Distinguished Alumni Award

About the Award

The Distinguished Alumni Awards celebrate the achievements of graduates from UBC iSchool. The Awards recognize exceptional accomplishments by our alumni at the local, regional, national or global level.

Who is eligible?

Nominees must be UBC iSchool graduates, and must consent to being nominated for the award. Nominations are encouraged from colleagues, fellow alumni and employers.

When is the deadline?

Nominations for the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award have closed. The recipient will be notified in September, and recognized during the iSchool Awards Gala celebration in November.


Past Award Winners

Sandra Singh (MLIS '97)
Sandra Singh is a National Public Library Treasure. Her contributions to the public library community at the local and national level, and all Canadians are grateful for these offerings.

Kathryn Shoemaker (MACL '06, Ph.D. (LLED) '14)
Kathie's career has been devoted to the creation and teaching of children's literature. Her multifaceted approach to teaching, her service as a mentor, her energy and passion for books - publishing, illustration, production and more - have left an indelible mark on the local and national publishing community.

Kit Pearson

Jason Woolman (MAS '09)

Ann Curry is renowned for her inspirational teaching, which earned her both the prestigious UBC Killam Teaching Award and the ALISE Award for Teaching Excellence in Library & Information Science while a Professor at UBC iSchool. But her influence extends well beyond the classroom. She is a dedicated researcher whose work challenges and informs practice, bringing teaching, research, and professional service into a unified whole. Ann also works tirelessly with the British Columbia Library Association and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association to defend and promote the principles of intellectual freedom in Canada. Her sharp mind and soft heart manifest in an award winner with a passion for librarianship that is combined with high academic standards, a strong moral compass and real life experiences.

Judith Saltman: A former children’s librarian, Judith is dedicated to the field of children’s literature; as a writer, active contributor and advocate. As an academic researcher at UBC iSchool, Judith has contributed enormously to the field of children’s literature, authoring two books considered seminal works. The founding chair of the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature (MACL) at UBC, Judith is a recognized mentor for the degree, and has supported more than 30 graduates as supervisor or as a member of a thesis committee. A renowned teacher, Judith’s enormous influence on students, writers and librarians has been recognized with two awards: UBC’s prestigious Killam Teaching Award and the Canadian Library Association/Canadian Association of Public Libraries/Brodart Outstanding Public Library Service Award.

Elizabeth Denham: Elizabeth was instrumental in the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s 2010 investigation of Facebook, making the ruling which affected the social networking site’s 350 million worldwide users. She has worked her way up to her current position as Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia, holding similar positions of authority in other Information & Privacy agencies. As the City Archivist for Richmond, Vancouver, Elizabeth established the professionally managed civic and community archives. In the same role for Calgary, she established and staffed the 1998 Winter Olympics archives. She is renowned for her pioneering work for the Archives Association of Alberta, and for initiating the creation of a records and archives program at the Calgary Area Health Authority.

Shelley Sweeney: Shelley is a dedicated and tireless promoter of archives, archival organizations and archival education at the local, national and international levels, leading sessions, classes, workshops and seminars right across Canada. In addition to mentoring young archivists, she has participated in thesis defense committees for students in several disciplines. A founding member of the Saskatchewan Council of Archives and the Saskatchewan Archivists Society, she has also raised the profile of the University of Manitoba as an important site for study. Shelley co-wrote the original Code of Ethics for Archivists for the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA), and has been active in several professional associations including serving as president of ACA and Editor of the ACA Bulletin.

Dean Giustini: In the field of health librarianship, Dean’s work is highly acclaimed and respected. An innovator and scholar, recognized as a Library Journal Mover and Shaker, he has been a persistent advocate of integrating social technology into the healthcare world, creating the online knowledge base (wiki), UBC HealthLib, for Health Librarians. His groundbreaking articles in British Medical Journal have shaped how healthcare providers view the Internet, and the role health information professionals can provide in healthcare. A devoted librarian, Dean is passionate about his field and the development of future professionals. In addition to his work with the UBC Library, he teaches at the iSchool and at Langara College, allowing him to indulge his other interest – working as a dedicated mentor.

Ingrid Parent: distinguished career includes 30 years with Library and Archives Canada/National Library of Canada, working on various aspects of bibliographic services and acquisitions, and more than 20 years of service at the National Library. She has held the position of Assistant Deputy Minister with Library Archives Canada, and has an impressive record of government and NGO board membership. As the first Canadian to be elected President of the International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions (IFLA), Ingrid has represented the profession on an international stage. As a bilingual Western Canadian, she active in the French library association ASTED, and in international French language librarianship.

