UNBC – UNBC alumni Gina Layte Liston and Sarah Foot will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards, while Tim Swanky earns an honorary designation at the 2016 Alumni Awards Reception on May 26.
Sarah Foot will receive the Community Service Award, whereas Gina Layte Liston will receive the Professional Excellence Award. In addition, Tim Swanky will be made an Honorary Member of the Alumni Association.
“Both Gina and Sarah exemplify the high degree of passion our graduates have for their professions and their communities — taking the lead to make Prince George an exceptional place to live,” said UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks. “As a professional photographer UNBC has featured prominently in Tim Swanky’s portfolio.”
The Alumni Association has named 22 honorary members since beginning the practice in 1997. The first Distinguished Alumni Awards were handed out in 2012.
“This year’s recipients are wonderful examples of how rich our alumni community is with leaders who are making a difference and inspiring others,” said Andrew Seabrook, Alumni Association of UNBC President. “Congratulations to the recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Awards.”
Sarah Foot (BSc Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 2007)
Foot has 10 years of experience as a volunteer co-ordinator, event planner and a program developer.
She has used her expertise to support a number of local organizations through volunteer positions, including the Edgewood Elementary School Parent Advisory Committee, the Fraser-Fort George Endowment Funds Committee, School District 57 as well as UNBC’s Student Life Leadership Program.
The majority of Sarah’s volunteerism has been in leadership roles with high levels of responsibility where she excels at inspiring others.
One of Foot’s most significant volunteer accomplishments was leading the logistical development and delivery of the 2015 Canada Winter Games Closing Ceremony at UNBC. The nationally-televised event brought significant attention to Prince George and the University.
In the words of her Closing Ceremonies committee co-lead Marianne Sprague, Foot “provided support leadership to a diverse team of planning volunteers while respectfully mediating the competing and sometimes conflicting requests and requirements of all the parties involved in orchestrating the Closing Ceremony.
Since leaving UNBC as a staff member, Foot has remained connected with the Student Life office as one its valued leadership workshop facilitators. The Student Life office offers a year-long leadership development program and includes several skill building workshops on different leadership topics.
Gina Layte Liston (MSc, 1999)
Layte Liston is the Director of Public Works for the City of Prince George, the largest department in the City with more than 200 employees. She’s the first woman to hold that position in Prince George, one she’s had since 2015. She oversees the following divisions within Public Works: Roads and Fleet, Parks and Solid Waste Services and Utilities – water, sewer and District Energy, all beneficial services that keep the City running.
She began her career at the City 17 years ago as the first Environmental Co-ordinator and had moved up to Supervisor of Wastewater and now the Director of Public Works.
In that role as Environmental Co-ordinator, she focused on air quality, water conservation, and district energy. She worked tirelessly on the community energy project which successfully connected several downtown civic and private facilities to reduce greenhouse gas and provide local renewable energy.
Beyond the City, she works tirelessly in support of her profession, education, and the community as a whole.
Educating the community about the environment was an important and often favourite role she filled. She visited classrooms with her nationally award-winning Wacky Wet Water Conservation program she developed and organized children’s activities for BC Rivers Day and Earth Day.
She stays connected to UNBC’s Department of Environmental Science and Engineering and other departments by providing information and support for student-based research projects and helping supervising various projects which all enhance students’ learning.
On a personal level, Layte Liston was born and raised in Prince George and appreciates the opportunities that the community has given her. She is the mom to two children and has volunteered her time with the Heather Park Elementary School Parent Advisory Committee, Girl Guides and the UNBC Childcare Centre.
For more than 25 years, Swanky has used his camera lens and extraordinary eye as a visual storyteller to chronicle UNBC’s community with his unique photographs. From staff, faculty, alumni and students, Tim has seen it all, from the sod turning in 1992 to the 25th Anniversary celebrations in 2015 and everything else in between.
Tim pioneered the use of the wide angle lens in a style that brought people to the forefront while still showcasing the amazing landscapes of Northern B.C. and architecture of UNBC. Rather than just have people in the photographs for scale, Tim showed how people were involved in their surroundings in such a way that was inviting.
Rather than simply take photos, Tim made photos that – bit by bit – fostered an image of UNBC that was incredibly powerful and aligned with the university as a magnificent place and the excellence of UNBC’s people.