This morning’s Community Breakfast provided faculty and staff with an opportunity to reconnect and celebrate the start of the 2018-19 academic year. During the gathering, president Franco Vaccarino spoke about the University’s priorities for the year ahead and recognized the efforts of exemplary staff and faculty.

President’s Remarks – Internationalization and Sustainability Priorities

Vaccarino discussed the University’s implementation of academic and operational plans from our Strategic Framework.

“We’re focusing on two key areas: internationalization and sustainability,” said Vaccarino.

“Both of these areas are current strengths and, with renewed focus, will help us build an institution for the future.”

Vaccarino said internationalization will help U of G remain adaptable and responsive to meet the demands of a changing world. Sustainability, he said, is the “pressing issue of our time,” and U of G’s diverse and interdisciplinary approach can help improve the health and sustainability of our planet.

The president also encouraged faculty and staff to take part in upcoming Healthy Workplace Month activities in October and talked about the University’s consultations toward becoming a smoke-free campus.

Exemplary Staff Awards

At the gathering, Vaccarino also acknowledged the outstanding efforts of six individuals and one team who received President’s Awards for Exemplary Staff Service.Winners of the 2018 Exemplary Staff Awards with President Vaccarino

Established in 2003, the awards recognize U of G staff and faculty committed to excellence who have exceeded expectations.

Award winners were as follows:

Award for Excellence in Wellness, Health and Safety

Betty-Anne McBey, technician in the Department of Pathobiology, has spent more than 25 years ensuring the safety and operations of the department’s research and teaching labs.

2018 Hidden Hero Awards

Yanping Lou, research associate in the Department of Animal Biosciences, has helped numerous students with research projects and coursework over the past 25 years. She is known as “Lab Mom” by many of the students she helps.

Ken O’Krafka, groundskeeper for Physical Resources, has spent many years at U of G, ensuring a positive first impression of our public spaces, especially at the north end of campus.

Innovative Leadership Award

Amy Atkinson, senior development manager in Alumni Affairs and Development, inspires colleagues with her creative vision and commitment to building relationships.

Service Excellence Awards

Jodie Salter, acting manager in the McLaughlin Library’s Writing Services, oversees services and resources for more than 5,000 students each year. She also supports a number of departmental and campus-wide initiatives.

Martha Gay Scroggins, coordinator of the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming, runs all operations at this experiential learning site, including fostering partnerships with local groups on and off campus.

Exemplary Team Award

The OVC Health Sciences Centre Oncology Service Team of Amanda Bridge, Melanie Brooks, Laura Furness, Helena Hartona, Geri HigginsonJeanette Jones, Bojena Kelmendi, Vicky Heinbecker-Marsili, Vicky Sabine, Kaya SkowronskiJeannie Wetheral and Katie Carter is a strongly bonded group whose members provide comprehensive care and compassion for pets with cancer and their families. In 2012, the team built the centre that won the Practice of the Year award in 2017 from the Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association.

William Winegard Exemplary Volunteer Award

Crystal Gong, a biomedical sciences student, was recognized for her work most notably with Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Prof. Lianne Foti, School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management, was celebrated for her work in founding and giving countless hours to support My World, My Choice!, an educational outreach program for and led by youth to promote sustainability.

Established in 2007, this award is named for former U of G president William Winegard, an exemplary community volunteer. The award is a joint initiative with the United Way of Guelph Wellington Dufferin and PIN (People and Information Network).

The president also recognized a group of employees who helped during a tragic situation involving a contractor at the Ontario Veterinary College this past summer.

Also recognized at today’s event were 525 staff members with at least 25 years of service at U of G.