Volume 91, Issue 7

Tuesday, September 9, 1997

frosh 'n' tasty


For the love of Western

By Karena Walter
Gazette Staff

"Spirit at Western is still here."

Maureen Potton was talking about the large upbeat crowd of first-year students assembled on University College hill during orientation week's closing ceremonies. But comparisons with her own daughter's years at Western were understandable.

On Sunday afternoon, the first annual Anne Marie Potton Memorial Award was given to the group which displayed the most dedication and spirit during Shinerama. Maureen presented the award named after her daughter to Western's newest residence, Essex Hall.

As the 1992 Shinerama commissioner, Anne Marie helped push Western's total contribution for cystic fibrosis research over the $1 million mark.

It was in Oct. 1994 when the 24-year-old political science graduate and level-two ski instructor went missing in Whistler, British Columbia while on a hiking expedition.

Maureen says Anne Marie raved about Western and was always proud to put the school on her resume. "She made so many friends here at Western."

Those friends, armed with used Shinerama boxes in 1994, helped raise money to continue search and rescue efforts for Anne Marie in B.C. – her body was later discovered in the fall of 1995.

An award for dedication and spirit named after Anne Marie seems appropriate as she was involved in a multitude of projects. Rowing, choir singing and writing for the student newspaper were some of the interests she juggled with school and work.

Friends said she was very personable and committed to keeping in touch with them despite all of her other activities. "She had a real connection with people," remembers Sean Charlebois.

She took her role as Shinerama commissioner seriously. Her mother recalls that while Anne Marie was summer tree-planting in Northern Ontario, she used part of her wages to catch a flight back to Western so she could attend a Shinerama meeting. A letter from Mila Mulroney recognizing Anne Marie's achievements for cystic fibrosis is framed in the Potton family home.

This is not the first award named after Anne Marie. Her St. Catherines' high school now bestows an award to students who excel in sports and the arts.

The Potton family plans to return to Western every year to present the award. It means a lot to Maureen, who says she still enjoys it when Anne Marie's friends stop by her house to chat. "Something like this helps us move forward."

To Contact The News Department: gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997