2015 Distinguished Alumni

alumni week

"Thinkers, changers, difference-makers"

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 University Libraries. They represent a diversity of minds and backgrounds.

We'll honour them at award presentations during Alumni Week 2015.

(Note: The Gustavson School of Business chose not to name an award recipient this year in order to focus on the school's 25th birthday celebration.)

Continuing Studies

victoria wells

Victoria Wells, Grad. Cert. ’13 (Indigenous Language Revitalization)

Victoria has played a key role in supporting and promoting Indigenous language revitalization efforts in the Nuu-chah-nulth region. As a founding member of the Quuquuatsa Language Society in 2012 she served as the first vice-president. QLS was instrumental in developing an accredited language proficiency strategy among the 14 tribes in the Nuu-chah-nulth region.

In addition to working to create the infrastructure for accredited learning, she devotes her time to documenting and promoting the Ehattesaht language.


Anne Tenning

Anne Tenning, MA ’10 (Curriculum Studies)

Anne Tenning is a member of the Stz’uminus First Nation on Vancouver Island. She was the first member of her family to graduate from high school. She has been an educator for 15 years, working as a secondary teacher, an academic counsellor for Aboriginal students, and currently as the district principal of aboriginal education in School District 67 Okanagan Skaha.

Anne is passionate about bringing increased awareness and understanding about the history and lasting legacy of residential schools, and frequently delivers presentations about the abuses that occurred.


Josh Blair

Josh Blair, BEng ’95 (Electrical Engineering)

As chief corporate officer at Telus, and executive vice-president of Telus Health & Telus International, Josh leads human resources for more than 40,000 team members, helping implement a variety of initiatives that resulted in Telus being named a Top 100 employer in Canada.

A champion of diversity and inclusiveness, Josh supported the establishment of a Telus’ employees diversity and inclusiveness council, including the Telus women’s network, an LGBT resource, an Aboriginal network, the Telus abilities network, a resource group for new Canadians and a group supporting employees who have served in the Canadian military.

Fine Arts


Mercedes Bátiz-Benét, BFA ’02 (Writing)

Mercedes is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, and artistic director of Puente Theatre. Productions of her work include Faust: Ignis Fatuus, at the international festival “Faustfest”, The Erotic Anguish of Don Juan with the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, and Puente Theatre’s Gruff. She won the 2014 Canadian Stage Award for Direction at the SummerWorks Festival with her play El Jinete, A Mariachi Opera.

She is the poetry, fiction, and non-fiction editor at Bayeux Arts, and her first children’s book is titled Lunar. Mercedes was raised in Mexico before coming to Canada in 1997.

Human and Social Development

Kim Henderson

Kim Henderson, MPA ’02

Kim is deputy minister of corporate initiatives in the office of the premier, where her responsibilities include “right-sizing” government through a core review initiative, selling surplus government assets, and overhauling liquor laws. Kim previously helped to develop the province’s first corporate human resource strategy, business transformation and information management/technology, and the advancement of an open government strategy.

She was one of the youngest assistant deputy ministers appointed in the province and one of the youngest deputy ministers.


Lucas Aykroyd

Lucas Aykroyd, MA ’97 (English)

A versatile, internationally-known journalist, Lucas has explored the ruins of Machu Picchu and tracked polar bears near the Arctic Circle. His byline has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, the Washington Post, and the Globe and Mail. He has written about hockey for the New York Times and The Hockey News, among others.

He has covered the Stanley Cup finals, the Winter Olympics, World Hockey Championships, and World Junior tournaments. He got started as a student, writing about music for the Martlet, and he’s since interviewed members of ABBA and Van Halen.


Douglas White

Douglas S. White, LLB ’07

A former chief of the Snuneymuxw First Nation in Nanaimo, his Coast Salish name is Kwul’a’sul’tun and his Nuu-chah-nulth name is Tlii’shin. As chief, a major focus of his work related to implementing the Snuneymuxw Treaty of 1854.

In various capacities, he has advocated for First Nations with the governments of BC, Canada and at the United Nations. Douglas is the director of the Centre for Pre-Confederation Treaties and Reconciliation at Vancouver Island University and practices as a lawyer and negotiator for First Nations governments.

Medical Science

Tom Rimmer

Dr. Tom Rimmer, BSc ’89 (Biology/Environmental Studies)

Dr. Tom Rimmer has been a family physician in Duncan since 2000, where he has gained national recognition for outstanding patient care, exemplary contributions to the health and well-being of the community and dedication to family medicine, research and teaching.

He helped launch a maternity clinic in the Cowichan District Hospital and he’s a mentor for physicians transitioning into electronic medical records. Tom is also a founding board member of the Cowichan Valley Division of Family Practice Society and serves on its board.


Robert Beecroft

Robert Beecroft, BSc ’84 (Microbiology)

Robert is the founder and owner of ImmunoPrecise Antibodies. The Victoria-based company’s staff of 16 includes 11 graduates of the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology. IPA has completed antibody projects with top pharmaceutical companies, such as Merck, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis.

IPA has successfully made antibodies to cancer biomarkers, human pathogens, salmon pathogens, animal pathogens, as well as hundreds of other antigens. Robert spent 14 years at UVic as a senior research assistant and developed expertise in antibody production and immunoassays.

Social Sciences

Susan Cartwright

Susan Cartwright, BA ’79 (Geography)

Susan enjoyed a distinguished career in Ottawa and abroad, starting with Canada’s foreign service and becoming an ambassador before the age of 40. After five overseas postings over 21 years, she came home to Ottawa. Her responsibilities included senior roles with Fisheries and Oceans, the Treasury Board secretariat, Health Canada, and foreign and defence policy advisor to the prime minister.

In retirement, she serves on the Public Service Commission and as a member of the Ottawa Hospital Foundation and Trudeau Foundation boards.

University Libraries

David Day

David Day, BA ’76 (Writing)

Author of 40 books of poetry, ecology, history, fantasy, mythology and fiction, David’s books – for adults and children – have sold four million copies and have been translated into 20 languages. He has also written for the theatre and television.

His landmark book on animal extinction, Doomsday Book of Animals (with an introduction by the Duke of Edinburgh), was named a Book of the Year in 1981 by Time Magazine. David has also been an environmental columnist for many of Britain’s leading newspapers.