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Associated Alumni

2016 Proudly UNB Award Recipients

2016 Proudly UNB Awards Recipients

Recipient list

Alumni Award of Distinction

Dr. Alan Cherrington

Dr. Alan Cherrington is a professor at Vanderbilt University in both the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and in the Department of Medicine. He currently holds the Jacquelyn A. Turner and Dr. Dorothy J. Turner Chair in Diabetes Research and is a passionate researcher, mentor and educator.

Over the years, Cherrington’s work has defined the effects of various hormonal and neuronal factors on liver glucose metabolism. Most recently, he’s examined the role they play in regulating glucose production during stressful situations such as exercise, hypoglycemia, illness, or injury, and is working to bridge the gap between academia and the pharmaceutical sector.

He has published nearly 300 peer-review papers and served as President of the American Diabetes Association. As the first non-medical physician to hold this position, Cherrington travelled extensively across the globe to educate people on the rapid spread of diabetes.

Widely recognized in his field, Cherrington has received numerous professional honours, including the Lilly Award, the Rachmiel Levine Award and the Banting Medal for Service from the American Diabetes Association, the David Rumbough Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the R.E. Heist Award from the University of Toronto and the Charles R. Park Faculty Award for Research from Vanderbilt University.

Cherrington has not only made global impact in his field of study, but is also making an impact on his alma mater. Through the creation of the Cherrington Family Scholarship, Cherrington is inspiring young minds and giving future generations of UNB alumni the opportunity to study science and nursing.

Alumni Award of Honour

Kevin Ferguson

Kevin Ferguson is an enthusiastic and long-standing supporter of UNB and the Associated Alumni.  When he stepped foot on campus for his first undergraduate degree, Ferguson immediately joined the Orientation Committee and found himself in a unique situation, welcoming brand new students to a university at which he had not yet attended a single class.

Throughout his time as a student, Ferguson immersed himself in various extracurricular activities on campus and his dedication to the university has only grown stronger as an alumnus.

With a special fondness for his alma mater, Ferguson represented UNB for 16 years on the Associated Alumni Council, first as a council member, then as the Associated Alumni president and later as a member of the Board of Governors.

Serving as council president, during a particularly tumultuous time for post-secondary education in New Brunswick, Ferguson played a pivotal role in engaging alumni and advocating fervently for the future of UNB. He worked actively behind the scenes, successfully helping garner support for a change in government policy.

Throughout his time on council, Ferguson took the lead on a variety of other important initiatives such as the creation of the first alumni survey in 2004 and the development of a new Strategic Plan for the Associated Alumni.

Currently the Founder and CEO of sustainedAbility, a management consulting firm, Ferguson is active in the community and maintains a strong connection to his alma mater, a testament to what it means to be Proudly UNB.

Alumni Award of Distinction

Dr. Blake Gilks

Dr. Blake Gilks is a world-leading researcher in gynecological cancers and is a highly respected mentor. A Fredericton native, Dr. Gilks received a Bachelor of Science from UNB in 1981, before completing medical school at Dalhousie University and specialist training in anatomical pathology at the University of British Columbia.  His ties to UNB run deep, sharing alumni status with his two brothers and his wife, who he met while studying at UNB.

In addition to being a professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the UBC, he is also a pathologist at Vancouver General Hospital, Interim Medical Director of Laboratories for the Vancouver Coastal Health region and President-Elect of the International Society of Gynecological Pathology.

Gilk’s discoveries have shaped the understanding and treatment of a variety of cancers globally. In particular, his demonstration that ovarian cancer is actually five different diseases, with different causes, genetic risk factors, patterns of spread, response to treatment and patient outcomes, is reflected in the World Health Organization and has led to improved treatments in women with the disease.

Not only is Gilks the co-founder of three different organizations devoted to facilitating the research of others and to improving cancer diagnosis and treatment, but he also established the Canadian Immunohistochemistry Quality Control Program (CIQC) along with several colleagues. This program has grown to serve more than 100 Canadian laboratories and has made astounding improvements on the quality of hospital cancer diagnosis.

Throughout his life and career, Gilks remarkable accomplishments have been an inspiration to his family, students and trainees.

Young Alumni Achievement Award

Dr. Leah Levac

Dr. Leah Levac has a growing concern with the lack of participation of marginalized youth in the development of policies affecting their lives. She is an assistant professor in Community Engaged Scholarship in the Department of Political Science at the University of Guelph, where she teaches, researches and explores her passion for the issue.

She was awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) research grant focused on the wellbeing impacts of northern urbanization and resource extraction on women and youth, and their role in public policy development and community decision-making. In addition to her research, she teaches courses for the University of Guelph’s Certificate in Civic Engagement and Global Citizenship.

Though an Ontario native, Levac has a special fondness for the Fredericton region and her alma mater, where she received a Masters in Philosophy and was subsequently awarded a Trudeau Scholarship to pursue her PhD, one of only 15 students across Canada to receive this award each year.

During her time in Fredericton, she also taught at UNB’s Renaissance College and volunteered with several community initiatives and organizations, including Youth in Transition, 21Inc and the Social Policy Research Network.  As a former Fredericton City Councilor, Levac actively demonstrated her strong commitment and passion for public engagement and community development.

