class sizes too – everything’s been great about my Lakeland experience.

– Dean Coulson

Heavy Equipment Technician, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I do give Lakeland College credit for reigniting my interest and even preparing me for Miss Rodeo Canada. Lakeland helped me to grow enough to have the confidence to think I could take on that role and become that person. I think that I have and I am really grateful for that

– Ali Mullin

Agribusiness, class of 2014, former Miss Rodeo Canada.

What Alumni Say
I feel the professors at Lakeland actually prepared me for the profession. It’s impossible to be just a number here when there are 12 students in all of your classes. When the school advertised small class sizes, they actually meant it.

– Stephen Mark Visser

Real Estate Appraisal and Assessment, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I was involved in the president’s gala in April where I was an emcee for the evening, it was a great experience, and I had a lot of fun doing it and would recommend it to everyone.”

– Lucas Tetreault

HOPE Power Engineering, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
I would recommend Lakeland College for the simple fact that it's for everybody. As a mature student who went back to school much later than his 18th year, I was immediately accepted, and not ostracized in the least

– Donald James Shaw

Accounting Major, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
All the hands-on learning was great and very helpful once placed into the industry. Having clients leave with a smile after each service assured me that I was in the right field of work. I would recommend Lakeland to anyone.

– Courtnee Coolidge

Esthetician, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The professors care so much about their students at Lakeland and are able to know each and every one of them by name, so much so that they are able to nominate a ton of students for awards.

– Stephanie Wakefeild

University Transfer, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
They really put you in the lead at Lakeland. Lakeland cares about its students, empowers them, and gives them opportunities to achieve their goals. I don’t see Lakeland as a stepping stone or a first step – I see it as a bridge and an integral part of my education.

– Alyssa Wells

University Transfer, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
I wanted to get experience in the field of assessment as it would give me exposure to what it’s like day to day. It was an invaluable experience as I find it hard to imagine what it would be like working in a particular field or area until I’m doing the work.

– Sheldon Farrell

Real estate appraisal and assessment, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
In the campus spa, they give you time to work with each client so nothing is rushed and you’re able to concentrate on providing the best service you can to your client.

– Daphney Couturier

Esthetician, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
It’s going to be a lot easier to start our first jobs having this experience and having been able to build our confidence in the campus spa. I love that we get to have this opportunity.

– Darby Watchel

Esthetician, Class of 2017.

What Employers Say
Lakeland is a great place to find employees. The college provides real world training that equips soon-to-be employees with knowledge and people skills that are highly sought after in the agriculture industry these days.

– Dustin Dinwoodie

Key Account Manager – Western Canada Arysta LifeScience

What Alumni Say
The hands-on field trips, quality of education i received, professors who are invested in your success, and all the friends I made. I exceeded my academic expectations and I also had a lot of fun. If i had to do it all over gain, i would choose Lakeland!

– Nicole (Audet) Pysh

Class of 2006, Environmental Protection & Class of 2008, Applied Environmental Degree