Order of Athabasca University
More information about 2020 Honorees will be announced soon
The Order of Athabasca University is awarded to persons who have rendered exemplary service to Athabasca University or rendered exemplary service to community or society while representing Athabasca University.
On Saturday, June 9, Margaret Mrazek was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of her outstanding dedication to Athabasca University during her term as a public member, vice-chair and interim chair of the Governors of Athabasca University. Ms. Mrazek was appointed vice-chair in December 2013, and from March 17, 2015, until the expiration of her term in July 2017, she served as interim chair of the Board of Governors. A staunch supporter of AU’s mission, she has volunteered countless hours in support of the university and, in 2016, presided over the successful search and selection process that resulted in the appointment of Dr. Neil Fassina as AU’s eighth president. Also under her leadership, The Future is Now: Report of the Presidential Task Force on Sustainability was developed in 2015, and the Independent Third Party Review of AU was carried out in 2017. Together these landmark achievements laid the groundwork for a bright and sustainable future for AU.
Dr. Alvin Finkel
On Thursday, June 8, 2017, Professor Emeritus Dr. Alvin Finkel was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of his commitment to scholarship, service and teaching and his long-standing dedication and commitment to Athabasca University. Dr. Finkel began his AU journey in the university’s formative years and, for more than 30 years, played an important role as both a community member and a faculty leader. One of Canada’s most noted historians, he was a founding contributor to the AU history program. He is also respected for his collegiality and leadership, having served as a founding member of the Athabasca University Faculty Association, in which held a number of executive positions including President, and on the university’s Governing Council and Academic Council for many years.
On Friday, June 9, 2017, Diane Davies was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of her outstanding dedication to Athabasca University during her term as a public member of the Board of Governors (2010-16). Ms. Davies volunteered countless hours in support of the success of AU’s mission. During her tenure on the Board of Governors, she served as Chair of the Finance and Property Committee and was a member of the Executive Committee, the Audit Committee and the Human Resources Committee. Under her leadership, the Finance and Property Committee provided strong governance oversight on financial and property matters. Ms. Davies also served as a member of the Presidential Search Committee in 2013-14 and as a member of the Advisory Search Committee for President in 2016
On Saturday, June 10, 2017, Colette Miller was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of her outstanding dedication to Athabasca University during her term as a public member of the Board of Governors (2013-16). Ms. Miller volunteered countless hours in support the success of AU’s mission. During her tenure on the Board of Governors, she served as Chair of the Audit Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee and the Finance and Property Committee. Under her leadership, the Audit Committee provided strong governance oversight and maintained an open and productive working relationship with external auditors. Ms. Miller also served as a member of the Presidential Search Committee in 2013-14 and as a member of the Advisory Search Committee for President in 2016.
Dr. Terry Anderson
On Thursday, June 9, Dr. Terry Anderson was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of his leadership in distance education and his contributions to scholarship and research at Athabasca University. A prolific researcher, Anderson has received widespread international recognition for his work, including the prestigious Mildred B. and Charles A. Wedemeyer Excellence in Distance Education Award. As AU’s first Canada Research Chair (2001-11) he provided exceptional leadership in the Centre for Distance Education, supporting the scholarship of teaching, promoting research in online learning and being a major catalyst to the establishment of the university’s first doctoral program, the Doctor of Education in Distance Education. He was a co-founder of AU’s social network (the Landing), a co-founder of The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning and a main proponent of the formation of AU Press as an open access press and of AU’s current open access policy.
Mr. Barry J. Walker
On Friday, June 10, Mr. Barry Walker was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of his leadership and his outstanding dedication to Athabasca University during his 10-year term as a public member of the Board of Governors (2004-14), including five years as Board chair (2009-14). During his tenure, he also chaired the Board’s Audit Committee and Finance Committee and served as a member of the Executive Committee and the Human Resources Committee. A chartered accountant, Walker has worked with clients in the Athabasca area since the 1960s, and his firm, Peterson Walker LLP, established a permanent office in the town in 1985. He watched AU grow with interest, and he and his wife Valerie took AU courses out of interest and for professional development. In addition to his participation on the Board and on Board committees, Walker dedicated countless hours to representing AU to the Government of Alberta and to Campus Alberta, to supporting the Open Our World Campaign and to chairing or contributing to executive search and reappointment committees. In 2012, he and his wife established the Walker Family Awards in support of AU students in accounting and child and youth counselling.
