Four alumni lauded for outstanding accomplishments

June 18, 2014

During this year’s Spring Convocation, four alumni – two of which will be honoured collectively – will receive Distinguished Alumni awards.

The university presents Distinguished Alumni awards to MacEwan graduates who have made a difference in their communities or have made significant accomplishments in their careers.

The following alumni have done just that and each will appear on stage to receive their award.

IMAGE-story-Conv-MDartMegan Dart (Bachelor of Applied Communications in Professional Writing, 2006)

Megan’s activity in the Edmonton arts scene has put her on the map.

In 2013, The Wanderer Online named her one of Edmonton’s Top 100 Influential Women in Business, backing up its choice with a CV filled with arts activities: Megan is curator, artist liaison and publicity manager for Nextfest; publicity manager for the Expanse Festival; street team member with the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta; board member with the Good Women Dance Collective and artsScene Edmonton; and committee member with Theatre Network and Theatre Edmonton Project.

Megan is co-artistic producer of Catch the Keys Productions, publicizing unique arts-based events. As an integral part of the Edmonton arts scene for more than seven years, she has worked with clients such as the Edmonton Arts Council, the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Citadel Theatre, and produced the 2014 Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts. She is also a spoken-word poet with the Edmonton Slam Team, which will represent Edmonton at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word this fall.

In addition to her role in the arts community, Megan coordinated a national lobbying campaign involving more than two million Canadians and 2,000 commercial fitness facilities, which led to the introduction of the children’s fitness tax credit and changed provincial and federal legislation.

IMAGE-story-Conv-PGarrettPatricia Garrett (Social Services Worker, 1976)

Since 1989, Patricia has been the executive director of WINGS of Providence, a housing agency and program that provides support for women and children who have experienced family violence. Under Patricia’s leadership, WINGS recently expanded and built a $6.5-million, third-stage housing apartment building. This building, the Home Next Door, provides additional low-cost, long-term housing units for women and children.

Patricia has been instrumental in guiding the development of WINGS through its early days in a 12-suite apartment building to the major agency it is today. In 2003, Patricia led the development of a new building that includes a six-month intensive second-stage program providing housing, safety and support for 20 families. Over the past two years, she has led the development of the Home Next Door, where 29 families can live for a further two years while they develop independence and healthy relationships. To date, WINGS has served over 980 families and 2,300 children.

A strong supporter of education, Patricia has been a member of MacEwan University’s Social Work Advisory Committee for the past three years. She provides consistent and ongoing learning opportunities for social work students to complete their field placements, with several becoming employees of WINGS following their graduation.

Solon and Jeremiah McDade (“The McDades,” Music, 1998)

Juno Award winners Solon and Jeremiah McDade began their music careers as talented multi-instrumentalists at the ages of four and five. Veterans of the McDade Family Band and the Canadian folk festival circuit before the age of 16, the siblings had the chance to perform at the Canadian National Exhibition, Vancouver Expo ’86 and the Commonwealth Games, and they have given multiple performances for members of the British royal family.

IMAGE-story-Conv-SMcDadeSolon McDade (pictured left) has performed with a long list of blues greats and throughout his time at MacEwan and while in McGill University’s jazz performance program, he took part in North American and European tours with artists such as Bill Bourne, Shannon Johnson, and Maria Dunn. Most notably, Solon has been recorded on a number of albums, four of which have been nominated for Juno Awards and nine for Aria Awards.

IMAGE-story-Conv-JMcDadeJeremiah McDade (pictured right), also a graduate with high distinction from McGill’s jazz performance program, has been featured on numerous soundtracks, including the Biography Entertainment Channel, the Banff Film Festival and the National Film Board of Canada.

In 2000, the siblings began to work together on their new group, the McDades, with the release of Bloom, which won the 2007 Juno Award for best roots/traditional album by a group, two Canadian Folk Music Awards and an International Independent Music Award. The group has performed all over Europe and North America, and recorded with a variety of musicians from around the world. In 2012, the McDades collaborated with composer Allan Gilliland, chair of MacEwan University’s Music program, to create arrangements that they performed to three sold-out shows with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

MacEwan University is proud to celebrate the 2,117 members of the Class of 2014, its largest graduating class ever. Congratulations to this year's graduates, medal recipients and distinguished citizens and alumni.

More Convocation stories:

Get MacEwan University news delivered to your inbox.
Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter