Four distinguished members of the Memorial University community were awarded the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador on Oct. 4.
Judy M. Foote, lieutenant-governor, and Premier Andrew Furey, congratulated the seven recipients during a ceremony at Government House in St. John’s.
The recipients are receiving the province’s highest honour for their demonstrated excellence and achievement in any field of endeavour benefiting in an outstanding manner Newfoundland and Labrador and its residents.
Dr. Noreen Golfman
In 1989 Dr. Noreen Golfman was a founding director of the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival.
She served on the board of directors of the LSPU Hall and helped lead its renovation; she has been chairing the board of the Winterset in Summer Literary Festival for several years and she is the vice-chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation. In 2014 Dr. Golfman co-founded Business and Arts N.L. and presently acts as its co-chair.
Recently retired from the Department of English at Memorial University, Dr. Golfman was honoured with the distinction of professor emerita. She was the first woman appointed to the dean of the School of Graduate Studies from 2008–14 and served as provost and vice-president (academic) from 2014–20.
For more than three decades, she has been the president of Memorial University’s Cinema Series.
Dr. Kevin Noel Melvin
Dr. Kevin Melvin holds an undergraduate degree from Memorial.
Dr. Melvin was a family doctor before he trained as a general surgeon and subsequently specialized as a cardiac, vascular and thoracic surgeon in Toronto.
Returning to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1982, he practised full time until mid-2021 when he retired.
During the majority of that time, he served as chief of cardiac surgery at the Health Sciences Centre, was chief of general/vascular surgery at the Salvation Army Grace General Hospital until its closure and subsequently as chief of vascular surgery at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital.
During the four decades of his practice, the specialties of cardiac and vascular surgery witnessed advances and innovations in terms of new procedures and techniques all aimed at improving patient outcomes.
Dr. Rick Mercer
For more than 30 years, Dr. Rick Mercer left his mark on the provincial, national and international levels as a comedian, satirist, screenwriter, actor, author and humanitarian.
He is one of the most successful artists to come from Newfoundland and Labrador; he uses his profile to be a constant and passionate ambassador for the province to the world.
Mr. Mercer connected with Canadians through comedy shows, and multiple award-winning CBC series’, including This Hour has 22 Minutes, Talking to Americans, Made in Canada and The Rick Mercer Report.
A five-time national bestselling author, Mr. Mercer received the 2022 Stephen Leacock Medal for his memoir, Talking to Canadians. In addition, he has written for Time, Macleans, the National Post and the Globe and Mail.
Mr. Mercer’s work in television has been recognized with close to 30 Gemini and Canadian Screen Awards.
In addition, he is the recipient of 10 honorary doctorates from institutions across Canada, including an honorary doctor of letters degree from Memorial University in 2005.
In 2014 Mr. Mercer was invested as an officer of the Order of Canada, and in 2019 he received the Governor General’s Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Dr. Patrick Parfrey
Dr. Parfrey is a clinical epidemiologist and nephrologist, and a John Lewis Paton Distinguished University Professor at Memorial University.
He is active in research of patient-related problems in chronic kidney disease, the clinical epidemiology of inherited diseases and health-care delivery.
His current projects include a randomized trial of cinacalcet (a calcimimetic) in the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism in hemodialysis patients; identification and screening of families at high risk of colorectal cancer; and electronic interventions to improve the appropriateness of health-care use.
Throughout his distinguished career in the field of health care, Dr. Parfrey has had a profound influence on the well-being of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. He was instrumental in building the discipline of nephrology as a clinical service and teaching program, the clinical Epidemiology Unit, and the building of the new medical school.
Dr. Parfrey’s work led to the establishment of Quality of Care N.L., an applied health and social systems research and evaluation program aimed at improving social and health outcomes in our province.
He has published hundreds of research papers, multiple books and contributed many book chapters. His globally recognized research has resulted in more than $100 million to advance his work.
In November 2020, Dr. Parfrey was appointed co-chair of Health Accord N.L., along with Sister Elizabeth Davis. They led a team to help make recommendations to help inform a reimagined health-care system that better meets the needs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
In 2022 he was appointed deputy minister of Health Transformation in the provincial government’s Office of the Executive Council.
Dr. Parfrey is an officer of the Order of Canada, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.