In early February, Augustana honoured University of Alberta North Campus alumnus Jerry Iwanus with an Alumni Citation award, which recognizes the contributions of a non-alumnus to the life of Augustana.
A man who is always smiling and whose sweetness and determination intermingle with enviable ease, Iwanus has called the Camrose area home since 1995. After spending 18 years in Bawlf, where he had the privilege of serving as Mayor for two terms, Iwanus moved to Camrose. Having sold his property appraisal business in 2016 in anticipation of a move to New Brunswick next summer, Iwanus continues to work in this field, as he has since 2003.
Iwanus’ real passion, however, is coaching junior high basketball, which he is fortunate to be able to do both at École Charlie Killam School and previously in the Vikings Club system (where he also served as President and Coordinator for two years), as well as in the Jeux francophones de l’Alberta (Francophone Games in Alberta). There is a sign in the Iwanus house that says, “We now interrupt this marriage for basketball season” and his wife Michele says, as a testament to his passion, “the sign never does come down.”
Iwanus is just as passionate about Augustana. Although he holds a Bachelors (‘83) and Masters (‘86) from the University of Alberta’s North Campus, it was not until being appointed to serve on the U of A Senate in 2012 that he was able to cultivate a deep and abiding relationship with Augustana.
“It is an incredible and humbling honour,” said Iwanus, on receiving the award, thanking Augustana Dean Allen Berger, his high school coach Ric Bender, Vikings coach Dave Drabiuk and his own wife and daughter among plenty others who offered him support through the years. “I’ve never done any of this for recognition—worthy things are done simply because they are worthy things”.
Iwanus’ enthusiasm and hardworking spirit have served Augustana immeasurably throughout the years. As a Senator, his goals were always to promote the value of a liberal arts education, particularly in rural areas, and to ensure that the Augustana perspective was always brought to the broader university discussion table.
Iwanus’ leaving Alberta makes his award bittersweet. And in preparation for leaving, Iwanus hopes two things of Augustana: “That the U of A recognizes Augustana for the jewel that it is in the University system, and that Augustana Athletics is properly recognized and funded, and continues to be respected forevermore as a critical part of who Augustana is and the student experience here.”
He ended the evening with another message of thanks. “In being here, I am enriched, I am blessed and I am very, very grateful.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
The Alumni Citation Award recognizes the contributions of a non-alumnus to the life of Augustana.