Celebrating Alumni: Proudly UNB Awards | UNB
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Fall 2023

Associated Alumni

Celebrating Alumni: Proudly UNB Awards


Last April, UNB's Associated Alumni celebrated the 2023 Proudly UNB Awards recipients at a ceremony in Saint John. These alumni have distinguished themselves through outstanding service to their alma mater, their communities and beyond. The 12 award recipients were honoured by their supporters, fellow alumni, former classmates, and members of the UNB community.


2023 Award recipients

Alumni Award of Honour

Larry HacheyLarry Hachey (BBA’87) is president and CEO of Canlease Inc., a prominent community leader, a deeply proud UNB alum and an outstanding supporter of the UNB community. He has served as past chair of UNB’s Board of Governors, is former president of the Associated Alumni, and is a long-time ambassador for academics, student life and university advancement at UNB.

To say that Larry Hachey is a deeply proud UNB graduate and outstanding supporter of his alma mater would be an understatement. An active student while attending UNB Saint John from 1983-87, he served as president of the student representative council, a student member of the first-ever UNB Saint John Senate, a student member of the Board of Governors and an executive member of his grad class. While president of the student council, he and fellow members lobbied for a Student Union building on the Saint John campus and attended the groundbreaking ceremony at what is now the Thomas J Condon Student Centre.

A successful entrepreneur and founder of three start-up companies over his career, Larry also took the time to maintain his commitment to UNB and to the Saint John community. He’s served on numerous community organizations, including on the UNB Associated Alumni Council, where he was elected president. During that tenure he also served as an alumni representative on the Saint John Senate, as a member of the fundraising committee for the Hans Klohn Commons Building and as a deeply engaged and staunch defender of the Saint John campus during the provincial Polytechnique debate. In 2011 Larry was asked to join the UNB Board of Governors and during his tenure served as Chair of the Advancement Committee, Finance Committee, Executive Committee and Nomination & Review Committee. IN 2018 he was elected Chair of the Board and served two terms, stepping down in 2021. He continues to serve the UNB community as Chair of the UNB Saint John Business Faculty advisory committee as well as Chair of the fundraising committee for the Integrated Health Initiative on the Saint John campus.

To top it off, Larry and his wife Donna are donors to UNB through the Larry and Donna Hachey bursary, which supports a student annually. Their own children, Shawna and Christopher are also both UNB graduates.

There isn’t anyone more fitting to honour with the Alumni Award of Honour than Larry Hachey.

Alumni Award of Distinction

Cristina Flores JusticCristina Flores Justic (BPE’83) is a trailblazer, having demonstrated power, strength and leadership throughout her life both on and off the rugby pitch. An international student from Mexico, she fell in love with rugby on campus and after graduating began organizing local, national and international tournaments in Ontario. She was passionate about growing the number of women in the sport and is now serving as one of only three female chairs on the World Rugby Council. She’s also the first woman to be elected to a number of other rugby boards, and is currently chair of the World Rugby Finance Committee.

Fluent in three languages, Cristina worked at the Consulate General of Mexico in Toronto and later, was the Consul in charge of Cultural and Academic Affairs at the Consulate in Montreal. Subsequently, she was the Executive Director of the Canadian Council for the Americas and with her Board transformed the Council as the “go to” public forum for discussion on Canada’s Trade and Investment in Latin America.

Cristina is also a dedicated member of her community, having volunteered with Victim Services with the Hamilton Police, with St. Joseph’s Hospital and with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. She also served as a member of the Board of the Toronto Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Toronto.

We’re very proud to award Christina with the Alumni Award of Distinction for breaking the glass ceiling in global sports and leadership.

Alumni Award of Distinction

Dr. Raouf KhodabocusDr. Raouf Khodabocus (BA’87, MSc’89, PhD’93) is recognized for his transformative work in educational institutions around the world. A Fredericton native, he was an instructor at UNB while working toward his degrees and became passionate about education. His work as an educator, mentor and administrator in Canada and around the globe has earned him high recognition – specifically for advancing inclusive education and safeguarding and well-being of children.

