Alumni Awards

Alumni Awards Night – Celebration Videos

See what makes us so proud to count these four amazing award winners among our Alumni.

Ralph Haas, ’61 BSc(CivEng), ’63 MSc

Prince of Pavement – A pioneer shaping the roads we drive on

Dan Hays, ’62 BA

From Pastures to Politics – Parliamentarian, diplomat, rancher and proud Albertan

Kevin Jenkins, ’80 LLB

Putting Hope on the Horizon – Leading one of the world’s largest relief organizations

Eileen Mercier, ’69 MA

The $140 Billion Woman – From studying Old Norse to pre-eminent corporate director

Alumni are one of the greatest assets of the University of Alberta. Their many diverse contributions to the community uphold the University’s tradition of excellence and promise of “uplifting the whole people.” The University of Alberta Alumni Awards recognize these acts and celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni in seven categories.

Distinguished Alumni Awards

The Alumni Association's most prestigious award, recognizing living graduates whose outstanding achievements have earned them national or international prominence.


Ralph Haas

Ralph Haas, ’61 BSc(CivEng), ’63 MSc

For his role in developing and implementing systems, concepts and technologies for managing networks of paved roads, Ralph Haas is known as the “father of pavement management.”

During a lifetime of teaching and research, Ralph Haas has authored or co-authored the leading books on pavement and infrastructure management, as well as 400 technical publications in the field. His pioneering concepts and technologies have been implemented around the world, advancing the state of knowledge and practice in pavement management while realizing major cost savings for governments and society.

A distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo, where he served two terms as chair of the department of civil engineering, Haas has had a lifelong commitment to excellence in teaching. An extraordinary mentor, he goes to great lengths to encourage his students and colleagues to realize their potential and maximize their contributions to society and their professions.

The recipient of some of the top honours in his profession, Haas is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Engineering Institute of Canada and the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is the only academic to have been named an honorary life member of the Transportation Association of Canada. In 2008, he was named a member of the Order of Canada.

Dan Hays

Dan Hays, ’62 BA

A lawyer, parliamentarian, diplomat, rancher and proud Albertan, Dan Hays has made outstanding contributions to Canada and the world.

Appointed to the Senate of Canada in 1984, Dan Hays served as the Speaker of the Senate from 2001 until 2006, the first Albertan to hold that office. As a senator, he took part in some of the iconic public policy debates in Canada’s modern history, including those over the goods and services tax and free trade. His Senate committee work influenced policy related to agriculture, forestry, energy and the environment.

Hays has been associated with the same Calgary law firm for almost 50 years. Named chairman of that firm, MacLeod Dixon, in 2007, he later oversaw its merger with the global firm Norton Rose. As honorary chair of the Calgary Stampede Foundation, he continues his family tradition of hosting the Hays Breakfast during the Stampede.

An active supporter of French culture in Canada, Hays was made an officer of France’s Legion of Honour in 2011. In 2000, his efforts to promote Canada-Japan relations were recognized when he received the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor of Japan — only the second Canadian to be so honoured.

Kevin Jenkins

Kevin Jenkins, ’80 LLB

As the head of one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, Kevin Jenkins is making a positive impact on the lives of millions of children.

In 2009, Kevin Jenkins left a comfortable career in private business to devote his energy and leadership to community service as president and CEO of the not-for-profit organization World Vision International. After practising law briefly, Jenkins became interested in business and went on to a career that included senior management positions with Canadian Airlines International, Westaim Corp. and TriWest Capital Partners. At Canadian Airlines, he successfully led the company’s reorganization, one of the largest — if not the largest — consensual financial restructurings in Canadian history.

In his position with World Vision, Jenkins leads one of the largest humanitarian NGOs in the world. Dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice, World Vision operates in 96 countries and has an annual operating budget of nearly $3 billion. Jenkins represents World Vision on the international stage, at the United Nations, at the World Bank and with government leaders around the world. His success with World Vision follows a long history of community service motivated by his Christian faith and enabled by the continued support of his family.

Eileen Mercier

Eileen Mercier, ’69 MA

A pioneer in the Canadian corporate world, Eileen Mercier was one of the first women in the country to build a career in corporate governance.

With a career in finance and corporate leadership spanning 40 years, Eileen Mercier has management experience in the financial services, forest products, energy and communications industries. She was chief financial officer of Abitibi-Price Inc. and also held senior positions at Canwest Capital Group, the TD Bank and Gulf Canada Resources Ltd.

