From “Anonymous” to Apps, international leaders have always had a home at Huron
When Alfred Apps (Class of ’79) arrived at Huron, it was the first time the Woodstock-born student had ever been surrounded by people from all over the world. Even after all these years, Alfred explains that the immersion within the rich tapestry of Huron’s campus have stuck with him because, “Interacting with people of different backgrounds and cultures showed me how exciting the world could be, if you were actually willing to get out into it.”
At first glance - and especially once you become more familiar with his charismatic personality and colourful rhetorical style - you’d likely never guess Alfred initially arrived at Huron with the intention of going into the priesthood. However, after falling in love with the human-centric subjects that formed his Liberal Arts degree, he decided to put his critical thinking and creative writing skills towards a career in law.
Alfred’s drastic change of heart could be the making of a great comedy routine. But instead, Huron’s cultivation of his globally-minded approach to relationship building has helped him earn the title of one of “Canada’s leading lawyers.”
It wasn’t just the university’s distinct approach to education that helped position the Miller Thomson LLP Partner for significant success. Alfred’s experiences living in residence, acting as the O-Week Co-Chair and positions as HUCSC President and Vice-President at Western redefined the way he conceived of leadership and connected him with one of Canada’s most iconic influencers – Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
Alfred’s conversation with our former Prime Minister, which the Huron alumnus shares is still one of his favourite memories, led to his involvement in Trudeau’s campaign as a speech-writer. Not only did this help pay his way through law school, but the celebrated politician’s globally-focused perspective extended Apps’ recognition that, while at Huron, he didn’t just study the humanities: his own humanity was strengthened.
He hopes other young Canadians will engage with the opportunity to enrich their minds through the critical study of our planet – and its complex issues – so they have the ability and desire to positively influence it.
“I believe in a Canada that can become a beacon to the world and show people how we turn diversity (and the understanding of it) into a strength. In a world that is constantly struggling with strife and the attainment of fairness and peace, Huron demonstrates those fundamental human values that, at its heart, Canada is all about.”
One of the ways Alfred is helping foster his vision for Huron’s future Leaders with Heart is through his support of the Apps House transformation. Thanks to Alfred’s donation, the property, which was originally purchased in 1963 by an anonymous donor, is now a space where international students receive support from our Coordinator of International Student Engagement, study, celebrate and engage with the broader university community.
Huron red has run in the Apps family since before Alfred was born
The Apps’ Huron legacy began long before Alfred’s first year and we’re very excited to say it’s continuing long after his graduation. Not only did his mom develop a close relationship through her work with the Diocese, but two of Alfred’s siblings and his brother-in-law also donned the Huron red. This happy trend will continue when, as of this fall, his daughter, Aubrey Rose, has now also been warmly welcomed into our Huron family. On October 19, we look forward to celebrating her arrival and the significant contributions of the Apps’ family, more broadly, during a celebratory ribbon cutting at Homecoming.
Like Alfred, we’re hopeful the newly renovated Apps House will set the stage for many meaningful moments for students who are pursuing their unique purpose within our close-knit community. With the continued support of our vibrant international alumni network, we’re confident his vision will be realized.
“As a small-town boy, Huron lifted me up to a life of much broader human experience and helped me create a network of extraordinary friends and relationships,” he shares. “It transformed how I communicate and understand the world, and my hope is that every student gets to be a part of those types of transformative experiences.”