2019 Faculty of Environment Alumni Awards announced!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Twenty-seven exceptional nominees, three prestigious awards, one exciting announcement!

Since 1969, the Faculty of Environment has educated nearly 16,000 students, many of whom have gone on to accomplish great things. Some have shaped the growth and development of cities; others have founded non-profits, serving citizens around the world. In 2008, the Faculty established an alumni awards program to honour and recognize the impacts and accomplishments of graduates who stand out amongst the rest; individuals who demonstrate just how far a Faculty of Environment degree, a lot of hard work and the steadfast determination to follow your dream can take you. 

This year, as the Faculty celebrates its 50th anniversary, we are delighted to add four more deserving recipients to our roster of honourees. 

Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

thomas MuellerThe Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award is awarded annually to an alumnus who has demonstrated outstanding professional or academic achievement, proven community impact and significant contributions to the natural or built environment. 

This year's recipient is Canada's preeminent green-building pioneer, Thomas Mueller. President, CEO and a founding director of the Canada Green Building Council (CaCBC), Thomas has dedicated his career to green buildings and sustainable community development, which he sees as key strategies to improve the environmental quality and livability of Canada’s cities during a period of sustained growth. He chaired the LEED BC steering committee, which was responsible for the first adaptation of the LEED building rating system outside the United States and has received renowned acclaim for his accomplishments and expertise, including the 2000 and 2002 Innovation Award from the Architectural Institute of British Columbia and the 2005 FCM-CH2MHill Sustainable Community Award. In 2015, he received a Clean50 Award and in 2016, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). Thomas holds a Master's of Regional Planning & Resource Development and is a valued advisor to the Dean of Environment.

Young Alumni Inspiration Award

Jennifer MartinCreated in 2012, Young Alumni Inspiration Award recognizes the efforts and accomplishments of inspiring graduates who finished their studies within the last 10 years yet, while early in their careers, have created positive change through their work or volunteer activities. 

This year's deserving recipient has dedicated countless hours to transform the lives of children in Uganda. Master's of Development Practice graduate, Jennifer Martin is the founder and executive director of Home Free, a registered Canadian charity that help children in Uganda escape the orphanage system. Since 2012, Home Free has touched the lives of more than 4,300 children. The organization works to keep families together, reunite children in orphanages with their families and find orphaned children loving, adoptive homes. As Executive Director, Jennifer has built relationships with many Ugandan partner organizations to drive systemic change, supporting families living in poverty, developing employment opportunities in local villages and to helping create safer communities. Jennifer is also a travel nurse who has worked in remote indigenous communities in Canada. Deeply committed to volunteerism and improving the lives of others, Jennifer is part of the Honour Society of Nursing – Sigma Theta Tau International and has received an Outstanding Canada World Youth Alumni Award and a YMCA Peace Medallion. 

Friend of the Faculty Award(s)

Over the past 50 years, the success of the Faculty of Environment has been enhanced by the support of myriad individuals, companies, organizations and groups who have volunteered their valuable time, collaborated on important projects and provided much-needed financial assistance. We are excited to recognize two such allies with the inaugural Friend of the Faculty Award.

Neil SmileyNeil Smiley is one of the key smiling faces behind the University of Waterloo Planning Alumni of Toronto (UWPAT). A planning graduate himself, Neil has dedicated 20 years to the nonprofit organization, which hosts an annual industry dinner attended by up to 1,000 developers, planners and engineers. Widely accepted as one of the most important industry events of the year, the dinner raises money for School of Planning through student scholarships and the Planner in Residence program. Neil's role with UWPAT is multi-faceted. He has provided guidance to the organization, recruited and mentored young planning students and alumni, and championed fundraising efforts. As trusted counsel, he assisted with regularizing UWPAT’s organizational structure, with its Federal reporting requirements and with its compliance with not-for-profit legislation.  In addition to serving as emcee for the annual dinner, Neil hosts an annual “Planning Lunch” at Fasken's, where the School of Planning receives prominence through the participation of UWPAT members and our Professors.  With Neil’s support, UWPAT has funded more than 30 Planner in Residence positions and nearly 140 student scholarships over its history.

Sheryl KennedyFinancial services phenom, Sheryl Kennedy is a world-class expert in banking and financial regulatory policy and one of the top female executives in the Canadian financial sector. She served as the CEO of the Promontory Financial Group Canada ULC until 2018, building it from infancy to a multi-million dollar business. Previously, she served as Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, after years of service in the municipal and federal planning and financial sectors. Sheryl has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the 2007 Women in Capital Markets Leadership Award, which honors female leaders in the industry, and being named one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women by Women’s Executive Network. Sheryl is also a generous donor and trusted council for the Faculty of Environment. She was the lead alumni advisor and seed donor to the Faculty of Environment’s innovative Global Citizen Internship program, which provides students hands-on, experiential learning opportunities at the workplaces of leading nonprofit partner organizations. In 2018, Sheryl's commitment to the University of Waterloo deepened when she became a member of the University of Waterloo’s Board of Governors, where she provides important counsel and leadership for fiduciary oversight and institutional performance.

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