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Ban Righ Foundation awards honour inspirational women

Every year, Queen’s Ban Righ Centre supports hundreds of women who have returned to university studies after a break. These students come from diverse backgrounds and have unique stories, but what they have in common is the support network that flows from the centre, across campus and into the Kingston community.

'Karla McGrath"
The Faculty of Law’s Karla McGrath is the 2017 winner of the Ban Righ Foundation Mentorship Award. (Photo by Bernard Clark)

To honour that network, the Ban Righ Foundation, the centre’s volunteer Board of Directors, has established two special awards. The Ban Righ Foundation Mentorship Award recognizes a Queen’s faculty member who has inspired and supported women in achieving their goals; the Ban Righ Foundation Leadership Award honours a woman who has fostered opportunities for others, and made a positive contribution to the Kingston community.

This 2017 award recipients are the Faculty of Law’s Karla McGrath, and Susan Belyea, founder of the local food reclamation charity, Loving Spoonful.

“The Ban Righ Foundation is pleased to recognize the significant contributions that Karla and Susan have made to student life at Queen’s, and to their communities,” says Erin Clow, Equity Advisor, Equity and Human Rights Offices, and co-chair of the foundation’s Board of Directors. “There are so many women at Queen’s and in Kingston who provide incredible amounts of support to others, and inspire our students to succeed.”

Ms. McGrath, who teaches children's law, and is the founding director of Queen’s Family Law Clinic, was nominated by current and former students who described how her mentorship, advice and support helped build their confidence and to thrive, professionally and personally.

"Susan Belyea"
Susan Belyea, founder of the local food reclamation charity, Loving Spoonful, is this year's recipient of the Ban Righ Foundation Leadership Award. (Photo by Eric Brousseau) 

Under Ms. Belyea’s leadership, Loving Spoonful was established and has grown to include local farmers, school and community gardens, and healthy cooking education, providing greater food security for hundreds of residents. She is currently pursuing a PhD at Queen’s; she teaches at the university and remains active in the community.

Ms. McGrath and Ms. Belyea will be honoured at the Ban Righ Foundation’s Inspiring Women event on Oct. 20, at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts that will feature musical performances and a talk by alumna Amma Bonsu (Artsci’02, Artsci’03).

“Building on the success of last year’s inaugural, Inspiring Women Event, this year’s event is shaping up to be equally as dynamic and entertaining,” says Ms. Clow. “Event attendees will be treated to a night filled with music, laughter and community building.”

Founded in 1974, the Ban Righ Centre at 32 Bader Lane, is a welcoming, safe space and resource centre for mature women students, providing advice, financial assistance, daily soup, female faculty mentors, quiet study spaces, and community. Visit the Ban Righ Centre website for more information.