This Thursday, March 23, the University of New Brunswick will celebrate the achievements of nine alumni and one dedicated staff person at a gala event at the Delta Brunswick in Saint John.
Among the UNB graduates being honoured are a physician tackling some of the most pressing and controversial medical issues of our time, a lawyer who was instrumental in bringing same-sex marriage to Colorado, and an international student who worked three jobs on his way to a degree and, eventually, a vice-presidency at a major media company.
“We look forward to the Proudly UNB Awards every year because it is our opportunity to salute the incredible achievements of our alumni,” says Brooke Yeates, president of UNB Associated Alumni. “Once again this year we have a tremendous group whose work, dedication and community involvement is, to put it quite simply, an inspiration. We are honoured to have them in the University of New Brunswick family.”
Alumni Award of Honour
Catherine Sutherland (BA ’78, BBA ’94) is a devoted longtime supporter of UNB. Mrs. Sutherland served on the Associated Alumnae Council for several years, including as Alumnae president from 2006 to 2008. She has been a strong advocate for UNB’s Saint John campus. Mrs. Sutherland volunteers regularly in the community as well as on the Alumnae and Alumni Associations. She shows her fierce pride in her alma mater at many alumni celebrations and is an outstanding ambassador for UNB.
Alumni Award of Distinction
Ann Gushurst (LLB ’94) is a leader in family law litigation, mediation and collaborative law with the Colorado family law firm of Gutterman Griffiths PC. She served as co-counsel on the case that brought marriage equality to Colorado and is considered a pioneer in human rights issues. She helped found the practice of collaborative law in Colorado, in addition to her work as a supporter of Metro Volunteer Lawyers, a non-profit which provides free legal services.
Dr. Christopher Simpson (BSc ’90) is the vice-dean clinical of the School of Medicine at Queen’s University, medical director of the Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Organization and former president of the Canadian Medical Association. Dr. Simpson has been instrumental in championing senior care, and helping guide the medical profession on the controversial fronts of assisted dying and medical marijuana. Dr. Simpson is widely recognized in his field as a national and international leader in cardiology, and is an active clinician, educator and researcher who has authored or co-authored some 350 peer-reviewed papers.
Jeffrey Sparks (BBA ’96) is the national director of volunteer engagement and organizational development with Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Mr. Sparks is well-known in his community as a champion of people living with disabilities and has made significant efforts to raise funds for the organization and increase awareness of neuromuscular disorders. In his past role as president of the Saint John Ability Advisory committee. he implemented an accessible sidewalk policy and enhance the city’s para-transit system. Mr. Sparks has been named a YMCA Leader to Watch, named one of the Leaders for the 21st Century and received a Terry Fox Humanitarian Award for his contributions.
Cindy Donovan (BN ’85) is the CEO of Loch Lomond Villa, a long-term care centre in Saint John. She has led the organization through a paradigm shift toward resident-centred care in the facility, and working to expand the model throughout the province. A leader at the local, provincial and national levels, Ms. Donovan was instrumental in bringing nurse practitioners into New Brunswick nursing homes. As a member of the Council on Aging, she contributed to the development of a 10-year aging strategy for the province.
Young Alumni Achievement Award
Feiber Omana (BBA ’06) garnered the highest first-year GPA and the Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal at UNB as an international student from Columbia working three jobs. After graduating from the Harvard Business School’s MBA program with the highest distinction, he has gone on to become vice-president of corporate development and capital markets for Shaw Communications. In this role, Mr. Omana has contributed to several nationally recognized transactions, including the acquisition of Wind Mobile and the disposition of Shaw Media.
Kayley Reed (BPhil ’14) is the CEO of Wear Your Label, a fashion brand dedicated to raising mental health awareness. Since launching, Wear Your Label has drawn attention from the Globe and Mail, Buzzfeed, MTV, FASHION magazine and People, and partnered with Joe Fresh. Miss Reed has continued to try to break the stigma surrounding mental health through public speaking and writing.
Alumni Volunteer of the Year
Ruth Henry Dickinson (BEd ’78) and Tracy MacDonald (BScCE ’94) are long-time volunteers with the women’s basketball program, and are themselves former players with the Red Bloomers. During the CIS Women’s Basketball Nationals, they put together a major reunion weekend for former players. Dedicating their time on a wholly volunteer basis, they developed an full event schedule that included a meet-the-team breakfast. They also promoted a fundraising campaign for the establishment of a scholarship in memory of a former player.
Jennifer Waldschutz is not a graduate of UNB, but her tireless efforts as an international recruiter have helped extend the UNB community to every corner of the globe. Miss Waldschutz spends eight months of the year travelling to India, the United Kingdom, Africa and the Middle east, promoting the university to prospective students while engaging existing alumni. Hundreds of students she maintains contact with have been able to experience everything the university has to offer through her efforts.
For more information on the awards, and to obtain tickets, see Proudly UNB.
Media contact: Jenna Kennedy
Photo: Margaret Grant-McGivney, Executive Director of Associated Alumni at the University of New Brunswick, speaks during the 2016 Proudly UNB Awards. Joy Cummings / UNB Photo