Alumni Achievement Award

Gala Award

The Alumni Achievement Award is the highest honour presented by the Queen’s University Alumni Association.

Presented annually to an alumnus/alumna who has demonstrated the high ideals imparted by a Queen’s University education through significant lifetime contributions to one or more of the following: the arts or sciences; public service; leadership in business, industry or a profession; community, charitable or volunteer work.

Award Eligibility & Criteria

Candidates should be:

  • A Queen’s alumnus/alumna
  • Someone who has accomplished a lifetime of contributions and achievement in one or more fields of endeavour
  • A contributor to society on a regional, national or international level
  • Recognized within her/his community or field as a leader
  • An inspiration to the Queen’s community

For more information about alumni awards, please contact Nikki Remillard, 613-533-6020 ext 78691. 

2019 - David Dodge, Arts'65, LLD'02

2018 - Marlene Brant Castellano, Arts’55, LLD’91

Trailblazing demands courage, aplomb, and resiliency and Dr. Marlene Brant Castellano, is a trailblazer. By the time she had retired in 1996 from an illustrious career, Dr. Castellano had established a body of work that blazed the path for the careers of future Aboriginal scholars. Through the power of example and commitment, she has increased the presence of Aboriginal curriculum, knowledge, and students on campuses in Canada and the United States. Her expertise in Aboriginal education, family and mental health, social services, women’s perspectives, and Indigenous knowledge and research is sought by universities and community organizations in Canada and around the world. 

A Mohawk, Wolf clan and member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Band, Dr. Castellano has built a bridge between cultures, working throughout her life for the rights and well-being of Indigenous peoples. During the 1970s at Trent University, she was instrumental in establishing Native/Indigenous Studies as an academic discipline. She promoted community-based research, which became central to the work of the influential Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, on which she served as Research Co-director.

Dr. Castellano served on the steering committee to develop the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) at Queen’s from 1988-1990, and has been the Elder and Co-chair of the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University since 2011. One of Queen’s newest residences, Brant House, is named in recognition of Marlene and her brother Clare Clifton Brant, both Queen’s alumni.

2017 - Gordon Nixon, Com'79, LLD'03

The Chair of the Initiative Campaign, Dr. Gord Nixon, Com’79, LLD’03, is receiving the Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honour bestowed by the Alumni Association. The former Royal Bank of Canada CEO and Gaels rugby player has a long history of volunteering and supporting his alma mater. Dr. Nixon and wife, Janet, recently made a significant gift to Queen’s in support of the revitalization of the campus rugby field, which is now named Nixon Field.

2016 - Shirley Tilghman, Arts'68, DSc'02

No matter what Shirley Tilghman, Arts’68, DSc’02, decides to do, be it a scientist, university president, colleague, mentor, or mother, she does it with passion and enthusiasm, and always with a strong social conscience. Dr. Tilghman is renowned not only for her pioneering research in the field of molecular biology, but for her national leadership on behalf of women in science and for promoting efforts to make the early careers of young scientists as meaningful and productive as possible. 

She received national attention for a report on "Trends in the Careers of Life Scientists" that was issued in 1998 by a committee she chaired for the National Research Council. Dr. Tilghman has helped launch the careers of many scholars as a member of the Pew Charitable Trusts Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences Selection Committee and the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust Scholar Selection Committee.

Dr. Tilghman was elected Princeton’s 19th president in 2001, a successful tenure that went until 2013. Her presidency very much reflected her own values when early in her tenure, she said she wanted to “open the doors as wide as possible to every talented student in the world … and push the frontiers of knowledge, and not just in science and technology, but in social policy, and in public policy, and in understanding the nature of the human condition." In 2002, Dr. Tilghman was named one of five winners of the L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science, and the following year received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Developmental Biology.

Dr. Tilghman is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the Royal Society of London. She serves as a Trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Amherst College, and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and as a Director of Google Inc. In addition, Dr. Tilghman was elected to serve as President of the American Society for Cell Biology in 2015, and was elected to the Commission on Presidential Debates Board of Directors, a nonprofit established in 1987 that organizes debates during the US general elections. 

Dr. Tilghman was honoured at the QUAA Alumni Awards Gala on April 2, 2016.

2015 - Dr. Andrew Feustel, PhD'95

As a young boy, Dr. Andrew Feustel figured by the time he was an adult, everyone would be an astronaut, believing that space travel would be commonplace. It hasn’t quite worked out that way, but Dr. Feustel did become an astronaut, even if the rest of us did not. 

After earning a Bachelor of Science in Solid Earth Sciences in 1989 from Purdue University, Dr. Feustel attended graduate school where he simultaneously worked as a Research Assistant and Teaching Assistant while obtaining a Master of Science in Geophysics. 