After having operated her own management consulting firm, Mercier decided to devote herself full time to serving on corporate boards — one of the first women in Canada to build such a career. She has served on the boards of more than 25 organizations in Canada and the United States, ranging from small companies to global conglomerates. As chair of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan board, she has provided leadership to an organization with more than $140 billion in net assets.

Recognized in 2011 as one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence, Mercier has been honoured for providing insight and leadership to many causes, including Schulich School of Business and Toronto’s University Health Network. She is a fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors of Canada and the Institute of Canadian Bankers.

Alumni Honour Award

Recognizing the significant contributions made over a number of years by University of Alberta alumni in their local communities and beyond.


Karima Bapoo-Mohamed

Karima Bapoo-Mohamed ’86 Dip(DentHyg), ’11 MBA, is a dedicated advocate of global oral health who has focused her efforts over the last two decades on advancing dental hygiene training worldwide. She has motivated culturally diverse teams to achieve higher standards of excellence in North America, Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe, including Russia. She is a clinical associate professor in the dental hygiene program at the University of Alberta and the recipient of the School of Dentistry’s inaugural 2013 Gibb Clinical Teaching Award. Through her association with the Vassos Clinic in Edmonton, she has published papers on her clinical research and new protocols for implant hygiene. Her recent MBA project focused on oral health training in Kenya and has resulted in new program opportunities in Southeast Asia. She is a certified instructor with the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI) and a frequent speaker at the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID).

W. Alan Bell

William Alan Bell, ’53 BA, ’55 BEd, ’67 MEd, exemplifies what it is to have a big heart. A retired teacher, his contributions go far beyond the classroom. As a member of the International Shrine Clown Association, he has brought joy to children and their families for many years as Ding Dong the Clown, receiving the Shriners’ Red Nose Award four times. He has contributed to many other community service organizations, including Scouts Canada, which awarded him the Medal of Merit in 1988. He is a fellow and former national president of the Canadian College of Teachers. Other honours include the Samuel A. Dickson Award from the Fort Edmonton Park Foundation and Kappan of the Year from Phi Delta Kappa. While a teacher at Alex Taylor School, he opened his home to a young Vietnamese refugee, becoming his guardian and later taking in his brother. He and his wife also help many post-secondary students through two awards they have established. 

Duncan Campbell

Duncan Campbell, ’82 BA (RecAdmin), is known as the “Quadfather” for co-inventing wheelchair rugby, developing it into a Paralympic sport and inspiring countless athletes. He became quadriplegic as a teenager after a diving accident. In 1976, he and four friends created a game tossing a volleyball around and crashing their wheelchairs into one another, which evolved into wheelchair rugby. Largely through Campbell’s efforts, it became a national sport for quadriplegic athletes, and its popularity began to grow worldwide. In 2000, the sport — the only full-contact wheelchair sport — achieved full medal status at the Paralympic Games. Campbell remains a driving force in the national and international wheelchair rugby communities. He is national development director for Wheelchair Rugby Canada and national director of the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association’s Bridging the Gap program, which has introduced thousands of people to wheelchair sport. In 2013, he was awarded the Paralympic Order, the Paralympic movement’s highest honour.

Murray Campbell

Murray Campbell, ’79 BSc (Hons), ’81 MSc, has earned a prominent place in the history of artificial intelligence by achieving one of the most significant milestones to date. He was one of the three scientists who created Deep Blue, the IBM computer that beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. The success brought international recognition and the $100,000 Fredkin Prize, established to recognize the first computer to beat a world chess champ. In 1998, the Deep Blue Project was named an IBM Research Extraordinary Accomplishment — at the time, one of only 13 such projects in IBM’s history. He is now a senior manager in the cognitive computing group at IBM Research. His work includes a system to use real-time medical data for early detection of epidemics and leading a team on the use of analytics approaches to create a smarter workforce. In 2012, Campbell was named a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

George Cuff

George Cuff, ’74 BA(RecAdm)is a sought-after consultant, advisor and teacher of local government, governance and effective management. A four-term mayor of Spruce Grove, Alta., he has spoken to countless municipalities about effective local government and provided sage counsel to more than 500 organizations, largely in the public sector. He has worked in every Canadian province and territory and with all three levels of government. He has also taught local government principles to mayors in southeast China and was keynote speaker at a gathering of mayors of Southeast Asia. A past president of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, he has authored two "how-to" books on local government and three books in a series entitled "Off the Cuff," the first of which — Cuff’s Guide to Municipal Leaders — has received considerable acclaim across Canada. Cuff is a strong believer in helping others: among other projects, he and his wife help support a children’s camp in northwest Romania.

