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Alumni all-stars

Memorial names Alumni Tribute Award winners for 2011

Fred Best, Krista Power, Rhonda Zygocki, and Elizabeth Scammell-Reynolds


By David Penney

Memorial University will honour four exceptional alumni at the 30th annual Alumni Tribute Awards on Oct. 17.

Rhonda Zygocki, a senior executive with Chevron, will receive the Alumna of the Year Award, while Krista Power, a research scientist and professor, will accept the Horizon Award for exceptional achievement under the age of 35. Fred Best is the long-serving mayor of Clarenville and he will receive the Outstanding Community Service Award. Elizabeth Scammell-Reynolds will accept the J. D. Eaton Award for exceptional leadership and outstanding service to Memorial University of Newfoundland.

The awards selection committee is made up of seven members, including Rex Gibbons and chair Brian King.

"This year's group of Tribute Award winners are defined by remarkable talent and accomplishments, as well as incredible contributions both to Memorial and their communities," said Mr. King. "Memorial has been a big part of their lives and they continue to maintain strong ties with our university."

Following graduation from Memorial's bachelor of engineering program in 1980, Ms. Zygocki's career has climbed steadily upward.

She began her career with Chevron supervising oil rigs in central Alberta, and has continued to take on challenging roles of increasing responsibility that have taken her all over the world.

Currently the executive vice-president of policy and planning, Ms. Zygocki holds one of the most senior executive positions with Chevron Corporation's global operations. Her progressive corporate policy initiatives in the areas of strategy and planning, health, environment and safety on behalf of Chevron have been felt worldwide.

Ms. Zygocki is a mentor and leader, contributing to innumerable boards while also giving of her time and expertise to guide young people in the infancy of their careers. Her work extends far beyond the San Francisco Bay Area she currently calls home. She is a dedicated ambassador for Memorial University and a steadfast contributor to the growth of her alma mater.

"Rhonda Zygocki has been a pioneer in a career with Chevron that spans more than 30 years that has taken her around the globe," said Mr. Gibbons. "She continues to do remarkable work as a corporate leader and in her dedication to the greater community. Ms. Zygocki is a very deserving recipient of the Alumna of the Year award."

Krista Power, research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and adjunct professor at the University of Guelph, is this year's Horizon Award recipient. The award recognizes extraordinary achievements of Memorial alumni under the age of 35.

Since completing her undergraduate degree in biochemistry and nutrition at Memorial, Ms. Power has completed a PhD in nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto and postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Turku in Finland and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

Ms. Power is pushing the boundaries of her research on the effects of dietary compounds and extracts on human health and despite a hectic schedule of teaching, research and supervising, she continues to accumulate publications and awards along the way.

"Krista Power has certainly accomplished a lot in a short period of time," said Mr. Gibbons. "On top of her personal achievements, the nature of her research is extremely important for the health and well-being of our communities, and that is commendable."

Fred Best is the recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Community Service Award. A man whose name has become synonymous with the Town of Clarenville, Mr. Best is not only a long serving mayor but also a former teacher and principal.
For 28 years he was an educator, and during that time got involved in municipal politics. For 14 years he wore both hats until his retirement from the Eastern School District in 1990.

Since then he has continued to serve as mayor, a post he has held since 1981. A consummate volunteer and advocate for the town of Clarenville and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Best has served on many boards and volunteered in a variety of capacities over the course of his career.

"Mr. Best has displayed incredible dedication to his community over the course of an impressive career," said Mr. King. "Making a community better for everyone is about work ethic and commitment, and that defines the reputation of Fred Best."

The recipient of the J.D. Eaton Alumni Award, which recognizes an outstanding contribution to Memorial University, is Elizabeth Scammell-Reynolds.

Ms. Scammell-Reynolds has enjoyed a lifelong relationship with Memorial, and it started at the Parade Street campus in 1954. Please see related story on P. 2.
Her career as a student, and later a professor at Memorial are only part of the story.

Ms. Scammell-Reynolds has and continues to set a standard for volunteerism. She is the co-founder, past president and long time committee member of Memorial's alumni association, as well as a two-time elected alumni representative to Memorial's Board of Regents.

A professional art appraiser, Ms. Scammell-Reynolds is the founder and driving force behind the annual alumni art exhibit, an event that is now in its seventh year. She has contributed to innumerable committees, reunions, alumni activities and events over the course of a 57-year relationship with Memorial University.
"Ms. Scammell-Reynolds has led by example, and that is something we can all learn from," said Mr. King. "She has not only envisioned a better university for all of us, but has rolled up her sleeves and made that happen."

The 30th Annual Alumni Tribute Awards will take place on Oct. 17 at Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland in St. John's. To purchase tickets, visit or call the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development at (709) 864-2313.