The University of Alberta Alumni Awards recognize the professional achievements, community service and innovation of graduates around the globe — people who uphold the promise to use their education “for the public good.”
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2018 Alumni Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumni Award

Marcia A. Boyd, ’69 DDS

Marcia Boyd launched her dental career from the back of a dog sled, delivering dental care to remote eastern Arctic Inuit communities. Her work has since established her as an internationally recognized trailblazer in the dental profession and one of the world’s best dental educators. Boyd has played a key role in shaping the future of dentistry: as a professor emerita and former dean of the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Dentistry, and as past president of the American College of Dentists—the first Canadian woman and second Canadian to hold this position. She has also spoken internationally and chaired task forces that have improved dental education, accreditation and ethical practices in the U.S. and Canada. Boyd’s work, which includes serving on the Women's Advisory Committee and the International Women's Leadership program of the American Dental Education Association, has paved the way for women in the profession, often as the first woman to hold leadership and mentoring positions.Her recognitions run the gamut of international honours, including four honorary degrees, the Order of Canada and was the first woman to receive the American College of Dentists’ highest honour, the William J. Gies Award. Currently retired from UBC, Boyd serves as a consultant and examiner for the National Dental Examining Board of Canada, continuing to live by her personal motto: “seek knowledge, conquer fear, do justice.”

Sheila J. Greckol, ’74 BA, ’75 LLB

Sheila Greckol is best known for defying the status quo in the name of social change. Throughout her 25 years practising law in Edmonton, Greckol gained recognition as one of Alberta’s leading labour and human rights lawyers. Her most notable cases include serving as pro-bono counsel for Delwin Vriend, a teacher who was fired because he was gay. This was the first successful gay-rights case in the Supreme Court of Canada and has served as the basis for LGBTQ human rights advances around the world. Her legal career has traced the progression of modern human rights history in Alberta, through advancing cases that have affirmed gender, racial, reproductive rights, and including another landmark case confirming Albertan mothers’ entitlement to benefits while on maternity leave. In tune with her dedication to labour rights through representing unions and faculty associations across the province, Greckol was also a founding member of the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers, a national organization of union-side lawyers. Greckol was appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in 2001 and the Court of Appeal of Alberta in 2016. Her judicial career has influenced legal practice in Canada and beyond, from sitting on the board of directors of the Canadian chapter of the International Association of Women Judges to working on judicial training programs in Chile, Jamaica, Peru and Ukraine.

Charles Lee, ’90 BSc(Spec), ’93 MSc, ’96 PhD

It was once believed that every person had two copies of each gene in their genome. Charles Lee’s landmark discovery in 2004 challenged this assumption and began a new era of biomedical research. Lee’s research revealed that genes once thought to always occur in only two copies per genome can be present in more or fewer copies, or be missing altogether. These variations can increase an individual’s susceptibility or resistance to disease. Understanding that these large-scale genomic differences exist among individuals has opened new avenues to uncover the mysteries behind the causes—and potential cures—for diseases and conditions including cancer, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular diseases and various mental illnesses. Lee has served as a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and has received numerous accolades for his research into the human genome, including his election to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, receiving a Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate and being named president of the International Human Genome Organisation. Lee is currently the scientific director and professor of The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Conn., developing diagnostics and therapeutics tailored to an individual's unique genome, with the goal of prescribing the most effective drugs with the fewest side-effects.

Anwar Shah, ’83 PhD

When Anwar Shah first arrived at the World Bank in 1986, the international financial institution had not yet fully recognized the importance of empowering local governments in developing countries. Shah saw the dangers of highly centralized governments — and the potential for residents in traditional societies to solve their own problems — in his native Pakistan. Following his persistent advocacy of decentralization reforms, the World Bank’s decentralization projects expanded from virtually zero to several hundreds. These initiatives have brought policy decisions closer to the communities they affect, and have resulted in schools, health care and infrastructure that better meet the needs of local residents in developing nations. In addition to his decentralization work, Shah successfully advocated for the World Bank’s adoption of progressive climate change policies. Shah has served in the Canadian Ministry of Finance, the Government of Alberta and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and also serves as a consultant to the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the OECD. He holds part-time positions as director of a research centre and Distinguished Visiting Professor at a university in Chengdu, China, where his leadership has contributed to modernizing the Chinese fiscal system. His scholarly work on fiscal federalism — more than two dozen books and numerous articles in leading journals — extends his legacy far beyond his time at the World Bank.

