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REF NO.: 4

SUBJECT: Memorial announces 2020 Alumni Tribute Award recipients

DATE: Oct. 6

Memorial University has announced the recipients of its 39th annual Alumni Tribute Awards.

The awards recognize alumni who have achieved distinction in their chosen fields, are committed to their alma mater and have made outstanding contributions to their communities.

The 2020 recipients are Lisa Browne (BA’91, MBA’93); Geoff Emberley (B.Eng.’74, MBA’83); Aatif Baskanderi (B.Eng.’08, M.Tech.Mgmt.’13); and Courtney Clarke (BA’12, MI’13).

“While it was a different selection experience this year due to COVID-19 and the committee having to meet virtually, there was no difference in the number of exceptional and deserving nominees put forward,” said Bob Dowden, chair, Alumni Tribute Awards selection committee. “The 2020 recipients are all highly accomplished graduates who have put their Memorial University degrees to good use in their communities, province and around the world.”

Lisa Browne (BA’91, MBA’93) is the recipient of the 2020 Alumna of the Year Award and CEO of Stella’s Circle. With a demonstrated history of working and volunteering in the community sector, she is strongly guided by her values, with a particular focus on social justice and community involvement. With a bachelor of arts and a master of business administration from Memorial University, Ms. Browne continues to have strong connections to her alma mater and is active within the Faculty of Business Administration and the Harris Centre. She currently serves on the boards of Food First NL, Mental Health Research Canada and the National Gallery of Canada. Ms. Browne and her partner, Tim Hollett (B.Eng.'95), enjoy travelling and hiking.

Geoff Emberley (B.Eng.’74, MBA’83) is this year’s recipient of the J.D. Eaton Award, which recognizes outstanding volunteer contributions to Memorial University. Since graduating from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s first co-operative education class in 1974 and throughout his 35-year career with Newfoundland Power, Mr. Emberley has been a strong support for the faculty. He has pushed for co-operative education placements, mentored students and graduates, sat on the planning committee for the faculty’s 50th anniversary celebrations and guided policy change to improve programming. Mr. Emberley has served on the committees and boards of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland and Labrador and Engineers Canada. A true advocate, mentor and champion of Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, he has helped launch the careers of generations of engineers.  

Aatif Baskanderi (B.Eng.’08, M.Tech.Mgmt.’13) is this year’s Horizon Award recipient, a recognition of exceptional achievement by a Memorial graduate 35 years of age and younger. Raised in outport Newfoundland as one of very few Muslims in his community, Mr. Baskanderi’s advocacy for inclusivity of marginalized people and his promotion of acceptance for equitable communities has turned heads. As creator of the documentary, Salaam B’y, he has opened the minds of many through provincial and national speaking tours and screenings, a radio documentary on CBC’s The Sunday Edition and 23 film festivals. He has earned five awards across the globe, including an award from Queen Elizabeth II. Mr. Baskanderi's inspirational story and ongoing work in social innovation continues to extend beyond the horizon.

Courtney Clarke (BA’12, MI’13) is the recipient of the Community Service Award for 2020. Ms. Clarke has been uniting and enriching the communities around her since her childhood in Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove. Throughout her university education and career, she has developed numerous programs and fundraising initiatives for organizations such as St. John’s Pride, Single Parents Association of Newfoundland and United Way. Ms. Clarke serves on the board of directors with the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union and Violence Prevention Avalon East. Her work in violence prevention spawned from a tragic but important event in her life – she was physically attacked in 2017. Since then, she has been proactive in enhancing resources for survivors of many forms of abuse and violence.

“Congratulations to these incredible alumni who have distinguished themselves through their careers and commitment to community,” added Mr. Dowden. “I look forward to celebrating them and their incredible accomplishments at the awards ceremony in October.”

The 39th annual Alumni Tribute Awards ceremony will take place Monday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. at the Signal Hill Campus, St. John’s. This year’s awards ceremony will be an intimate gathering in accordance with current public health measures and will be by invitation only. If you would like to view the live stream of the event, please visit our Facebook page.

For additional inquiries, please contact the Office of Alumni Engagement.

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For more information, please contact Lisa Pendergast, senior communications advisor, Office of Alumni Engagement, Memorial University of Newfoundland, at (709) 697-9979 or lpendergast@mun.ca

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