Open Our World Campaign Cabinet
On Friday, June 12, 2015, the members of the Open Our World Campaign Cabinet were inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of their commitment to and leadership of Athabasca University’s first institutional campaign. The Open Our World Campaign was a resounding success, achieving its goals of raising awareness of AU and exceeding its goal of raising $30 million in support of student awards, learning innovation, research and community service. The success of the campaign was due in large measure to cabinet members who gave generously of their time and expertise in support of AU’s mission of eliminating barriers to post-secondary learning. Campaign Cabinet members recognized during the ceremony, included James E.C. Carter, Melissa L. Blake, David J. Burnett, Barry Johns, Diego Romero, Joy P. Romero, Curtis W. Stange and David Tuccaro. Two of the Campaign Cabinet members did not qualify to get the Order of Athabasca University as they were Board of Governor and Athabasca University staff members at the time. A special thank you is extended to Heather Kennedy and Michael Shouldice.
James G. Donlevy
On Saturday, June 14, 2014 James G. Donlevy was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of his work in developing a partnership between Athabasca University and the Western Hockey League (WHL). In 2009, Mr. Donlevy contacted Athabasca University to explore the university’s open and flexible delivery system. This contact resulted in a successful partnership, in which the league supports its players in their learning goals through Athabasca University. To date, hundreds of WHL players have become Athabasca University students. Mr. Donlevy was awarded the 2013 WHL Governors Award and he is the 2003 recipient of the University of Alberta Alumni Association’s Honour Award.
Also on Saturday, June 14, 2014 Jill Matthew was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of her commitment and dedication to Athabasca University during her two terms (six years) as a public member of the Board of Governors. During that time she served as Chair of the Audit Committee, as well as a member of the Board Executive and its Finance and Property Committees. Jill was instrumental in guiding the university through major changes in the Audit and Risk Management environments and in building a solid foundation for the next generation of Board leaders. She is currently Vice President of College Services & Chief Financial Officer with NorQuest College.
Albert and Pirkko Karvonen
On Friday, June 7, 2013, Albert and Pirkko Karvonen was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of their contributions to environmental conservation and natural history education in Alberta and their support of Science Outreach – Athabasca. Their company, Karvonen Films Ltd., founded in 1976, specialized in natural history films for television and the educational market and was one of Canada’s premier providers of wildlife images and stock photography to worldwide markets. Karvonen Films Ltd. was sold to the Alberta Conservation Association, a non-profit organization, in November 2011.
Mr. Brian Curial
On Saturday, June 8, 2013, Brian Curial was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of his outstanding support of AU during his six-year term as a member of the Board of Governors (2006-12), during which time he chaired the Governance Committee and served as Board vice-chair (2010). He continues to contribute to AU through his work on the Law School Advisory Panel and through his advice on governance issues facing the post-secondary sector. A corporate commercial lawyer, Curial is a partner in the Edmonton office of Miller Thomson.
RAIC Centre for Architecture Development Group
On Friday, June 8, 2012 the RAIC Centre for Architecture Development Group was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of the members’ efforts towards the development, advocacy and promotion of the AU architecture program. RAIC Group members included David Craddock, Kiyoshi Matsuzaki, David Covo, Ian Macdonald, Carole Scheffer, Jon Hobbs, Stuart Howard, Barry Johns, Vivian Manasc.
Ms. Lisa Priebe
On Friday, June 10, 2011, Ms. Lisa Priebe was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of her dedication to ensuring a high-quality student experience at Athabasca University. Ms. Priebe was first elected to the Athabasca University Students’ Union as a councillor in 2004 and was voted the organization’s president in February 2005. She served as the undergraduate student representative to the Athabasca University Governing Council from December 2004 to March 2008. While a student at AU, Ms. Priebe also founded the AU Science Students’ Society and served as its president and contributed to the AUSU mentor committee.
Dr. Tim Nerenz
On Saturday, June 11, 2011, Dr. Tim Nerenz was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of his efforts to broaden public awareness of Athabasca University and its mission. Dr. Nerenz earned an AU Master of Business Administration degree in 1999. From 1997 to 2003, he served as an member of the Centre for Innovative Management Advisory Board, a body established by Governing Council to oversee the activities of the MBA program. In 2004, he was appointed as the alumni representative to the Athabasca University Governing Council and served in that capacity until November 2010. Dr. Nerenz has been a tireless advocate for AU, always ready to represent the university at alumni and government events, and he has played a significant role in broadening public awareness of AU and its mission, particularly in the United States. As an American citizen, he personifies AU’s international outreach through distance education.
Dr. Dominique Abrioux
On Friday, June 11, 2010, Dr. Dominique Abrioux was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of his leadership and exemplary service to the university. Dr. Abrioux served Athabasca University from 1978 to 2005, occupying the Office of the President from February 1995 to May 2005. During his time as president, student enrolment tripled, the Centre for Research and the Centre for Innovative Management were established, several new programs including the Athabasca University MBA were opened and three Canada Research Chairs were awarded to the university. Dr. Abrioux also presided over the transition from mail to Internet course delivery models. His passion for academic excellence and his commitment to students contributed greatly to making Athabasca University what it is today.
