Associate Alumni Award

You don’t have to be a Saint Mary’s graduate to be recognized as a valuable member of our community. The Associate Alumni Award recognizes those who are not alumni but have shown dedication and support to the University and its endeavours. A maximum of three candidates per year will be granted this distinction, and given full Alumni Association privileges.            

All University employees and members of the Saint Mary's University Alumni Association may submit a one-page letter of recommendation for a candidate, illustrating their suitability for this award. A completed Alumni Awards Nomination Form must accompany the letter.


Candidates are considered annually by the Saint Mary's University Alumni Association's Awards & Nomination Committee.            


Nominations close on August 9, 2019. The award for 2018 is presented during the One World Alumni Gala at Homecoming.

Past Recipients

2018 Associate Alumni of the Year - Sheila Donahoe

Sheila Donahoe was born and raised in Halifax, walking past Saint Mary’s campus each day on her way to school. She attended the Sacred Heart Convent (now Sacred Heart School of Halifax), which was the all-girls counterpart to Saint Mary’s High all-boys school. Sheila took courses at Saint Mary’s, but she is a proud alumna of StFX, where she graduated in 1966 with her Bachelor of Science in Home Economics. During her career she worked for McCain Foods, the Department of Manpower, Consumer and Corporate Affairs and Health Canada. 

Although Sheila didn’t attend Saint Mary’s, many of her family members did, including her father Richard, brothers Arthur and Terry, and sister Ellen. Her family has a proud connection to Saint Mary’s as alumni and as Trustees of the Estate of Patrick Power. The Estate, which dates back more than 100 years, has donated to numerous causes, initiatives, departments, and awards at Saint Mary’s University. They include the Holy Cross Chaplaincy Centre, Religious Studies Department, Patrick Power Library, Northern Ireland Conflict Resolution Project, and Patrick Power Scholarship in memory of Dr. Terence R.B. Donahoe. In 1976, Saint Mary’s University named the Patrick Power Library to acknowledge the Trusts generosity, which continues to positively impact and engage our students, inspire our faculty, and connect the entire University with the Halifax community.  

As a Trustee, Sheila says she has been able to see the value of the University from a programming point of view. She has been delighted to be able to participate in decisions which have allowed the University to make program thrusts which may not have been possible without the funding. 

Apart from her role supporting Saint Mary’s, Sheila is a devoted and committed volunteer to many charitable causes and committees in Halifax. The organization that has been dearest to her over several decades is the Sacred Heart School, where she has been a member of the Board of Governors and is a current committee member.  She is also Past President of the Canadian Association of Sacred Heart Alumnae/Alumni and a long-time member of the executive of the local chapter and assists with the Archives office. Her other volunteer roles have been with the Archdiocese of Halifax and Yarmouth, serving as a member of the Finance Council, the Planning Committee for the annual Archbishop’s Dinner, and the Pastoral Care Team at St. Thomas Aquinas | Canadian Martyrs Parish. Sheila has also served as a Trustee to the Sir William Young Trust, a member of the St. Francis Xavier University Board of Governors, and President of the Charitable Irish Society. 


2018 Associate Alumni of the Year - Cathie Ross

Cathie Ross joined the Saint Mary’s University family in 2010 as General Manager of the Saint Mary’s University Students’ Association (SMUSA). She wasn’t a stranger on campus, having spent a couple of summers playing basketball at Saint Mary’s while representing the Nova Scotia provincial team and later as an undergrad student playing basketball and field hockey for Acadia. Her husband, BJ Ross BA’85 is an alumnus, along with her father-in-law, Brian Ross BA’60, former Huskies basketball and football player who was inducted into the Saint Mary’s Sport Hall of Fame in 2013.

While studying at Acadia, Cathie was active on campus, working for special events with the Acadia Student Union, assistant coaching for the women’s basketball team as well as playing varsity field hockey and basketball. Before transferring to Acadia, Cathie played basketball for the University of Calgary where she was also part of student societies and served as a student representative for Athletics. After graduating, Cathie moved to Lugano, Switzerland to study International Relations at Franklin University and to play semi-pro basketball.

