Across Canada and around the world, Waterloo alumni are making significant contributions to their university, their professions and their communities. The Alumni Awards recognize these individuals and their efforts to build a better world.
Faculty of Arts
Ernie Regehr: Alumni Achievement Award
Ernie Regehr received his BA in 1968, in English; and he holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Wilfrid Laurier University. Ernie is a senior fellow in Arctic Security at The Simons Foundation of Vancouver, and a research fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, at Conrad Grebel University College. He is a co-founder of Project Ploughshares, a non-governmental organization that works with churches, governments, and civil society in Canada and abroad, on peace and security issues.
Ernie has served as an NGO representative and expert advisor on numerous Government of Canada delegations to multilateral disarmament forums, and is on the Board of Directors of the Africa Peace Forum, in Nairobi, Kenya. He has published widely on peace and security, and in 2003, he became an Officer of the Order of Canada. Ernie is the recipient of many prestigious awards including the World Peace Award, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the University of Waterloo’s 50th Anniversary Alumni Award.
Muneeba Adil Omar: Young Alumni Award
Muneeba Adil Omar received her BA in 2005, in Honours Political Science. After graduating from Waterloo, Muneeba started her career in Pakistan as a current affairs columnist with a leading English newspaper. She returned to Canada to pursue an MA in International Affairs at Carleton University, and graduated with distinction, in 2008. She then joined the Canadian federal government through the Recruitment of Policy Leaders program, an initiative aimed at recruiting exceptional candidates into the Public Service, where she has held various positions as a policy analyst and economist.
Muneeba is currently an economic development officer with the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario. In a volunteer capacity, Muneeba has worked with the 2005 Pakistani earthquake relief effort, the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization, and the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign. She is also an informal liaison for Government of Canada post-secondary recruitment, reaching out to departments and students in the Faculty of Arts.
School of Accounting and Finance
Tracy Elop: Alumni Achievement Award
Tracy Elop (MAcc ’89) is CFO of KidsAbility, an organization that empowers children with special needs to reach their full potential. She joined KidsAbility in 2011, after a twenty year career in the “for-profit” world, to give back to the community. She is also a partner in Social Venture Partners.
Tracy is Chair of the Board of Directors of Kitchener’s Grand River Hospital, and also chairs the Waterloo Hospitals Collaborative Committee, a group that seeks out collaborative opportunities to improve the quality of hospital care in the region.
Since earning her CA and CMA designations, Tracy has co-authored an accounting standards book, taught at Ontario’s School of Accountancy, marked the Uniform Final Examination, and mentored students and other young professionals.
Among her personal accomplishments, Tracy includes running a marathon, working on a mission trip and backpacking around the world for fourteen months with her husband and three young children.
Jessica Chiu : Young Alumni Award
Jessica Chiu (MAcc ’04) is a finance senior manager, Canadian Banking Auto and Wealth, at the TD Bank Group. She joined TD’s Chief Accountant’s department in 2008 working on accounting policy with a focus on the Bank’s IFRS transition.
After graduation and receiving her MAcc, Jessica has been an active supporter of the School of Accounting and Finance and continues to be a strong advocate for her alma mater. Since 2006, she was the SAF Alumni Association Treasurer, and has regularly served in School events including fellowship interviews, CA convocation, and as a Fellowhip Honouree.
Jessica was a member of PwC’s United Way Steering committee. She has helped to author part of a module for the ‘Valuations for Financial Reporting’ course offered by the CICBV and a chapter on Fairness Opinions of a text published by Carswell.
Jessica currently resides in Toronto and enjoys cycling, travelling, and reading in her spare time.
Faculty of Applied Health Sciences
Patrick Harrison : Alumni Achievement Award
An innovator and industry leader, kinesiology graduate Patrick Harrison (BSc ’82) has spent the last 30 years helping people get where they need to go.
After graduating from Waterloo in 1982, Patrick founded Special Health Systems Ltd., a company dedicated to the design, manufacture and distribution of commercialized seating solutions for individuals dependent on wheelchairs for mobility.
In 2008, Patrick partnered with engineers, health professionals and the biomechanics lab at the University of Waterloo to develop technology to reduce back pain from chronic static sitting and increase an individuals’ core strength.
