What's in a name

Lasting legacies of science supporters past and present influence countless students and scientists.

Jennifer Pascoe - 22 November 2017

Lasting legacies of science supporters past and present influence countless students and scientists

Ever find yourself wandering the hall of the Gunning/Lemieux Chemistry Centre and wondering exactly who Gunning and Lemieux were? Whether it's through a classroom like the Gilead Lecture Theatre, a lab like the Josephine Mitchell Lab, a meeting space like the Reuben Sandin Conference Centre, a student space like the Bhatia Student Commons, a named chair like the C.R. Stelck Chair in Petroleum Geology, or the plethora of named undergraduate and graduate scholarships, awards, conferences, and lecture series, naming honours leaves a legacy to inspire scientists and future scientists for decades to come.

But just who is behind the names?

Gunning was the chair of the Department of Chemistry from 1957 to 1974, credited for the program's growth and progress at unprecedented levels. Raymond "Sugar Ray" Lemieux established the University of Alberta's excellence in glycomics research, a strong tradition that continues today with the work of chemistry professors including Todd Lowary, Chris Cairo, John Klassen, Ratmir Derda, and Matthew Macauley, as well as innovations including the Alberta Glycomics Centre and GlycoNet, the National Network of Centre of Excellence, both housed at the U of A. Lemieux's legacy extends beyond the chemistry department. In fact, his daughter, microbiologist Laura Frost, would go on to become the chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. Read more of Frost's story.


The Fred H. Irwin Memorial Prize in Organic Chemistry was established in 1946 by Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Irwin in memory of their son, Flying Officer F.H. Irwin. Fred Irwin was an honors chemistry student who went overseas and was killed on March 14, 1945 in Germany during the Second World War.


In 1962 the J.W. Campbell Memorial Prize in Mathematics was established to recognize the efforts of a student who achieves outstanding merit in MATH 117 and 118. It was set up by Mrs. J.W. Campbell in memory of her husband, the former chair of the Department of Mathematics. Professor Campbell was also the first acting chair of the Astronomy Centre, established in 1932, and was instrumental in establishing the University Observatory built around the gifting of a 12-inch telescope and a one-inch refracting scope.


The James McCrie Douglas Memorial Scholarship was established in 1950 and is awarded annually to students with superior academic achievement entering the fourth year of an honors program in the Faculty of Science. James Douglas was a member of the Canadian House of Commons for Strathcona from 1909 to 1921 and served as Edmonton's 19th mayor from 1929 to 1931. He also set up a similar scholarship in his wife's name in the Faculty of Arts.


Established in 2005 by Dr. Margaret- Ann Armour on the occasion of her retirement from the Department of Chemistry. The scholarship is in honour of her mother, Nan, and supports students in the first year of an undergraduate degree program in the Faculty of Science who participated in the WISEST Summer Research Program.

The Clare Patershuk Travel Fund

The Clare Patershuk Travel Fund was created in honour of Clare Patershuk ('09 BsC), a psychology graduate who was killed by a drunk driver just two weeks after she graduated with her master's degree in counselling psychology. "Clare was intelligent, insightful, loving, funny, and beautiful," says her mother Mary Riley, who along with Clare's father, Peter Patershuk, founded the award in their daughter's honour. "Clare took pride in her academic achievements, she valued learning, and she always gave of her best. We hope students receiving this award will value the opportunity to travel to and learn in different locations, something Clare would have prized."

Chris Westbury, professor in the Department of Psychology, who worked with Clare between 2007 and 2009 as her undergraduate thesis supervisor, describes Clare as a "good person, interesting, feisty, and enthusiastic. She was skeptical and thoughtful and tried to figure things out."

Psychology graduate Michelle Ehmig, currently working as a research associate in the Department of Psychology, was the inaugural recipient of the Clare Patershuk Travel Fund. Ehmig used the funds to attend a pet- therapy conference, learning more about animal-assisted therapy and the associated research, fuelling her desire to pursue graduate studies in counselling or cognitive neuropsychology.

Like Ehmig, Patershuk too believed in the strength of pet therapy and often worked with horses in her exploration of their healing powers. "Clare Patershuk inspired people around her and encouraged them to pursue their true passion," says Ehmig. "Awards like this support exploration of your field of study in more depth and allow you to get inspired by other members of the research community. People like Clare are my true inspiration, and I am very grateful for receiving this inspiring award."