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Kerry Moynihan

Alumni Spotlight

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Kerry Moynihan (B.Com. SPAD) still remembers his parents dropping him off in Sudbury to begin his first year at Laurentian University. Kerry grew up in Toronto, ON, and most of his family members before him completed their postsecondary studies in southern Ontario. Although his first few days in Sudbury were an adjustment, Kerry soon met some of his lifelong friends, and to date, Kerry credits the skills he gained from his SPAD degree as the reason for much of his career success.

In high school, Kerry’s uncle Syl took him to Sudbury on an Imperial Oil trip. Kerry visited with Dr. Robert Wanzel, the founding Chair of SPAD at Laurentian University. Kerry thoroughly enjoyed his visit and made the decision to move four hours north to Sudbury.

Kerry graduated from Senator O’Connor College in 1975 and moved to Sudbury to begin his studies at Laurentian that same year. At the time, Imperial Oil offered scholarships to students who achieved over 70% in grade 13. Kerry met this requirement and is extremely thankful to have had some of his university tuition covered by the program.

Dr. Wanzel was a great mentor to Kerry during his time as a student. Kerry recalls Dr. Wanzel’s day-to-day contact with students and open door policies being large contributors to his success as a student. Kerry remembers participating in engaging field trips to visit various amateur and pro sports organizations.

Throughout his university years, Kerry had several tough summer jobs. He spent his university summers working at Millar Paving (Toronto, ON), Botkin Construction (Regina, SK), Imperial Oil (Devon, AB), and the National Sports Centre (Ottawa, ON). In his fourth year, Kerry was a student manager in Laurentian’s Single Student Residence (SSR). Kerry enjoyed living in residence and playing in the SPAD hockey tournament every year.

Kerry graduated from the SPAD program in 1979. He graduated Cum Lade with Honours amongst classmates who became lifelong friends. He continues to keep in touch with many of them to this day. Kerry wrote his last university exam on a Friday and began work at Ontario Cycling as Executive Director in downtown Toronto the following Monday. In Kerry’s early years post graduation, he made several trips to Dr. Wanzel’s SPAD classes at Laurentian to speak to students. Kerry moved from Ontario Cycling onto several sport- and business- related organizations, including the Shooting Federation of Canada, American Express Canada Inc., and the Ontario Gymnastics Federation, the Canadian Canoe Association.

Throughout his career, Kerry planned many special events, including the U Sports Vanier Cup at the Rogers Centre, Lake Louise Ski World Cups, two Canada Games, the World Championships, and the WorldSkills in Japan and Croatia. In 1993, Kerrybecame the General Manager of the Canada Winter Games in Grande Prairie, AB, and in 1995, he continued as General Manager of the Canada Summer Games in Brandon, MB. Kerry attended two Olympic Games (Atlanta and Salt Lake City) and stayed at the International Olympic Committee hotel in Atlanta. While organizing the Canada Games, Kerry had the opportunity to work with many SPAD students and alumni. These students went on to work for the Olympic Games, Pan Am Games, Commonwealth Games, and more. Through his work, he met several notable people, including the Crown Prince of Japan, past Candian Prime Ministers and Governor Generals, International Olympic Committee Presidents, and International Ski Federation (FIS) Presidents. In 1997, Kerry was named President and CEO of the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU).

Kerry was a dedicated leader and worker. He successfully attained sponsorship for many of the events and programs he led, totaling more than $30 million over the course of his career. Kerry was also experienced in government relations, and maintained contact with the Ministers of Sport during his time. He sat in on two House of Commons Standing Committee meetings dealing with smoking and scholarships.

In 1999, Kerry was named President and CEO of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team. He remained in the role for three years. Kerry was named a top ten sport administrator in Canada by the Globe in Mail. He appeared on Off the Record (OTR), a Canadian sports talk show produced by TSN.

