Summerlee to Receive International Quality of Life Award

November 29, 2012 - News Release

Humanitarian work in Africa and his contributions to higher education and science have earned a prestigious award for University of Guelph president Alastair Summerlee.

He will receive the 19th annual International Quality of Life Award from Auburn University during a ceremony at the United Nations in New York City Dec. 3.

Created in 1994 during the United Nations’ International Year of the Family, the award recognizes significant and lasting contributions to individual, family and community well-being, locally and globally.

Previous recipients include Nobel Prize winners Desmond Tutu and Norman Ernest Borlaug; former American Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; Millar Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity International; and Catherine Bertini, director of the United Nations World Food Program.

“I am proud and humbled, and truly grateful for the award,” Summerlee said.

“I have been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to help make a difference. Many others are doing more every day, and there is so much more work to be done.”

Summerlee is known as an “innovative teacher, internationally acclaimed scientist, visionary administrator and passionate humanitarian,” said June Henton, dean of Auburn’s College of Human Sciences.

In particular, the award recognizes the U of G president’s efforts to improve access to education for girls and women in the Dadaab famine refugee camp in Kenya, and his six-year term as chair of the World University Service of Canada, one of the country’s leading international development agencies.

The award also honours U of G’s leadership in civic engagement and volunteerism, and Summerlee’s award-winning teaching and research.

“Without question, he is the quintessential scholar, whose three-decade career in academia has met the highest standards by which members of the academy are measured,” Henton said.

Summerlee was named U of G’s seventh president – and the University’s first successful internal presidential candidate – in 2003. His second term was extended until 2014.

He received a 3M Teaching Fellowship in 2003, becoming Canada’s first university president-elect and the first U of G faculty member to earn the award as an administrator. As president, he continues to teach, supervise graduate students and conduct research.

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