2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards
Honouring the Impact of UVic Alumni
Here are members of the alumni community who will impress you with their accomplishments, inspire you with their commitment, and deepen your sense of pride in their (and your) connection to UVic.
The Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are chosen by their respective faculties, divisions as well as the UVic Libraries. This year's 13 awards will be presented during Alumni Week, on Feb. 8.
Check out the complete list of Alumni Week 2017 events.
Lenora Lee, BCom '02
Lenora is a Partner with KPMG’s assurance practice in Victoria. Upon graduating from the BCom program with the Faculty’s Business Award of Excellence, Lenora obtained her chartered accountant designation, and in 2009, was recipient of the Institute of Chartered Accountant’s Early Achievement Award for her accomplishments in career, profession and community. In 2011, Lenora became the first female to be promoted to partner in KPMG’s Victoria office. She is a trusted business advisor to her clients including public companies, private enterprises, government and not-for-profit organizations.
She remains connected to Uvic and the Gustavson School of Business in a variety of ways including recruiting on campus for new CPA articling students, volunteering as a mentor to BCom and MBA students and teaching as a sessional instructor. She volunteers with a number of local charities to give back to the many organizations dedicated to supporting and enriching communities.
Denise Blackwell, Cert. '94
Denise Blackwell, with a business administration certificate from the Division of Continuing Studies, is an alumna who has made significant contributions to public life particularly through her involvement in local government.
She was elected to Langford city council in 1992, part of the inaugural council and she continues to serve in that role along with her other regional responsibilities.
She is one of Langford’s representatives to the Capital Regional District board of directors and has previously served as CRD chair and vice-chair.
Andrea Minter, BA '04
Andrea Minter majored in Recreation and Health Education and is now the proud mother of four children and owner of Russell Books. She feels fortunate to be able to apply her education to the daily work of running a thriving business that her grandfather started over 50 years ago. At UVic Andrea was privileged to compete on the Cross Country and Track team that won back-to-back national championships. In addition to team success Andrea was also 2nd Team All-Canadian in her individual events.
A proud alumna, Andrea continues to support student initiatives and feels a strong connection to UVic and her hometown of Victoria. The mental and physical discipline she gained from her time at UVic continues to enrich her everyday life as a loving mother, wife and businesswoman. Andrea is forever thankful for being able to study and train in such an amazing academic environment.
Maher Fahmi, MASc '94
Maher received his BASc in Engineering Physics with Great Distinction, from the University of Saskatchewan. He served in the Canadian Navy as a combat systems engineering officer and was the recipient of the Westinghouse Award and Paramax Sword.
After leaving the Navy in 1992, Maher returned to university and received his MASc. in Electrical Engineering from UVic. Maher then joined PMC-Sierra, and was the director of product development responsible for the design of semiconductor products for the telecommunications markets, including SONET, ATM and PDH networks.
In 2004, Maher left PMC to co-found Teradici Corporation, a semiconductor company specializing in the thin client computing. In 2010, Maher is now VP of product development at Microsemi Corporation.
Maher holds several patents and has contributed to numerous standards bodies, including the International Telecommunications Union, the IEEE and the ATM Forum.
Althea Thauberger, MFA '02
Althea Thauberger is an artist, filmmaker and educator currently based in unceded Kanien'kehá:ka territory, Montréal, Québec where she is Artist-In-Residence in Photography at Concordia University. Her art practice involves performative and collaborative processes in the production of social documents, as well as lasting engagements with the communities and sites they are produced within.
Thauberger’s exhibitions and screenings have included The Power Plant, Toronto; The National Gallery of Canada; Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen; the 2012 Liverpool Biennale; the occupied Kino Zvezda, Belgrade; and the Guangong Museum of Art among many others.
Simon Hall, MSc '10
Simon Hall started his career in business. A mid-career shift into the public sector was motivated by a desire to contribute to the greater good of healthcare. Simon worked as director of applications for the Vancouver Island Health Authority and then turned his attention to helping optimize Health Link BC. He took on responsibility as executive director for information management and technology for the provincial Telehealth service.
During that period Simon also completed his MSc in Health Informatics at the University of Victoria. His research work involved an innovative methodology for studying how telephone triage nurses worked with information technology as they interact with callers during emergencies. This work was used to optimize Health Link BC. Simon is currently director of governance initiatives with the BC Ministry of Health, working with information management and tech leaders in all the provincial health authorities in arriving at standards for sharing health data.
Bev Sellars, BA ’97
Bev Sellars was chief of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation in Williams Lake for more than 20 years, and she now serves as a member of its council. Sellars returned to the community after an extended period of “visiting other territories.” While she was away, she earned a degree in history from the University of Victoria and a law degree from the University of British Columbia, and she served as adviser for the BC Treaty Commission.
She was ﬁrst elected chief in 1987 and has spoken out on behalf of her community on racism and residential schools and on the environmental and social threats of mineral resource exploitation in her region. Her first book, They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School, became a best seller after it won 2014 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. They Called Me Number One spent 40 weeks on the BC Bestsellers list in 2013 and 2014, was shortlisted for the 2014 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize (BC Book Prizes), and received 3rd Prize in the 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Literature.
Sellars second book, Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival, was published in 2016 by Talonbooks.
Herman Van Ommen, LLB '84
Herman Van Ommen, QC is a partner in the Vancouver litigation group of McCarthy Tétrault and is the former regional managing partner for British Columbia. His practice involves real estate litigation, corporate litigation and professional discipline proceedings. He acts in a wide variety of arbitrations. Mr. Van Ommen is also an elected bencher and the current president of the Law Society of British Columbia.
Mr. Van Ommen is recognized in Benchmark Canada, The Definitive Guide to Canada’s Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys as a local litigation star (British Columbia) in the specialty areas of arbitration and securities. He is also recognized in Chambers Canada as a leading lawyer in the area of Dispute Resolution. He has an AV Preeminent peer ranking by Martindale, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators ("FCIArb").
Herman attended McGill University for his undergraduate work and received his LLB in 1984 from the University of Victoria. He was called to the British Columbia bar in 1985.
Dr. Murray Fyfe, BSc '81
As a Medical Health Officer, Dr. Murray Fyfe feels privileged to work with many dedicated stakeholders to protect and improve the health of Vancouver Island communities. Prior to starting with the Vancouver Island Health Authority in 2004, Dr. Fyfe was a physician epidemiologist with the BC Centre of Disease Control, and a field epidemiologist with Health Canada.
For over 20 years he has enjoyed the breadth of practice in public health and preventive medicine which has ranged from leading large outbreak investigations to using evidence to influence healthy public policy.
Dr. Fyfe is also committed to providing a teaching environment for medical undergraduate and residency training. He volunteers with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and is an examiner with the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors.
David Hannay, MSC '95, BSc '88
Roberto Racca, Phd '90, Msc '85, BSc '82
David Hannay and Roberto Racca, two of the three principals of JASCO Applied Sciences, are long-time scientific and business partners. In the early 1990s both worked as researchers for JASCO, then a small Victoria-based company that specialized in scientific consulting to a local Department of National Defence laboratory that focused on ocean acoustics for anti-submarine applications.
Roberto and David took over leadership and bought out the company in 2000, changing the focus from defence-related acoustics to environmental marine noise monitoring, modelling and mitigation. This proved to be insightful. From the late 1990s on, the scientific understanding and concern about potential harm to marine environments from human activities such as oil and gas exploration, marine construction, and shipping underwent a rapid increase globally.
Under their guidance, JASCO became an international leader in ocean sciences, growing to about 75 employees with branches in several countries; the company also expanded its activities to include manufacturing industry-leading marine instrumentation as a complement to providing expert research/consulting services in marine acoustics. JASCO’s instruments are now used worldwide, and are prominently featured on local marine observatories through a collaboration with Ocean Networks Canada at UVic.
Bob Cummings, BA '89
Bob Cummings is executive vice-president, commercial and is responsible for sales, marketing, communications, network planning and scheduling, revenue management, corporate development, airline partnerships, distribution, digital and WestJet Vacations. Prior to that, he held the title of executive vice-president, sales, marketing and guest experience and was additionally responsible for contact center and guest experience planning.
Bob joined WestJet in 2005 as vice-president, Marketing, and quickly mobilized his team to create the owners advertising campaign – the most successful brand communications platform in WestJet history. He became an executive vice-president in 2006.
Bob was named Canada’s top marketing executive by Canadian Business magazine in 2008. In 2013, Bob was named as one of the top six marketing executives in the airline industry by the Blue Sky organization.
A native of Edmonton, he achieved his undergraduate degree in 1989 from the University of Victoria, followed by his MBA from Queen's University in 1992. Bob worked for over eight years in the wireless industry in Canada, including a one-year stint in Romania launching the country’s first mobile phone service.
Martin Segger, BA '69
Martin Segger, a UVic professor emeritus and adjunct professor of Canadian art and architecture, was director and curator of the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery from 1979 until his retirement in 2010. He is responsible for building and nurturing the 27,000-object art collection during his leadership role with UVic’s art museum and gallery (now Legacy Art Galleries).
Segger began his career in 1974 as an art museum curator with the British Columbia Museums and is recognized as an authority in the field. In 1982, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and also spent several years as a politician on Victoria's City Council, from 1988 to 1993, where his portfolio included heritage conservation, cultural and arts affairs. He has written numerous books and produced films on the art and architectural history of Victoria.
More recently he founded, and has been assisting with the development of the Pacific Northwest Architectural Archive housed in Special Collections at the Mearns Centre, McPherson Library.