Peter Van Garderen: Peter’s enthusiasm and commitment to technologies for the archival profession has led to the development of a solution that is a real, tangible application for archival institutions. He founded Artefactual Systems Inc. and developed ICA A to M – free and user-friendly open source archival software compliant with international archival standards. Peter’s leadership and vision for digital preservation in Canada, translated into a tangible network of partners and development projects, has seen the city of Vancouver emerge as a leader in this area. His energy, his intellectual appetite, his enthusiasm and his passion for archives are truly inspiring, and his commitment to cultivating and empowering archival institutions and communities contributed significantly to the development of this important influence in the archival profession.

Cate McNeely: is well known within public library circles as an innovator and visionary. Her dedication to the principle of excellence in customer service for public libraries resulted in the creation of the Ironwood Branch of Richmond Public Library, opened in 1998 as the ‘Library of the Future’ – an emphasis on technology, popular collections and multilingual resources. Through consultancy, conferences and workshops, she shares the philosophy and service techniques behind the branch’s success. Cate encourages others to embrace new customer service opportunities to attain success; working with libraries across North America to extensively merchandise their collections has changed the look of public libraries and resulted in all-time high circulations.

Laura Millar: An inspiration to many, Laura encourages the Canadian archival community and fellow archivists and information professionals to strive for professional excellence and advancement of the field. Active in several professional associations and committees, she leads by example and her work has made a long-term contribution to the development of the profession and discipline of archives. During her employment with the International Records Management Trust, she produced a series of educational modules for archivists in the developing world, relating to the preservation of electronic records, and created a report for the International Council on Archives and UNESCO. Laura has taught widely and as a mentor, she is known to be unfailing encouraging and kind.

Sarah Ellis: Sarah is a passionate and charismatic defender and promoter of Canadian literature, authors, illustrators and publishers. She has devoted her professional and creative writing life to promoting, both in Canada and abroad, Canadian children’s literature and publishing, literacy, and library services for youth. She writes in all genres, and her first children’s book, published in the 1980s, won the Governor Generals Literary Award, the BC Book Prizes Children’s Literature Award and the TD Children’s Literature Prize. During 35 years as a writer, lecturer, columnist and critic, her critical writing and reviews have given her ideas international exposure. An outstanding and inspired writer, speaker, and storyteller, Sarah is an indefatigable force representing Canada nationally and on the international stage.

Suzanne Dodson for contributions to government depository and preservation initiatives

Janice Douglas for promoting library youth services and collaboration among libraries

Nancy Hunnum for public legal education and advancement of library services in First Nations communities

Jim Henderson for networking medical libraries through innovative programs and technologies

Chris Hives for leading contributions to archival development locally and nationally

Gary Mitchell for vision and leadership in support of community archives

Thomas Quigley for groundbreaking efforts in the field of literacy

Bill Richardson for popular award-winning contributions to Canadian culture

Phyllis Simon for successful promotion of children's literature and publishing

Paul Whitney for advocacy and coalition building on key issues of public access to information

Brian Campbell (MLS, 1981) is director of systems and planning for the Vancouver Public Library. Mr. Campbell provides leadership in testing and implementation of networks and advanced technologies, research activities and building planning. As the chair of provincial and national information access and policy task forces, Brian Campbell is a passionate and successful advocate for equitable access to information by all citizens.

Barbara Clubb (BLS, 1971),  chief executive officer of the Ottawa Public Library, has provided leadership for a number of provincial and national library associations and provincial library development agencies. Ms. Clubb's skills in organizational analysis, strategic planning and marketing have enabled many public libraries across the country to meet the needs of their communities more effectively.

Ernie Ingles (MLS, 1974) is currently associate vice-president for learning systems at the University of Alberta where his portfolio includes libraries, computing and network services, telecommunications, museums and collections, audio and video services, archives and records management, the bookstore, the university press and university information enterprises. Past President of the Canadian Library Association, past executive director of the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions, founder of Northern Exposure to Leadership, Mr. Ingles is a tireless library leader and role model.

Gene Joseph (MLS, 1982) is head of the Xwi7xwa Library at the First Nations House of Learning at the University of British Columbia. From the time of graduation until her current position, Ms. Joseph has been an information and management consultant to a wide variety of First Nations including the Office of the Hereditary Chiefs of the Gitskan and Wet'suwet'en People in one of the largest court cases held in Canada. Gene Joseph is an eloquent and articulate spokesperson for the information needs of First Nations peoples.

Heather MacNeil (MAS, 1987) is a doctoral student in interdisciplinary studies in archival studies, law and history at UBC, focusing on documentary evidence as the verification of truth by means of proof from the perspective of each of these disciplines. Ms. MacNeil's MAS thesis formed the basis for her book Without consent: The ethics of disclosing personal information held in public archives (Scarecrow, 1992). Most recently archivist with the National Archives, Heather MacNeil is a thoughtful contributor to archival theory and practice.

Angela Thacker (BLS, 1968) is executive assistant of the Association for Teacher-librarianship in Canada. As a past president of provincial and national school library associations, former editor of provincial and national school library publications, initiator of standards and guidelines for school library programs, Angela Thacker continues to be a well-known leader in the field of teacher-librarianship.