Medal for Academic Excellence
At University Canada West, we value our students and the hard work they put into their education. As a result, we have created the Medal for Academic Excellence (formerly the Dean’s Award). This is an award for students who have graduated with the highest Grade Point Average (GPA) in their program, recognizing their achievements and their dedication to their studies.
Find out more about our Medal for Academic Excellence winners below.
Winner of 2018 Medal for Academic Excellence (MBA)
Loujeine Kamoun finished at the top of her class in the MBA program. Previously, she studied in France and earned a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts in England before pursuing her Master’s Degree at UCW.
“I was looking for a university that was more career-oriented and less research-based,” she explained.
The self-described “average high school student” finished the MBA program with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average.
Loujeine made a conscious decision to buckle down and focus on her graduate studies.
“It’s just two years, so I needed to do the best I can,” she said. “It was very difficult, but it was worth it."
This high-achieving student was also named UCW’s 2018 Valedictorian and was one of only three students to Graduate with Distinction in 2018.
Loujeine was actively involved with the university and was co-chair of the Library Advisory Committee.
She started her studies at UCW in the MBA Foundation program before starting her degree.
“Foundation was a lot of fun and it was very interesting,” she said.
Loujeine worked as an art director for an innovations company, but wanted to pursue an MBA to learn more about management to augment her skillset.
Vininder Pal Singh
Winner of 2018 Medal for Academic Excellence (BCom)
Vininder Pal Singh lives in Markham Ontario and has been pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree online at UCW since August of 2012. Vinny works full-time as a Senior Technical Specialist in the Information Technology department of an Insurance company in Toronto. He immigrated to Canada 19 years ago from India, has studied in Brisbane, Australia and has worked in both India and Canada.
“I was very keen on continuing my education and was looking for a university that offered flexible online courses,” he said. “Based on research and online feedback I came across UCW and liked what they were offering. I felt UCW was a perfect fit for what I was looking for in terms of continuing education.”
Being able to further his education around a busy schedule was key for Vinny.
“Online studies offer great flexibility and complemented my lifestyle. I was able to successfully manage all my commitments and work towards my studies at the same time,” he said.
Vinny has worked in the information technology field for more than 20 years.
“My bachelor’s degree will help me better understand the various facets of business and enhance my ability to work more efficiently and effectively with business teams,” Vinny said. “It will also help me grow in my career.”
Winner of 2017 Medal for Academic Excellence (Bachelor of Commerce)
Megan Clifton was looking to earn a degree to advance her a career with the federal government, but already had a full schedule. Between her full-time job and family commitments, she didn’t have much time to spare.
“I realized a degree would be very beneficial, but taking in-class courses would be too difficult to work around my full-time schedule, so I wasn't sure how'd I'd be able to make it work,” she said.
Megan heard about studying online at University Canada West through her work and after doing some research, she discovered that it could work with her busy schedule.
The single mother has a son, who is now four years old. She pursued and earned a Bachelor of Commerce Degree.
“Online learning made working full-time and going to school possible,” she said. “I love the flexibility of the online classes, as well as the structure of the weekly course load and due dates.
I was able to complete my school work around my work, family and social life.”
The degree opened new doors for Megan.
“My supervisors were waiting for me to finish my degree so I could be given the opportunity to work as an advisor,” she explained.
Megan earned her degree and posted stellar grades along the way. She finished her degree with the highest grade point average in her class.
Connect with Megan via LinkedIn
Winner of 2017 Medal for Academic Excellence (MBA)
Tammy McMullen has worked as a marketing manager in an Ontario casino for the past 15 years, but the life-long learner still wanted to earn a Master of Business Administration Degree.
The degree would allow to her pursue senior level management positions.
However, she had a busy schedule so she waited until her children were older and her career was stable to continue her academic journey.
“An online MBA was a goal I could pursue. Many career advancement opportunities were attainable from my experience, but the educational requirement was not quite there,” Tammy explained.
“The online experience was perfect for me to maximize my efforts and work around an already busy personal schedule.”
She described the faculty as very engaging and employing a number of learning styles to teach the course material.
“UCW has provided a very personal learning experience for my work/life/school balance,” she said.
Now that she’s earned her graduate degree, she going to take a break from studying to weigh her options. Tammy might pursue a project management designation or upgrade her process improvement certification.
All her hard work has paid off.
“Even though it was sometimes difficult to balance everything, the satisfaction from completing this program is a highlight of my life that will benefit me forever, personally and professionally,” Tammy said.
