Family Values

Dale Ives's parents, Joan and Ken, inspired her to pay it forward.
Amazing’ is the word Dale Ives (LLB ’92) uses to describe her experience as a law student at Dalhousie, and she says that she doesn’t use that word lightly. “It is the only school I attended where I still keep in touch with some of my classmates.”

Dale was born in Moncton, N.B. but she grew up at various military bases across Canada. Her father was in the Navy and she refers to herself as a “military base brat.” The military lifestyle meant she  attended many different schools. After earning her undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa, Dale was offered close to a full scholarship to attend what was then Dalhousie Law School.

The strange thing is that Dale never really wanted to go to law school. “I was really thinking of continuing to study to become a psychologist when I finished my undergraduate degree, but my parents told me if someone wanted to pay what was pretty close to a full ride to go to Dal Law, I was a fool to turn them down. As usual, they were right.”

Dale is one of four children and her parents, Ken and Joan Ives, worked hard to make ends meet. “They both worked long hours at two and sometimes three jobs to make sure we didn’t have to work like they did. I look back today and can’t imagine how they did it. They just say, ‘You do what you have to do.’”

Dale-IvesThey both worked long hours at two and sometimes three jobs to make sure we didn’t have to work like they did. I look back today and can’t imagine how they did it. They just say, ‘You do what you have to do.'”

Although her parents didn’t finish high school, they had many talents. Her father retired after a 20-year career as a Master Warrant Officer in the Navy but also worked throughout his career part-time in construction and home renovations to support the family. After he retired from the military he worked in security at the British High Commission, ran his own business, and worked as a driver for a car dealership.

Dale’s mother was a stay-at-home mom when Dale and her three siblings were very young, but later joined the work force. Moving a lot meant her mother’s jobs were  based on what was available in the posting area. Over the years she worked as a cashier, secretary, bookkeeper, real estate agent, store manager, and library technician.

After Dale’s father’s “retired,” her mom also continued to work, initially in the insurance industry and then as a seamstress, while continuing to assist Dale’s father in doing home renovations.

As a tribute to her parents, Dale approached Dean Kim Brooks about establishing the Kenneth R. and M.A. Joan Ives Bursary Award —a fund to help first-year students  based on financial need and high academic standing. In honour of her father, she also wants to assist a student who has served in the regular or reserve forces— in particular the Navy. Dale has also left a bequest in her will and, when fully funded, the award will have the capacity to assist a student each year in the amount of over $5,500.

“I wanted to recognize my parents for what they had contributed to my education. When I finally was in a position to do so, there was only one school that I really considered — Dal Law. Part of that was because I had heard nothing but generally good things about the school since I graduated. Sure, there were critics, but the overwhelming view was Dal Law was still the place you wanted to send your kids. Everyone I spoke to, and I spoke to many people in Halifax and elsewhere, said the school was on the right track.”

Dean Brooks notes that Dale’s gift is truly unique: “I love Dale’s gift because it pays it forward and backward, so to speak. The bursary is a tribute to the contributions and sacrifices her parents made so that she could do something she discovered she loved. And it gives that gift to future students— including those who may not have been as fortunate.”

Like her parents, Dale works hard and takes on challenges. Today she practises in London, Ont. She is a Standing Agent for the Public Prosecution Services of Canada, doing drug and federal regulatory prosecutions in Southwest Ontario, and also has a private criminal defence trial and appeal practice. She was a full-time law professor from 2000 to 2008, worked full-time for the Public Prosecution Services of Canada in London for a year, and then decided she’d rather work for herself. As they say, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Dale’s spouse, Stephen Pitel (also LLB’92), supported her desire to create a bursary today that would her recognize her parents and, like Dale, he has left a bequest in his will that will provide support to the law school and its students in the future.





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