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Trent Fencer Recognized as Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Woman of Influence


Business Student Virginia Portmann Presented with Prestigious Award at OUA Luncheon in Toronto Today

Tuesday, February 10, 2009, Peterborough

Varsity fencing team captain and outstanding Trent student, Virginia Portmann will be honoured as a top female scholar-athlete by Ontario University Athletics (OUA) at the sixth annual Women of Influence Luncheon today at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The event honours female student-athletes who have excelled in their chosen sports and fields of study. Athletes from 19 post-secondary institutions across Ontario will be profiled at the ceremony. This year's guest speaker will be Canadian Olympian and OUA Champion for Life Tonya Verbeek.

“It is an honour to be recognized, yet at the same time, very humbling,” Ms. Portmann said about receiving the award. “Influence is not something that I have sought out; it is something that has been given to me. People invest their trust in those with integrity and passion for common goals and interests. Those who know me know that I would not betray our commonly shared hopes and ideals for myself. I have been fortunate that people trust me and believe in me and I suppose that is what makes me a woman of influence.”

Ms. Portmann graduated from the Trent-Fleming School of Nursing in 2008. At convocation last spring, she was presented with a Symons Medal for high academic achievement. She returned to Trent in the fall of 2008 to complete a second degree in Business Administration.

Originally from Gwynne, Alberta, Ms. Portmann is also captain of the women’s varsity fencing team at Trent. Outside of the University, she has dedicated her time to volunteering. She spearheaded the local portion of Cycle North-South, a project that collects and sends used bicycles to developing countries like Mexico and Peru. She is also deeply involved with Friends of Honduran Children/Peterborough Medical Brigades, helping to organize a major fundraiser and has participated in a medical brigade trip to Honduras. While finishing her BBA, she is also working at the Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga in the oncology department.

“Virginia is truly an extraordinary woman,” said Bill Byrick, director of Athletics at Trent. “In my position I see many fabulous students and leaders but every once in a while someone comes along that you know will make an incredible difference in the world, and in the future. Virginia is one of those people. Her commitment to improving society and providing social service on both a micro and macro scale really instils tremendous confidence that the next generation is going to just fine, as long as we have people like Virginia at the helm.”


For more information, please contact:
Virginia Portmann at (905) 691-6911; or
Bill Byrick, Director of Athletics, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x1252