In 1991 Dr. Feustel came to Queen’s where he received his PhD in Geological Sciences in 1995. His thesis explored seismic waves in underground mines, and he spent the next three years working as a geophysicist for the Engineering Seismology Group and for the Exxon Exploration Company.

In July 2000, Dr. Feustel’s dream of space travel became a reality. His first flight to space was aboard space shuttle Atlantis for the STS-125 mission. Launching May 11, 2009 the successful mission repaired the Hubble Space Telescope. During the mission he served as the Mission Specialist and performed three spacewalks before the mission safely returned to Earth. His second flight to space was in 2011 on STS-134. During the near month-long mission, in which Dr. Feustel performed three spacewalks, the crew delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an Express Logistics Carrier to the International Space Station.

Today, Dr. Feustel works on technical support assignments at the Astronaut Office Space Shuttle and Space Stations branches. He is married to Indira Devi Bhatnagar and together they have two children. He also plays guitar and is a member of the astronaut band Max Q. His contributions to geological study and incredible work with NASA to date, is truly deserving of this year’s Alumni Achievement Award. 

Dr. Feustel was honoured at the QUAA Alumni Awards Gala on March 28, 2015.

2014 - Dr. Alfred Bader, Sc'45, Arts'46, MSc'47, LLD'86 and Dr. Isabel Bader, LLD'07

Drs. Alfred and Isabel Bader are the recipients of the 2013 Alumni Achievement Award. This award is the highest honour bestowed by the Queen's University Alumni Association.  Alfred and Isabel Bader are being honoured for their significant contributions in the arts, philanthropy, and education at Queen’s. Together, they have transformed the learning experience at Queen’s and the very fabric of the Queen’s campus.

For 66 years, Alfred has committed himself to investing in education. Given the opportunity for education and self-improvement at his alma mater, Queen’s, his love of learning has inspired him to open the doors of education for others.   Isabel Bader is a quiet, yet powerful champion of the arts and arts education in Canada: she inspires and enables students to become performers, scholars, and artists. She has opened up the world of music, art, dance, theatre, and costume to thousands of Canadians.

Together, they strive to make art and education available to the greater community, through their donations of works of art to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre as well as their support of a new performing arts centre for Queen’s and Kingston. They have also helped to make Queen’s an international university, with the creation of the Bader International Study Centre in Sussex, UK.Drs.

Alfred and Isabel Bader were honoured at the QUAA Alumni Awards Gala on April 5, 2014 as part of the Alumni Volunteer Summit.

2012 - His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Law'66, LLD'91

A 1966 law graduate, David Johnston began his career that same year as an assistant professor of law at Queen’s. He also taught at U of T before becoming Dean of Law at Western in 1974. In 1979, he was named Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill, and in 1999, he became President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waterloo. He has served on many provincial and federal task forces and committees. He was a founding chair of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. He is the author or co-author of two dozen books, holds honorary doctorates from more than a dozen universities, and he is also Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada.  His academic specializations are securities regulation, corporation law, and information technology law.  On October 1, 2010, he was sworn in as the 28th governor general of Canada.

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston was honoured at the QUAA Alumni Awards Gala on October 13, 2012

2011 - Peter Milliken, Arts'68

Peter has dedicated his career to serving Canada. He studied Politics at Queen’s, and was a member of the Liberal Club on campus. He was also involved in the Alma Mater Society, serving as Speaker for the AMS Assembly in the 1967-1968 year. Called to the Ontario Bar in 1973, he practised law in Kingston before entering political life. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1988 as the Member of Parliament representing Kingston and the Islands, and was re-elected six times. In 2001, he became the Speaker of the House of Commons. He held this position until his retirement in 2011, becoming the longest-serving Speaker of the House. Queen’s students have Peter to thank for all his help in securing the House of Commons for their use in the annual Queen’s Model Parliament. Peter continues to inspire future policy - makers, as he begins his work as a Fellow with the School of Policy Studies this fall. Through his dedication to Queen’s, Kingston, and Canada, Peter Milliken embodies the spirit of leadership that Queen’s aims to instill in its students.

Peter Milliken was honoured at the QUAA Alumni Awards Gala on October 15, 2011.

2010 - Ali Velshi, Artsci'94

Ali is the Chief Business Correspondent for CNN. He began his television career in Toronto, where he was a business anchor and reporter. On Report on Business TV, he hosted “The Business News”, Canada’s first prime time business news hour. He joined CNNfn in New York in 2001. Ali covers business, finance, markets and economics daily for CNN/U.S. programs. On CNN, Ali has covered the U.S. government’s bailout plan; the financial collapses of several U.S. companies; and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, reporting on the impact of the storms on oil refineries. He covered the Enron story at every step since it hit the national spotlight in 2001. He was reporting live from an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico amid evacuation calls for Hurricane Katrina. Ali has appeared as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He has also guest-hosted the TV show Larry King Live. Ali has also made a name for himself as an author who can discuss financial planning in easy-to-understand terms. In 2009, he wrote his first book, Gimme My Money Back – Your Guide to Beating the Financial Crisis. He is also the author of Get Rich, Sleep Well: Making Money in Good Times and Keeping It in Bad. His latest book is Gimme My Future Back: The College Graduate’s Guide to Investing and Creating Wealth on Your First Day of Work. 

