2008 Outstanding Alumni Awards

Congratulations to our 2008 Outstanding Alumni Award winners:

Dr. Richard Bruskiewich, Ms. Evaleen Jaager Roy, Dr. Gabor Mate, and Dr. Jennifer Allen Simons

We honoured them at the 25th anniversary Outstanding Alumni Awards event on Thursday, February 19, 2009 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver.
Visit the 2008 OAA Online Photo Gallery >>

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Dr. Richard Bruskiewich, BA ’87 - Academic Achievement
Senior Scientist, Bioinformatics, International Rice Research Institute – Manila, Philippines


Dr. Richard Bruskiewich is one of the world leaders in Bioinformatics. After completing his degree at SFU with a minor in Computing, Richard trained in Biological Sciences at UBC and became interested in combining computational analysis with biology. As a PhD student he became renowned for being the first person to transfer the genome database, Acedb, to the PC. This led to post-doctoral research at the Sanger Centre in England, one of the most internationally prestigious centers for computational genetic analysis. During this time he made salient contributions to many important genomic analyses, including the analysis of the human chromosome 22. With several world-class opportunities available to him, he took the road less traveled by choosing to carry out his research in a developing country, joining the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. At the IRRI, he is responsible for using bioinformatics to decipher the genetic structure of rice, one of the largest and most important food crops in the world. His work develops both understanding and prediction of those genetic features that are critical to crop yield and environmental and disease resistance under various conditions. Since food – particularly rice – is one of the biggest health determinants in the third-world, Richard’s research impacts the developing world in ways often overlooked by the western world.

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Ms. Evaleen Jaager Roy, BBA ’84 - Professional Achievement
former Vice President, Human Resources, Global Publishing & Community, Electronic Arts

In 1983, Evaleen Jaager Roy was a student representative on SFU’s Board of Governors. Sixteen years later in 1999 she was back on the board again, this time as the Chair. She holds the distinction of having been elected as Chair for three consecutive terms as well as being the first SFU graduate to become Chair. Her impressive career in Finance and HR has taken her to General Motors, Westcoast Energy, and for nearly a decade with Electronic Arts. Her role with EA, the world’s largest interactive entertainment company, included international responsibilities in Europe and the US. She earned her MBA from the prestigious Harvard Business School on a GM Fellowship and completed the HR Executive Education program at Queen’s University. As HR business partner to EA’s President and COO, her global responsibilities included leadership of an HR team working with 2400 employees across Canada, the US, Europe and Asia. Evaleen also led EA’s community outreach work outside of the US which focuses on inspiring disadvantaged youth, and helping sick and needy children. Everyone at SFU who has worked with Evaleen speaks highly of her exceptional abilities and enthusiasm including President Emeriti Bill Saywell and Jack Blaney and Chancellor Emeritus Joe Segal, to name just a few. As Board Chair, she unified the board as a governing team, enhanced the strategic and long term focus of the board, and hired SFU’s 8th and current president, Dr. Michael Stevenson. In the wider community, Evaleen has contributed her time and expertise to the Seeing is Believing organization, Action Canada, the BC Lotteries Board and the Vancouver Economic Development Commission’s Blue Ribbon Council. She has mentored SFU and UVIC students and currently serves on the YWCA Board and the SFU Foundation Board.

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Dr. Gabor Mate, PDP ’69 - Service to the Community
Staff Physician, Portland Hotel Society


Dr. Gabor Mate is a noted physician, researcher, public speaker, columnist, activist/advocate and best-selling author. He is one of Canada’s pre-eminent experts on parenting, ADD (attention deficit disorder), mind/body connection, and addictions. After operating a successful family practice in Vancouver for 20 years, he made a radical shift, becoming the staff physician for the Portland Hotel Society, a residence and resource centre for the people of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. After receiving his teaching certificate from SFU, his first profession was teaching English and literature. However, his lifelong dream was to become a doctor. At age 28, he successfully battled the challenges of ADD to attend medical school at UBC, and he has been a physician ever since. But not an ordinary physician – a physician-educator, reflecting the early influence of his SFU education. What distinguishes Dr. Mate as an outstanding healer is the way he uses his enthusiasm, knowledge, intellectual curiosity, insight, and compassion to educate others. Whether he is leading a seminar for parents, helping adults or children cope with ADD, writing an informative and thought-provoking book, or treating one of his hundreds of Portland Hotel patients who may be suffering from debilitating chronic diseases such as mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction and HIV, Gabor listens and learns and inspires others to do the same.

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Dr. Jennifer Allen Simons, MA ’83, PhD ’89 - Service to the Community
President, The Simons Foundation


Dr. Jennifer Allen Simons is the founder and President of The Simons Foundation, a private charitable foundation with a mission focused on nuclear disarmament, global cooperation, international law and human security, social justice and education. As an award-winning educator, thought leader and policy advisor, Dr. Simons and her foundation have supported major international peace initiatives, providing critical financial support, convening international leaders in policy dialogue, and driving academic research. She has increased awareness and social consciousness by initiating and funding important peace-focused educational programs at SFU and beyond, including professorships, lectureships, citizenship and graduate research awards, fellowships and bursaries. While she is deserving of recognition for the significant funding she has provided to help create a more peaceful and just society, it is her personal commitment to this vision that makes her much more than simply an important philanthropist. She has worked tirelessly for the cause of global peace and security, and is an active advocate and expert on nuclear disarmament. Her partnerships with other NGOs, academic institutions, the Government of Canada, international governments, and the United Nations have made her an important and effective actor in the quest for global peace. Among her many awards and acknowledgements, she has been honored for her community leadership with SFU’s Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award in 1996, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2003, and the Vancouver Citizens Peace Award in 2006.

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