Congratulations to Dr. Yvonne Becker, who was recently inducted into the ACAC Hall of Fame as a Builder.
Dr. Becker's important contributions to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference during her illustrious career simply cannot be overstated – and her accomplishments, while not often headline grabbing material, are both impactful and abundant.
Becker, an Associate Professor of Physical Education at the University of Alberta Augustana Campus, has played an integral role in the development and vision of the ACAC and Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) since her involvement began in the 1980s.
She spent 17 as a Sport Convener or a member of the ACAC executive from 1987-1998, and after a three-year hiatus, was back offering more wisdom to ACAC leadership from 2000-2006. In her first stint, her appointments were (chronological order): Cross Country Skiing Convener 1987-1988, Canoeing Convener 1988-1989 and 1996-1997, Secretary 1987-1991, Vice President 1991-1992, President 1992-1995 and Past President 1995-1998. From 2000-2006 Becker served as the first ACAC Women's Hockey Convener and returned to the Executive as VP (operations) from 2003-2006.
Becker is widely recognized for championing the advancement of women's sport, not only in the ACAC, but nationally and internationally as well. As the Athletic Director at Augustana, she was also courtside for many years with the Augustana women's basketball team as head coach, and instrumental in launching the since-terminated women's hockey program at Augustana.
Above all else however, it could be argued she wielded her greatest influence as usually the lone female voice around the ACAC Conference Council table or with her male colleagues as a member of the ACAC Executive.
At the national level, Becker was instrumental in the growth of the groundbreaking CCAA Female Apprentice Coach program (FACP) – an initiative intending to provide opportunities for young female coaches and ultimately grow the number of trained female coaches. Now in its 12th year of funding from Sport Canada, post-secondary sport in Canada continues to reap the benefits of this pioneering program.
Becker was also the principled driving force behind the introduction and development of a number of ACAC policies including the Appeals Policy and Procedures, as well as the ACAC's Harassment Policy.
Respected and admired by her peers right across the country, Yvonne Becker's reputation is characterized by her work ethic, honesty and integrity which have contributed immensely to the growth and evolution of both the ACAC and the University of Alberta – Augustana.
Remarks from Dr. Yvonne Becker
I am humbled to be considered for inclusion in the Hall of Fame among the previous inductees and the current nominees.
I can clearly remember attending my first meeting of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. I was nervous; even in knowing that Camrose Lutheran College was a charter member, I felt that my small college would be minimized in the conference decision-making processes. To my great relief, one of the hallmark values of the organization came to the fore. That is, the inclusive and obvious understanding of the differences present in each member institution as well as the incredible value of that difference as it only added to the richness of opportunities that could be provided for students.
The next notable characteristic of the conference group that became evident was the outstanding collegiality that was demonstrated by a group of truly professional administrators. There was an environment of respect and cohesion that I had only experienced before as a member of a sport team environment. It becomes obvious what can be accomplished if everyone is aware of and finds value in the same goals. It was then not an intimidating environment for me, but one in which I felt valued and in which I could contribute.
Over the next 20 years as a member of this group and in various executive committee portfolios, I was privileged to experience this environment and these values repeated again and again. Working with colleagues who focused on inclusivity, gender equity, respect for others' circumstances, responsibility and accountability regarding resources, acknowledgement of institutional and student goals as well as (and perhaps most importantly) ethical decision-making, was truly a significant learning process for me for which I am forever grateful. At the beginning of my involvement, I watched carefully those who came forward to leadership positions. It was from their integrity and thoughtfulness that I developed some habits of my own which have served me well in my administrative and academic career. Some of these leaders are already members of the Hall of Fame and include Allan Ferchuk, Irwin Strifler, Gary Meadus (an effective leader even while reading the newspaper), Al Bohonos, and Tim Tollestrup among many others.
Of course, the conference business and progress toward goals could not have functioned as well as it did without the able, conscientious and dedicated leadership of the outstanding executive directors who supported the goals of the Conference in ways that were not always obvious because they sometimes happen "behind the scenes" but are integral to its operation; I admired and learned from the work ethic of Al Buttle, Bob Day, and to this day, Mark Kozak.
The summation of this leadership, along with the understanding that athletic programs are only valuable in post-secondary institutions if they are in concert with the educational goals of the institutions in which they were present, was an athletic conference to which many other provincial conferences looked for direction. Our focus was the student athlete and their journey toward becoming contributing, engaged citizens.
For me to be able to take part in this organization was indeed a formative experience. I am indebted to so many for their modeling of ethical leadership as well as their kindness and patience.