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REF NO.: 4

SUBJECT: Memorial University’s 2004 Alumni Tribute Award recipients announced

DATE: Sept. 3

For further information, please contact Wade Kearley, development officer communications, Alumni Affairs and Development), Memorial University of Newfoundland, (709) 737-2620 or wkearley@mun.caA prominent and internationally renowned cardiac research specialist, a young and promising producer and television host, a leading educator, an extraordinary community volunteer and a dedicated advocate of Memorial University… these are the five Memorial alumni named by their peers for special recognition at this year’s Alumni Tribute Awards (ATA) which are to be awarded on Oct. 21 in St. John’s.

ATA Chair Dr. Linda Inkpen (B.Sc.’69, B.Ed.’70, B.Med.Sc.’72, M.D.’74), and Alumni Association president Gary Peddle (B.Comm.’82), today announced the 2004 ATA recipients. Expanded by the Alumni Association of Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2002, the awards program enables the more than 52,000 Memorial alumni to recognize five of their peers each year for outstanding successes: A jury of the association selects the recipients from among the alumni nominated. The recipients at this year’s ceremony will include:

Dr. Robert Roberts, (B.Sc.’61), an internationally renowned cardiac research specialist, for Lifetime Achievement, the top honour that alumni can confer on one of their own;

Television personality Krysta Rudofsky (BA’00) for the Horizon Award for lifetime achievement under age 35;

Educator and public servant Dr. Leonard Williams (BA ’66, BA(Ed.)’66), for Outstanding Professional Achievement;

Former Baie Verte mayor William Dixon, (B.Ed.’62, BA ’73), for Outstanding Community Service; and

Kevin Smith(BA ’71, BA(Ed.)’71, M.Ed.’76) and, former director of Memorial’s Office of Alumni Affairs and Development, for the J.D. Eaton Award for volunteer service to the university.

In announcing the awards, Dr. Inkpen said, “After carefully considering the many fine names nominated by alumni, I feel confident that the committee has selected five very deserving and remarkable alumni individuals — any alumni association would be proud to name any one of these five recipients as a leading member of their convocation.”

Alumni Association president Gary Peddle anticipates a very successful awards ceremony on Oct. 21. “Like many other alumni and members of the university and the corporate community, I’m looking forward to meeting with and paying tribute to these recipients,” he said.

The 23rd annual Alumni Tribute Awards Gala promises to as exciting as last year's event. It will be held in the newly renovated R. Gushue Hall and will include live music, multimedia presentations and personal appearances by the presenters and recipients. Tickets will be available through the office of Alumni Affairs and Development in mid-September at a cost of $60 per person. Corporate tables are available and there are a limited number of sponsorship opportunities.

For more information or to reserve tickets contact Alumni Affairs and Development at 737-4354 or toll free 1-877-700-4081, or email

For information on sponsorship opportunities contact Susan Tobin, development officer, alumni outreach at 737-3481 or email her at

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient:

Dr. Robert Roberts (B.Sc.’61)

Dr. Robert Roberts is a world expert on familial cardiac disease. He is one of the founders of molecular cardiology and he developed the world standard test for diagnosing heart attacks. He is one of the world’s 50 most cited authors. He has been named one of America’s Top Ten Doctors for 13 consecutive years. In recognition of the remarkable trail he’s blazed in cardiac research, Memorial’s alumni association has named him 2004 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

From a modest beginning in Grole, Newfoundland, Dr. Roberts has gone on to become an integral player at the leading cardiac research centres in North America. He’s currently president, CEO and chief scientific officer of the Heart Institute in Ottawa.

As the founder of molecular cardiology he’s become a leading contributor to the identification of genes responsible for heart disease. He discovered several genes responsible for inherited diseases that cause heart failure and sudden death. He’s an international expert on inherited cardiac disease.

Dr. Roberts’ international reputation for managing heart disease and heart attacks is well justified. He developed a test for rapid diagnosis of heart attacks in the emergency department. He served as NASA’s lead cardiology consultant on the John Glenn space flight and he has served as cardiologist to the world’s royalty.

