Bill Hillman's
EduTech Research Project

The 50th Anniversary of the
BU Department of Geography

1962 - 2012

..Brandon College 1960s
Into the 21st Century


Bill and Sue-On Hillman pose with some of the current Faculty Members

Dr. Johannes Koch | Christopher Malcolm | Daniel H. Olsen | Wenonah VanHeyst
50th Anniversary Cake

Geographers Through The Years
Dennis Anderson - 1962 Geography Student and former University President -
chats with visitors and staff gathered around the cake.
Shirley Slashinsky [L]- office assistant -
on the eve of retirement after 37 years of faithful service to the department.
Bill Hillman
Attending the cake-cutting celebration of Dept. of Geography's 50th Anniversary in the John Tyman Map Room during the Brandon University 2012 Homecoming brought back a flood of memories. I enrolled in Brandon College back in 1961. My first courses were in physics, chemistry and math, since these had been the required courses in high school. I found the college versions of these courses with their long lab periods to be far too specialized to hold my interest, however, so I looked forward to the geography courses offered in the 1962 year. 

Dr. John Tyman, a young prof from England spearheaded the formation of the new Geography Department. I eagerly attended his first class, but since it was scheduled for noon I soon ran into a conflict.  I was booked to play guitar on the daily Noon Show over at the CKX Television Studios. Professor Tyman made a special effort to accomodate me in this. . . allowing me to miss classes and to provide me with extra help in the course. This was the start of what soon developed into a deep respect for the man and a passion for geography which served me well for my next 40 years of teaching. 

Interestingly, a year later, while performing on the same TV broadcast, our show was interrupted with a news flash that US President Kennedy had been shot. We completed the show and then ran to the teletype room where we stayed for much of the afternoon watching the news reports come in over the wire. My partner on these TV shows was a fellow Brandon College student, Barry Forman. And for one of the seasons Larry Clark played drums for us. Larry later went on to teach courses at BU before making a career change to become a forest ranger. Both these friends played on a series of our later recording sessions in the '70s.

Geography of Manitoba: Its Land and Its PeopleI took many more geography courses and in 1971 I became the first geography-major student to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography along with a silver medal. I also earned my B. Ed. in 1971 - a pretty important year. John Tyman escorted me to U of M to set up a Masters Degree programme in Geography but family and career pressures got in the way and I had to put such plans on hold. Years later I returned BU to take many more geography courses as part of a pre-Masters, 4-Year Programme after which I went on to complete a B. Ed. in one year while still teaching high school full time at Strathclair Collegiate. Around that time I wrote a chapter for the university text book: The Geography of Manitoba edited by John Welsted, John Everitt and Christoph Stadel. After taking early retirement in 1997 I was drafted by the Faculty of Education to serve as a full-time Assistant Professor. I had come full cycle and was back where I began.

John Tyman served as BU Dean of Science in 1974 and 1975 after which he moved to Australia to become Head of the Division of Humanities at the Brisbane College of Advanced Education. The short bio on his Website makes for a very interesting read. He is now retired but still spends much time in the field.  We re-established contact about ten years ago and since that time John has shared thousands of amazing photos and videos which we have converted into a series of Webpages:  Cultures in Context. Over the years John has lived with and researched exotic cultures all over the world. The time he has spent with these peoples has resulted in photo journals on cultures in the Arctic, New Guinea, Kenya, and Nepal. This material has become a valuable resource for educators worldwide. 

Walkabout : The Inner Sanctum


Dr. John Langton Tyman
Dr. John Langton Tyman
Cultures in Context
Tyman Photo Journals: 
Photos ~ Videos ~ SFX ~ Notes


BU Photos by Bill Hillman

Photo processing, Web page layout, formatting, and complementary research by
William Hillman ~ Faculty of Education ~ Brandon University ~ Brandon, Manitoba ~ Canada