Group photo of award winners at 2019 Community BreakfastReaffirming University of Guelph priorities, celebrating the campus community and recognizing deserving staff and faculty were highlights of the annual community breakfast held Wednesday in the U of G Athletics Centre.

The campus community has shared tremendous successes in recent years, said president Franco Vaccarino. He said evidence of the University’s simple and clear mission to improve life exists in its commitment to excellence in teaching and student learning, in passion for research and discoveries that change the world, and in the creation of a beautiful campus.

He reiterated the University’s commitment to sustainability and internationalization.

Sustainability – ensuring that meeting present needs does not undermine the needs of future generations – is at the heart of the University, he said, referring to courses and classrooms, research, and financial planning and administration.

On sustainability, Vaccarino said the University is “working to create a solid foundation for this institution that will continue to set us on a positive course for the future.”

He said U of G is focusing on attracting new students and building strong research partnerships with institutions around the world. The goal is to increase international undergraduate and graduate student enrolments from diverse countries and regions, he added.

Referring to his announcement this past summer that he will step down as president and vice- chancellor in August 2020, he said it has been a great honour and privilege to serve in the role. The University is on an upswing as an institution, he said, and the time is right for him to “pass the baton.”

Following his remarks, the president handed out seven Exemplary Staff Awards in five categories.

Art studio technicians in the School of Fine Art and Music received the Exemplary Team Recognition Award for their collective support of the studio art program. Team members are Allen Ash, Monika Hauck, Paul Lovell, Paul Macdonald and Nathan Saliwonchyk.

Shelagh Daly, graduate programs assistant in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Jennifer Slade, financial reporting manager in Alumni Affairs and Development, each received a Hidden Hero Award. The award acknowledges behind-the-scenes service that unselfishly supports and offers mentorship to others.

This year’s Innovative Leadership Recognition Award was given to Claire Alexander and Laura Gatto. A special projects manager in the Office of Ceremonies and Events, Alexander coordinates hundreds of volunteers each year to stage special events. Gatto provides guidance and coaching as a co-op coordinator in Cooperative Education and Career Services.

English-as-an-additional-language specialist Lenore Latta in the U of G Library’s Writing Services received the Service Excellence Award for her capacity to motivate and inspire others.

The Award of Excellence in Wellness, Health and Safety was given to Michelle Soucie, a service assistant in Student Wellness, for her front-line support of students.

Lorraine Weir in Laboratory Services and Emily Duncan, a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics, received the William Winegard Exemplary Volunteer Award.

Campus community members with at least 25 years of service to the University were acknowledged. U of G’s quarter-century club now exceeds 500 people.

Prof. Carol Dauda, Department of Political Science and Lisa Blenkinsop, undergraduate coordinator and academic adviser in international development studies, were recognized for having received the 2019 Excellence in Undergraduate Academic Advising Medallion awards this past spring.