Two long-standing employees of Trent University will be the 2020 recipients of the University’s prestigious Eminent Service Award for their exceptional contributions: Joe Muldoon, well-known for building reputation and programs as head of Trent’s Durham GTA campus, and Dr. Don McCaskill, who was instrumental in helping lay the foundation for Trent’s leadership in Indigenous Studies,.
“Together with the entire Trent community, I whole-heartedly congratulate and thank Joe Muldoon and Dr. Don McCaskill for their hard work and dedication over many years. It has played a significant role making Trent an outstanding university,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor. “This award is a fitting honour for their long and distinguished careers.”
The Eminent Service Award is handed out annually to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to life at Trent during their time at the University.
Mr. Muldoon retired in September 2019 after an accomplished 33-year career at Trent that spanned many roles including the University’s first research officer as well as assistant to the dean of Arts and Science. In his final role at Trent, as the inaugural head of Trent University Durham GTA, he developed the campus while strengthening Trent’s reputation and presence throughout Oshawa, Durham and the GTA through community engagement, new program development, and negotiating new articulation agreements, all which provided new opportunities for students.
"I am both honoured and flattered to join the list of staff and faculty who have dedicated their careers to Trent's exceptional undergraduate student experience,” Mr. Muldoon said. “My final years spent at the Durham campus were amongst the happiest and rewarding of my career and saw student growth in new programs and a new residential and academic building at our unique campus in Durham."
The University honoured Mr. Muldoon at the 2019 Durham Convocation by announcing that, starting in 2020, students graduating with the highest average from the Durham campus in both general and honours degrees would receive the Muldoon Award. Mr. Muldoon was also active in the Region of Durham, notably in the Oshawa and Whitby chambers of commerce and was an advisor for the Community Innovation Lab.
“Joe Muldoon’s legacy at Trent University will live on long after his retirement,” said one of his nominators. “He represents the very essence of the University and some might say that Joe’s name is synonymous with Trent—he was, and still continues to be, committed, community-centric and collaborative.”
Professor Don McCaskill has been a full professor of Indigenous Studies for 35 of his 48 years at Trent and is best known for building and growing the discipline of Indigenous Studies at Trent. He founded the Indigenous Studies Ph.D. Program, which was the first of its kind in Canada, and also worked within the Department of Indigenous Studies to develop programs that provide Indigenous people with better access to university.
One nominator noted that Prof. McCaskill’s legacy of network building supported the foundations laid by Trent’s first president, Professor Tom Symons, as well as Professor Kenneth Kidd and the Indigenous Studies founding chair Harvey McCue. “His initiative to form strategic alliances was instrumental in laying a foundation for Trent’s leadership in Indigenous Studies and the building and growth of the discipline in Canada and abroad,” the nominator said.
Prof. McCaskill has served as chair of both the Department of Indigenous Studies and the Native Management and Economic Development Program. He has also participated in the Ecuador Year Abroad Program, created the Thailand Year Abroad Program and teaches a summer field course in Mexico.
“I was surprised and very pleased to receive word from the President that I had been nominated for this prestigious award,” Prof. McCaskill said about being presented with the Eminent Service Award. “I am very honoured.”
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.
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