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Royal Society of Medicine in London, the European Society of Cardiology and the AmericanCollegeof Physicians all include his name among their most honoured fellowships. Dr. Roberts has received several American awards for his medical and scientific contributions including the Distinguished Scientist Award from the AmericanCollegeof Cardiology.
In addition to his brilliant research, Dr. Roberts leads several national and international bodies. He is chair of the Committee on Molecular Genetics and Bioethics. He has chaired committees for the American Heart Association. And he serves on several international research advisory committees.

Editor of Current Opinions in Cardiology, Dr. Roberts also serves on the editorial boards of most American and international cardiovascular journals. In addition, Dr. Roberts has co-authored and edited several medical textbooks including The Heart, one of the two major textbooks on heart disease in the world. In 2002 he was elected to membership in the elite club of Highly Cited Researchers because of the frequency with which other scientists cite his publications.

2004 Horizon Award Recipient (lifetime achievement under age 35 years):

Krysta Rudofsky (BA ’00)

Even as a young girl Krysta Rudofsky was entertaining anyone who’d listen. Her first love was the arts. Performing with the award-winning Holy Heart of Mary Chamber Choir in Vienna, Austria, community theatre productions, and then on to the highly acclaimed Spirit of Newfoundland productions, she was all the while preparing for a career in television.

Ms. Rudofsky’s insatiable appetite to learn about the world of television encouraged her to dive right in. In 1995 she hosted a one-hour CBC Television special and produced a short documentary for Newsworld. While attending Memorial University, she volunteered for the community channel, producing and hosting several outstanding programs such as the Questar-award-winning Workin’ On It in 2000 and Up at St. John’s Lane, which took the 2001 Rogers Television Impression Award for best Canadian talk show.

In the fall of 2001, Ms. Rudofsky took her place on the “rooftop” when Rogers Television launched its talk show Out of the Fog. An instant hit with viewers, Out of theFog earned a large and loyal audience. The show quickly became part of the local culture, providing a unique primetime platform for local performers and a forum to discuss local issues. Out of the Fog and, in particular, Ms. Rudofsky, have built their reputation by searching for and celebrating local stories of Newfoundlandand Labrador. Shortly after the launch of Out of the Fog Ms. Rudofsky was promoted to senior producer of the program.

A skilled professional with a vibrant personality and a passion for her community and province, Ms Rudofsky is one of the province’s pre-eminent interviewers and has evolved into one of the most influential people in Newfoundlandtelevision. Her wide-ranging interviews extend from political to newsworthy to entertainment; Prime Minister Paul Martin; Premier Danny Williams; David and Kate Bagby; Peter Mansbridge; Rex Murphy; and Nana Mouskouri. Her red carpet interviews at the 2002 Juno Awards marked a turning point in her career. She interviewed Nelly Furtado, Sum 41, Nickleback, GreatBigSea, Amanda Marshall, and other influential music industry representatives.

Ms. Rudofsky has also proven herself on the national stage as a professional bilingual host for such events as Viking 2000 arrival of the Islandingur; Master of Ceremonies for the progressive conservative convention; and host of the Badger Relief Benefit Concert at Mile One Stadium.

Ms. Rudofsky is particularly interested in helping to motivate and inspire young women in this province to success. In 2001, Ms. Rudofsky received the YMCA-YWCA Young Woman of Distinction Award for her community work.

2004 Outstanding Community Service Award Recipient:

William Dixon (B.Ed.’62, BA ’73)

Since the 1960s Bill Dixon has maintained a level of dedication and volunteer service on the BaieVertePeninsulathat few could match. Most community-based organizations in the area from education, to sports, to community service, to economic development have all benefited from Mr. Dixon’s involvement and leadership. And he has also been a leader in municipal politics.

During his tenure as mayor of Baie Verte in the1970s, Advocate Mines, the largest employer in the area, closed. Overnight 700 people were out of work. Mr. Dixon helped set up and served on a task force that successfully re-opened the mines and supported the creation of several new small businesses. During this challenging time as mayor he also served as president of the provincial Federation of Municipalities and sat on the board of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities.

