Meet Our Finest

UBC’s global alumni community includes thousands of accomplished people whose collective contributions are making the world a better place. Some stars, however, rise higher, shine brighter and earn the admiration of all around them.

We’re pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012 Alumni Achievement Awards. From groundbreaking medical research to far-reaching social advocacy efforts, this year’s award recipients have impacted the lives of those around them through their leadership, discovery and commitment to improving our world.

Find out who they are now and help us honour them on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at the Four Seasons in Vancouver. View event Details here


Alumni Award of Distinction

Douglas Mitchell, CM, AOE, QC, LLB’62

Mr. Mitchell is a distinguished lawyer, committed volunteer and thoughtful philanthropist who has helped many community organizations, but outstanding among these efforts is his long-time support of amateur sport in Canada, and university athletes in particular.

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Memory Elvin-Lewis, BA’52, PhD, DSc’12

Memory Elvin-Lewis is a microbiologist and ethnobotanist based at Washington University. She has enjoyed a multifaceted career but is best known for her research into the traditional plant-based medical and dental practices of indigenous peoples.

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Honorary Alumnus Award

Garry E. Merkel

Mr. Merkel has worked closely with UBC’s Faculty of Forestry and First Nations House of Learning to engage the Aboriginal community and increase its presence and influence in both university and industry settings. He has led efforts to attract Aboriginal students and counsel and improve the forest sector’s ability to work effectively with Aboriginal communities.

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Outstanding Young Alumnus

Julia Fan Li, BCom’06

Julia Fan Li is a social entrepreneur with a passion for innovative financing for global health and equal access to medicines for all. Using business as a tool to empower people and improve their quality of life, she is driving responsible and purposeful investment for a fairer world.

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Nolan Watson, BCom’01

Mr. Watson is a highly successful entrepreneur in the mining industry known for his philanthropy and humanitarian efforts in Africa. His accomplishments in the 11 years since he graduated from UBC with a degree in commerce dwarf those of far more established professionals.

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Outstanding Future Alumnus Award

Alia Dharamsi, BSc’10, (MD’14)

Ms Dharamsi is an outstanding medical student with clear leadership qualities who is committed to empowering and enhancing the quality of life for vulnerable and marginalized populations. She is especially passionate about the many social issues affecting health in Canada and abroad.

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Blythe Eagles Volunteer Leadership Award

The Hon. Alfred Scow, CM, OBC, LLB’61, LLD’97

Mr. Alfred Scow was born at a time when Aboriginals were prohibited from entering the legal profession, but went on to become the first Aboriginal person to graduate from a BC Law School and the first Aboriginal lawyer in BC to be called to the Bar. In 1971, he became a Provincial Court judge and served BC in this capacity until 1992. His accomplishments have broken down many barriers and his life has been an inspiration for others to reach their full potential.

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Paul Mitchell, QC, BCom’78, LLB’79

Born and raised in Kelowna, Paul Mitchell has played an integral part in his hometown’s remarkable growth over the last few decades. He is a tireless community volunteer and leader whose strategic initiatives and involvement in dozens of socially-oriented organizations have helped to create a vibrant and connected city.

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Outstanding Faculty Community Service Award

Peter Nemetz, BA’66, PhD

Professor of commerce Peter Nemetz has helped connect the university to the wider community through his 25 year commitment to the highly respected Vancouver Institute lecture series. This century-old tradition is free to the public and attracts hundreds of people weekly in the spring and fall semesters, largely because of Dr. Nemetz’ dedication to its programming, publicity, and administration.

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Global Citizenship Award

Haile Debas, MD, DSc’01

Dr. Haile Debas is internationally recognized for his contributions to academic medicine and global health. A gastrointestinal surgeon by training, he is a forward thinker and natural diplomat who has raised standards for medical education, advanced interdisciplinary research, and established extensive partnership networks to build healthcare capacity worldwide.

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