Marie Delorme (left) is a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program. Barbara Barnes recently graduated with her PhD from the same program. / Photo: Benny LinThis spring, The Native Centre held its 19th annual graduation celebration and pow-wow to celebrate the success of our aboriginal students and to recognize student leaders, faculty and staff members—each whom have made significant contributions to the aboriginal learner community on campus. This year, the university celebrated 109 aboriginal graduates from 10 different programs including several masters level graduates and two PhD graduates.
“The growth of our aboriginal campus community can be attributed to the fact that the university is providing students with a culturally appropriate environment that encourages and supports their academic success. Our special recognition awards allow us to single out university and/or aboriginal community members who have provided strong leadership and helped us to enable aboriginal students to succeed at the University of Calgary,” says Shawna Cunningham, director of The Native Centre.
The ceremony this year honoured two graduating students, one current student, two faculty members and one senior administrator with special recognition awards.
One of the student recipients is Barbara Barnes, a doctoral graduate and member of the Six Nations reserve in Ontario. Barnes—who received all three of her degrees from the U of C—was awarded the Dr. Olive Dickason Award in recognition of her accomplishments in spite of adversity and life challenges.
In spite of physical challenges including the loss of vision in her left eye due to glaucoma at a young age, Barnes succeeded in both her studies and community work. Her dissertation, entitled Native Students’ Identity in Higher Education: Merging, Emerging or Struggling?, relates to her involvement on and off campus; she worked full-time with youth at Hull Child and Family Services, as well as volunteered with the First Nations Students Association and The Native Centre.
Ann Tierney, vice-provost (students), received the Honourable Dr. Ralph Steinhauer Award in recognition of her advocacy for aboriginal students. She notes that as the aboriginal community on campus has grown, so has the support system that has been created by students, staff and faculty alike.
“The university as a whole strives to provide a welcoming environment for Aboriginal students. The programs and services run by The Native Centre as well as faculty staff and students working together on initiatives, such as Native Awareness Week, allow students to celebrate their community on campus, and share knowledge and advocacy with others," says Tierney.
The special recognition awards were given at the annual Aboriginal Graduation Banquet and Pow-Wow on June 12, 2010.
To learn more about the accomplishments of the award winners, visit www.ucalgary.ca/nativecr.