Alumni Award presentations planned for Homecoming Dinner

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A trio of outstanding Brandon University (BU) alumni will be recognized at Homecoming later this month.

Dr. James McAllister, Lisa Ormann and Lorraine Pompana will receive Brandon University Alumni Association (BUAA) awards during the Homecoming Dinner and Awards on Saturday, Oct. 15. McAllister will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Career Achievement, while Ormann and Pompana will both be honoured with the Distinguished Alumni Award for Community Service.

“Homecoming is an opportunity to get together with old friends and to meet new people who share BU connections,” said BUAA President Iris Wang. “It’s always fascinating to learn more about our Brandon University and Brandon College alumni and about their activities and accomplishments. This year, we are excited to recognize three alumni who have made huge contributions to their communities.”

Dr. McAllister has enjoyed a distinguished career in government in both Ontario and Manitoba. He has also taught at several universities and has an extensive record of volunteerism.

Ormann is a passionate advocate for mental health and suicide prevention, who has given numerous talks on the subject. Sha has also been a volunteer with the Olds Rapids Swim Club, Girls Guides and Cubs/Scouts, Parent Council and the Olds Kiwanis Music Festival in Alberta.

Pompana is a residential school survivor who has been a counselor and educator for more than 40 years. She has been a board member on the National Parole Board, the Brandon Police Board and a Brandon School Division trustee. Pompana continues to serve the community in a number of volunteer roles.

“The dinner and awards night is just one of the highlights of Homecoming,” said Carla Eisler, Director of Advancement and Alumni Affairs at BU. “We have four days of events planned with something for everyone. Homecoming is not just a time for alumni, faculty and staff to reunite, but also an opportunity to open our doors and welcome the community.

“Homecoming events are open to all, and I invite everyone to come down and enjoy the BU hospitality.”

In addition to the Dinner and Awards, scheduled events include a concert, Bobcat games, a trivia night, a beer garden featured locally sourced brews, the Athletics Wall of Fame Brunch, a free family afternoon at the Healthy Living Centre, snacks and talks at the ceremonial fire pit and star-gazing at the observatory. A full schedule of events is available at



 Dr. James McAllister



A man in a suit smiles
Dr. James McAllister

James is an experienced public policy analyst, manager and university teacher. He grew up in Brandon and enrolled in Brandon College, where he majored in Political Science and History, founded its first New Democratic Party Club on campus and led the party in the Model Parliament. He also was President of the International Relations Club and Coordinator of the Annual Peace Gardens Conference.

After James received his BA he was employed by the federal government in Ottawa, obtained an MA from Carleton University and became a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Brandon University. He returned to graduate studies at Carleton to complete his PhD and McGill-Queen’s University Press later published a revised version of his doctoral dissertation as The Government of Edward Schreyer: Democratic Socialism in Manitoba.

James also worked for the Manitoba Government in the Department of the Executive Council and taught at the universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg before moving to Toronto in 1979. There he worked for the Council of Ontario Universities where he published dozens of reports and articles on university finances. He also taught at Ryerson and Trent universities.

He joined the Ontario Ministry of Finance in 1998 and became its Manager of Federal-Provincial Relations. After his retirement in 2009 he began teaching at several universities, including Toronto, Ryerson and York. He continues to do academic research and most recently has had an article published in the Journal of Canadian Studies.

James has received various awards for his work and volunteer activities, including a special recognition award from the Council of Finance Officers – Universities of Ontario; a Stella award from the Ontario Ministry of Finance for Intergovernmental Partnership; and a Life Membership Certificate from the Ontario New Democratic Party. His community activities have included serving Knox United Church in Agincourt, Ontario as Chair of their Congregation and governing Council, Chair of the Leadership Development Committee and Treasurer of the Outreach Committee.


Lisa Ormann

A woman smiles while posing in front of sunflowers
Lisa Ormann

Lisa Ormann has been married for 33 years to her husband Todd and they have raised two children, Mitchell and Taylor. Lisa was just awarded gold for Favorite Citizen of Olds and Bronze for Local Cause in Olds – “You Matter”.

After she graduated from Brandon University, Lisa and her husband moved to Olds, Alta., with their two children. Lisa was and still is very active in her community. While raising her two children, Lisa volunteered for ten years on the board for the Olds Rapids Swim Club, as well as volunteering with Girl Guides and Cubs/Scouts for several years. Lisa volunteered on Parent Council at her children’s school for six years, while at the same time working as Admin Support for the same school. Lisa sat on the board for the Olds Kiwanis Music Festival and actively fundraised for them.

In 2018 Lisa was going through breast cancer treatments, when she and Todd received the news that their son died by suicide.

Since the death of Mitchell, Lisa has dedicated her time and effort to communicating the importance of breaking down the stigma of mental health and suicide. “You Matter” has become a movement to keep the conversation going, with the semi colon representing continuance … everyone has a story that deserves to be heard. For four years now, she has given numerous talks, in person and by Zoom; radio interviews; spoken during Bell Let’s Talk day; spoken during Let’s Make Some Noise for Mental Health and written articles for the local newspaper. Two to three times a year, with the help of their local sports store, they sell “You Matter” paraphernalia, with all profits going to the Alberta Mental Health Assoc. And their local bake shop sells “You Matter” cookies once a year, with profits of the sales going to the same cause. Lisa has done bike ride fundraisers and several walks to raise money for mental health awareness and suicide. She has raised tens of thousands of dollars for a cause that is very close to her heart and will continue to do so to help keep open conversations about mental health and suicide. Lisa is determined to break down the stigma; everyone matters; “You Matter!”


Lorraine Pompana

A woman wearing a hat sits is under an umbrella
Lorraine Pompana

Lorraine originates from the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. She has resided in Brandon since 1962, soon after attending three residential schools. A counsellor and educator for over 40 years, she has served in various areas in mainstream society.

Lorraine’s academic goal had been to attain employment in a position to assist Indigenous individuals in their personal lifetime pursuits, and she did this by obtaining a Bachelor of Arts, a Graduate Diploma in Education, and a Master of Education with a Counselling specialization. Lorraine was successful in obtaining a Counselling position at Brandon University in the Student Services Faculty Department in 1981, retiring in 2008. She later became the Co-ordinator of the Indigenous Peoples’ Centre at Brandon University. Lorraine has also sat on many boards and committees in Brandon and across Turtle Island, such as the National Parole Board, The Brandon Police Board, and as a Brandon School Board Trustee.

Lorraine is currently serving her second three-year term as a Board Member of the Southern Care Network, Indian Residential School Committee of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, she is the chairperson of the Indigenous Alumni Chapter of the Brandon University Alumni Association, and is serving on the Brandon University Indigenous Education Sub-Committee.


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