January 16, 2014 - 6:30am

Ever since she was a cook training student at Vancouver Island University (VIU), Debbie Shore has been breaking new ground for women.

“I went from being a 17-year-old Culinary Arts student to working as a professional cook across Canada and overseas, establishing many firsts for women as professional cooks,” says Shore, Chair of VIU’s Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island.

Shore was among 95 employees honored at VIU’s Long Service Awards reception Wednesday for completing 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of employment.
Shore was hired as the first woman chef to teach professional cooking at VIU (formerly Malaspina University-College) 20 years ago.

“I was mentored by top Canadian chefs who worked at VIU, some of whom were my former instructors,” says Shore. “They trusted me to take over at the helm when they retired and keep our program on top, and we have.

“I’m proud of the continuing success of the program and the long list of successful graduates working all over the world for high end hotels and other businesses.”

Thirty year VIU employee Margo Thorp, audio visual assistant in the Library, agrees with Shore that the years have flown by quickly.

“When I started my career at VIU, we were using cassette tape recorders, VCR’s and microphones, and 16 mm projectors,” recalls Thorp. “Things have certainly changed with rapid advances in technology.”

Twenty year employee Tricia Abbott has taken lifelong learning to heart. An Admissions and Registrations Assistant, Abbott is currently on a one-year leave completing her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Anthropology.

In May 2014, she will be attending a field school in Portugal, Spain, and Morocco with Arts professor Jane Cole.

“I appreciate the opportunities I’ve had while working at VIU and the many friendships made along the way,” says Abbott.

Ten year employee Patricia Adam, Chair of VIU’s Applied Business Technology Online program, also feels fortunate to work at VIU.

“My story is that once my own kids went off to school, I attended VIU as a mature student,” says Adam. “I graduated with a Bachelor of Education in the fall of 2001, and as luck would have it, there was a retirement in the Applied Business Technology program in February 2002. I have been doing my dream job ever since ¬- teaching administrative and bookkeeping skills to aspiring office professionals.”

Long service employees received a plaque and kudos from University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ralph Nilson.

“The dedication and commitment of our employees has allowed VIU to thrive and grow,” says Nilson. “We have a motivated and engaged workforce of more than 2,000 employees who believe in lifelong learning. Our reputation is built on the quality and history of our faculty and staff and their interactions with students.

“While VIU exists to serve our students and our communities, it’s through our employees that we achieve our goals and ultimately our students achieve theirs. I thank all of our employees for their important contributions.”


About Vancouver Island University

Known as a centre of excellence for teaching, learning and applied research, VIU offers a diverse range of certificate, diploma and undergraduate and master degree programs to more than 18,000 students on campuses in Nanaimo, Powell River and Cowichan, and at the Parksville-Qualicum Centre. For more information visit

Janina Stajic, Manager, Vancouver Island University P: 250.740.6288
E: Twitter: @VIUNews

Tags: In the Community

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