David L. Emerson

David L. Emerson, ’68 BA, ’70 MA, has rendered outstanding service to Canada as a leader in government, business and public service. First elected to Parliament in 2004, he served as minister of industry in the Liberal government. He brought a wealth of experience to that position, having been deputy minister of finance in British Columbia, chair and CEO of Canadian Western Bank and Canfor Corp. and head of the Vancouver Airport Authority. After being re-elected in 2006, Emerson joined the Conservative government, serving as minister of international trade and briefly as foreign affairs minister. In 2008, he chose not to stand for re-election and joined CAI Managers, where he is now senior advisor. His service to Canada continues: he has led a number of government advisory committees, including the Premier’s Council for Economic Strategy in Alberta and the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service.

Curtis Gillespie

Curtis Gillespie, ’85 BA(Spec), has been a champion of cultural and literary life. A former writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, he has written five books as well as more than 100 magazine articles on the arts, politics, society, travel and sports, earning a record-tying four National Magazine Awards in 2014 and a total of seven over his career. In co-operation with the Canadian Literature Centre at the U of A, Gillespie co-founded and edits the magazine Eighteen Bridges, created in 2010 as an outlet for Canada’s narrative journalists. The magazine has won eight National Magazine Awards. Committed to bettering his community, Gillespie was co-founder and inaugural board chair of Edmonton’s Nina Haggarty Centre, an arts school for persons with development disabilities. He served as board chair of Litfest, an Edmonton nonfiction festival, from 2008 to 2013 and now sits on the boards of the National Magazine Awards Foundation and the Canadian Literature Centre. 

Dorothy J. Harris

Dorothy J. Harris, ’46 BA, has had a lifelong mission to promote dance and dancing for all people, regardless of training and background. While pursuing her master’s degree in Wisconsin, she encountered the Orchesis approach to dance. It became her dance model for life. In 1963, when she became a phys-ed instructor at the University of Alberta, she formed an Orchesis group to attract students to the world of dance; Orchesis remains a a creative force today. Harris helped develop Dance Alberta (now Alberta Dance Alliance), Dance in Canada and Dance and the Child International (DACI). She led the charge that saw dance become part of the professional core of physical education and recreation teaching. She exposed students and the public to dance by arranging a wide variety of dance experiences. Since retiring as a professor in 1990, she has continued to develop movement resources for children and adults in schools and universities. She was honoured with the Alberta Centennial Award in 2005.

Kenneth Kasha

Kenneth J. Kasha, ’57 BSc(Ag), ’58 MSc, is a highly respected plant geneticist who revolutionized the way plant breeders throughout the world develop improved cultivars of cereal crops. In 1970, he published an article in the journal Nature outlining his breakthrough, based on the hybridization of cultivated barley species with a wild relative to produce large numbers of homozygous barley plants. This “doubled haploid” research inaugurated a new era in plant breeding, greatly simplifying the selection of plant lines with desired traits. Later he would perfect an even more efficient technology for generating double haploids in cereals using immature pollen. An emeritus professor at the University of Guelph, Kasha has received worldwide recognition for his contributions to world food production. In 1983, he won the Ernest C. Manning Principal Award for innovation by a Canadian. He has also received an honorary degree from the University of Calgary and was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1993.

Thomas Alexander McPherson

Thomas Alexander McPherson, ’62 MD, has excelled as a builder and mentor in Alberta’s health-care sector, a leader and policy-maker in Canadian medicine and a pioneer in Alberta’s biotechnology industry. Appointed as an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Alberta in 1969, he progressed quickly through the academic ranks, serving as a full professor of medicine until 1994. As director of medicine and medical oncology at the Cross Cancer Institute from 1972 until 1985, he helped establish the institute’s academic programs. After serving as president of the Alberta Medical Association in 1982-83 and president of the Canadian Medical Association in 1984-85, he became deputy minister of health for Alberta in 1985. He was later named deputy commissioner and executive director of the Premier’s Commission on Future Health Care for Albertans, which presented its “Rainbow Report” in 1990. Entering the private sector in 1991, McPherson led the biotechnology firm Biomira Inc. until his retirement in 2006.

