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Outstanding alumni: Creating a healthier, safer world

January 24, 2008

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The SFU Alumni Association will celebrate four exceptional graduates for their achievements in gerontology, cardiac research, energy economics and global development during the university’s 2007 Outstanding Alumni Award gala Feb. 19 at Vancouver’s Four Seasons Hotel.

The awards are given, following nominations by alumni, faculty, staff, students and community members, to recognize outstanding alumni for their impact on the world, whether locally or globally.

Award categories include academic achievement, arts and culture, athletics, professional achievement, public service, service to the community and service to
the university.

Each of this year’s recipients has contributed greatly to the world. But we wondered what one thing they would do to change it if they could. Their answers
are inspiring.
Mark Jaccard Mark Jaccard
(BA ’78, MRM ’84), for academic achievement.

“I would succeed in convincing the Canadian government to implement immediately a carbon tax that would be modest at first,” says the SFU professor, author and researcher, known as one of Canada’s top energy economists and one of the country’s foremost minds on the environment. “It would protect our industry from unfair international competition and consumers from abrupt fuel price increases. But it would gradually rise over the coming decades as other countries joined us for a global greenhouse gas reduction effort.” Jaccard is renowned for his work in advancing knowledge on transportation systems, greenhouse gases, electricity supply and demand, renewable and non-renewable energy and energy conservation.
Alison Lawton
(MA ’06), for service to the community.

“My approach to changing the world would be to start with individuals,” says
Lawton, the executive director of Mindset Media. She is raising $25 million to combat HIV/AIDS in infants, young children and adolescents in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world. “When people are repressed and without hope they do not see positive possibilities.
Nelson Mandela told me how much power we have as a collective people to make change. But we need to inspire individuals with hope and seed them with ideas.” Moving effectively between the for-profit and non-profit worlds, Lawton is equally passionate about identifying high-potential social development initiatives and providing them with business expertise, funding and guidance.
Alison Lawton
David Granville David Granville
(BSc ’95), for academic achievement.

“I am personally trying to improve the world by developing new treatments to combat heart disease,” says Granville, an associate professor and Canada Research Chair with St. Paul’s Hospital-University of British Columbia, who has attracted millions of dollars in funding for cardiovascular research and holds four patents. “But if I had the ability, I would re-allocate much of the resources currently spent on wars worldwide towards alleviating world hunger and poverty.” One of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 recipients, Granville is a leader in the fight against heart disease, the world’s number one killer. His current research focuses on combating atherosclerosis, heart transplant rejection and myocardial infarction.
 Elaine Gallagher
(PhD ’88), for professional achievement.

“I would ask each person on earth to identify one positive change that they could undertake to improve the life of a neighbour, relative, friend or total stranger,” says the nursing professor and Centre on Aging director at the University of Victoria. “Then, at noon local time globally on a Saturday in March, to celebrate the coming of spring, each person would carry out his/her identified action, creating a wave of kindness to encircle the earth for 24 hours.” An internationally renowned leader in gerontology research, Gallagher is primarily interested in how the elderly interact with their environments. She was the first person to earn a
PhD from SFU’s gerontology program, in which she now holds an adjunct appointment.
Elaine Gallagher
Hear more from these distinguished award winners at the SFU Outstanding Alumni Awards dinner on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 6:00 pm at the Four Seasons Hotel, Vancouver. Tickets are $95 per person or $700 per table of eight. Master of ceremonies: Peter Robinson (BA ’88, PBD ’96), CEO, David Suzuki Foundation. Register by Feb 11: www.sfu.ca/alumni/events
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