Feature Story

2021 Alumni Award winners

Celebrating three exceptional Allisonians
By: Kennedy Hunt (’21), Layton Fisher Intern in Philanthropy

Bill Evans (’71)

The Charles Frederick Allison Award

The Charles Frederick Allison Award, named in honour of the University founder, serves to acknowledge an Allisonian who has demonstrated exceptional, lifelong dedication to Mount Allison.

Bill Evans (’71), graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (economics), played intramural hockey, and met his wife at MtA — experiences many Allisonians may find relatable. However, while others may see Mount Allison as a university, Evans refers to it as a “family business.”

His great-grandfather, Thomas Pickard, brother of Mount Allison’s first principal and President, Humphrey Pickard, was the University’s first professor of mathematics and every subsequent generation has attended Mount A.

“I’m a fifth-generation Allisonian — with my three children being the sixth,” says Evans. “It was only natural for me to come to Mount A. I didn’t apply anywhere else.”

Starting in 1974 in the R.P. Bell Library, Evans went on to have an entire career working at the University, retiring in 2012 from the Computing Services Department. 

His first committee involvement was with Doug ‘Stretch’ MacEachern (’54), and Margaret McCain (’54) in 1989, working to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Idea — when Charles Frederick Allison travelled to Fredericton in 1839 to obtain the right to start a school.

“As a first project, I remember this as being very meaningful for me,” he says. “After this point, it seemed as though this type of work found its way into my life.” 

He went on to serve on several University committees, including three Presidential Search Committees. He currently serves on the Class of 1971 50th Reunion Bursary Committee and as the alumni representative on the University Senate.

He served for 12 years as president of the Mount Allison Staff Association, negotiating three collective agreements and never having a formal grievance. He has also been a Sackville town councillor since 2012 and recently retired as chair of the Board of the Sackville Memorial Hospital Foundation.

If you ask Evans what is so special about Mount Allison, his response is quick.

“The people — the connections you make, the intensity of these relationships,” he says.

In 2016, during Evans’ 45th class reunion, this was emphasized when the class decided its 50th reunion project would be a bursary to help welcome first-generation Canadians.

Marilyn Knox (’71)

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of a graduate in their chosen professional field.

Marilyn Knox was one of the last graduates of Mount Allison’s Bachelor of Science in Home Economics — Nutrition program. After graduating, she completed a Dietetic Internship and received both a Graduate Diploma in Nutrition from the University of Toronto and Master’s Certificate in Marketing Communication from York University.

Knox is a leader with over two decades of executive experience in business and government, spanning both private and public sectors. She helps others achieve exceptional results by drawing out their potential — demonstrated through the strength-based leadership coaching she does part-time in retirement.

“I believe it is essential, as a person, to use whatever abilities we have to help society move forward,” she says. “I cannot over-stress the importance of this.” 

These values are mirrored in her extensive involvement in both community and professional organizations, including having served as President of both Ontario and Newfoundland Dietetic Associations, and chair of Cancer Care Ontario and ParticipACTION.

Knox believes her accomplishments were heavily impacted by her ability to find ‘family’ wherever she went — something that began at Mount Allison.

Her advice to current students who wish to become leaders in their area of study is simple.

“The most important thing is to be clear about what matters to you! Figure out your values, what you enjoy doing, keep learning, and try not to worry about everything else,” she says.

Emily Baadsvik (’05)

Contemporary Achievement Award

The Contemporary Achievement Award recognizes an Allisonian who has made outstanding accomplishments early in their career.

“Mount Allison was a great stepping stone, I made lifelong friends,” says Emily Baadsvik (’05).

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in history, Baadsvik, an award-winning rugby player, went on to play rugby at a provincial level before deciding to pursue a different sport in 2010 — bobsleigh.

From 2010-14, Baadsvik was on the women’s national bobsleigh team, successfully representing Canada at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Coincidentally, during this time as an athlete, Baadsvik was inspired to cross over into the realm of business, creating Calgary-based Wild Tea Kombucha.

“I began making my kombucha, giving it to friends as a gift, until I was told I should sell it at the local market,” she says. 

Kombucha is created using bacteria, yeast, and sugared tea to produce fermented tea. 

Baadsvik is currently completing her e-MBA through Queen’s and Cornell Universities, with an expected graduation date in 2022. 

“I am honoured to be the recipient of this award,” she says. “I am eternally grateful to my friends, family, business partner, and the support of everyone who has been in and out of my life — it would not have been possible without them.”