His passion for enhancing the quality of life of those around him is embodied in his ample public service at the local, national and international levels. He has sat on the Board of Directors for Magic Wheels, Community Home Assistance to Seniors, and the Allied Handicapped Association.
Patrick is a game-changer in his profession and continues to exemplify the leadership characteristics that the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences is proud to celebrate.
Jenna van Draanen : Young Alumni Award
With a passion for social justice and human health, Jenna van Draanen (BSc ’09) is striving to make the world a better place.
After graduating from Waterloo with a BSc in Health Studies in 2009, Jenna went on to complete a Master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Toronto.
Her volunteer roles with organizations like the Basic Income Canada Network, Columbia Forest Long Term Care Facility and the TOMA Foundation for Burned Children, have earned her numerous awards and impacted the health and well-being of many.
Jenna has spent the last two years as a Research Coordinator at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, working within the Evaluation Centre for Complex Health Interventions. She is the founder of Blink Evaluations, a private consulting company where she has conducted program evaluations and policy research for community organizations.
Jenna is currently enrolled in a PhD program at the University of California, Los Angeles in the Fielding School of Public Health.
Faculty of Engineering
Lynette D. Madsen: Alumni Achievement Medal, Professional Achievement
Lynnette D. Madsen (BASc ’86) (BA ’04) graduated from the Faculty of Engineering in 1986 with a degree in electrical engineering. After graduation, Lynnette went on to complete a Master of Engineering at Carleton University, a Doctorate Degree in Materials Science and Engineering at McMaster University, and a Docent in Materials Science from Linkoping University in Sweden. She then returned to the University of Waterloo, to complete a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology.
Her unique educational path is reflected in the direction her professional life has taken. She has worked for Nortel Networks in Ottawa, and was part of Linkoping University in Sweden, starting out as a visiting scientist. She was an associate professor when she left Linkoping in 2000.
Since then, Lynnette has been a part of the National Science Foundation based in Arlington, Virginia where she is currently the program director for ceramics.
Lynnette has also managed to maintain her engineering science research record while a program director for the National Science Foundation, something few of her colleagues who hold similar positions have managed to do.
Lynnette is called one of the most dedicated individuals in terms of her promotion of the advancement of women and minorities to help them achieve their full potential in their science and engineering careers.
The Faculty of Engineering Alumni Achievement Medal for Professional Achievement is hereby awarded to Lynnette D. Madsen in recognition of her vision and outstanding leadership in the areas of materials and nanotechnology, as well as her promotion of groups underrepresented in science and engineering.
Steven D. Brenneman, Anton Jedlovsky, Brian M. Orr: Team Alumni Achievement Medal
Upon graduation in 1998, three bright entrepreneurs, Steve Brenneman (BASc ’98), Tony Jedlovsky (BASc ’98), and Brian Orr (BASc ’98) started a software company, Jedor. As Jedor, Tony, Brian and Steve created an innovative animation software package called Viscosity and released it in 1999.
In February 2000, Sonic Foundry, a US-based company, purchased Jedor, yet the founders remained in Waterloo to start a Canadian office for Sonic Foundry. As developers at Sonic Foundry, the trio helped refine early versions of the company's flagship products: Vegas and Movie Studio. They went on to create new software such as the award winning DVD Architect product, and technologies such as the innovative "Show Me How" interactive tutorials.
In 2003, Sony purchased Sonic Foundry and the three founders now represented a division of Sony located in the City of Waterloo. They continued development of DVD Architect and other Sony products, and also created new software for Sony such as Cinescore, Photo Go and Media Manager. More recently, the Waterloo Engineering alumni started a new product for Sony, called Media Go, which is used by millions of Sony customers worldwide.
Since 2003, Tony, Brian and Steve have grown Sony's Waterloo office to 25 individuals, always staying close to their Waterloo Engineering roots. They hired their first co-op student in 1999, and since then have interviewed hundreds of co-op and permanent employees through the University of Waterloo's co-op program.
The Faculty of Engineering Team Alumni Achievement Medal is hereby awarded to Sony Waterloo in recognition of the company’s commitment to developing cutting-edge software products and dedication to growing a dynamic team that includes Waterloo Engineering co-op students and alumni.
