The presentation of the Concordia Council on Student Life Awards are always a heartwarming event. Students stand with a smattering of professors, staff and family. They applaud, cheer, and occasionally tear up a little as they hear about unusual efforts to help out, to bring a little fun into the educational grind, or to inspire others to find the best in themselves.
This year was no exception, as 20 awards were handed out at a reception in the downtown Faculty and Staff Lounge. Here are the winners:
Awards of Merit
(for outstanding contributions
to student life and services)
The women's ice hockey team, who won the first national championship last year and went on to repeat their triumph this year. Accepting for the team, Anne Rodrigue and Karen Kendall said that playing hockey is "a great way to improve yourself as a person" and it was an honour to represent Concordia.
Tiffany Ryan, a Sociology student who is involved in many student groups and, according to outgoing Concordia Student Union (CSU) president David Smaller, gives "the best wine and cheese parties at the University." Tiffany was so popular that she got her own fan chant, which covered her in modest confusion.
Frederick Stom, who works at the Vanier Library, but has also thrown himself into efforts to revitalize the Loyola Campus, by becoming unpaid booking agent and publicist for the revived Hive reception space.
Patrick Sheahan, longtime, much-honoured Stingers men's football coach, who has given himself an off-season career, running the popular Concordia Summer Day Camp every summer -- quite a feat, as Athletics Director Harry Zarins commented, without an on-site swimming pool.
Biology Professor and Acting Director of Ecotoxicology Paul Albert, who has made extraordinary personal efforts to enable one talented student to use his laboratory. "He is convinced that he has done nothing," said Maria Theresa Zenteno, of the Office for Disabled Students, "but we are convinced that he has translated the word 'accessibility' into concrete terms." The modest professor responded, "We derive pleasure from helping students. That's not work."
Tokunbo Ojo, for his unquenchable enthusiasm and involvement in the student media.
Patrick Morrell, features editor of The Concordian, and "the man who always carries a notepad."
Michael de Souza, news editor of The Concordian, who spends "countless hours" on the paper, and according to presenter Morrell, "in his quiet fashion, makes his writers better," and his readers aware of issues.
Teaching Excellence Awards
Diana Pedersen (History), who "expands the boundaries of her discipline and how it's taught."
Bryan Barbieri (Marketing), who has "a passion for teaching, and shows such warmth and caring for students." He modestly accepted the award "for others not yet recognized."
Nickie Debiparshad (Economics), who excels at motivating his students.
Arlin Kipling (Physics), who was lauded by his Computer Science students for his "clear and well-organized lectures and his excellent lecture notes. He spends many hours in the lab, and he always makes students feel welcome." Kipling was thrilled with his first award in "many, many years of teaching." He added jokingly, "It's about time!"
Dan Otchere (Economics), who "doesn't mind explaining over and over until you understand," said a student presenter. "He's also an advisor, and gave me the best advice I could ever take." Otchere said he was touched not only for himself but for his colleagues, and then he was nearly swallowed up by a group of admiring students.
Thomas Waugh (Cinema), who "always asks the right questions, is witty, and makes it a pleasure to attend classes." Waugh, who also founded a popular program on sexuality, said that it was wonderful to hear such enthusiasm when "there's been so much chipping away at the academic infrastructure" by financial cuts.
Outstanding Contribution Awards (given to four undergraduate
and two graduate students)
Kari Colpitts, who captained the women's hockey team and still got "remarkable grades" in her Accounting program.
Suzanne Bate, an active volunteer and peer helper with Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, the Native Students Centre and the Women's Centre. "She's an excellent student," said presenter Daryl Lynn Ross, "and has such an ability to relate to each person."
Alan Clark, photographer for the yearbook, who extended himself far beyond that role. "I learned a lot of skills," Clark responded. He dedicated his award to the editor of his high school yearbook, who died last year.
Babak Torab, outgoing president of the Engineering and Computer Science Students Association, who "spent many weekends and part of the summer" on working to create "a strong, united graduate student body." Now he is starting a union for teaching assistants, and though he is graduating, will be around as a consultant. He dedicated his award to Professor Tadeusz Krepec, who died earlier this year.
Claude Jacob, who has started several literary groups and publications, including the successful Bard Literary Readings Series. He was also clubs coordinator for the CSU.
John Purkis, who has been recycling coordinator. As a graduate student in Commerce, he was unusual among CSU activists. Purkis said that as a person with dyslexia, he is especially grateful to Concordia's Office for Disabled Students, and he saluted the student volunteers of QPIRG for their dedication to good causes.