Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
June 24, 2005
University of Guelph Alumni Association Honours Six
As part of Alumni Weekend events, the University of Guelph Alumni Association (UGAA) will present awards June 25 during the President’s Luncheon.
Mary Coyle, a 1978 BA and 1985 MA graduate, will be named Alumna of Honour; 1984 MFA graduate David Urban will receive the Alumni Medal of Achievement; and 2003 honorary degree recipient Prof. Sandy Warley will be honoured with the Alumni Volunteer Award.
The OVC Alumni Association will present its OVC Distinguished Alumnus Award to 1976 graduate Carin Wittnich at its annual meeting Saturday morning.
Adding to its traditional alumni awards of merit, the UGAA has also established new volunteer awards to recognize the contributions of students and employees. Inaugural recipients are Xiao Wang , a master’s student in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and University professor emeritus Leonard Adams, Languages and Literatures.
Coyle is a graduate of Guelph’s rural planning program. She honed her administrative skills during a CUSO placement in Botswana, as an adviser for the Sulawesi Regional Development Project in Indonesia and serving Canada’s First Nations people through the Calmeadow Foundation. She is now director of the Coady International Institute and a vice-president at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.
As part of her commitment to sustainable development, Coyle led an effort on her campus to create the Xtending Hope project that is supporting African countries overwhelmed by the AIDS crisis. She is also the founding director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation and sits on the boards of the International Development Research Centre, the Indian School of Micro Finance for Women and St. Francis Xavier University. Most recently, she was appointed to the chair’s advisory group of the Canadian Judicial Council.
Urban will be honoured for his contributions to Canadian art and culture. He is recognized as one of Canada’s most prominent painters, having shown his work in 30 solo and 40 group exhibitions in both commercial galleries and museums across Canada and abroad. He is also an art critic, writer and curator. In 2002, he organized a major survey exhibition of paintings by Canadian artists for the Shanghai Art Museum in China. He was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Art in 2003.
Urban is a frequent guest critic for Guelph’s MFA program and was a speaker at the academic symposium “PAINT!” held on campus last October. He is also one of three artists who donated a work to the School of Fine Art and Music’s print portfolio in 2004; this fundraising venture will support the University’s fine art programs and students.
Warley has pursued a career in volunteerism since retiring from the faculty of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Business in 1991. He came to Guelph as chair of the department in 1970 and remains one of the strongest advocates for his discipline, the Ontario Agricultural College and the University.
The OAC Alumni Association and OAC Alumni Foundation have relied on Warley’s talents in strategic planning and communication for more than a decade. He has been integral to the development of the association’s newsletter and website, its constitution and 2004 strategic plan and the establishment of a joint investment committee that serves both the association and foundation.
In 1999, Warley chaired the communications committee for OAC’s 125th-anniversary celebrations. He has also contributed to community organizations, including the Guelph Wellington Men’s Club, the Guelph Horticultural Society and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, which awarded him a certificate of achievement to recognize more than 20 years of volunteer service, including 10 years as editor of a chapter newsletter.
Wittnich is a professor in the departments of surgery and physiology at the University of Toronto and director of U of T’s cardiovascular sciences collaborative program. She has published widely and won several prestigious awards for her research at U of T, where she has also created several new graduate and undergraduate courses and established the first cardiovascular sciences collaborative program in Canada.
Outside the professional realm, she is a longtime volunteer for the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation and a founding member of the Oceanographic Environmental Research Society. She received the Order of Ontario in 2001 and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002.
The UGAA Student Volunteer Award was presented to Wang at a graduate student awards ceremony in March.
An international student from China, he has immersed himself in Canadian culture through volunteerism as a member of the Gryphon Toastmasters Club, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, the Graduate Students’ Association and CFRU Radio, where he hosts a radio program in Mandarin. Wang is also a volunteer for the Hillside Music Festival and Best Buddy Canada, which supports mentally challenged adults. He maintains homeland connections by continuing to write for a Shanghai newspaper and help with publicity for the Shanghai Grand Theatre.
Adams will receive the first UGAA Employee Volunteer Award at the University’s community breakfast in September. The award will celebrate his 40-year relationship with the University. Adams continues to work as a scholar and volunteer for the College of Arts 10 years after his retirement. He contributes scholarly work and translation without compensation, and has volunteered to co-ordinate fundraising campaigns in the college to benefit the University and the United Way.
These activities reinforce his past involvement in the City of Guelph’s anti-pollution committee, Block Parents and Family and Children’s Services of Guelph, for which he served as a foster parent for 12 years. A musician, Adams has also worked for the Guelph Spring Festival and performed with the Guelph Chamber Choir. He is also the chief pianist at his church.
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.