10 alumni stories that made our community proud in 2021
It was a busy year for Dalhousie alumni across Canada and around the world! Despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, you inspired us time and again. You advocated for refugees and inclusion, cared for patients on the front lines of the pandemic, generously paid it forward, wrote books, and increased access to education and mental health care – among so many other things. Here, we look back at some highlights we were proud to showcase this past year, as we look ahead with anticipation to stories we’ll share in 2022.
- The Dalhousie Medical Alumni Association honoured nine outstanding alumni at the 2021 DMAA awards. For the first time ever, Alumnus of the Year award was co-presented to four individuals – all of them provincial chief medical officers of health. Clockwise from top left: Dr. Janice Fitzgerald (PGM’96), of Newfoundland & Labrador; Dr. Jennifer Russell (PGM’01), of New Brunswick; Dr. Heather Morrison (MD’99), of Prince Edward Island; and Dr. Bonnie Henry (MD’90), of British Columbia shared the honour.
- When Frank Milne (BSc’56, BEd’57) discovered several of his former students were planning a party to honour his retirement from teaching in 1990, he made a counterproposal that they instead start a scholarship to have more of an impact. Milne’s passion for education and commitment to his community became the cornerstones of the Frank E. Milne Scholarship — a scholarship that’s been encouraging academic excellence now for three decades.
- In African Heritage Month, Jason (JJ) Wilson (BA’17, BSW’20), explained the importance of setting Black youth up for success by addressing institutional inequalities within the education system and making mental health services more accessible.
- With the 2021 release of her memoir, Beyond the Legal Limit, about surviving a head-on collision with a drunk driver and her determination to rebuild a meaningful life, actor and singer Pat Henman (BA’81) rediscovered her voice and added to her list of artistic accomplishments.
- The Bertha Wilson Honour Society inducted 10 extraordinary Schulich Law alumni in 2021, showcasing their geographic reach and contributions to law and society.
- Dr. Brent Young’s (MD’19) passion for health advocacy, matched by his commitment to improving access to quality care that’s culturally appropriate and safe for Indigenous people, aligned serendipitously with 2021’s World Health Day theme.
- Dalhousie celebrated 2021 Aurum Award winners, who were honoured for their work advocating for refugees (Lee Cohen, LLB’80), supporting farmers in Kenya (Teresa Mellish, DipAgr’66), raising funds for refugees (Ayat El-Dewary, BA’04), breaking down barriers to education (Dr. Irving Fish, MD’64), and feeding community members (Doug Townsend, BComm’04).
- His love for Dalhousie and Canada inspired Egyptian-Canadian Mr. Michel-Charles Tadros (MA’71, BEd’71, MPA’75), a career public servant who arrived in Canada with only $5 in his pocket, to leave a legacy gift for international and domestic students.
- Claire Elizabeth Williams (MPlan’08), was named a 2021 Top 25 Women of Influence. She is co-founder and CEO of Foundations for Social Change, where she launched the New Leaf Project in 2018, North America’s first direct giving project with people experiencing homelessness.
- Respiratory therapist Melissa Miller (DHS’17) and nurse Pauline Surkan (BScN’17), who is a member of a COVID response team, share what 2021 was like for them in a video about caring for patients on the front lines of a pandemic.
Thank you to all the Dal alumni who generously who reached out or responded to our requests for interviews this year so we could celebrate you this year through feature stories. If you have news to tell in 2022, please submit a Class Note so we may follow-up.