Class of 2021 honoured in virtual Last Lecture | Mount Allison


Class of 2021 honoured in virtual Last Lecture

Graduating student awards were presented at second virtual ceremony
By: Melissa Lombard

The seventh annual Last Lecture, recognizing graduates for their contributions to the Mount Allison and Sackville communities, was held virtually for the second year in a row on April 29, 2021.

The graduating class chose three professors to speak at this year’s Last Lecture, capturing the synthesis of Mount Allison’s liberal arts and sciences education — Dr. Michael Fox (Geography and Environment), Dr. Robbie Moser (Philosophy), and Dr. Vicki St. Pierre (Music/Dean of Arts).

A number of major graduating awards were handed out during the evening.

Traditionally the Don Norton Memorial Award was given to the top male graduating student and the Frances S. Allison Award to the top female graduating student. In 2020, the award criteria for these two awards were amended to be more inclusive and now may recognize any graduating student who meet the other criteria of the awards.

Cole Smolensky

The Don Norton Memorial Award went to Cole Smolensky. The award honours a graduating student who, during their final year, makes the greatest overall contribution to University life. Smolensky has been a residence assistant, a teaching assistant, involved with the Biochemistry Society, and most recently served as President of the Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative chapter on campus. She is also a member of the varsity women’s basketball program.

Maggie Pickard

The Frances S. Allison Award was awarded to Maggie Pickard. The award recognizes any graduating student whose record combines high academic achievement, extensive extracurricular involvement, and outstanding service to their peers and the community. Pickard has been involved with MASU, Shinerama, Orientation, Best Buddies, Women in Science, The Rose Campaign, Health Care Outreach, Women’s Rugby, Global Brigades, and worked as a TA and tutor.

The Charlie Hunter Award is presented to a student who has shown exemplary student leadership and demonstrated commitment to student involvement and engagement during their time at Mount Allison. This year’s recipient was Brandon Pineo. Brandon has positively contributed to the student experience throughout their work with residence and clubs and societies. Starting in second year, they were house president. In their final two years, their work with clubs and societies, and continued work with residence life despite no longer living in residence, has made a huge contribution to the community and the impact will be seen on campus long after they have left.

Bethany Baert

Bethany Baert was presented with the Gil Latter Memorial Award, which honours a student who has volunteered their time and demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the Sackville community. Helping to establish programs such as Community Connect, which helps to combat senior isolation and food insecurity during the pandemic, her work has helped turn this club into a community engaged learning course at Mount Allison. As well, over her four years, she made a long-term commitment to community-based clubs such as Camp and Best Buddies and has volunteered with Community Food Smart. 

Four Gold A Awards were also presented during the Last Lecture to recognize graduating students who have made outstanding contributions to the University community. This year’s recipients were Jonathan Ferguson, Kiara Bubar, Lauren Dessureault, and Maggie Ivimey.

Aisha Matias Vega

The 2021 Barritt-Marshall Award went to Aisha Matias Vega. The award honours the graduating international student whose contributions to the internationalization of campus and the community have helped to promote cross-cultural understanding and co-operation. Matias Vega has been a dedicated member of the international mentorship program; volunteered as an international orientation facilitator and took on the leadership role of International Orientation chair in 2019. She served as the social chair in Thornton House, worked as a TA, and with the Meighen Centre to support students and staff with their programs and services. In her final year, she took on an executive position in the newly-formed International Students’ Association — New Brunswick, the first of its kind in our province.

Raven Stephens

The Chris Metallic Prize in Indigenous Leadership was awarded to Raven Stephens. The award was established by the Class of 2016 and recognizes a student who makes the greatest contribution to the indigenization of campus. A graduating Mi’kmaw student from Millbrook First Nation, Stephens has been an integral part of the Indigenous Student Support Group, a co-chair for the last two years. She also helped develop Indigenous Gardens on campus during an internship this past summer. 

University Leadership Pins were presented to graduating students in recognition of their extensive co-curricular leadership on campus or in the local Sackville community. Recipients include: Amy Walker, Angelica Whiteway, Bronwyn Williams, Caitlin O’Connor, Emily Shaw, Emma Jacobson, Hudson Biko, Isabelle Dolan, Julia Campbell, Kayla Blanchard, Kristie Earles, Linnea Bidder, Michael Cormier, Michelle Roy, Natasha Gosselin, Olivia Bizimungu, Shannon Dill, Sophie Hartlen, Sydney Thorburn, and Victoria MacBeath.