Fawzy Helmy Morcos

Fawzy Helmy Morcos, ’85 MEd has had an exceptional career in health care, often leading the way in women’s health issues and improving care practices. He received his medical degree in Egypt and his specialty training in the U.K. before coming to Canada in 1969 to teach obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Alberta. The former chief of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital, he played an important role in changing practices related to childbirth in Alberta, advocating to allow fathers in the delivery room, promoting prenatal classes and enhancing the mother-child bond by keeping them together in the hospital. He helped midwifery gain recognition and opened the first menopause clinic in Alberta in 1993. Morcos has had a thirst for knowledge throughout his career. A longtime fascination with the relationship between the psyche and the physical body led him to pursue master’s studies in educational psychology at the U of A, focusing on maternal anxiety.

Norman F.W. Picard

Norman F. W. Picard, ’74 BA, ’75 LLB, is a partner in the Edmonton law firm Barr Picard and has practised family law for more than 30 years. He has been a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta and has written and edited for many legal publications. As a leader in the governance of the profession in Canada, he has served on the national Ethics and Professional Responsibility  Committee of the Canadian Bar Association and as a bencher of the Law Society of Alberta. He has helped promote awareness of First Nations, Métis and Inuit culture and history through school programs. For more than 30 years, he has co-ordinated music and entertainment for law community gatherings and has been a dedicated board and cast member with Players De Novo, a group of lawyers and judges that raises funds for local theatre. In 2014, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association, Alberta Branch.

Robert Ritter

Robert Ritter, ’71 BSc, ’73 Dip(Ed), ’85 MEd, ’96 PhD, has been committed to excellence in science education for more that 35 years. Now the director of the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta, he was an outstanding teacher, principal and senior administrator with the Edmonton Catholic School District for many years. Recognized by the Alberta Teachers’ Association Science Council as the 1990 Outstanding Science Teacher award, he is the author or co-author of numerous science textbooks, scholarly articles and educational resources. In his U of A position, he has worked to significantly improve strategies for science teaching and learning. Projects include the development of resources for teaching nanotechnology and leveraging the motivational aspects of video games to engage 21st-century learners. Internationally, Ritter works with educators in Norway to organize energy-focused summer camps, and he has contributed to a UNESCO project developing teacher resources.

G. R. (Gus) Rozycki

G. R. (Gus) Rozycki, ’81 PhD, recognizes that being aware of an issue and doing something about it are not the same thing. Born in a refugee camp in Germany, he spent his entire childhood in the camp before his family came to Canada. In his new country, he embraced the opportunity to learn, earning three degrees in Saskatchewan before bringing his wife and young children to Alberta for his doctoral studies. In 1982, he was a founding member of the Strathcona Shelter Society, a safe haven for victims of family violence. Five years later, responding to the need for a treatment centre for children weighed down by emotional, developmental and mental health issues, he left a job with the Alberta Teachers’ Association. He and his wife used their home as collateral to found Bosco Homes. Through Rozycki’s leadership as founding executive director, Bosco Homes became a multi-tiered family of organizations providing services to children in Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

Lori Shortreed

Lori Shortreed, ’85 BA(Spec), has used her background in cultural anthropology to support intercultural relationships and access to justice in minority, immigrant and refugee, rural and disability communities. Choosing always to work for passion above material gain, she has worked for agencies such as Edmonton’s Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative Ltd., Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters and the George Spady Society. As first executive director of the Edmonton Community Legal Centre, she ensured program relevance and financial stability, recruited volunteer lawyers to provide pro bono legal services and forged partnerships in the community and government. Shortreed has volunteered internationally with the United Nations, CUSO International, the Carter Center and other agencies to support democratic governance and minority rights. In her work with the Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative, she developed intercultural education workshops for university and college students and implemented a diversity management strategy to support inclusive workplaces. Shortreed was appointed recently to the Premier’s Council on Disabilities.

B. A. R. (Quincy) Smith

B.A.R. (Quincy) Smith, ’66 LLB, regarded as one of Canada’s top insolvency lawyers, was named a Fellow of the Insolvency Institute of Canada in 1995. A former president of the Calgary Bar Association and a past bencher of the Law Society of Alberta, he is retired from the active practice of law, serving as senior counsel in the Calgary Office of Dentons Canada LLP. Beyond his impressive legal career, Smith is respected for his contributions to the community. He is an honorary life director of the Calgary Stampede, was co-chair of the 2005 United Way Campaign and a member of non-profit boards including the Glenbow-Alberta Institute, the Calgary Airport Authority and Calgary Economic Development. Smith also assisted in the transformation of Travel Alberta to a marketing organization outside the government structure. As its board chair, he ensured the reconstituted organization had sound governance, guided its strategic planning and led the recruitment of the first CEO.

