Distinguished Alumni Award
The Acadia Alumni Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the outstanding achievements of an Acadia University alum whose endeavours have distinguished them professionally or in the community and brought honour to the University. This award is intended to honour senior alumni with greater than 10 years post-graduation from Acadia.
Nomination deadline: October 31 annually. Click here for a Nomination Form.
Dr. Trevor Jain ('93)
Dr. Trevor Jain (’93) is an avid lifelong learner whose curiosity and passion for knowledge has allowed him to forge an enviable career as a trauma physician and disaster medicine specialist.
Dr. Jain is a 34-year veteran and Lt. Col. in the Canadian Armed Forces, a strong community advocate and teacher whose commitment to the health and well-being of others has been acknowledged through numerous awards and accolades. He is currently completing a PhD in disaster medicine at the University of Brussels and continues to serve in the army as the 36th Canadian Brigade Group Surgeon.
In high school, Dr. Jain joined the Canadian Armed Forces as an infantry soldier, later earned a BSc in biology from Acadia and continued his studies in Halifax, where he obtained an MD from Dalhousie Medical School. He was seconded by the military on Sept. 3, 1998 while still a student to design, set up and run the morgue as the pathology operations officer in the aftermath of the Swissair Flight 111 disaster off Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. He received the Meritorious Service Medal of Canada for his efforts by the Governor-General in 1999.
Of the many accolades he has earned throughout his career, perhaps the most noteworthy is the Order of Military Merit (officer level), awarded in November 2018. It’s the second highest military honour presented by the Governor-General to recognize outstanding military service, and of the 26,000 people enlisted in the Canadian military at that time, Dr. Jain was one of only five to receive the clasp. To make it even more poignant, he was nominated for the honour by members of his own brigade.
He has also received the 2021 Canadian Medical Association John McCrae Memorial Medal, which recognizes current or former clinical health services personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces for exemplary service, noting that winners have demonstrated compassion, self-sacrifice or innovation beyond the call of duty, and their efforts have greatly benefited the health or welfare of military personnel or civilian populations.
The Acadia Alumni Association applauds his remarkable commitment to public service and is pleased to add another accolade by naming Dr. Trevor Jain as its 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.
“Dr. Jain’s persistent curiosity and ambition to learn represents the untapped potential that exists in all of us,” says Acadia Alumni Association President Donalda MacBeath (’75). “The foundational experience he had at Acadia prepared him to meet the challenge of the Swissair Disaster in 1998 and he has continued throughout his career to develop his personal and professional skills to help others, save lives and provide leadership amid chaos and distress. He is a bright light in our alumni community, and we are delighted to recognize him as this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.”
Lt. General (Retired) Stephen Bowes (’81), also a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient (’06), notes in a letter supporting Dr. Jain’s nomination that “his career has been marked by selfless leadership of a rare high standard and has brought great honour to our country, to both military and civilian health professions, and to Acadia University.”
Indeed, Dr. Jain’s Acadia roots run deep. His father, Dr. Nirmal Jain, was a long-time Acadia employee and librarian in the Vaughan Memorial Library and his mother, June, an Annapolis Valley educator, is a two-time Acadia graduate (‘78, ’93). His sister, Teresa Pelley, is also an Acadia graduate, earning a master’s in 2007.
Dr. Jain is a married father of two and lives with his wife Kara in picturesque Stratford, PEI.
Dr. Blye Frank ('77, '81)
Dr. Blye Frank has enjoyed an outstanding 50-year career as a teacher, mentor, researcher, educator, trailblazer and administrator. He has three degrees from Acadia – BA (’77); BEd (’77); MEd (’81) – and a PhD from Dalhousie University (’90). He also holds a Diploma in Education, a Teaching Certificate in the Province of Nova Scotia, and is a Certified Canadian Counselor.
Donalda MacBeath (’75), President of the Acadia Alumni Association, says Dr. Frank’s selection as the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient “is richly deserved. His considerable achievements exemplify the Acadia experience, and his personal and professional commitment to helping others is a testament to all that Acadia inspires in its students. The solid foundation he built while obtaining graduate and undergraduate degrees at Acadia has formed the infrastructure for an incredible career as an educator, advocate, instructor and administrator. He is someone to whom we can all aspire, and we are proud to celebrate him as a member of our alumni family.”