Alumni Honour Award

Malcolm Azania, ’91 BA, ’94 BEd

Also known by his pen name, Minister Faust, Malcolm Azania is a novelist, playwright, journalist, broadcaster, poet and political activist. He founded CJSR’s Africentric Radio, which was Canada’s longest-running African news and public affairs program, interviewing luminaries such as Angela Davis, Chuck D. and Noam Chomsky. Azania’s debut novel, The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad, was shortlisted for the Philip K. Dick Award and the Locus Best First Novel prize, while his second book, Shrinking the Heroes, won the Kindred Award. His 2011 TEDx talk “The Cure for Death by Smalltalk” has been watched more than 800,000 times, and the UAlberta Department of English and Film Studies named him Writer in Residence for 2014-2015. His current podcast, MF GALAXY, features interviews with writers on the craft and business of writing.

Lynden (Lindsay) Crowshoe, ’93 BMedSc, ’95 MD

An associate professor of medicine at the University of Calgary and member of the Piikani First Nation, Crowshoe is an expert on Indigenous health and advocate for medical care appropriate to their social and cultural needs. As director of the Aboriginal Health Program at the university’s Cumming School of Medicine and chair of its Indigenous Health Dialogue, his research and leadership, grounded in principles of Truth and Reconciliation, guides the next generation of health-care professionals. His national and international work is aimed at improving care for Indigenous peoples and he writes and lectures extensively on diabetes, arthritis and social determinants of health. Among Crowshoe’s initiatives is the founding of the Elbow River Healing Lodge, a primary care provider in Calgary offering culturally safe and socially accountable care to Indigenous patients.

Ronald Brian Moore, ’80 BSc, ’86 MD, ’91 PhD

Ronald Moore has dedicated his professional life to understanding the processes of urological cancers and transplantation, while training hundreds of students. A founding member of the Kidney Cancer Research Network of Canada and an internationally recognized clinician-researcher, Moore’s contributions have led to significant advancements in the knowledge and treatment of bladder, kidney and prostate cancer. He has studied and developed laser treatment as therapy for prostate and bladder cancer, and has developed new drugs to improve outcomes for prostate cancer radiotherapy. He was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal for service to Albertans in 2005, and the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry's Tier ll Clinical Award for Excellence in Mentoring in 2007. Moore’s work has changed urologic and transplant surgeries, and improved the lives of countless cancer and renal failure [EC1] patients and their families.

Fred Pheasey, ’65 BSc(MechEng)

When Fred Pheasey graduated in the ‘60s, American-made drill rigs struggled with Canada’s extreme temperatures. Ever the innovator, he responded by co-founding Dreco Energy Services Ltd. in 1972, designing and manufacturing specialized drilling facilities to brave the world’s harshest climates. In 1997, Dreco merged with National Oilwell to become the largest North American manufacturer of equipment used in oil and gas drilling and production, supporting the transformation of resource extraction around the world. In the community, he is a passionate supporter of the UAlberta Faculty of Engineering as well as of the United Way. As a member of the leadership committee of the City of Edmonton's Committee to End Homelessness, Pheasey participated in the development of a 10-year plan to help the city’s most vulnerable people find safe, affordable housing.

Susan Richardson, ’87 BA(Spec), ’08 MA

Growing up in a military family and moving often, Provincial Court of Alberta Judge Susan Richardson has long understood the struggle of fitting in. Her career as a prosecutor, judge and legal scholar has been defined by a series of roles championing inclusion, fighting isolation and protecting the rights of the most vulnerable. Her professional and volunteer contributions include developing programs, teaching and mentoring organizations that serve seniors, immigrants and people with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. She deepened her understanding of the social causes surrounding criminal behaviour by completing a master’s in criminal justice at UAlberta in 2008—while working as a full-time Crown prosecutor. Richardson shares her legal expertise with law students through the Canadian Bar Association mentor program and as an adjudicator for UAlberta Faculty of Law moot courts.

Barbara Romanowski, ’71 BSc(Med), ’73 MD

Barbara Romanowski’s career coincided with the early 1980’s HIV epidemic. During a time when people diagnosed with HIV faced devastating stigma and barriers to treatment, Romanowski’s leadership as a discerning scientist and caring physician set her apart. During this time, she also led the management of Alberta’s syphilis outbreak and pioneered the best treatment practices for the infection. She was the director of Alberta’s sexually transmitted disease program from 1979 to 1998, during which she modernized sexually transmitted infections (STI) clinics across Alberta and launched an STI research unit that performed most of the research trials to introduce the HPV vaccine in Canada. Her pioneering vision for sexual health led the establishment of HIV Edmonton, which continues to provide vital services to central Alberta.

Paula Simons, ’86 BA(Hons)

Paula Simons started as an Edmonton Journal reporter in 1995, then in 2001 became its city columnist, opining on the arts, politics and civic life. In 2013, she was part of the newsroom team that discovered the Alberta government was drastically underreporting child welfare deaths. As a result of their reporting, the province changed its policies around the deaths of all children in care. Simons’ work received international attention in 2017 from UNESCO and the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom. In May 2018, she was recognized with a National Newspaper Award for her reporting on four-year-old Serenity, a Cree girl who was abused and died after being placed in kinship care. Simons’ determined investigation was a catalyst for the Alberta government to announce a new child welfare action plan in June 2018.

