Six Trent Volunteers Honoured with Ontario Service Awards

November 29, 2023

2023 Ontario Service Awards Winners

Provincial award recognizes recipients’ continuous service to the University and society

The province has recognized six members of the Trent community with 2023 Ontario Volunteer Service Awards, celebrating their ongoing contribution to the University and society.

Debra Cooper Burger, chair of the Board of Governors; Bryan Davies ‘16 (hon), past chair of the board and a member of the Philanthropic Advisory Council; Athena Flak ’93 (Champlain College), longtime volunteer with the Trent University Alumni Association (TUAA) council; Gavin Marshall ’76 (Lady Eaton College), leader of the Campaign for Momentous Change; Karen McQuade Smith ’02 (Lady Eaton College), TUAA council volunteer; and Julian Smith ’93 (Catharine Parr Traill College), member of the Board, are receiving 2023 service pins.

“Volunteers play an important role in the success of Trent, and we are incredibly grateful for all of the individuals who share their time, talent, and leadership to move the University forward,” says Sherry Booth ’98, associate vice-president, Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement. “The six Trent recipients of this year’s award exemplify the values of the University and our belief that volunteerism can lead to momentous change.”

The annual provincial awards are given to volunteers who support a wide range of sectors across Ontario, in recognition of their contributions of five or more years of continuous service to an organization.

The following is a list of Trent’s volunteers who have been recognized, noting their years of service and their valuable roles at the University:

Debra Cooper Burger, five years of service: Cooper Burger has been a member of Trent University’s Board of Governors since 2018, chair since 2021, and is an honorary champion of the Campaign for Momentous Change. Her strong leadership, strategic acumen, and focus on community engagement continue to inspire as she champions initiatives such as the University-Integrated Seniors Village. 

Bryan Davies ’16 (hon), ten years of service: Davies is the former chair of Trent’s Board of Governors and is an honorary champion of the Campaign for Momentous Change. During his tenure on the board, which commenced in 2008, Davies also served on several board committees, including chairing the Advisory Committee to Review the Presidency (2012-13) and Presidential Search Committee (2013-14). Davies is currently the chair of the Philanthropic Advisory Council.

Athena Flak ’93 (Champlain College), five years of service: Flak has a long volunteer history with the Trent University Alumni Association (TUAA). She joined the TUAA Council in 2016 and, in her role as chair of governance, has played an instrumental role in restructuring the council. She currently chairs the council’s Awards & Recognition Committee.

Gavin Marshall ’76 (Lady Eaton College), five years of service: Marshall is leader of the Campaign for Momentous Change and has been an avid Trent University volunteer for many years serving as the inaugural chairperson of Trent’s Philanthropic Advisory Committee and a member of the Advancement Board of Governors External Committee. Marshall has lent his philanthropic support to several University funds and initiatives, including the Student Centre, an International Nursing Placement, and a Philanthropic Fellowship position.

Karen McQuade Smith ’02 (Lady Eaton College), five years of service: McQuade Smith is a member of the Trent University Alumni Association (TUAA) Council, which she joined in 2016, and has served as chair of campus communities, connecting alumni with Trent’s college and campus community. She has also served on the University’s Alumni Awards Committee, sat as an alumni representative on the College Cabinets, and currently chairs the University’s Convocation Committee. She volunteers for several important University events including Convocation, Head of the Trent, and Trent Day.

Julian Smith ’93 (Catharine Parr Traill College), five years of service: Smith is currently serving his second three-year term on the Trent Board of Governors. He also served as an external member of the board’s Investment & Pension Committee in 2017-18.

Do you want to get involved with Trent? There are many ways to stay connected and involved after graduation whether it’s volunteering with the TUAA, inspiring students through Life After Trent, or joining one of Trent’s alumni chapters around the world. Don’t forget to update your contact information so we can stay in touch about upcoming opportunities.