U of G Staff Member to Chair Women of Distinction Awards

January 14, 2008 - News Release

The University of Guelph's Cyndy McLean has been named the honorary chair of the 13th annual Women of Distinction Awards by the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph.

McLean, director of U of G's Health and Performance Centre (HPC), received a Women of Distinction Award in 2006 for voluntary community service and has been nominated numerous times in the past.

Her 2006 award recognized her for being a national ambassador for the Rick Hansen Foundation and was instrumental in bringing the annual Wheels in Motion fundraising event to Guelph.

A former elite-level athlete who became paraplegic in 2003 after falling off a cliff, McLean also volunteers to help families who have loved ones with disabilities and is an outspoken advocate of the need for education, research and improved accessibility.

"We are thrilled that Cyndy has agreed to serve as our 2008 Honorary Chair," said Bruce Bailey, general manager of the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph.

"She radiates positive energy that will really bring this year's celebration alive."

McLean helped establish the HPC in 1998 after completing her master's degree in human biology at Guelph in 1997. As a scholar, she produced groundbreaking research on caffeine metabolism in women and on gender differences in metabolism.

She also competes nationally and internationally in wheelchair tennis and is also the only female member of Ontario's wheelchair tennis team. Tennis Canada has named her a 2008 "targeted athlete," with goals of making the national team.

A public open house is being held Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. for people to meet McLean and other previous Women of Distinction nominees and recipients and to learn more about the event. The open house will be held at the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph, 130 Woodland Glen Drive.

This year's Women of Distinction Awards will be held May 8 at the River Run Centre. Each year, women from Guelph and Wellington County are nominated for and recognized in eight categories: arts and culture; business, labour, the professions and entrepreneurs; education and training; public service; science, technology and research; voluntary community services; wellness and health; and young woman of distinction.

U of G traditionally has been well-represented, with faculty, staff and students named as nominees and as award recipients.

Nominations are due by Jan. 31. More information about the awards and nomination process is available online.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982, d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca

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