Two Long-Serving Members of Trent University Community to be Honoured with 2017 Eminent Service Award

May 4, 2017

Ms. Kathy Fife and Dr. Elizabeth Popham to be honoured at this year’s convocation ceremonies

A faculty member whose work helped form Trent University Durham – GTA, and a staff member many describe as a pillar in the foundation of life at the University’s campus in Peterborough will be honoured at Convocation this June as the 2017 recipients of the Eminent Service Award.

Dr. Elizabeth Popham and Ms. Kathy Fife will be recognized for their commitment to the faculty, staff and, most of all, the students of Trent University with this prestigious award. Awarded annually since 1978, and bestowed by the Board of Governors, the Eminent Service Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to life at Trent during their time at the University. It is normally awarded to its recipients at the culmination of their service at Trent University.

“Both Dr. Popham and Ms. Fife have held remarkable careers at Trent that have left a powerful mark on the University community that will last for years to come,” said Dr. Jackie Muldoon, provost and vice-president Academic at Trent. “We look forward to celebrating their long-time commitment to our institution at our upcoming convocation ceremonies.”

For more than 30 years, Ms. Fife served as a staff member in a number of different departments at the University. Those who nominated her for the award said that, no matter which department Ms. Fife worked for, it was clear that her heart was devoted to the students who came to the University each year. Ms. Fife also took pride in connecting Trent with the Peterborough community. From taking on co-chair duties with the University’s United Way campaign and to serving on Trent’s Board of Governors, to taking the time to be a staple on the Trent’s annual Santa Claus Parade float, Ms. Fife cared deeply for Trent University. Ms. Fife was also named the recipient of the Nancy Simmons Smith Staff Award of Excellence in 2013.

“Dependable, reliable and approachable were constant traits and talents that made her an integral part of Trent’s social fabric,” said one of Ms. Fife’s nominators. “Most of all – she cared – about her colleagues, about Trent, about the departments she worked in and profoundly for the students.”                                                                                          

“I see myself as one of the lucky ones, work was always fun for me at Trent University,” Ms. Fife said. “I held numerous different roles at Trent over the years, in different departments but what I enjoyed the most was the student atmosphere. It’s an honour to return home to Trent for convocation and accept this award.”

Professor Elizabeth Popham shared this same heart and passion for the students at Trent University. A faculty member in the department of English Literature, Prof. Popham also served as associate chair and chair of the department. During her time as chair, her hard work led to the creation of the unique M.A. in Public Texts graduate program. Her legacy can also be seen in the creation of Trent’s Teaching and Learning Centre, as well the University’s early accessible online learning and continuing education efforts. During her time as principal of Julian Blackburn College, Prof. Popham played an integral role in developing new program opportunities at Trent Durham-GTA, laying the foundation for what the Oshawa campus is today.

Reflecting on the award, Prof. Popham said, “I have been truly fortunate to be part of the Trent University community, in the English Department and the university at large – both in Peterborough and Durham. I have worked with so many inspiring people over the years, and I am deeply honoured that my friends and colleagues thought to nominate me for this award.”

“If we are to pinpoint more fully Beth’s remarkable contribution to the life of the Trent community, we need to speak about the care, thoughtfulness, generosity and kindness with which imbues any project in which she is involved, “said one of Prof. Popham’s nominators.

Ms. Fife and Prof. Popham will receive the Eminent Service Award at Trent’s convocation ceremony on Tuesday, June 6 at 2:00 p.m.

About Trent University

One of Canada's top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that's personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent's unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent's students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham – Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.

Kate Weersink, media relations & strategic communications officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6180 or