Dr. Frank grew up in a farming community in the Annapolis Valley and his local roots run deep. He taught at Horton District High School in Greenwich, Nova Scotia for 20 years and was a part-time instructor in Acadia’s Sociology Department and School of Education while pursuing his PhD at Dalhousie. He was also a faculty member in the Department of Education at Mount Saint Vincent University for a decade, where he co-chaired the department during the rationalization of schools, departments and faculties of education in Nova Scotia.
Throughout his academic career, Dr. Frank has been a lecturer, Assistant and Adjunct Professor, Professor, and head of the Division of Medical Education and also Department of Bioethics in Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine. He is currently in his second term as Dean of the Faculty of Education at UBC in British Columbia.
His pedagogical and leadership work in equity, diversity and inclusion in teacher and health care education is grounded in extensive and ongoing scholarship, and his tireless efforts have earned considerable accolades and attention. In addition to being named this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, Dr. Frank has received the Mount Saint Vincent University Award for Research, the Mount Saint Vincent University Alumnae Award for Teaching, the Association of Atlantic Universities Distinguished Teacher Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the prestigious May Cohen Gender Equity Award from the Association of Faculties of Medicine in Canada in recognition of outstanding effort for achievement in improving the gender equity environment in academic medicine in Canada.
Dr. Frank has noted that there are three foci to his work: diversity, sociology of masculinity, and boys’ and men’s health, with a particular interest in the examination of medical education through multiple lenses in order to better understand the political, economic and social inquiry surrounding medical practice.
As a teacher and mentor, he says he has “always encouraged and facilitated an environment of mutual respect and critical reflection for diverse learners through the application of new pedagogical theories and practices based on research excellence.”
Dr. Frank has published and presented extensively throughout his career. He is also a highly regarded guest speaker and lecturer, having hosted dozens of faculty development workshops provincially, nationally and internationally to foster a sustainable community of scholars in the areas of gender, health, and medical education.
Fellow educator Nancy Pynch Worthylake has been associated professionally with Dr. Frank for more than 30 years and said in support of his nomination, “I can think of no one who has contributed more to educational and social research, civic duty, an agent of change for equity and social justice, transformational leadership in the administration and business of university faculties, and systemic change at the community level. Quite simply, there are few leaders like Dr. Frank who have the strength of will to serve as an ongoing champion for those most at risk and the talent to influence others to join the quest for deep systemic change.”
Similarly, Dr. Ann Vibert (’74), former Dean, Faculty of Professional Studies, and Professor in the School of Education at Acadia, noted that “many colleagues in the Faculty of Education at UBC … praise his support for students and faculty, his fair-mindedness, his openness and presence, his imagination and energy, his enormous success at attracting top-rate faculty and increasing the University’s international research record, his insightfulness and lived commitment to supporting equity and diversity. Working across his career very much in Acadia’s proud tradition of furthering equitable education and engaging with communities, Dr. Blye Frank is indeed a distinguished Acadia alumnus.”
To see a video interview featuring Dr. Frank, please click HERE.
Dr. Catharine Farrow ('89), PhD PGeo ICD.D
Catharine is a Professional Geoscientist (APGO) and accredited Corporate Director (ICD) with more than 25 years of mining industry experience. She currently serves as a Director of Franco-Nevada Corporation and Centamin plc, is Chair of the Board of Exiro Minerals Corp., and is the inaugural Member of the Advisory Board of Behr Technologies Inc., an Industrial IoT technology company.
She is President of FarExGeoMine Ltd. (her private consulting company), is Chair of the Advisory Board of the Mineral Exploration Research Centre, Harquail School of Earth Sciences, Laurentian University, is a member of Laurentian’s Goodman School of Mines Advisory Board, and has been an Adjunct Professor at Laurentian since 1995. She is also currently is a Program Director of the Osgoode Mining Law Program.
From 2012 to 2017 she was Founding CEO, Director and Co-Founder of TMAC Resources Inc., the first producing gold miner with operations in Kitikmeot Region, Nunavut, in Canada’s High Arctic. Before TMAC, Catharine was COO of KGHM International (formerly Quadra FNX Mining Ltd.). Previously at Quadra FNX and FNX Mining Company Inc., she held multiple senior executive roles in a wide range of disciplines including operations, technical services, corporate development and exploration. Before FNX, Catharine was with both Inco Ltd. and the Ontario Geological Survey.
Catharine has served on the Board of several not-for-profit and government Advisory Boards including the PDAC and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Ontario Region, and is currently a member of the Ontario Government Mining Working Group in addition to the PDAC Industry-Government (Federal) Roundtable. She has been honoured as one of the 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining (2015 and 2018), and is a past recipient of the William Harvey Gross Medal of the Geological Association of Canada (2000). Catharine obtained her BSc (Hons) from Mount Allison University, her MSc from Acadia University and her PhD from Carleton University.
Dr. David Levy (’72)
Dr. David H. Levy (’72) is arguably one of the most enthusiastic and famous amateur astronomers of our time. Although he has never taken a class in astronomy, he has written over three dozen books, contributes to three astronomy magazines and has appeared on television programs featured on the Discovery and the Science Channels. Among Dr. Levy’s accomplishments are 23 comet discoveries, the most famous being Shoemaker-Levy 9 that collided with Jupiter in 1994; a few hundred shared asteroid discoveries; an Emmy for the documentary Three Minutes to Impact; five honorary doctorates in science, including one from Acadia in 1995; and a PhD that combines astronomy and English Literature. Currently, he is the editor of the web magazine Sky’s Up! and has a monthly column, Skyward, in the local Vail Voice paper. Dr. Levy continues to hunt for comets and asteroids, and lectures worldwide. He lives in Vail, Arizona with his wife, Wendee Wallach-Levy.
Dr. Carmen O'Neill ('83)
For more than 25 years, Dr. Carmen O’Neill (’83) has been a valuable part of the Nova Scotia health care system, serving as a family physician in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia in practice with her husband, Dr. Everett Weagle (’84). She is also a member of the Department of Family Medicine at the South Shore Regional Hospital, volunteers with Harbour House, offering safety, comfort and hope to women who are victims of abuse and their children, and is an advisory Board member for 811 (Nova Scotia). Dr. O’Neill is an ardent supporter of Global Brigades as well, dispensing on a volunteer basis health care to under-resourced communities in Honduras. She has provided mentorship, leadership, support and encouragement to the many students working on the brigade with a combination of professionalism and a passion for people. Dr. O’Neill is the mother of two daughters, Rachael (’16) and Kirsten Weagle, both of whom are pursuing degrees in medicine. Dr. O’Neill and her husband live in Hebbville, Nova Scotia.
Brigadier-General Hilary Jaeger (’79)
Brigadier-General Hilary Jaeger was the 36th Canadian Surgeon General. Hilary was born in Cambridge, England and came to Acadia University, completing a BSc in 1979. She began her military career with the West Nova Scotia Regiment in 1976 while attending Acadia. She went on to complete a medical degree at U of T and a Master’s of Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She had a very active, successful 35-plus year military career, including operational tours in the Balkans and Afghanistan. BGen. Jaeger has worked with Veteran’s Affairs Canada and is a member of the Health Technology Expert Review Panel.
Dr. Bruce Galloway (’68)
Dr. Bruce Galloway, now retired, began working at the Royal Bank of Canada immediately after graduating from Acadia with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree, concluding his illustrious career as RBC Vice-Chairman. While at Acadia, Bruce met his late wife Sheila, many of his closest friends, and played defensive end for the football Axemen. In Voices of Acadia III, Bruce recognized that “Acadia dramatically changed my life.” Bruce has remained actively involved with Acadia with several key initiatives like chairing the Acadia Advantage Program and assisting with fundraising campaigns like “Tides are Turning” and the Patterson Hall “Twenty-Wing” appeal. Dr. Galloway was named to the 1960s all-decade football team; served on Acadia’s Board of Governors for 18 years; and was granted an Honorary Degree from Acadia in 2003.
Dr. Paul Corkum (’65)
Dr. Paul Corkum, known as the “father of attoseconds”, graduated from Acadia with a BSc and then went on to complete his Master’s and doctorate at Lehigh University. He is chair in Attosecond Photonics at the University of Ottawa/National Research Council and an Officer of the Order of Canada. Dr. Corkum has been granted several prestigious awards, most recently the Harvey Prize (2013); the Royal Photographic Society Progress Medal and Honorary Fellowship (2013); and the King Faisal International Prize for Physics (2013). As Dr. Corkum recalled in Voices of Acadia III, he gained a strong academic background here. It “was like a family … classes were small and I took every physics course that was offered. It was wonderful.” Additionally, Paul met his wife, Nadja, at Acadia. In 2006, Dr. Corkum was granted an Honorary Degree from Acadia and he proudly states, “there is no honorary degree I could possibly get that would mean more than the one from Acadia.”
Dr. Elizabeth Cannon ’82
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014
Dr. Elizabeth Cannon is the eighth president and vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary.
Throughout her career, Dr. Cannon has worked to ensure that women receive opportunities to excel, particularly in science and engineering. From 1997 to 2002, she held the NSERC/Petro-Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for the Prairie Region. In this capacity, she focused on raising public awareness about science and engineering careers for women, and conducted research on factors influencing men and women to select these careers. She also developed several innovative programs such as Cybermentor and Explore IT to encourage and retain women in science and engineering fields.
In 1998, Dr. Cannon was selected as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, and then in 2006 she was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network.
Dr. Cannon holds a BSc in mathematics from Acadia University, and a BSc, MSc and PhD in geomatics engineering from the University of Calgary. Born and raised in Prince Edward Island, Dr. Cannon was an active athlete who participated as a university swimmer during her undergraduate career. She is married to Gerard Lachapelle and has two children.
Mr. Clint Davis ’92
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013
Mr. Davis is Vice-President of Aboriginal Affairs for TD Bank. Prior to this role, he was the President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB). The CCAB is a national member-based Aboriginal organization that offers programs to mainstream and Aboriginal-owned companies that help create mutual benefit.
Clint is an Inuk from Nunatsiavut, Newfoundland and Labrador, which represents the last Inuit land claim to be settled in Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Acadia University, a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University and a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University. He is a Canada/US Fulbright scholar and a recipient of two scholarships from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, which is now Indspire.
Clint is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Nunatsiavut Group of Companies (NGC), which is the business arm of the Nunatsiavut Government. NGC operates businesses in the areas of marine transportation, air transportation, commercial real estate, construction, remote camp operations, logistics, and heavy civil.
He is a former blogger for the Financial Post and he enjoys mentoring young Aboriginal professionals as they embark on their career journey.
Clint lives in Toronto with his wife Hillary Thatcher and their two children.
Mr. Bob Stead ’63
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013
Mr. Stead is a proud “Spud Islander” who graduated from Acadia in 1963 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry. He taught high school for two years and four years at his alma mater, Prince of Wales College, which became a constituent part of the University of Prince Edward Island. He returned to Acadia in 1969 in Registry and Admissions and retired in 1996 following 27 years directing programs in recruitment, admissions, scholarships, and bursaries.
He has served on the Board of Directors of the Associated Alumni, chaired the 125th anniversary celebrations of the Associated Alumni in 1985, and served on the committee for the sesquicentennial of Acadia’s founding in 1988. In 1988, he became a councillor for the Town of Wolfville, serving until 1997 when he became Mayor, a position he held until retirement from municipal politics in 2012.
Bob chaired the committee seeking to raise $1.5 million for L’Arche Homefires in Wolfville. While Mayor, Bob gained national recognition for initiatives in smoking cessation and land preservation, as well as gaining Fair Trade Town status for Wolfville. Cooperation and community were two of Bob’s favourite interests.
Mr. Stead passed away early in 2014. His life partner, Danny Chandler, currently resides Wolfville.
Dr. Cynthia Trudell ’74
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012
As PepsiCo’s Executive Vice-President, Human Resources and Chief Human Resources Officer, Dr. Cynthia Trudell is responsible for the company’s global linkage of business strategy to talent management requirements, assurance and development.
Previously, Dr. Trudell was president of the Sea Ray Group, a subsidiary of Brunswick Corporation. She began her career in the automotive industry. Her tenure at General Motors extended across plant and process engineering, plant management and general management. After serving as President of IBC Vehicles in England — a joint venture with Isuzu — she became General Motors’ Vice- President as well as Chairman and President of Saturn Corporation, a wholly owned GM subsidiary.
Prior to her current role, Dr. Trudell served on PepsiCo’s Board of Directors, on the Boards of the Pepsi- Cola Bottling Group (prior to its merger with PepsiCo) and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
Dr. Trudell has a Bachelor of Science from Acadia University and a doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Windsor, Ontario. She and her husband, Brian, reside in Armonk, New York.
Rev. DR. Peter Paris ’55
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012
Rev. Dr. Peter J. Paris is the Elmer G. Homrighausen Professor Emeritus of Christian Social Ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary. He has also taught at Vanderbilt Divinity School, Howard University School of Divinity, Union Theological Seminary in New York, Harvard University Divinity School and Trinity Theological Seminary in Ghana.
Dr. Paris was born and brought up in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. He earned his B.A. and B.D. degrees from Acadia University and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago. He has been the recipient of many honours, including four honourary doctor of divinity degrees: from Acadia, McGill, Lehigh and Lafayette universities respectively. He is ordained in the African United Baptist Association in Nova Scotia. Dr. Paris has authored several textbooks and is the General Editor of a series at New York University Press, Religion, Race and Ethnicity.
Dr. Paris has been elected to the presidencies of the following national organizations: the American Academy of Religion; the Society of Christian Ethics and the Society for the Study of Black Religion; and the American Theological Society. He has served on the editorial boards of several academic journals and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the New York Theological Seminary.
Dr. Paris has lectured widely throughout Canada, the United States, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Brazil and India. He is married to Ms. C. Adrienne Daniels Paris, founder and President of Ashby Daniels Associates, an Executive Recruiting Company.
Mr. Henry Demone ’76
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011
Following his education, Mr. Demone started his career in the seafood business with National Sea Products, High Liner’s predecessor company. He worked for a Swedish company, Franz Witte AB, from 1980–84 as managing director of their Canadian and French subsidiaries.
Following his return to National Sea Products in 1984, he was appointed President in 1989, at a time when the company faced the challenges of heavy debts, money losing operations, and the catastrophic decline of the East Coast fishery. During Henry’s tenure as president, the company focused on brand marketing, value-added processing, and acquisitions. High Liner Foods today is North America’s leading value-added seafood company, with a track record of profitable growth and innovation.
Henry has held leadership positions in many trade associations and volunteer organizations during his career, including the Young President’s Organization; Fisheries Council of Canada; National Fisheries Institute in Washington, DC; and Groundfish Forum, a global trade association whose members are the world’s leading seafood companies.
His interests are one-design sailboat racing, hiking, travel, and fitness. Henry lives in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, with his wife, Rena. They have three adult children: Tiffanie, 27; Elliott, 24 (Acadia ’10); and Andreas, 21 (Acadia ’13).
Ms. Joan Clark ’57 and ’59
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011
Ms. Clark is a novelist and short story writer who was born in Liverpool, NS, and grew up in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Acadia in 1957 and then attended Edmonton’s University of Alberta, where she studied education and later spent several years teaching. She married Jack Clark, an engineer with the Royal Canadian Air Force, and went with him to Winisk, Hudson Bay, which provided inspiration for her novel,The Victory of Geraldine Gull. She lived in Alberta for two decades before moving to St. John’s, NL, where she served as president of the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Joan has written numerous children’s books, short story collections, and adult fiction, and her work has been recognized by several literary awards: the Marian Engel Award; the Canadian Authors’ Association Award for The Victory of Geraldine Gull (1988) and for The Dream Carvers (1995), the Mr. Christie Award for best Canadian children’s book, and the Geoffrey Bilson Award for historical fiction for young people. In 2010, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
Ms. Stacy Wilson ’87
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010
Ms. Wilson is well-known as one of the best and most respected players in women’s hockey. Her impressive record as a player is matched by her reputation for leadership and ability to inspire others, both on and off the ice.
Born in Salisbury, NB, Stacy Wilson graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from Acadia in 1987, and received her Master of Education from the University of Minnesota-
Duluth in 2004. A top student at Acadia, Stacy helped establish an Acadia women’s hockey club team, which won two provincial championships, and represented Nova Scotia at the Women’s National Championships in 1986 and 1987. Stacy was the first woman to be named to the Acadia Hockey Honour Roll.
Stacy is a veteran of Canada’s Women’s World Championship-winning teams of 1990, 1992, 1994, and 1997. In the 1997 National Championship, Stacy had her game MVP medal cut into 20 pieces and distributed to her teammates before their semifinal game. She was later named MVP of the entire championship series.
In 1995, Stacy became captain of Team Canada, leading the team to a silver medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics. Following her retirement as a player, she became assistant coach of the University of Minnesota-Duluth women’s hockey team from 1999 to 2004, and was elevated to associate head coach in her final season.
Stacy has further inspired young female hockey players as author of The Hockey Book for Girls, published in 2000. The book was nominated for a British Columbia Red Cedar Book Award, and has sold over 10,000 copies.
Currently, Stacy lives in Maine. Since 2007, she has served as Head Coach of the Bowdoin College women’s hockey team, which has experienced renewed success under her leadership.
Mr. Jeff Goodspeed ’76
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010
Mr. Goodspeed is an award-winning professional musician, music educator, and community developer who uses the power of music to break down cultural and economic barriers, and inspire youth to attain excellence.
Jeff grew up in Truro, NS and has been passionate about music from an early age, becoming one of the many fine graduates of Cobequid Education Centre’s band program. He studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA for one year before coming to Acadia, where he graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Music Education, followed by two years at Humber College of Music in Toronto.
As a professional musician, Jeff has toured extensively with the RCMP Band and Roger Whittaker, and has played with artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Aretha Franklin, Liberace, and many more. Jeff’s professional collaborations in Nova Scotia have included such lineups as Havanafax and the Goodspeed Staples Quartet.
As a music educator, Jeff has started music programs at the Halifax Grammar School, Armbrae Academy, and the NSCC Waterfront Campus. He has also been one of the long term leaders of Acadia University’s Summer Jazz Camp, serving as a Director since 1996.
With his wife, Amara, Jeff has led campaigns to collect donated instruments for Cuban music students, and in 1998 created the Los Primos project. Los Primos — Spanish for ‘the cousins’ — is an ongoing cultural exchange between music students, professional musicians and teachers in Nova Scotia and Cuba.
In addition to his work with young people, Jeff fronts the Sunday Jazz program at Stayner’s on the Wharf, and performs regularly with collaborators as the Jeff Goodspeed Quartet. Jeff and his colleagues are two time East Coast Music Award winners. Jeff has received Music Nova Scotia’s Educator of the Year award three times and a Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary International for creating international goodwill through Los Primos. Jeff and Amara reside in Dartmouth.
Mr. Bill Parker ’56
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009
Mr. Parker grew up in Drummondville, Quebec and graduated from Acadia University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1956.
While he was a student at Acadia, Bill was a fixture on the varsity hockey team coached by Major Fred Kelly and was team captain for two years. Bill was also involved with varsity golf, track and field, and the Students Council. He is Life President of his class.
After seven years working in Quebec, Bill returned to his alma mater in 1963 as the first Director of Alumni Affairs for the Associated Alumni of Acadia University. Over a 33-year career at Acadia, Bill took on additional responsibilities, becoming Director of Alumni Affairs and Information Services in 1969, and by 1974 was also Director of Development. In 1985 he became Vice-President of External Relations.
Over the course of his career Bill was the catalyst for significant special government and private funding for Acadia and was involved in the early planning of the Acadia Advantage program.
Bill was the advisor to five university presidents and has worked tirelessly to improve town-and-gown relations.
Bill and his wife Margaret (Class of 1957) have remained in Wolfville in their retirement and continue to support Acadia athletics, music, and arts programs.
Dr. Joni Guptill ’76/’77
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009
Dr. Joni Guptill is a family physician living in Halifax. She graduated from Acadia in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and then again in 1977 with an Honours degree. Joni attended medical school at Dalhousie and has received a Diploma in Tropical Medicine from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
Joni was a founding member and has been involved with Medicins Sans Frontières (MSF) Canada since 1990 when she opened the Atlantic Canada office. Serving now as Vice-President, Joni has given countless days and weeks as a volunteer, regional staff member, and board member. She has completed five missions in Somalia, China, Iraq, Kurdistan, and South Sudan.
Joni has organized several clinical programs in New Brunswick including a rural Family Medicine Obstetrics program at the Upper River Valley Hospital, and an Asthma Care Clinic and a Phase 111 Exercise Rehab program in Woodstock.
On top of all of this, Joni finds time to compete in marathons (six) and half ironman competitions (one), and is training for Ironman Canada in August, 2009.
Former President of the MSF International Council, Dr. James Orbinski, notes that, “Dr. Joni Guptill is a deeply competent and highly skilled physician whose humour, grace and pragmatic compassion never waver. Joni is among the best of what we can be as doctors, as friends and as human beings.”
Janet L. Kirk ’71
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008
Ms. Kirk is recently retired from the Nova Scotia Community College having served as campus principal in Windsor, Kentville, and Truro. Her 27 year career with the NSCC and its predecessor institutions paralleled the founding and early development of the College and, thus, her work during these years has earned her the recognition of being one of the College pioneers.
That pioneering work involved countless hours on committees and task groups and provided those involved with the unique opportunity to influence and help shape this newest addition to Nova Scotia’s system of post-secondary education.
In recognition of her contribution to the development of the Nova Scotia Community College and for her leadership within the College generally, Janet was presented with NSCC’s Leadership Excellence Award in the spring of 2002.
Over the course of her career, Janet served on a number of provincial boards related to her work and served on the Canadian Program Advisory Committee of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. In 1997, she served as Chair and Coordinator of the ACCC Conference that was held in Halifax and hosted by the NSCC.
With a strong commitment to volunteerism and community service, Janet has served on a number of non-profit boards and has been a member of the Rotary Clubs of Windsor, Kentville, and Truro. It is her alma mater, however, that has been her longest standing volunteer commitment.
Janet served on the AAAU Board of Directors for 14 years with 4 of those years being in the position of Alumni President. She had the honour of representing alumni during Acadia’s Sesquicentennial celebrations and has had the distinct pleasure of welcoming scores of alumni back to campus for reunions, Homecomings, and other special events. In 2001, she was appointed to the Board of Governors of the University and is now serving her second term. She has been an Officer of the Board since 2002; chaired the 2004 Ad Hoc Committee on Board Effectiveness; and served as the first Chair of the Board’s Governance Committee. Most recently, she has served as Chair of the Annapolis Valley Division of Acadia’s Tides are Turning Capital Campaign.
Janet is married to Andy, a fellow alum, and they reside in Windsor.
Mr. Don Wells’65
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008
After attending the University of New Brunswick for a Bachelor of Physical Education, Mr. Wells enrolled at Acadia University. He completed his Bachelor of Education in 1965. He later completed a Master in Education from UNB and pursued post-doctoral studies at Indiana University. In 1966, Don began what would become a lengthy career in university administration, teaching, and coaching at Acadia.
A Maritime conference All-Star with UNB, Don played one season with the varsity Axemen and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player. It was during the next season that he was named the men’s varsity hockey coach at Acadia. In this role, he coached and guided the fortunes of the hockey Axemen for nineteen years.
In 1984, Don was appointed Athletic Director at Acadia. During the next thirteen academic years, before his retirement in 1997, he worked tirelessly to support and build varsity sports programs both within Atlantic Canadian universities and across Canada through the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU). In 1998, he was presented the Austin Mathews Award for Outstanding Contributions to Canadian University Sport. In addition to coaching hockey, he has coached football, cross-country and track and field. He also served as Don of Eaton House, Coordinator of the Physical Education Program, and Acting Dean of the School of Recreation and Physical Education.
Don’s numerous achievements include his induction into both the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame and the Hockey Honour Roll. In 1998 he was awarded the Associated Alumni in Excellence in University Service recognition. In addition, in recognition of his years of dedication to varsity sport, the Atlantic University Sports Management Council unanimously accepted recommendations to rename the league’s Most Sportsmanlike Award, the Don Wells Trophy.
Mentor, coach, leader, good friend to many, and family man, Don is well known in the Acadia community, and far beyond, for his tremendous contribution to the quality of life for people of all ages, both during his career and long into his retirement.
Don resides in Wolfville with his wife of 43 years, Libby. He has two children, both Acadia graduates, who have clearly been influenced by their father’s athletic abilities and outstanding leadership qualities. Mike Wells ’90 was inducted into the Hockey Honour Roll in October and Wendi Fields ’93 was recently inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame as the Captain of the 1990 national winning soccer team. Don is the proud grandfather of Mitchell, Jeremy, Madeline, and Denver.
Mr. Ron James ’79
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007
Born in the coal-mining town of Glace Bay, Cape Breton, Mr. James moved to Halifax at age nine, attending Ardmore, Chebucto and QEH schools. Ron headed to Acadia in 1975 and after three years of ‘caps tourney’-hell- driven-inspired anarchy in the company of assorted heretics and enlightened apostates of the status quo, Ron graduated with a BA in History and has the scars to prove it. At Acadia, Ron found something he could do that didn’t involve a tutor. He dropped his plans for that bio-medical engineering doctorate (in Russian) and joined that circus called showbiz.
Ron moved to Toronto in 1980 and studied improvisational comedy at The Second City, eventually joining their national touring company. He was soon promoted to Toronto main stage, where legions of comedic actors - Alan Arkin, John Candy and Mike Myers - claim pedigree.
The next decade saw Ron appearing in dozens of commercials, television roles and films. His family moved to Los Angeles in 1990 as he co-starred in a series for Ron Howard’s Imagine TV. The show was cancelled after one year; Ron was out of work for just as long, managing to land a few gigs, but mostly going broke. He found himself hiking a lot, wondering what went wrong.
