Celebrating the Science Alumni Achievement Award recipients

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

headshot of all three 2022 alumni award recipients

Tomorrow, the Faculty of Science will be presenting its annual Science Alumni Achievement Awards to recognize several exceptional alumni during a special ceremony that celebrates recipients from 2019-2022. 

Dean of Science, Bob Lemieux, will host current and past award recipients, alumni, faculty, staff, students and the greater science community at Federation Hall for a truly memorable afternoon. Around the world, our Faculty of Science alumni are excelling in their chosen fields. The are making significant contributions to their respective industries and to their local communities. Their dedication and commitment are nothing short of inspiring. 

The Awards ceremony will be held at Federation Hall, on Thursday, February 2, 2023 at 3 p.m. All are welcome to attend in business casual attire. Please RVSP here or contact Patricia Rintjema in the Science Advancement Office for more information.  

Meet the 2022 Alumni Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumni Award: William C. Leggett

Bill Leggett headshot
Dr. William C. (Bill) Leggett’s distinguished career as an educator, academic administrator and scientist began when he enrolled for a transfer credit in Biology at the University of Waterloo during his final year in humanities at WLU. Inspired by the teaching and mentoring of Professor Geoffrey Power he completed his MSc(Waterloo) and PhD (McGill) and began his academic career as an assistant professor of Biology at McGill. 

Rising rapidly through the academic ranks, he served as Chair of Biology, Dean of Science and Vice Principal Academic at McGill before moving to Queen’s as its 17th Principal and Vice Chancellor. It is said that in these roles “everything touched he made better”. 

He is one of Canada’s has most accomplished and respected researchers, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Member of the Order of Canada and is recognized by the Institute of Scientific Information as one of the most highly cited researchers in his field. His record as an educator is equally impressive. A legion of his graduate students and Post Doctoral Fellows have careers in leading universities and research centres in Canada and Internationally. 

Contributions to Science Award: Ron Allensen

Ron Allensen headshot
Ron Allensen (BSc '77) is the founder of "Monarch Landing", a nursery, arboretum and nature reserve he named after discovering tens of thousands of migrating monarch butterflies. For nearly 20 years, Ron has hosted three days in September when these butterflies are tagged and recorded during their migration to Mexico. 

As a talented naturalist and plantsman, Ron works with NGO's and private individuals on restoration and natural plantings. He is an accomplished lepidopterist and continues to conduct his own research on the biology and lifecycle of both the giant and regionally rare, Pipevine Swallowtails. 

Recently, Ron established the Monarch Landing Foundation to foster eco-tourism around monarch butterflies and encourage lakeshore stewardship, with the goal of having the Foundation lands, which currently holds the county of Elgin record for housing over 70 species of butterflies, preserved as a nature reserve and research location. 

Contributions to Science Award: Dr. Steve Westcott (Awarded posthumously)

Steve Westcott standing on beach
Dr. Steve Westcott (BSc ’87) and PhD (’92) in chemistry began his career at Mount Allison University in 1995 where he developed a robust research program in boron chemistry. He became a world-renowned expert in the field and held a Canada Research Chair in Boron Pharmaceutical Chemistry (Tier 2 from 2001-2011; Tier 1 from 2011 – 2026) until his untimely death in 2022. 

He published over 150 research papers and mentored over 160 undergraduate students in his labs, many of which have gone on to pursue graduate work in chemistry and biochemistry. Steve taught and mentored thousands of students during the span of his career. He was a recipient of the Paul Paré Medal and multiple Excellence Awards. His research group, the Wild Toads, was one of the largest on campus, even welcoming high school students and community members to learn more about the world of chemistry. 

In 2020, he shifted his research focus to COVID-19 treatment and recovery with the project, The fifth element: Battle COVID-19. Under his leadership, the Westcott research team, including many students and international collaborators contributed significantly to the field of chemistry, studying the health effects of new compounds based on natural products such as capsaicin (the chemical that makes hot peppers hot), eugenol, and boron.

Other Alumni Award Recipients 

Distinguished Alumni Award 

Young Alumni Award 

Alumni Team Award 

Contributions to Science Award 

The Faculty of Science Alumni Awards were first introduced in 2007. Nominations for 2023 are open until April 30. Nominate someone today!