As part of its Alumni Week activities, the University of Victoria will honour longtime Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell with a Distinguished Alumni Award on Wednesday (Feb. 8).
“I’m really happy,” she said. “It’s really nice that UVic has recognized me with this award and I’m pleased to accept it.”
Each year during Alumni Week, the UVic Alumni Association, in partnership with the faculties and divisions of UVic, present the awards to outstanding members of the community who are selected by their respective faculties or divisions based on criteria including career accomplishments or service to their community.
Blackwell is one of 13 alumni to be recognized who have made outstanding contributions in their respective fields. Other honourees include WestJet executive vice-president Bob Cummings and Bev Sellars, former chief of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation in Williams Lake.
“It’s pretty neat … I didn’t ever expect to get it,” said Blackwell, who has a business administration certificate from the Division of Continuing Studies.
She was first elected in Langford in 1992 as part of the inaugural council. She continues in that role today, along with holding other regional responsibilities, such as serving as Langford’s representative on the Capital Regional District’s board of directors. She has also served as the CRD chair and vice-chair and has served for a number of years on the region’s oft-controversial liquid waste management committee.
“It’s been a long time, it’s hard to think of what the highlights are,” Blackwell said. “I’ve done a lot of stuff … (and) I think it’s really great Langford keeps sending me back to the CRD.”
Along with her regional duties, she is also pleased to chair Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee, one of the busiest advisory bodies reporting to city council.
Looking back at how Langford has changed, she noted, “that is the most gratifying of all … We’ve worked really hard.”
Roughly one out of 10 people in the Capital Region has attended UVic, said Terry Cockerline, alumni relations director.
“They’re a huge part of our community,” he said. “UVic and the volunteers who lead the UVic Alumni Association want our alumni to feel proud of their contributions and their connection to the university.”
More than 110,000 people have attended the university since it opened its doors and last year, nearly 3,000 alumni, friends and community members took part in Alumni Week activities, said Cockerline.
Events got underway Monday and run through Feb. 12. Events include art displays, a job fair, seminars and various social events, including an early Valentine’s Day Dinner on Feb. 11.
For more go to uvic.ca/alumni.
– with files from Wolf Depner