The UVic Torch · University of Victoria Alumni Magazine · Spring 1997

Notable Alums

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Geography Grad Reaches Peak

Geography grad Merry Wong is making a name for herself in the entertainment business in Hong Kong. Here she hosts a game show on local TV.

When Merry Wong (BSc '92) moved to Hong Kong she didn't forget her years as a geography student at UVic. The former Victoria resident adopted the last name Everest--like the mountain--when she took a job as a weather anchor on the TVB channel.

"It can be a problem if you are a foreigner in Hong Kong with a Chinese last name," says her sister Helena, also a UVic geography student. "People automatically assume you speak the language and know all there is to know about the Chinese culture. But with the last name Everest they are more forgiving. They know from your surname that you are foreign."

Wong was a big hit as a weather person and equally popular as host of several charity benefits, an educational program for kids and a game show. She has just completed a movie called 2am in which she plays a budding singer, as well as a drama series for TV called Detective Investigation Files and a show about Japanese culture.

Wong regrets that she won't be in Hong Kong during the historic takeover as she is scheduled to be in Los Angeles. She hopes to continue working in Hong Kong after the transfer of power.

Right now she's preparing for another movie role as a young Japanese car rally driver. "It's a lot of fun," she says. And that sentiment best describes her exciting, and busy, life.

Grads Dig Wadi Ramm

Dennine Dudley (left) and Barbara Reeves enjoy a moment in the sun during last summer's dig at Wadi Ram. The UVic grads will return again this summer to continue their ground-breaking work.

Photo of Dennine Dudley and Barbara Reeves at Wadi RamIn the century before Christ was born visitors came on camels, but now it's the tourists on buses who come to view the stunning scenery that formed the backdrop for films like Lawrence of Arabia who make regular stops at Barbara Reeves and Dennine Dudley's archeological dig in Wadi Ramm, Jordan. In July the UVic grads will spend their second summer at the dig as site supervisors.

Dudley (BA '88, MA '92) and Reeves (BSc Hon '88, BA '89, MA '96)completed their undergraduate and graduate degrees in Classics (now Greek and Roman Studies) and credit their ability to direct an excavation so early in their careers to the training and education they received through the department and, especially, faculty member Dr. John Oleson. It was while working on Oleson's excavation at Humeima in 1995 that they were first introduced to Wadi Ramm.

The site had been excavated in 1965 but left to languish after a flood in 1970 wiped out all records made of the excavation. A member of the Jordanian department of antiquities was so impressed by the women's combined knowledge of Nabataean culture and ancient bath-houses (the topic of their MA theses) that he suggested they submit a proposal to excavate the complex.

Their 20-page proposal was accepted and they raised $8,000 to finance the project. A $1,000 grant from the UVic Alumni Association, private donations and a grant from the Archeology Society of B.C. (Victoria chapter) sent them back to Jordan last summer.

Since returning home they've been busy fund-raising for their return field trip to extract more secrets from the sand shrouding Wadi Ramm.

Donations for the Wadi Ramm project can be sent to the UVic Development Office.


Suromitra Santani (BA French '85) has been appointed chair of the Coalition of B.C. Businesses, which represents more than 50,000 small and medium-sized businesses. Susan Cartwright (BA '79) has been appointed ambassador to the Republic of Hungary. Nicholas Etheridge (BA '65) has been appointed ambassador to the People's Republic of Bangladesh. Cheryl Coull (BA History '88) has published A Traveller's Guide to Aboriginal B.C. describing places in B.C. special to Aboriginal Peoples. The book, which took four years to research, is published by Beautiful B.C. Cathy McGregor (BEd '82) has been appointed B.C.'s environment minister. She was an MLA for only seven months when she entered the cabinet after the last shuffle in January.*

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