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Spotlight Shines on Distinguished Alumni at Gala Event
May 5, 2007

Six of Trent’s most accomplished alumni were honoured during a night of firsts at an Alumni Awards dinner held on the set of the dramatic television series Degrassi: The Next Generation, on Saturday, May 5. Hosted by the Trent University Alumni Association, the event marked the first time that the Distinguished Alumni Awards and the Spirit of Trent Award were presented in the same night. It was also the first time that the Trent University Alumni Association Young Leader Award was bestowed.

Stephen Stohn and Trent Chancellor, Dr. Roberta BondarAttending the awards ceremony was Dr. Roberta Bondar, who is now in her second term as Trent’s chancellor. In congratulating the alumni winners, Dr. Bondar spoke to the value of the Trent experience, saying: "I look at Trent as being a wonderful school with a depth of instructors who reach out not only to their community, but to the world…In extolling the virtues of Trent, which I love doing, I tell people that Trent really is shaping the world, through its students, alumni and faculty."

"Trent really was the beginning of my life in so many ways," reflected alumnus Stephen Stohn, one of three alumni to be presented with the prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award at the event. Mr. Stohn described that while at Trent, he immersed himself in extracurricular activities, starting Trent Radio, and the Arthur, the student-run newspaper. Today, Mr. Stohn is the executive producer of Degrassi, and offered up the set as the venue for the event, located at Epitome Pictures in Toronto. Mr. Stohn was recognized for his outstanding contributions to both the legal profession and the entertainment industry.

Another Distinguished Alumni Award winner was former politician and renowned higher education advocate Richard Johnston. Mr. Johnston was honoured with the Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of his remarkable contributions to post-secondary education as past president of Centennial College and progress toward nuclear disarmament during his eleven-year career as M.P.P.

The third recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, Juno-award winning musician Ian Tamblyn, also played a key role in the evening’s events. Following the banquet dinner and awards ceremony in the Degrassi gym, Mr. Tamblyn performed some of his Canadian-inspired songs. Mr. Tamblyn graduated from Trent with a sociology degree in 1971 and is now renowned as one of Canada’s foremost musicians.

As the inaugural winners of the Young Leader Award, which was established to recognize significant contributions by Trent alumni who are under the age of 35, Dalal Al-Waheidi and Darren Murphy were both humbled to be honoured by their beloved alma mater. Originally from Palestine, Ms. Al-Waheidi graduated from Trent in 2002 and now serves as the chief operations director for Free The Children, the world's largest network of children helping children through education.

Darren Murphy has also experienced much success since graduating from Trent only seven years ago. Most recently, he was named the publisher and gener al manager of The Peterborough Examiner. "I feel well-equipped and capable in meeting the challenges of running a newspaper on a daily basis due to the experiences from Trent," he said after receiving the Young Leader Award. Mr. Murphy is also a highly active community leader, serving on the board of the United Way of Peterborough, the Ontario Press Council, and the Festival of Lights.

In addition, long-time Trent employee and alumnus Bob Condon received special honours at the awards ceremony as the recipient of the Spirit of Trent Award. This award is presented to an alumnus or alumna who has made a difference through contributions to the University, the alumni association or the community. "I can tell you that Trent is certainly engraved in my life," he said during the ceremony. Mr. Condon was recognized for his significant impact Trent students, faculty, staff and the community during his past 30 years of service working in the Physical Resources Department and for the Athletics Complex.

"Every detail of this event provided a special opportunity to celebrate the creative and diverse ways Trent alumni are having an impact on the world around us," said Trent University President Bonnie Patterson, who co-emceed the event with alumni association president Matt Griem. "Collectively, this year’s honourees are profound contributors in the fields of business, Canadian identity, arts and entertainment, politics and higher education. Together, they help position Trent as a leading university, and they generate a tremendous amount of pride within our alumni family."

To learn more about Alumni Award criteria, and how to make nominations, please visit the Alumni website.