Shirley L. Bampton-Steeves – Alumni Success Story

March 21, 2024

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Shirley L. Bampton-Steeves – Alumni Success Story

Throughout the year, we feature Crandall alumni by sharing their stories. Alumni Success Stories usually check in with an alum who’s been away from Crandall for a while. These stories highlight some major milestones in the lives of alumni after leaving Crandall and give space for them to talk about how their time at Crandall influenced their lives during and after their studies.

Today’s Alumni Success Story features Shirley L. Bampton-Steeves.

Shirley L. Bampton-Steeves

UBBTS, Class of ’64

I graduated from UBBTS in 1964, having completed the 4-year program in 3 years. At age 16, I was too young to be accepted into Teachers College, so I studied music at Mount Allison University until I had to go to work to support my mother and brothers.

Over the years, I worked in junior positions in financial fields and received the designation of Associate Member of the Trust Companies Institute of Canada. I then worked in various federal government departments, taking sponsored training and rising to the position of Transport Canada’s Atlantic Regional Manager, Employment Equity in 1979. This involved developing policies and programs designed to assist women and minority groups. I was also the first woman member of the regional management committee. When the Deputy Minister of Transport Canada announced a national Affirmative Action Task Force, I was called to Ottawa to perform a yearlong national employment systems analysis to determine if compliance was met or needed with the AA policies. This required travel across Canada to study all the regional offices’ records.  I remember the first year I made 83 trips.

Following the completion of the AA study, I stayed in Ottawa for 14 years in positions such as National Chief, Employment Equity/Affirmative Action; National Chief, Official Languages, the first anglophone to hold the position; and Senior Instructor, Women’s Studies. My last position in Ottawa was Director General, Corporate Secretariat which included executive assistance and office/staff management to the Minister and Deputy Minister, Management Training Director, Financial Planning & Management, functional departmental management of administration and corporate correspondence, and Transport Canada Corporate Secretary.

Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, I completed the Transport Canada Executive Program at a Masters of Business Administration level, specializing in transportation modes, systems, and national and international economic implications.

Over the years during my career with Transport Canada, I developed and presented courses on management disciplines, life skills and career planning for women and minority groups, management training, and ministerial political staff training.

In 1996, I returned to Moncton due to the terminal illness of my husband (David Wight). I assumed the duties of the Atlantic Regional Director of Transition Implementation which included the transfer of Transport operations to private authorities (air traffic control, airport operations, port authorities, etc.), and retired 1997.

In 1998, I remarried having re-met someone with whom I had grown up in Sunny Brae.  Wayne Steeves had joined the military when I was 13 and he 18.  He had nearly 30 years’ service with postings twice to Germany, three times to Gagetown, and to Ottawa, Brandon and Edmonton, and 12 years with the Corps of Commissionaires. We have been married for more than 25 years now, which has given me three stepchildren and grandchildren.  Our brothers used to say that they brought us together but we say that it was definitely the Lord’s intervention.

Since 2004, I have been teaching music and French as a second language under my company Musically Speaking Learning systems. I am Past President (2013) of Alliance Francaise de Moncton, a French language school and cultural centre.

In 2019 at age 71, I completed and received Crandall’s Master of Organizational Management Degree.

I attend Gunningsville Baptist Church, where I am a Worship Leader and Musician, as well as the Treasurer/Accountant and a Church Trustee. We also have a large licensed Early Learning Centre.

Crandall helped prepare me for my future in that it provided life-long friendships with Christian people, musical training, and life direction as well as a firm foundation for a relationship with Jesus Christ. The UBBTS Choir Tours and Gospel Teams were all blessings as well as teaching moments in my life. I sang with various groups and choir as well as being a chapel organist and pianist. I loved the practices and special musicals we presented. I treasure the long-playing records we produced and I like to look at them often to remember the great friends from then and the wonderful memories that it all brings back.

Late President Dr. Ralph Richardson was a classmate, later my Pastor, married my first husband and me, and officiated at his funeral. I spent a year with Ralph in 1997-98 at ABU developing Personnel and Human Resource Management policies and assisting in correspondence automation.

My mother had me playing the Sunday morning prelude at Sunny Brae Baptist Church when I was 9 years old. I started teaching music to the neighbourhood children when I was 12 and I guess I never really stopped. I have been Church Organist and Choir Director at Lewisville Baptist Church, Highfield Baptist Church, and Gunningsville Baptist Church.

I attend as many functions at Crandall as I can, since it is still special to me. I am proud to be among the alumni and included as one of the founding sponsors of the 1964 Scholarship Program. Over the past few years, for the 60’s Reunion, I assist Carol Thorne in the preparations. I organize a music program and “draft” various attendees to present the music – solos, trios, quartets and group selections. While I was in Ottawa during the ‘90s, I did manage to fly home for the reunions and kept in touch with as many classmates as I could.

Today I still have close relationships with some of my “old” classmates. Interesting story: my first few days at UBBTS I met a girl named Shirley (Tremble MacLean). It turned out that her mother and my mother were friends when they were young but had lost contact. Shirley’s older brother was named Wayne, mine was named Jon Wayne, we were both named Shirley and the ages of the rest of our siblings corresponded. We call ourselves “Shirley Squared” and have been close for over 63 years.

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