Stella Thompson, ’68 MA

Stella Thompson was one of the first women to earn a master’s degree in economics from UAlberta and continued as a trailblazer for women in the energy sector. By the late ’80s, Thompson became the first woman executive at a large energy company, as a vice-president of Petro-Canada, and was appointed to the Prime Minister’s National Advisory Board on Science and Technology. She later served on multiple TSX-listed corporate boards. She co-founded Governance West, a national consulting company, in 1996. Since retiring from her position with Governance West in 2008, Thompson’s life has been filled with corporate and volunteer board commitments. She remains an outspoken champion of women’s professional representation, serving for many years on the Canadian Board Diversity Council and as past president of the International Women’s Forum of Canada.

Brenda Walker, ’71 Dip(DentHyg)

The profession of dental hygiene in Alberta would look quite different today if not for the tenacity of Brenda Walker. After teaching dental hygiene as a sessional clinical instructor at UAlberta for 16 years, Walker became the first registrar of the College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta. There, Walker was the driving force for several landmark changes, from establishing dental hygiene as a self-regulating profession to removing the requirement for hygienists to be supervised by a dentist. Her continued lobbying led to regulatory changes allowing Alberta dental hygienists the broadest scope of practice options in North America—and eliminating significant barriers for Albertans accessing oral health care. Walker’s efforts have had national impact as well, from her service with the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association and the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board.

David Scott Wishart, ’83 BSc(Hons)

The study of metabolomics is transforming disease diagnostics and food safety—and UAlberta professor David Wishart is at the forefront. His study of metabolites, the tiny molecules created by cellular reactions, and his leadership of Canada’s national metabolomics laboratory have played a major role in putting Edmonton on the map as a health city. Methods developed under Wishart at The Metabolomics Innovation Centre have led to numerous studies of cancer biomarkers, organ transplant biomarkers and wound healing mechanisms. He has founded seven biotech companies and has been awarded more than 110 provincial, national or international grants that are valued at more than $140 million. Wishart has received many awards from national and international scientific organizations and was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2017.

Alumni Horizon Award

David Brown, ’13 BSc

During his undergrad, David Brown was a leader of the UAlberta team that won the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The up-and-coming biochemist and entrepreneur was just getting started. Since then, Brown has founded two biotechnology companies. Mycodev Group uses fungal fermentation to produce mushroom-sourced chitosan, a versatile fibre with widespread applications in cancer therapy, wound care, medical devices and genetic therapies. At Chinova Bioworks, Brown and his team develop preservative ingredients for food, beverages, cosmetics and personal care products to protect human health. The companies collaborate with universities and research institutions across Canada, the United States and Europe. In 2017, Brown’s contributions to human health earned him the Governor General’s Innovation Award for his transformative work to improve quality of life.

Alexis Marie Chute, ’07 BFA

Visual artist Alexis Marie Chute emerged from an unthinkable tragedy with a new voice—one that has brought comfort to bereaved families around the world. In 2010, Chute’s son passed away at birth from a cardiac tumour. She explores the challenges and vulnerabilities of having another child after losing her son in her 2017 memoir, Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing and Pregnancy After Loss, and in a feature-length documentary film of the same name which has been screened and celebrated internationally. Chute has received more than 40 noteworthy distinctions for her visual art and literary works and has recently completed her first fantasy novel, Above the Star. She continues to speak internationally to inspire healing through photography, painting, collage, writing and sculpture.

Nakita Valerio, ’09 BA, ’17 MA

Nakita Valerio is an award-winning writer, academic and community organizer. Her volunteer contributions as an inter-faith connector include bridging Muslim, Jewish, Indigenous and other cultural communities and speaking with government, education institutions, businesses and organizations about combating Islamophobia. Valerio volunteers with the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council (AMPAC), the Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life, and the Young Indigenous Women’s Circle of Leadership camp. In 2016, she co-founded the AMPAC Muslim-Jewish Women’s Collective, which meets monthly to build friendships and do charity work. As a co-founder of the non-profit Bassma School for rural children in El Attaouia, Morocco, her impact is felt internationally, and she has been recognized by the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation and Rotary International for her commitment to humanitarian efforts.

