News Release

REF NO.: 88

SUBJECT: Announcing the 2018 Alumni Tribute Award recipients

DATE: August 28, 2018

Serial entrepreneur. Education advocate. Aspiring astronaut. Lifelong leader.

Memorial University today officially announced the recipients of its 37th annual Alumni Tribute Awards, recognizing alumni who have achieved distinction in their chosen fields, are committed to their alma mater and have made outstanding contributions to their communities.

The 2018 recipients are Paul Antle, B.Sc.’85, Fred Cahill, B.Eng.’80, Bethany Downer, B.Sc.’16 and Sharron Callahan, BA’68.

This year, nominations were accepted from Jan. 30 until April 13, 2018, following a public call for submissions. Nominations were reviewed by an independent panel of Memorial alumni who comprise the Tribute Awards Selection Committee. The review process began with a two-week period for panel members to review the nomination packages, followed by a selection meeting where individual members gathered to share their top three candidates per award category. These short-listed candidates were scored once again by the entire group, and a top candidate was decided upon in each category to receive the award. The committee’s recommendations were submitted to Memorial on June 29.

“Each year our committee has the enjoyable, yet difficult, task of selecting four individuals from an extraordinary group of nominees,” said Bob Dowden, chair, Alumni Tribute Awards Selection Committee. “The 2018 recipients are all highly accomplished graduates who have put their Memorial University degrees to good use in their communities, province and around the world.”

Paul Antle, B.Sc.’85, is the recipient of the 2018 Alumnus of the Year Award. Since starting SCC Environmental Group in his mother’s basement in 1988, he has emerged as a pioneer of environmental technology in Newfoundland and Labrador. He has received many accolades during his career and is known worldwide for his expertise. Mr. Antle was a member of the Prime Minister’s National Round Table on the Environment and Economy for five years and was one of Canada’s representatives at the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. He is currently the president and CEO of Pluto Investments Inc., generating significant economic activity across the province. He promotes entrepreneurship through scholarships and the province’s angel investor network, which he co-founded, and still manages to find time to volunteer with several community groups.

Fred Cahill, B.Eng.’80, is this year’s recipient of the J.D. Eaton Award, which recognizes outstanding volunteer contributions to Memorial University. President of the Cahill Group since 1989, Mr. Cahill has grown the organization into one of the largest multidisciplinary construction and fabrication companies in Atlantic Canada. He contributes significantly to Memorial as chair of the board of directors of the Genesis Centre, as a member of the Board of Regents and as an honorary board member of the annual Affinity NL Calgary event. Mr. Cahill is invaluable to the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science as chair of the Engineering and Applied Science Advisory Council. He initiated the creation of the Cahill Engineering One Help Centre, a program that has reduced attrition, strengthened Memorial’s engineering programs and better prepared new engineers to enter the work force in Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond.

Bethany Downer, B.Sc.’16, is this year’s Horizon Award recipient, a recognition of exceptional achievement by a Memorial graduate 35 years of age or younger. Ms. Downer has made outstanding contributions in the areas of space studies and sustainability. One of a select group who has completed a master of science in space studies from International Space University, she is currently working in the European space sector and has founded Reaching Space Science, an online science and technology communication platform. In September 2018 she will be the first person from Newfoundland and Labrador to attend astronaut training with Project PoSSUM in Florida. Ms. Downer is also the founder of One Step Shoe Recycling, and through that organization she has redistributed more than 15,000 shoes worldwide and diverted 16,000 pounds of waste from Canadian landfills. For her work in the area of environmental protection and sustainability, she has received multiple accolades at the provincial and national level.

Sharron Callahan, BA’68, is the recipient of the Community Service Award for 2018. Ms. Callahan has been a social worker for 35 years in the area of youth advocacy – a professional focus that has run parallel with an incredible volunteer career. Ms. Callahan is widely known for her involvement with the Girl Guides of Canada, where she progressed to the role of Canada’s 19th chief commissioner and then to international commissioner. Not limited to helping the youth of Newfoundland and Labrador, she is also the president of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, chair of the Seniors & Pensioners Coalition, a member of the Seniors Advisory Committee for St. John’s and past president of the N.L. Public Sector Pensioners Association. For her volunteer work, Ms. Callahan was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, the St. John’s Senior of the Year Award in 2013 and the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers in 2018.

“I offer each one of these admirable recipients my heartfelt congratulations,” said Mr. Dowden. “I look forward to celebrating them and their incredible accomplishments at the awards ceremony in October.”

The 37th annual Alumni Tribute Awards ceremony will take place Thursday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m. at Memorial’s Signal Hill Campus in St. John’s.

Tickets (individuals and tables) can be purchased online. For additional inquiries, please contact the Office of Alumni Engagement at 709-864-4354, toll free at 1-877-700-4081 or email rsvpalumni@mun.ca.

- 30 -