U of G Members Named 'Women of Distinction'

May 08, 2009 - Campus Bulletin

The University of Guelph was well-represented at the 14th annual Women of Distinction Awards Thursday, with two faculty members, a student, a staff member and a longtime associate taking home honours. The awards are presented by the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph.

This year's recipients are Mary Beverley-Burton, a professor emerita of the former Department of Zoology; Lynda Davenport, director of Student Health Services; Cate Dewey, chair of the Department of Population Medicine; Momina Mir, a fourth-year biological engineering student; and Anita Stewart, a food writer and longtime friend of the University.

They were among 29 women who were nominated for their achievements in 10 categories: arts and culture; business, labour, the professions and entrepreneurs; education and training; public service; science, technology and research; voluntary community service; wellness and health; young woman of distinction; and the Turning Point Award.

Beverley-Burton was honoured with a lifetime achievement award for being a tireless advocate, educator and mentor for women. Since starting her science career in the 1950s, she has fought for equality for all women in her discipline. She has been recognized with numerous awards over the years for her contributions to the science of parasitology. She has also been a tireless supporter of equality in sports, helping bring coaches to U of G's women's sports programs in the 1960s and 1970s. Her guidance and advice helped form the basis for many policy decisions advancing athletics at Guelph. The Mary Beverley-Burton Award was named in her honour and annually honours the outstanding rookie female athlete at U of G.

Davenport was the recipient of the wellness and health award for being a longtime advocate of public health, health promotion and illness prevention. At U of G and the University of Waterloo, she helped establish health and wellness programs such as smoking cessation and fitness. She has also been an advocate for public health funding and physician recruitment for the past 20 years. She currently serves as chair of the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health board of directors and on the Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee to help bring new health professionals to Guelph.

Dewey was named the recipient of the science, technology and research award for being an accomplished scientist and a role model for women veterinary students at OVC and globally. She was also recognized for extending her role as a veterinary educator to the international community, in particular to western Kenya. After making a research trip to the country in 2006, Dewey started the "Children of Bukati" charity, which now supports the elementary school education of 514 AIDS orphans. She has also been teaching sustainable farming practices to women in the region to help improve quality of life.

Mir was honoured for her contributions to enhancing cultural understanding and promoting gender equality both on and off campus. During her time at U of G, she has been actively involved with numerous student-based and administrative organizations with the goal of empowering students. She has served on Senate Student Caucus, on the Central Student Association board and as president of the Muslim Students' Association. She has also been a peer helper and a member of Engineers Without Borders, a program facilitator for the Multi-Faith Resource Team, vice-president of Guelph NDP Youth, a volunteer with Meal Exchange and a U of G delegate at the National Conference on Women in Engineering.

Stewart, a culinary expert, received the business, labour, the professions and entrepreneurs award. She is the author of 14 books that promote Canadian foods and wines, as well as the people who grow and cook it. U of G is prominently featured in her most recent book, Canada: The Food, the Recipes, the Stories. In 1999, as part of the 125th anniversary of the Ontario Agricultural College, Stewart researched all the foods and ingredients that had been developed at the University over its history and created recipes and a menu from them for the year-long celebration. She created the annual nationwide Canadian Beef Barbecue and founded Cuisine Canada, a food-promoting organization that links people in the food industry from farmers and nutritionists to chefs and restaurateurs.

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