Valuing his time

Jun 30th, 2014

By Jackey Locke

Valuing his time

A member of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science has been recognized for his outstanding volunteer service.

The Professional Engineering and Geoscientists of Newfound and Labrador (PEGNL) and the Tetra Society of North America have honoured Dr. Leonard Lye, associate dean, graduate studies, in the faculty.

Dr. Lye is the 2014 recipient of PEGNL’s Community Service Award for his outstanding service and dedication to society through voluntary participation in community organizations, government-sponsored activities or humanitarian work.

He received the Tetra Society of North America’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his significant contribution to the success of the Tetra program. The society helps people with disabilities to live independent and fulfilling lives through the creation of devices that help overcome a barrier in the physical environment.

“No one demonstrates the fabric and form of Tetra more than Leonard Lye,” said Pat Tweedie, Tetra Society of North America. “His contributions to Tetra reach far beyond the years and numbers required for the award. For many years, he has run the St. John’s Tetra chapter from Memorial University involving engineering students and faculty in creating devices for people with disabilities – a highly innovative and successful program. His work formed the basis for Tetra’s successful relationships with universities and colleges across Canada and the U.S. and we see this model as a way of providing sustainability to the society through the continuation and growth of these relationships. Even with a list of immeasurable achievements, Leonard has remained incredibly humble. A kind, sincere and supportive gentleman, one of Tetra’s most valuable assets and to me the personification of a Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Dr. Lye started volunteering when he was 14 years old.

“I looked into housing conditions and wrote a report for my church group,” he said. “I looked for ways that our church could help a family in need.”

Forty years later, his volunteer work has become a part of who he is. While people have all sorts of reasons for volunteering, for Dr. Lye it’s about doing what needs to be done, as a citizen and as an engineer.

“I feel good, of course, that what I have done means something to some people,” he said. “But I don’t do it for the recognition. Some things just have to be done. Seeing the happy faces on people after solving their seemingly challenging problems is good enough. I really enjoy solving some of these problems. But, for Tetra Society, it means more because the society relies on donations and grants, so sharing what we do is important from that point of view.”


In 1990 Dr. Lye, together with his wife, Brenda, founded the local branch of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Canada, a charitable and non-profit organization. In 1996 he founded the local chapter of the Tetra Society of North America after reading about the society in an article in Maclean’s magazine. In 2003 Dr. Lye became involved in the Shad Valley program – a four-week summer enrichment program that caters to high school students who have a keen interest in science, technology, engineering and math, also known as the STEM subjects – since its inception at Memorial University in 2003 and took over the program in 2007.

For more information on the Tetra Society of North America, please go to For more information on PEGNL, please go to



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