Alumni Awards

The next Alumni Award recipients won't raise their own hands. That's why we need you! The accomplishments of the members of Nipissing University's global community of alumni represent an inspiring account of positive social, cultural, and economic change in the world. Our Alumni Achievement Awards give us the chance to recognize those actions and share the stories of our vibrant and influential community.

It's easy to nominate an alumni award recipient! Fill out the online nomination form below. For a description of each award scroll to the bottom of this page and click the link to the appropriate award.


Nominations for the 2019 awards are now closed. Thank you to everyone that submitted a nomination. Stay tuned for more information on this years winners and event celebration. 

Alumni Award Winners - 2018

Nipissing University and the Nipissing University Alumni Advisory Board are pleased to celebrate the achievements of this years' alumni award recipients at The Grande Event Centre later this month. Awards will be presented to:

Dr. James Jamieson Influential Alumni Award
– Jennifer Conley

Jennifer Conley

Jennifer Conley (née Seguin) has devoted her entire 20 plus year career to leading change in the nonprofit and charitable sectors. Her focus on advancing causes related to education, health care and international development have had a measurable and positive effect on the Nonprofit Sector and Ontario society.

In 2014, Carleton University appointed Jennifer as Chief Advancement Officer and President and CEO of the Carleton University Foundation to lead all alumni relations, development, advancement communications, international stakeholder relations and its $300M comprehensive campaign – the most ambitious campaign in Carleton’s history. Under her transformational leadership, results and progress continue to be unprecedented.

Previously, Jennifer served as Carleton’s Director, Faculty Development and Major Gifts. Prior to Carleton, Jennifer served for over 10 years as the first Executive Director and Campaign Director for The St. Patrick’s Home of Ottawa Foundation, creating the entire fundraising infrastructure from the ground up while concurrently leading the $10M Campaign to build the new St. Patrick’s Home - the largest campaign successfully completed in Ontario’s long term care sector.

Jennifer started her career in nonprofit while in her first year of studies as a student caller for Nipissing University, and she worked continuously for the Alumni & Development Office part time throughout her studies (BA Hons ’94, BEd ’95). Upon completing her second degree at Nipissing, she was named the University’s first Alumni Officer - wherein she created the Alumni Office and all Alumni Programs and architecture from scratch.

Jennifer volunteers extensively for the nonprofit sector and has provided counsel and mentorship to countless individuals and organizations locally and nationally. She has served on the Boards of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) and is a frequent speaker at conferences across Canada. She is an active leader and participant in industry associations, and achieved her CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) credential in 2010. She serves as a guest lecturer for Carleton’s Masters in Philanthropy and Non Profit Leadership Program.

In lieu of her leadership in the profession and commitment to volunteerism, she was named one of Ottawa’s Top Forty Under 40 by the Ottawa Business Journal (2011) and as AFP Ottawa’s Outstanding Fundraising Executive of the Year (2016).

In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys working on the “family business” of Real Estate with her husband Brent.

Rising Star Alumni Award
– Annie Sumi

Annie Sumi

Annie Sumi (BA ’15) is a critically acclaimed, singer-songwriter and ethereal-folk artist from Ontario. Since the release of her debut-album, Reflections, in her graduating year, she has received nominations for Best Singer-Songwriter (TIMAs, 2015), Contemporary Roots Album of the Year (Hidden Roots Collective, CFMAs, 2017), and more.

As a Nipissing student in 2012, Sumi beat out nearly 200 other musical entries from all over Canada to win the chance to open for Lights, the Juno-Award-winning singer-songwriter and performer.

Sumi’s musical talent was also featured in a short video Nipissing created in 2015, Live at the Library, where she played three original songs in Nipissing’s newly opened Harris Learning Library.

With the release of her most recent album, In the Unknown, Sumi has brought colour and vision to the Canadian music scene. Her live performance is renowned for showing her vulnerability as she consistently gives her heart to the stage and inspires the audience to feel emotion.

A proud graduate of Nipissing’s English program, Sumi has shared her songs and stories with audiences around the world with over 300 live performances across Canada, the United States and Continental Europe.


Honorary Alumni Award
– Professor Matti Saari, Ph.D.

Matti Saari

Matti immigrated to Canada from Finland, arriving on November 11, 1956. He was ten years old at the time. The family established their home about 30 kilometers west of Sudbury. Matti is the second oldest of five boys and a sister who was born in Canada. After completing his undergraduate work at Laurentian University, he was admitted for graduate work at Carleton University where he completed his Ph.D. in Psychology in 1977. That same year he joined the faculty of Nipissing University College of Laurentian University. There were only two other full-time members of the “department” at that time. Departmental structure was not established at that time and Nipissing did not become a free-standing institution until 1992. He was promoted to Associate professor in 1982 and full professor in 1993. He has served the university as Chair of Psychology, as a Senator, including secretary of Senate, and as Board of Governors member. He has also represented Nipissing at the Council of Ontario Universities, the Ontario Council of Faculty Associations, and the Canadian Council for Animal Care. Matti was an active member of the Nipissing University Faculty Association and has served as President of the Association. His research in in the general area of neural plasticity and he has published in scientific journals such as Nature (New Biology), Brain Research, and Neuropharmacology, among others. Matti has also served the Community as a member and Chair of the North Bay Psychiatric Hospital Community Advisory Board, among other organizations. Matti fulfilled the legal requirement to be able to practice Psychology and became a Registered Psychologist in 1978. He and his wife studied with Masters and Johnson in Saint Louis and started a practice in Sexual and Marital Therapy in North Bay. Cathy (Dr. Catherine Whiting) was a Family Physician at that time. Matti also served as supervisor for several psychologists in the area who were meeting the requirements for Registration. Matti has always loved teaching and he was awarded a provincial teaching award in 1991 as well as the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, from Nipissing University. Matti has mentored numerous undergraduates in his laboratory and many of these have gone on to graduate studies and beyond. Just last year Nipissing hosted a conference entitled Forty Years of Neuroscience at Nipissing University”. The majority of the papers during the two-day conference were delivered by students who started their careers at Nipissing in Matti’s research group. In his younger years Matti was an avid runner and competed in many marathons including two in the high arctic. Matti and Cathy have two children, Jonathan and Rebecca. Jonathan received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from McGill University and Rebecca graduated with her Ph.D. in Engineering Systems from M.I.T. Matti and Cathy recently became grandparents when Sebastian joined the family.

For more information on the Alumni Awards nomination process, please select from the links below.

Please note that awards are not necessarily presented in all categories each year.​​​