Heather Neilson

An environmental entrepreneur, computer scientist, physical education facilitator, bionic medicine specialist and two nurses are among the University of New Brunswick graduates who will be recognized at the Proudly UNB Awards Gala tonight.

UNB will honour seven distinguished alumni and a dedicated supporter at the gala dinner in Fredericton at 6 p.m. Friday April 6, 2018.

Heather Neilson (BPE’72) taught physical education for 30 years and dedicated a significant amount of volunteer time to the UNB community, including serving as president of UNB Associated Alumni and a member of the Board of Governors. She will be awarded the Alumni Award of Honour this evening.

“I am deeply humbled to be the recipient of this award,” says Ms. Neilson. “I know many of the past recipients and I am thrilled to be in their company. I feel like I am being given an award for having fun.”

“UNB Alumni are making a difference in workplaces and communities across Canada and around the world,” says Margaret Grant-McGivney, executive director of Associated Alumni. “The Proudly UNB Awards dinner is an opportunity to take pause and celebrate some truly outstanding individuals who, through their contributions, are building a better world and inspiring future generations of alumni.”

The Proudly UNB Awards are hosted by UNB Associated Alumni. Individuals and groups that have made significant contributions to the association, the University of New Brunswick, their professions, the community and beyond are recognized each year. The following will receive their awards during tonight’s dinner at the Student Union Building on UNB’s Fredericton campus:

Alumni Award of Honour

Heather Neilson (BPE’72) has been a long-standing and enthusiastic supporter of the UNB Associated Alumni. During her time on Alumni Council, she served as chair of the scholarship committee and succeeded to the position of president from 2011 to 2013. A proud alumna, Ms. Neilson has shown incredible commitment to UNB through her support of students and her dedication to alumni initiatives. With a genuine passion for physical education and living a healthy lifestyle, she worked as a physical education teacher for more than 30 years. She was awarded the Physical Education Teaching Excellence Award in 2006 and the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen Award in 2011.

Alumni Awards of Distinction

Paul Antle (MScChE’87) is a provincial, national and international pioneer of environmental industries. He is president and CEO of Pluto Investments Inc., a company that focuses on small to mid-sized private equity acquisitions, including the St. John’s Dockyard, Humber Motors Ford and Avalon Laboratories Inc. A dedicated and driven entrepreneur, Mr. Antle also founded SCC Environmental Group Inc., Island Waste Management Inc., and a number of other environmental businesses. From 2007 to 2015, he served as president and CEO of Western Mountain Environmental, the first foreign company to take its environmental technology into China. Mr. Antle’s contributions to the field have been recognized extensively. In 2017, he was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame and the Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEO Hall of Fame.

Elaine Carty (BN’66) is a clinician, teacher, researcher, administrator and mentor. She is a catalyst in the transformation of health care for women in Canada. Ms. Carty graduated from UNB’s bachelor of nursing program in 1966 and went on to become a certified nurse midwife. Her research around early discharge from the hospital after childbirth influenced hospital policy across Canada. Throughout her distinguished career as a professor at the University of British Columbia, Ms. Carty also lobbied for the recognition of midwifery, which became regulated in 1998. She became the founding director of UBC’s Midwifery Program and funds the Elaine Carty Visiting Scholars Initiative at UBC. Ms. Carty has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work. In 2017, she was appointed as a member of the Order of Canada.

Jane Fritz (MScCS’82) was named professor emerita in computer science at UNB in 2012 and is an enthusiastic advocate for women in computer science. Dr. Fritz began teaching in the Faculty of Computer Science on UNB’s Fredericton campus in 1980. Throughout her distinguished career at UNB, she has worn many hats, including the first female dean of computer science, associate vice-president academic, and associate vice-president of Integrated Technology Services. Her work has helped to build New Brunswick’s information technology economy and make UNB a leader in the field. Dr. Fritz was also instrumental in helping to create the Human Rights Office and the Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities at UNB. Her work has been recognized through numerous awards including the UNB President’s Medal.

Levi Hargrove (BScEE’03, MScEE’05, PhD’08) is the director of the Center for Bionic Medicine at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago, Ill., where he is conducting research on advanced and adaptive control systems for prosthetic legs. In 2012, Dr. Hargrove and his research team made headlines when Zac Vawter climbed the stairs of the 103-storey Willis Tower wearing the world’s first bionic leg. Dr. Hargrove has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and aspires to develop myoelectric control systems that can be made available to people with limb loss. A three-time UNB alumnus, Dr. Hargrove previously worked and studied at UNB’s Institute for Biomedical Engineering, where much of his groundbreaking research contributions were developed.

Young Alumni Achievement Awards

Kaitlyn Adair (BN’11) graduated from UNB’s Faculty of Nursing in 2011 and went on to pursue her passion for harm reduction and social injustice. Soon after graduation, Ms. Adair began working in North America’s first injection site in downtown Vancouver, B.C., where she provided care to drug users in the city. Ms. Adair completed her speciality education in Sexually Transmitted Infections Certification Practice, forensic nursing and the training to become a sexual assault nurse examiner. She also developed an education program for violence in the workplace and later implemented the first street nursing program in Nanaimo, B.C. as a sexual assault nurse examiner. Ms. Adair is also a devoted humanitarian and an advocate for women’s rights, having created a non-profit organization called Acceptance Cooperative that teaches trauma sensitive yoga by donation, with all profits used to make self-care packages for survivors.

Firat Güder (BScCMPE’06) is an assistant professor in the department of bioengineering at Imperial College London and is an innovative contributor to the field of bioengineering. Passionate about training the next generation of scientists and engineers, Dr. Güder’s work focuses on the development of new materials and the fabrication of low-cost sensors and actuators, with the goal of transforming the devices into integrated systems. Dr. Güder has received numerous recognitions, including the Tom West Analytical Fellowship, and DFG International Research Fellowship. He has published more than 27 peer reviewed articles and has patented multiple inventions.

Charles MacDonald exemplifies the qualities that define what it means to be #ProudlyUNB. Though not a graduate of the university, his commitment to UNB grew from the positive experience his son had while obtaining two degrees. In 2010, Mr. MacDonald established the Patricia and Charles MacDonald Scholarship, which now supports three annual student awards. Mr. MacDonald is a strong proponent of student education and makes an effort to meet each of his scholarship recipients. A strong advocate for UNB, he regularly attends alumni events and proudly promotes the university.

Media contact: Hilary Creamer Robinson

Photo: Heather Neilson

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