Linda Thorstad has been named senior vice-president of UBC's Alumni Association and will automatically assume the position of president in 1999. A member of UBC's Board of Governors since 1997, Thorstad is vice-president of corporate relations at Viceroy Resources.

Educated at UBC (BScHon'77, MSc'84), Thorstad specializes in strategic planning and communications. She was 1995/96 president of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C. and serves on the executive of the Canadian Council of Professional Geoscientists and a special advisory board to the minister of Natural Resources Canada.

An active volunteer, Thorstad has served on Science World's board of governors, the B.C. Supreme Court civil litigation management committee and the B.C. Heritage Rivers Board. She is currently chair of the 1998 B.C.'s Children's Hospital Mining for Miracles campaign. In 1996, she won a YWCA Women of Distinction award for management and the professions.

UBC President Martha Piper has been named Communicator of the Year by the International Association of Business Communicators of B.C. (IABC/BC). Piper is recognized for increasing the university's visibility in the community by promoting UBC and its research through the Think About It awareness campaign.

"Dr. Piper has a natural ability to communicate what she's passionate about," says Jennifer Wah, IABC/BC president. "She has inspired others to understand the importance of academic research and UBC's contribution as an institute of higher learning."

The award is presented annually to a B.C. resident who is not directly involved in the communications profession, but who demonstrates excellence in communication, leadership, innovation, vision and the ability to inspire others through business or community work.

Nominations are solicited from the association's 300 B.C. members and the final selection is made by committee.

Past award winners include Rick Hansen on the 10th anniversary of his Man in Motion tour and Const. Anne Drennan of the Vancouver Police Dept.

Stephen Ward, a former Canadian Press (CP) Vancouver bureau chief with 15 years of journalism experience, has been hired as the first full-time teaching appointment with UBC's Sing Tao School of Journalism. His appointment as associate professor is effective July 1, 1998. Ward has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Waterloo and extensive experience in journalism in Canada and abroad. He has taught courses at three universities. Ward spent the past four months as a Research Fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, part of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His research there was on a new concept of objectivity for the journalism of the future. His research paper, Objectivity with a Human Face, will be published by the Shorenstein Center.

Before becoming Vancouver bureau chief, Ward spent five years as CP's sole staff reporter in Europe.

James Thornton, associate professor emeritus of Education, was recently presented with the Mildred M. Seltzer distinguished service recognition award by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. The award recognizes his work as chair of the Gerontology Committee at UBC, which supervises graduate studies in the field. Thornton retired in 1992 and continues to be active as a consultant in adult education and aging. He is currently engaged in work in Japan.

Two UBC graduates have won Queen Elizabeth scholarships worth $4,000 from the B.C. government to pursue post-graduate work overseas. Alexandra Bunyan, an English literature graduate from Kelowna, is going to Oxford University to begin doctoral studies. Megan Gilgan, who has a BA in political science, will study for a master's in international relations at the London School of Economics.