Wednesday, November 3, 2010

40 after 40: Jerald Walliser


Like many young boys, Jerald Walliser wanted to be a professional athlete when he grew up. But as he got older, “reality” set in―in the form of eight knee operations over a span of 15 years―and many of his teachers persuaded him to pursue a career in teaching instead.

After graduating from high school, Jerald decided to attend Douglas College because it was “brand-spanking new” and promised a new style of post-secondary education. Jerald was one of the first students enrolled in the University Transfer Program, from 1970-1972. During the 1970/71 school year he was honoured as the College’s first Male Athlete of the Year.

After graduating with a BEd (Secondary) from UBC in 1975, Jerald spent the next 38 years working as a teacher, reporter/photographer and audio visual technician around BC. But Jerald also had another love: photography. In 1976 he had began turning his hobby into a money-making venture.
Jerald is presented with the Male Athlete of the Year Award by George Wootten, the first Principal of Douglas College


In 2008 Jerald retired from his day job in order to pursue photography full-time. These days he is sole proprietor of Jerald Walliser Photography, based in Coquitlam, where he specializes in weddings, sports, health care and portraits.

The road to success hasn’t always been easy. In 2000 Jerald suffered a stroke, which left him with a permanent blind spot. But he tackled the problem head on.

“I educated myself regarding the type of stroke I had and then went about developing a work around,” he says. “One of the problems I had to deal with was not being able to see the entire viewfinder image at once, and I had to learn to scan the entire viewfinder in order to see it all before pressing the shutter button.”

Jerald credits Douglas College for helping him get to where he is today.

“Planning, preparation and, ultimately, flexibility, are ‘tasks’ I learned while at Douglas, which helped me to become successful,” he says.

Successful indeed, if the testimonials on his website are any indication.

Jerald―these are spectacular. I’m speechless, enthuses one of his clients. Please know that I appreciate you on so many levels. Thank you for capturing the day for all to witness through your imagery.

40 after 40 is a series showcasing our amazing grads and employees in celebration of our 40th anniversary. Check back every Wednesday and Friday for another inspiring story. See more about our 40th on our Anniversary page.