Prior to working with SMUSA, Cathie was Manager of Human Resources and Crew Director at Secunda Marine and then ran her successful Halifax business, Select Roses, before selling it in 2008. She’s been an active volunteer in the community, coached basketball, and served as a director of a few volunteer boards including the Board of Basketball Nova Scotia. She has also served on volunteer committees with a number of organizations including Phoenix Youth, Dreamscapes, The Halifax Club, Homes for the Holidays, Junior League of Halifax, Feed Nova Scotia, Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia, Canadian Heart and Stroke Association, Canadian Lung Association, and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. She currently volunteers with Ronald McDonald House, the on-campus Community Food Room and the United Way.

As GM of SMUSA, Cathie understands the importance of building relationships with students, taking time to get to know them and taking an interest in their passions. As a leader and a mentor, she encourages students to realize their potential and know they will have her support and guidance. In her words, “[The students] embrace the idea of being fabulous with enthusiasm, and they constantly raise the bar. I am incredibly inspired by our student leaders at SMUSA. They work tirelessly on behalf of the student body. It is a privilege to watch them grow and evolve into wonderful young professionals.” She says Saint Mary’s is a special place because of its diverse environment and opportunities to get involved.

Cathie’s passion for helping students achieve success has been felt by many at Saint Mary’s. She’s been recently recognized with the SMUSA Service Excellence Award (2018) and the Charter Day, Honorary Gold “M”, Student and Teaching Excellence Award in 2014. She’s also been recognized for her business and athletic achievements, earning the Halifax Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year Silver Medal and as a member of Truro’s Sports Hall of Fame.

  • 2018: Sheila Donahoe and Cathie Ross
  • 2017: Dr. Patricia Bradshaw, Lawrence Freeman Q.C and Shirley Boudreau
  • 2016: David Gauthier
  • 2015: Lori Forbes
  • 2014: Gary Schmeisser
  • 2013: Wally Bowes
  • 2012: John Landry
  • 2011: Joe Chrvala Greg King
  • 2010: Donna Filek
  • 2009: Fred Smithers and Kathy MacFarlane
  • 2008 Kathy Naulls and Dave Randall
  • 2007 Tony Arab, Wadih Fares, Frank Matheson and  Paul Sobey
  • 2005 Carol MacLean and Jennifer E. Ozon
  • 2004 Patricia Bishara and David J. Grace
  • 2002 Blake Nill
  • 2001 Trevor Stienburg, Elizabeth Colwell and Stephanie Babcock
  • 2000 Gabrielle Morrison, Nicola M. Young and Mary Lou Gomes
  • 1999 Jean Larsen and Paul Dixon
  • 1998 Denis LeClaire and Bernadine Halliday
  • 1997 Ann MacDonald, William H. McGrath and Frank P. Dougherty
  • 1996 Toni P. Croft, Virginia Jackson and Gloria Jewers
  • 1995 J. Colin Dodds and Christine MacGillivray
  • 1994 Colin Howell, Joan Whitney, Philip MacDonald and Daniel G. Stone
  • 1992 Geraldine Coll, Betty Jean Frenette and Paul Mason
  • 1990 Fred Voeltz and Ralph Curran
  • 1989 Randy Nesbitt
  • 1987 Fred P. Laphen
  • 1986 Jill Linquist
  • 1985 Paula Glencross, M. Shields, Joseph Wilson, D. H. Gillis, J. Lynch, T. Wardell and Hermann F. Schwind
  • 1984 David F. Zareski, William H. Richardson and Larry Uteck
  • 1982 Dermot L. Mulrooney, Carol Markesino, Mary Sun, Peter Weal and Heinz M. Morstatt
  • 1981 Kenneth L. Ozmon and Owen Carrigan
  • 1980 John A. Mills
  • 1979 Charles J. MacDonald, Richard W. Lowery and Belinda S. Gallagher
  • 1978 Charles A. Vaughan, Doug Wright and Brian P. Heaney
  • 1975 Michael A. Overington, Douglas Day, Anthony Farrell and Gordon MacLeod
  • 1974 Keith G. Fillmore, Joseph Jabbra and Roy W. Clements
  • 1973 John C. Young
  • 1971 Elizabeth A. Chard
  • 1970 Henry J. Labelle
  • 1969 Roger A. MacDonald
  • 1967 K. McKenna, Robert MacDougall and Verdon Creighton
  • 1963 Henry Habib