Alumni Innovation Award

Deborah Barrett, ’75 BA, ’89 MSc

Anthony at Your Service

Deborah Barrett’s son, Anthony, is a gentle, joyful, primarily non-verbal person with autism. With few quality day programs, educational opportunities, supportive work environments or housing options for adults with significant intellectual disabilities, Barrett was, and is, deeply concerned for Anthony’s quality of life as he gets older. She joined the board of Autism Edmonton as editor of Autism Now newsletter, became president and grew the society to provide community awareness, research, advocacy and support programs. Barrett played roles on the committees that ultimately created the Adult Autism Diagnostic and Consultation Service at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital­ — a first in Canada — and became president of Autism Alberta. Still, Barrett wanted to improve Anthony’s life more directly. So, in 2012, she founded Anthony at Your Service, a custom delivery business that provided Anthony with meaningful, paid work. Today, the business provides jobs for more than 20 adults with intellectual disabilities who provide door-to-door pickups and deliveries, flyer deliveries, envelope stuffing and assembly of swag bags and marketing kits. Plans are underway for Anthony at Your Service to launch in Calgary this fall, creating visible, paid and meaningful employment for even more adults with intellectual disabilities.

Lisa Hartling, ’90 BSc(PT), ’10 PhD and Shannon Scott, ’06 PhD

Knowledge Translation in Health Research

Actively engaging patients and families in health-care decisions is critical to improving the quality and more efficiently using the services. Fundamental to meaningful family involvement is ensuring they have access to clear, understandable health-care information. Renowned UAlberta health researchers Lisa Hartling and Shannon Scott have developed innovative educational tools that combine art, story and novel technologies such as whiteboard animation and interactive infographics. These tools provide easy access to the latest evidence and best practices in pediatric emergency care for parents and families. Hartling and Scott are the first women at the University of Alberta to hold a prestigious seven-year, multimillion-dollar foundation grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in recognition of their innovative work. Hartling and Scott are world-leading scientists in knowledge synthesis and knowledge translation. Scott, a nursing professor, is the Canada Research Chair for Knowledge Translation in Child Health, attracting more than $24 million in research funding, and an inductee into the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Pediatrics professor Hartling has received millions of dollars for research in evidence-based health care and is director of the Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence, along with other provincial, national and international initiatives.

Sports Wall of Fame

Douglas Baker, ’80 BPE

Doug Baker played Golden Bears basketball from 1974 to 1977, including two years as captain, and was a three-time Wardlaw Porteous Trophy recipient for most valuable player. After setting four team records, including career scoring average and field goals, he went on to play two years of professional basketball in Belgium, followed by 25 years of senior men’s basketball in Edmonton. During Baker's 30 years of volunteer and professional coaching, he worked with hundreds of students of all ages and genders before returning to UAlberta to coach Pandas basketball from 1991 to 1996. Baker says his greatest satisfaction comes from using his experiences to mentor other coaches at the start of their career and from watching his son, Jordan, play for the Canadian national basketball team.

David Thomas Breakwell, ’79 BCom

In each of the three seasons that David Breakwell played for the Golden Bears hockey team, from 1976 through ‘79, the team made the national championships, cementing its legacy in the Edmonton Sports and Alberta Hockey halls of fame. A former president of the Golden Bear Hockey Alumni Association, Breakwell received his Chartered Professional Accountant designation in 1982 and has held senior executive positions in the public and private sector, including the last 13 years as an Assistant Deputy Minister in Alberta’s Energy, Health and Infrastructure departments. He has remained connected to the hockey community for 38 years, volunteering with the Edmonton Minor Hockey Association as a coach, manager and mentor. He has coached more than 800 players, including 14 who have played in the NHL and two Olympic gold medallists.

Rob Daum, ’82 BPE, ’84 BEd

In the world of hockey, Rob Daum’s name is followed by a list of records and a reputation as one of the finest technical coaches in professional hockey. As the head coach of the Golden Bears from 1995 to 2005, he led the team to three national championships and nine consecutive national competitions. He coached the second-most games in Alberta men’s hockey history, was named Canada West’s coach of the year five times and national coach of the year twice. After the Bears, Daum became assistant coach of the Austrian national team, participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics, then coached the Austrian Hockey League team EHC Black Wings Linz, leading the team to the most wins in the history of the league. Daum is currently coaching the Iserlohn Roosters in the DEL in Germany.

Pandas Rugby ’99-’03

The five seasons between 1999 and 2003 were a golden age for Pandas rugby, with the teams winning the Canada West and Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships for five consecutive years. Coach Helen Wright, ‘94 BA, was named the Canada West Coach of the Year three times between 1999 and 2002 for her leadership of the team. These landmark seasons also boasted a bevy of individual player accomplishments, with five Pandas receiving CIS Player of the Year awards and three winning CIS Tournament MVP awards. Nine players from this period went on to play for the Canadian national team and many more have returned to support Pandas rugby as assistant coaches, team managers and sports medicine surgeons.

2018 Alumni Awards Ceremony

Monday, Sept. 24

Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
Doors: 6:30 p.m.
Ceremony: 7 p.m.,
Reception: 8:30 - 10 p.m.

Free, public event, everyone welcome
Complimentary parking in Jubilee south surface lot and CarPark after 6 p.m.

Registration required, ticket pickup at door

Register now

For more information or to register groups of 20 or more: