GRAND WALKS Episode 2: Hitting the Trails with Western President Alan Shepard

Lauren Rebelo, Alan Shepard, Daniel Bennett, and Meisha the golden retriever stand on the path


Hitting the Trails with Western President Alan Shepard

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Daniel and Western’s President Alan Shepard start at the iconic University College building on campus, then hit the trails with canine companion, Meisha in tow. Alan talks about his unexpected path ‘through the looking glass’ to the field of academia and his arrival in London from his roots in Minnesota. Daniel and Alan share their thoughts on the impact of the pandemic and whether the changes we have seen and experienced are, in fact, permanent. Alan reflects upon the question of how we can engage younger generations to in-person art and culture experiences in the face of a digital world and speaks passionately about the history of the University – its buildings, the campus, the experiences – that shape the Western experience and community. Not to be outdone, Meisha demonstrates the relaxing value of a full stretch out in the middle of an intersection (not recommended for our walkers), and makes sure that Daniel and Alan not only take in the sights of the Thames River trail, but also the scents! Keep your eyes peeled for the groundhogs …!

Walk the walk or listen from wherever you are in London, Ontario or across the world.

How to Walk the Walk:

  1.  Look at the map and learn your route. If you have a printer, download and print the map or simply follow the map from your device when you arrive at the starting position.
  2.  Download the podcast.
  3.  Travel to starting position located on map.
  4.  Press play and keep directions close by.
  5.  5. Take a selfie along the route and tag us on social media @thegrandlondon

A transcript of the conversation with accompanying photos is posted below for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities or for those who prefer to read.  Click here to jump straight to the transcript and photos of the walk.

Check back here on October 10 for Episode 3 with special guest Marie Williams, owner and chef – Reggae’s Caribbean Restaurant.

Did you miss Episode 1 with Emma Donoghue? Click here for A Walk Through Wortley with Emma Donoghue.

Alan Shepard's Route:
Western University


Start at the front door of University College on Western Campus (1151 Richmond Street)

Walk East on the pedestrian path from the front door of University College toward University Drive

Walk East along University Drive across the bridge

Turn right onto the Thames Valley Parkway (TVP) pedestrian/cycling path

Make first right to stay on TVP

Turn left to walk through the wooden fences onto the natural trail

Continue along trail near the water until the podcast is complete

Click map for a larger view

Download as PDF

About Alan Shepard

Dr. Alan Shepard is the 11th President & Vice-Chancellor of Western University. He arrived at Western in July 2019, after serving as President & Vice-Chancellor of Concordia University in Montreal. Prior to Concordia, Professor Shepard was Provost and Vice-President (Academic) of Ryerson University in Toronto. He has also held senior academic leadership roles at the University of Guelph, Texas Christian University, and the University of Virginia.

American-born, Alan was the first of his family to attend university when he enrolled in St. Olaf College in Minnesota. At the end of first year he realised academia was the life he wanted. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa as an undergraduate, he earned a PhD in English from the University of Virginia, and his scholarship has since been supported by the University of Toronto and the Folger Library in Washington. He is author or editor of three books and many articles focused on the culture of early modern England, early modern literature and science, modern theatre, the future of innovation, and the future of universities.

Beyond his university leadership role at Western, Alan is also actively involved in the community. He has served as a volunteer for organizations including Universities Canada and the Montreal Chamber of Commerce. Currently, Alan serves as a Vice-Chair on the Executive Committee of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, and as a member of the Board of Directors for the London Economic Development Corporation, and Stratford Festival of Canada.

Episode 2 Transcript

Hitting the Trails with Western President Alan Shepard   39:26


Please note that this episode was taped in August 2020 and public health protocols for that time period were strictly adhered to by all participants.
Recording cables are 8-10 feet in length and while the perspective of some photos may suggest otherwise, strict adherence to the protocols were followed by all participants.

Alan Shepard, Daniel Bennett, Lacie George

Photos by Whitney South

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