Five Students To Receive Agnes Benidickson Tricolour Award

Tricolour award recipients headshots

One Masters student, a medical student, two law students and an undergraduate health studies and life sciences student will receive the Agnes Benidickson Tricolour Award this year – the highest tribute a Queen’s student can receive.

Thompson Hamilton, ArtSci’13, Law’16, Michael Coleman, Law’17, Catherine Wright, ArtSci’15, MIR’16, Graydon Simmons, Meds’16, and Jennifer Williams, ArtSci’16, will officially be inducted into the Tricolour Society at a ceremony on April 2.

The first Tricolour Award was handed out in 1940 and the list of past recipients reads like a who’s who of great Queen’s alumni. The list includes former governor of the Bank of Canada and Chancellor Emeritus David Dodge, Arts’65, former Member of Parliament and “the father of the Canadian Flag” John Matheson, Arts’40, Emmy-winning filmmaker Peter Raymont, Arts’72, successful entrepreneur and star of CBC TV’s Dragon’s Den Michele Romanow, Sc’07, MBA’08, award-winning author and Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson,Arts'71, and Queen’s first female Chancellor Agnes Benidickson (who was honoured in 1941 when it was known as the Tricolour Award).

Graydon knows the history behind the award and is honoured to now be a part of it.

“Queen’s has done so much for me. The award motivates me to keep contributing to the Queen's community to make it a better place,” says Graydon. “Great communities like Queen's run on a culture of people giving back. When I look around at so many of the things that make Queen's special, they exist because certain people took the time and effort to be involved in the community.”

Graydon was involved with the School of Medicine student government for four years. He coordinated the School of Medicine Orientation Week, worked on the Medical Variety Night and worked on curriculum development within the School of Medicine.

Like Graydon, Jennifer also felt honoured when she learned she was one of this year’s honourees.

Jennifer was actively involved with the Alma Mater Society and helped expand Orientation week. One accomplishment she is proud is creating Majors Night where first-year Arts and Science students meet and get advice from upper-year students.

“I had heard from peers and students I have mentored that the process for choosing a plan can be sometimes stressful and confusing. Last year’s inaugural Majors Night brought in just over 1,000 first-year Arts and Science students. My hope is that this program will continue to run in the future as a new long-standing tradition of support,” says Jennifer.

Michael is being honoured for being a tireless champion for equity and diversity both inside the Faculty of Law and in the Kingston community. He was a prison inmate tutor, co-president for the Black Law Students Association and served as a student advisor for the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) and co-commissioner of Queen’s Law Equity and Diversity.

Thompson was chair of the AMS Judicial Committee, served as Vice President of SGPS, and spent several years with Queen’s Legal Aid.   

Catherine was the AMS Municipal Affairs Commissioner and helped establish the “University District” street signs. The area was previously referred to as the “student ghetto” but Catherine wanted to promote a more positive image and foster better relations between students and the community.

The Agnes Benidickson Tricolour Award is given annually by the Office of the Rector to students based on “valuable and distinguished service to the university in non-athletic, extra-curricular activities.”

The Tricolour Society served as a model for Canada's highest civilian honour, the Order of Canada, which John Matheson, Arts’40, helped establish in 1967 as a Member of Parliament.