School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

"Helping University and College Students Succeed in Canada, The USA, and the UAE"

December, 2015
By Karl Hardy

Alumnist - Theron Craig

Theron Craig, BA/BPHE ‘70

When Theron Craig started his undergraduate degree at Queen’s University he never could have envisioned how foundational his experiences at Queen’s would be towards shaping a career that’s spanned decades and taken him all over the world. Theron believes Queen’s University’s strong international reputation proved invaluable as he transitioned from various positions in higher education student services. Moreover, he credits the academically challenging yet supportive community environment at Queen’s for instilling life lessons, and for empowering him with “confidence in [his] ability to learn and grow.”

Theron arrived at Queen’s in the late 1960’s as an undergraduate, and initially found his academic experience challenging. Not only did he find himself doing some academic “catching up,” he was also a member of the Golden Gaels football team, including the 1968 championship squad. Navigating the pressures of academics and athletics as a young person proved formative for Theron, and he points to his academic adviser, Dr. Jim Whitley, and Padre Laverty for their support of his pursuit of the bachelor of physical and health education degree. He is also grateful to the Gaels’ coaching and medical staff, including Frank Tindall, Hal MacCarney, and Bill Miklas, who were all pivotal to his growth and maturation.

He tried out with the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1968 and then again with the Edmonton Eskimos in 1969 and 1970, but following graduation Theron took a position as Area Recreation Director in Edmonton. It was a few years before he embarked on a new career path in higher education services that that’s taken him all over Canada to Honolulu, Hawaii, to the United Arab Emirates, and finally to Dallas, Texas. In his various job searches and interview processes, Theron’s Queen’s background was a regularly remarked upon and helped make Theron an attractive job candidate. During the course of his career, Theron also went on to complete multiple graduate degrees that facilitated his advancement.

“My Queen's University background was significant beyond my expectations,” Theron says. “Queen’s served me as a base from which I developed my skills and abilities, and helped me refine a personal philosophy of persistence and patience.” 

During the course of his career, Theron has directed student services at places like Okanagan College, the University of Calgary, and Trent University. He also coordinated a program in the Athletic Department at the University of Hawaii where he drew on his background as university athlete to offer a tutoring program for academically at risk athletes before eventually ascending to the position of Dean of Student Services at Honolulu Community College. He spent a year in the United Arab Emirates working in student services at Al Ain Men’s College. His last career move saw him take the position of VP of Student Affairs and Enrolment Management at Cedar Valley CC in the Dallas County Community College system.

Along the way Theron has been a volunteer with The United Way in Calgary, Honolulu and Santa Clara and served on their Agency Relations and Allocations committees. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Bureau of International Education, and the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services.

His love of travel and interest in learning about other cultures has led to now doing home exchanges around the world. He and his family have completed exchanges with families in France (twice), Denmark, Belgium, The UK, Scotland, The Czech Republic, and Canada, with upcoming exchanges scheduled for Australia, the USA, and France.  

Over the years Theron has had the opportunity to return to Kingston several times to renew friendships, and he’s come away impressed with the changes that have taken place at Queen’s. He also had the good fortune to reconnect some of his mentors.

“I met Professor Jim Whitley at a meeting at the University of Toronto where we were both representing our universities at a meeting of Student Affairs Leaders,” Theron relates. “I enjoyed chatting with Jim as a former student and as an old friend.”

“I feel very fortunate to have experienced 4 years at Queen's University and I think the bonds developed during my time there have served me well in my career and personal life. What more could I ask?”