Rich Vander Wal, a Therapeutic Recreation graduate from the class of 2000, will be an alumni ambassador at SAC’s third annual Leadership Conference – Waves of Change: Oceans of Opportunity, on March 15. Rich will be part of a panel that will teach students about life after college.
As founder of Neurocore Physiotherapy and Pilates Centre, Rich assists others with life skills training, advanced wheelchair skills and recreation therapy. He also works as a consultant/educator for Motion Specialties, specializing in training and sales for adapted sports equipment. Having experienced a traumatic spinal cord injury in 1992 that resulted in complete T4 paraplegia, Rich brings a wealth of personal life experiences to individuals living with a neurological condition and the challenges that may accompany this life change. His mission is to create awareness and education to assist others in their transition back to a life with an adequate level of quality and involvement.
Rich is no stranger to Georgian College. Therapeutic Recreation Program Co-ordinator Joan Morgan says he is just a phone call away, always eager to give back, and does so as a regular guest speaker in the classroom.
“I am honoured to give back and return to my roots, which is also my way of saying thank you for the cheaper car insurance rates I receive as an alumnus,” Rich jokingly says.
Rick also gives back in his role as ambassador for the Rick Hansen Foundation, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, ParaSport Ontario and the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association, demonstrating his passion for the power of sport. He is an accomplished athlete himself in para-alpine, tennis, speed and endurance races, hand-cycling, kayaking, scuba diving and off-road handbiking.
It is an honour for Georgian College to have alumni like Rich who stay connected to the college in various and meaningful ways. Please join us in welcoming Rich on March 15 if you see him at the Barrie Campus.
Do you know Georgian alumni who have achieved career success and made notable contributions to our community? If so, we would love to hear about them! Email the Alumni office or call ext. 1213.