Awards honour SFU staff for significant achievements

February 22, 2007

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Each year, SFU honours staff who have made outstanding contributions to the university and the community. This year, president Michael Stevenson celebrated the accomplishments of seven individual winners and a winning team during a lunch at the Diamond Alumni Centre. Each award winner received an engraved watch and a framed certificate.

Allison WattFor the past five years, Alison Watt has quietly coordinated the annual SFU United Way campaign from behind the scenes.

The director of the university secretariat, Watt's job is to ensure that the university's two governing bodies—the Board of Governors and the University Senate—run smoothly. Her experience in working with this diverse group of people, many of whom are volunteers, stands her in good stead as she helps with the many duties involved in a successful United Way campaign.

"From organizing tables for the book sale to ordering banners and balloons, to making a leadership donation presentation to the vice-presidents' group, Alison does it all," wrote one of many nominators commending her for the humanitarian staff achievement award. "Quite simply, without Alison, the campaign would not happen each year."

Watt says the campaign not only raises much-needed money for the United Way, but also helps to build community among SFU employees. Last year, she notes, there were 150 volunteers.

While Watt joined SFU 30 years ago as an assistant to the associate VP-academic, it was a brief two-year hiatus in Ottawa, where she worked for a non-profit immigrant aid society, that inspired her interest in supporting the United Way on her return to SFU in 1990.

Her interest in helping others, however, doesn't stop there. She also helps to sponsor and resettle refugees from war-torn countries like Vietnam, Somalia, Sierra Leone and the former Yugoslavia. A former chair of her church's refugee resettlement sponsorship committee, Watt has coordinated the finding and furnishing of homes but is also personally involved with visiting and befriending new refugees and helping to familiarize them with local customs and activities that include banking, shopping, and schooling.

"It has been a life-changing experience," says Watt. "They open your eyes to the situations that are happening abroad and they bring a different perspective to our lives here. We are much the richer for it."

Employment/student services

Registration secretary for field programs in the Faculty of Education, Linda Baillie ensures that all students are treated ethically and with professional consideration.

Linda Baillie
Jean Trask

Lifetime achievement

Jean Trask has spent 38 years at Simon Fraser University. For the past 22 years she has helped to steward the University/Industry Liaison Office, where she is the associate director.

Personal achievement

Carol Thorbes has done much to educate the public about breast cancer, even as she battles this disease herself. Thorbes is an information officer in the public affairs and media relations office.

Carol Thorbes
Mike Jones

Recreation & athletics

Mike Jones has served as SFU's wrestling coach for 31 years, culminating in a fourth straight national championship for SFU women's wrestlers in the Canadian Interuniveristy Sport league in 2006.


Work Performance

For more than 30 years, Laurie Klak's zeal and dedication to the department of kinesiology, where she is undergraduate secretary, has made a difference in the lives of her colleagues and students.

Laurie Klak
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