U of G Members Named Women of Distinction

May 04, 2012 - News Release

Seven members of the University of Guelph community took home honours from the 17th annual Women of Distinction Awards Wednesday night.

The annual awards are presented by the YMCA-YWCA to Guelph women who are inspirational leaders. The gala is a fundraiser for the Teenage Parents Program.

The honorary chair of this year’s event was Prof. Maureen Mancuso, U of G provost and vice-president (academic). She received the Women of Distinction Education and Training Award in 2010.

This year’s recipients are Prof. Elizabeth Stone, dean of the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC); Prof. Claudia Wagner-Riddle, acting director of the School of Environmental Sciences (SES); Joan Budd, a retired professor of wildlife pathology; Patsy Marshall, an instructor in the Centre for Open Learning and Educational Support; Jessie McConnell, a third-year applied human nutrition student; Kate Vsetula, a U of G graduate in international development; and Gracen Johnson, an international development student.

They were among 30 women nominated for achievements in eight categories: arts and culture; business, labour, the professions and entrepreneurs; education and training; public service; science, technology and research; voluntary community service; wellness, health and recreation; and young woman of distinction.

Stone was recognized for lifetime achievement in education and training for serving as a role model for students and faculty. She became the 10th dean of OVC in 2005, the first woman to head the veterinary school at Guelph and the first woman to head a veterinary school in Canada. Among other things, she has created a course in veterinary medicine and literature to help students see their roles as veterinarians within broader cultural and emotional contexts.

Marshall received the Education and Training Award. A two-time U of G graduate and former head of the Mac-FACS Alumni Association, she has served as director of education at the Homewood Health Centre and runs her own training and development company.

Wagner-Riddle, a U of G professor since 1994, received the Science, Technology and Research Award. She was a research scientist in Brazil before moving to Canada in 1988. At SES, she oversees efforts to integrate the life and physical sciences to address environmental problems.

Budd was recognized for lifetime achievement in the science, technology and research category. Now age 100, she is a 1950 OVC graduate and was OVC’s first female faculty member, retiring in 1980. Her career includes working within filter operations for the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.

The Voluntary Community Services Award honoured McConnell for being a volunteer at St. Joseph’s Health Centre and with the Children’s Foundation of Guelph. She also works as a day camp counsellor for special-needs children.

Vsetula was recognized with the Wellness, Health and Recreation Award. She earned an undergraduate degree at U of G in 2000, is a member of the Guelph-based band the Funky Mamas, and has been involved with numerous Guelph agencies, including Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis.

Johnson was honored as the Young Woman of Distinction. She spearheaded a national initiative to get thousands of people to gather on Parliament Hill in 2009 for Fill the Hill: Climate Day and organized a student vote mob on campus in 2011 that sparked a national campaign urging youth to vote. She received the University’s Be the Change award in 2011 for her advocacy initiatives, and was among 36 undergraduates selected nationwide to participate in The Next 36, a competitive program for future entrepreneurs.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, or shiona@uoguelph.ca.

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