Alumni Mentorship Award

Gala Award

Presented to an alumnus/alumna who has made a significant and ongoing contribution through mentorship either to an individual or group.

John Armitage

2020 Recipient

John Armitage


For 40 years, John Armitage volunteered as the head coach of Queen’s Rowing, helping to shape student-athletes into top performers both on the water and in the classroom.

John has made a significant impact on the rowing community and has mentored more than 1,200 rowers during his long tenure. Under his leadership, Queen’s Rowers won 20 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships, one national championship, and 96 OUA gold medal individual crew championships. 20 Queen’s rowers went on to compete internationally and former local and Queen’s rowers have represented Canada in the 1984, 1988, 1996, 2012 and 2016 Olympics. He has won numerous rowing coaching awards for his hard work and dedication, including induction into the Kingston and District Sports Hall of Fame. Before retiring in 2016, John spearheaded a fundraising campaign to hire a full-time rowing coach to ensure the future success of the rowing program at Queen’s.

Past Award Recipients

Leader, teacher, friend, role model, visionary. These are the words used to describe Kanonhsyonne Janice Hill, who was named the inaugural Queen’s Director of Indigenous Initiatives in September 2017 after severing seven years as director at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre (FDASC).

Ms. Hill practices a kind of leadership consistent with the Mohawk’s tradition of transmitting sacred knowledge to new generations and opening doors of knowledge. She clears obstacles for others so they can discover and follow their own unique calling. Ms. Hill illuminates practices with familiar symbols, foods, styles of relationships and opportunities in the varied, changing and self-renewing community of Indigenous students at Queen’s.

Many Indigenous students and alumni are the first in their family to earn a university degree and, as such, are exploring unchartered territory while at Queen’s. For them, Ms. Hill’s steady and calming presence has made their journeys much easier and fulfilling.

Ms. Hill’s service to Queen’s dates back to 1989 with her involvement as a research assistant and later an adjunct instructor in the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program.

For the past 27 years, Greg McKellar, Artsci’78, MA’84, has been a stalwart presence in the Queen’s Alma Mater Society (AMS). In his role as Information Officer, he has supported and guided countless students in their various positions within the AMS. The bonds were so strong that many continued to seek Mr. McKellar’s advice years after they graduated. He is a highly respected professional and a much-loved mentor.

Known for his calm demeanour and patient nature, Mr. McKellar was a constant source of institutional knowledge, always available to help interpret bylaws, educate on policies and procedure, and learn from past precedents.

As one former student and 2006 Alumni Mentorship Award recipient, Dr. Andrew Boggs Artsci’96, now residing in London, England, attests, “He has been a support for thousands of students over the years, gently guiding, never lecturing, and providing an example of loyalty, intelligence, and grace. He has made an art of balancing mentorship with support, encouraging students to seek out and find answers to challenges they encounter.”

Former student, Kelly (Steele) Campbell, Artsci’05, recalls how she has kept in touch with Mr. McKellar long after her days at Queen’s. He was there to help celebrate her graduation and wedding day, and he was there to help her through a tragedy in which she lost a best friend. Others have described him as hard-working, dedicated, motivating, and humble.

Regarded by some as this generation’s Padre Laverty, the first and long-term University Chaplain, because of the many lives he has touched throughout his years of dedication, Mr. McKellar is a worthy recipient of the Alumni Mentorship Award.

Greg McKellar was honoured at the QUAA Alumni Awards Gala on April 8, 2017.

Bruce Alexander, Com’60, LLD’11, has a lifetime of experience in law, business and the public sector. He has also sat on Queen’s University Board of Trustees, served as an assistant deputy minister in the Ontario government in both the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Ministry of Community and Social Services. He has walked the hallways with some of Canada’s most powerful and influential people, but it is his mentoring of young people for which he is most celebrated and appreciated.

When Mr. Alexander retired from his legal practice, he followed through on an idea he had to create a mentorship group featuring accomplished women students and professionals from diverse academic, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Mr. Alexander dubbed them “the Shadow Cabinet,” and he has assigned himself the task of cultivating and mentoring them in the hope that they would then strike out on their own to help change their communities, society and the world.

The group now includes more than 20 women living in Toronto and in cities around the world, who gather for public speaking seminars and other outings for personal and professional development. Two years ago, a men’s group followed, and now includes eight members of similar diversity.

In words and deeds, Bruce Alexander is a mentor in the truest sense of the word to young Canadians.

Bruce Alexander was honoured at the QUAA Alumni Awards Gala on April 2, 2016.

Troy McAllister is in a league of his own teaching at Wendell Phillips Academy, on Chicago’s troubled South Side. As head coach of the school’s football program, he has inspired his student athletes to strive for excellence, and in the process, the Wildcats football team has flourished.

Mr. McAllister’s story is the stuff of a Hollywood movie. When the former Gaels player and coach arrived at Wendell Phillips Academy in 2010, the school was on the brink of closure. The school, located in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, was one of the worst in the state. To help rescue Phillips, a local non-profit group, the Academy of Urban School Leadership, came in and wiped the slate blank, giving the school and its students a new opportunity.

Under Coach McAllister, who blends a no-nonsense approach with heavy involvement in players' lives, the team competed in the state championship game last season. This was an amazing feat - in the school's 109-year history, Phillips has never advanced past the second round of the playoffs.

His inspirational teaching and leadership, and his ability to encourage students to dream big is what makes Troy McAllister the definition of an alumni mentor.

Troy McAllister was honoured at the QUAA Alumni Awards Gala on March 28, 2015.

2010 Rob Seeley, Sc'81

2009 David Stratas, Law'84, LLD’12

2007 Michael O'Connor, Sc'68, PhD'76, DSc'92

2006 Andrew Boggs, Artsci’96

Award Eligibility & Criteria

Candidates should be:

  • A Queen’s alumnus/alumna
  • Demonstrated positive leadership attributes in guiding an individual or group
  • Someone who has made a significant and beneficial impact in the lives of others through active guidance and mentoring
  • An individual who has accomplished this service in either a professional or volunteer capacity (preference given to any contribution to Queen’s)

For more information about alumni awards, please contact Lenore Klein, 613-533-6000 ext 78846.