The award-winning One World Alumni Awards presented by TD Insurance are designed to align with the strategic priorities of Saint Mary’s University. Students and alumni of Saint Mary’s are making meaningful impact in their communities, be it on campus or all over the world, which speaks to our strategic priority of value and values, emphasizing the Santamarian values of student leadership, social responsibility, and cultural diversity.
The intentional reinvigoration of our Latin motto, Age Quod Agis, meaning “do what you do” has become a call to action to our entire Santamarian community. The One World Alumni Awards strive to recognize these efforts.
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Applications close on February 28, 2019.
Proudly presented by TD Insurance Meloche Monnex
2018 Student Society Award
2018 Student Society finalists: Enactus Saint Mary's and Habitat for Humanity Society.
2018 Charity Award
Charity finalists for 2018: Adsum for Women & Children, and FEED Nova Scotia.
The One World Alumni Awards Gala is also when the annual alumni awards are presented for Alumni Volunteer of the Year, Young Alumni of the Year, Associate Alumni of the Year, and Distinguished Community Service.
2018 Distinguished Community Service Award – Dr. James “Skip” Oliver BA'67 LLD'02
Dr. James “Skip” Oliver came to Saint Mary’s University from Philadelphia in 1963 to play for the football team and to get the experience of a Jesuit education. He spent an active four years on campus as a writer for the school newspaper, an editor of the yearbook, Campus Police Chief, Vice-President of the Athletic Association, and Basketball player. He graduated Vice President of the Class in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts, having earned the Gold, Literary, and Athletic M’s. He was voted Outstanding Student of the Year by the student body.
After graduation, Skip went on to study law at Dalhousie University and furthered his education at the University of San Francisco and Harvard School of Law. He retired as Senior Partner in the civil practice law firm of Oliver & Caiola LLC in Norristown, PA. In 2002, he returned to campus for the University’s 200th anniversary celebration, where he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Skip’s passion for community service has spanned decades, and he has given time and energy to many organizations including the American Cancer Society of Norristown (President, 1971-1985), Board of Commissioners of East Norriton Township (Vice Chairman, 1974-1979), American Red Cross of Central Montgomery County (Disaster Chairman, 1979), Montgomery County Board of Higher Education and Health Authority (1994-2004), Little League Board of Directors, and Grace and Cecil Bean’s Soup Kitchen.
Skip was one of the founding members of the Child Development Center in Montgomery County. The Center began as a place where children with intellectual and physical disabilities could receive hands-on services, care, and support. When state-funded programs began offering these services, the Center became the Child Development Foundation which has donated more than eight million dollars in grants to regional organizations that support children with intellectual and physical disabilities. Skip served as President of the Foundation for 35 years until 2010, when his daughter, Christine Oliver-Weigand, succeeded him as President.
Locally, Skip has been a generous supporter of Hope Cottage and, of course, his beloved Huskies. He doesn’t just cheer from the sidelines. He contributes generously to the football program each year as an Old Dog and to the University.
His honours include the Harry P. Mirabile, Sr. Award from Penn Liberty Bank for Outstanding Community Service, the Dr. Thomas J. Natoli Annual Founder’s Award for service to special needs children, and awards from the American Red Cross of Central Montgomery County, Chapel of Four Chaplains, American Cancer Society, and accolades in the law community.
In his retirement, Skip enjoys travelling, golfing, literature, spending time with grandkids and spending summers at his cottage in Nova Scotia with his wife Judy, who he met at Saint Mary’s. He keeps in touch with many of his lifelong Santamarian friends and often returns to campus for Homecoming celebrations and football games.
2018 Paul Lynch Volunteer of the Year - Mary-Evelyn Ternan BA'69 BEd'70 MEd'88
Mary-Evelyn Ternan was in the first co-hort of full time female students at Saint Mary’s in 1968. At that time, her father James Ternan DipEng'35 was Director of Summer School and Evening Division, and Mary-Evelyn came to SMU to finish her undergraduate credits. Many of her family members also attended SMU, including siblings Gerry Ternan BSc'69 and Patricia Ternan Rutter BComm'74 BEd'77 and nephew Stephen Ternan BComm'96. Now, 50 years later, Mary-Evelyn is known as one of Saint Mary’s most dedicated volunteers, and a familiar friendly face on campus.
As one of the first 50 women attending SMU full time, she remembers facing obstacles such as a lack of amenities, no residence rooms, and a less than enthusiastic welcome from some of her peers. Over the years she says attitudes changed and the atmosphere was elevated with the inclusion of women on campus. During her time as an undergrad student, she was part of the Drama Club. After graduating with her BEd in 1970, Mary-Evelyn worked as an elementary school teacher in Halifax until 2003, while also being active with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union both locally and provincially. She spent her time volunteering with the Federal and Provincial Liberal Party Associations and as secretary of the Amici del Vino club for Italian food and wine enthusiasts. She spends her down time entertaining friends, reading, and spending time with Dora, her English Springer Spaniel.
