The Robert W.F. Stephenson Prize has been awarded to an exemplary student leader annually for over 20 years. This year's recipient, TCSA student president Alaine Spiwak, is no exception.
Robert Stephenson attended Trent from 1968 to 1971, pursuing a degree in Political Studies. He remained close to the Trent community long after graduating, serving on the Board of Governors for 15 years. Mr. Stephenson was the first alumnus to hold the position as chair on the Board of Governors, a title he held until 1991.
He served on the Board for a total of 15 years (1979-94) in a variety of roles, including vice-chair (1989-91), and a number of committees, including board executive, labour relations, nominating, audit and finance, physical planning and development, investment advisory, and compensation (subcommittee). As a student member of Champlain College, he was active in student government and served as a student representative on the Board (1968-71).
Established by the Alumni Association, the $500-prize has been awarded annually to an individual who displays outstanding student leadership.
Ms. Spiwak is an exemplary honoree for the prize. While working towards a degree in International Development Studies, Ms. Spiwak has held multiple titles within the TCSA. First serving as ethical standards commissioner, Ms. Spiwak was then elected as student council president—a position she has held for two years. Her leadership contributions are obvious and have left quite a positive impression on the current and future Trent community. She helped lead the TCSA to achieving a large surplus, which is being put towards initiatives that support both students and staff. This includes improving Trent summer bus schedules, and leading the Student Centre Challenge.
"I am very honoured to receive the Robert W.F. Stephenson Prize, especially because I was nominated by two fantastic female role models: Julie Davis and Pippa O'Brien," says Ms. Spiwak. "I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to work alongside a great leader like Julie, who reached out to me to offer her support and guidance as I navigated my new role as TCSA president. Pippa is an incredible student leader who I have thoroughly enjoyed working with over the past year. I am very excited that we have both been re-elected into our positions, and that we have the opportunity to work together once again. I would like to thank the Trent Alumni Association for this award, and of course, Nancy Stephenson, wife of late Robert Stephenson, who joined us at the ceremony."