Campus News

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

News Release

May 14, 2004

U of G well represented at Women of Distinction awards

Four current and former members of the University of Guelph community were named recipients of the 2004 Women of Distinction Awards by the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph. The ninth annual event was held Thursday at the River Run Centre.

Forty-eight women were nominated for their achievements in eight categories: arts and culture; business, labour, the professions and entrepreneurs; education, training and development; science and technology; voluntary community service; wellness and health; young woman of distinction; and lifetime achievement.

Anne Croy, currently an adjunct professor in U of G’s Department of Biomedical Sciences, was honoured in the science and technology category. One of only four women enrolled in a doctor of veterinary medicine program at the Ontario Veterinary College in the late 1960s, she went on to become the first non-medical doctor to graduate from the Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Toronto. Early in her career, Croy took a hiatus to help establish a family veterinary practice. “It was difficult to get back into science after having a family – science is a difficult challenge for both men and women,” she said. Croy credits her mentors at OVC, where she was also known for encouraging and helping her students and peers.

Croy has earned countless accolades for her pioneering research in reproductive immunology. She is a permanent study section member of the National Institutes of Health in the United States, a rarity for a Canadian and holds a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, a unique achievement for a veterinary scientist. Most recently, she received a Canada Research Chair at Queen’s University.

Engineering professor Valerie Davidson was the recipient in the education, training and development category. She was recognized for being an outstanding role model and mentor. A U of G faculty member since 1988, she is involved in many leadership activities at the local, provincial, national and international levels that encourage women to consider engineering as a profession.

Davidson holds Ontario’s prestigious NSERC/HP (Canada) Chair for Women in Science and Engineering. It is one of five national chairs from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council designed to increase the participation of females in the field.

Fourth-year student and Gryphon wrestler Tara Hedican was named the young woman of distinction for her many athletic accomplishments and her leadership role in the Aboriginal community.

Hedican won a gold medal at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championships this spring, her third consecutive CIS title. In December, she won a silver medal at the Canadian Olympic team trials and will be an alternate for the 2004 women's Olympic team. She is a two-time winner of U of G’s Female Athlete of the Year award, and in 2002, received the Tom Longboat Award, a national honour recognizing aboriginal excellence in sport.

Retired adjunct botany professor Ann Oaks received the lifetime achievement honour. Oaks followed her interest in plant physiology and botany at a time when few women were entering the field. She was recognized for being at the forefront of plant research and for inspiring, challenging and mentoring many graduate and undergraduate students.

Oaks credited her grandmother and mother for inspiring her. “Both of my parents said: ‘Do what you want to do.’ I had a chance to do what I wanted to do, and I hope that I was a role model for all young people. I hope they can stay honest in the world ahead; I think it’s going to be very difficult for them.”

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

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