Each year, UVic honours four outstanding members of the university community with the Legacy Awards—an elegant night where some 500 UVic supporters gather together to applaud individual efforts of excellence that have made a significant contribution to the community and to UVic’s own success.
This year’s Legacy Award winners were no different—Engineering professor emeritus Andreas Antoniou, former Vikes soccer manager George Smith, Mathematics professor Gary MacGillivray, and the Honourable Lance Finch, Chief Justice of BC—but while there may not have been any Fine Arts faculty among the honourees, the awards that were presented at the Victoria Conference Centre on November 22 reflected the work of our own Dean of Fine Arts, Sarah Blackstone.
Each of the four awards featured a different bird photographed by Blackstone, with three of the four—an osprey, a Great Horned owl, and a Cooper’s hawk—captured on film here on campus. The final image of a wood duck was shot in Mystic Pond, just off Cadboro Bay beach.
The recent high-profile efforts of Fine Arts faculty and alumni didn’t escape the notice of UVic president David Turpin, however. “Once again, excellence in teaching and research placed UVic among the world’s best universities in a series of national and international rankings,” Turpin said in his opening remarks. “And our efforts to provide a robust and inclusive learning environment were recognized by our students who also gave us top marks. Our commitment to excellence has also brought us significant success and attention on the national and international stage—Esi Edugyan, alumna of our Writing program, won the Giller Prize, and Joan MacLeod, the [acting] Chair of our Writing department won Canada’s top prize in theatre, the $100,000 Siminovitch Prize.”
“These are but a few examples of many, many UVic initiatives making important and lasting contributions to our society,” Turpin continued. “They symbolize a central focus of our renewed strategic plan—to play a critical role in society, making substantial intellectual, social, cultural and economic contributions to our community, our country and the world. Our world today is a complicated and rapidly changing place. If you imagine the Inner Harbour 50 years ago, you would see an economy driven by primary industry and manufacturing. Today we see a remarkably different environment: growth and prosperity are increasingly driven by educated, creative people who work in the arts and culture, management and high technology, entrepreneurship, sustainability and green technology.”
Fans of Blackstone’s ornithological efforts will appreciate the 2012 edition of her annual calendar project, which features 12 all-new images of local birds. A limited number of these calendars are available through the Dean’s office, for a bargain price of just $10. She has also produced a second calendar this year of her latest passion, flight photography—that is, scenic shots taken while flying (the Grand Canyon, Utah’s Monument Valley), not of birds in flight.