UBC alumni are capable of amazing things. On November 15, 2018, at the alumni UBC Achievement Awards, we honoured eight inspiring members of the UBC community who, through their extraordinary endeavours, have taken the lead on important issues to create positive social change. This spectacular, black tie gala was hosted by Lien Yeung, MJ’15.
Nearly $1.1 million was raised in support of the Blue & Gold Campaign for Students.
Charles E. Fipke, BSc’73 – Alumni Award of Distinction
Dr. Fipke is an internationally respected geologist who founded Canada’s first commercial diamond mine, establishing the country as a major producer of high-quality stones and creating thousands of jobs. His work has transformed the exploration and discovery of diamond mines around the world. A successful industrialist, philanthropist, and volunteer, his generosity has benefited Alzheimer’s research, the protection of wild animals, and UBC’s Okanagan campus in his hometown of Kelowna.
Kathryn Shoemaker, MA’06, PhD’14 – Faculty Community Service Award
A scholar, teacher, volunteer, writer and award-winning illustrator, Dr. Shoemaker is an influential advocate for reading and excellence in children’s literature who is dedicated to the development, dissemination, and promotion of high-quality books. She has illustrated 40 children’s books, authored four books aimed at teachers, and produced an extraordinary collection of teaching and learning materials.
Nemkumar Banthia, PhD’87 – Global Citizenship Award
Dr. Banthia is a world-class researcher in the field of advanced building materials who is dedicated to improving the lives of people in marginalized communities through innovative solutions to improve infrastructure. He is the CEO and scientific director of the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS).
Charles Laszlo, CM, OBC – Honorary Alumni Award
A professor emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UBC, Dr. Laszlo is a pioneer of biomedical engineering in Canada who has made remarkable contributions to the field as an educator, researcher and inventor. Hard of hearing since his twenties, he has taken on several volunteer leadership roles to enhance accessibility and inclusiveness for those with hearing loss and co-founded numerous companies specializing in the development of electronic hearing aids. Dr. Laszlo led the creation of the Faculty of Applied Science’s Biomedical Engineering program.
Dale Parker – Honorary Alumni Award
UBC is a fortunate beneficiary of Mr. Parker’s vast experience in corporate governance and finance. His many contributions have included leadership of the university’s Investment Management Trust, which manages several key UBC funds valued at over $3.5 billion, and of the UBC Foundation, which encourages financial support. He is also active in the wider community, serving several health-related organizations.
James McEwen, OC, BASc’71, PhD’75, DSc’11 – Research and Innovation Award
Known as the grandfather of the biomedical engineering industry in BC, Dr. McEwen invented the world’s first microprocessor-controlled automatic surgical tourniquet system, which improved the precision, speed and safety of surgery and is now the standard of care worldwide. He has founded several medical technology companies and established the Medical Device Development Centre — an incubator for many more.
Gerry Burch, BASc’48 – Volunteer Leadership Award
Mr. Burch is a highly regarded forester who leads by example to support his community, his profession, and his alma mater. Active as a student leader in the 40s, he has maintained strong ties to UBC Forestry — establishing scholarships, leading fundraising efforts, and sharing his wealth of knowledge. He has also been a key volunteer for several professional organizations.
Kahlil Baker, MSc’12, PhD’17 – Young Alumni Award
Dr. Baker is the co-founder of Taking Root, a nonprofit organization that promotes reforestation in Nicaragua to fight both climate change and poverty. Taking Root is discouraging the practice of clearing land to grow crops by creating economic incentive (carbon credits and the sale of sustainable wood products) to grow trees, resulting in the reforestation of thousands of acres.