After retiring as principal of R.T.HarveyElementary School, Bill served as school board member and finally chair of the District Five School Board. During his time as chairperson he oversaw the restructuring of the school system and the amalgamation of the regional school boards. In addition to serving on a number of the town’s sports governing bodies, Mr. Dixon was an active executive member of the Minor Hockey Association and president of the Rattling Brook Curling Club.

During Mr. Dixon’s time on the Baie Verte Peninsula he took a lead role in many community-based social and economic development groups including chair of the Community Futures Committee, executive member of the local Kinsmen Club, and board member for several organizations including the Emerald Business Development Corporation, the regional health board and the Central Newfoundland Health Foundation.

The life of Baie Verte today is richer because of the many selfless contributions and untold hours of volunteer work given so generously by Bill Dixon.

2004 Outstanding Professional Achievement Award Recipient:

Dr. Leonard Williams (BA ’66, BA (Ed.)’66)

Dr. Leonard Williams’ distinguished career in education is an inspiration to educators everywhere. His leadership and vision have earned him the highest respect among his colleagues and in his community. Extraordinary interpersonal skills have enabled Dr. Williams to engage people in positive change for education and for this province. His strongly held values are rooted in family, community and faith.

As president of the Newfoundland Teachers’ Association and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, he achieved significant improvements for teachers’ professional lives. He represented Canadian teachers at the international level; and he was an advisor to teacher associations in England, Switzerland, Africaand Southeast Asiaregarding policies and practices on social justice and educational opportunity.

As director of student teaching at MemorialUniversity, he extended the teaching internship to rural Newfoundlandand Labrador, a legacy that has strengthened the relation between Memorial and the school districts. As chair of the Royal Commission on Primary, Elementary and Secondary Education and later as Deputy Minister of Education, he implemented significant educational reform; for example, the consolidation of the provincial education system along non-denominational lines; innovative school governance and community involvement and curriculum reform which led to the Atlantic Provinces Educational Foundation for educational outcomes in K-12. His work as co-chair of the provincial Educational Delivery in the Classroom Panel resulted in accessibility for more students to programs particularly in rural areas and enhanced teaching and classroom support.

A member of the Order of Canada, a recipient of many awards, Dr. Williams has set a very high standard of professional achievement of which all alumni can be proud.

2004 J. D. Eaton Alumni Award Recipient:

Kevin Smith (BA’71, BA (Ed)’71, M.Ed.’76)

For many people the name Kevin Smith reminds them of MemorialUniversityand the alumni association. As director of Alumni Affairs and Development for 15 years he helped to co-ordinate the team efforts of staff and volunteers to raise the profile of MemorialUniversityand the alumni association, introducing services to create and foster connections with the university. These services included travel programs, alumni affinity credit cards, and an alumni directory. Mr. Smith was always there with a warm welcome for new students at the start of each semester. And he was there with an equally warm welcome for graduates to the alumni association at the end of each semester. While many of these activities were part of his duties, Mr. Smith performed them with an openness that went beyond the call of duty.

Because he was inspired to support MemorialUniversity, Mr. Smith was able to pass on that inspiration to many generations of alumni and friends of the university. His three daughters are Memorial graduates. Many people remember his openness to new ideas and suggestions. The volunteers who worked with him recall that no task or request was too great or too small for “Kevin” — if it was to the benefit of Memorial or its alumni he was there. They knew they could rely on him to get things done.

During his tenure alumni, faculty, staff and friends of Memorial increased their annual support for the university through annual, major and planned gifts. Mr. Smith

spent countless hours working to encourage donations that helped fund scholarships for students and awards for deserving faculty. But his motto always was that the success of any event could not be measured just by the funds it brought in but also by the friends it “raised” for Memorial.

In addition, Mr. Smith also took major leadership roles in local, provincial and national organizations such as the Canadian Association of Gift Planners and Newfoundlandand Labrador Federation of Municipalities. These volunteer activities underscored his outstanding contribution to society as an alumnus of Memorial.

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For further information, please contact Wade Kearley, development officer communications, Alumni Affairs and Development), Memorial University of Newfoundland, (709) 737-2620 or


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