The power of one (multiplied by 32)

    This year’s Alumni Award recipients have made change around the world

    By Therese Kehler on September 3, 2019

    Mona Nashman, ’79 BEd, was superintendent of a school in Muscat, Oman, when the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center sparked fear and racism worldwide.

    As a firm believer in the power of individual actions, Nashman fostered positive ways for children and teens to sow the seeds of peace and religious tolerance. Her students built a library in Tanzania, a school in Bangladesh and a playground at a Syrian refugee camp. She founded an annual International Student Leadership Symposium that continues to give teens the opportunity to explore themes of social justice.

    Nashman is a shining example of how U of A graduates solve problems to make a better world. She is being honoured this year with a Distinguished Alumni Award, one of 32 Alumni Award recipients representing 11 faculties and spanning more than six decades of graduating classes, from 1954 to 2017. This is the 25th year of the Alumni Awards.

    “It’s an understatement to say that we are proud of the achievements of our alumni,” says Heather Raymond, ’82 BEd, ’86 Dip(Ed), ’95 MEd, ’02 PhD, president of the University of Alberta’s Alumni Association. “We wonder what difference one person can possibly make. But as alumni, we are not one person. We’re a mighty group, 290,000 strong.”

    Like Nashman, many of this year’s award recipients have had an impact on the social fabric of our communities. As a group, they’ve influenced education, literacy, the environment and Indigenous understanding. They’ve had an impact on agriculture, on our health, on the technologies and processes that make our lives better. Many also give back to the U of A, mentoring students, improving faculties and volunteering to help the university reach its goals.

    Some have influenced entire industries, including this year’s three additional Distinguished Alumni Award recipients. Donald Enarson, ’69 BSc, ’70 MD, devised a tuberculosis treatment protocol that has played a major role in controlling the disease in developing countries. Ram Deva Mehta, ’72 PhD, is responsible for groundbreaking work in genetic toxicology that ensures new drugs, food additives and other chemicals are safe for human health. Reza Nasseri, ’70 BSc(ElecEng), has developed and shared home-building techniques that reduce construction waste and create affordable, energy-efficient homes.

    These extraordinary U of A graduates will be celebrated at a ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. The event is free and all are welcome. Register here. The ceremony will be followed by a dessert reception where you can meet and congratulate award recipients, including returning recipients from the past 25 years.

    See the full list of this year’s honourees.