Connect with Tammy via LinkedIn
Winner of 2017 Medal for Academic Excellence (Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication)
Winner of Winner of 2017 Medal for Academic Excellence (Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication)
Julie Sykes tried to balance full-time employment with in-class learning, but there just wasn’t enough hours in the day.
“It can be difficult or impossible to balance university with a career that is already in progress,” she explained.
Julie was enrolled at University of Ottawa and was working in communications for the federal government, but wasn’t sure how she was going to finish her Bachelor of Arts degree until she learned about University Canada West (UCW).
“The concept of online learning really appealed to me. Not only would I be able to study at my own convenience, the university offered four semesters per year instead of the standard two, which meant that I would be able to complete my degree more quickly,” she said.
Julie was worried about losing all the time and effort she put into his studies at the University of Ottawa, but that worked out for her.
She transferred her credits to UCW and continued her academic journey in the Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication program.
Julie has an extensive background in media and communications. She spent a number of years working in the radio-broadcasting industry before starting her job in media services for the federal government.
“My BA (Bachelor of Arts degree) from UCW will be very valuable in my career with the federal government as there are many jobs in communications that require a degree,” she said.
Connect with Julie on LinkedIn
Jason Della Porta
Winner of 2016 Medal for Academic Excellence (Bachelor of Commerce)
A lot of tears likely propelled Jason Della Porta’s four-year journey to today. He would have had every right to shed a tear of joy upon collecting his UCW degree and Medal for Academic Excellence.
The struggle to overcome fears of scholastic inadequacy and maintain a full-time job to feed his family while pursuing an at-first, online Bachelor of Commerce(BCom)degree has made Della Porta’s success all the sweeter.
Della Porta’s medal recognizes his achievement of the highest cumulative grade point average, 3.78 out of a potential 4.33, in his program.
“Simply completing my degree was more then enough,” says the 33-year-old Montreal native who now makes Dorval, Quebec his home with his wife and two sons. “Being able to obtain the Medal for Academic Excellence on top of my degree is outstanding for me, a student who struggled so much in his earlier years but has come to accomplish what he set out to do.”
Remembering his aborted attempts to get a degree before the age of 21, Della Porta credits the flexibility of UCW’s degree program and lessons learned in the workforce with helping him become an academic success story.
“I am quite excited as I have found many doors to have been open to me now, having my degree in which I can start any new career that I want.”
Connect with Jason via LinkedIn
Glen Edward Dietz
Winner of 2016 Medal for Academic Excellence (MBA)
At 63, UCW graduand Glen Dietz is a shining example that you’re never too old to learn new scholarly ideas that challenge your intellect. If you are like Dietz—a lifelong learner, good at knowledge transference and a stellar time manager—you could also clinch a Medal for Academic Excellence.
For Dietz, maintaining a 4.0 cumulative grade point average in his online Master of Business Administration (MBA) studies at UCW was all in a day’s work, one course per term for four and a half years.
The London, Ontario resident, who recently landed a job as an informatics technical specialist at Abbott Laboratories, was working full-time as a healthcare consultant when he started his MBA at UCW in late 2011. Fully engaged in running his own business at the time, this retired clinical laboratories administrative director longed to learn more.
“I am committed to life-long learning, and missed the academic fulfillment that comes from learning new concepts and subject matter,” explains the avid scuba diver and Etobicoke Underwater Club (EUC) member.
“So I made a decision to enrol in an MBA program. I selected UCW because the university allowed me to complete each of my courses on-line in my own time.”
Dietz’s knack for knowledge transference even inspired him to apply what he was learning in his MBA courses to solving problems in his hobbies.
Connect with Glen via LinkedIn
Rory Robert Rickwood
Winner of 2016 Medal for Academic Excellence (Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication)
High marks have earned UCW graduand and Port Alberni, BC resident Rory Rickwood a Medal for Academic Excellence . Seven A-pluses netted him a 4.05 (maximum is 4.33) cumulative grade point average.
The medal is the icing on a scholarly cake that the 60-year-old started baking long before he began his undergraduate studies at UCW in 2009. “My medal achievement shows that at any point in your career path, you can be enriched by an on-line education,” smiles Rickwood.
The father of five children had an Associate Degree in Applied Communications and an Associate Degree in Human Resource Management when he began his online Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication. A Human Resource Manager for the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for the last 16 years, Rickwood was hungry for more knowledge when he discovered UCW’s online BA program.
