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Laurier Alumni Association announces Awards of Excellence recipients
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Six members of the Laurier community have received the 2011 Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association (WLUAA) Awards of Excellence in recognition of their outstanding achievements and significant contributions to the Laurier community.
“We are proud to have the opportunity to recognize the exceptional contributions of our alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends who demonstrate time and time again that Laurier has a long tradition of inspiring lives of leadership and purpose,” said Rob Donelson, vice-president of Development and Alumni Relations.
The Awards of Excellence program was created 32 years ago and has expanded over the years to align with the priorities of the university and to add new awards, such as the “Young Alumnus/a of the Year,” which recognizes the outstanding achievements and contributions of younger alumni. Alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of Laurier are invited to nominate candidates each year.
“This event allows us to truly express how grateful we, as alumni, are for the dedication of faculty and staff who work tirelessly, and yet also selflessly, to make the Laurier experience tops in Canada,” said Tom Berczi ’88, ‘93, WLUAA president. “It is also a wonderful time to celebrate the achievements of Laurier’s exceptional students and alumni whose contributions make us all proud to be Laurier alumni.”
The following are recipients of the 2011 Awards of Excellence:
Jane Archibald ’99 – Alumna of the Year
This award recognizes an alumnus who has brought honour to the institution through outstanding achievement. In a short amount of time, Jane has already had an extraordinary career. A student of Professor Emeritus Victor Martens, Jane is known as one of Canada’s finest artists on the international stage. She has performed around the globe in a number of prestigious roles, including a top-ten position in the coveted international Neue-Stimmen competition. In addition, she received an unheard-of offer to sign a contract, on-the-spot, with the Vienna State Opera. She is currently performing with the Canadian Opera Company.
Kay Koppedrayer – Faculty Mentoring Award
This award was established to recognize a faculty member for his or her outstanding mentorship and support to students. For the past 25 years, Kay has been a mentor to undergraduate and graduate students at Laurier. She has held a number of leadership roles in the Department of Religion and Culture, including: undergraduate officer, graduate officer, and department chair. Always putting her students first, Kay’s students say she has made Laurier a better school, and its students better scholars.
Victor Martens ’64 – Hoffmann-Little Award for Faculty
The Hoffman-Little Award recognizes teaching excellence and professional endeavour at Laurier. During Victor’s career at Laurier, the success of his students on the operatic and concert stages of the world has helped to put Laurier’s Faculty of Music on the map. Victor graduated from Laurier in 1964 and went on to enjoy a successful performing career. He performed in London, Frankfurt, Zurich, Geneva, Germany, across Canada, and returned to Kitchener-Waterloo five years later to devote his career to teaching the next generation. Victor’s former students rank him as one of the three most significant voice pedagogues in Canadian history.
Mike Morrice ’08 – Young Alumnus of the Year
This award is given to recognize outstanding achievement by an alum of any Laurier program who is 30 years of age or younger. Mike graduated from Laurier in 2008 with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Computing and Computer Electronics and a Bachelor of Business Administration with a grade point average of 11.6 (out of 12). As a student, Mike co-founded Sustainable Waterloo, a not-for-profit organization that advances the environmental sustainability of organizations across the Region of Waterloo. He continues to serve as its Executive Director and has been instrumental in advancing environmental sustainability in the Region.
Wally Pirker ’81 – Schaus Award for Staff
This award is presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to the university by a staff member. The recipient is distinguished by his or her stature, dedication, integrity and ability. Wally has been an integral part of the lifeblood at Laurier for the past 29 years. Since graduating from Laurier with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1981, Wally has held key responsibilities in internal auditing and institutional research at Laurier. Known by many as the go-to guy for data and information analysis, his work is vital to the operations of the university.
Kristen Saunders ’11 – Student Alumna of the Year
This award is presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to the university by a student. During Kristen’s four years at Laurier, she was an active member of the Laurier Student Alumni (LSA), serving as its president this past year. With Kristen’s leadership and support, LSA had a record number of first-year recruits, executed a number of successful events, and created the LSA Engaged Student Leader Award for which the LSA provided a substantial donation. Upon graduation in June, Kristen will attend the University of Ontario Institute of Technology to pursue a Bachelor of Education.