Vancouver Branch Chair, Gerry Stensgaard, presented Tom Read with his 2016 Vancouver Branch Award on Saturday, September 10th, at the Fort Worden Ball. At the same time, Rosemary Read was presented with the 2016 Seattle Branch Award by Seattle Branch Chair, Leslie Bourgoin.
Nomination of Tom Read for a Branch Award
“The proposed Branch Award would recognize Tom’s part in setting up and helping to run a university credit course in Scottish country dancing. The course was offered regularly from 1990 to 2013. The result was to create a large group of young, enthusiastic dancers, many of whom continue to dance as their lives have taken them to other cities.
Tom was a mathematics professor at the University of Western Washington. He knew that the University gave students Credits in activity courses towards graduation. In the Fall of 1990, his wife Rosemary, a qualified RSCDS teacher, taught the course “Beginning Scottish Country Dancing” which Tom initiated. Eventually three full sections ran each year.
Later, a group of students formed their own club at the university. One student wrote, “Rosemary and Tom always had the right mix of seriousness and fun to make Club nights something I looked forward to every week.” Marion Heath writes, “Rosemary and Tom would bring the WWU dancers to joint Ceilidhs with the Bellingham SCD Club. It was a joy to have 60 young people dancing with us.”
About a dozen attended the first Youth Weekend West in Vancouver in 2003. The group then organized the second YWW in 2004. Three more workshops were held in Bellingham, and Tom helped organize them all.
Several of the graduates remain active in dance groups in places as far afield as Ireland and South Korea. Tom and Rosemary also played a pivotal role in the Bellingham SCD Club, which they helped to found in 1984. Both served on the Board for many years and were made Life Members of the club in 2005. Tom originally danced regularly with the White Rock Club near Vancouver and has been a member of Vancouver Branch for many years.”