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Memorial's 40th annual Alumni Tribute Award recipients revealed

By Heidi Wicks

Memorial University has announced the recipients of the 40th annual Alumni Tribute Awards.

A black square with "40th annual Alumni Tribute Awards: Celebrating Excellence Memorial University" in blue and white text

The awards recognize alumni who have achieved distinction in their chosen fields, are committed to their alma mater and have made outstanding contributions to their communities and excelled in their chosen fields.

The 2021 recipients are Dr. Liqin Chen (PhD’93), Peg Hunter (B.Comm.(Hons.)(Co-op.)’82), Lori Pike (B.Comm.(Co-op.)’95, MBA’00) and Jason-Louis Carmichael (BRM’11).

“The number of deserving nominees put forward this year was impressive,” said Bob Dowden, chair of the Alumni Tribute Awards Selection Committee.

“The recipients of the 40th annual awards are all highly accomplished, inspiring graduates who have used their Memorial University education to improve the world. Congratulations to these change-makers, these awe-inspiring alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers and who have made a difference in other communities. I look forward to celebrating them and their successes at the awards ceremony in October.”

Alumnus of the Year

Dr. Liqin Chen
Photo: Submitted

Dr. Liqin Chen, PhD’93, is the 2021 Alumnus of the Year.

He arrived in Canada in 1990 to pursue his PhD in Chemistry at Memorial University, where he was awarded the title of fellow of the School of Graduate Studies, in honour of his outstanding achievements.

He went on to work with the University of Windsor, the Xerox Corporation, PDI Research Laboratories, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Nanjing Tech University.

In 2007, with only four other employees, he established TLC Pharmaceutical Standards — now a multimillion-dollar international pharmaceutical company.

Dr. Chen makes a point to support the causes he believes in, making significant contributions to the Toronto Sick Kids Hospital, his alma mater in China, personal protective equipment for pandemic front-line workers and his favourite charity, Memorial University, where he has given more than $1 million to support 125 students through scholarships.

Read more about Dr. Chen here.

J.D. Eaton Award

Peg Hunter
Photo: Submitted

Peg Hunter (B.Comm.(Hons.)(Co-op.)’82) is this year’s recipient of the J.D. Eaton Award, which recognizes outstanding volunteer contributions to Memorial University.

Her commitment to Memorial’s Faculty of Business Administration has been steadfast since graduation as a guest lecturer, Business Day speaker, student mentor and five-year member of the faculty’s advisory board. She is the recipient of the faculty’s 2012 Alumni Honour Award.

Ms. Hunter established the Alice Buckingham Leadership Award in 2012, in honour of her mother, which has supported nine female business students to date.

Working with Memorial’s Office of Alumni Engagement, she was fundamental in establishing the alumni volunteer board in the Greater Toronto Area and has been an ever-present strategic eye since, often taking personal time to meet with and mentor many young professionals.

More recently, Ms. Hunter played an integral role in the advancement of Genesis since joining its board of directors in 2018, serving as chair of the Human Resources and Governance Committee.

Read more about Ms. Hunter here.

Outstanding Community Service Award

A woman dressed in a blue checkered shirt and cardigan is standing in front of a waterfall
Lori Pike
Photo: Submitted

Lori Pike (B.Comm.(Co-op.)’95, MBA’00) is the recipient of the Outstanding Community Service Award for 2021.

Ms. Pike’s life trajectory changed forever when her son Adam was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of four.

Thankfully, Adam is currently thriving, but at the time, the devastating news led Ms. Pike to Candlelighters N.L., a charitable organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children diagnosed with cancer.

Affectionately known as Momma Candlelighter, she developed and maintained the Birthday Club program, which provides each child with a birthday gift up to their 17th birthday.

She was instrumental in the development of the scholarship and bereavement programs and has acted as the organization’s communications director, Camp Delight parent representative, president and treasurer/co-ordinator of the fundraising event, Night of Delight.

Without Ms. Pike’s dedication to supporting families dealing with cancer, Candlelighters N.L. would not be the success it is today.

Read more about Ms. Pike here.

Horizon Award

A man wearing a light blue shirt is smiling
Jason-Louis Carmichael
Photo: Submitted

Jason-Louis Carmichael (BRM’11) is this year’s Horizon Award recipient, a recognition of exceptional achievement by a Memorial graduate 35 years of age and younger.

Mr. Carmichael’s interest in solving complex global challenges started as a student at Grenfell Campus and has taken him to Sierra Leone, Kenya, Guinea, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and beyond.

During his time with Global Affairs Canada, Grand Challenges Canada and the World Health Organization, he worked with government, private, entrepreneurial and international agencies to ensure the availability of equitable access to health care for all.

He is CEO and co-founder of TIBU Health, which provides a full suite of health-care services to residents of Nairobi, including mobile check-ups, prenatal care, vaccinations, specimen collections, end of life care and access to mobile COVID-19 testing.

Read more about Mr. Carmichael here.

Luminus Award

For the first time since 2006, this year’s event includes an award that is only given to exemplary candidates or groups who do not fit into another category and is designated by the Alumni Tribute Awards Selection Committee under special circumstances.

In 2006, the award went to Team Gushue. The 2021 Luminus Award recipients are Verafin founders Jamie King (Dip.Tech.(MI)’94, B.Eng.’99), Brendan Brothers (B.Eng.’02) and Raymond Pretty (B.Eng.’01).

From left are Raymond Pretty, Jamie King and Brendan Brothers.
From left are Raymond Pretty, Jamie King and Brendan Brothers.
Photo: Submitted

“Every once in a while, an alumnus or group of alumni stand out as a world-affecting force,” said Bob Dowden, chair of the Alumni Tribute Awards Selection Committee.

“The founders of Verafin are certainly a force. They did not fit into the other categories, and, similar to Team Gushue, Verafin is a source of pride and has affected positive change in the province and beyond.”

To learn more about the Luminus Award and Verafin, please visit here.

RSVP

The 40th annual Alumni Tribute Awards – a key event during MUNalum Days, a celebration of education, entertainment and celebrations for class, academic and affinity events – takes place on Oct. 27, at the Signal Hill Campus, St. John’s.

At this time, the awards ceremony will be an intimate gathering in accordance with current public health measures and by invite only. A livestream of the event will be available on the Alumni Engagement Facebook page.

Details and capacity may change in the coming weeks in accordance with public health guidelines. Please visit Alumni Engagement online for the most current information.

For additional inquiries, please contact the Offices of Alumni Engagement at rsvpalumni@mun.ca.


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