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Alumni Awards: Previous Recipients


Distinguished Alumni Award

Presented based on a person's achievement and leadership in their field. Recipients show leadership in business, industry, a profession or in public life. They have brought honour to Trent University through endeavors which have earned them prominence within their field.

Gary Botting '64

A founding alumnus of Trent's class of 1964, Gary Botting's list of achievements and awards is staggering, ranging from playwright and drama awards to an array of graduate and post-doctoral fellowships. He is recognized as one of the most prolific legal scholars in Canada, the "go to" expert in Canada on extradition, and a writer of immense talent. As an English and Philosophy student at Trent, Mr.Botting was active in local media, working for CKLY radio in Lindsay and CKPT radio in Peterborough, writing for the Peterborough Examiner and Trent's student newspapers, and editing Tridentine, Trent's first literary magazine. Mr.Botting graduated from Trent with a Bachelor of Arts, double major in English and Philosophy.

Sigrid Johnson '78

Sigrid Johnson is one of the most accomplished foreign service officers of her generation, carving out a highly successful career as an ambassador and senior negotiator for Canada, particularly in the areas of the Arctic, environmental affairs, and in peace and development in Africa. Since graduating from Trent with a degree in Geography, Ms. Johnson has thrived in extremes from the frozen north to the heat of Africa, always successfully immersing herself into the climate and culture of her surroundings. Ms. Johnson's understanding of environmental problems has led to her designing sustainable development programs as Canada's senior arctic official at the Arctic Council and as Canada's senior officer for Environmental Affairs in Washington.

Spirit of Trent Award

Presented to alumni who have made a difference, through contributions to the University, the alumni association or the community.

Edward Sawdon '82

Edward Sawdon, a graduate of the History program, embodies the Trent spirit of care, compassion, and social justice. Through his work advocating for physical and mental health programs, Mr. Sawdon's spirit has truly shone. He took the first steps in his volunteer career of advocating for important social change with Ostomy Toronto and the Oshawa and District Ostomy Association. After relocating to Newfoundland and Labrador, he built an impressive list of volunteer credentials with the St. John's Ostomy Chapter, the Independent Living Resource Centre, the Consumers Health Awareness Network (CHANNAL), the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Pottle Centre, and the Coalition for Persons with Disabilities. In 2013, Mr. Sawdon was presented with the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award, a national honour that was truly deserved for someone whose efforts have touched countless lives over the years.

Linda Viscardis '76

Linda Viscardis's belief that we can all live together in harmony, regardless of our differences, was nurtured during her time at Trent. A visionary who sees potential in every person she meets, her mission is to foster strong, healthy community through inspiration, education and encouragement. Her vision of inclusivity is reflected in her career. She is a former executive director for Community Living Port Hope-Cobourg and a former team leader for Brighter Futures Peterborough. She is a facilitator for Prospects for Family, and she started Viscardis and Associates (Strong Healthy Community), where she manages and writes various print publications "relevant to people who are marginalized in society." Recently, she signed up to be an Alumni Mentor and panelist for Trent's Disability Services, bringing her unique skills and philosophy to a new generation of Trent University students. Ms. Viscardis graduated from Trent with a degree in French and English.

Young Leader Award

Recognizes young alumni who have shown outstanding leadership throughout their first 10 years of alumni status either in their professional career and/or community, public or humanitarian service and are 35 years of age or younger.

Ryan Heighton '05

Ryan Heighton has always had a strong interest in advocating for vulnerable people and in working towards positive change in society. Currently a student at Osgoode Law School, Mr. Heighton's passion for helping others has been reflected in his academic career. As a Trent undergraduate student studying Biology and Psychology and a master's student studying Environmental and Life Sciences, he was involved in important breast cancer research with Dr. Leslie Kerr and he was part of Trent Students Offering Support, a peer tutoring network. His passion for change extends to his writing - in 2012 he won a social justice writing contest at Osgoode Hall, and he was a senior editor for IPilogue, an online legal journal. A winner of numerous bursaries and scholarships throughout his academic career, Mr. Heighton was awarded the 2012 Ian Scott Public Interest Internship, which allowed him to dedicate a summer to working with homeless individuals.

Jovan Groen '01

Jovan Groen's passion for education, particularly curriculum design, has helped shape his career since graduating from Trent with a B.Sc. After completing a degree in Geography at Trent, Mr. Groen attended Queen's for his B.Ed. and M.Ed. degrees before joining the University of Ottawa's Centre for University Teaching (CUT) as an educational developer. Before long, he was working as a program design specialist alongside vice-deans and program chairs and leading several research projects. In 2014, he was named acting director for CUT, responsible for the design, development and implementation of teaching and learning support initiatives for University of Ottawa faculty and staff. Mr. Groen's zeal for learning extends to his volunteer activities. He is the vice-chair of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Canada, a network of academics across Canada who promote and support research in University teaching. He also wrote a book and produced videos to help Ontario elementary science teachers bring experiments to their students. He is active in the Ottawa Science Fair Association and has visited local schools to promote scientific curiosity among youth. Mr. Groen aso works regularly with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the Canadian Cochrane Centre to help develop and evaluate training/educational programming.

Tony Storey Service Award

Presented to an alumni volunteer who has demonstrated a significant and long-term commitment to the Trent University Alumni Association (TUAA)

John Butcher '67

In 2014, John Butcher marked an incredible 40 years of volunteer contribution to Trent University and the TUAA. Mr. Butcher's long-standing service to the TUAA includes a term as president (1974-1975). Over the years he has acted as a sounding board for TUAA directors, helped with visioning and long-term planning, and facilitated meetings and retreats of the TUAA council. Mr. Butcher also brought his leadership skills to Trent's Board of Governors, where he served from 1978 to 1980. In 2014, he took on the role of co-chairing the Ideas That Change the World Symposium for Trent's 50th anniversary celebration. Involved in all aspects of planning, he utilized his facilitation and conference organizing experience to ensure the symposium's success, and recruited 75 highly distinguished speakers. Mr. Butcher is a founding donor of Alumni House, and a role model for many other alumni who helped to support the restoration and endowment for the campus home for alumni. He has managed to stay involved with Trent while growing a successful process facilitation firm, and giving his time to other causes, including his church, minor hockey, and various boards and organizations. Mr. Butcher graduated with a degree in History.

For a full list of Alumni Award recipients, please click here.