Campus News

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

News Release

June 07, 2004

Top graduates to be honoured at U of G convocation

The University of Guelph has awarded the 2004 Winegard Medal, its most prestigious undergraduate convocation honour, to a mathematics major and biology minor in the College of Physical and Engineering Science (CPES).

Tara Gomes, who came to U of G as a President’s Scholar in 2000, will receive the award named for former Guelph president Bill Winegard at her convocation ceremony June 15 at 2:30 p.m. The medal recognizes academic achievement as well as contributions to university and community life. Each of the university’s six colleges is allowed to nominate one student for the award, and the winner is selected by the University’s Senate Committee on Awards.

Gomes made the dean’s honours list every semester and won a dean’s scholarship for three consecutive years, placing her in the top one per cent of students in CPES. The department of mathematics and statistics awarded Gomes two in-course scholarships and two Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) undergraduate summer research awards. She has also been awarded a post-graduate scholarship from NSERC to continue her studies at the University of Toronto.

“In all of my undergraduate and graduate student supervision experience, I have never observed a student with as much talent and future potential as Tara,” said mathematics and statistics professor Gerarda Darlington, who supervised Gomes as an NSERC summer research assistant. Added mathematics and statistics professor Pal Fischer: “She is among the top one per cent of the best students we have ever had in mathematics in the past 30 years.”

During her years at Guelph, Gomes was never hesitant to step into a leadership role. She was president of the CPES student council, organizing the college’s first career night. She was also vice-president of the Math and Stats Club, a ST@RT online group leader, an orientation week organizer, a member of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group and chair of the Code of Ethical Conduct for Suppliers and Subcontractors Committee.

The Forster Medal, the highest convocation award for a graduate student, will be presented to biomedical sciences major Josh Silvertown at the Ontario Veterinary College convocation ceremony June 17 at 2:30 p.m.

Silvertown completed a bachelor of science at U of G in 2000 and earned a PhD after only three years of graduate school. He pioneered the development of the viral vector and has been able to show that it is biologically active in vitro and in vivo. He has three abstracts, a full paper and a major review article published and another abstract and paper in press. He is currently completing a post-doctoral fellowship with the Ontario Cancer Institute’s department of medical biophysics.

While at Guelph, Silvertown volunteered his time to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph, serving on the board of directors, and chairing the recruitment committee. On campus, he served on Board of Governors, Senate, the Judicial Hearing Board and several other committees.

The winner of the Walter Vaughan Medal is student senator David Hornsby. The award is given annually to a student senator who has high academic standing and who has made a substantial contribution to student life and to the University, particularly through involvement in and commitment to Senate activities. The medal will be presented at summer convocation.

Hornsby, a political science major and the academic commissioner of the Central Student Association, has been actively involved in discussions on financial aid for students and accessibility and was appointed to the Presidential Task Force on Accessibility to Higher Education.

In addition, U of G will also award three Governor General’s Medals at convocation. The gold medal recognizes outstanding academic achievement at the graduate level, the silver medal goes to the undergraduate student graduating with the highest marks, and the bronze medal is awarded to the student earning top marks in the Ontario Agricultural College’s associate diploma programs in agriculture and horticulture.

The 2004 gold medallist is Aron Weir of the Ontario Agricultural College. Illya Tolokh of CPES will receive the silver medal, and the bronze medal winner is Sarah Elizabeth Moylan.

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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