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A farewell to Arden Henley

It was a packed house on Friday June 29, 2018 at CityU in Vancouver as family, friends and many members of the CityU Canada extended community came together to celebrate the contributions and career of Arden Henley, VP and Principal of Canadian Programs. A member of the CityU team for more then 20 years, Arden’s touch was celebrated far and wide, not only through the congratulatory speeches, but most poignantly through the informal tapestry of stories from colleagues and friends who came to honour him.

Chaired by Steve Conway, now Associate Provost, with acknowledgements given by Randy Frisch, President, City University of Seattle, and some very special words delivered by CityU’s poet laureate, Colin Sanders, Director of Vancouver Master of Counselling Programs, the evening kicked off after some light refreshments, snacks and socializing. Words of Arden’s work within the counselling and education communities were shared by many, painting not only a rich history of CityU and its roots in Canada, but of a man who knew how to build teams, community, and lead in a quiet way with determination. Arden was noted as being extremely articulate, able to convey complex ideas in simple ways while generating enthusiasm to cause change and progress. Open minded, helpful and diplomatic to the core, Arden was described as being able to harvest individual potential while earning fierce loyalty from all those he has touched. But perhaps Steve Conway’s simple observation that “Arden is a chance giver” summed much of his impact up best when reflecting on the communities he has touched, and the individuals he has encountered.

While CityU celebrated the leadership of Arden Henley, we also acknowledged with some sadness the departure of Gerry Zipursky, Director of Business Operations in Canada, and Director of Continuing Education. With some good humoured exchanges over the influence of prairie roots on a baritone voice, Gerry delivered this thanks to Arden, and then both Steve and Randy acknowledged Gerry’s contributions, noting he had been nominated for the Order of Canada recently by former BC Premier Ujjal Dosanjh and Telus CEO, Darren Entwistle.

Following further words of thanks from others in attendance, in person and by recorded video, and some heartfelt and entertaining words from Arden’s wife, Mary Kean, Arden took one last opportunity to address the room with some final words of wisdom. Always gently wrapped in story, he shared several thoughts and about how the spirit of community ran deep at CityU, and that it would continue on guided by the principals that were so firmly in place. Cautiously optimistic, he concluded his message about CityU Canada, “If you value this spirit, it will serve you well. If you cherish it, it will bring you back 100 fold success and joy. If you try to brand it and colonize it, it will go underground or elsewhere. And if you want to highlight commonalities and appreciate the differences, you have to have those commonalities and the differences.”

Thank you Arden for all you have done. The CityU Canada community wishes you well in retirement. But ever one to be restless in your bid to better our world, we know that you have even bigger contributions to be made out there. We wish you well!

Special thanks to the Vancouver office crew for organizing this special farewell for Arden.

We have shared below with permission, a few of the notable tributes to Arden from leaders in the field

From: David Epston, New Zealand. Co-creator of narrative therapy.
HI ARDEN AND EVERYONE WHO IS WITH YOU TODAY TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR RETIREMENT FROM YOUR ROLE AS HEAD OF CITYU. I RECALL- HOW MANY YEARS AGO WAS IT?- WHEN I LEARNED YOU HAD BEEN APPOINTED TO LEAD THE PROGRAMME AND HAVE FOLLOWED ‘IT’ EVER SINCE WITH INTEREST. WHY? BECAUSE I KNEW YOU WOULD INSCRIBE ON ‘IT’ YOUR OWN POLITICS, SOCIAL JUSTICE CONCERNS AND RADICAL IDEAS ABOUT PEDAGOGY. WHATEVER I HAVE COME TO KNOW ABOUT IT EITHER FROM COLIN OR YOUR STUDENTS HAS CONFIRMED HOW ALL OF THE ABOVE HAS BEEN IMPRESSED ON THIS PROGRAMME. IN A ‘WORLD’ THAT SEEMS SATISFIED WITH THE MANUALIZATION OF THE CRAFT AND ART OF WHAT WE DO, CITY U UNDER YOUR GUIDANCE HAS RESISTED THIS. ARDEN, I SINCERELY HOPE YOU WILL RETAIN AN INTEREST AND CONTINUE TO CONTRIBUTE TO CITYU IN WAYS ONLY YOU CAN DO. AND PERHAPS DO SO EVEN MORE WHOLEHEARTEDLY NOW YOU HAVE BEEN RELIEVED OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES OF DIRECTING SUCH A PROGRAMME. WHATEVER, I WISH YOU WELL, – WARM REGARDS, DAVID.

From: Scott D. Miller, Ph.D
Director, International Center for Clinical Excellence
“Open, honest, thoughtful, curious, always on the leading edge, connecting to the future while mindful and respectful of culture and tradition…these are the words that immediately come to mind when I think of my decades long friendship with Arden…as a field, we are fortunate to have benefited from his work, vision, and teaching for so long…”.

Additional photos from the evening can be downloaded HERE.