Andrew J. Clinton: Young Alumni Achievement Medal
Andrew J. Clinton (BASc ’05) graduated with a computer engineering degree in 2005. In 2012, Andrew Clinton received a Technical Achievement Academy Award for inventing micro-voxels. His ground-breaking work on the invention of microvoxels is considered by the film industry as game-changing technology that has had a tremendous impact on the way visual effects are done in movies today. It is for this breakthrough research and invention that Andrew, along with his colleague, Mark Elendtwere, were honoured with the award, commonly called the Sci-Tech Oscar. It is considered to be the most prestigious award and highest honour that an individual can receive in the film industry.
Andrew, who works for Side Effects Software in Toronto, is known for constantly pushing the boundaries of research, innovating and designing rendering software. His contributions to the development of the industry-leading Mantra renderer have been used by artists world-wide. Andrew has made it possible to produce eye-popping visual effects in Academy Award winning movies such as Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, and Inception, as well as blockbuster movies such as Man of Steel and Pacific Rim.
Beyond his tremendous technical achievements, Andrew has spent significant time and effort giving back to the community by presenting talks and teaching courses at a premier conference on computer graphics in the world, to share his tremendous knowledge and passion to the community.
The Faculty of Engineering Young Alumni Achievement Medal is hereby awarded to Andrew J. Clinton in recognition of his award-winning work through the invention of microvoxels considered throughout the film industry as game-changing technology.
Faculty of Environment
Ian MacNaughton : Alumni Achievement Award
Over the past 45 years, Ian MacNaughton (MA ’71) has made significant contributions to the planning, development and economy of Waterloo Region. As one of the first graduates of the University of Waterloo’s School of Planning 1968, he started his career with the City of Waterloo before returning for his Masters in 1971 and starting his own firm in 1973.
His passion and commitment have allowed him to grow his firm, MacNaughton Hermsen Britton Clarkson (MHBC), from a one-man operation to one of the largest, long-standing planning firms in Ontario, with five offices and more than 70 employees.
He currently sits on the Boards of Canada’s Technology Triangle, the Grand River Conservation Foundation, and the University of Waterloo Alumni Council.
Deirdre Laframboise: Alumni Achievement Award
Deirdre Laframboise (BES ’84) is an Olympic qualified equestrian athlete who combined her love of sports and environmental education to improve the lives of thousands of young people. Her desire to study natural sciences drew her to the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment, where she continued to ride competitively while completing her BES.
Deirdre was a member of the Canadian National Equestrian Team for four years and served as its national athlete representative for a decade. In 2001, she teamed up with Canadian rower Anna van der Kamp and author David Chernushenko (Greening the Games) to form Clean Air Champions (CAC), an organization committed to educating Canadians on the importance of air quality and its connection to health and the environment. Using Olympic and other high-caliber athletes as champions, CAC has become the only organization in Canada delivering bilingual curriculum-connected environmental education programs linking health, environment and physical activity.
Caustan De Riggs: Young Alumni Award
Caustan De Riggs’ (DENVASST ’08) entrepreneurial journey began even before his undergraduate career. In 2002, he founded, Caustan De Riggs Entertainment and Leadership, as an umbrella for his efforts as a coach, motivational speaker, entertainer, and producer.
As an undergrad in the Environment and Business program, Caustan was secretary and vice-president of the Environment and Business Student Society, a member of the University of Waterloo Senate and Board of Governors, and was voted class valedictorian. In his second year, he conceived and drafted a plan to integrate principles of environment and business into the education system of Grenada, later presenting it and gaining approval from the country’s Prime Minister.
For the past three years, he has continued to support his business while also working full time with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Professional Access and Integration Enhancement (PAIE) program, helping internationally trained engineers and geoscientists find employment in Canada.
Sarah Brown: Young Alumni Award
The Waterloo Region Record’s Top 40 Under 40 2013 winner Sarah Brown (BES ’08) graduated from the Environment and Business program in 2008. Since her time at University of Waterloo, Sarah has been back in Waterloo Region working as the Project Manager for ClimateActionWR, a collaborative initiative between two environmental non-profits, REEP Green Solutions and Sustainable Waterloo Region, and the four municipalities.
