Cherished advisor honoured as outstanding alumnus
Ildiko Denes was honoured with the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Alumni Achievement Award at the Fall 2010 convocation. The Award recognizes alumni of the Faculty who have made outstanding contributions to the health and wellbeing of society through their professional accomplishments, public service, and/or academic excellence.
Ildiko immigrated from Hungary over 21 years ago. Lacking knowledge of the English language and without the close support of her family and friends, she experienced many personal challenges as she navigated an unfamiliar culture and embraced her new life in Canada. Ildiko’s hardships, including chronic health issues, only made her more determined to succeed. She returned to school working on her English language skills and eventually enrolled in Health Studies, graduating with a BSc in 1998.
Since her graduation, the University of Waterloo has benefited from her compassion and leadership in her role as Advisor in the Office for Persons with Disabilities on campus. Throughout her years working in Disability Services, Ildiko has made significant contributions including identifying gaps in services, improving operating efficiencies, and initiating and facilitating a support group at UWaterloo for those with on-going chronic pain.
In all of her capacities, she significantly contributes toward enhancing the quality of life and learning experience for UWaterloo students dealing with challenges. Dr. Jennifer Ball, who backed Ildiko’s nomination with a letter of support, clearly captures Ildiko’s exceptional qualities. “What is so evident throughout Ildiko’s life story is her incredible courage, perseverance, determination, and amazing optimism in the face of such formidable challenges," explains Ball. "It is these characteristics, and the difficult life experiences that have honed them, that have made Ildiko so effective in her work as an Advisor with students at UWaterloo who grapple with their own disabilities and challenges. In this she excels!”
The personal concern, empathy, and understanding Ildiko displays in all areas of her life, including her volunteer association with many community organizations, epitomize the spirit of leadership and genuine altruism that the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences is extremely proud to celebrate.