Ms. Joy Romero
On Saturday, June 12, 2010, Ms. Joy Romero was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of her leadership, support and commitment during her time on Athabasca University Governing Council and in recognition of her work in cultivating the launch of the Learning Communities Project, a major research and development initiative, designed to enhance learning opportunities for adults in northern, rural, remote and Aboriginal communities in Alberta. During her term as chair of the AUGC, Athabasca University emerged as a leader in governance principles and practices and was nominated for a national governance award. In addition, Ms. Romero played an integral role in broadening public awareness of AU and its mission throughout Alberta and across Canada.
Mr. Bernard Wiese
On Thursday, June 11, 2009 Mr. Bernard Wiese was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of his significant contributions of two major collections to Athabasca University. Collections of this scope, size, quality and authenticity have added immeasurably to Canada’s creative treasure. The collections are available in Athabasca for the world to use.
On Friday, June 13, 2008 Members of the Athabasca Advocacy Group were inducted into the Order of Athabasca in recognition of their efforts on behalf of Athabasca University resulting in the mobilization of the entire Athabasca community in a concerted effort to obtain funding from the Provincial Government for our capital expansion. The funding received shows a renewed commitment by the Provincial Government in our institution, as well as rural Alberta in general, and is largely due to the efforts of this group. Athabasca Advocacy Group members included Brian W. Bachynski, Jeff Johnson, Robert (Bob) A. Splane, Brian Donald Hall, Greg Skoreyko, Trevor Martin, Dermod C. Madden, Noel H. Major, Richard A. Verhaeghe, Timothy A. Verhaeghe, James Leonard Woodward, Bob Demcoe, Michael Voisin, Della McLean.
On Saturday, June 14, 2008 Mr. David J. Burnett was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of his hard work, focus, and dedication to Athabasca University during his service as both a Member, and subsequently as Chair, of Athabasca University Governing Council. Mr. Burnett was first appointed to Governing Council on November 1, 2000 as a Public Member, and was appointed as Chair on May 10, 2004. Under his leadership; the University underwent a transition from unicameral to bicameral governance, developed and approved a new Strategic University Plan, and experienced unprecedented growth in student population. The benefits of Mr. Burnett’s hard work and dedication to Athabasca University will be felt by our institution for many years to come.
Mr. Lionel Cherniwchan
On Friday, June 8, 2007, Mr. Lionel Cherniwchan was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of his support of AU at both the local and provincial level. Mr. Cherniwchan sat as a public member of Governing Council from March 2000 to July 2006; however his involvement with the university began long before his term on Governing Council as he was involved with the relocation of the university to the Town of Athabasca. Mr. Cherniwchan continues to support AU at both the local and provincial levels, and regularly attends functions in support of our institution.
Ms. Della McLean
On Saturday, June 9, 2007 Ms. Della McLean was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of her continued and ongoing support of AU. Ms McLean sat as a public member of Governing Council from February 1997 to February 2000 and continues to support the university through her contributions of art and culture in the community
and her consistent presence at functions in support of our institution.
Dr. Herbert C. Belcourt
On June 8, 2006, Dr. Herbert C. Belcourt, a member of Athabasca University’s Governing Council from 1997 to 2003, was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of his work creating affordable housing and greater educational opportunities for Métis people. Dr. Belcourt was a founder and the CEO of Canative Housing Corporation, created in 1970 to provide decent, affordable housing for Métis families in Calgary and Edmonton. In 2002, he was instrumental in establishing scholarships for Métis students attending Athabasca University’s School of Business. Dr. Belcourt also chaired the first advisory board for AU’s MBA program, the world’s first online MBA and, today, Canada’s largest Executive MBA program.
Dr. Trilochan S. Bakshi
On June 9, 2006, Dr. Trilochan S. Bakshi, AU’s first faculty member and Dean of Science, was inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of his work in developing the university’s initial distance courses and student services and for his service to the Athabasca community. Dr. Bakshi, who was named Professor Emeritus in 1996, developed and taught courses in biology and environmental sciences. He was a founding member of the Rotary Club of Athabasca. After his retirement in 1991, Dr. Bakshi continued to offer a popular summer course, Wild Flowers, until 2003. He continues his association with the University by volunteering to home-invigilate exams for students with disabilities. Mr. Robert F. Fulton, QC Mr. Robert F. Fulton, QC, will be inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of his leadership of the university during a time of tremendous growth, a period which saw a three-fold increase in student enrolment, the establishment of 16 new bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and the creation of the Centre for Research. Mr. Fulton served two terms on the university’s Governing Council before beginning a six-year term as Chair, a position from which he stepped down in 2004. He was also one of the original members of the Centre for Innovative Management Advisory Board.