2009 recipient: Vic Winter

The halls of education have been where Vic Winter is at home. From the fall of 1972, through the completion of serving as Senior Residents in 1978, Conrad Grebel University College was a second home for Vic Winter. He and his wife Marilyn have kept in touch with Grebel through their children, as all three have also lived and studied at Grebel – Art (BSc, 2005), Jesse (BSc, 2007) and now Ben (BSc, 2009).

Vic has had a long career in education - shaping and influencing the lives of many students. From 1980 to 1999 Vic taught English in the public system with the Essex County and served as English department head for 9 years. In 2000, Vic began working at United Mennonite Educational Institute (UMEI) in Leamington as Principal. This small, but mighty, school has regularly sent a sizable percentage of its graduates to Conrad Grebel University College.

One of these graduates, Sandra Dyck (BA, 2006 Peace and Conflict Studies) nominated Vic for this award. She noted that "with fewer than 100 students, UMEI is a small, close-knit high school, and our teachers often take on the role of mentors, friends, and even baptismal witnesses. With no official guidance counselor hired by the school Mr. Winter took on this role, answering questions and helping to guide us in our future planning."

She reflects the comments of many UMEI grads as she observes that, "Grebel is naturally at the forefront of Mr. Winter's mind when it comes to post-secondary education, and ­students at UMEI are well aware of both the residence and academic programs that Grebel offers."

Providing academic and institutional leadership in a small school like UMEI demands a lot of energy, tenacity and vision. Visitors to UMEI are warmly greeted by Vic who is eager to chat about activities at the school and the larger Leamington community. The impact of the school is quite large, as over 85% of its graduates go on to further education. He has provided strong leadership to dedicated and creative faculty members and students who have been enthusiastic about their small school experience.

It is clear that Vic’s career in education is a model of service and leadership for the alumni of Conrad Grebel University College. Therefore, the Conrad Grebel Alumni Committee is pleased to name Vic Winter as the recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award. Vic will be recognized at "Celebrate Teaching," an event for alumni teachers where he will share a few reflections on his career in education.

When notified about this award, Vic was "grateful but bemused." He went on to say, "Mine has been a full, rewarding, fruitful but modest career! I've have had a lot of fun because I'm an eager learner and teacher."