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Annual Report

Recognizing the outstanding contributions of our alumni

Front row: Stephanie Smith, Kerry O’Reilly Wilks, Blake Gilks, Alan Cherrington, Back row: Jack Oudemans, Class of ’59 Reunion Committee, Kevin Ferguson, Sheila Washburn, Class of ’59 Reunion Committee, Lyndsay Lovely, Brooke Yeates, president of UNB’s Associated Alumni.

Every year, UNB Associated Alumni recognizes graduates and groups for their tremendous accomplishments and contributions to the association, the university, their professions, the community and beyond.

“The University of New Brunswick derives tremendous pride from the success of its alumni,” says Margaret Grant-McGivney, executive director of UNB Associated Alumni. “The Proudly UNB Awards dinner is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of some outstanding individuals, and to share stories of our vibrant and passionate alumni community.”

In 2016, the honourees included two internationally recognized medical researchers, a decorated military officer, a medical student with a passion for global health initiatives, a lawyer committed to raising money for neonatal hospital care, as well as many dedicated UNB advocates.

The honourees

Prominent diabetes researcher Alan Cherrington (BSc’67), a professor at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, has not only had a global impact in his field, but he is making an impact here at UNB with the creation of the Cherrington Family Scholarship, giving future generations of alumni the opportunity to study science and nursing.

C. Blake Gilks (BSc’81) is as a global leader in the research of gynecological cancers whose discoveries have shaped the understanding and treatment of a variety of cancers. A professor in pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Gilks is interim director of laboratories for the Vancouver Coastal Health region and president-elect of the International Society of Gynecological Pathologists.

Kerry O’Reilly Wilks (LLB’01) is the head of legal, North America and UK, at Vale’s Base Metals Business, one of the largest mining companies in the world. Ms. O’Reilly Wilks and her husband, Lloyd Wilks, spearheaded a fundraising benefit in support of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. The gala and auction, inspired by the incredible care their premature son received while in hospital, raised $250,000 for the neonatal intensive care unit.

Capt. Stephanie Smith (BN’04), a critical care nursing officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, was deployed on two missions to Afghanistan not long after graduating from UNB. She initiated a formal mentorship program for nurses and was awarded the U.S. Military Medal of Achievement for her exemplary work. In 2014, she received the Major General Barr Award of Excellence for demonstrating a high degree of excellence and professionalism over an extended period of time.

Leah R. Levac (MPhil’07, PhD’11), an assistant professor of political science at the University of Guelph, is concerned with the lack of participation of marginalized youth in the development of policies affecting their lives. Dr. Levac was awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council research grant focused on the impacts of northern urbanization and resource extraction on women and youth, and their role in public policy development and community decision-making.

Lyndsay M. Lovely (BSc’06), an occupational therapist and a Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick student, has been recognized with the prestigious Soroptimist Foundation of Canada national award for her work and future aspirations in women’s health. An avid volunteer with a passion for global health initiatives, Ms. Lovely volunteered her rehabilitation services in Haiti to those disabled by an earthquake, and has since returned twice working through a wide range of disasters.

Kevin Ferguson, (BBA’92, BA’93) is the founder and CEO of sunstainedAbility, a management consulting firm based in Fredericton and has represented UNB for 16 years on the Associated Alumni Council. As council president, Mr. Ferguson played a pivotal role in engaging alumni and advocating fervently for the future of UNB.

The Class of 1959 Reunion Committee, honoured as Alumni Group of the Year, was the driving force behind the creation of the UNB Research Showcase held during UNB’s Homecoming weekend. What began as an opportunity for members of their class to learn about faculty research at UNB, has now become part of the Homecoming program for all alumni to enjoy.