Award information and nomination form:
Electronic nomination | Download a Word document
The Macdonald Distinguished Alumni Award was created by the Macdonald Branch of the McGill Alumni Association to recognize distinguished graduates for their outstanding professional contributions, scholarly distinction and/or service to the community at large. The first Awards were presented at Homecoming 2006.
In 2009, we were pleased to introduce the Macdonald Distinguished Young Alumni Award, which recognizes the achievements and contributions of our younger alumni.
We honour our Distinguished Alumni at Homecoming every year.
Due to the cancellation of on-campus Homecoming 2020 for ongoing health and safety concerns, nominations are deferred until Homecoming 2021.
Congratulations to the recipients of the 2019 Macdonald Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Young Alumni Awards!
Don followed in the footsteps of his uncle Edwin by graduating from Pictou Academy , NSAC and Macdonald, where both studied agricultural chemistry. He married Emilie Ritcey in 1959 and became a resident of the ”Huts” for the next 6 years. Sons Dean and Jeff were brought into the family in 61 and 63. The Chemistry Department with Professors Common (Chairman), Baker, Henneberry and Anastassiadis (graduate supervisor) and fellow grad students comprised Don’s second home where many days and nights were spent isolating and characterizing glycoproteins from the blood of pigs, chickens and cows. On moving to Ottawa and joining the Food Directorate of Health Canada (present name) in 1965, he found another Mac grad family working there and at Agricultural Canada. On Dr Common’s retirement , about 60 of this Ottawa Mac family turned out for his retirement party organized by Don. His organizing skills were put to use when the annual AOAC meeting was first held in Canada. Research on pesticides and chemical contaminants which may be found in foods occupied his working hours for the first 9 years in Ottawa. The rest of his career was devoted to the assessment of the safety in use of pesticides and chemical contaminants such as PCBs and Dioxins which may be present in foods. Expertise in this area resulted in serving on international committees (WHO. OECD, USA FDA etc). In 1999, Don retired as the Director of the Health Evaluation Division of the Pest Management Agency and founded D.L. Grant and Associates where he carried out work for NGOs, industry, federal government departments, New York State and CIDA. A Team of Mac Grads led by Don started the Bob Pugh Golf Classic for the purpose of raising monies to establish scholarships for deserving students at Mac. On the recreational side, 18 years were spent coaching in the Nepean Minor Hockey Association, playing old-timers hockey and building a family cottage. Today daily visits to Movati for exercise and social along with frequent bike rides on trails in Ottawa and elsewhere are enjoyed. Although Emilie passed away after 55 years together, Don is fortunate in that his 2 sons and 4 of 5 grandchildren live close by in Ottawa.
Valérie Toupin-Dubé Agr took action to improve community welfare, particularly among children, youth and individuals with special needs. It all began when she identified a lack of awareness of issues such as agriculture and nutrition both locally and regionally. In 2012, while she was a student at McGill University, she started volunteering with the Macdonald Student-run Ecological Garden. This is a community-supported initiative, which serves as a space for students to learn about agricultural production and to supply sustainable fruits and vegetables to the West-Island community of Montreal and McGill students. During that time, she co-founded the Out of the Garden Project Café and the Farm-to-School Project to increase knowledge around local food and responsible procurement. This project allowed numerous young people at the Macdonald Campus to gain a better comprehension of where their food comes from and the implications of growing food in a northern climate, like ours. Following her graduation in 2016, Valérie became an agronome and spearheaded the transitioning of the Farm-to-School project from a student club to an independent non-profit where she has received the Laure Waridel Bursery: École-O-Champ Québec. Qu’a-t'il de meilleur que d’apprendre dans le champ, she says! Over the past year, she has led the organization’s rapid growth. Today, they work with numerous schools and farms across Quebec. École-O-Champ’s moto is to reconnect people to their source of living; it offers educational summer camps and provides activities, conferences and workshop in innovative agriculture and various outreach initiatives, in addition to programs that include agriculture, environment and nutrition literacy. Last year the community of youth has participated in the preservation of the Melon D’Oka, in Oka; they provided the restaurant Le Mousseau in Montreal with 300 melons and have preserved the seeds for this year’s production. École-O-Champ was approached this year by the new owner of the Abbaye d’Oka to become an official partner and partake in programs such has agrarian history of the region and spreading it to the community. The program is run like a boot camp for youth and kids - they learn in the field by observing and asking question, gain new perspectives for their future career path, explore different environmental choices, and get their hands dirty!