Ali Velshi was honoured at the QUAA Alumni Awards Gala on October 23, 2010.

2009 - Linda Locke, Law'84

Linda has dedicated her career to helping aboriginal people and other community members in the Hazleton BC area to navigate their way through the Canadian legal system.  She is the managing lawyer of the Upper Skeena Counseling and Legal Assistance Society, and specializes in family and criminal law. The Upper Skeena area is one of the poorest communities in Canada. Linda was described by Alice Maitland, the mayor of the Village of Hazleton as “a champion of single moms looking for child support, helper of the elderly who need to write wills, or just apply for benefits. She is a very courageous and strong woman who has helped most of our population through one problem or another, and she absolutely deserves to be recognized by the institution which played some part in building her into the caring human dynamo she is.”

Linda Locke was honoured at the QUAA Alumni Awards Gala on October 25, 2009.

2008 - Harold Jennings, MSc'61, PhD'64

Dr. Harold Jennings has devoted his entire career to saving lives. He has gained international respect when he developed the first vaccine in the world that effectively protects infants from Group C meningitis C, a deadly bacterial disease. His determination to develop the vaccine, and his almost 20-year struggle to bring it to market, has now saved the lives of thousands of children and adults worldwide. 

His chemical breakthroughs in tackling Group C meningitis have triggered the development of a vaccine for meningitis B, and may have future applications in cancer vaccines.  Since 1966, Dr. Jennings has worked for the National Research Council. In 2005, the NRC named him Distinguished Research Scientist, in recognition of his invaluable contributions to scientific innovation.

Dr. Harold Jennings was honoured at the QUAA Alumni Awards Gala on September 25, 2008.

2007 - Ronald McCallum, LLM'74

The story of Professor Ronald McCallum is truly an inspiring one. Blind since birth, he has overcome both his visual impairment and a disadvantaged childhood to achieve an outstanding career as a teacher, scholar, academic administrator, advisor to governments in his native Australia, and spokesperson for the rights of the disabled. He was the first blind person to be appointed to a full professorship in Australia.  In recognition of this and his myriad other accomplishments, in 2006 he was named an Officer of the Order of Australia. 


Ron, who is one of his country’s foremost experts in industrial relations, is dean of Sydney University’s law school and the Blake Dawson Waldron Professor of Industrial Law. As such, he is an internationally recognized expert in the field of labour law who is renowned for the passion he injects into his lectures, for the clarity and perceptiveness of his writing, and for his ceaseless commitment to social justice. Small wonder Ron is revered by his colleagues and by the thousands of students he has taught over the past 30 years.


He earned his law degree Down Under, at Monash University in Melbourne, before coming to Kingston on a Commonwealth Scholarship. He graduated from Queen’s University with a Master of Laws degree in 1974.


Ron has said, “Being disabled made me realise that there is more than one road in life, and that the justice system should look after individuals, especially those who can’t always speak for themselves. That is why I am concerned about workers with less bargaining power, about [the] disabled, about indigenous Australians, and about refugees. If the law means anything, if it’s not going to clang like an empty cymbal, it has to have justice at the core and justice must be centred in the individual worth of individual human beings.”

Ronald McCallum was honoured at the QUAA Alumni Awards Gala on October 11, 2007

2006 - Frank Newell, Meds'46

2005 - Virginia (Ginny) Shrivastava, Arts'63

2004 - Kim Sturgess, Sc'77

2003 - Mary Card, Arts'69

2002 - Maynard Gertler, BA'39 (deceased)

2001 - Eldon Hay, MA'57, BDiv'57, DDiv'04

2000 - Moira Hutchinson, Arts'64, MA'68

1999 - Mary Collins, Arts'61

1998 - John Matheson, Arts'40, LLD'84 (deceased)

1997 - Anthony Graham, Meds'66

1996 - Kenneth Dresser, MD'56 (deceased)

1995 - Ramsey Withers, Sc'54 (deceased)

1994 Adrienne Alison, Artsci'76

1993 - Freda Paltiel, BA'45 (deceased)

1992 - Bruce Cronk, Meds'46 (deceased)

1991 - Frances Lester, Meds'66

1990 - Ethel Moncrief Birkenshaw, Arts'48

1989 - Herman Voaden, BA'23, MA'26 (deceased)

1987 - Elisabeth Oughton, Arts'59

1986 - Ernest Johnson, MD'38 (deceased)