Leaders stand out. They push boundaries. And they remind us that we can too. Meet the recipients of the 2016 University of Manitoba Distinguished Alumni Awards, recognized for the impact they’ve made in their professional and personal lives—from finding a way to successfully treat Ebola on the other side of the world to creating a legacy of kindness that inspires young people in Winnipeg’s inner city.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENTEdward Lyons, OC [BSc/63, BSc(Med)/68, MD/68]
Doctor. Renowned researcher. Visionary.
Every hour, expectant parents around the world are reassured of the health of their unborn child thanks to one of today’s most common diagnostic tools—the ultrasound— and one of its earliest pioneers, U of M’s Dr. Edward Lyons. His groundbreaking research helped establish ultrasound as safe for fetuses and mothers, and his findings influenced hospitals across the globe to adopt the technology. For years he worked with manufacturers to enhance ultrasound and evolve it from a machine the size of a refrigerator to a device no larger than a cellphone—portable enough to reach remote locations. (See page 37 for his thoughts about U of M-borne technology.) “People open doors but not everyone walks through. I chose to explore the opportunities that were available to me.”
PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTEmmie Leung [BComm(Hons)/76]
Entrepreneur. Industry leader. Pioneer.
With her University of Manitoba commerce degree, Emmie Leung started a one-woman recycling operation and grew it into a $100 million family of companies that has shaped how we protect the planet for future generations. (See page 18, where Leung weighs in on the plight for women’s rights.) “The constantly trying to find answers—it’s in me.”
COMMUNITY SERVICEKaren Beaudin, OM [BA/92, BSW/11]
Métis Leader. Advocate. Defender.
Karen Beaudin has dedicated both her professional and volunteer life to helping the city’s most vulnerable. With degrees in arts and social work, she supports downtown and Elmwood neighbourhoods as a community resource coordinator for the City of Winnipeg. And as a proud Métis woman, she champions Indigenous youth, believing in their shared right to opportunity. (See page 33 for Beaudin’s thoughts on Indigenous curriculum.) “I work with the positive and try to get the negative out of my sight.”
SERVICE TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBAThe Hong Kong Alumni Association
Community builders. Volunteers. Mentors.
To its members, the Hong Kong Alumni Association feel like an extension of their family. For more than three decades they’ve fostered meaningful, long-lasting connections to the U of M among graduates in Hong Kong—home to one of the largest alumni populations outside of North America. (See page 29, where Association president Rita Mui Goodridge talks about the international student experience.) “The university shaped us into what we are today.” — Goodridge [BComm(Hons)/82]
OUTSTANDING YOUNG ALUMNIDiana Nicholson [BSc(BioE)/06]
Engineer. Global partner. Innovator.
Engineer Diana Nicholson says she goes where she’s needed most. So far, that’s been to turbulent refugee camps in Chad, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, and to the frontlines of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. A water sanitation specialist with Doctors Without Borders, she finds ways to bring clean water and safer medical care to communities in developing countries, navigating civil war and epidemics.
OUTSTANDING YOUNG ALUMNIGary Wong [PhD/14]
Scientist. Disease fighter. Trailblazer.
It’s not easy working in a hazmat suit in a Containment Level 4 laboratory. You get tired. You get dehydrated. And then there’s the small matter of working with the world’s most dangerous viruses. But Gary Wong wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s driven by a desire to make a difference. Like the day he witnessed Ebola-infected monkeys— normally a death sentence—suddenly improve within hours of treatment. Wong was part of the team that not only discovered a cure for Ebola but was able to implement the treatment in Africa in 2014.