Alumni News

Awards of Excellence presented to seven outstanding leaders

On Thursday, May 9, 2013, seven exceptional members of the Laurier community received Awards of Excellence at a dinner co-hosted by the Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association (WLUAA) and the university.

WLUAA also presented seven Tom Berczi Campus Citizenship Scholarships, valued at $1,000, to one student in each of the faculties of Arts, Science, Music, and the School of Business & Economics at the Waterloo campus and two students from the Brantford campus.

The following are recipients of the 2013 Awards of Excellence:

Tom Berczi ’88, ’93

This award recognizes an alumnus/a who has brought honour to the institution through outstanding achievement within the university and within the community. Past president of the Alumni Association, Tom Berczi (’88, ’93), is this year’s Alumnus of the Year.

Berczi served as president of WLUAA from 2004 to 2012. He began his role with a clear vision of what he wanted to accomplish. He wanted the association to give back to Laurier as a donor, he wanted the association to become recognized as an important stakeholder on campus and he wanted to introduce succession planning. During his tenure, WLUAA became one of Laurier’s largest donors, giving back $1.2 million. As an important stakeholder on campus, WLUAA was recognized with the university’s philanthropy award in 2012 for their generous contributions. As part of his succession planning, serving the association as past president, he also continues to give his time as one of WLUAA’s representatives on the Board of Governors.

When he isn’t volunteering his time to Laurier, he serves the community as staff sergeant for the Waterloo Regional Police Service for which he received the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police award for leading the 2011 Oktoberfest Policing Unit.

Dr. Quincy Almeida

Established to recognize a Laurier faculty member for his or her outstanding mentorship and support to students, this year’s recipient is Dr. Quincy Almeida in Laurier’s Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education.

Dr. Almeida is the director of the Sun Life Financial Movement Disorders Research & Rehabilitation Centre at Laurier, which is regarded as one the world’s leading authorities on movement science and rehabilitation in Parkinson’s disease. His research has been featured in the Toronto Star, the Globe & Mail, on CBC and CTV national news as well as in Maclean’s and Grand magazines, among others. 

He has received numerous awards and grants and has worked with hundreds of students. Known for creating a rich learning environment in which he encourages curiosity, exploration and collaboration, one of his student-nominators wrote: “Quincy provides all of his students the opportunity to excel and fully experience the transformative power of a post-secondary education. Dr. Almeida values his students and works hard to create a team atmosphere by promoting open discussion, idea generation and team decisions, which, in my opinion, provides an excellent learning environment for students.”

Dr. Kevin J. Swinden

The Hoffman-Little Award recognizes teaching excellence and professional endeavour at Laurier. This year’s recipient is Dr. Kevin J. Swinden.

Dr. Swinden is a tenured associate professor of music theory and associate dean and co-ordinator of the music theory program in Laurier’s Faculty of Music. He joined Laurier in 2002 after teaching at the University of Mississippi as the director of music technology. His research specializes in chromatic harmony of the late 19th century. He is internationally regarded for his studies, and has been invited to present papers and speak at academic events in Canada and the United States.

He is also highly regarded by his students. One nominator wrote: “Ask any music student who has had Dr. Swinden as their professor and I am positive you will hear my conclusion about his eligibility for the Hoffmann-Little Award many times over: He is an excellent professor, a credible scholar, a committed teacher, and a warm-hearted person!”

Kandice Baptiste ’11

In recognition of outstanding achievement by a Laurier alumnus/a who is younger than 30 years of age, this year’s Young Alumna of the Year is Kandice Baptiste (’11).

A Bachelor of Arts graduate in History, Baptiste is Laurier’s Aboriginal Students Recruitment and Retention Officer for which she travels across Ontario and Quebec to speak with Aboriginal students and communities to promote post-secondary education. While a student at Laurier, Baptiste founded the Aboriginal Students’ Association, serving also as its founding president and was the first Aboriginal Student Intern. She was also a member of the Golden Hawk women’s varsity basketball team from 2006 to 2010 and continues to be involved in basketball as coach of the KW Lightning girls’ team.

In her nomination package, one supporter wrote: “Kandice is a true ambassador in every sense of the word. Not only in her role as Laurier’s Aboriginal Students Recruitment and Retention Officer, but she truly is a source of pride for WLU alumni, students, faculty and staff, as well as a role model for Aboriginal youth nation-wide. Our students see her as empowering, successful, and confident and a positive role model.”

Dan Dawson ’88

This award is presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to the university by a staff member. Assistant Vice-President of Student Services, Dan Dawson (’88), is this year’s recipient.

As a student, Dawson was a leader. A few years after graduation, he returned to campus to continue on his path of leadership and has held a number of increasingly more senior positions along the way, including general manager of the Wilfrid Laurier Students’ Union (WLUSU) and director of student services for Laurier. He has received numerous awards for his career success and accomplishments, including the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by WLUSU.

Dawson volunteers his time as coach of the Waterloo Ringette Association for which he has been recognized by the Western Region Ringette Association with the Volunteer of the Year Award.

Cheyanne McGillicuddy-Richardson ’13

The Student Alumnus/a of the Year Award is presented to a member of Student Alumni Association (SAA) who has been instrumental in building bridges between current students, alumni and the administration. This year’s recipient is Cheyanne McGillicuddy-Richardson (’13).

A fourth-year sociology major, McGillicuddy-Richardson is the 2012-2013 president of SAA. During her term, she successfully expanded sponsorship opportunities on campus in order to create brand awareness for SAA and WLUAA.

McGillicuddy-Richardson has been involved in SAA for two years and has served in a number of roles, including its secretary. Additionally, she was a U-Desk Attendant, Ice Breaker for Orientation Week, a member of the steering committee for The Leadership Summit, and a general member on the Students’ Union Food Bank.

Alan Quarry

In recognition for bringing honour to the university and/or local, provincial, national or international communities and for making a significant and positive contribution to Laurier’s reputation, Alan Quarry is the 2013 Honorary Alumnus.

For the past 20 years, Quarry has shared his knowledge in fourth-year and MBA marketing and communications courses in the School of Business & Economics at Laurier. Chief Learning Officer for Quarry Integrated Communications, he travels extensively, speaking to groups around the world about improving customer relationships and converting branding into buying. Quarry is a member of Laurier’s Campaign Cabinet in Building Canada’s Best Business School, chair of the Entrepreneurship Advisory Council within the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship, and past Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Laurier.

From among his nominations, one nominator wrote, “Alan Quarry has given much to the students, staff and faculty here at Laurier. Teaching, relationship-building, new ideas and learning are all areas Alan excels at and, luckily for the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship, expertise he has shared with the students, staff and faculty there.”

The following are recipients of the Tom Berczi Campus Citizenship Scholarships:

  • Niki Kermani – Faculty of Arts
  • Carolyn Leckie – Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies
  • Cameron Streicher – Faculty of Music
  • Mabel Wong – Faculty of Science
  • Mark Prusha – School of Business & Economics
  • Alysha Cory – Laurier’s Brantford campus
  • Janessa Williamson – Laurier’s Brantford campus


May 9, 2013

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