U of G Volunteers Win 2014 Winegard Awards

March 26, 2014 - News Release

Three outstanding volunteers from the University of Guelph will receive the 2014 William Winegard Exemplary Volunteer Involvement Awards today from the United Way of Guelph Wellington Dufferin and the Volunteer Centre of Guelph/Wellington.

A ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. at the McLaughlin Library. Awards will be presented to Prof. Ajay Heble, School of English and Theatre Studies; Martha Harley, associate vice-president (human resources); and Jenifer Truong, a third-year biomedical science student.

They were selected from nominees by former U of G president Bill Winegard and representatives of the University, the United Way and the Volunteer Centre.

“Ajay, Martha and Jenifer have shown how volunteers can turn their passions into lasting contributions benefitting people and organizations in our community,” said Christine Oldfield, executive director of the Volunteer Centre of Guelph/Wellington.

Ken Dardano, executive director of United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin, added: “Ajay, Martha and Jenifer are three dedicated volunteers, recognized today for their tremendous community spirit. United Way is pleased to partner with the Volunteer Centre and the University of Guelph to present these outstanding volunteers with this year’s Winegard Awards.”

Heble, a U of G professor for 23 years, was recognized for his wide-ranging volunteer work, including serving as founder and artistic director of the world-renowned Guelph Jazz Festival. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the festival has received the Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for the Arts and the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts administered by the Ontario Arts Council.

Heble volunteers with Amnesty International, Jazz Festivals Canada and the Music Gallery in Toronto, and is a community-based arts adviser. An accomplished musician, he has organized several successful benefit concerts, and has raised $40,000 for international relief with the Canadian Red Cross and UNICEF.

Harley helped lead U of G to become the first Canadian university to partner with World University Service of Canada and the Leave for Change program, which encourages employees to volunteer for assignments in developing countries. As a volunteer with Hospice Wellington, she helps with policy-writing and strategic planning, and offers practical advice to an organization lacking full-time human resources expertise.

She serves on the board of the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre and offers pro bono professional advice to local not-for-profit organizations.

A longtime Guelph resident, Truong volunteers with many local agencies, including U of G’s Math Help Centre and Student Life events team, and a local breakfast program. She helped organize a campus-wide Random Act of Kindness Day with the Guelph Community Foundation. As a “Get Swabbed” volunteer, she helps recruit potential stem cell donors for the One Match Stem Cell and Marrow Registry.

She serves at the Guelph General Hospital as a medical unit volunteer, has been a Big Brother Big Sister in-class mentor, and helps lead the Guelph Community Well-Being Initiative.

Now in their eighth year, the awards highlight volunteerism by U of G faculty, staff and students. They are named for Winegard, who served as U of G president and vice-chancellor from 1967 to 1975 and as Guelph MP from 1984 to 1993. Winegard became Canada’s first minister of science, and chaired the House of Commons standing committees on external affairs and national defence, and external affairs and international trade. He also served as parliamentary secretary to the minister of international trade.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or kgonsalves@uoguelph.ca.

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