Find out what other alumni from our year are up to. If you would like your snippet included in the next issue email us.

Find out what other alumni from our year are up to.

Blair Beed, BComm’77

Graduation Year: fall2019

Halifax native Blair Beed BComm’77 was the recipient of the 2019 Charitable Irish Society Service Award in recognition of his research into the support given by Irish Americans after the Halifax Explosion of 1917. An authority on Nova Scotia history, he is the author of The 1917 Halifax Explosion and the American Response, and Titanic Victims in Halifax Graveyards. His work has also appeared in National Geographic Traveller, The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Herald.  He has been featured in both local and international media and is now heard weekly on News Talk Radio 95.7 FM in Halifax, sharing his knowledge of local history with listeners. As a guest speaker, he has given talks at the prestigious British Titanic Society in Southampton, England and The Belfast Titanic Society in Northern Ireland.

Closer to home, Blair holds a lifetime membership in the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, The Atlantic Titanic Society, and the Monarchist League of Canada. He has worked closely with heritage projects in the province and has served as the Heritage Canada Foundation Mainstreet Co-ordinator. Deeply involved in restoration efforts at Saint Patrick’s Church, Blair also curated an exhibition at the church on the centenary of the Halifax Explosion which garnered much attention throughout Canada and the United States.   

Mike Chambers, BA’72

Graduation Year: fall2019

The Saint Mary’s community was saddened to hear of the recent death of alumnus Mike Chambers BA’72. A native of Philadelphia, Mike was recruited to play varsity basketball at Saint Mary’s by the late Coach Les Goodwin. He played for the Huskies from his rookie 1968–69 season to his senior year, 1971–72. In his final season, he was co-captain of a young Huskies squad led by first-year coach Brian Heaney. Coach Heaney was a recent graduate of Acadia University and one of the Axemen’s all-time great players. He and Mike competed against each other in Coach Heaney’s senior year at Acadia. Mike Chambers was a fine player, an excellent teammate, and an all-round popular figure on the Saint Mary’s campus.

Ding Fan, MTEI ’19

Graduation Year: 2019

Arriving as an international student with a diverse background, Ding Fan MTEI ’19 quickly became a mentor for young international students. Over the years she has organized more than 500 events and programs, and attracted five innovative start-ups to Nova Scotia through the federal Start-Up Visa Program she runs full time at Innovacorp, Nova Scotia’s early venture capital crown corporation.

In 2014, Ding established the Nova Scotia International Network Society, which aims to engage and retain newcomers and help them to be successful. After organizing the Nova Scotia International entrepreneurship Competition, International Career Fair and Interview Competition, and China Program, in 2018 she was recognized as one the Top 25 Immigrants in the Maritimes.

Phil Taylor, BComm’15

Graduation Year: 2015

Phil Taylor BComm’15 has joined the Silver Burtnick & Associates team at Sotheby's International Realty Canada, joining a talented group of real estate professionals who consistently deliver exceptional service.

Sylvia Gawad, BSc’14

Graduation Year: 2014

Recent grad Sylvia Gawad BSc’14 has been selected as one of RBC’s Top 75 Canadian Immigrants. As the newcomer coordinator with YWCA Halifax, Sylvia has worked with countless refugees and immigrants, helping them to locate opportunities to put their best foot forward. 

Sylvia has been recognized with the Community Impact Award and the Award of Excellence in Advancing Immigrant Women. 

Jarvis Googoo, BA’05

Graduation Year: 2005

On August 18, 2018 at GoodLife Awards Gala in Toronto, Ontario, Jarvis Googoo BA’05 was one of six recipients of the Group Fitness Instructor of Excellence Awards (country-wide out of an estimated 3,700 instructors). He’s the first Mi’kmaw to achieve this. These awards are given to Group Fitness Instructors who demonstrate great commitment and dedication for the Group Fitness programs at GoodLife Fitness.

Olga Manzoni, BComm’88

Graduation Year: 1988

Olga Manzoni BComm’88, Avanti Coaching, recently celebrated the launch of her first children’s’ book, Mondays with Nonna. As an Executive Coach and HR Consultant, Olga channeled her love of Mondays with a message to help us and the children in our lives see the potential in each day – even Mondays! To get a copy of the book or start a coaching relationship with Olga, visit

Robert Joseph Bollini

Graduation Year: 2006

Robert Joseph Bollini, 84, passed away peacefully on May 8, 2018, at his home in Montclair, New Jersey. Born in Springfield, MA, and raised in Torrington, CT, he was the son of the late Hugo and Mary Bollini. A well-rounded scholar, he earned a BA in zoology from Cornell University, an MA in linguistics from Georgetown University, and a Ph.D. in history from The University of California, Berkeley. He was a well-loved professor of history at Saint Mary’s University until his retirement. He served his country as a First Lieutenant in the Army in Korea and was also a devoted birder and Audubon member, a lover of nature, and both a photographer and painter.

John (Jackie) Barrett, BComm’98

Graduation Year: 1998

John (Jackie) Barrett BComm’98 has been named as one of the 50 Movement Makers for the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics in Canada. This is in recognition of his success both on and off the stage and the role he has played in helping the Special Olympics to grow. At the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, Barrett’s 656-pound deadlift broke Special Olympics records and his 611-pound squat broke the Newfoundland Men’s Master-1 Super-Heavyweight record. He earned three gold medals and one silver that year.

Colin MacMillan, BA’93

Graduation Year: 1993

Colin MacMillan BA’93 joined the Board of The Works Museum in Minneapolis, a non-profit hand-on kids museum promoting STEM education, in September 2018. Colin is Senior Director, Technology Operations, at Optum Technology, which creates automation and cloud infrastructures across the globe. Optum is the technology, services, and venture capitalist arm of United Health Group, a US$200B global health care leader.