Award honours outstanding employees

On October 31, the Principal’s award for administrative and support staff were given to employees for outstanding achievement. Recipients of the award were invited to accept their award at the convocation ceremony taking place at Place des Arts. Read more »
From left to right: Allan Oliver, Donna Wilkinson, Tony Vaccaro, Geneviève Leroux and Anthony Howell are the recipients of the Principal’s award for 2012

On October 31, the Principal’s award for administrative and support staff were given to employees for outstanding achievement.  Recipients of the award were invited to accept their award at the convocation ceremony taking place at Place des Arts.

Among the 35 nominations submitted in June, candidates were selected for their outstanding contribution to their unit or faculty in five categories:  trades and services, clerical, technical, management/professional and team.  An exception was made this year as two awards were handed out in the management category.

Here are this year’s winners:

Allan T. Oliver, Energy Control Technician, Building Operations, Facilities Operations & Development, University Services (Trades and Services category)

After 37 years at McGill, Allan Oliver is as passionate about his work as day one.  As Lead-Hand Control Technician for the maintenance of the Building Automation System, he has captured in his mind most of the complex electro-mechanical systems on campus.  He has established relationships with a large academic and research clientele within McGill over the years.

Allan puts in countless hours making sure that building system interruptions are kept to a minimum.  He is an active and valued member of the Committee of Experts that was created to troubleshoot issues relating to the efficient operation of our building systems.

Allan describes himself as “just another McGill soldier”, working for the man whose statue graces the downtown campus. In his own way, he contributes to the University’s mission, always exploring cutting edge energy technology. His motto:  “What you have done, someone has done before you. What you are doing, someone will do after you. Do the best with the time you have.”  Allan is the one to call when no one has been able to resolve an issue. He is a team player who goes above and beyond the call of duty.


Anthony Howell, Curatorial Technician, Redpath Museum (Technical category)

Anthony Howell knows a thing or two about animal species, especially if the species are extinct and irreplaceable, which means taking great care to make sure they remain well preserved.

The zoology collections at Redpath Museum are the most varied and heavily used of all the museum’s collections and require the most care.  Anthony makes sure all these collections are meticulously curated and easily available for research and teaching. It is not unusual for a student to misplace specimens of a species in the wrong jar, mixing it with a different species.

Anthony, who has a B.A. in Anthropology, accompanies graduate students in field work, collecting samples for their research. His experience in small mammal trapping is a strong asset to research, museum-based courses and the zoology collections as a whole. His field work is instrumental in bringing much needed specimens to the museum, enhancing the research value of the collections.

Two years ago, Anthony devised and accepted a large donation of African mammals.  Taking the lead, he supervised the development of the museum’s new African mammal exhibit, which is in its final stages of preparation.  Students and researchers alike are thankful for Anthony’s passion for his work.


Donna Wilkinson, Program Assistant, Centre for Educational Leadership, Faculty of Education (Clerical category)

Donna Wilkinson is the first point of contact for hundreds of participants in the Distinguished Educator Seminar Series.  Her warm and respectful manner has contributed to the loyalty of a constantly growing client base from the educational community.  She is an excellent communicator and a valuable resource to her department, as the interface between the Centre for Educational Leadership (now called the Office of Leadership in Community and International Initiatives) and teachers and school leaders.

Donna has a great sense of humour and her joyous personality is infectious. She generously shares her time, her ear and her love of chocolate while always producing top notch work, be it in her previous role as undergraduate program coordinator serving a constant stream of students seeking help with complex academic programs, or in her current position welcoming back those same former students as certified teachers who now attend the Distinguished Educator Seminar Series.  When people call for information, they know they have reached someone with accurate knowledge about the University.

Within the Department of Integrated Studies in Education, Donna is held in high esteem.  In her 20 years as a member of the University, she is of great help to her colleagues searching the educational system.  She is a wonderful ambassador for the Centre for Educational Leadership, for the Faculty of Education, and for the University as a whole.


Geneviève Leroux, Senior Disability Management Advisor, Pensions and Benefits, Human Resources (Managers and Professionals category)

Geneviève Leroux has shown determination and perseverance in leading the development and implementation of best practices in disability management. This started with a pilot project in University Services which led Geneviève and her team to develop disability management guidelines that are being expanded as best practices throughout the University.  These guidelines promote early intervention (supporting the employee during the recovery phase) and early return to work (safe and timely return to work in respect of employee and employer needs).

Geneviève also has a great understanding of the complexities of the CSST (Commission de la santé et sécurité au travail).  Due to her efforts, knowledge and meticulous review of CSST files, the University received credits from the CSST totaling more than $500,000 over the last two years.

Her leading performance in managing disability and CSST claims provides financial relief for the university, thereby helping the university to achieve its mission.


Tony Vaccaro, North East Sector Supervisor of the downtown campus, Facilities Operations and Development, University Services (Managers and Professionals category)

Tony Vaccaro has excellent relationships with his clients, helping them in times of need.  He was instrumental in helping McGill get back on its feet following a number of floods this summer.  In fact, he is at his best when disaster strikes, such as when some University buildings downtown were flooded in May.  He stayed on site until the early morning hours and coordinated the recovery efforts.

Tony is always available to resolve issues. For instance, his help in repairing a major water infiltration problem in the Macdonald Park electrical substation was critical.  He invested significant time and energy to ensure that the Athletics and Recreation facility, and the University itself, were affected as little as possible throughout the extensive work. Tony does not stop until the situation is back to normal and all items have been checked and rechecked.

Tony is passionate about his work and is dedicated to the University.  As a supervisor, he regularly collaborates with other members of the technical team. Throughout his 22 years at McGill, he has been an invaluable source of knowledge and experience.


Office for Students with Disabilities, represented by Gordon Dionne, Access Services Advisor (Team category)

This year’s winner in the team category is the Office for Students with Disabilities. The team has worked hard this past year to cut red tape, and to apply Universal Design principles to processes aimed at streamlining services. The team developed a major outreach campaign that included the launch of McGill Disabilities Awareness Week. The volume of service users rose from 840 to 1,156 students in just one academic year.

Last year, the OSD embarked on a progressive path in its approach to service delivery to students and reframing its view of disability. Only a few disability service offices in Canada are exploring new approaches, and McGill is leading the way nationally. Usability, equity, inclusion, sustainability and social justice are the guiding principles of this approach.

Through this initiative, the OSD has triggered a paradigm shift away from the medical model, toward implementing a social model of disability and of Universal Design principles. The OSD has in fact become a leader and a model for all post-secondary establishments in Quebec, thanks to its work in viewing disability as an aspect of diversity, one of the University’s core values.