In 2002, Kerry was publicly fired from his role as President of the Canadian Alpine Ski team after the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. The media provided coverage on his firing before Kerry even knew that it happened. Kerry’s education and expertise prepared him for the media attention that would unfold. His degree proved useful when managing the media as his story made the front page all over Canada. Over fifty people contacted Kerry after hearing the news, including Jim Thompson, the President of TSN, Stacey Allester, President of the Women's Tennis Federation, and many more of his contacts from all over the world. Through those times, Kerry always had people in his corner who continued to root for him and support him.

After 15 years of close contact with Dr. Tom Thompson, then President of Olds College, AB, Dr. Thompson alerted Kerry of a job opportunity at the college. Kerry interviewed in front of a panel of ten and was successfully hired to the role. Kerry spent the following 15 years at Olds College, using his B.Com. to add value to his events and initiatives. Kerry oversaw special events and partnerships, student enrolment, tours, student services and housing, and the student Community Learning Centre in his time. Dr. Thompson remains a very important figure in Kerry’s life as a leader and mentor. “He believed in me when I was down”, says Kerry.

Kerry’s mentor, Dr. Tom Thompson, speaks very highly of Kerry. “I met Kerry at a Presentation that I gave in 1992 at Sport Canada in Ottawa. Following the presentation, Kerry came by to introduce himself. I left that presentation with a very high opinion of Kerry’s potential – one of those things that you tuck away for a later time. That other time came half a year later when we were looking for a General Manager for the 1995 Canada Games when I was President of the Host Organizing Committee. Kerry applied to the role, and after a long vetting process and a few months’ wait, Kerry was named an outstanding fit for the role”, says Dr. Thompson.

“Kerry is the kind of person that works exceptionally well on his own. His successes, particularly at the college, were a direct function of his drive and determination to provide the very best guest service that any of our partners could possibly imagine. Kerry coined a phrase, 20-wow, that became part of the lexicon of the college. Kerry would say that ‘Having people just say wow is never enough. They have to say it upwards of 20 times for the event to be successful.’” Kerry and Dr. Thompson are great friends who still keep in close contact today.

Kerry moved eight times, often coast to coast, during his 40-year career. With his family, he lived in Toronto ON, Ottawa ON, Grande Prairie AB, Brandon MB, and Calgary AB. His work also brought him around the globe – to places including the US, many European countries, Mexico, Japan, Australia, and the Caribbean. Kerry is thankful for the wonderful support he had from the Moynihan and Saint Denis families throughout his career. Kerry’s wife Helene is a two-time cancer survivor. During her battle, she underwent a stem cell transplant. After spending three months at the Foothills Medical Centre, Helene’s stem cell transplant was successful. Helene and Kerry are appreciative of the wonderful service they received at the Foothills Medical Centre and the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary. Kerry is especially thankful for Helene’s special support throughout the years.

Kerry credits his success to several mentors he had along the way - including Dr. Wanzel (Laurentian), Dr. Thompson (Olds College), Jim Yeates (Canada Ski Team), Dick Scott (Brandon Canada Games), and of course, his mother and father. “The Brandon Canada Games would not have gone on as smoothly without Kerry’s sage advice and guidance”, says Dick Scott of Kerry. “He enriched my life during the years we worked together and I became a much smarter person because of our relationship. If I had an opportunity to life my life over again I would not change one thing.” Kerry also met many other great friends and great people along the way. “My Laurentian degree made all this possible”, says Kerry. “It set me up for life, providing countless opportunities for travel, professional development, and more.

Today, Kerry is enjoying retirement in sunny Cochrane, AB in the heart of the west. Kerry’s daughter Caroline has a Masters degree in Library and Information Science and works in Lethbridge, AB. His other daughter Dana is a Pharmacist in Drayton Valley, AB. Kerry is a proud father and a spokesperson for pursuing postsecondary studies – he believes education is critical to a great life. Kerry lives with his wife Helene and their German shepherd, Derby. Kerry is extremely grateful to be able to see the Alberta mountains every day.

Kerry welcomes his friends in the Laurentian community to reach out and reconnect with him at kmoynihan@shaw.ca.