This year’s recipients of the Grande Prairie Regional College President’s Awards are being highlighted using social media after the annual luncheon was cancelled due to provincial COVID-19 measures.

Every year the achievements of GPRC supporters, donors and alumni are recognized during the ceremony. Since the March 17th event was cancelled, the post-secondary school decided to announce the winners online starting April 1st.

President Dr. Robert Murray says the school is hoping to highlight some of the positive stories during a troubling time.

“We know people are focused on the global pandemic and worried about their families and loved ones so GPRC wanted to share the great stories of these worthy individuals.”

Cardiac rehabilitation nurse educator Gerald MacDonald has so far received the Distinguished Volunteer Award. MacDonald is heavily involved with the college’s nursing program, teaching and mentoring students about cardiac education for more than 10 years. He has also held positions nationally as the Alberta representative on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Nurses Association.

The Alumni Award of Excellence went to Brian Calliou, who was a GPRC student from 1986-1988. He is a prominent advocate and international speaker on Indigenous issues and culture, as well as director of Indigenous Management and Leadership at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

Brittany Dykhuizen received the Steps to the Greater Alumni Award, which recognizes outstanding achievements of GPRC alumni early in their careers or community service. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 2012 and volunteers assisting fourth-year students at GPRC while working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the QEII Hospital.

“We all could use some good news and sharing these stories of our recipients’ personal and professional achievements could bring the community together while we are social distancing,” says Dr.Murray.

More award recipients will be announced through the college’s social media over the next couple of weeks. A full bio on all award winners so far is available on the institution’s website.