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The Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association (WLUAA) celebrated members of the Laurier community who “inspire lives of leadership and purpose” at its annual Awards of Excellence this week.
The Alumni Association works in collaboration with Laurier’s Development & Alumni Relations office to foster interaction and participation with the university’s 85,000 alumni. In particular, WLUAA focuses on maintaining and boosting Laurier’s reputation.
The Awards of Excellence, which highlight and recognize people who engage with the world around them and provide leadership where it is most needed, are an opportunity to celebrate the Laurier community.
Following are recipients of the 2014 Awards of Excellence, along with excerpts from the citations delivered at the event:
Student Alumnus of the Year – Cameron Denham, Business Administration, President, Student Alumni Association
Acknowledges the volunteer work of a student who has been instrumental in building bridges between current students, alumni and the administration.
Cameron Denham is an outstanding leader and role model for the Student Alumni Association. He credits the SAA to providing him with his first leadership opportunity at Laurier. Denham embodies the professional growth and true leadership qualities we love to see in our students. His help in creating exciting and dynamic student programming has been invaluable.
Schaus Award for Staff - Debra Martz Melanson, Administrative Assistant, Music Therapy
Recognizes a member of the Laurier staff for his or her outstanding contributions to the Laurier community.
Debra Martz Melanson has been a Laurier employee for the past 33 years, working in Payroll, English, and, for the last 21 years, Music Therapy. She will retire from Laurier this spring. One of her nominators noted, “On many occasions she has offered insights and innovative ideas for the future of the program. Her energy and belief in the work of music therapy is humbling.”
Hoffmann-Little Award for Faculty – Donna Kotsopoulos, Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Faculty of Education
Recognizes excellence in teaching and professional endeavours.
As a professor, Donna Kotsopoulos empowers her students, helping them to recognize the influence they have in the achievements of their own students. Her ability to understand, connect with and motivate students creates a supportive learning environment that encourages self-motivation and collaboration.
Young Alumnus of the Year – Jason Shim ’07
Recognizes the outstanding achievements by an alum of any Laurier program who is 30 years of age or younger.
Jason Shim is guided in his professional and volunteer work by his desire to make a “personal contribution to the betterment of society.” In his current role at Pathways to Education he is a role model for youth at risk of not graduating from high school, inspiring and motivating them to reach their full potential.
Faculty Mentoring Award – Margaret Walton-Roberts, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies and the Balsillie School of International Affairs
Recognizes a faculty member for his or her outstanding mentorship and support to students.
Margaret Walton-Roberts has a natural inclination to mentor, support and help others. She is a warm, funny, self-deprecating, and extremely bright individual who knows intuitively how to put others at ease and bring out the best in them. Students are drawn to her for this reason, and they recognize the many ways in which they benefit from her dedication and generosity.
Honorary Alumnus of the Year - Daniel Lichti, Associate Professor, Faculty of Music
Recognizes individuals who are not Laurier graduates and who have brought significant honour to the university and/or to local, provincial, national or international communities.
Daniel Lichti is one of Canada’s finest concert and oratorio singers. He has always been an ardent advocate for Laurier. Since joining the Faculty of Music in 1998, he has been especially active in enhancing our global reputation. He is a tremendous booster for the institution and frequently serves as an ambassador for Laurier worldwide.
Alumnus of the Year – David Chilton ’95, ’06
Recognizes former Laurier students who have achieved excellence in work and study, have shown generosity of spirit to their university, profession and community, and who bring great honour to this institution.
David Chilton is an economics graduate. Among other roles, he is also an author, a speaker, an entrepreneur and a Dragon. As a panelist on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, he supports entrepreneurs and helps Canadians turn their dreams into reality. His contributions to Canada embody a culture of continuous learning, innovation and achievement.
WLUAA also presented the Tom Berczi Campus Citizenship Scholarships, which recognize students who combine academic achievement with volunteer involvement. The scholarships are valued at $1,000.
• Lindsay Plater, Honours Psychology: Research Specialist (BA)
The Awards of Excellence is a celebration of the unique and varied ways in which recipients are building the Laurier community. Award winners illustrate that Laurier is a community of thoughtful, generous people who are engaged and inspired to lead lives of leadership and purpose.
For more information on the Awards of Excellence or to nominate someone visit www.laurieralumni.ca/alumni/awards-program.