The award-winning One World Alumni Awards presented by TD Insurance are designed to align with the strategic priorities of Saint Mary’s University. Students and alumni of Saint Mary’s are making meaningful impact in their communities, be it on campus or all over the world, which speaks to our strategic priority of value and values, emphasizing the Santamarian values of student leadership, social responsibility, and cultural diversity.
The intentional reinvigoration of our Latin motto, Age Quod Agis, meaning “do what you do” has become a call to action to our entire Santamarian community. The One World Alumni Awards strive to recognize these efforts.
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Applications close on February 28, 2020.
Proudly presented by TD Insurance Meloche Monnex
2019 Charity Award
Charity finalists for 2019: Easter Seals Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia Gambia Association. Press the play arrow below to watch the two nominee videos.
2019 Student Society Award
2019 Student Society finalists: Enactus Saint Mary's and World University Services Canada (WUSC) Saint Mary's. Press the play arrow below to watch the two nominee videos.
The One World Alumni Awards Gala is also when the annual alumni awards are presented for Alumni Volunteer of the Year, Young Alumni of the Year, Associate Alumni of the Year, and Distinguished Community Service.
Distinguished Community Service
Karen Oldfield, QC BA'82
Karen Oldfield has dedicated much of her time and talent to Saint Mary’s University, serving 18 years on the Board Governors, and the past three years as Board Chair.
For Karen, the decision to attend Saint Mary’s was an easy one. Her father Patrick attended the University, graduating in 1960. She received a great scholarship and valued the small class sizes that Saint Mary’s had to offer. On campus, she was involved with the Poli Sci Society, Intramurals, and attended many Huskies games. The basketball and football teams were particularly excellent during these years, and she had a great sense of pride in SMU. She spent many weekends on campus with friends. Friday nights were Disco Nights in the cafeteria and Smoker nights, followed by the Saturday Night Bash.
She credits professors Ed McBride and Ron Landry for their positive impact on her path to law school, and her approach to current events and policy. She remembers some well-known SMU administrators of the time, Elizabeth Chard, Father Stewart, and Father Hennessy.
After graduating in 1982 with a double major in Political Science and History, Karen went on to earn a Law degree. She worked at McInnes Cooper, and then with Premier John Hamm as Chief of Staff before joining the Halifax Port Authority as President & CEO in 2002. Throughout her career with the Port, she’s seen many achievements, including implementing a strategy which has seen a significant growth in cargo trade with Asia, strengthening that global relationship. The substantial growth of the Halifax Seaport as a community cultural hub and tourist centre is another highlight. In recent years, the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market has partnered with SMU’s David Sobey Centre to establish a Retail Imagination Lab to test innovations in a live store environment, staffed by students.
Aside from her role at Saint Mary’s, Karen is involved with a number of organizations including the Conference Board of Canada and the Halifax Gateway Council Board of Directors. She recently served as the President of the International Women’s Forum of Canada, and was a member of the Advisory Council on National Security, which provided advice through the National Advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada. Upon reflecting on her many personal and career achievements, Karen says “I have had the good fortune of working with the best people. The support of close friends and family is very important to me.”
Paul Lynch Alumni Volunteer of the Year
Karen Ross BComm'77
Karen Ross is a familiar face to many at Saint Mary’s, having dedicated nine years to the Alumni Council, and 3 years to the Board of Governors. She has strong family ties to the University, and is a proud ambassador of SMU in Halifax.
Karen attended Saint Mary’s for the renowned Commerce program and earned her Bachelor of Commerce in 1977. When she started as a student, there were 5 men to every 1 woman in the program. Throughout her years of involvement at SMU, she’s been happy to see that ratio even out to nearly 50/50. As a student, she was highly involved in activities as President of the Commerce Society, Student Rep on Faculty Council, Chair of the SMU Business Dinner, and Co-President of SMU Senior Class. She received the Silver M for her dedication to student life.
She remembers her professors at the time as approachable and supportive, often going above and beyond to help and mentor their students. One such memory was a professor offering to drive Commerce Society members to a meeting at Mount Allison University.
After graduating, Karen held two successful careers as Atlantic Regional Manager for a Division of Standard Broadcasting and then as a Realtor before retiring. Aside from her years spent with Alumni Council and the Board of Governors, Karen is involved with numerous organizations such as the Quest Society - a society for Adult Support and Rehabilitations, Basketball Nova Scotia, FIBA Tournament of the America’s, CIBC Run for the Cure, and Natal Day Committees. Now that her time on Alumni Council is winding down, she has no plans to slow down her community involvement. She is an avid volunteer and looks forward to helping newcomers as an English teaching volunteer, and continuing to help with the Alumni Community Volunteer initiative.
