Gala to celebrate exceptional alumni

Gary West, Melanie Peacock, Hafeez Amarshi and Shafin Diamond Tejani lead an all-star alumni lineup this Reunion Weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, as Western celebrates the exceptional personal and professional contributions of its alumni at the 42nd Annual Alumni Awards of Merit Dinner.

This year’s winners include:

Gary West, BA’68
Dr. Ivan Smith Award

At 55, Gary West stepped away from his successful career at The Royal Bank to begin his ‘second half’ – a new career in community volunteerism here in London. The former banker/accountant has spent the last 15 years volunteering for various local organizations, including the United Way of London and Middlesex, VON Middlesex-Elgin, London Community Foundation, London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care.

He has also served as a Director on the Alumni Association Board from 2007-14 and previously sat on the Western Foundation Board, Ivey Alumni Network and university Senate. He is currently on the Senate Honorary Degrees Committee and the Alumni Legacy Committee. At Ivey, he has been a member of the Governance and Recognition Committee and has been a regular presenter and witness at Ivey’s Pledge and Ring Ceremonies since 2004.

Melanie Peacock, MBA’90
Professional Achievement Award

Melanie Peacock believes people are the heart and soul of an organization. So much so she has devoted more than 25 years to enhancing and educating others about the human resources profession. She has worked in human resource management and taught at several Alberta universities. In 2014, she was recognized with the inaugural Mount Royal Faculty Association Teaching Award.

In addition to significant volunteering and mentoring, Peacock has co-written textbooks, contributed to numerous publications, taught Certified Human Resources Professional courses and is a sought after media commentator. She was presented with the Human Resources Institute of Alberta’s Distinguished Career Award in 2014 for her work to advance the HR profession.

Hafeez Amarshi, BA’95, MA’99

Community Service Award

When he’s not prosecuting cases, mentoring vulnerable youth or teaching newcomers to Canada to ice skate, Hafeez Amarshi is providing light to children in the developing world so they can read and succeed. Amarshi boasts varied community service work, including the establishment of Lights for Life, a non-profit that provides sustainable lighting for children without access to electricity through the distribution of low-cost, durable and environmentally friendly lanterns that can be either solar or pedal powered.

Shafin Diamond Tejani, BA’99
Young Alumni Award

In 1996, in a Huron University College dorm room, 19-year-old Shafin Diamond Tejani’s first company – and his career as a philanthropreneur – was born. Since then, Tejani has launched more than 40 start-ups around the world and received numerous awards for his business achievements and work in the community, including the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award, EY Technology Entrepreneur of the Year, Startup Canada Award for Entrepreneur Support, as well as the Canadian Angel Investor of the Year.

His most recent venture, Victory Square, funds start-ups in the web, mobile, gaming and film spaces with a special focus on socially responsible companies, international start-ups and female founders.

At the event, Thérèse Gadoury, BA’73 (Honors Music), and Kevin McMillan, BMus’83, will be enshrined into the Don Wright Faculty of Music Wall of Fame. Craig Boydell (Builder); Andy Fantuz; Jim Grozelle, HBA’03; Jennifer Kryszak, BSc’05, MClSc’08; Cathy Lund, BSc’85; Sara Nathanson, BA’98; Janet Thompson, BSc’72, MEd’81; and Andy Van Ruyven, BA’77, will receive Western Mustangs Athletic Alumni Awards.