As both an alumnus and employee of UWaterloo, I have strong ties to this university and give back in a variety of ways. I made the decision to start donating to the Keystone Campaign (UWaterloo’s fundraising initiative for faculty, staff and retirees) when I started working here in 2004. UWaterloo is full of great people and I’ve developed some amazing relationships with my colleagues during my time here. One of those people was Richard Vollans.
Richard, a close colleague of mine, passed away suddenly in October 2011 just a few days after his 40th birthday. We both started working for the Faculty of Science in the same year and our work often overlapped. He had a trademark chuckle and dynamic personality that perfectly suited him as Science's Recruitment and Marketing Co-ordinator. His efforts served the faculty well and thousands of Science students owed their place at UWaterloo to his counsel and support.
In late 2011, the Richard Vollans Science Leadership Award was established with a significant donation from Mario Coniglio. The award recognizes a student that makes significant contributions to the Faculty of Science's recruitment and outreach activities. His passing was an opportunity for me to review how I was assigning my donations, and I decided to change my assignment from "faculty priorities" to something more specific, Richard's memorial award. It made perfect sense to me because student undergraduate and graduate scholarships are also a priority for the Faculty of Science.
The award still needs additional donations to bring it to the threshold for an endowed award, which can then be awarded in perpetuity. I hope the award can reach that threshold quickly, and I am confident it will because of the wide-reaching influence Richard left on current students and recent alumni in Science.