Concordians who made a difference this year
by Michael Dobie
The Concordia Council on Student Life Awards (CCSL) are presented every year to students, professors and staff members who have earned the gratitude of their peers -- students with a flair for leadership, professors who have inspired their classes, and staff members who go out of their way to be helpful.
Our hearty congratulations to the winners.
Robert Laliberté was president of the Concordia International Business Association, and active in the Investment Association and the Commerce and Administration Students Association. He has also been an active volunteer in the University's Capital Campaign.
Les Lawton is credited with building women's hockey from a social pursuit into a serious sport. He has coached the Concordia women's ice hockey team for 15 years, as they won numerous tournaments and championships, and even toured Russia. Lawton also coached the Team Canada 1994 world champions.
He acknowledged the sacrifices student athletes make, often putting 20 or 30 hours a week into their sport, and accepted the award on behalf of the staff and athletes at the Department of Recreation and Athletics.
Maxine West balanced the demands of her children and her studies with work on the Arts and Science Council and the Senate. Praised for her advocacy, reliability and empathy, she paid tribute to her daughter and son, who appear with her in the group photo.
Helen Danakas, Administrative Assistant to the Concordia Student Union (CSU), couldn't attend the ceremony, but CSU executives thanked her for ensuring continuity in the CSU office and providing wisdom and support to the students.
Chantale Blackwood, although busy with a double major, found time to participate actively in the CSU and the CCSL.
Biology Professor Kuldip
Dhindsa took his MSc at Punjab University (where he later taught), and his PhD at the University of Helsinki; he did post-doctoral work at UCLA. He has received a number of awards, and has been teaching at Concordia for 33 years.
He said he considers the classroom to be his second home, and believes that to teach is to learn. He dedicated his award to his students "because I've learned many things from them." Though he is retired from research, he hasn't missed a lecture this year.
Physics Professor Calvin Kalman was credited with having an integrated approach to his subject, talking through problems to arrive at mathematical solutions, a method he evolved based on the observation that science students don't write, and arts students don't do math.
Kalman encourages his students to participate and not to fear wrong answers because they're a step to the right answer. He gave much of the credit for his award to his wife, English Professor Judith Kalman, because she convinced him that writing is important in the teaching of science subjects.
Mechanical Engineering Professor Eliza Haseganu was rewarded for her untiring research and teaching. Student presenter Farah Fida praised her for trying to understand her students' general situation when they see her about academic problems.
Amanda Jelowicki accomplishes more in a half-hour than most of us accomplish in a day, said her presenter. She knows student life inside out, and has put in three years of work in the student press.
Jelowicki accepted the award as the representative of the Link, and thanked Concordia for providing her with the opportunity to get involved in her life's passion, journalism.
Outstanding Contributions to Student Life
Majid Ahmadi was active in the councils of the Graduate Students Association, where he helped create a health plan, and the Engineering and Computer Science Association (ECA). Ahmadi was called a tough negotiator who pulls out all the stops. He gave thanks to his wife and Acting Dean of Students Roger Côté.
Christine Cogger was praised for her hard work and ability as CSU's vice-president, academic. She revived the idea of a student bill of rights, and put in a lot of work on the project.
James Edwards, CSU's vice-president, administration, this year, and previously, an active student representative from the Faculty of Fine Arts, said he found his years at Concordia "challenging, and an opportunity to express myself."
Mauro Franco is good at getting people involved. He was vice-president, external relations, of the ECA, organizing a careers day on short notice, and attending conferences as far away as Edmonton. He also organized a weekend that saw students sprucing up non-profit facilities, a business lunch for AIESEC, and several social events.
Karen Kendell and Corinne Swirsky are student athletes who embody the spirit of a healthy mind in a healthy body. Both have won national awards. Swirsky was the first recipient of the Brodrick Award, and is Quebec's nominee to the CIAU athlete of the year awards to be announced May 4, among others. (See page 7)
Kendell was assistant captain of the women's hockey team, won awards for athletics, community work and academics, volunteered at the Lakeshore Hospital, made a four-year commitment to Annual Giving (which provides scholarships and other academic help) and an annual commitment to the Spirit of Christmas (practical emergency help for students).
Dino Nizzola was the president of the Commerce and Administration Students Association (CASA) this year. He started its outreach effort, CASA Cares, and participated in an overhaul of CASA's constitution. He was on Senate and its budget committee, as well as the CSU. Nizzola also helped organize the new Commerce Placement Centre and was involved with the Concordia International Students Association.