Sock Miang Teo-Koh

Sock Miang Teo-Koh, ’83 BPE, ’86 MSc, has dedicated her career and much of her extensive volunteer effort to helping people with intellectual and physical disabilities. An associate professor of physical education at the National Institute of Education in Singapore, she is a specialist consultant for movement programs for children, including adapted education programs for individuals with disabilities. Since 1987, she has been active in Special Olympics Singapore and is now its president. She chairs the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Leadership Council and serves as a Council Member for Sport Singapore and as a steering committee member for the 2015 ASEAN Para Games. She was an elected member of the Singapore National Olympic Council and principal of the Singapore Olympic Academy. The president of Singapore conferred upon her the Public Service Star (2013), the Long Service Medal (2013) and the Public Service Medal (2008). She was instrumental in creating the Singapore branch of the Alumni Association in 1990.

Olive Yonge

Olive Yonge ’74 BScN, ’78 MEd, ’89 PhD has asked through out her career, “Why not?” When she was a new assistant professor at the University of Alberta, she created a mandatory course for third-year students in which they were taught by practitioners directly in the clinical area. Soon students were placed all over the world, from Ireland to Australia. Based on this initiative, she obtained a number of Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grants, published extensively and is consulted nationally and internationally. She has also obtained a number of teaching awards, including a 3M Fellowship. Yonge has served as vice-provost (academic programs) at the U of A and is currently deputy provost. Her skills are in developing teams, working through conflicts and sparking new initiatives. She believes in volunteering in the community. Her most memorable volunteer experiences were as a Girl Guides leader in the inner city and bringing nursing students to the inner city.


Alumni Award of Excellence

Celebrating specific outstanding accomplishments by alumni in the past 12 months that garner national and/or international attention


Kieran T. Block

Kieran T. Block, ’10 BEd, has relied on perseverance and a positive attitude to meet his challenges. In 2007, a misjudged jump shattered not only his legs but also his dream of playing professional hockey. He had won a major junior championship with the Medicine Hat Tigers and played hockey with the University of Alberta Golden Bears before the accident. Faced with an uncertain future, he persevered, undertaking years of intensive physiotherapy while continuing his studies. He graduated from the U of A in 2010. That same year he discovered sledge hockey — a version of hockey played on special sleds. In 2012, he returned to high-level competition with Canada’s national sledge hockey team, which won bronze at the world championships. In 2013, his team brought home world championship gold. Block, a substitute teacher, shares with his students the importance of perseverance and setting goals. He is part of Canada’s ESTEEM Team athletes role model program.

Shannon O

Shannon O’Byrne, ’84 MA, ’85 LLB, ’91 LLM, a professor of law at the University of Alberta, is both an award-winning teacher and an authoritative legal scholar. Passionate about her students’ education, she is a recipient of the Tevie H. Miller Teaching Excellence Award as well as the university’s highest teaching honour, the Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Her published scholarship has been recognized and cited by numerous courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada. She has been invited to present her research to the prestigious National Judicial Institute, thereby helping to keep the Canadian judiciary abreast of legal developments. She has presented papers at conferences as distant as Japan and Ireland. O’Byrne is co-author of the leading business law text, Canadian Business and the Law, taught at business schools across the country. In 2014, the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association – Alberta Branch presented her with a Distinguished Service Award for Legal Scholarship.

Alana Savage (Marjanovich)

Alana Savage (Marjanovich), ’97 BA, has been an agent of change in defending victims of domestic violence. She joined the Edmonton Police Service in 2002 and was working in the Southeast patrol division as a police officer when she was diagnosed in 2009 with an atrial septal defect — a “hole in the heart.” When she returned to work, she was asked to review the handling of domestic violence assaults. She soon identified a gap: insufficient policing resources left victims vulnerable to re-victimization. To bridge that gap, Savage created a program in which Victim Support Team constables go beyond regular patrol duties to support and safety plan with victims. Offenders are also held to a higher level of accountability. The initiative has earned Savage the EPS Problem Solver of the Year Award, the Peace in Families Award from the United Cultures of Canada Association and law enforcement’s top award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Webber Seavey Award for Quality in Law Enforcement.


