Class of 1969 – Innis
Innis Alumna, Joanne Uyede, is a highly active Innis alumna. For years, she has contributed her professional expertise to the betterment of our college, university, and other educational institutions.
In a few words, please outline your career path.
When I was an undergraduate student, I worked part-time for the Office of Admissions at U of T during the school year as well as during the summer months. When I graduated, I was offered a position at York University as Information Officer in the Office of Admissions there. Subsequently, I was promoted to Assistant Director of Admissions. I left York to work for the Ontario Teachers’ Federation where I evaluated teachers’ qualifications for placement in salary categories.
I left the Federation to stay at home with our 3 children but continued my involvement with educational institutions on a volunteer basis, serving on the Governing Council of U of T, the UTAA, the Innis College Alumni Association and the Havergal College Board of Directors, among others.
When the children were older, I returned to work with the Canadian Education Centre Network, a not for profit organization which promoted Canada as a study destination through its offices around the world. I retired from the Presidency of the Network in 2009 but have continued some volunteer committee work at the University of Toronto.
How did your undergraduate experience help prepare you for your career?
The most important skill I acquired as an undergraduate was the ability to write. I was enrolled in the Honours English Language and Literature program, which, at the time, was a rigorous and demanding program. In all the positions I have held that ability to communicate in writing has been invaluable.
What is the most important lesson you have learned during your career?
I learned a lot of important lessons but perhaps the most important was the need to listen to other views and learn from them.
Why do you feel it is important to give back to your communities, such as Innis College?
Alumni play a vital role in the life of the university. They are the trustees of the institution and need to be involved to ensure the continued strength and vitality of the university. Alumni have no vested interest and can offer objective views on a range of issues affecting the university community.
More importantly, I enjoy my interaction with students, faculty members and administrative staff, from whom I always learn.
What is your favourite memory from your time spent at Innis College?
I was a young first year student (17) and the second year students organized events to help the incoming class learn about the university. My favorite event was a tour of the library, where the second year student who was leading the tour showed us how to use the library to best advantage. That tour opened my eyes to the enormous wealth of resources available to students at U of T.
Do you have any advice you would like to share with current Innis students?
I would hesitate to give anyone advice but I do worry that students are terribly stressed by financial worries and by a highly competitive academic environment. I hope that all students can take the time to enjoy these undergraduate years and soak up as much as possible the intellectually stimulating environment that is the university.