UPEI honours 2011 founders at president’s installation, during Celebrate UPEI! Weekend

Posted: 
Sunday, September 25, 2011

One way that the University of Prince Edward Island honours its rich heritage and traditions is acknowledging people who have contributed to it in an exceptional way, naming them ‘founders.' Recognizing founders is an opportunity to welcome members of the UPEI community to campus and at the same time honour those who have made contributions over the years.

The 2011 founders are Mr. Frank Zakem, Dr. Margaret Munro, and Mr. Mel Gallant, recipient of the Honourable Eugene F. Whelan Green Hat Award, which pays tribute to individuals who have had a significant and positive impact on the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC).

To view video interviews with the 2011 Founders, click here.

This year marked the twelfth annual recognition of founders at UPEI, and this special tribute took place during the installation ceremony of Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz as UPEI's sixth president and vice-chancellor on September 24.

President Abd-El-Aziz said, 'I am so honoured to have my installation included with the recognition of our Founders, Dr. Munro, Mr. Zakem, and Mr. Gallant. Allowing me to pay tribute to them along with their family, friends, and colleagues will be a significant mark on my memories of this day.'
Dr. Munro was involved with the creation of the UPEI School of Nursing beginning in 1990 when she was seconded from the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary to develop the nursing program at UPEI. In 1991, Munro was invited to become the founding dean of UPEI's new school and remained in that position until July 1997 when she retired.

UPEI nursing student Karen Biggar counts Munro as one of her mentors. She said, 'Dr. Munro admits her fondest memories from her time as dean included getting to know the students and mentoring them. Her views on learning continue today, placing high value in education. Throughout almost forty years of teaching nursing, Dr. Margaret Munro has always been an advocate for students, encouraging them to be critical thinkers and thoughtful practitioners.'

Zakem's life has always been about service, as evidenced by his long career in post-secondary education, including serving as principal at Holland College's Charlottetown campus, teaching select classes at St. Dunstan's University, helping with the organization of SDU Class of 1954 Reunions, his high-profile tenure as Charlottetown city councilor and mayor, and his long involvement with a host of charitable organizations.

UPEI business student Emma McPhail met with Zakem earlier in September, and said in the citation she prepared from that meeting, 'For Frank Zakem, such involvements are as natural as breathing. There are three types of people, Frank is fond of saying, ‘Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who don't know what happened.' Mr. Frank Zakem rightly categorizes himself in category number one. This penchant for ‘making things happen' has earned him our recognition today as a ‘Founder' of UPEI.'

Gallant made his mark ‘managing the funds' at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown, becoming the longest serving employee. He balanced the books on an annual operating budget that grew from about $1 million to roughly $30 million today, as well as putting pencil to paper for initial construction of the AVC facility tagged at $38.4 million and current expansion expected to run to $32 million. He was there 'from the ground up' and well-respected not only for his management skills but for his ability to deal well with people and his great pride for the College.

AVC student Sadie Griffin added, 'He joined AVC in 1984-shortly after construction of the College began-as assistant to the founding dean, Dr. Reg Thomson, and retired in 2007 as Assistant Dean, Administration and Finance. During his tenure at the College, he took great pride in AVC, a feeling he retains to this day. He continues to be a very strong advocate for the College, its people, and its growth and service to the Atlantic region and beyond.'

More about the Founders

Dr. Margaret F. Munro received her basic nursing preparation in Peterborough, Ontario, and has devoted all of her professional career to nursing education. Throughout almost forty years of teaching nursing she has always been an advocate for students, and has given leadership to several innovative projects in nursing education across Canada and in England, promoting meaningful and non-traditional learning opportunities.

It was through Munro's vision that the curriculum of the UPEI School of Nursing was the first in Canada to be developed based directly on the principles of primary health care. She led the work with her faculty team developing the PEI Conceptual Model for Nursing: A Nursing Prospective of Primary Health Care. Dr. Munro's ground work paved the way for a school rich in leadership, research, and partnership. Her vast knowledge in evaluation methods continues to benefit the faculty and students by way of annual course review and course evaluation.
Dr. Munro also wrote the book Forward in Faith: Establishing the School of Nursing at the University of Prince Edward Island telling the story of the School's beginnings and is a strong supporter of numerous awards and scholarships in support of UPEI Nursing students.

Mr. Frank Zakem was born on August 30, 1931, the fourth of six children born to Albert and Ann (Marji) Zakem, of Charlottetown. He attended Prince of Wales College for grades eleven, twelve, and university freshman year; SDU to complete his university studies, and from there received a BComm in 1954, a BA in 1955, and a BEd in 1968.

After studying theology at the Grand Seminary in Montreal, Zakem returned to PEI in 1956 and worked in the family business until 1970. Following this, he spent 26 years in administration, serving for ten years as Principal at Holland College. He was seconded to Premier Joseph Ghiz's office, and worked in various departments in government.

Zakem's involvement in city and provincial affairs reflects his ongoing commitment to his province and country. Spanning the years from his return to PEI to the present, he has served his community well: city councilor; mayor; and member of Charlottetown's Finance Committee, provincial task forces (health care, provincial assessment), Steering Committee on Municipal Reform, and numerous other provincial and municipal committees. He continues to be involved in community affairs, and has contributed significantly to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Boy Scouts of Canada, and numerous other organizations and committees. Frank travelled widely across Canada, particularly in his connection with Multicultural and Intercultural Affairs, and Canada World Youth.

During his term as mayor, Zakem oversaw the creation of the Charlottetown Development Corporation, which resulted in major developments of the waterfront and downtown Charlottetown areas. He marks this high in importance of his achievements during his term as mayor.

Zakem's contribution has been recognized and, among others, he has been awarded a certificate for involvement and contribution in municipal training, the Boy Scouts Medal of Merit, and the Paul Harris Fellowship Award. He was a founding member and charter president of the Hillsborough Rotary Club.

Zakem is married to Janet (Kousaie) and they have four sons: Steven, Kenneth, Bruce, and Albert.

Mr. Mel Gallant (recipient of the Honourable Eugene F. Whelan Green Hat Award) is the longest serving employee of the Atlantic Veterinary College; however, the native of Summerside and third of nine children took an interesting career path to eventually land at AVC.

He went to boarding school in Edmundston, NB, at age 16, where he learned French-the native tongue of his Acadian parents, Ted and Julia Gallant, from Egmont Bay. He then moved to Montreal and took a job with Gulf Canada after earning his MBA at McGill University in Montreal. He held three different positions over a four-year period with Gulf Canada.

Gallant then went into business in Montreal with a partner who had been teaching photography-a passion and talent he developed as an adult. But Gallant longed to return to PEI and did so in 1980. In 1984, he was hired as assistant to the dean of AVC, becoming assistant dean for administration and finance in the mid-90s. Gallant was accustomed to managing large sums on a daily basis-in his almost 25 years at AVC, he managed $800 million of the college's funds.

Colleagues speak highly of Gallant's work not only for his management skills, but also in his ability to deal well with people. He is credited with playing a key role in the leadership of the AVC, working side-by-side with the college's former deans: Dr. Reg Thomson, Dr. Brian Hill, Dr. Larry Heider, and Dr. Tim Ogilvie, to establish a veterinary college that has gained an international reputation in only 20 years.

Nicole Phillips
Media Relations and Communications Officer
Department: 
Integrated Communications
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