Three awarded Governor General’s Academic Medals

For more than 125 years, the Governor General’s Academic Medals have recognized the outstanding scholastic achievements of students in Canada. Based solely on academic criteria, there is no monetary award associated with the medal. The Gold Medals were presented at Western’s Autumn Convocation ceremony for graduates of the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies on Friday, Nov. 1.

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Kirsten Stefanik, Master of Laws (LLM)

A rising young star and recent graduate of the Master of Laws (LLM) program, Kirsten Stefanik has quickly broken much new ground here at Western. She is the first student at Western Law to complete the new collaborative graduate program in Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, the first to earn an unprecedented 98 per cent in the LLM research methodology course and the first young legal scholar at Western to be awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal. She has produced groundbreaking work in the field of international humanitarian law that ultimately aims to improve the devastating effects of war on human beings, and she has done so by borrowing from established principles in environmental law. Western’s veteran law scholars, who put her nomination forward, describe her dissertation as original, innovative and revolutionary, and Stefanik herself as a source of great pride for Western Law.

Stefanik is currently undertaking her PhD in Law at Western.




Frances Mackay, PhD Applied Mathematics

There is a new triple-crown winner at Rideau Hall’s Chancellery of Honours. Frances Mackay received the Governor General’s Bronze Medal at McCoy High School in Medicine Hat, Alta., the Governor General’s Silver Medal at the University of Alberta, and is now Western’s recipient of the 2013 Governor General’s Gold Medal for her brilliant career in the Applied Mathematics PhD program. She is also a past Canada Graduate Scholar, having received years of elite graduate funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada in recognition of her outstanding research skills and unparalleled publication record. True to form, Mackay took on the very difficult challenge of undertaking doctoral research in the area of colloidal structures in complex fluids. Having already broken new ground for experimentation and industrial applications, she is already an international authority in her research area and a well-respected leader among her peers.

Mackay is currently a researcher in the Department of Applied Mathematics at Western.


Andrew John Patton, PhD Art and Visual Culture

Andrew Patton receives this year’s Governor General’s Gold Medal having recently completed his PhD in Arts and Visual Culture with an astonishing 93 per cent completing average. He is an artist-scholar of extraordinary talent and vision who, prior to entering doctoral studies, was already an established visual artist with paintings housed in collections at the National Gallery of Canada. A noted critic and scholar, Patton had developed a passionate interest in Northern Song Dynasty Chinese Calligraphy, and undertook the PhD to examine the relationship between contemporary painting methods and the historical practices of Song calligraphers. He was also a recipient of the prestigious multi-year Canada Graduate Scholarship in recognition of his outstanding research activity. It takes an exceptional researcher like Patton, not only to tackle the concurrent rigours of creative exhibition and scholarly dissertation, but also produce such praiseworthy and relevant knowledge in an area where veteran artist-scholars had not yet dared to go.

Patton is currently teaching in Florence, Italy.