In 2009, we launched our Distinguished Young Alumni Award. Ten years later, we have asked our past recipients to reflect on the meaning of this award.
First recipient of the Macdonald Campus Distinguished Young Alumni Award, October 2009.
Anne studied at McGill University’s Macdonald Campus from 1999 to 2004, obtaining both her BSc in Agriculture and her MSc in Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering. She has worked in the agricultural sector since she graduated and has held different positions and worked on a wide range of projects in Canada, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. When she was nominated and obtained the first Macdonald Campus Distinguished Young Alumni Award in October 2009, she was working in Haiti as a volunteer with local farmers on an agro-environmental and food security project. Receiving this award was a great honour and inspired her to pursue her passion and continue with her work. Today, Anne is the Director and Founder of her consultancy company called Solanum Consulting, which is based in Barbados. Her main focus has been to promote and encourage the use of resilient, innovative and sustainable approaches and solutions in agriculture, particularly with vulnerable groups such as small-scale and subsistence farmers, rural women and youth and indigenous communities across the Caribbean. Apart from that, Anne does shade house farming of vegetables and is expanding her activities to include climate-controlled gourmet mushroom production in the near future. She has been accepted to pursue a PhD in Environmental Studies at the University of the West Indies and is the mother of two boys. She would like to encourage other young women and men to promote and apply for the Macdonald Campus Distinguished Young Alumni Award and would also like to inspire more youth into the agricultural sector.
Macdonald Campus Distinguished Young Alumni Award, October 2010
Sustainability Consultant, Centre local de développement (CLD) of Brome-Missisquoi
This award brought me recognition in my career domain and allowed me to discover the beautiful tradition that is Homecoming.
Macdonald Campus Distinguished Young Alumni Award, October 2011
I was very pleased to win the Macdonald Young Alumni Award in 2011. As en entrepreneur, a distinction like this is always good to build your brand and recognition among your community. Tourne-Sol Co-operative Farm is a collective enterprise built by Mac Graduates that is very well respected among Canadian organic vegetable growers as well as in our community in Vaudreuil-Soulanges and the West Island of Montreal.
Macdonald Campus Distinguished Young Alumni Award, October 2012
Associate Professor of Biology and Curator of Fishes, LSU Museum of Natural Science
The Macdonald Distinguished Young Alumni Award means the world to me. Mac was where I learned to be an adult and a scientist, and that I could be recognized for having “made it” by my alma mater gave me a great deal of pride in my accomplishments and led to several other important recognitions.
Macdonald Campus Distinguished Young Alumni Award, October 2016
Sarah just completed her Masters and is now Program Manager North Amercia for Pur Project a supply-chain sustainability consultancy.
Receiving the Distinguished Young Alumni Award was an absolute honour. @McGillMacCampus is recognized as a leader in agricultural research and teaching. This award has catalyzed my ability to open doors into the supply-chain sustainability and agroecology space.
Macdonald Campus Distinguished Young Alumni Award, October 2017
PhD candidate Human Nutrition currently doing an internship at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.
Receiving the Macdonald Distinguished Young Alumni Award was a very humbling and enabling experience as this award recognizes and values the inspiring works of McGill Alumni. Not only did it give voice to some of my personal experiences and aspirations, but it also allowed me to reaffirm my motivations and inspired me to keep challenging myself in my career.
Macdonald Campus Distinguished Young Alumni Award, October 2018
Associate Scientist at Chew Innovation in Boston, Mass.
Last time I was at Macdonald I found a proud, inspiring and strong supportive community as well as my first job in the food industry – this award changed my life.