Sarah is primarily responsible for leading a team to develop partnerships and carry out meaningful engagement activities with stakeholders throughout the community. Her past experience includes municipal policy and development planning, as well as energy systems and climate change research. In addition, she is transitioning to a new position at Waterloo as the Associate Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Climate Change (IC3).
Faculty of Mathematics
Hamoon Ekhtiari: Young Alumni Achievement Medal
A football fanatic and lover of all things blueberry and/or avocado, Hamoon Ekhtiari (BMath ’09) (MACC ’09) is the Director of MaRS’ new youth leadership, innovation and impact program. The initiative is focused on fostering a movement of young systems change leaders equipped to thrive in the new economy and drive impact in the world around them.
Hamoon joins MaRS from Deloitte, where he most recently helped build Deloitte’s consulting business in the Caribbean. Hamoon is also the co-founder of CatalystsX, a youth-led community of people dedicated to building a fun culture of personal and systems transformation towards a better future.
Hamoon has also served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Waterloo and worked at Family Services Toronto. He completed both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Waterloo and is also a fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs Ontario.
Jane E. Kinney: Alumni Achievement Medal
Jane Kinney (BMath ’92) is the Canadian Managing Partner – Quality and Risk. Jane is Deloitte Canada’s Risk and Reputation Leader, Regulatory Consulting Partner and is a member of the firm’s executive committee. Jane is a recognized leader in governance, risk Management, regulatory compliance and internal audit services with over 25 years of experience in the financial institutions sector.
Prior to her current role Jane was the Global Chief Risk Officer, Vice-Chair of the Canadian firm, a member of the Canadian firm’s Board of Directors and a member of the Board Risk Committee. A substantial portion of Jane’s practice has focused in the evolving areas of risk governance and risk appetite. Recent board education sessions have included the changing role of auditors and audit committees, global trends in risk management, good governance practices and industry benchmarking on risk appetite practices. Jane is a frequent speaker at conferences focusing on regulatory compliance, internal audit, corporate governance and enterprise risk management.
Jennifer Chu-Carroll: Alumni Achievement Medal
Jennifer Chu-Carroll (MMath ’91) is a research staff member and manager at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York. Prior to joining IBM, she spent 5 years as a member of technical staff at Lucent Technologies Bell Laboratories. Jennifer received her Masters of Math from the University of Waterloo in 1991 and her Ph.D. from the University of Delaware in 1996. Her research interests include question answering, semantic search, language processing in the medical domain, natural language discourse processing, and spoken dialogue management.
Jennifer has been involved in the DeepQA project since 2006. The focus of the project is on developing question answering technology by developing and integrating state-of-the-art techniques in Natural Language Processing, Information Retrieval, Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, and Machine Learning. An initial application of the DeepQA technology is in the development of Watson, a computer system that defeated Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in a two-game Jeopardy match in February 2011. The current focus of the project is on extending Watson's capability to the medical domain.
Jay Steele: J.W. Graham Medal in Computing & Innovation
Jay (BMath ’96) graduated from the University of Waterloo Mathematics co-op program in 1996. During Jay’s formative years at the University of Waterloo, he had the privilege of being one of few undergrad members of the Computer Graphics Lab under the tutelage of professor Richard Bartels.
After graduating, in 1996, Jay founded a company called Plazmic Inc. which grew to 40 people worldwide with offices in Toronto and Tokyo, selling 2D graphic technologies in Japan on the i-mode wireless telephony service. He was the President and CTO of Plazmic until it was sold to BlackBerry in 2001.
Later, Jay left BlackBerry to co-found Toronto-based Viigo in 2004, a company specializing in the development of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and information services technologies for the mobile/wireless industry. Jay was Viigo's CTO. In March of 2010, Viigo was acquired by BlackBerry, where Jay stayed on as a Senior Director in the Halifax office until March of 2013.
Faculty of Science
Sandy Eix: Distinguished Alumni Award
Sandy Eix graduated from the University of Waterloo (BSc ’91) and has a Bachelor of Education. She moved west to Vancouver to do a Masters and a Ph.D. in non-linear fiber optics at Simon Fraser University.
Sandy fell in love with the west coast life and has lived there ever since, inventing exhibits, programs, shows, and other educational projects for Science World. Highlights for Sandy so far have been the development of a 5000 square foot physics gallery, creating a preschool science resource project, managing Body Worlds, and this fall, using her talents as an amateur musician in the creation of a music technology exhibition.
