Celebrating the Faculty of Arts’ longest serving staff

With spring around the corner, Arts celebrates the milestones of some staff members who have worked at UBC for 25+ years, their deep appreciation for their colleagues, and ongoing commitment to the UBC community.

The UBC 25 Year Club was established in 1971 by President Walter Gage to recognize the contributions of non-faculty staff who have worked at the university for 25+ years.

35 Year Club

Christine Graham
Program Advisor, School of Social Work

Christine is the Program Advisor for the BSW, MSW, and PhD programs in the School of Social Work and is involved in all aspects of the student experience, from pre-admission advising to connecting with alumni.

What is the best thing about your role?

My job gives me the opportunity to have a positive impact on students’ lives and to contribute indirectly to the social work profession, which makes a real difference in our society. Every day is different since I interact with such a varied group of people.

My colleagues and program chairs are also a pleasure to work with and keep me motivated even in occasionally challenging circumstances.

What project, event or campaign are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the many students I’ve supported over the years. Seeing them achieve their goals and flourish in their careers has been so rewarding.

Flora Lew
Finance Manager, The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts

In celebrating the incredible 35-year journey of Flora Lew, affectionately known as “Flo,” at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, we joyfully pay tribute to her remarkable tenure at UBC. Flo’s infectious enthusiasm, unwavering efficiency, and radiant smile endeared her to everyone she encountered. Universally recognized at UBC, Flo possessed the remarkable knack of making things happen (!) and knew exactly who to call when speed was of the essence. Her presence exuded kindness, hospitality, and a magnetic charm accompanied by a boisterous laugh that lit up every room. Flo’s dedication and expertise were the backbone of the Chan Centre’s smooth operation for decades, leaving an indelible mark on the institution and her colleagues across the University. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for Flo’s years of dedicated service at the Chan Centre. Her legacy of kindness and professionalism will continue to inspire us all.

25 Year Club

Julie Walchli
Executive Director, Work Integrated Education and Career Initiatives
Co-Director, Canada Japan Co-op Program

Julie oversees the workplace education and career programming for Arts students, which includes the Arts Co-op Program and the Compass Arts Student Engagement Hub. Through this work, she helps students see how they can take their classroom learning and interests out into the world, designing meaningful futures.

What is the best thing about your role?

Over my 25 years in Arts I’ve had the privilege to be part of the journeys of thousands of Arts students; many keep in touch with me and I know their experiences through our programming provided the foundation for the rich, meaningful lives they live now. I also value the smart, caring people I’ve worked with over all these years at UBC; they continually challenge me to do and be better.

What project, event or campaign are you most proud of?

As the founding director of UBC’s Arts Co-op Program, that work is something I’m incredibly proud of. The opportunities to integrate meaningful work experiences related to students’ majors and career interests is transformative for most students. I built the program from scratch, starting with about 100 Arts students and no employers. We now have over 1000 undergrads and 250 Masters and PhD students in the Program and thousands of employer contacts, and seeing the arc of the Program’s development gives me real satisfaction.

What is a secret talent you’re most proud of?

Audacity is a very underrated career skill. When I think back over my career, I think the biggest leaps forward happened when I was audacious—in taking action on a new idea, asking for advice or help, or applying for funding to start something new. That old saying that fortune favours the bold has endured for a reason.

Do you have any advice for new Arts staff?

Mentors have played a huge role in my career and I know I wouldn’t be where I am without an incredibly supportive community around me. Mentors don’t always emerge from formal mentorship programs; they can be people you have a sense of affinity with that you want to learn from. They could be older or younger than you, or peers. I encourage new Arts staff to be curious, ask people with jobs or backgrounds you find interesting to tell you about their careers and share your aspirations with them. From my experience, people want to be helpful and supportive. Let them know what you would like, and you may be surprised what happens!

Lynn Burton
Properties Specialist, Department of Theatre & Film

Written by Borja Brown, Technical Theatre Production Manager, Department of Theatre & Film.

Lynn retired from UBC Theatre and Film in 2023, leaving a lasting legacy. A steadfast, thoughtful, and diligent team player, Lynn shared her love and appreciation for the craft of prop making with students for 25 years. With patience and generosity, she consistently paid attention to students’ individual passions, helping them integrate those into their projects. Students often remarked on what an enjoyable place the prop shop was to work. In addition to mentoring students, Lynn consistently met tight deadlines and budgets, creating beautiful props for the department’s plays productions.