In April, the Acadia community was deeply saddened by the tragic death of alumna Constable Heidi (Burkholder) Stevenson (’93), a 23-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who was killed in the line of duty.
Originally from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Heidi earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biology at Acadia. She forged many lifelong friendships at Acadia and discovered during her time in Wolfville an interest in rugby, a sport she would later coach as part of her commitment to inspire young girls and give back to her community. While at Acadia, Heidi also worked part-time with Campus Safety and Security, and that’s where her interest in policing began.
Classmate Traci (Oldford) Crouse (’93, ’96) met Heidi while serving on the Safety and Security team. Speaking on behalf of a group of Heidi’s long-time friends, including Kelly Sullivan (’93, ’95), Rosina (Gale) Thompson (’91, ’94), Marlene (Sweeney) MacMurtry (’94, ’04), Sarah Keaveny-Vos (’92), Juliette Hunter (’94), and TD "Eddie" Edison (’93), Traci says, “our friendships began at Acadia, at a time in our lives when we were growing and changing. And when you do things right, which Heidi did, those friendships carry you through the rest of your life. Decades later, those same friendships are effortless, regardless of geography and the passage of time.”
There was no doubt that when Heidi graduated from Acadia she would become an RCMP officer. Over the next 23 years as an active member, she represented the RCMP as part of the Musical Ride, worked at headquarters as a Drug Recognition expert, and engaged in general duty, community policing, communications and training. She turned colleagues into friends and was a role model for many in the communities she served.
A wonderful wife to Dean and mother of two children, Connor and Ava, she gave her life in the service and protection of others. Deepest condolences on behalf of Acadia’s alumni community are extended to her husband, children, extended family and friends in the wake of this tragedy.
Heidi’s wonderful influence on her family, those close to her and members of the community who came to know and love her is immeasurable. She is a shining example of what is brightest and best at Acadia, and we salute her incredible commitment to service and selfless sacrifice.
To honour her sacrifice and commemorate her remarkable personal and professional achievements, Acadia University has established the Constable Heidi Stevenson Memorial Award:
Constable Heidi Stevenson Memorial Award. Established in 2020 in honour of Constable Heidi Stevenson (‘93), who gave her life in the line of duty on April 19, 2020. To be awarded annually to a student entering the final year of a degree program who has served at least one year as a member of Safety and Security and who is intending to pursue a career in law enforcement. To be awarded on the recommendation of the Director of Safety and Security. Value: up to $1,000.
“It is impossible to calculate the tremendous positive impact Heidi Stevenson had on her family, friends and the many community members with whom she connected during her 23-year career with the RCMP,” says University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Peter Ricketts. “Her passion for police work began at Acadia while she was a member of our Safety and Security team and it inspired in her a love for policing and respect for law and order that was evident throughout her brilliant career. The Acadia family is devastated by her sudden loss and I believe it is entirely appropriate and fitting to honour her memory and commemorate her sacrifice with the creation of this Memorial Award.”
If you would like to honour Heidi’s memory and make a donation in her name, please visit: giving.acadiau.ca/HeidiStevenson.
Written by Fred Sgambati ('83)