Alumni Achievement Award 2012 - Alyson Woloshyn

An exemplary leader honoured as outstanding alumnus

You need to put back in more than you take out

Alyson Woloshyn photo

Alyson Woloshyn’s philosophy that “you need to put back in more than you take out,” is not only a testament to her generous and humble spirit, but exemplifies the way she lived her life. At 32, Alyson was told she had lethal and incurable brain cancer. Instead of withdrawing, she set a goal of raising $50,000 (the cost of one year of treatment) as a means of giving back.

Alyson dedicated her time to advocating for brain cancer research and launched the Woloshyn’s Warriors Tour, a series of fundraising events, to reach her goal. To-date, through speaking engagements, fundraising events, and a self-published book Blogs for the Brain, her efforts have raised just over $98,000 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

Alyson has always valued her education from Waterloo and even in her role as an orientation leader in 1996, Woloshyn demonstrated extraordinary leadership qualities. Whether she was founding the "Superfans" club to supporting some of the less popular sports teams at Waterloo or coaching first year students through dorm life struggles as a don, Woloshyn's charisma and enthusiasm have always inspired those around her. "Alyson always had so much energy, she's so vivacious... I remember the first time I met her at an orientation meeting I thought 'I want to be her friend'" said Melanie Will, "and she continues to be such an inspiration."

Alyson began her career here at the University of Waterloo in Student Services, and then  became the Director of Integrated Client Services at the University of Calgary. Her career, dedicated to supporting the student experience at university, included the development and implementation of the One Stop Service Centre program for all student university needs. A passionate volunteer in the Calgary community, Alyson volunteered for the Calgary Stampede, the Canadian Cancer Society and helped launch the University of Waterloo Alumni Chapter in Calgary.

Alyson lost her battle with brain cancer in May 2012, but her legacy and leadership live on through a cancer research fellowship, the Alyson Woloshyn Cancer Research Clinical Fellowship, and through an award created in her name at the University of Waterloo, the Alyson Woloshyn Leadership Award. 

I may not have chosen this path, but I choose the journey to make a significant difference,” Alyson Woloshyn.