Distinguished Alumni

Alumni Awards and Recipients

VIU Alumni Association recognizes the outstanding accomplishments and achievements of VIU alumni by offering our Distinguished Alumni Awards. The honorary awards celebrate a standard of excellence and innovation which is exemplary to students, faculty and staff.

Distinguished Alumni Awards consists of three categories:

  • Professional Achievement - The recipient will have earned provincial, national or international prominence as a result of their exceptional professional achievements.
  • Early Achievement - The recipient will have demonstrated outstanding achievement within 10 years of receiving a credential from Vancouver Island University. Areas of achievement could include endeavours in their professional, research, community service, business, athletics or the arts.
  • Service to Society - The recipient exhibits integrity and a demonstrated commitment to service to society through an interest in bettering the lives of others through volunteer leadership, humanitarian endeavours and community and public service.

Nominations are accepted in September each year. Please fill out the VIU Honorary Alumni Award Intent to Nominate form and submit it to the Advancement & Alumni Relations Office.

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Professional Achievement Award Recipients

2019 Luu Gaahlandaay (Kevin Borserio) (Associate of Arts and Science '82)

As Director of the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program (SHIP), Borserio has spent more than two decades providing the gentle leadership and linguistic mastery needed to propel SHIP from a community language program to an internationally recognized blueprint for language and culture revitalization. Together with the Haida Elders who are the program’s language professors, Borserio has spent more than two decades helping them create a legacy that includes a Skidegate Haida dictionary with more than 26,000 words; resources for schools, including 85 children’s books; an archive of stories and words; more than 280 CD-ROMs; and an app with 2,000 words and 500 phrases available to anyone with an Internet connection.

2013 Chief Douglas White III (BA with Distinction '00)

2012 Don Hubbard (Heavy Equipment Operator '66; ABE '71; BA in Anthropoloy)

2011 Chef Bernard Casavant (Culinary Arts '76)

2010 Warren Erhart (Hotel & Restaurant Management '76)

2009 Terence Fitzgerald (Arts '92)

2005 Edwin Johnston (Hairdressing Certificate '87)

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Early Achievement Award Recipients

2019 Alexis McIntyre (Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies '12)

MacIntyre grew up in Nanaimo and studied jazz guitar at VIU, graduating in 2012 with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies. While at VIU, the linguistics and anthropology electives she took led her to question the disciplinary boundaries that separate the arts from the sciences. After stints working at the Nanaimo and Victoria conservatories of music, she followed her husband to Ontario, where her curiosity about the cognitive science of music – or how the human brain perceives, processes and produces music – led her to Dr. Jessica Grahn’s Neuroscience and Music Lab in the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University. As a research assistant, she helped with projects ranging from measuring how people from different cultures feel and move along to rhythms, to refining the use of music to help people with Parkinson’s disease improve their walking movements.

With her curiosity fully piqued, MacIntyre moved to the UK to pursue a master’s degree in music and science at the University of Cambridge, fully supported by a Canada Cambridge Scholarship. Now as a doctoral candidate in cognitive neuroscience at University College London, she’s researching speech rhythm, seeking to more accurately characterize speech rhythms so that researchers can better understand what is going wrong when an injury or disorder affects a person’s ability to produce or perceive speech in real time.


2016 Katelin Albert (Bachelor of Arts '08)

2015 Dr. Skye Creba (BSc in Biology '06)

2014 Serene Kerpan (BA in Physical Education & History '08)

2013 Lynne Burns (BSc in Biology '04)

2012 Owen Stechishin (BSc in Biology '06)

2010 Rebekah Shoop (BSc in Nursing with Distinction '02)

2009 Dr. Tanya Griffiths (BSc '00)

2007 Dr. Aaron R. Jex (BSc in Biology '00)

2006 Alison Keple (BSc in Biology '99)

2005 Dr. Chris Whipps (BSc in Biology '97)

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Service to Society Award Recipients

2014 Malerie Meeker (Early Childhood Education and Care Diploma '86) has made exceptional contributions to VIU and to society throughout her career as an educator and activist in Powell River's community living sector. Retiring in 2010 as an educator and program coordinator at VIU's Powell River campus, Meeker continued to work on contract as an advocate for people with developmental disabilities. Her work has had profound impacts on individuals, families, early childhood education practitioners and students. Please view the VIU News article for further details. Watch Malerie's acceptance speech on our VIU Alumni Association YouTube Channel.

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