Outstanding alumni

Jan 23, 2003, vol. 26, no. 2



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Simon Fraser University's outstanding alumni awards celebrate SFU graduates who made exceptional contributions to the communities where they work and live.

Rob Bakshi, Professional Achievement
Ujal Dosanjh, Public Service
Mary Williams, Academic Achievement
Reza Pourvali, Outstanding Student Leadership


Rob Bakshi
Professional achievement, (BBA 1985)
B.C. entrepreneur Rob Bakshi's innovative vision and product designs have moved his company, Silent Witness Inc. of Surrey, to the forefront of the security industry. His video monitoring solutions are sold around the world and his company ranks among the best in the business. In 2002, Silent Witness ranked 25th among T-Net B.C.'s list of Top 100 high tech companies while global consulting firm Watson Wyatt ranked Silent Witness 25th in its best businesses to work for category. Report on Business magazine ranked Silent witness 13th out of the top 50 performing stocks in Canada for the years 1997-2001 while Canadian Business magazine ranked it 68th in best-performing technology companies.

Bakshi gives back to his community, too, providing a scholarship at SFU for fourth year computing science students.

The Alumni Association will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the outstanding alumni awards on Feb. 27. For more information check www.sfu.ca/alumni/events

Ujjal Dosanjh
Public service, (BA honours 1973)
Since obtaining a BA from SFU in 1973, Ujjal Dosanjh has devoted much of his career to the public good and is renowned as a human rights activist and for his commitment to freedom of speech, freedom of expression and harmony and peace within the community.

In 1977, Dosanjh helped set up the first farm workers' legal information service while chairing the Labour Advocacy Research association. He went on to earn a law degree from the University of British Columbia and established a law practice in 1979. Elected to the provincial legislature as a member of the New Democratic Party in 1991, he served as attorney general and minister responsible for multiculturalism, immigration and human rights; minister of government services and minister responsible for multiculturalism, human rights, sports and immigration. In 2000, he served as B.C.'s 33rd premier.

Dosanjh's many other community involvements include South Vancouver Neighbourhood House, MOSAIC, the Vancouver Multicultural Society and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

Recently, he was recognized by the government of India as an eminent Indian abroad.

The Alumni Association will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the outstanding alumni awards on Feb. 27. For more information check www.sfu.ca/alumni/events

Mary Williams
Academic achievement, (PhD 1975)
Mary Williams is a national authority on ice engineering, focusing her research on the forces of ice on ships and offshore structures as well as ice dynamics and the engineering properties of ice. Recently, she was appointed director general of the Institute for Marine Dynamics, which is an international leader in ocean engineering research.

A former professor in engineering and physics at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Williams was among the first five women to hold a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) chair for women in science and engineering. She has done much to promote women's participation in science and engineering: she has chaired a successful conference for women in science; co-authored a handbook for women in science and engineering; developed and facilitated workshops for women interested in the sciences; and acted as a role model and mentor to many young women.

Williams has also served as both a director and as chair at recreational retailer Mountain Equipment Co-Op.

The Alumni Association will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the outstanding alumni awards on Feb. 27. For more information check www.sfu.ca/alumni/events

Reza Pourvali
Outstanding student leadership

Reza Pourvali immigrated to Canada in the spring of 1998 with little English. Today, the third year molecular biology (MBB) and biochemistry student is among SFU's top academic students. Last year, he won the Golden Key International Honour Society's medal for outstanding scholastic achievement and excellence, the Chemical Institute of Canada's first-year prize and a NSERC undergrad research award.

Pourvali, however, has earned more than top marks at SFU. He has earned the respect of fellow students and faculty for his commitment to campus life and his volunteer work in the community. While maintaining his exceptional grades, he also serves as vice-president of the MBB student union, sits as the student representative on a number of SFU senate committees and, off campus, volunteers in a seniors' home as well as at Burnaby hospital. His career goal is to become a physician. His life goal, he says, is to use his medical knowledge and leadership to help mankind through research, health care and innovation.

The Alumni Association will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the outstanding alumni awards on Feb. 27. For more information check www.sfu.ca/alumni/events

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