Known for always being generous with his time, wisdom and passion, Raouf works in UNESCO schools around the world and has developed a reputation for transformative teaching. He is also a visiting team member, inspecting international schools around the world for the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Internationally, he has spoken at leadership conferences in education organized by leading examination boards, and, in addition to his current position as school principal and chief examination officer at Kuwait National English School, he serves as chief examination officer for external examinations from the UK.

He was elected to the rank of Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada and Fellow of the Canadian Society for Chemistry; he has been awarded the Chemistry Teaching Excellence award, Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Natural Resources in the Earth Sciences; and twice received the prestigious ‘Chairman’s Award’ for good and loyal service to the wider community. 

He is also a member of the International Debating Team and an active member of the Rotary club.  We are very proud to recognize this amazing educator with the Award of Distinction.

Alumni Award of Distinction

Dr. James A. StewartDr. James A. Stewart (BScDA’97, MCS’99, PhD’17) is a successful tech entrepreneur with a track record of market-leading business growth and innovation. He’s focused on data, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence for the past 20 years, and is currently CEO and co-founder of TrojAI, a cybersecurity firm that has developed software to protect AI platforms from attacks. Prior to his current company, James founded EhEye Inc., which used computer vision to automate monitoring of video surveillance systems for the early detection of weapons and disturbances. That company’s innovative technology was acquired by Toronto-based Patriot One Technologies Inc. where James served as SVP of Video Analytics.

James has held other positions such as Research and Development Manager with the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity, and Senior Network Intelligence Analyst with Bell Aliant. Beginning his career as a crime analyst, he pioneered one of the first intelligence-led policing programs in Canada with the Saint John Police Force, where he continues to serve as a 16-year auxiliary police constable.

He has always remained very committed to building innovation in New Brunswick, and although numerous exciting opportunities have presented themselves elsewhere, James has built his career and companies right here in New Brunswick and has been a fierce supporter of hiring and developing local talent from both UNB and NBCC.

For his significant contributions to the community and to the world at large, we are so pleased to honour James with our Alumni Award of Distinction.

Alumni Award of Distinction

Dr. Kumanan R. WilsonDr. Kumanan R. Wilson (BSc’92) is a passionate medical researcher in early child health outcomes as well as a specialist in general internal medicine at the Ottawa Hospital. He is also CEO and founder of CANImmunize, a science-based technology company specializing in immunization software that spun out of his work as founder of the Ottawa Hospital MHealth Research team. A professor and Faculty of Medicine Clinical Research Chair in Digital Health Innovation at the University of Ottawa, he is also currently CEO and Chief Scientific Officer at the Bruyère Research Institute.

A proud New Brunswicker, Kumanan completed a science degree at UNB before heading to the University of Western Ontario and McMaster University for medical training. Kumanan’s research focuses on digital health, immunization, pandemic preparedness and public health policy, so you can imagine how busy he’s been over the last few years! This health-tech entrepreneur’s vision is to bring data to patients, clinicians and the public in order to improve the health system and the experiences of those in it. 

He has received support from multiple organizations including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the World Health Organization, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Canada’s Immunity Task Force. He’s also received the Partners in Research Technology & Engineering Ambassador award, recognizing his contributions in connecting Canadians with each other, their health care providers and their governments via digital health technologies.

We are very pleased to add one more award to his wall, by honouring him with the Proudly UNB Award of Distinction.

Alumni Award of Distinction

The Hon. Gladys J. YoungThe Hon. Gladys J. Young (BA’69, LLB’72) is a trailblazer in the legal profession as the first woman in New Brunswick to be named a provincial crown prosecutor and later an appointee to the Supreme Court of New Brunswick, Queen’s Bench. She served as Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench from 1995 to 2015, presiding over trials in both the Family and Trial divisions for the judicial district of Restigouche, New Brunswick.

