An ethnobotanist and microbiologist who documented what is now recognized as the first known case of AIDS in the United States and a former commissioner of the CFL who has been a major supporter of Canadian University sport are receiving UBC’s 2012 alumni awards of distinction. Prof. Memory Elvin-Lewis, and Doug Mitchell are among ten outstanding alumni being recognized for their efforts to improve communities locally and globally.
The recipients of the 2012 Alumni Achievement Awards are:
Memory Elvin-Lewis – Alumni Award of Distinction
Douglas Mitchell - Alumni Award of Distinction
Garry E. Merkel - Honorary Alumnus Award
Nolan Watson - Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
Julia Fan Li - Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
Haile Debas – Global Citizenship Award
Alia Dharamsi – Outstanding Future Alumnus Award
Paul Mitchell - Blythe Eagles Volunteer Leadership Award
Hon. Alfred Scow – Blythe Eagles Volunteer Leadership Award
Peter Nemetz – Outstanding Faculty Community Service Award
The recipients will be celebrated at a dinner on Wednesday, November 14 in Vancouver. For more information about the event, visit: www.alumni.ubc.ca/awards
UBC’s network of more than 280,000 alumni worldwide includes thousands of accomplished individuals. Every year, the UBC Alumni Association recognizes ten top achievers.
Memory Elvin-Lewis (BA’52, PhD, DSc’12), a microbiologist and ethnobotanist who is best known for her research into the traditional plant-based medical and dental practices of indigenous peoples, will receive the Alumni Award of Distinction. Early in her career, Elvin-Lewis documented a medical case now recognized as the first known occurrence of AIDS in America.
Douglas Mitchell (CM, AOE, QC, LLB’62) is a distinguished lawyer, volunteer and philanthropist who has made immense contributions to sport in Canada. As a respected business and community leader, Mitchell has shared his time with many organizations including the United Way, Alberta Economic Development Authority and the Canadian Bar Association. He is being honoured with an Alumni Award of Distinction.
Garry E. Merkel, the founder of Forest Innovations, has worked closely with UBC’s Faculty of Forestry and First Nations House of Learning to engage the Aboriginal community and increase its presence in university and industry settings. UBC’s progress on Aboriginal initiatives is closely linked to Merkel’s work. He will receive the Honorary Alumnus Award.
Nolan Watson (BCom’01), a recipient of the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, graduated from UBC 11 years ago and has become a successful entrepreneur in the mining industry, known for his philanthropy and humanitarian efforts in Africa.
Julia Fan Li (BCom’06) graduated from UBC in 2006 and is completing her PhD at Cambridge University. Li is a social entrepreneur who endorses the idea of business as a tool to empower people and she will be honoured with an Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.
Haile Debas (MD, DSc’01), the recipient of the Global Citizenship Award, is internationally recognized for his contributions to academic medicine and global health. He has raised standards for medical education, advanced interdisciplinary research, and established extensive partnership networks to build healthcare capacity worldwide.
Alia Dharamsi (BSc’10) is a graduate of the Faculty of Science now working toward her medical degree at UBC. She will receive the Outstanding Future Alumnus Award for a wide-array of volunteer activities including her work as founder and president of the UBC chapter of the Meal Exchange.
Paul Mitchell (BCom’78, LLB’79) has played a key role in the growth of Kelowna over the last few decades. Mitchell’s work helped establish UBC’s Okanagan campus in 2004; today he is involved in UBC’s start an evolution campaign. He will receive a Blythe Eagles Volunteer Leadership Award.
The Hon. Alfred Scow (CM, OBC, LLB’61, LLD’97), a recipient of the Blythe Eagles Volunteer Leadership Award, was the first Aboriginal person to graduate from a BC Law School and the first Aboriginal lawyer in BC to be called to the Bar. Scow became a Provincial Court Judge in 1992 and throughout his life he has demonstrated a deep commitment to social justice.
Peter Nemetz (BA’66, PhD), a professor of commerce at UBC, will receive the Outstanding Faculty Community Service Award. Nemetz’s work has helped connect UBC to the community for the past 25 years, largely through his commitment to the Vancouver Institute lecture series. As well as enriching the intellectual environment, Nemetz had served in an advisory capacity on several government committees relating to energy policy.