Order of B.C. recipients have SFU ties

June 14, 2007

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By Carol Thorbes

Two women with long-standing SFU connections and careers tackling issues of social relevance are among the 2007 recipients of the Order of British Columbia.

Professor emerita Gloria Gutman and Down Syndrome activist Josephine Mills have been awarded the province’s highest honour for outstanding achievement. They will be among 14 people being invested to the Order during a ceremony at Government House in Victoria on June 14.

Gutman developed SFU’s department of gerontology and Gerontology Research Centre and directed both for more than 20 years. Her work as a professor and researcher put SFU on the academic gerontology map internationally.

Mills, the founding chair of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society and Down Syndrome International, also founded the Down Syndrome Research Foundation (DSRF), which first resided in a small office in SFU’s School of Kinesiology.

Gutman, the author/editor of 20 books and more than 200 scholarly articles, reports and conference papers, has served on a number of federal-provincial task forces investigating issues facing the aging and aged. She served as president of the International Association of Gerontology from 2001–05.

She is currently director of the Dr. Tong Louie Living Laboratory and a co-leader of the BC Network for Aging Research.

Mills, who is a consultant to the DSRF and president of Down Syndrome International, recognized the importance of championing Down Syndrome research during her 25 years as a health professional and administrator. Her advocacy work has helped build Down Syndrome support groups and information resources. Plans for the DSRF grew out of Mills’ close working relationship with SFU researchers in the Faculty of Applied Sciences and the School of Kinesiology.

The DSRF, a world first, is becoming a mecca for scientists, pediatricians and families around the globe and is putting SFU at the forefront of Down Syndrome research, teaching and service.

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