UBC alumni are capable of amazing things. This November, at the alumni UBC Achievement Awards, we will honour seven inspiring members of the UBC community who, through their extraordinary activities, have connected the university with communities both near and far to create positive change.
Alumni Award of Distinction
Leona Sparrow, BA’73, MA’76, LLB’92
Leona Sparrow is the manager of Treaty, Lands and Resources for the Musqueam Indian Band, on whose traditional territory UBC’s Vancouver campus is located. She has been an invaluable source of advice for the university as it seeks to improve and expand its relations with the Musqueam and other First Nations peoples – advising on the development of First Nations-related community, research, and educational programs.
Volunteer Leadership Award
Randall Findlay, BASc’73
Randall Findlay is a highly successful businessman with four decades of experience in the energy and natural resources sector and a track record of turning good ideas into successful companies. His corporate background, strategic approach, and generosity have been of great benefit to UBC as well as the community at large. Of particular note are his support for UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering, his service on UBC’s campaign cabinets, and his directorship of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Honorary Alumnus Award
Canada’s identity on the Internet was secured 27 years ago by the visionary work of John Demco, who is affectionately known as a godfather of the Canadian Internet. A Computing Facilities manager in UBC’s Department of Computer Science at the time, Demco established the .CA domain name two years before the World Wide Web even emerged. Working with a team of fellow volunteers, he maintained the .CA registry until 2000, when he handed over responsibility to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, a not-for-profit corporation he helped establish in 1998.
Faculty Community Service Award
Kimit Rai, a clinical instructor in UBC’s Department of Surgery, is the president and founder of Operation Rainbow Canada, a non-profit organization that provides free cleft lip and palate surgery to impoverished children and young adults in developing countries. Without surgery, these children could grow up with dental or speech problems, have difficulty eating, and possibly be subject to ostracization. His humanitarian work overseas has transformed the lives of more than 2,000 children and their families, and continues to inspire and provide training for health professionals both at home and in host countries.
Future Alumnus Award
Matt Husain is a PhD candidate studying the Anthropology of Development at UBC Okanagan. He is motivated by a desire to eradicate poverty through the design and delivery of effective poverty relief programs that empower those they are aimed at. Academically he is outstanding, but the respect he attracts from faculty and peers is also due to his initiatives around improving the learning experience and quality of campus life for fellow students, as well as his extensive record of volunteer work.
Young Alumnus Award
Emily MacKinnon, MA’08, JD’12
Emily MacKinnon is an advocate for social justice who volunteers for organizations that empower those living with HIV/AIDS. Her pursuit of a law degree armed her with the skills and tools to have an even greater impact, as reflected in her research interests around the legal aspects of HIV infection and non-disclosure. She was an outstanding student at UBC, receiving the Law Society of British Columbia Gold Medal for highest GPA. Her broad-ranging interests and commitments include opera singing and her membership in the Canadian Forces Communications Reserve.
Global Citizenship Award
Videsh Kapoor, BSc’88, BEd’92, MD’93
Videsh Kapoor directs the UBC Division of Global Health in the Department of Family Practice and is co-founder of the university’s Global Health Initiative. The initiative has enhanced the quality of undergraduate education at UBC by offering skills training to students from a broad range of study areas and providing them with an opportunity to contribute to projects in Uganda, India, Honduras, Kenya, and Canada. Dr. Kapoor provides leadership around the development of UBC curricula relating to global health and is a respected and inspiring advocate for improved health outcomes both at home and abroad.