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Paying tribute

Memorial University alumni recognized for outstanding achievements

Campus and Community

By Michael Pickard

Did you hear the one about a CEO from a tiny town; a special education teacher who stands up to injustice; a radiologist who’d give you the shirt off his back; and a dermatologist who also gives TED talks?

That’s not the start of a joke – it’s the line-up for the 38th annual Alumni Tribute Awards. Today, Memorial is announcing its list of recipients, all of whom have achieved great distinction in their respective fields and have served Memorial as champions of the university’s ideals.

The 2019 recipients are Barry Perry, B.Comm.(Hons.)(Co-op.)’86; Susan Rose, BA’82, B.Ed.(High School)’86, B.Sp.Ed.’87; Dr. Peter Collingwood, B.Med.Sci.’79, MD’81; and Dr. Boluwaji Ogunyemi, Dip. in Clinical Epidemiology’09, MD’13.

Nominations were open from Jan. 23 until March 29, 2019. Submissions were reviewed by the Tribute Awards Selection Committee, an independent panel of Memorial alumni. The committee’s recommendations were submitted to Memorial on June 25.

“This year we had a diverse group of nominees who reminded the committee of the amazing accomplishments of our graduates,” said Bob Dowden, chair, Alumni Tribute Awards Selection Committee. “The 2019 recipients chosen by the committee are all outstanding alumni who have made a difference locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.”

Barry Perry, Alumnus of the Year
On top of the world from humble beginnings

Barry Perry
Photo: David Howells

The small community of Pound Cove, N.L., is an incubator for hard-working, kind, family-oriented people. It’s a foundation in character building that has helped create the chief executive officer (CEO) of a multibillion-dollar company trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

These are the humble beginnings of Barry Perry, B.Comm.(Hons.)(Co-op.)’86, the first in his family to graduate from university and Memorial’s 2019 Alumnus of the Year.

Mr. Perry trained as an accountant and worked with Warr, Saunders, Blackwood and Hoskins before moving on to Come by Chance Oil Refinery and Abitibi Consolidated. It was with these companies that he learned that success in business is about more than numbers – it is about learning the nuances of how the organization functions, and it is about bringing out the best in people.

In 2000 he became the vice-president of finance and chief financial officer at Newfoundland Power, eventually undertaking the same roles at Fortis Inc., beginning in 2004. In addition to the financial direction and reporting for Fortis, his role included leadership in the growth of the organization and overseeing significant corporate acquisitions in Western Canada and the United States. Since 2014 he has served as CEO of Fortis.

During Mr. Perry’s tenure as CEO, Fortis has undertaken the US$11.3 billion acquisition of ITC Holdings, making it one of the 15 largest investor-owned utility companies in North America, and he has seen the company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Under Mr. Perry’s leadership, Fortis supports The Salvation Army Centre of Hope, the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation, Meals on Wheels, The Rooms, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and many other worthy and important organizations.

Susan Rose, Outstanding Community Service Award
A tenacious spirit who gives everything to make a difference

Susan Rose, BA’82, B.Ed.(High School)’86, B.Sp.Ed.’87, is this year’s recipient of Memorial University’s Outstanding Community Service Award. Ms. Rose has spent her life advocating for others and speaking for under-represented groups in society.

Susan Rose
Photo: Submitted

Ms. Rose began her career working with children at Exxon House. She worked as a teacher in the field of special education, recognizing her skills both as an educator and advocate for children who are marginalized. She used tools such as music, movement and chess to help build their self-esteem. She saw first-hand the need for education and training for individuals working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and 2-spirit (LGBTQ2S) students.

She has networked with school boards, government departments, communities and individuals to ensure that the LGBTQ2S population is fully immersed and supported and has lobbied government for gay and lesbian human rights. For years, she operated a support phone line in her home, for women all over the province to call when they needed support. She consults with students and parents in the province, providing resources to assist them in dealing with conflicts within their school and community.

In July 2009 Ms. Rose was awarded Pride Citizen of the Year for Newfoundland and Labrador for her contribution in the field of LGBTQ2S education. As a result of training and education, 60 per cent of all schools in the province now have a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) or Pride Alliance Club.

She is the national vice-president of Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE) Canada Human Rights Trust and chairperson of EGALE’s education committee. Ms. Rose owns a tourism rental business on the Baccalieu Trail in Conception Bay, N.L., where visitors experience one of the oldest communities in North America.

Dr. Peter Collingwood, J.D. Eaton Award
A catalyst who makes good things happen

Dr. Peter Collingwood
Photo: Submitted

Dr. Peter Collingwood, B.Med.Sci.’79, MD’81, is the 2019 recipient of the J.D. Eaton Award, which recognizes outstanding volunteer contributions to Memorial University.

After completing his undergraduate training, Dr. Collingwood completed a year of internal medicine at Dalhousie University and returned to Memorial to commence his radiology residency. He is currently staff radiologist with the Diagnostic Imaging Program at Eastern Health, General Hospital site, and is professor and interim Clinical Chair of Radiology at Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine.

Dr. Collingwood is a true altruistic leader and volunteer. For the past 10 years, he has volunteered with Memorial University and has not received personal benefit for any of his leadership or volunteer initiatives, except the joy in seeing the difference his gifts have made to the Faculty of Medicine and its learners.

During the Building a Healthy Tomorrow campaign, he recruited volunteers, worked with the campaign team to identify potential donors, facilitated introductions, opened doors to potential alumni donors, assisted with corporate appeals and helped set campaign strategies. In addition to volunteer activities, he has served as the class lead for reunion activities.

Dr. Collingwood is a mentor, donor and pioneer in interventional radiology training and is a champion of Memorial University. He and his wife, Deborah, have endowed scholarships, established suites of group learning rooms and provided professional personal support to dozens of medical students.

Dr. Boluwaji Ogunyemi, Horizon Award
A true Renaissance man

Dr. Boluwaji Ogunyemi, Dip. in Clinical Epidemiology’09, MD’13, is this year’s recipient of the Horizon Award for exceptional achievement by a Memorial graduate who is under the age of 35.

Dr. Boluwaji Ogunyemi
Photo: Submitted

As a medical doctor, one is not surprised to learn of Dr. Ogunyemi’s long list of achievements and accomplishments. What is surprising, though, is the diversity of his successes. Dr. Ogunyemi began his studies at Western University, undertaking a rare double major in sociology and medical science.

He followed up his undergraduate studies at Western by coming home to St. John’s to complete a graduate diploma in clinical epidemiology and doctor of medicine at Memorial University. He served as president of the Medical Student Society with Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine, and was awarded the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association Leadership Award.

A versatile writer, Dr. Ogunyemi has published in well-read publications for both the scientific community and for mainstream audiences, including the New York Times, the Huffington Post, the Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Sun and several other print and electronic media outlets.

He was recently named a TEDx St. John’s speaker for the 2019 event. His talk, titled The Edge Effect, will shed new light on how diversity and different perspectives can lead to innovation, creativity and productivity.

Dr. Ogunyemi lives in St. John’s and is a clinical assistant professor of medicine at Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine. He is a full-time medical dermatologist and travels to Labrador every 6-8 weeks to complete clinics, significantly decreasing dermatological wait-lists in Labrador.

“On behalf of the committee and the Memorial University community, I extend congratulations to our deserving group of recipients,” said Mr. Dowden.

The 38th annual Alumni Tribute Awards will take place on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, at the Signal Hill Campus in St John’s.

Tickets (individuals and tables) can be purchased online. For additional inquiries, please call the office of Alumni Engagement at 709-864-4354, toll-free at 1-877-700-4081 or email rsvpalumni@mun.ca.


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