Alumni Horizon Award

Celebrating the outstanding achievements of University of Alberta alumni early in their careers


Danisha Bhaloo

Danisha Bhaloo, ’07 BA(Criminology),who grew up in poverty, was inspired by mentors from Big Brothers Big Sisters Edmonton. They encouraged her to pursue a university degree and when she graduated, she made history as Alberta’s youngest probation officer. In 2007, after serving as a volunteer and board chair with the Youth Restorative Action Project, she founded the Aga Khan Council for Edmonton’s Youth Empowerment Strategy program, matching at-risk youth with mentors. In 2009, as she was completing a graduate diploma in public relations, she took a caseworker position with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Montreal. In 2011, she returned to Edmonton as manager of fund development for Boys and Girls Clubs/Big Brothers Big Sisters. She serves the community as chair of the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board in Edmonton, a board member of the Edmonton John Howard Society, a Rotarian and an advisory board member of the U of A’s Festival of Ideas. She was recently appointed to the U of A Senate.

Kathryn Dong

Kathryn Dong, ’07 MSc, an associate clinical professor of emergency medicine at the University of Alberta, has distinguished herself as a champion of initiatives addressing the health needs of inner-city residents. As co-director of the Edmonton Inner City Health Research and Education Network, she recognized that emergency rooms faced a “revolving door” challenge, seeing many of the same patients repeatedly. In 2013, with support from the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, Dong helped launch the Inner City Health and Wellness Program, which sees willing patients referred to an interdisciplinary health-care team that gives them in-depth care and helps link them to primary and community-based care. Dong, who also took a leading role in developing an inner-city health elective for U of A students, wants to see hospitals provide compassionate and holistic care for inner-city residents, not only dealing with their acute issues but also helping to improve the social determinants of health, such as housing and social supports.

Megan Engel

Megan Engel, ’12 BSc(Hons), ’13 MSc, has devoted herself to an emerging field of nanoscience that exists at the intersection of physics and biochemistry. The recipient of a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, she is working on a PhD in atomic and laser physics at Oxford, studying photosynthesis as a platform to support processes leading to near-perfect energy transfer. When these principles are understood they could lead to technologies capable of revolutionizing renewable energy production. Engel demonstrates great determination to solve deeply complex questions in science. As an undergraduate, she was published in the Astrophysical Journal with a breakthrough discovery related to the orbital period of a distant X-ray binary star system. She is a devotee of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Tolkien Society she founded at the University of Alberta has become allied with Tolkien scholars around the world and was named best student group at the university in 2012.

Govind V. Kaigala

Govind V. Kaigala, ’ 05 MEng, ’09 PhD, combines his expertise in both engineering and medicine to develop innovative solutions to challenging problems in clinical diagnostics. He is a principal investigator at IBM Research–Zurich, considered the birthplace of nanotechnology. Having established a new laboratory on micro/nano-biotechnology, Kaigala leads a team in the development of microfluidic probe technology, which will enable pathologists to gain more precise information from tissue biopsies. The technology, being developed in close collaboration with the University Hospital in Zurich, probes tissues and cells at the micrometre-length scale, not only generating more and better-quality data but also conserving the tissue in samples. The goal is to enable personalized therapeutic approaches to cancer treatment. Kaigala and his team at IBM–Zurich have published approximately 30 peer-reviewed articles and filed 10 patents. Before moving to Switzerland, Kaigala held a prestigious Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) scholarship at Stanford, where he developed new assays for monitoring toxins and explosives in water.

Diane M. Orihel

Diane M. Orihel, ’13 PhD, is an outspoken defender of freshwater science and evidence-based science policy. In 2012, she stepped into the spotlight when the federal government announced it was shutting down Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area research site in northwestern Ontario — the site where University of Alberta professor David Schindler conducted his pioneering whole-lake, systemic ecological research. Orihel, who was studying toxic algal blooms in Canadian lakes, put her studies on hold to lead a “Save ELA” campaign. She created a website and advocated through social media. She met with politicians and other policy-makers, organized a group of academics and concerned citizens, and spoke many times to the media, using science, not emotion, to make her case. Her advocacy was successful: the federal government has signed a memorandum of agreement with the International Institute for Sustainable Development to operate the ELA research site and the Manitoba and Ontario governments have offered funding. 

