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Distinguished Alumni Honoured at Inaugural Dinner

Distinguished AlumniOn Saturday, April 29, 2006, 21 of Trent University's most accomplished alumni were honoured during an historic by-invitation-only dinner organized by the Alumni Association.

Approximately 175 people were in attendance at the event, which was held to honour the 2006 recipients of the Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award. The Distinguished Alumni Award has been presented only once before, to Canadian Olympic rower Phil Graham.

The 2006 recipients in attendance at the event included business and technology guru Don Tapscott, Ontario Provincial Judge Kofi Barnes, film and television producer and director Bill Corcoran, Olympic rowing gold medallist Rob Marland, Peterborough Mayor Sylvia Sutherland, Aboriginal elder Shirley Williams, and National Executive Search consultant Janet Wright. Several of the 2006 recipients, including authors Yann Martel and Richard Wright, were unable to attend the dinner, but have accepted the award.

Upon accepting her award, Mayor Sutherland echoed the feelings of many in attendance by saying, "Given the foundation upon which Trent was established and upon which it continues to grow, I have every confidence that this university will continue to be a source of knowledge creation and talent."

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented on the basis of a Trent graduate's achievement and leadership in their respective field. Recipients will have shown leadership in business, industry, a profession, or in public life. They will have brought honour to Trent University through endeavours which have brought them prominence within their field. In addition, their vision, commitment, creativity and leadership has been recognized within their field and/or beyond it.

A complete list of alumni presented with the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award is as follows:

Kofi Barnes '84 is an Ontario Provincial Judge. As the former Deputy Director of the Federal Prosecution Service and a former Senior Crown Counsel for the Toronto Drug Treatment Court Program, Mr. Barnes received the Commemorative Medal for the Queen's Golden Jubilee, awarded to those who make "a significant contribution to their fellow citizens, their community, or to Canada."

Bill Corcoran ‘70 is an award-winning director of theatrical and video movies, as well as movies for television, pilots, and episodic television. He has directed over 20 movies and 150 episodes of series television for almost every network in the United States and Canada. Turning his hand to writing and developing in the past year, Mr. Corcoran is currently polishing a feature screenplay and has written two other teleplays for future production.

Susan Drain ‘68 has established a reputation as a professor dedicated to excellence in teaching and encouraging excellence in others. She has spent the last two decades of her career involved in activities that promote and support the improvement of university teaching and learning. Ms. Drain was recognized with the 2002 Mount Saint Vincent's University Award for Instructional Leadership in the field of writing, and the 2003 Association of Atlantic Universities Instructional Leadership Award.

Maggie Helwig '79 has enjoyed a prolific career as a poet and writer. She has written eight books of poetry, two books of essays, a collection of short stories, and two novels, Where She Was Standing and Between Mountains. Ms. Helwig won the Canadian Church Press Award for fiction or non-fiction narrative in 2000 and was named Poet of the Year by Blue Nose Press in 1995.

Andrew Ignatieff '69 has passionately devoted himself to peace-building and to improving the quality of life for those less fortunate. His professional experience includes all aspects of the administration and delivery of international development cooperation programming.

Dianne Lister '71 is a certified professional fundraising executive who served for ten years as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation. She has received several honours including being the first and only Canadian to receive the International Outstanding Fundraising Executive of the Year Award given by the USA-based Association of Professional Fundraisers organization.   In 2006, Ms. Lister was appointed VP Advancement and External Relations at Trent University. 

Rob Marland '83 is one of Canada's most successful realtors as well as an Olympic rower. In 1992, Mr. Marland competed as part of the Canadian national rowing team Men's Heavy Eight, where he and his fellow team mates defeated Romania and Germany in the final race to bring home the gold from Barcelona, Spain. 

Robert Morgan '70 is a dominant force in helping establish Canada as one of the world's leading producers of theatre for young audiences. As the founding artistic director of the Children's Peace Theatre, he is dedicated to bringing theatre to the global stage where children can create and deliver the message of peace. Over Mr. Morgan's 20 plus year career, he has written more than 20 professionally produced plays, directed and acted in over 40 productions, and has won the prestigious Chalmers Award for outstanding playwriting six times.

Suresh Narine ‘98 is a world-class scientist who currently teaches and conducts his research at the University of Alberta. He has been presented with numerous awards and merits, including a Growing Alberta Leadership Award for Innovation, and the University of Alberta Students' Union Award for Leadership and Undergraduate Teaching.

