Memories of Wayne Boone

We lost Wayne Boone last week, so we will be posting some thoughts by NPSIA faculty about him over the course of the next few weeks.  Here is Valerie Percival’s:

I remember clearly the first time that I met Wayne. I entered the elevator in Dunton Tower, late for a commitment, and there he was – a tall and big man, strawberry blonde hair, friendly, and well, folksy. He was about to be interviewed for the position to lead Carleton’s Infrastructure Protection program. He went on to win that competition, and make an indelible mark on NPSIA and the university.

Over the next several years, our paths didn’t cross often, particularly after NPSIA moved to the new River Building. His program addressed subjects outside of my area of expertise, and I soon went on maternity leave, and then moved with my spouse for his three-year assignment in Mozambique.   So I did not know Wayne well. Nevertheless, I want to take this opportunity to honour Wayne’s memory by sharing what I do know: Wayne’s commitment to building the Masters in Infrastructure Protection and International Security (MIPIS) program, his dedication to teaching and his students, and his energy and enthusiasm for work and life.

When Wayne arrived at NPSIA to head the program, there were no students or courses – he built MIPIS from the ground up. This was no easy task. The program was collaborative, working together with the Faculty of Engineering. Teaching across disciplinary boundaries is not for the faint of heart. Ensuring that engineers, most of whom are unfamiliar with the basics of social science, understand the key principles of public policy and international security requires patience, flexibility and commitment. And Wayne obviously had what it took: MIPIS has since emerged as an example of innovative programming that responds to important challenges faced by organizations around the world. And a large measure of its success is due to Wayne’s focus on teaching and his students.

Soon after he was hired, Wayne asked to sit in on one of my classes. He wanted to observe the teaching methods and styles of other professors so he could be the best teacher possible. We discussed course outlines and evaluation tools, and the best method for integrating practical skills into Masters level courses. He was also an active presence at the Educational Development Centre, working to hone his abilities as an educator. And by all accounts, Wayne succeeded. Every student of Wayne’s that I met spoke highly of his ability to make courses interesting and fun, to take dry material (critical infrastructure protection might be a little dry) and make it come alive.

Wayne’s dedication to his students was exemplary. Another encounter with Wayne was at an Ottawa Red Cross meeting to discuss the report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on the protection of health workers during humanitarian crises. He was there to share his expertise on infrastructure protection. He brought two students with him, encouraged them to participate in the meeting, and didn’t flinch when they asked questions, which, well, made me flinch. He rightfully saw this meeting as a learning opportunity, a chance for students to immerse themselves in their chosen profession, and learn and grow. And his students benefited enormously.

But my fondest memories of Wayne are of his contributions to faculty meetings. He had what could only be described as a ‘can do’ attitude. He would respond to any obstacle or criticism with “roger that, but . . .” He reminded me of someone I would meet on the streets of my hometown. Or of the Canadian military officers I met when working overseas (which makes sense given that Wayne was a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces). He was dedicated, genuine and hard working – someone you could count on in a crunch and someone who would likely give you the shirt off his back.   While I didn’t know him well or long, it seemed to me that Wayne lived every moment to the fullest, enjoyed work and play with equal enthusiasm, and was committed to making a difference in the lives of others.

Wayne’s tragic and premature death reminds us of our precarious existence on this earth. Of the need to cherish every moment with loved ones. To be kind to one another. And to be honest and true to oneself. To live as he did. Wayne will be sorely missed by all the faculty, staff,  and students he touched at NPSIA. Rest in peace dear Wayne.


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