Gladys started her legal career in 1972 as a crown prosecutor for Gloucester and Restigouche counties and also served as a federal crown attorney responsible for prosecuting offenses under Federal Legislation, such as the Narcotics Control Act and Income Tax Act. In 1984, she became a member of the Canadian Sentencing Commission in Ottawa whose report was submitted and published in 1987. It was in 1986 that she was appointed to the Provincial Court of New Brunswick in Campbellton.

In addition to her judicial duties, Gladys had a keen interest in the advancement of continuing legal education, and she lectured future law enforcement officers at Holland College in Prince Edward Island, senior police investigators at RCMP headquarters in Fredericton and enforcement officers within other provincial departments. Gladys also lectured law students in the New Brunswick Bar Admission Courses at the University of New Brunswick and in French language Bar Admission Courses at l’Université de Moncton. At the judicial level, she taught newly appointed judges with the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice and was a faculty member at numerous conferences presented by the National Judicial Institute.

Gladys was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal in recognition of her outstanding legal career and community contributions, and we are proud to also present her with the UNB Alumni Award of Distinction.

Young Alumni Achievement Award

Rachel M. Friars Rachel Friars (BA’18) received her Bachelor of Arts in English from UNB Saint John before heading to Queens University in Kingston to complete her masters – where she is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature. In addition to regularly publishing her own short fiction and poetry on lesbian historical fiction, she is co-editor-in-chief of the international literary journal, The Lamp and serves as an editor for The Journal of Historical Fictions.

Rachel has been the recipient of numerous academic awards for her work, including being awarded the Joseph-Armand Bombardier SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship in 2021. But in addition to her academic research and writing, she has spearheaded inclusion efforts across Canada through the development of The Queer Studies Association of Canada, a definitive network of scholars and instructors that prioritize queer literature and pedagogy.

We are very proud to recognize Rachel with the Young Alumni Achievement Award for her literary contributions and her efforts to make scholarly research a more inclusive practice across the country.

Young Alumni Achievement Award

Matthew H. MacLennanMatthew MacLennan (BScE’20) began his studies in electrical engineering at UNB Saint John before completing his degree at the Fredericton campus, specializing in biomedical engineering. He completed research with UNB’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering on computational motor control and also volunteered over 150 volunteering hours collecting data which resulted in a publication by researchers at UNB. While a student, he served as VP of finance and VP of academic for the Engineering Undergraduate Society, co-chaired the annual Atlantic Engineering Competition and was a peer mentor to first-year students. He was often seen coaching students and providing opportunities for leadership experience.

Now a medical student at Dalhousie University, Matthew is chair of the Conference of Atlantic Medical Students and chair of the Atlantic Student Research Journal. He also founded the St. John Ambulance Campus Response Team and is a volunteer medical responder for the organization as well as certified first-aid instructor, providing training for the campus response team and offering free first-aid services at UNB events. As campus chair for Global Brigades, he led a fundraising campaign the raised over $20,000 for the purchase of water infrastructure for Honduran communities. Matthew also participated in two volunteering projects located in Honduras where he joined a group of students shovelling trenches for the placements of pipelines and infrastructure for clean drinking water.

Young Alumni Achievement Award

Jackson A. WeirJackson A. Weir (BSc’21) is a PhD student at Harvard University who has co-developed a novel sequencing technology that could revolutionize the way biomedical researchers understand deadly conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

Jackson grew up in Saint John and graduated from UNB Fredericton with a Bachelor of Science in biology Biology, with the Lieutenant-Governor's Silver Medal. As a PhD student, he now works at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard developing new sequencing technology to aid scientists studying tissue development, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. His work has been published in multiple journals and presented at several conferences.

