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Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338


News Release

June 21, 2004

U of G honours alumni for contributions to profession, community

The University of Guelph will present awards to four distinguished graduates during its annual Alumni Weekend June 25 to 27.

Donal McKeown, a 1958 graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College, will receive the Alumnus of Honour Award, the U of G Alumni Associationís (UGAA) most prestigious award. Bruce Stone, who earned a bachelorís degree from Ontario Agricultural College in 1953 and a masters in1954, will be presented with the Alumni Volunteer Award. Sue-Ann Staff, a 1994 B.Sc. graduate, will be awarded the Alumni Medal of Achievement. Ted Valli, a 1962 OVC graduate, will receive the OVC Alumni Associationís (OVCAA) Distinguished Alumnus Award. The first three award recipients will be honoured at the June 26 Presidentís Luncheon and Valli will be recognized at the OVCAA annual meeting Saturday morning.

Soon after graduation, McKeown became a partner at a renowned small-animal clinic in Washington, D.C., where he had the distinction of caring for the pets of two U.S. presidents, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. In 1974, McKeown returned to Canada to become a professor at OVC. Through his work in animal behaviour, he became a consultant for police and customs officers and was involved in training other service dogs. He was one of the founders and vice-president of Veterinary Medical Diets, a pet food company based in Guelph. He also founded a company that tests veterinary drugs for pharmaceutical companies, another that tests dog and cat foods for the pet food industry, and a third that promotes dog training and manufactures the ďGentle LeaderĒ line of products.

McKeown is also known for his leadership as an early president of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, which named him Ontario Veterinarian of the Year in 1989.

Staff earned an undergraduate degree in horticulture, then completed a graduate degree in oenology at the University of Adelaide in Australia. She returned to her familyís estate winery in the Niagara region in 1997 and has since become one of Canadaís most celebrated winemasters.

Her 1998 vintage Cabernet Franc Family Reserve won gold in Bordeaux, France, and her Merlot snagged top prize in several international competitions. Her Riesling icewine attained double gold from the American Wine Society, an award presented for only the second time in the 32-year history of the competition. When she was named Winemaker of the Year at the Ontario Wine Awards in 2002, Staff was the youngest winner and the first woman to receive the award.

Stone has been a quiet but effective leader since his student days at OAC, when he served as class president and president of College Royal. After completing his undergraduate and masterís degrees at U of G, he went on to earn a PhD at Cornell University. He returned to Guelph to join the faculty of OAC, where he taught courses in dairy cattle production and supervised 16 graduate students during his 41-year career. Stone retired in 1995 as associate dean of OAC, after managing research funds from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food for more than 10 years. Over the years, he has championed numerous fundraising projects that honour former OAC faculty while supporting current students.

Valli, a dedicated teacher, researcher and administrator, earned M.Sc. and PhD degrees at Guelph in 1967 and 1969, then became a faculty member in the then Department of Pathology. In addition to the more than 200 refereed papers Valli has authored to date, he has supervised the work of some 30 graduate students, including five who are current faculty members at OVC. He became chair of the Department of Pathology in 1979 and later served as associate dean of research at OVC from 1985 to 1990. He left the college to serve as dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois, a position he held for two terms.


For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.


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