Celebration of Excellence - 2010

Celebration of Excellence, on February 9, 2010, marked the 4th year that the Faculty of Science held a special reception recognizing the achievements of support staff, students and faculty members. With Mark Whitmore, Dean, on sabbatical leave, it was my privilege, as Acting Dean, to serve as host for the occasion. We had many special guests attending, including Joanne Kesleman, Vice-President (Academic) and Provost, who brought her greetings and congratulations to the Faculty. The luncheon in Marshall McLuhen Hall was made all the more enjoyable by the music of the Calosoma String Quartet, with Arlene Dahl on cello, Merrily Peters on Viola, and Barb Gilroy and Liz Dyer on violins.

In 2009, there were many success stories, but, it was also a year of challenges. Undoubtedly, the most dramatic event of the past year was the March 28th fire in the Duff Roblin building. It is a tribute to our Faculty that despite the inevitable setbacks, the work of our students, support staff and faculty members continues. Furthermore, as evidenced by the lengthy list of honorees, our Faculty not only survived but marked the year though a host of outstanding achievements.

The list of those recognized at this year's event can be found in the 2010 program, but I would like to take the opportunity to highlight some of our honourees.

Ken Standing, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded the 2009 Sir John William Dawson Medal, by the Royal Society of Canada and was also an Honourary degree recipient at the May 2009 UM convocation. Spencer Sealy, Biological Sciences, was the 2009 winner of the Jamie Smith Memorial Mentoring Award in Ornithology, and Abba Gumel, Mathematics, was the 2009 winner of the Dr. Lindsay E. Nicolle Award. Gumel also received the University of Manitoba Merit Award for Research Excellence, and was appointed a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, all in 2009. Shelley Page, Physics and Astronomy, was named a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Some of our noted research awards and developments include: Richard Sparling, Microbiology, and David Levin, Biosystems Engineering, as co-leaders in a $10.4 million international collaboration looking for new ways to convert waste materials (like wood chips and straw) into fuels (biofuels) and other products, and Jeffrey Marcus, Biological Sciences, who, in the area of Phylogenomics, is the newest addition to the Faculty's Canada Research Chairs, which now number eight.

Our support staff, many of whom toil tirelessly behind the scenes, were recognized with University of Manitoba Awards of Excellence. Gerri Acorn, Computer Science, received the Service Award of Excellence, and the Staff of the Dean's Office received the Team Award of Excellence.

As a Faculty, we have much to be proud of and to celebrate, and I would like to extend my congratulations to all of our students, support staff and faculty members that we recognized in our 2010 Celebration.

Roy Roshko
Acting Dean
February 2010