TRU’s new president a different sort of leader

I attended the breakfast for the TRU Foundation’s fundraising kickoff this morning in the Grand Hall. The vision for a new hall of learning building is spectacular in concept and in architecture and will certainly become a landmark not only for TRU but for the city.

Dr. Kathleen Scherf, the new university president, spoke, and I’ve got to say she is definitely a different sort of speaker. I think “defiant” might be a word that would apply in her speaking style. She kind of challenges you to shape up.

I’m guessing the university community is in a mild state of shock right now because her style is so much different from the scholarly Roger Barnsley who guided the institution toward university status.

By the way, Scherf sent me a very nice email a week or two ago saying she found the whole “posing nude on the Internet’ conversation and subsequent column very amusing (refer to Columns category for background). Obviously, she has a nice sense of humour and was not offended — so there.

But back to the Foundation brekkie, all other speakers paled beside the compelling address given by TRU student Jade Johnson, who described growing up with an abusive, heroin-addicted father and unemployed mother who also succumbed to the temptation of drugs. Through it all, she maintained straight-A marks and is now a top student at TRU, thanks to the Foundation’s financial support.

A few people in the room may have twigged to the fact she is the sister of Nina Johnson, the Kamloops 14-year-old who underwent a heart transplant but did not survive. Nina’s situation was covered extensively in The Daily News, including revelations about her mother’s checkered activities while Nina was fighting her battle to live.

Today’s speech at TRU was testimonial to the strength of character of someone who is excelling against all odds.

About Mel Rothenburger (9358 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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