Outside her professional career, Levac is committed to serving  her local community. She currently serves as Chair of the Girls Action Foundation Research Committee, where she leads a literature review and an environmental scan of leadership and social justice programs for young women.

Young Alumni Achievement Award

Lyndsay Lovely

Lyndsay Lovely is an occupational therapist and a third-year medical student with a passion for healthcare and volunteering her time to those in need. Since graduating from UNB in 2006, she has made significant accomplishments in both her professional and academic careers.

In 2008, Lovely was the recipient of the prestigious Soroptimist Foundation of Canada national award, whereby she was recognized for her work and future aspirations in women’s health. Shortly after completing her post-secondary studies, Lovely worked in both public and private healthcare, including many teaching contracts at Eastern College, where she helped develop their new OT/PTA program.

As an avid volunteer with a passion for global health initiatives, Lovely’s most notable volunteer efforts have been her work in Haiti. In 2010, Lovely volunteered her rehabilitation services to those disabled by a devastating  earthquake. She spent much of her time in the tent cities, established to aid over one million victims who lost their homes.

Lovely has since visited Haiti twice more, working through a wide range of disasters including a cholera outbreak, hurricane Tomas and the rioting of the 2011 Presidential election. During her last trip to Haiti, Lovely worked in a new capacity as a Dalhousie New Brunswick medical student helping with a Chikungunya outbreak.

As a proud alumna, Lovely aspires to one day provide healthcare to future students at the UNB Health Clinic. 

Alumni Award of Distinction

Kerry O'Reilly Wilks

Ms. Kerry O’Reilly Wilks (LLB’01) is the Head of Legal, North America & UK, at Vale’s Base Metals Business, one of the largest mining companies in the world. In this role, she oversees a wide range of legal issues in North America and the UK, including litigation, operations, strategic planning and health and safety. She has also filled a senior strategic advisory role with Vale's Asia-Pacific affiliates, where she faced many challenges legally representing a publically traded, multinational dealing with foreign governments, foreign regulators and significant business partners. A displaced Newfoundlander living in Toronto, O’Reilly Wilks was previously a partner with Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP in Toronto. O’Reilly Wilks has received recognition for her outstanding work, including being named one of Lexpert's Rising Stars - Top 40 under 40 lawyers in Canada in 2012.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, O’Reilly Wilks has contributed prominently in her local community. In July 2015, O’Reilly Wilks and her husband, Lloyd, spearheaded an extraordinary fundraising benefit in support of St. Michael’s hospital in Toronto. Inspired by the incredible care their premature son Malachy received while in hospital, the benefit raised $250,000 for the neo-natal intensive care unit. The fundraiser is O’Reilly Wilks’ way of giving back and thanking the St. Michael’s team for the miracles they create for so many families, like her own.  An ardent supporter of St. Michael's, O'Reilly Wilks also currently sits on the hospital's Board of Directors.

Alumni Award of Distinction

Captain. Stephanie Smith

Captain Stephanie Smith is a critical care nursing officer in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) with a strong passion for healthcare and a wide range of professional accomplishments. In the short time since she graduated from UNB, Smith has had a significant impact on her field of work.

Not long after graduating and joining the CAF, Smith was deployed on two missions to Afghanistan.  During the second she initiated a formal nurses’ mentorship program and was awarded the U.S. Military Medal of Achievement for her exemplary work.

Smith has also participated in two air evacuation missions, was deployed to the Philippines following the 2013 typhoon and has worked as an instructor at the Canadian Forces Health Services Centre, where she received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Smith has been recognized for her commitment and dedication to both the CAF and nursing profession. In 2014, she received the Major General Barr Award of Excellence, which is awarded based on performance over an extended period of time, and a demonstrated high degree of excellence and professionalism. Most recently she received honorable mention for the Toronto Star Nightingale Award.

Outside her professional career, Smith is an avid volunteer and an inspiration to many. She has volunteered on two leave periods in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she worked in a local pediatric ICU and emergency department. Most recently, Smith volunteered with the Canadian International Medical Relief Organization in Turkey developing deployable medical facilities for Syria.

Group of the Year

Class of '59

The Class of ‘59 Reunion Team has truly set the gold standard for reunion committees. For many years, they have shown immense pride, enthusiasm and dedication to maintaining connections with their UNB classmates. With representation from every faculty, the team has made extraordinary efforts to reach every classmate and has created reunion experiences with broad appeal. 

Since celebrating their 20th reunion in 1979, they have organized a reunion every five years, and are already thinking ahead to their 60th in 2019. Driven to make these events a success, they have consistently taken the initiative upon themselves to plan committee meetings, organize activities, reach out to classmates and assist in the promotion of Homecoming events.

This group was also the driving force behind the creation of the UNB Research Showcase. 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.

The Class of ‘59 Reunion Committee has gone above and beyond to ensure their reunions are well attended - not only to keep in contact with old friends, but also to maintain affection for their alma mater and increase awareness of the fantastic changes at UNB.

Proudly UNB Awards

Learn more about our Proudly UNB awards program