2016 President's Distinguished Service Awards

The celebration of this year's President's Distinguished Service Award recipients, hosted by President Jamie Cassels, took place on March 31 at the University Club. 

This year, the recipient for the Excellence in Service Award is Scott Scholz (biochemistry and microbiology) and Chris Barr (chemistry) received the First Five Years–Outstanding Contribution award.


Scott Scholz
Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology

Scott Scholz has recently taken on the leadership of his department’s Biotechnical Support Service Centre, where he has worked for over 30 years. His team provides technical support for the department’s research and teaching programs, and the role includes everything from simple computer updates to maintaining over $25 million worth of complex, advanced systems and equipment across the entire Faculty of Science and beyond.

But it is Scholz’s personal dedication and commitment to his work that has earned him this award. Numerous individuals contributed to Scholz’s nomination package, and all of them noted of his technical expertise, ingenuity, humour and incredible generosity of time. No matter what the hour, no matter what day it is, no matter where he might be, when help is needed, he’ll be there.

Perry Howard, chair of the Biochemistry and Microbiology department had this to say: “Scott is the saviour of many experiments for our faculty, staff and students. There are countless stories circulating among faculty of situations in which Scott has been called in to take over the repair of a computer that has failed utterly at exactly the wrong time or to repair a freezer full of vital samples. This frequently means that Scott will gladly stay late into the night or return to campus evenings and weekends to deal with an emergency.”

Albert Labossiere, Scholz’s former supervisor, noted: “His methodical, thorough, calm and good natured approach has helped him rescue countless department members from the depths of despair during computer crashes, and he routinely spares us all from the tedium and frustration of the endless upgrades required by a wonderful technology that also enslaves us.”


Chris Barr
Department of Chemistry

Chris Barr is the Senior Scientific Assistant for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in the Department of Chemistry. He came to UVic in 2011, after 14 years in government and industry, managing Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) facilities. NMR is the single most important tool for probing the structures of new chemicals, and a large portion of research and teaching in chemistry depends on the reliability and perfect functioning of the equipment.

Shortly after his arrival at UVic, Barr was tasked with designing a brand new facility for three of the four NMR instruments on campus. He designed the project from scratch and then guided the entire construction process through to completion. The new NMR facility opened in May 2013, and has been functioning flawlessly ever since.

In addition, Barr is an excellent manager who is capable of balancing his time between conflicting demands. He is a rare example of someone who has the organizational skills to maintain a perfectly operational facility; the technical skills to design highly effective experiments, and the communication skills to support students, faculty and researchers from many backgrounds and cultures.

Read more in The Ring.