University of Calgary

Long-time employees

Long-time employees make a difference to U

By Fiona Bensler

The President’s Annual Recognition Awards Dinner is a special tradition at the University of Calgary where employees of 15 and 25 years are recognized for helping make the university a great place to work and learn. For the second year, U Make a Difference awards were also presented. This year, 183 staff received pins for long service at the university. OnCampus talks to two of them.

Sandy Repic joined the university in 1981 and is now an associate vice-president in Human Resources. She has been in this role since 2005. “I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time and have the right people around me,” she says.

Repic’s family immigrated to Calgary from Michigan and their immigration papers were lost in the postal strike of 1981. “The first job I was offered at the University of Calgary was in Continuing Education, which I could not accept because I had not received my work permit yet,” she says. “Once I received the official papers, I started a position in Academic Administration working half-time in the pension area and half-time handling academic contracts—and the rest is history.”

Repic says her co-workers have become like an extended family. “When we moved to Calgary, my daughter was only one year old. We didn’t have any family here and we did not know anyone. I am glad that I worked in a small office with only five of us. I couldn’t have survived the move without them.”

Repic says she has been described as a free spirit trapped in an administrator’s body. “I like to think that that free spirit has inspired me to take risks. I believe that this attitude has provided me more opportunities to do different types of work and helped me to always continue to grow personally and professionally.”

Among the things Repic likes about working at the U of C is being a small part of giving back to society through educating the next generation. And “I like the cyclic nature of universities when renewal occurs each fall as the new students arrive and bring energy and excitement to the world around us.”

Mike Maher also joined the university in 1981 and is on partial leave until September, when he will resume teaching full-time at the Haskayne School of Business.

Maher was recruited from the University of Saskatchewan, where he was the dean of the College of Commerce, to become dean of the Faculty of Management at the U of C. He held this position for 18 years, from 1981 to 1999.

When Maher was hired as dean, he was given a specific mission: to take the faculty from being a small undergraduate and graduate facility to being a full-service business school—by raising support from the community and government. Maher calls it “living on the edge.”

For Maher, the best part about his time as dean was the opportunity to work with a number of key people who made things happen for the business school. “I really enjoyed working with those people, who were both on and off campus. They were often the driving force, along with the community’s commitment, to build a top business school for Calgary.”

Maher was on the U.S. government accreditation board for business schools, where he audited up to six schools each year. He also took classes at other business schools because he wanted to learn how to be a better manager. And he served on many different boards over the years at the corporate, volunteer and government level.

More important to him than his work, though, is his family. “I am very proud of my three daughters and my wife, who are all university educated. They are just wonderful people.”