The University of Prince Edward Island held its fourteenth annual Recognition of Founders ceremony today to acknowledge those who have contributed to the University in an exceptional way. This year’s ceremony also featured a dedication and unveiling of the MacLauchlan Plaza to honour UPEI’s fifth president from 1999–2011, President Emeritus H. Wade MacLauchlan.
The 2013 founders are Mr. Mike Read, Mr. Verner Smitheram, Mrs. Janice Robertson (posthumous), and Mr. Bob MacAulay (posthumous). Mr. John and Mrs. Carol MacLeod are this year’s recipients of The Honourable Eugene F. Whelan Green Hat Award, which pays tribute to individuals who have had a significant impact on the Atlantic Veterinary College.
The recognition event was led by macebearer Anastasia Smallwood, President of the UPEI Student Union; marshall Dr. Susan Dawson, and piper Mr. Matthew MacLaine. Tom Cullen, Chair of the UPEI Board of Governors acted as the event’s master of ceremonies, while Sister Sue Kidd, University Chaplain provided the invocation, and Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, UPEI President and Vice-Chancellor delivered welcome remarks.
“This is one of UPEI’s most exciting events as we take the time to honour tradition and recognize the pioneers who have helped shape the University,” said Abd-El-Aziz. “Each Founder recognized today was dedicated to achieving goals that fulfilled our institutional mission in their own way, offering their wisdom to help prepare us for the future. On behalf of the entire University community, I congratulate our 2013 Founders and thank them for their contributions to UPEI.”
Travis Gordon, UPEI Student Union Executive Vice-President delivered the citation for Read; UPEI students Parker Baglole and Emilie Sullivan read Smitheram and Robertson’s citations. Stephanie Andrews, UPEI alumnae from the Class of 2008 delivered MacAulay’s citation, and current AVC student Mary Claire Sanderson presented the Green Hat Award to the MacLeods.
Immediately following the Recognition of Founders ceremony, an unveiling of MacLauchlan’s plaza took place outside of the UPEI’s Health Sciences Building.
“It is especially fitting that we officially dedicate the plaza in Wade’s name, on Founders Day, an event he actually developed to honour those who have contributed significantly to the University,” said Abd-El-Aziz during the unveil.
Earlier today, another recognition event was held—UPEI’s first annual Donor Picnic—to celebrate and thanks its many donors who have significantly contributed to the University.
About the Founders
Mr. Mike Read of Dorval, Quebec attended UPEI from 1970–76 completing bachelor of arts and bachelor of education degrees. While he taught in Mutton Bay, Quebec for a few years, he always had a soft spot for the Island and knew he would return. In 1981, he accepted a newly created managerial position at UPEI that combined residence and conference services. In 1991, he became UPEI’s recruiting officer and conference coordinator and was also given an Award of Merit from the Atlantic Association of Colleges and Universities Student Services for his distinguished contribution to the development and promotion of student services in the Atlantic region. In 2001, Mike become UPEI’s associate registrar and took on the role of acting registrar from 2002–03. Mike retired as associate registrar in 2006.
Mr. Verner Smitheram, a native of Timmons, Ontario, entered the military after graduating from high school, and studied at St. Michael’s College in Toronto, graduating in 1962 with a bachelor of arts, honours philosophy, and in 1968, he received his masters in philosophy from University of Toronto.
Verner moved to the Island in the year of our country’s centennial to teach at St. Dunstan’s University. Lucky for the successor—the University of Prince Edward Island—Verner fell in love with PEI on his very first day. This “Islander By Choice” continued his career in the department of philosophy at UPEI until his retirement in 1998—having served as a four-term chair of the department and a two-term dean of arts during this time. He was named Professor Emeritus in 2001. One of his greatest challenges and subsequent accomplishments while at UPEI was achieving university-wide support for an interdisciplinary skills-based course for first year students in the mid-1980s. This led to the planning and creation of what came to be known as University 100 and the Summer Faculty Development Institute. Thankfully, Verner considers himself a “restructured” versus “retired” professor—he continued on as the founding Director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution Studies until 2007, and to this day, continues to deliver workshops at the University.
Mrs. Janice Robertson began her career at UPEI in 1990 as a permanent part-time employee working at the Sports Centre front desk. Shortly thereafter in 1992, Janice started the Communiversity program, a joint-venture between the University and local communities to develop programs such as the walking club, indoor lawn bowling, line dancing, youth basketball, soccer, and of course, the pre-school Jelly Bean Gym. Panther Camps began that same year, and as a result of the successful programming, Janice secured a full-time position with UPEI Athletics and Recreation in 1997.
In 2008, Janice became UPEI Athletics and Recreation program and facility coordinator. In 2004, she introduced the Mini University Programs, which have now grown to be the most successful of the camps offered at UPEI, due in large part to Janice’s tireless efforts. Through Janice’s leadership, Panther Camps provide students with valuable work experience and summer employment.
Mr. Bob MacAulay began his career at UPEI in 1971 as a service worker in the UPEI Building and Grounds department. He rose through the ranks to labourer, truck driver, utility worker, and maintenance repairman to acting foreman, then becoming general foreman in November of 1982 for UPEI Maintenance in the Facilities Management division. Bob had a 42-year history of building morale among his staff and he is known as a legend when it comes to being an exemplary employee and member of the UPEI family. He played a large role in the evolution of the Island’s only university as a beautiful campus and a great place to work.
Mr. John and Mrs. Carol MacLeod have been strong supporters of the AVC since its inception. John graduated from Prince of Wales College in 1964, and obtained a master of science in agriculture from McGill and a PhD in soil science from Cornell. Carol earned her undergraduate and master of science degrees from McGill University, and her BEd from UPEI in 1981. John collaborated on research projects with AVC faculty while Carol currently serves on AVC’s Advisory Council. The MacLeods are one of AVC Farm Services earliest clients. John and Carol continue to have a special interest and engagement in animal husbandry and education, and for many years have provided exceptional learning opportunities for veterinary students on their sheep farm. They also support students financially through the “John and Carol MacLeod Award for Research Communication Excellence” for a graduate student at AVC, and recently created a scholarship for a third-year DVM student interested in the husbandry and well being of domestic small ruminants.