Vancity CEO, senior public servant named Distinguished Alumni

Tamara Vrooman, MA ’94, CEO of Vancity credit union and Bob de Faye, MPA ’85, BC deputy minister of Aboriginal relations and reconciliation, have joined a circle of 49 outstanding graduates who have received Distinguished Alumni Awards from the UVic Alumni Association.


Tamara Vrooman, a history grad, became the leader of Canada’s largest credit union in 2007 after a meteoric provincial public service career that culminated with three years as deputy minister of finance. Her nominators cited Vrooman’s “outstanding leadership qualities” and noted that she is “gifted at conceptualizing and planning on a large scale, she is committed to excellence, and she has been a motivator and mentor to aspiring leaders.”

In supporting the nomination, former BC finance minister Carole Taylor wrote that Vrooman’s academic background in history “provided her with a unique perspective on dealing with issues of policy and financial affairs; [she] is able to look beyond the numbers.”

Vrooman maintains regular involvement with the university through her promotion of the Department of History and her service on the advisory committee of the School of Public Administration.

Vrooman was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2005 and received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003 for outstanding contributions to public service in BC.

de Faye
de Faye

Bob de Faye has become widely respected as a consummate public servant, working quietly and effectively on behalf of BC citizens over the span of his 27-year career.

He played a critical role in establishing the local government Community Charter, guided the early organizing stages of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and provided leadership in securing long-term collective agreements with public sector employees.

Philip Halkett, a former deputy minister to the premier, supported de Faye’s nomination and described him as “an excellent example of someone who has taken his university training and applied it in progressively important positions which serve the public and the public interest.”

De Faye became chair of the School of Public Administration’s alumni chapter in 2006 and since then the group has grown to more than 300 members in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton and Ottawa.

Vrooman and de Faye received their awards during a special Alumni Week ceremony on Feb. 3 at the University Club of Victoria. The ceremony also included a UVic Faculty of Business presentation of its Alumni Award of Excellence to Jeff Harris, MBA ’95, a principal of KPMG Silicon Valley. Harris developed and leads KPMG’s national systems stabilization and improvement practice and he spearheaded the new UVic Alumni chapter in Northern California.

The alumni association has also named two other recipients of the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award. co-founder Stewart Butterfield, BA ’96, was recognized at the UVic Legacy Awards last November. Edward Harvey—scholar, teacher and editor of The Lansdowne Era: Victoria College, 1946–1963—will receive the association’s Lifetime of Distinguished Achievement Award at a ceremony later this year.

Since 1993, the Distinguished Alumni Awards program has recognized the outstanding achievements of individual UVic, Victoria College and Provincial Normal School graduates.

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