Remembering Janice

The Rehabilitation Medicine Students’ Association helps create Janice Leung Memorial Graduate Award in memory of Class of 2020 physical therapy student

Rob Curtis - 12 June 2020

In 2018, the Physical Therapy Class of 2020 suffered the sudden and tragic loss of one of its own. 

Janice Leung was a valued and respected member of her class, of the entire student body and of our faculty as a whole. She was deeply involved in volunteerism, athletics and coaching, and she shared her many talents with the university community as a member of the Rehabilitation Medicine Students’ Association (RMSA)

“As classes graduate, year after year, there’s a danger of losing some of our institutional memory,” notes Jacqueline Eberhardt, RMSA vice-president (internal). “The RMSA wanted to make sure Janice’s legacy would continue in the faculty.” 

Every year, the RMSA hosts a winter gala for Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine faculty, staff and students to gather together for a night filled with recognition—a way to say 'thank you' to those who have put the time, effort and care into their roles as teachers, mentors and future health-care professionals. 

The tradition was set to continue this past March, but plans were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to mark the occasion, students collectively decided to augment the initial RMSA donation by donating the cost of their tickets to the Janice Leung Memorial Graduate Award in Rehabilitation Medicine

When the award was first being established, the Leung family was instrumental in creating an enduring legacy for Janice. They wanted to not only honour her memory through the award, but also to support mental health initiatives in the faculty. 

“This is a very meaningful way to keep Janice’s memory alive and to make sure that her name continues to be a part of the life of our department and faculty in the years to come,” says Marguerite Wieler, chair, Department of Physical Therapy

The criteria for the award were crafted with Janice in mind, speaking to her interests and activities. The award will be given to a student who not only has strong academic performance, but who has also demonstrated involvement in coaching and athletics, and who has been involved in the broader community through sports, recreation, rehabilitation and mental health and wellness initiatives. 

“Janice had an enormous influence on her colleagues during her time here,” notes Bernadette Martin, associate dean, professional programs & strategic initiatives. “She will continue to influence our students as her award encourages them to make athletics and community involvement a part of their lives, just as they were an important part of hers.”

With convocation set to take place June 12, Janice will be receiving a posthumous degree, a Master of Science in Physical Therapy, to recognize her achievements as a student and her role in the University of Alberta community. 

“We are deeply moved by this kind initiative to create a named award in memory of our daughter and sister,” wrote Janice’s family in a letter of thanks to the RMSA. “It was Janice’s desire and passion to pursue a career in physical therapy to help people.”

If you are interested in supporting the Janice Leung Memorial Graduate Award in Rehabilitation Medicine, please contact John Voyer, assistant dean, development at 780-248-5781 or