Throughout her lifetime, Saint Mary’s has been a constant. It’s where she met her husband Peter Ross BComm’76 MBA’88. Her son Mark graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in 2008, and is Assistant Coach to the women’s basketball team. The family can often be found together cheering for the Huskies at the Homburg Centre. When asked why Saint Mary’s is so important to her, Karen states, “SMU is simply a part of my life. I believe in what the University stands for. I am proud of our diversity and the amazing things students are accomplishing in today’s world.”
Paul Lynch Alumni Volunteer of the Year
Joann Boulos-Callias BA'82 BEd'83 MEd'89
Joann was born and raised in Antigua and was introduced to Saint Mary’s University through the Christian Brothers who ran the Catholic school that she attended. The Brothers had contacts at Saint Mary’s, and her brother attended Saint Mary’s for his Diploma in Engineering.
She graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in French and minoring in English, and returned the following year to earn her Bachelor of Education. After teaching for 5 years in Antigua, she returned to SMU to earn her Masters of Education in 1989.
Joann has fond memories of campus life, including proudly sharing her Caribbean heritage with her fellow students by organizing Caribanza events with friends and serving authentic Caribbean dishes to 500 residence students. She was part of the Caribbean Society, Residence Society, Chaplaincy, and was an RA and Don in Residence. She saw her first snow fall when her friends in Vanier bundled her up and took her outside to make her first snowball. With football games, travelling across the Maritimes with friends, and meeting people from all over the world, she had many happy memories of her time at SMU.
Her memories of her time at Saint Mary’s include Keith Hotchkiss, Dean of Residence during her years at SMU who later went on to become Senior Director of Student Services, who later travelled to Antigua to recruit students and Joanna was happy to assist. Past University President Dr. Colin Dodds also travelled to Antigua to speak at the opening of St. Anthony’s Secondary School. This made Joanne realize that Saint Mary’s cared about the accomplishments of their students and alumni.
After graduating with her MEd, Joann returned to Antigua to teach at Antigua State College before becoming the first female non-religious principal of the Catholic all boys private secondary school. In 2008, Joann achieved a major goal and opened a new school in Antigua, St. Anthony’s Secondary School. The school is home to 300 secondary school students and an A’Level Department of 40 students. The curriculum focuses on academics, music, visual arts and sports. The schools Educational Support Programme works with children with learning difficulties, and the outreach program encourages students to participate in their community through philanthropy.
As an alumna, Joann has been a constant supporter of Saint Mary’s University at home in Antigua. She and her husband Didier have hosted numerous alumni events, and she has advised many students and parents on the opportunities available at Saint Mary’s University. In 2018, she proudly returned to campus to see her daughter Ariel earn her Bachelor of Science.
Young Alumni of the Year
Dr. Henry Annan BSc'14
Henry Annan was born in Halifax and spent his childhood in Accra, Ghana. He chose Saint Mary’s for his Bachelor of Science due to the learning opportunities in a small class, the modern lab facilities, and diverse nature of the SMU community.
As a student, he was involved with the Faculty of Science as member of the SMU Chemistry Society, Co-President of the SMU Biology Society, and research assistant in Dr. Zhongmin Dong's research lab. His research on Rhizobacteria produced his first publication after only a few years of undergraduate study.
In his final year at SMU, he helped organize a panel event entitled "Generation Y: Tomorrow Needs You Today" featuring Dr. Alex Dong, Dr. Jason Clyburne, Sarika Cullis-Suzuki and then-federal MP for Halifax, Megan Leslie. Henry is passionate about empowering youth and helping them find confidence in their skills and abilities. As a physician, he wants show underrepresented youth that they can aspire to a career in a field such as medicine.
After graduating summa cum laude in 2014 with a double major in Biology (Honours) and Chemistry, Henry attended Dalhousie medical school and has become highly involved in the medical community. As a medical student, he was involved with the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, where he advocated for a Universal Pharmacare program and for evidence-based solutions to the national opioids crisis in my capacity as the National Officer of Human Rights and Peace. He later became President of the Federation, doing a lot of work on federal health human resources and indigenous mental wellness. He served on the Board of the Canadian Medical Association for two years as well as on the Health Association of African Canadians. Currently, he serves on the Board of Réseau Santé Nouvelle-Écosse, a provincial organization which seeks to improve access to health services amongst Nova Scotia's francophone communities.
