There is a strong purple presence on London Mayor Matt Brown’s annual Honour List for this past year as former staff members Susan Grindrod and Therese Quigley, along with former professor emeritus Joseph Cummins, Don Wright Faculty of Music lecturer Dale Yoshida and alumna Sandra Miller, MLIS’01, have been recognized for their community involvement.
“Today we celebrate some remarkable London leaders,” said Brown. “On behalf of all of council, congratulations to each of you and thank you – your significant contributions are all examples of us working together to build a better city for all.”
Grindrod (BA ’75, French), who retired this year after 34 years at Western, was honoured in the housing category. During her tenure as Associate Vice-President of Housing & Ancillary Services, she initiated and oversaw construction of seven new student residences and one apartment building – adding 3,300 additional spaces to Western’s housing complement.
Grindrod was just as active outside the University Gates, volunteering for the Second Stage project that developed housing units for women and London families suffering domestic violence, as well as assisting to settle immigrants from Central America. She also helped develop the Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope, using her unique expertise to design spaces in the centre for youth and families. Grindrod was a member of the Student/London Housing Advisory Committee and Town and Gown Committee for 25 years.
Quigley (BA ’75, Physical Education; B.Ed ’77), Western’s Director of Athletics and Recreation since 2009, was honoured in the Sports category for a career that can only be described as a gold medal performance. A former teacher and volleyball coach at London’s Saunders Secondary School, she went on to become one of Canada’s leading athletic administrators, spending 18 years at McMaster University in Hamilton, where she was the first female director of Athletics and Recreation in the province.
Her achievements and awards are too numerous to mention but among them are: Hamilton’s Woman of the Year in Sport, Health and Fitness; three-time Ontario Coach of the Year in university volleyball; inducted into the Kitch McPherson hall of fame by the Ontario University Basketball Coaches Association; Western’s top female athlete in 1975 winning national gold and silver medals with Mustangs volleyball teams and representing Canada in volleyball at the 1973 FISU student games in Moscow. Quigley was also awarded the prestigious International Athletic Director of the Year Award by the National Association of College Directors of Athletics.
A department of Plant Sciences professor emeritus, Cummins, who died on Jan. 8, 2016 at the age of 82, was honoured in the Environment category. Prior to his retirement in 1996, he had 23 years of service at Western. Born in Whitefish, Montana, Cummins earned his Bachelor of Science in Horticulture with the help of scholarship awards. He was awarded his PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Wisconsin in 1962, and his postdoctoral research was completed at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research in Wisconsin and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
Prior to moving to London in 1972 to accept a faculty position at Western, he taught genetics at Rutgers University and the University of Washington. His research was in the area of cellular RNA and DNA in the cell cycle, but in the 1970s and 80s his focus turned to the environment and the effects of pollution on genes. During his career, he was involved in a wide range of environmental issues related to mercury, asbestos, PCBs, pesticides, toxic waste and genetic engineering, genetically modified crops and water fluoridation to chemical contamination of lakes and rivers. Cummins was the author of more than 200 scientific and popular articles.
Miller was honoured in the Heritage category for her work in bringing mid-century modern architecture to public attention in London, both to London Advisory Committee on Heritage and to the broader public, most notably in regard to the Hill Street Hospital buildings.
As a member of the London Region Branch Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, Miller has developed and maintained important social media efforts which have focused attention on architectural matters including recent demolitions and important potential losses. She is an organizer of a public documentary series at the London Public Library, with respect to architectural history, and has worked tirelessly in finding and sharing resources about other municipalities.
Yoshida, a lecturer in the Don Wright Faculty of Music, was honoured in the Arts category. As an artist and teacher who brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the city, Yoshida trained at The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School before being accepted into The Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company. As a company dancer and soloist, she toured North America, England, Germany, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Mexico.
Yoshida has been a teacher at Western since 1987 and taught Ballet Fundamentals at the School of Kinesiology and the Don Wright Faculty of Music. She is co-director of the Studies in Motion dance showcase and continues to teach ballet through Western’s Continuing Studies. She supports and choreographs the London South Collegiate bi-annual performance productions and is a board member of FLUX London Dance Festival as well as the North London Dance Centre.
Each year, many active members of the London community are nominated in specific categories as a means of recognizing the diversity of philanthropic work taking place in London. Recipients are honoured at the first City Council meeting of the New Year.
Other Londoners honoured this year include Dale Yoshida (Arts), Andrew Rosser (Humanitarianism), Brenda Ryan (Persons with a Disability), Mojdeh Cox (Diversity and Race Relations), Danielle Mooder (Safety and Crime Prevention).