Adam Rozenhart

Adam Rozenhart, ’04 BA, is a storyteller who uses his expertise in digital media to build community and express his passion for Edmonton. As digital strategist at Calder Bateman Communications, he oversees award-winning projects such as the online “No Homophobes” anti-bullying campaign, which went viral around the world after being produced for the U of A’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services. He is co-founder of the Unknown Studio, a podcast featuring interviews with accomplished Edmontonians, and Nerd Nite Edmonton, which spotlights interesting people and projects in 20-minute presentations. He is also behind the Yeggies, a web awards show. In 2013, as director of digital communications for Don Iveson’s successful mayoral campaign, Rosenhart transformed the way municipal campaigns are conducted in a digital age. He is in demand as a conference speaker and media commentator and is a communications instructor at Guru Digital Arts College. He was named one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40.

Lesley-Anne Scorgie

Lesley-Anne Scorgie, ’05 BCom, has enthusiastically promoted financial literacy through speaking and writing since 2001. She has written three bestselling books, including her latest Well-Heeled: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Getting Rich. In 2008, she established Rich By Inc., a financial consulting company that provides tools and resources to a variety of demographics. In 2014, she established MeVest, an online money school for Canadians. She has made numerous television appearances, including on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Breakfast Television, and her financial articles have appeared in such publications as the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star. Scorgie dedicates substantial time and resources to non-profits in her community, including the YWCA and the U of A. In 2011, she was one of Avenue magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 and was named one of the Women’s Executive Network Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in the future leaders category.

Amy Shostak

Amy Shostak, ’07 BA, is a creative leader whose talents include acting, writing and improvising. She began performing with Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theatre in 2002 and is now artistic director of the theatre, one of Canada’s oldest and most respected improvisational theatre companies. Rapid Fire has flourished under her direction; it was named Edmonton’s favourite theatre company by readers of Vue Magazine in 2012 and 2013. Accomplished as an improviser in her own right, Shostak has performed at improv festivals across Canada and as far away as Milan and Berlin. By 2011, Rapid Fire had outgrown its Old Strathcona venue and Shostak initiated talks with the Citadel Theatre that have led to her company having dedicated space at Edmonton’s flagship professional theatre. In 2012, Edmonton’s mayor at the time, Stephen Mandel, asked Shostak to co-chair a task force to find a uniting Edmonton story to present to the world. The result was the much-admired “Make Something Edmonton” campaign.


Alumni Centenary Award

Celebrating alumni who have made an uncommon gift of time, self and energy to the University of Alberta


Jim Hole

Jim Hole, ’79 BSc Ag, has shown a truly exceptional commitment to his alma mater. A member of Alumni Council for 12 years, he served as the Alumni Association president from 2007 until 2010. His presidency coincided with the celebration of the University's centenary in 2008 and, along with University president Indira Sameresakera, he served as one of the Honorary Centenary Co-Chairs. During the centenary year, he donated more than 1,000 hours of his time, ensuring that U of A alumni were well represented and the important contributions of alumni to the University were recognized. Hole also had a notable involvement in the creation of Alumni Walk at the entrance to Quad on campus, shepherding the project from conception to construction. As a member of the University's Senate, he helped initiate "U School," which brings to campus students who might not otherwise be exposed to the University. While serving on the University's Board of Governors, he chaired the Safety, Health and Environment Committee.

Sharon Morsink

Sharon Morsink, ’97 PhD, logs hundreds of volunteer hours each year sharing her passion for science with thousands of school children and others from the community. Since earning her PhD in theoretical physics, she has opened a window to the mystery of the universe by hosting free, twice-weekly public viewings at the University's campus observatory and organizing related events. These activities, tied to happenings such as eclipses and comets, help raise scientific literacy in the community, leading to increased interest in careers in science. Morsink also had a hand in designing the new University of Alberta Observatory, whose three domes are a striking feature of the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science. Morsink has even been known to dress the domes up for special occasions—last Halloween they were giant jack-o'-lanterns. Beyond her involvement with the observatory, Morsink gained Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (Edmonton Centre) funding to build accurate three-dimensional models of the planets, which now hang in the CCIS west atrium.


The Honourable Dr. Lois E. Hole Student Spirit Award

Recognizing undergraduate students who demonstrate a spirit of caring and community service


Jeeshan Chowdhury

Jeeshan Chowdhury, ’05 BMedSc, ’14 MD, is a Rhodes Scholar who studied health information technologies at Oxford and completed a master’s degree and PhD. He began his research training at NASA, where the challenge of human space flight sparked his interdisciplinary approach to developing innovative solutions. He has since worked across a breadth of technology, from the design of experimental hardware diagnostics to the implementation and assessment of commercial software platforms. As a Jeanne Sauvé Fellow, he founded Hacking Health in 2012, an international organization designed to improve health care by bringing together technology creators and health-care professionals to collaborate on realistic, human-centric solutions to frontline problems. Hacking Health has since grown to include a score of chapters around the globe. Most recently, he has launched, a digital health startup that provides clinical teams with a point-of-care collaboration tool to manage patient lists and improve care. He remains active at the U of A as an adjunct professor of computing science.

