2014 Alumni Association Awards of Excellence winners

Photo du prix d’excellence de l’Association des diplômés de l’Université d’Ottawa. | Picture of the University of Ottawa Alumni Association Award of Excellence

Gilles Patry (BASc '71, MASc '73) - Meritas Tabaret Award for Alumni Achievement

Gilles Patry

When he first registered at the University of Ottawa, in pre-science, as a 16 year old, Gilles Patry never thought that one day he would be sitting in the president's office. But several decades later, from 2001 to 2008, it was he who would guide the University through a period of unprecedented growth on all fronts, managing capital spending of more than $300 million and helping the University build its national and international reputation for research.

Dr. Patry was the first University president to be born and educated in the region and to have extensive experience in the private sector, having begun his career as an engineer and a consultant. After a first taste of university teaching, he made his name as an entrepreneur, founding Hydromantis, today a global leader in modelling of water and wastewater treatment plants, in 1985.

Dr. Patry's wealth of experience, both in the private sector and the university milieu, underpins the transformational influence he has had both in his profession and in the larger community. The University of Ottawa scholarship that bears his name is a reflection of the man, being awarded to students who distinguish themselves in both their academic achievements and their community engagement.

Dr. Patry is currently president and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, which funds research infrastructure in universities, hospitals and other research institutions. His continued service to Canadian society has earned him numerous honours, including membership in the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario.

David W. Scott (LLB '60, DU '01) - Alumnus of the Year

David W. Scott

Fifty years after starting a career as one of Canada's most respected lawyers, David W. Scott is still going strong as a jurist, community leader and benefactor.

It's in large part to Scott that University of Ottawa students owe the most recent and impressive contribution to their quality of education: a genuine courtroom, with an adjoining classroom where students can watch real live hearings. In addition to its great educational value, the Ian G. Scott Courtroom, which was opened in 2013, speaks to the determination and powers of persuasion of David Scott, who led the fundraising campaign.  The courtroom , unique in Canada, is dedicated to Scott's late brother, the Hon. Ian G. Scott, also a renowned lawyer, and a former attorney general of Ontario.

David W. Scott has had a brilliant career, one in which he has tackled the hard cases. He is a specialist in civil litigation who has represented many major clients. Currently, he is co-chairperson of Borden Ladner Gervais, where he is general counsel and commercial arbitrator. 

Scott is still active in the community, and is a member of the board of directors of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Over the years, he has given of his time and efforts to many community and charitable organizations, including the United Way, the John Howard Society, CARE Canada and the Canadian Stroke Network.

For his contribution to the legal profession and his charitable activities, he was named to the Order of Canada in 2011, adding to his many other honours, which include the Ontario Bar Association Award for Excellence in Civil Litigation and honorary doctorates from the Law Society of Upper Canada and the University of Ottawa.

Robert (Bob) Gorman (B.Sc. 1975) - Commitment to the University

Robert (Bob) Gorman

After completing undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Ottawa, Robert Gorman took a turn towards high finance, where he was more likely to dissect markets and investment strategies, to the benefit of his clients.

A Chartered Financial Analyst, Gorman joined TD Asset Management in 1987. There, he established the TD Mutual Fund family, before starting what is now TD Wealth Private Investment Counsel, Canada's largest manager of private portfolios and a leader in applying technology to the investment process.  

Today, as chief portfolio strategist of TD Wealth, Gorman is frequently called upon for market analysis and commentary by the media, who value his straightforward style and clear explanations of risks and opportunities for investors. His group manages assets of more than $211 billion Canadian. 

The passage of time hasn't diminished Gorman's loyalty to his alma mater. He remains a faithful ally. In addition to taking part in the broader activities of the University alumni community, Gorman has created two scholarships at the University of Ottawa, one for student-athletes and one for students in environmental studies, to encourage the development of this discipline. 

Through his successful career and his charitable activities, Gorman has made a real contribution to the spread of the University of Ottawa's values of excellence and social engagement.

Aliya-Jasmine Sovani (B.A. 2005) - Young Alumni

Aliya-Jasmine Sovani

Completely at home in the whirlwind where sports meet popular culture, Aliya-Jasmine Sovani has interviewed her share of athletes and celebrities.  From Tom Cruise to Wayne Gretzky, no one gets away without answering this charming host's disarming questions. Sovani can just as easily tease mixed martial arts champion Georges Saint-Pierre about his literary aspirations as talk baseball player José Reyes into creating a special handshake for her.

In addition to her stand-out work as an interviewer, Aliya-Jasmine Sovani has also had notable stints as a journalist, host and producer on MTV Canada, MuchMusic, Fashion Television, Logo TV, The NHL Network, TSN and the Discovery Channel. Almost a decade after she graduated from the University of Ottawa, she's a rising star on the Canadian media scene. Audiences who first saw her on CTV's Olympic Morning during the Vancouver Games can now find her on MTV Canada, where she hosts and produces her own show, Play with AJ.

Sovani chose journalism because she wanted to make a difference. She now uses her connection with audiences to explore important social issues, be it the Haitian earthquake, women's and girls' rights in Sudan, bullying or the environment. For example, the breast cancer awareness video in which she appears, Save the Boobs, went viral, showing how much influence a creative, gutsy young alumna can have. She is currently working with NHL Legend Scott Nierdermayer as 'Canadians for the Great Bear' a conservation attempt to save Canada's last temperate rainforest.

Dr. Noni MacDonald - Community Service


Dre Noni MacDonald

The first pediatrician in Canada to be certified in pediatric infectious diseases, the first woman to be named dean of a Canadian faculty of medicine, founder of the University of Ottawa Division of Infectious Diseases  —  Dr. Noni MacDonald is nothing if not a pioneer. Her reputation as a champion of youth health and a leader in pediatric infectious disease is unquestioned, in Canada and abroad.  

MacDonald's career has shown her to be a woman who spares neither time nor effort to find solutions to the problems she encounters. For example, she developed a health information system protocol in Belize, which caused the hospitalization rate in that country to drop. She has also worked in Africa, where her MicroResearch program provides health professionals with the funds and the tools they need to carry our research on local health matters.

For MacDonald, health is an issue without borders, a practical outlet for her drive to innovate and her ability to bring people together.   She works with both the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology and the World Health Organization as a vaccine specialist.

MacDonald, who worked in Ottawa for 18 years as a researcher, clinician and professor, is currently a professor of pediatrics at Dalhousie University and a clinician at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. She has written more than 300 scientific articles and is often asked by the media for comment on health-related matters, testament to her value as an expert in Canada and elsewhere.

Ruth Freiman - Honorary Member of the Alumni Association


Ruth Freiman

In addition to alumni, the uOttawa extended family also includes loyal friends whose connection to the University stems from the same commitment to education and knowledge creation.

Ruth Freiman is one of those faithful allies who give generously of their time and expertise to the University. As a member of the Board of Governors from 2007 to 2013, Freiman contributed to the sound management of the University during difficult economic times.  She sat on several board committees, including finance and treasury, making a notable contribution to many projects and discussions. She has also shown her support by regularly taking part in University activities.

Freiman is currently chief executive officer of HOWO, a real estate and financial investment company in Berlin, Germany. 

Freiman has been very active in the arts scene, and was owner and director of Robertson Galleries in Ottawa and vice-chairperson of the board of directors of the National Gallery of Canada.  She has also helped many Canadian artists become known by selling and appraising art collections for the private and public sectors.

Over the years, Freiman has also offered her talents to other groups and associations, including Congregation Beth Shalom, the Ottawa Congress Centre and Hillel Academy.

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