After three years, the James family returned to Toronto. Ron wrote a show about the family’s adventure. “Up and Down in Shaky Town: One Man’s Journey Through the California Dream” was a critically acclaimed solo that led Ron to stand-up comedy. For the past 15 years, he’s moved from chasing a feudal wage in smokey clubs to performing for record-breaking capacity crowds in theatres coast to coast, writing and performing three, 90-minute critically acclaimed network comedy specials with a fourth in the works. Ron has created and starred in his own television series and has been voted Canadian Comedian of the Year. When not touring, Ron lives in Toronto with his wife and two teenage daughters who’ve got ‘the funny’ in spades.
The Honourable Senator Norman Atkins ’57
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007
Honorable Atkins has been described as an advertising executive by profession, a politician by calling and a Canadian by choice.
Senator Atkins has always remained true to his values, his family and his Acadia. The youngest of three children, Norman followed the steps of many family members, attending Acadia and graduating in 1957 with a degree in economics. He is remembered by his Acadia friends as a gentle person and loyal friend.
While at Acadia, Norman also gained significant political experience, contacts and enthusiasm for the world of Canadian politics. He became immersed in federal politics in the 60s, emerged as an exceptionally talented campaign strategist, and was a technological pioneer as the country’s leading campaign strategist for more than 30 years.
Norman Atkins was appointed to the Senate by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on June 29, 1986. He has since maintained his role as an active, interested and informed Senator, putting the interests of Canadians first. He has worked hard to improve the quality of life for Canadian citizens, through political and social advocacy. Norman is a champion of education, and is described as ‘a giver - not a taker.’
Acadia was, and continues to be a very significant part of Norman’s life. In memory of ‘Gammy’ Atkins, Norman’s family presented a gift to Acadia, the Atkins Cup. This distinguished honour is given to the football player who shows the greatest improvement throughout the season. Norman has continued his participation in the Acadia family, and takes great pride in his own. He is the proud father of three sons, Peter, Geoff and Mark.
Colonel Steve Bowes ’81
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006
Acadia alumni are incredibly proud to be recognizing a man who represents the crucial role that our men and women in uniform perform every day at the corners of the world. Col. Bowes is the former Commanding Officer of Canada’s Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan
Col. Steve Bowes is the recently repatriated Commanding Officer of Canada’s Provincial Reconstruction Team that is serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan; one of the most important and dangerous modern-day missions ever undertaken by the Canadian Forces.
An accomplished military professional, Steve left his job as Commanding Officer of the Canadian Armour School to accept the Afghanistan posting at a time when no mission could be more important or more dangerous. Col. Bowes has publicly credited his post-secondary years at Acadia as an important source for the knowledge and guiding principles he uses every day in leading his troops.
The Bowes family presently resides in Oromocto, NB. This June Steve will commence a new assignment as Deputy Commander of the Standing Contingency Task Force in Halifax, a key initiative and priority in the Canadian Forces transformation process.
Steve is married to Tammy (née Targett, UNB ’88, Bachelor of Education) and they have two beautiful daughters, Tara, 13, and Brianna, 7. Steve’s hobbies, in reserve priority, include trying to stay fit, watching CSI, playing golf, and doing whatever his daughters tell him to do!
Mr. Brian Heaney ’69
Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006
Mr. Heaney is known to the Acadia community as Axeman Basketball Great, National Championship Coach and Sports Broadcaster. Acadia University’s Alumni are proud to honour Axeman basketball great, Brian Heaney, for his significant career and life accomplishments in athletics, coaching and broadcasting.
Brian Heaney, a native of Rockaway Beach, New York, came to Acadia as a recruit of Acadia basketball legend Coach Stu Aberdeen in 1964. Under Coach Aberdeen’s tutelage Brian and his teammates won the CIAU national title in his very first campaign as an Axeman, while Brian won al-tournament honours as a player. Brian excelled at Acadia and helped ensure that Acadia was an annual threat at both the conference and national level every year, and firmly entrenched his reputation as one of the finest ball players to ever be produced by the Canadian collegiate system. Brian held numerous scoring and performance records as a player. One of these, his single game scoring record of 74 points in one game still stands, and this set in a time when three pointers were unknown!
Upon graduation Brian took his talents to the NBA and played for the Baltimore Bullets, the first Canadian system player to have ever done this. After his playing career, Brian quickly established himself as one of the greatest basketball coaches in Canadian history, winning the CIAU championships three times as coach of the St. Mary’s Huskies in the 1970’s. A talented broadcaster and speaker, Heaney currently hosts the Toronto Raptors NBA TV production “Heaney on the Hardwood”, and appears on the “Raptors Game Day” and “Raptors Post Up” segments on TSN. Brian was inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.