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Laurier Alumni Association honours Awards of Excellence recipients
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Eight exceptional members of the Laurier community were celebrated with Awards of Excellence at a dinner co-hosted by the Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association (WLUAA) and Alumni Relations Thursday, May 3.
WLUAA also presented for the first time seven Citizenship Scholarships, $1,000 awards to be granted annually to one student in each of the faculties of Arts, Science, the School of Business & Economics (SBE) and Music at the Waterloo campus and two students in any faculty at the Brantford campus.
“The calibre of this year’s award recipients and students is incredible,” said Rob Donelson, vice-president of Development & Alumni Relations. “Each of them is a living example of achievement and an excellent embodiment of what Laurier is working to achieve – to inspire lives of leadership and purpose.”
The Awards of Excellence program was created 33 years ago and has expanded over the years to align with the priorities of the university. Alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of Laurier are invited to nominate candidates each year.
“The Awards of Excellence dinner is just one of the many ways in which WLUAA seeks to celebrate and recognize the students, staff, faculty and alumni who together play a vital role in the life of Laurier,” said WLUAA President Tom Berczi (’88, ’93).
The following are recipients of the 2012 Awards of Excellence:
Peter Ansley (’66) – Alumnus of the Year
This award recognizes an alumnus who has brought honour to the institution through outstanding achievement. Ansley has enjoyed a successful career in business leadership and innovation, with an ability to think big and make it happen. Ansley was with Ford of Canada, and has held senior positions in human resources and public and government affairs. Currently, he is a Canadian Tire store owner in Calgary, operator and owner of the JW Marriott Starr Resort and Spa in Tucson, Arizona and serves on the board of several organizations. His ongoing commitment to Laurier includes valuable contributions to SBE’s Dean’s Advisory Council and the university’s Board of Governors. He is also a vital volunteer member of Laurier’s Campaign Cabinet.
Juanne Clarke – Faculty Mentoring Award
This award was established to recognize a Laurier faculty member for his or her outstanding mentorship and support to students. Clarke is celebrated for her exceptional listening skills and sensitivity. She is well-respected for her successful guidance and support of doctoral students and younger colleagues. Clarke is described as conscientious and generous with her time and advice, and insightful to the needs of others.
Eileen Wood – Hoffmann-Little Award for Faculty
The Hoffman-Little Award recognizes teaching excellence and professional endeavour at Laurier. Wood is celebrated for her winning combination of academic rigour, talent and personality. She is also lauded for her research, and is in high demand as a graduate-student advisor. Wood has a strong reputation for excellent teaching in both large first-year classes and small graduate courses. She is rated by students as “lots of fun” in class, “even when the material is dry.”
Kari Kokko – Young Alumna of the Year
This award is given to recognize outstanding achievement by an alum of any Laurier program who is 30 years of age or younger. Kokko graduated from Laurier in 2011 with a Bachelor of Music degree. She is celebrated for the exceptional way in which she approaches education and for her involvement with the larger community as well as the Laurier community. As a group mentoring facilitator for Pathways to Education, a program for at-risk teens, Kokko lights up the lives of participating students by coordinating dozens of volunteers and helping hundreds of high school students develop social skills and experience new opportunities.
Gail Forsyth (‘95) – Schaus Award for Staff
This award is presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to the university by a staff member. The recipient is distinguished by his or her stature, dedication, integrity and ability. Forsyth has been an integral member of Laurier’s exceptional staff since 1986. Her passion for developing innovative ways to ensure students make a good transition from high school to post-secondary success was lauded. Forsyth is known for her collaborative approach to finding solutions, and engaging peers and senior students to support younger students.
Sarah Hood – Student Alumna of the Year
Since 1996, WLUAA has presented the Student Alumna of the Year Award to a member of Laurier Student Alumni who has been instrumental in building bridges between current students, alumni and the administration. Hood, a fourth-year political science student, has been a dedicated volunteer with Laurier’s Student Alumni since her first year. Never shying from leadership opportunities while still maintaining high academic achievement, Hood has made great contributions to student life at Laurier.
Mike Hancock and Chris Friel – Honorary Alumni
Honorary alumni are people who are recognized for having brought honour to the university and/or local, provincial, national or international communities. In their own ways, they make a significant and positive contribution to Laurier’s reputation. This year, the recipients are Mike Hancock and Chris Friel.
As a former mayor of Brantford, Hancock focused on revitalizing the city’s core, and, thanks to his great support, Laurier realized the dream of expanding to that city. The continued growth, development and success of Laurier Brantford is a testament to his leadership and hard work. Nominated by all the major contributors to Laurier’s evolution in Brantford, Hancock was praised for his tireless efforts, administrative know-how and skilled consensus-building which greatly benefited Laurier.
Friel, current Mayor of the City of Brantford, has also been a Laurier champion, recognized for his leadership in Brantford during the crucial run-up years to the opening of Laurier Brantford in 1999. Credited with the power of persuasion, an outstanding commitment to the promise that Laurier would enhance Brantford’s future, and an ability to build mutually beneficial partnerships between the university and municipal entities, Friel played a vital role in making the campus the vibrant place it is today.
The following are recipients of the inaugural Citizenship Scholarships:
- Rachel Dewan – Faculty of Arts
- Daniel Towers – Graduate Studies
- Sarah Whynot – Faculty of Music
- Michelle Gould – Faculty of Science
- Carlee Banister – School of Business & Economics
- Sukhmanjot Grewal – Brantford campus
- K. Elizabeth Baisley – Brantford campus