Andrew Tang

Andrew R. Tang, ’13 BMedSc, ’14 MD, has led efforts in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry to develop curriculum to increase interdisciplinary co-operation. As president of the Health Sciences Students’ Association, he organized teaching sessions on teamwork in health-care settings. As student representative on the Health Sciences Education and Research Commons, he helped organize “Save Stan Saturday,” an event that allows students to practise interdisciplinary co-operation through simulations. Tang has also served on the accreditation committee to evaluate the MD program at the U of A to identify areas for improvement in the education program. As editor-in-chief of the University of Alberta Health Sciences Journal, he trained his peers in the critical evaluation of medical literature. Originally motivated to enter medical school following a 2009 trip to Ghana, he returned to West Africa in 2012 and worked with the local government to track HIV rates and provide education to reduce stigmatization of those with the disease.


Sports Wall of Fame

Recognizing the contributions of alumni as athletes and builders of university sport


Gerry F. Inglis

Gerry F. Inglis, ’79 BEd, brings to business the same passion for excellence he demonstrated as a star player with the Golden Bears football team. As a centre from 1973 to 1976, he was twice a Canada West all-star and, in 1976, he was an all-Canadian and won the J.P. Metras Trophy as top lineman in Canadian university football. Drafted by the B.C. Lions in 1977, he played for three CFL teams before moving to a successful career in the hospitality industry, including 20 years as owner and operator of 12 Chili’s restaurants in Western Canada. He is now president of Brinker Canada and an officer of Brinker International. He is an active fundraiser, supporter and coach of amateur athletics, including sponsoring, through Chili’s, U of A athletic programs and serving as an offensive line coach with the Bears. He has served on many boards and in many leadership positions. He now serves on the board of regents of Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. 

Chuck Moser

Chuck Moser, ’64 BPE, ’72 MA, has supported University of Alberta athletics for more than 50 years. A talented athlete — he won championships in baseball, handball, racquetball and squash — he is even more accomplished as a sports administrator. In 1966, having been manager/trainer for Golden Bears football, Moser accepted a position as the university’s assistant athletic director. For the next 13 years he supervised and supported 25 varsity coaches in team administration, travel and equipment control. He also looked after staging inter-university athletics on campus. Moser’s focus on the importance of supporting student athletes as students first remains as his legacy. Another is his creation of the Bear’s mascot, GUBA. During the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, he was mayor of the Athletes Village. He was later inaugural executive director of the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks & Wildlife Foundation. In 2000, he returned to campus, serving for a decade as manager of development and alumni affairs for the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation.

Don Munro

Don Munro, ’59 BPE, ’62 BEd, ’66 Dip(Ed), was an outstanding two-sport athlete at the University of Alberta, starring as a point guard on the basketball team and quarterbacking the football club. Playing basketball from 1956 until 1960, he was a brilliant passer and fiery leader who led the team in scoring for two of the four years he played. A perennial Canada West all-star, he led Bears basketball to two Canada West titles. He was also a key player with the Edmonton Town Hallers senior team, which competed at the highest level of basketball played in Canada at the time. Munro honed his football skills with the Edmonton Wildcats junior team before playing for the Bears when the U of A reintroduced the football program in 1958-59. After graduation, he went on to an outstanding teaching career with Edmonton Public Schools. He had success as a high-school football and basketball coach and worked as a referee for high school and university games.

Helen Wright

Helen Wright, ’94 BA, is the founder and first head coach of the Pandas rugby team at the University of Alberta and has been a pioneer in establishing women’s rugby as a national and international sport. Introduced to rugby as a spectator in 1977, she soon began playing and helped form Alberta’s third women’s rugby team, the Coven, in Edmonton. In the 1980s, she represented Alberta as a player and in 1987 participated in the first Rugby Canada women’s national team game against the U.S. As managing director of the Alberta Rugby Football Union for the following 14 years, she exerted significant influence over the continued development of rugby in the province. As the Pandas coach for five seasons beginning in 1999, she had a remarkable record of 36 wins, one tie and one loss, leading to Canada West and national championships. Since leaving the Pandas, Wright has maintained her involvement in rugby in a variety of ways, including volunteering as a coach and organizer.