David Patterson ‘66 is a world leader in finance and investment. His company, Northwater Capital Management Incorporated, manages billions of dollars for large pension funds in Canada and the U.S., as well as the endowment funds of some of Canada's top universities and major mutual fund sponsors. Northwater, which is wholly owned by its employees, is one of the largest privately owned investment management firms in Canada.

Robert Stephenson ‘68 has been a distinguished corporate and commercial lawyer for over 30 years. His proficiency in numerous substantial financing transactions has allowed him to play a major role in a foreign project financing that, at the time, ranked as the world's largest of its kind. Mr. Stephenson has maintained an interest in issues involving higher education. He is the first alumnus to chair the Board of Governors of Trent and also was head of the Council of Chairs – Ontario Universities. The Alumni Association's Award for Excellence in Student Governance bears his name.

Sylvia Sutherland ‘68 is the current Mayor of Peterborough. She first held the position from 1986 to1991 and has been serving her second term since 1998. In her role as Mayor, Ms. Sutherland has led the council to develop a new direction in commercial policy for the city. On her watch, a number of major new businesses chose to call Peterborough home. Ms. Sutherland has been a Canadian delegate to the United Nations, and was appointed by the Provincial Government to the Ontario Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy and the Macdonald Committee Reviewing Ontario Hydro.

Don Tapscott '66, a globally-renowned author and futurist, is a consultant to businesses, governments, and think tanks around the world. He has built a near legendary career in demonstrating the relationships between modern information technologies and a traditional liberal arts education, while maintaining the importance of the human element to technology. Mr. Tapscott will also be receiving an Honorary Degree from Trent during the Friday, June 2 afternoon convocation ceremony.

Shirley Williams ‘79 is Professor Emeritus, retired from Trent's Indigenous Studies Department. Ms. Williams is also a member of the Bird Clan of the Ojibway and Odawa First Nations of Canada. Over the years, Ms. Williams has tirelessly lectured across Ontario promoting Nishnaabe language and culture. She is a consultant and has sat as an Elder at Sweetgrass First Nation Language Council for the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford.

Janet Wright '67 has been assisting search and selection committees with senior-level recruitment activities for the past eleven years. Janet Wright and Associates Inc. specializes in assisting public-sector and not-for-profit clients across Canada, such as universities, hospitals, arts and cultural organizations, social service and Crown agencies, with senior-level searches.

Yann Martel '81 is one of the best known of all Trent graduates. He has written two major novels, Self and Life of Pi, which have both been critical and commercial successes as well as a collection of short stories, The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios. Life of Pi won the Man Booker Prize and the Hugh Maclennan Prize for Fiction. The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Mr. Martel on March 31, during a visit to Traill College.

James Orbinski '80 is the past president of Doctors Without Borders (MSF). This veteran of many of the world's most disturbing and complex humanitarian emergencies accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of MSF in 1999. Mr. Orbinski was Head of Mission both in Zaire during the refugee crisis of 1996-97 and in Rwanda during the civil war and genocide in 1994. He was also medical co-ordinator in Somalia during the 1992-93 famine and civil war. Mr. Orbinski received an Honorary Degree from Trent in 2001.

Jane Stewart '75 has served as Canada's Minister of Human Resources Development, Minister of National Revenue, and Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. She also served on the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs. Ms. Stewart is currently the Chief of Staff to Bill Graham, Canada's Interim Leader of the Opposition.

Richard Wright '70 is a novelist whose internationally-published works includes Clara Callan, winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction and the Giller Prize. Mr. Wright is the author of seven other novels, including The Age of Longing, nominated for a Governor General's Award and the Giller Prize. He has won the Trillium Book Award, the CBA Libris Award for Author of the Year, the CBA Libris Award for Fiction Book of the Year and the Pearson Canada Readers' Choice Award. Mr. Wright will receive an Honorary Degree from Trent at this year's convocation ceremonies, to be held on the afternoon of Thursday, June 1.

Photo: From left to right standing: Bill Corcoran, Susan Drain, Robert Stephenson, Andrew Ignatieff, directly in front of Andrew is Maggie Helwig, Suresh Narine, Rob Marland, directly in front of Rob is Shirley Williams, Geoffrey Eathorne (2006 Symons Teaching Award), David Patterson, Janet Wright, Sylvia Sutherland. Seated from left to right: Don Tapscott, Robert Morgan, Kofi Barnes

Posted May 9, 2006





























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