Sandy is the volunteer director of programs for the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology, and runs a lunchtime science club at her daughter's school. In her not-so-spare time, she plays enthusiastic Cape Breton fiddle music, zooms around Vancouver on a bicycle, and is often up to her elbows in an art project with her 9 year old.
Ebele Mogo: Young Alumni Award
Ebele Mogo moved from Nigeria to start her undergraduate career at the University of Waterloo (BSc ‘09). This was a big change for Ebele but one she is grateful for because of the resilient person it has made her.
Since graduating, she has completed her masters in Global Health and Public Policy, conducted research at the World Health Organization Centre for health development in Japan, presented at the International Conference on urban health in Brazil, and provided oversight for a cancer research project in Alberta. This fall, Ebele resumes a Doctor of Public Health in Colorado.
Ebele is president of the Engage Africa Foundation which she founded to fight non-communicable diseases in Africa, which are on a rapid rise due to globalization and changing lifestyles.
She is passionate about socially responsible entrepreneurship as a sustainable avenue for development.
When she is not brainstorming on a creative idea, Ebele writes poetry, travels, reads, and has random conversations with strangers on her blog.
Conrad Grebel University College
Andrew Reesor-McDowell : Distinguished Alumni Service Award
The Alumni Committee of Conrad Grebel University College is pleased to announce the selection of Andrew Reesor-McDowell (BA ‘76) as the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Service Award.
In his career, Andrew has been a leader in children’s mental health, working for over 30 years at the Hincks-Dellcrest Treatment Centre in Toronto. Here he served as a family worker, program supervisor, and program director. At the Centre he led the international team which provided training in early child development to partner agencies in more than 20 countries with the assistance of the Canadian International Development Agency and generous supporters.
As a focus of Andrew’s volunteer service, he has provided leadership in the Mennonite church as Moderator for Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, and as a consultant with Associates Resourcing the Church.
Andrew also served for 6 years on the Grebel Board, 3 years as Chair, and acted as a consultant to the Grebel Board in 2006 as they worked to shape a strategic plan.
St. Jerome's University
Patrick J. Flynn: Fr. Norm Choate, C.R., Distinguished Graduate Award
St. Jerome’s University is pleased to announce The Honourable Justice Patrick J. Flynn (BA ’68) as the recipient of the 2013 Fr. Norm Choate, C.R., Distinguished Graduate Award.
Justice Flynn graduated from St. Jerome’s high school in 1963 and went on to earn his BA from St. Jerome’s University in 1968 and his LLB from the University of Ottawa in 1978. Two years later Flynn became founding partner in the law firm, Flynn and Sorbara. In addition, he has served as a federal prosecutor and a part-time assistant crown attorney for Waterloo Region. In 2002 Flynn was appointed as Judge of the Superior Court of Justice and Judge ex-Officio of the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Justice Flynn is being honoured for his model work in the Canadian justice system as well as his exemplary community work. He has been heavily involved in his community, providing volunteer leadership in many organizations including founding director of the Waterloo Regional Children’s Museum, president of the Waterloo Law Association, and sitting on the St. Jerome’s University Board of Governors for over a decade. Through his community contributions and dedication to his work, Justice Flynn has created a legacy for St. Jerome’s students to aspire towards.
Renison University College
Charmaine Hammond: Outstanding Alumna Award
Charmaine is an international transformational speaker, speaking on the topics of leadership, resilience, and courageous dialogue. She also hosts three radio shows. Since graduating she found her passion for writing and has been published by four publishers, including Health Communications Inc., where her story, Volunteering from the Heart, was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Dog.
Her book, On Toby's Terms, has been an international best seller and is in development to become a major motion picture. Her co-authored book, GPS Your Best Life — Charting Your Destination & Getting There in Style, was released in late 2012. She has also written a children's series of books, the first being Toby The Pet Therapy Dog & His Hospital Friends. The second in the series will be released spring 2013 and is entitled Toby Says Be a Buddy, Not a Bully.
She won the 2012 international Business Matchmaker of the Year award and launched a global mission: A Million Acts of Kindness - Toby's Global Mission.