UBC honours outstanding alumni at 15th annual Alumni Achievement Awards

What do a former prime minister, a Métis community health leader, and a tech-savvy social advocate have in common?

They’re all graduates of the University of British Columbia, which will on Nov. 10 honour these and other outstanding alumni whose work has contributed to environmental sustainability, social justice and improving the lives of the disadvantaged in Canada and around the world.

The 15th annual UBC Alumni Achievement Awards will be held Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the UBC Life Sciences Centre (2350 Health Sciences Mall).

Kim Campbell (Alumni Award of Distinction) went from a spot in UBC’s student government in the 1970s to becoming Canada’s 19th, and first female, prime minister in 1993. Campbell was also the country’s first female minister of justice and attorney-general and the first woman to become minister of national defence for a NATO country. She now promotes democracy and good governance through organizations worldwide.

Dr. Jennifer Mervyn (Outstanding Young Alumnus Award) found herself living on the streets in the early 1990s, and her experiences motivated her to build a career dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk and homeless aboriginal youth. Her video-ethnography doctoral dissertation at UBC focused on the stories of former street youth like herself who had found the strength and determination to make the transition back into mainstream life.

Born in Nyobok, Ghana, to a polygamous family of subsistence farmers, UBC PhD candidate Vida Yakong (Outstanding Future Alumnus Award) earned her secondary school diploma through self-study, challenged national graduation exams and became the first woman in her village to attain a university education. And while the Okanagan may be a long way from northern Ghana, that doesn’t stop this community health nurse from travelling home every year to help build economic capacity and improve health outcomes for women and children in two Ghanaian villages.

Other award winners include:

Hon. John Fraser: Lifetime Achievement Award

– Lawyer and former federal cabinet minister who has worked on issues of conservation and environmental sustainability.

Dr. Edwin H.K. Yen: Honorary Alumnus Award

– Former dean of Dentistry who raised the profile of the faculty internationally while reimagining its instructional methods.

Parisa Bastani: Outstanding Future Alumnus Award

– Mechanical engineering grad, Wesbrook scholar and student leader who has shown outstanding potential in the automotive industry

Gary Birch: Global Citizenship Award

– Electrical engineer and executive director of the Neil Squire Society who is committed to the development of assistive technologies for Canadians with physical disabilities.

Dr. Judith Hall: Outstanding Faculty Community Service Award

– Clinical geneticist and pediatrician who has shown great commitment to the leadership and governance in BC medicine.

Justice Grant D. Burnyeat: Blythe Eagles Volunteer Leadership Award

– A respected judge whose commitment to the university spans from his presidency of the UBC student union to his membership on the UBC Senate.

For more information, visit: www.alumni.ubc.ca/events/awards


Sean Sullivan
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.3213
E-mail: sean.sullivan@ubc.ca