Giving Day challenge honours the memory of Calgary broadcaster and SAIT alumnus John Himpe
Every story John Himpe (Cinema, Television, Stage and Radio ’00) told during his 18-year broadcasting career had a catalyst — a moment or a character that changed everything. In January 2019 at age 38, Himpe suffered a catastrophic brain aneurysm that ended his life. But not his story, says his sister Kerri Kawchuk.
The John Himpe Memorial Award was created to carry on Himpe’s legacy and help future journalists do the work that was his passion — making him the catalyst for countless future stories.
It was Himpe’s curiosity and deep interest in other people that made him such an interesting person, says John Vos, director of talk and talent with Corus Radio Calgary. “John was always asking about things that you or I may have overlooked or wouldn’t give much time to.”
The result of Himpe’s efforts to dig deeper was powerful. His work often documented the best and worst moments of people’s lives, and sharing the subtleties of those stories — keeping people informed in a way that made a difference — was something he did throughout a career that ultimately led him to the role of executive producer of Global News Radio 770 CHQR in Calgary.
“John made an impact on so many and helped guide others in their journey with broadcasting,” says Kawchuk. “To help students in the future would be so rewarding to him and make his heart so happy.”
Building the endowment to fund the John Himpe Award in perpetuity is the motivation behind the SAIT Giving Day Corus Entertainment Challenge. For every dollar donated to student awards on Wednesday, Oct. 16, Corus Entertainment will donate one dollar, up to a total of $21,361, to the John Himpe Memorial Award.
The endowment will make it possible to award a second-year student in SAIT’s Radio, Television and Broadcast News program with a $1,000 scholarship every year.
“Giving students a boost that will help them succeed and not have to constantly worry about paying the bills — that’s the piece that I think John would embrace,” says Vos.
John also loved to travel to places where he could learn and tell a great story, says Kawchuk. It’s why she encourages recipients of the award to use the funds for travel and to experience new cultures.
Let the stories begin,” she says.
Story by Michelle Woodard