Canada News

Nigerian Immigrant Wins Award

19 January 2006 at 07:59 | 520 views

Daniel Igali, a Nigerian immigrant and professional wrestler, is among a number of graduates that have been nominated and granted accomplishment awards by Simon Fraser University’s alumni association. Daniel has represented Canada in many international competitions. He recently participated in the BC provincial election as a candidate of the province’s Liberal party.

At a gala event Feb. 21 at the Four Seasons hotel in Vancouver, SFU and the Alumni Association will celebrate the accomplishments of four exceptional alumni and a current student. Nominated by SFU alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends for their contributions to their communities, each graduate will receive a 2005 outstanding alumni award while student Terry Beech will receive a $2,000 outstanding student leadership award.

Mike Cordoba
BBA 1988
Professional achievement

SFU business graduate and chartered accountant Mike Cordoba is chief executive officer of B.C.-based Boston Pizza International (BPI), an organization recognized as one of Canada’s 50 best managed companies.

Cordoba joined BPI in 1993, serving as controller, then chief financial officer, executive director, and president and chief operating officer. In 2002 Cordoba was the only individual in B.C. to be recognized with a Canadian Top 40 under 40 award.

In addition to his professional commitments, Cordoba also serves as director of the Boston Pizza Foundation, which has raised more than $4 million since its inception to support national charities that include the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Kids Help Phone.

Daniel Igali
BA 2001
Athletic achievement

A champion in every sense of the word, Igali is an Olympic athlete gold medalist, advocate and role model.

Born and raised in poverty in a small Nigerian village, Igali overcame great odds to pursue his love of wrestling. In 1994 he left Nigeria to train in Canada and eventually enrolled in criminology at SFU. In 1998 the Canadian Amateur Wrestling Association named him wrestler of the year.

A year later he was the first Canadian to win gold in the world championships in Turkey and in 2000 he brought honour to SFU and all Canadians when he won the Olympic gold medal in wrestling. Igali’s commitment to community is also impressive - he mentors and inspires young people through his motivational speeches.

Several years ago he established a foundation to assist children in developing nations to achieve their academic and career aspirations.

He has also raised funds to build a school in his home village, Eniwari. During the last provincial election, Igali ran as a Liberal candidate. “Success,” he says, “is about being able to make a difference in the lives of other people.” He is currently completing a master of arts degree in criminology at SFU.

Kathleen Louis
BA 1974
Service to community

Kathy Louis is a Cree woman who has devoted her professional and personal life to promoting social, legal and economic equality for aboriginal peoples.

A National Parole Board (NPB) member for 25 years, she brought to the board a new awareness of aboriginal culture and of issues of equality and diversity. In 1991 she was instrumental in establishing elder-assisted hearings within the NPB.

Drawing on her knowledge and experience with traditional aboriginal culture, she conducted workshops and conferences on this innovative restorative justice practice by providing culturally sensitive hearings for aboriginal offenders and others who choose to follow traditional ways.

Throughout her life, Louis has demonstrated a passionate commitment to justice and fairness. In 2005 she was honoured with the Vancouver YWCA’s women of distinction award for volunteerism and public service and Canada’s meritorious service medal from the Governor General of Canada.

Louis currently volunteers with several organizations including the Urban Native Education Society and Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services.

Milton Wong, LLD 1998
40th anniversary award for service to SFU

SFU honorary doctorate recipient and former chancellor Milton Wong was elected in 1999 as the first Asian Canadian chancellor of SFU and completed two consecutive terms ending in 2005.

As chancellor of one of Canada’s leading universities, Wong embraced his leadership role with unparalleled passion and personal commitment.

He helped to lay the foundation for cutting-edge programs in business administration, assisted First Nations with capacity-building, promoted environmental sustainability and championed SFU’s biotechnology and contemporary arts programs.

He continues his active involvement with the SFU community, working tirelessly on the campaign to bring the school for the contemporary arts to the Woodwards development in downtown Vancouver.

In addition to his contributions to SFU, Wong has long been a leader in business, volunteer service, health research, culture and sports, and a key fundraiser for the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Science World, and the B.C. Cancer Agency. He is the founding chair of the International Dragon Boat Festival and the founder and past-chair of the Laurier Institution.

He received the Order of Canada in 1997 and the Order of B.C. in 2003.

Terry Beech
Outstanding student leadership award

Despite his youth, Terry Beech has built an impressive resume of activities and achievements.

He gained first-hand experience in public administration when, fresh out of high school, he was elected a Nanaimo city councillor, holding office from 1999 to 2002. During his term in office he served on many key committees including chair of the advisory committee on the environment and commissioner of the Nanaimo parks, recreation, and culture commission.

In 2002 he also was the top graduate in the professional certificate in public administration program at Capilano College. At SFU he has distinguished himself as one of the top 20 students in SFU business and was a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes scholarship in 2004.

He is also a member of the Golden Key International Honours Society and has received several major scholarships in recognition of his outstanding leadership, academic success, and community service.

His service to SFU includes leadership roles in the SFU economics student society. He also represents Export Development Canada within the campus community.

In September 2003, Maclean’s magazine highlighted Beech’s career plans in international trade relations and named him as one of Canada’s top 30-under-30 youth leaders.

Photo: Daniel Igali

Source: SFU News