UVic Distinguished Alumni Awards

Each year during Alumni Week, the UVic Alumni Association, in partnership with the faculties and divisions of UVic, present Distinguished Alumni Awards to outstanding members of the alumni community.

The recipients are selected by their respective faculties or divisions based on a number of criteria, including career accomplishments or service to their community and the recipients are announced in December of each year. The 2020 award recognition ceremony was held during Alumni Week on Feb. 4.


Sybil Verch, BCom '97

Sybil Verch started out as a co-op student in 1994, working her way to her current position as Executive Vice President, Head of Private Client Solutions for Raymond James Ltd., a leading independent wealth management firm in Canada. She oversees several departments that help financial advisors deliver exceptional experiences to clients and plays an integral part in mentoring women in finance and is dedicated to increasing the number of female advisors. 

Continuing Studies

Gerald Thompson, Cert ’95

Gerald, “Gerry” Thompson started his career by running a shipyard and machine shop in the Parksville area. This business endeavour lasted from 1964 to 1979 and contributed many tugboats and fishing vessels to the BC coast. In 1980, Thompson returned to school to develop his knowledge of the investment field. In 1985, he opened a full stock and bond brokerage office for Majendie Securities. He subsequently switched to PI Financial, where he has been their Victoria Branch Manager since 1999.


Wendy-Sue Andrew, BEd ’85

Wendy-Sue Andrew is the Executive Director of Lifetime Networks, an agency in Victoria that helps connect and support people with developmental disabilities and their families.  After a 16-year career teaching and coaching in elementary schools, Andrew joined the social-services sector. In 2000, Andrew was hired by five families for a fledging agency called Lifetime Networks. 


Kirsten Peck, BEng ’93

Kirsten Peck is Vice President, Engineering for BC Hydro and a registered professional engineer with the Engineers and Geoscientists of BC. For the past seven years, Peck has led BC Hydro’s Engineering business unit. She is accountable for the delivery of over 350 complex refurbishment and growth-related capital projects on BC Hydro’s electrical system. She leads a diverse team of 650 high performing technical staff of varying disciplines accountable for designing, estimating and delivering high quality, inherently safe, collaborative, complex engineering designs associated with the generation, transmission and distribution system and water retention structures. 

Fine Arts

Richard Van Camp, BFA ’97

Richard Van Camp is a proud member of the Tlicho Dene from Fort Smith, NWT. He is the author of 23 books in just about every genre. His novel, The Lesser Blessed (which he workshopped as a UVic student), is a feature film with First Generation Films. His graphic novel with Krystal Mateus on restorative justice, Three Feathers, is now a movie directed by Carla Ulrich. Van Camp’s comics and books for babies are translated into Bush Cree, Plains Cree, South Slavey, Dene, Spanish and French. His new collection of short stories, Moccasin Square Gardens, was released in 2019.

Human and Social Development

Leah Hollins, BSN ’89

Leah Hollins is the chair of the Island Health Board of Directors and was first appointed to this role in September 2017. Hollins brings vast experience in health-care policy, programs, strategy and service delivery to the role. Hollins received the Order of Canada for her work in organ and tissue donation and transplantation. She was also awarded a doctor of laws from the University of Manitoba for distinguished public service.


Robert “Lucky” Budd, BA ‘00, MA ’05

Between 2000 and 2004, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Royal British Columbia Museum entrusted Robert Budd with the preservation and restoration of the “Orchard Collection,” one of the world’s largest oral history collections. In addition to hosting a bi-monthly radio series on CBC Radio One, he has given talks on oral history across the country and has had 12 books published, nine of which are national bestsellers. His books have been nominated for 30 awards.


Kasari Govender, LLB ’04

Kasari Govender took office as BC’s first independent Human Rights Commissioner on Sept. 3, 2019. From 2008 until 2019, Govender held leadership positions at West Coast LEAF, including as Executive Director. She has taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia and as an instructor at Simon Fraser University. In 2019, her work was recognized by the Women Lawyers Forum with their Award of Excellence.


Jason Dewinetz, BA ’00

Jason Dewinetz is a writer, editor, typographer, printer, publisher and educator originally from, and now living once again, in the Okanagan Valley. His design and production for Greenboathouse Press has brought in more than a dozen national book design awards, and in 2008 he served on the jury of the Alcuin Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada. His printed works have been included in collaborative projects such as Gibraltar Edition’s Harry Duncan portfolio All Along the Fence, and the recent CODEX Foundation’s Art of the Edge of the Abyss. 


Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, PhD ’89
Dr. Prabha Ibrahim, PhD ’89

Dr. Mohamed and Dr. Prabha Ibrahim grew up in Tamil Nadu, India, where they both completed a Master of Science in Chemistry. During this time, a meeting with Professor Sandy Kirk resulted in the couple being recommended to complete fellowship and doctorate studies at UVic. The pair moved to Victoria in 1985 and built close ties to the university. The Ibrahims have made significant impacts on the field of medicinal chemistry, developing treatments for patients battling challenging conditions such as cancer, inflammation and metabolic diseases. 

Social Sciences and Law

Honourable Madam Justice Jennifer Power, BA ’83, LLB ’86

The Honourable Madam Justice Jennifer Power was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 2010. Madam Justice Power received a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science and Economics) in 1983 as well as a Bachelor of Laws in 1986 from the University of Victoria. She received a Master of Laws from Darwin College, University of Cambridge, in 1990. After her call to the bar in 1987, Justice Power practised in the area of criminal defence and civil litigation, and then as counsel for the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program. She joined the Provincial Crown in 1990 and practised as a Crown Prosecutor for 20 years, handling serious and sensitive files. 


In this story

Keywords: alumni, administrative, award, community, staff, torch

People: Sybil Verch, Gerald Thompson, Wendy-Sue Andrew, Kirsten Peck, Richard Van Camp, Leah Hollins, Robert Budd, Kasari Govender, Jason Dewinetz, Mohammed Ibrahim, Prabha Ibrahim, Jennifer Power

Related stories