Young Alumni of the Year
Sylvia Gawad BSc'14
Sylvia Gawad attended Saint Mary’s as an International student, originally from Egypt. During her second year of study, her family had to flee Libya due to the outbreak of civil war. Sylvia remained at SMU, determined to complete her studies. She held a number of jobs on campus to support herself, including with Student Services and as a Chemistry Teaching Assistant.
During her time as a student, Sylvia launched Project 360, a non-profit organization with the goal of empowering newcomers through entrepreneurship. Throughout her career, and as a volunteer, Sylvia has dedicated much of her time and knowledge to helping newcomers and refugees in Halifax. Her care, compassion, and diplomacy has touched many. In 2019, Sylvia was named one of Canada’s Top 75 Immigrants by RBC for her work with newcomers.
After completing her Bachelor of Science with a major in Biology in 2014, she attended McMaster University to earn a Masters in Global Health and Development. Now back in Halifax, Sylvia is working with Placemaking 4 G, a recruiting agency that connects Atlantic Canadian businesses with local talent through pipeline development and providing career experiences for students.
Not only is Sylvia an important figure in our local community, she continues to give back to Saint Mary’s as a volunteer with our Alumni Council and Young Alumni Committee. She contributes to committees and represents SMU Alumni at a number of community and student events each year.
Associate Alumni of the Year
Glen & Nancy Holmes
Local entrepreneurs Glen and Nancy Holmes, owners of the retail stores Pseudio, Samuel & Co. and Envy Clothing Company, are passionate advocates for Halifax and Nova Scotia. Raising four sons and building a successful national business in their hometown of Halifax, Glen and Nancy are active supporters of sports and community engagement.
Throughout the years of operating multiple successful businesses, the pair raised four sons, two of whom, Sam and Jacob attend Saint Mary’s University. As residents of Halifax, their sons grew up attending SMU Huskies games and Huskies sport camps.
Glen attended Dalhousie University where he earned his Bachelor of Science and Commerce, as well as an MBA. Nancy attended Saint Mary’s before leaving to pursue a position with RBC. In 1985, Glen established Pseudio, a popular clothing store which has grown into a national operations with 29 locations and hundreds of employees across Canada. It would be the first pursuit in the clothing industry for the family. In 1996, Nancy established Samuel & Co., and in 1999 established Envy Clothing Company. Prior to entering the retail sector, Glen also owned and operated the popular Halifax pub Your Father’s Moustache for a number of years.
As entrepreneurs and partners, they are a formidable team. Deeply committed to their employees and customers, Glen and Nancy are tireless in their efforts to build an innovative Halifax-headquartered national business.
Over the years they have become vocal champions and active members of the Saint Mary’s community, attending events and always available to provide advice and support.
Motivated by a desire to give back to Halifax, invest in Saint Mary’s University and promote athletic and recreation activities for people of all ages, Glen and Nancy made a generous philanthropic gift of $2 million to support the construction of the Dauphinee Centre.
Their contributions have allowed for the Dauphinee Centre arena to be outfitted with a warming room overlooking the ice surface, named the Barbara Holmes Gathering Centre, named for Glen’s mother. The Pseudio Link attaches the Dauphinee Centre to the Homburg Centre, connecting our key campus athletics and recreation facilities and allowing ease of access for athletes and fans. The Holmes Family Varsity Suite is comprised of incredible dressing rooms and spaces for our men’s and women’s varsity hockey teams – spaces that we can confidently rival the best junior hockey programs in the country.
For Glen and Nancy, their gift to Saint Mary’s is also a gift to Halifax. They strongly believe in the value for Saint Mary’s athletes, students, and fans to experience sports on campus in an updated facility. They are also strong believers in the importance of giving back to the Halifax community – Haligonians and visitors alike will be able to experience and enjoy both recreational and organized sport in the new arena for generations.
One World Award Past Recipients
The 2019 One World Alumni Awards:
Nova Scotia Gambia Association and Saint Mary's WUSC Society each received a $7,500 Award presented by TD Insurance.
Easter Seals Nova Scotia and Enactus Saint Mary's each received a $2,000 Award presented by TD Insurance and the Saint Mary's University Students' Association (SMUSA).
Nova Scotia Gambia Association
Saint Mary's WUSC Society