Connect with Rory via LinkedIn
Winner of 2015 Dean’s Award (MBA)
Jennifer is a Competency Assurance Coordinator for Keyera Corp. in Calgary, Alberta. After graduating from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, she worked in downtown Calgary in the oil and gas sector for 8 years.
At Keyera, Jennifer works in the Training and Development department, furthering her appreciation for continued learning and adult education.
When she isn’t working, Jennifer returns to her home in Canmore to enjoy the mountains. She also has a passion for yoga, and has been practicing for over 10 years.
Connect with Jennifer via Linkedin
Pauline Louise Bessegato
Winner of 2015 Dean’s Award (MBA)
Pauline Bessegato is a Clinical Business Coordinator and Coordinator of the Breast Care Program at the Surgical and Urology Clinics for St Joseph’s Healthcare in Ontario.
Beginning her career as a Financial Consultant, she progressed to Controller for Healthcare Materials Management Services before transitioning to her current post and adding more clinical responsibilities there over the last 15 years.
She gained a Master’s in Business Administration from University of Canada West. With a passion for helping people, the next goal of Pauline’s journey will be increasing educational opportunities in fundraising, alongside continuous personal development.
Connect with Pauline via Linkedin
Alice Solveig McLaren
Winner of 2015 Dean’s Award (Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication)
Solveig McLaren was UCW’s Dean’s Award recipient in the Bachelor of Arts, Media and Communication program.
Solveig was employed with the Province of British Columbia as an executive assistant, but decided she wanted a new career. The career she chose required a degree in Media and Communications.
Solveig looked at many educational institutions throughout North America before deciding upon UCW. That she could take all her classes online was a huge factor in her decision, and it helped that UCW was a British Columbia institution and the price was right. In the fall of 2010, she began her studies with one or two classes, depending on her work and family life schedules.
Over the next five years, her writing skills improved and the courses helped her at work and in her private life. Three months before graduating, Solveig landed that dream job.
She admits that dreams don’t work unless you do, but Solveig also credits UCW with being the perfect fit for her educational needs.
Connect with Alice via Linkedin
Winner of 2014 Dean’s Award (Bachelor of Commerce)
Win is a Bachelor of Commerce graduate at UCW and is from Vancouver BC. Since graduating, he has begun working for RBC Royal Bank. He feels that his success and recent promotion to Mortgage Specialist can be attributed to his learning experience at UCW.
Winner of 2014 Dean’s Award (Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication)
Greg McClinchey has served 22-years as a political aide to a number of prominent public officials including the House of Commons Agriculture Committee Chair, a former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and a former provincial Minister of Agriculture in the province of Ontario.
Greg has also worked as a senior news editor, radio broadcaster, political pundit, federal campaign manager, and as a North Huron Municipal Councillor. In 2007, while completing his media spokesperson certification, Greg published his first book; following with a second published manuscript in 2012.
Greg holds a Professional Certificate in Conflict Management (Sprott School of Business), a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communications (University Canada West), and a Master of Political Management Degree (Carleton University). In addition to being an active member of his community via groups such as the York West Community Council and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Greg enjoys spending quality time with his wife and their two young children at home in Ottawa.
Connect with Greg via Linkedin
Winner of 2014 Dean’s Award (MBA)
Payman Rowhani is a senior software developer from Shiraz, Iran. As a member of Baha’i community, he found it very difficult to continue academic studies. Iran’s government does not allow Baha’is to enter any universities inside the country and he was also unable to enter the Baha’i university (BIHE) in Tehran due to his physical injuries caused by an accident.
"I was about to establish a software company, but I didn’t know how to do it! I had some management experiences but knew really nothing about marketing, HR, etc. One of my friends suggested me to study MBA, but after the accident that I had on my last undergraduate year, I was wondering how to do that. I can’t forget the time that I found my way to study MBA at UCW. I got so happy and registered right away!”
Payman is delighted by the quality of distant learning at UCW. He feels very grateful about this experience.
“The professors and staff at this university are a little tough, but I love the learning experience as they motivate me to encounter and overcome challenges. Although I have never seen the campus, I feel I’m studying in a real class. Books are always updated and provide us with real business cases around the world.”
"In Iran we don’t usually see people from other nations, let alone to communicate with them. These virtual classes helped me connect with friends around the world, and I found it very exciting to work with them on social/economic development projects. Now I have learnt how to do distant projects with the help of anyone in any corner of the world! I really thank UCW for providing me with such a precious opportunity.”
Connect with Payman via Linkedin