Brandon University alumni pay tribute to outstanding graduates, faculty

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BRANDON – The Brandon University Alumni Association (BUAA) is continuing a tradition for this year’s virtual Homecoming by honouring some outstanding individuals.

Teresa Flannery is the recipient of the Brandon University Alumni Association Award for Exceptional Service.

Teresa Flannery is the 2020 recipient of the BUAA Award for Exceptional Service, while Distinguished Young Alumni Awards are being presented to Dr. Melissa Anderson, Graydon Cramer, Lindsay Filewich and Alissa Watson. Normally recognized at the BU Alumni awards dinner and reception during Homecoming weekend, this year the recipients are being highlighted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with plans to honour them in person in the future.

Additionally, Dr. Cathryn Smith, a member of BU’s Faculty of Education, has been chosen to receive the BUAA Excellence in Teaching Award, which is normally presented each year at Spring Convocation. This year, Dr. Smith will be recognized at BU’s General Faculty Council meeting on October 29.

“Even though we’re not able to gather in person this year I think it’s really important that we maintain our traditions and our connections with BU and with each other,” says Carla Eisler, BU’s Director of Advancement and Alumni Affairs. “One of the Homecoming traditions that is very meaningful to our alumni is learning about the amazing accomplishments of other BU graduates.”

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Cathryn Smith will receive the BUAA Excellence in Teaching Award, which is normally presented at Convocation.

The Excellence in Teaching Award is presented to a member of the Brandon University teaching staff. Dr. Smith received tenure at BU this year and has been appointed to the position of Chair of the Master of Education Graduate Studies Program. She recently completed her term as Chair of the BU Status of Women Review Committee.

The Award for Exceptional Service recognizes service to BU and/or the Alumni Association through a significant contribution of time. Flannery, who teaches in the Brandon School Division, served on the BUAA board for nine years, including a term as President. An avid volunteer, she is now a member, and also a former Chair, of the Westman Alumni Chapter.

The Distinguished Young Alumni Awards are presented to alumni, aged 35 years and younger, recognizing their achievements in their profession, sport or community service.

“I’m very excited to see so many recipients of our Distinguished Young Alumni Awards this year,” Eisler says. “Their accomplishments so early in their careers are remarkable. The future is very bright in their hands.”

Dr. Anderson (Bachelor of Science, 2010) is a geologist, researcher and deep-sea explorer who has pioneered new approaches to geological seafloor mapping. She currently leads the Mineral Resources and Tectonics lab at the University of Toronto.

Cramer (Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Education, 2008) is the band director for Brandon West Middle Schools as well as a drummer, clinician and adjudicator. He has recorded and toured with outstanding musicians across Western Canada.

With a background in special education and counselling, Filewich (Bachelor of Science, 2008; Bachelor of Education, 2010; Master of Education, 2015 and 2016) is able to support high-quality student programming and relationships between families and the school as principal of Alexander School.

Watson (Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Education, 2008) began her career teaching elementary music in Winnipeg before leaving her position to become a freelance artist. As a percussion and drama clinician she has been an instructor at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People and has taught at Brandon University as well as the University of Winnipeg Collegiate. She is a former recipient of the Manitoba Association of Playwrights’ Reg Skene Emerging Artist award.

Full biographies of the recipients, as well as a nomination form for future awards, can be found online at

The website also includes more information on the long-distance Homecoming 2020 celebration, which includes a video message, a virtual tour, research presentations and a special meal available to Brandonites through the Everyone Eats program.


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