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Alumni

You're always a part of UVic

Whether it's been a few months or a few years since you've last been to campus, you'll always be a part of the UVic family. UVic Alumni Relations can help you stay connected through special events, information and opportunities tailored specifically to our graduates.

Whether you want to network online or find out about alumni events, you can stay connected to your fellow alumni.

Staying in touch

Update your contact information to ensure that you receive the latest information for alumni and about alumni events. Indicating your mail and email preferences is easy with Alumni Relations.

Recognizing the achievements of Science alumni

We value alumni who are making a difference and whose accomplishments have been recognized on the world stage. We feel that it is important to honour our alumni for their achievements, continued involvement with UVic, and leadership.

Alumni who made a difference

In recognition of the University of Victoria’s 50th Anniversary, the UVic Alumni Association recognized a group of fifty alumni who have demonstrated ongoing citizenship to their alma mater. Alumni Who Made a Difference recipients were selected as examples of outstanding citizenship within the university community, including their demonstrated dedication, support, perseverance and the pride they show in being a graduate of UVic. The complete list of recipients is found here

Criteria for Distinguished Alumni Award

Qualified candidates for the Faculty of Science Distinguished Alumni Award will be accomplished in one or more of the following areas:

  • Career distinction - The individual is recognized as outstanding or has attained prominence within his or her career, field or industry. Their work has a demonstrated impact.
  • Personal attainment and achievement – The individual will have attained prominence through personal efforts in any human endeavor that forms a record of accomplishment impressive to the Faculty and the public.
  • Community service/outstanding service to industry or profession – The individual has provided humanitarian service that has proven greatly beneficial to society and/or outstanding voluntary service to his or her community, industry or profession at local, national and/or international levels.
  • Call for Distinguished Alumni Award nominations - The Faculty of Science recognizes one of its alumni each February during UVic’s Alumni Week with the Faculty of Science’s Distinguished Alumni Award. If you know of a UVic Science graduate (undergrad or graduate degree) who, in your opinion, should be considered for the Faculty of Science Distinguished Alumni Award, .

2010 Faculty of Science Distinguished Alumni Award

Robin Harkness profile photo

Robin Harkness, PhD (Microbiology 1985)
Associate Vice President, Program Leader, Sanofi Pasteur

Dr. Robin Harkness has dedicated most of his 25-year career to the vaccine industry—in particular, the translation of basic research into the development of new and improved human vaccines. In his current position with Sanofi Pasteur, he is responsible for the emerging diseases program that includes the development of vaccines against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

After completing his undergraduate degree at Carleton University, Harkness went on to train as a microbiologist earning a PhD from UVic. Following a post doc at the University of Munich as an NSERC Fellow, he joined the University of Tübingen as an Associate Professor in the Institute for Microbiology.

In 1990, Harkness joined Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine division of the Sanofi Aventis Group, which is the world’s third largest pharmaceutical company. Sanofi Pasteur is Canada’s largest vaccine company. He rose through the company’s ranks in successive senior management roles, becoming the Associate VP in 2002.

“It was a privilege to work with Robin in his formative years,” says UVic professor emeritus Ed Ishiguro, Harkness’ former doctoral supervisor. “He was the hardest working grad student I’ve ever had, a quality that endures to this day. He was a natural leader back then; his distinguished career achievements do not surprise me.”

2011 Faculty of Science Distinguished Alumni Award

Robert Young

Robert Young, PhD (BSc Honours Chemistry 1967)
Merck Frosst-BC Leadership Chair in Pharmaceutical Genomics and Drug Discovery, Simon Fraser University

Dr. Young’s career has focused on the design and synthesis of novel drugs for asthma, inflammation, osteoporosis and related diseases. He is most noted for his part in the discovery of SingulairTM , a breakthrough drug for the treatment of asthma and seasonal allergic rhinitis. Now sold in nearly 80 countries with sales of more than $5 billion US per year, Merck Frosst Canada cites SingulairTM as the company’s number one research accomplishment.

Young spent most of his career with Merck Frosst, which he joined in 1977. There he worked in various capacities in Canada and the UK, eventually rising to Vice President, Medicinal Chemistry in 1993—a position he held until his retirement in 2006.

After six month of a self-confessed unhappy retirement, Young joined SFU. His current research is focused on the design and use of novel pharmacological probes and proof of concept molecules for the discovery and validation of new drug targets.

Young was in the first cohort of chemistry students starting at UVic when it obtained its degree-granting charter in 1963. Of his time here, Young says: “The quality and rigor of the faculty were impressive, very inspiring. They encouraged us to not only be the best we could in our fields, but to also go out and accomplish something for the greater good. Thanks to UVic for all that motivation.”

Young is a member of the Order of Canada, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Chemical Institute of Canada, and is currently president elect and fellow of the Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences. Young holds many honors. As part of the discovery team for SingulairTM he was awarded the UK and Canadian Prix Galien and was named a Hero of Chemistry by the American Chemical Society for his contributions to medicinal chemistry and its impact on the health and welfare of children.

2012 Faculty of Science Distinguished Alumni Award

Mark Lewis photo

Mark Lewis – BSc 1987 (Biology and Math/Computer Science)

Mark Lewis is a senior Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Mathematical Biology at the University of Alberta.  Since his doctoral studies at Oxford in 1990, Mark has become not only a leader in the Canadian research community, but an important player in complex and controversial ecological issues—such as climate change and resource management—that affect Canadian and global societies.  He has made his contributions by the judicious and effective use of mathematical models to understand natural processes, and human interventions in these processes, and by developing entire research communities to carry out these investigations.

While his approach is solidly scientific, he has been successful in making the significance of his research results accessible to governments, the media, and the public. His research influence has extended beyond the confines of academia, helping to resolve societal and ecological issues of national and global import. These issues include the problem of how to control the spread of West Nile Virus (without overusing pesticides), the potentially catastrophic effects of sea lice among farmed salmon on wild salmon stocks, and the prediction of a sudden and dramatic decline in some polar bear populations as a result of climate change.

As an academic and a researcher, Mark Lewis has been phenomenally successful.  He’s held the CRC position at the U of A since 2001. His work has been recognized with a number of significant awards,including the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society Research Prize in 2009 and the CRM-Fields-PIMS Prize for Exceptional Research in Mathematics in 2011, which is the top mathematics research prize in Canada. Lewis is the youngest recipient of this prize to date.

50th Anniversary Award – Faculty of Science

PNicklen

On October 16, 2012, A Celebration of 50 Years of Excellence recognized the tradition of excellence in teaching, research and community service on which the University of Victoria was founded. 

Paul Nicklen - BSc (Biology), '90, Faculty of Science

UVic values interdisciplinarity as a means of enriching our understanding of the world and of kindling fresh perspectives. Paul Nicklen’s use of the arts to translate science is characteristic of the connectivity across disciplines that is valued at the university.

One of the world’s foremost nature photographers, his breathtaking images bring readers an appreciation of the beauty of the world’s polar regions and a deeper understanding of the threat that global warming poses to these sensitive ecosystems. He’ll place himself in the most trying of situations, in the harshest conditions, in order to capture an image. He has gone ice diving with leopard seals in Antarctica and mastered the art of taking aerial shots from his ultralight plane.

Paul Nicklen has published 11 stories for National Geographic, including 2011’s August cover story on the elusive spirit bear. His latest book, Polar Obsession, was published by National Geographic in November 2009 and was in its third printing within months of publication.

He has received more than 20 international awards, including five awards from World Press Photo (including Nature: First Prize Story 2010), three from Pictures of the Year International, two from Communication Arts, and 10 in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

He’ll place himself in the most trying of situations, in the harshest conditions, in order to capture an image. He has gone ice diving with leopard seals in Antarctica and mastered the art of taking aerial shots from his ultralight plane.

Paul Nicklen has published 11 stories for National Geographic, including 2011’s August cover story on the elusive spirit bear. His latest book, Polar Obsession, was published by National Geographic in November 2009 and was in its third printing within months of publication.

He has received more than 20 international awards, including five awards from World Press Photo (including Nature: First Prize Story 2010), three from Pictures of the Year International, two from Communication Arts, and 10 in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

His TED2011 talk and appearances on television shows such as Jeopardy and in YouTube videos receiving millions of hits have put him in the spotlight.

Paul Nicklen’s passion for documenting the effects of climate change on oceans and other environs aligns with UVic’s own research in this area. The university shares his commitment to sustainability and is proud to include him among our alumni.

Science Matters alumni newsletter

Science Matters alumni newsletterScience Matters is published twice yearly by the Faculty of Science to communicate the faculty’s goals, strategic direction and activities in order to connect alumni with each other and the university.

Comments/suggestions? We encourage you to with feedback and story ideas on the newsletter.

Appear in Science Matters!

Every edition of Science Matters highlights accomplishments of our graduates—whether the ink is barely dry on your parchment or it’s well seasoned. Do you have a great story to tell? .

Science Matters past issues

Spring 2013

Fall 2012

Spring 2012


Fall 2011

Spring 2011

Fall 2010

Spring 2010

Fall 2009

Spring 2009

Fall 2008

Spring 2008

Fall 2007

Alumni profiles

Laura Verhoeven receives 2012 Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence

profile-laura-verhoeven Laura Verhoeven (nee Hogan - BSc Biology 2004) is the only Canadian recipient of the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence. Verhoeven teaches at the Metchosin Technical Centre which uses a hands-on approach to learning. 

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Forming bonds between chemistry and careers

image-charles lucy

Dr. Charles Lucy (BSc Honours Co-op, 83) won a 2012 3M National Teaching Fellowship.  Lucy says he majored in chemistry because there were more paid co-op positions in chemistry at UVic than any other field at the time.  It was these placements that motivated him to work harder in school so that he could do a PhD and eventually have more choices for future employment.

Read the full story in Macleans  

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Medical physics alumnus heads to Stanford

Thumbnail Photo

Karl Bush is fast tracking his radiation oncology physics residency with the BC Cancer Agency's Vancouver Island Centre so he can begin the next chapter of his career, one which has a steeply rising trajectory. The gifted young scientist has accepted a faculty position with Stanford University's School of Medicine, starting January 2012.

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