Mary-Evelyn came back to Saint Mary’s and joined the Alumni Council in 2009 after speaking to Greg Poirier MBA’03 former President of the Alumni Council who encouraged her to apply. Since then, she has held the position of Alumni Member at Large, Council President (2014-2016), Council Past-President (2016-2018), and as member of the Board of Governors (2014-2017). Her time as Council President was a busy one, with Mary-Evelyn rarely missing a special event or meeting on campus and even travelling to meet with Alumni living across Canada. During Convocation ceremonies, she made sure to shake each graduate’s hand with a warm “Welcome to the Alumni family!”
Her dedication to the Saint Mary’s community has been outstanding, and even included special deliveries of cookies to SMUSA and the Alumni Office from time to time. She may be completing her term with the Alumni Council this Fall, but she will always be a proud member of the Alumni family and an example of a true Santamarian.
2018 Paul Lynch Alumni Volunteer of the Year - Jimmy Ho BComm'79
Jimmy Ho came to Saint Mary’s from China in 1976 to study commerce after hearing about the University’s great program. As a student, he was a member of the Chinese Student Association and participated in the Chinese New Year banquet with the Lion Dance team.
After graduating in 1979 with his Bachelor of Commerce, Jimmy returned to Hong Kong and worked as a computer programmer in a multinational company. He got involved in the Hong Kong Alumni Chapter in 2013, and began organizing events for the Chapter in 2016.
The Hong Kong chapter has organized many alumni events including casual gatherings, industry visits for BNUZ students, hiking tours, a Canada 150 celebration, and collaborative events with Dalhousie Alumni in the region. All of the events are well promoted and documented on the Saint Mary’s Hong Kong Alumni website, which he maintains. When University delegates visit Hong Kong, Jimmy goes above and beyond to plan special trips and dinners, and takes the time to tour the city with visitors.
In 2018, the first cohort of students with joint degrees from Beijing Normal University Zhuhai and Saint Mary’s University graduated from the Zhuhai campus, and Jimmy arranged for alumni to make the trip for the special event, even organizing alumni and honour guard volunteers for the Convocation ceremony.
Jimmy has been instrumental to maintaining connections to alumni in Hong Kong and serving as a liaison between the University and alumni in the region. On why it’s important for him to remain connected to SMU Alumni, Jimmy says “SMU alumni can be found all over the world. As I have heard, as many as 170 countries. To remain connected to SMU has a great potential of remaining connected with people all around the globe. I might not need any connection today, but certainly I might need it sometime in my life - for work or for play.”
Young Alumni of the Year - Michael Brown BComm'14
Michael Brown wasn’t a typical undergraduate student when he began studying at Saint Mary’s. He was a mature student with a career as a mechanic, and his high school transcripts were a barrier for him accessing higher education. When he graduated in 2014 with his Bachelor of Commerce, he had created three companies, sold two of them, studied abroad in France and Hong Kong, and had a 4.18GPA. Michael is now Co-Founder and CEO of Swept, Owner of Green Gutter Solutions, and an active community volunteer.
Michael’s entrepreneurial spirit began at a young age, when he won a business pitch contest while in elementary school, and continued to work and run small businesses in his community of Parrsboro, NS until graduating high school. After a car accident left him unable to continue his mechanic work, he decided to explore his interest in business, ultimately choosing the Sobey School of Business for its strong program and small class sizes. As a student, Michael reconnected with and found success as an entrepreneur. In a class with Dr. Ellen Farrell he was challenged to start a business with $10. He started Green Gutter Solutions which he still owns today. He says the University embraces the culture of entrepreneurship, and credits Dr. Farrell for leading the way.
In his third year at SMU, Michael received the Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies. The $15,000 award allowed him the opportunity to invest and take risks with his company, help others with capital for their projects, and give back to the community. Having grown up in poverty, he felt the importance of giving back, and donated a portion of his award to FEED Nova Scotia. He continues to give back to Saint Mary’s through the Michael Brown/Green Gutter Solutions Award for Entrepreneurship and the Michael Brown International Mobility Award, both established in 2014. His experiences with receiving financial aid and awards, studying abroad and entrepreneurship fueled his passion to help other students.
He has seen great success as a business owner, selling both Bin Buddy’s Professional Green Bin Cleaning and Clean Simple, and growing Green Gutter Solutions and Swept. Swept has grown from a residential and commercial cleaning services company to an international software solutions company for janitorial scheduling and staffing. The business has raised over $5M since starting operations in 2014.
In the community, Michael has volunteered and fundraised for a number of organizations, including FEED Nova Scotia (currently serving on the Board of Directors), Catapult, Junior Achievement, AIM – Abilities in Motion, and Make-A-Wish.
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.
One World Award Past Recipients
The 2018 One World Alumni Awards:
Adsum for Women and Children and Saint Mary's Habitat for Humanity Society each received a $7,500 Award presented by TD Insurance.
FEED Nova Scotia and Enactus Saint Mary's each received a $2,000 Award presented by TD Insurance and the Saint Mary's University Students' Association (SMUSA).
Adsum for Women & Children and Saint Mary's University representatives
President Robert Summerby-Murray, Sheri Lecker, Kathy McNab, Scott McElman and Erin Sargeant Greenwood
SMU Habitat for Humanity Society and Saint Mary's University representatives