Awards Gala Honours Queen’s Most Accomplished Alumni

[Shirley Tilghman, Fiona Sampson & Michele Romanow]

What does the first female president of Princeton University, a dragon from CBC TV’s “Dragon’s Den,” and an internationally renowned human rights lawyer all have in common? They will be honoured for their achievements at this year’s Queen's University Alumni Association (QUAA) Awards Gala taking place April 2, 2016.

“The Awards Gala gives the QUAA an opportunity to celebrate some of our finest alumni,” says incoming Alumni Association president Sue Bates, Artsci’91. “Some of these award recipients have worked tirelessly to support their alma mater while others have achieved national and international acclaim. They all deserve to be recognized and celebrated.”

Shirley Tilghman, Arts’68, DSc’02, is receiving the Alumni Achievement Award – the highest honour bestowed by the QUAA. She was named the first female president of Princeton University in 2001 and served until the end of the 2012-13 academic year. She is also an exceptional teacher and leading molecular biology scholar. She was involved with the groundbreaking Human Genome Project which involved mapping human DNA.

“My four years at Queen’s were glorious! The wonderful opportunities that the faculty in the Department of Chemistry afforded me to experience what it means to do research – as opposed to reading about it – are responsible for my becoming a scientist, says Dr. Tilghman. “The generous mentorship and encouragement at a time when few women were entering careers in science made all the difference in the world and my future.”

Fiona Sampson, Artsci’86, Law’93, is receiving the Alumni Humanitarian Award. The Human rights lawyer based in Toronto has spent decades fighting for marginalized people. The “160 Girls” project  was a landmark victory in Kenya in which the country’s High Court found the state’s failure to protect girls from rape was unconstitutional and violated their human rights. Ms. Sampson was named one of the top 25 most influential lawyers by Canadian Lawyer Magazine in 2014.

Dragons’ Den panellist Michele Romanow, Sc’07, MBA’08, is receiving the One-To-Watch Award. She showed her entrepreneurial spirit while at Queen’s as the founder of the Tea Room, located in Beamish-Munro Hall, in 2006. By the age of 30, she had started four successful businesses, including Buytopia.ca and SnapSaves, which was purchased by the popular online social-buying application, Groupon in 2014.

The alumni being honoured at this year’s Gala Awards are:

Online registration for the Awards Gala is now open.

Do you know any outstanding alumni? Email the QUAA to find out how to nominate them for next year’s Awards Gala.