2006 Outstanding Alumni Awards

Congratulations to our 2006 Outstanding Alumni Award winners:
Robert Armstrong, Larry Beasley, Sarah England, Roy Miki and Dua'a Riyal.
We honoured them at a special event on February 20, 2007 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver.
Visit the 2006 OAA Online Photo Gallery >>


Dr. Robert Armstrong, BSc (Hons) ’75 - Professional Achievement
Chief of Pediatric Medicine, BC Children’s Hospital

Advancing health care for children

A child’s smile is the best reward for Dr. Robert Armstrong. As Chief of Pediatric Medicine at the BC Children’s Hospital and UBC, healthy and happy children are his favorite measure of success. An achiever even as a student, Dr. Armstrong followed his Bachelor of Science degree at SFU with an MSc , MD and PhD from McMaster University. In 1985 he joined BC Children’s Hospital and was named the Head of Pediatrics in 1997. As a researcher, educator, administrator, and advocate, Bob has become an international leader in the evolution of developmental pediatrics. His research examines influences on the healthy development of children such as health impacts for new immigrant children, prevention of fetal alcohol syndrome, social and emotional development of children with disabilities, and child health epidemiology. He helped establish the Provincial Child Health Network, a collaborative approach to ensure quality health care for all children in BC, and is the founding Chair of the National Coalition for Child and Youth Health. Dr. Armstrong also played a major role in the development of the Centre for International Child Health (CICH), a program which currently provides life-saving cardiac care to children in China. He is passionate about the CICH’s mission to improve the health care of children worldwide through international research and training partnerships. With such energy and enthusiasm, it’s no wonder that Dr. Armstrong is universally respected for his breadth of vision, commitment to excellence, and unstinting support of better health care for children.


Mr. Larry Beasley, BA ’73 - Public Service
Former City Planner, City of Vancouver

Shaping a vibrant and livable city

Larry Beasley travels extensively and describes himself as “an unendingly fascinated student of cities”. Yet no matter where he goes in the world, he always loves coming home to Vancouver, the city he has shaped during his 30 year career as a city planner. As the recently retired Co-Director of Planning and Director of Current Planning for the City of Vancouver, Larry’s vision of a thriving city with a vibrant urban core has drawn attention from planners and architects around the world. His downtown “living first strategy” doubled the inner-city population, created open spaces and cultural opportunities, and made Vancouver a model for New Urbanism: communities where work, home, amenities, and entertainment are all within walking distance of each other. Vancouverism is another of his legacies: a unique planning process where developers must submit their plans for review by a panel of top architects and urban designers before permits are issued. Cities around the globe have benefited from Larry’s advice including Toronto, Victoria, Calgary, Seattle, Chicago, Auckland and Shanghai. He teaches the next generation of planners as an Adjunct Professor at UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning. The United Nations honored him in 1996 for establishing one of the World’s 100 Best Planning Practices. The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada awarded him its Advocate for Architecture 2003 Medal of Excellence. In 2005 he was named a Member of the Order of Canada. Not bad for a boy who built his first cities in the sand.


Dr. Sarah England, MBA ’97 - Service to the Community
Humanitarian and Health Activist, World Health Organization

Eradicating global TB

Dr. Sarah England has devoted herself to solving some of the world's most pressing public health problems from environmental degradation to vaccines for childhood diseases. With an Oxford PhD in medical science, Sarah did her post-doctoral work in Asia, quickly becoming involved with several international organizations. She spent the 90's in Vietnam working on biodiversity and other environmental projects, while at the same time completing her SFU Executive MBA in 1997. Her global experience and keen interest in environmental health issues soon drew the attention of the World Health Organization (WHO), headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. She joined WHO as an Environmental Health Adviser for Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, and began focusing on global vaccination projects in 1999. One of her first assignments was to build consensus among stakeholders on the structure and function of a billion dollar global fund to finance the vaccination of children in resource-poor countries. Six months later, Sarah presented the proposed structure in Seattle to Bill Gates Senior, and the new Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization successfully secured a $750 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Sarah now works with the WHO Stop TB Partnership Secretariat in Switzerland, bringing global partners together to formulate and implement shared strategies and plans to eliminate TB. Committed to her cause and not afraid to take on big challenges, Sarah is proud that WHO and the Stop TB Partnership she serves impacts the health of millions of people in the global community.


Dr. Roy Miki, MA ’70 - Arts and Culture
Professor/Poet/Writer/Editor, Simon Fraser University

Weaving words to change the world

Roy Miki, SFU English professor, is a distinguished scholar and teacher, one of Canada’s finest poets and authors, and a passionate advocate for social justice. Born on a sugar-beet farm in Manitoba where his Japanese Canadian parents were interned during the Second World War, Roy’s early experiences with discrimination fuelled a strong drive to express his ideas, emotions and ideologies. Freedom is his passion: written words are his medium. He has authored or edited an impressive collection of books, essays, papers, and anthologies, many of which have received critical literary acclaim. His 2002 collection of poems, Surrender, received the prestigious Governor General’s Award for Poetry. Much of his work explores the complex issues of internment: history, memory, identity, displacement, race and redress. Roy’s willingness to write about and speak out against injustice was instrumental in the success of the Japanese Canadian redress movement in 1988. His recent book Redress: Inside the Japanese Canadian Call for Justice reveals personal and political insights from the long and winding road to redress. Roy’s writing and voluntary contributions were recognized in 2006 with the Order of Canada, the Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy, and the Gandhi Peace Award. While honored by these accolades, Roy believes the world needs more awards that recognize people who are willing to struggle, to display courage, and to go against the system to improve it. These are the words of Roy Miki ­‑- words to change the world.


Ms. Dua’a Riyal - Outstanding Student Leadership
BSc Student, Simon Fraser University

Studying cells to save the forests

Dua’a Riyal has a rare talent: she can focus on the details while never losing sight of the bigger picture. By day she examines cell and molecular biology in the laboratory as a student in SFU’s Faculty of Science. By night she explores the skies above as an amateur astronomer. Originally from Amman, Jordan, Dua’a came to SFU in 2004 to advance her science education after completing two years of post-secondary studies in Pharmacy. Much of her lab time is spent isolating and screening DNA, but her current research has a much larger focus. By applying genetic molecular techniques, she hopes to develop new ways to breed trees to replenish and preserve the world’s rapidly depleting forests, ecosystems, and wildlife. In collaboration with other scientists at SFU and UBC, Dua’a’s goal is to be the first laboratory in the world to successfully use TILLING technology (Targeting Induced Local Lesions in Genomes) to breed a forest tree. Dua’a is a member of the Golden Key International Honours Society, an honour roll student, and a recipient of SFU’s Open Scholarship and Biological Sciences Merit Award. She supports her community as an Arabic language teacher and by volunteering with charitable programs at the Dar Al-Madinah Islamic Society in Vancouver. Always the explorer, Dua’a has already taken the first steps on her next journey. She has been approved for graduate studies to obtain a Masters degree in Plant Molecular Biology. Reach for the stars, Dua’a!