Outside of research, Jackson is deeply committed to science communication initiatives. At UNB, he was Editor-in-Chief of the Atlantic Student Research Journal, Co-Chair of TEDxUNB, Peer Mentor in the Faculty of Science, and founding Speakers Director of a first-in-class student conference promoting research to undergraduates students in Atlantic Canada. At Harvard, he is a science writer for Science in the News and a student mentor on the Board of First Year Advisors. He was 1 of 5 Canadians awarded the 2018 Ingenium-NSERC STEAM Horizon Award for making a difference in his community through STEAM fields.

Alumni Volunteer of the Year

Jeffrey R. KnappJeffrey R. Knapp (BScME’87) is a long-time volunteer on the UNB Ironmen rugby pitch AND on the golf course – organizing the annual IRONMEN golf tournament and fundraiser.

Jeff graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at UNB in 1987 and played rugby with the Ironmen from 1982 to 1987. He credits UNB for his forty-plus year engineering career in the manufacturing, consulting, and utility sectors, which took him around the world. Today, Jeff is the Senior Manager, Energy & Business Development with Halifax Water where he’s responsible for the utility’s energy management, renewable energy, and business development activities. 

Jeff has been instrumental in organizing the eastern version of the UNB Ironmen’s “Toks Akpata Memorial Fundraising Golf Tournament” for many years. This is one of two annual events held nationally that raise money to honour the memory of Toks Akpata, a fellow UNB engineering graduate and teammate, while providing much needed financial support to many deserving UNB students. This year marks the 25th year of these esteemed events, which have raised over $260,000 and funded over 20 scholarships to date.

Jeff himself is a dedicated and generous donor to the scholarship and the Ironmen. 

Alumni Group of the Year

UNB Hockey Fellows Society Reunion Steering Committee worked tirelessly to organize the first UNB Men’s Hockey Reunion, which successfully brought back 64 hockey alumni, engaged the current men’s team with former players, raised over $10,000 for the hockey program and introduced the current team to a deep culture of giving back, setting the groundwork for future years.

David Bluteau, a 1984 Phys Ed grad and former Reds player, led the committee of hockey alumni over many months of organizing and creating a weekend full of hockey, golf, a gala dinner and other events. Alumni representing every decade from the 1950’s to 2020’s took part and laid the groundwork for future success through impactful involvement of the current team of players and students - something the committee felt was extremely important.

Though postponed by COVID-19 and hampered by the pandemic throughout the planning process, this dedicated group scored big with the most successful hockey reunion event on the books. Hockey history is something we are most proud of here at UNB, and we are grateful and excited to honour these alumni with the Alumni Group of the Year award.

Honorary Alumni Membership

Robyn J. TingleyRobyn J. Tingley  is an outstanding ambassador for the UNB community. She’s served as a member of the UNB Board of Governors since 2015 and was appointed chair in 2021.

A speaker, author and communications strategist, she worked for many years abroad as a corporate HR communications executive for a Fortune 100 company with responsibilities spanning four continents. She returned home to New Brunswick and founded GlassSKY, an organization that is dedicated to empowering women and girls, helping them reach their full potential. She published a book, 10 ESSENTIALS: A GUIDE TO HIGH PERFORMANCE FOR NEW GRADS AND CAREER STARTERS and gives workshops and talks to provide practical modern-day career advice which is based on her first-hand knowledge of corporate culture, entrepreneurial ventures, life experience, and leadership success.
Her work promoting gender diversity and inclusive work environments has been recognized by universities, governments and businesses across North America and Europe. In 2019 she was invested in the Order of New Brunswick for her corporate and community leadership as well as her work to support gender equality.

This social change leader and mentor for young talent has lent her own talent to UNB countless times, at the Board of Governors level, but also at alumni and community events and in classrooms with students. Having served as vice-chair of the board and past chair of the finance and advancement committees, her current term as chair will undoubtedly further strengthen UNB.

She is certainly deserving of an honourary alumni membership, and we are very proud to induct her into our circle.