Alumni trio wins top Memorial honours

MacDonald, Smith and Dobbin receive 2016 Tribute Awards

Oct. 13, 2016


Morgan MacDonald, Karl Smith and Mark Dobbin
will receive Alumni Tribute Awards
at the 35th annual ceremony

Three of Memorial’s top alumni honours have been awarded to graduates of the Faculty of Business Administration.

Mark Dobbin, B.Comm. (Co-op)’81, Karl Smith, B.Comm.(Hons.)(Co-op)’81 and Morgan MacDonald, BBA’04 will receive Alumni Tribute Awards at the 35th annual ceremony tonight. The Tribute Awards recognize four outstanding alumni for their career achievements as well as contributions to their communities and alma mater. The fourth recipient, Christopher Nolan, is a graduate of the School of Nursing.

“With three of the four award winners being alumni of the business faculty, it demonstrates the type of community-minded and excellence-driven graduates who emerge from our programs,” said Dr. Wilfred Zerbe, dean of Memorial’s business faculty. “Our alumni are known for being outstanding citizens who are leaders and innovators in their fields and they routinely have significant impacts on their communities. We’re so pleased to see Mr. Dobbin, Mr. Smith and Mr. MacDonald being recognized for their accomplishments, and we wish them continued success in their careers.”

Mr. Dobbin will receive the Alumnus of the Year Award. Mr. Smith will receive the J.D. Eaton Alumni Award, and Mr. MacDonald will take home the Alumni Horizon Award.

‘A great honour’


Mark Dobbin: 2016 Alumnus of the Year

Mr. Dobbin has been a long-time supporter of the business faculty and has served on the dean’s advisory board. He won the faculty’s Alumni Honour Award in 2000 and between 2007 and 2013, served as deputy chair of Memorial’s Dare To fundraising campaign, which raised almost $68 million.

“I was surprised and humbled. It was completely unexpected,” said Mr. Dobbin of being selected for the Alumnus of the Year Award. “Memorial is a major university with so many graduates that have inspiring careers and a history of giving back. To be asked to represent this group is a great honour.”

After graduating with a commerce degree from Memorial, Mr. Dobbin completed a master of business administration at Dalhousie University. He joined Sealand Helicopters at the age of 21, a company founded by his father, the late Craig Dobbin. He spent 17 years at the company, overseeing its evolution to become CHC Helicopters and which he led as vice-president and chaired from 2006-2008.

Mr. Dobbin left CHC in 1998 to become chair and chief executive officer of the newly-founded Vector Aerospace Corporation, a globally-recognized aviation repair and overhaul company that he led from 1998-2003. In 2004, he founded Killick Capital Inc., a private equity investment firm focused on Atlantic Canadian businesses and the global aerospace industry. As president of Killick Capital, he played a key role in stimulating new business growth in Newfoundland and Labrador through the provision of capital funds and as a mentor to local entrepreneurs.

Mr. Dobbin says his commerce degree from Memorial provided the solid footing for his successful career path.

“The business faculty has been the foundation of my business career,” he said. “It was there that I learned many of the skills and values that have served me well throughout my career and life outside work.”

‘Affinity and respect’


Karl Smith: 2016 J.D. Eaton Alumni Award

The J.D. Eaton Alumni Award recognizes outstanding volunteer contributions to Memorial.

“I am greatly honoured and humbled to be selected,” said recipient Mr. Smith. “I have a huge affinity and a great deal of respect for Memorial University. I also have a great deal of respect for past recipients of the Alumni Tribute awards. To be included with these outstanding individuals is a huge honour.”

Mr. Smith, originally from Stephenville Crossing, graduated with a commerce degree from Memorial in 1981. A chartered accountant, he has filled a number of leadership roles at companies such as Fortis Trust, Newfoundland Power, FortisAlberta Inc. and Fortis Properties. In 2014, he was named executive vice-president and chief financial officer of Fortis Inc. in St. John’s. He is currently a director on the board of CH Energy Group and the Fortis BC Group of Companies.

pull-quote-SmithMr. Smith has served on the boards of Fortis Ontario, Fortis Alberta, Caribbean Utilities Company Ltd., Canadian Electricity Association and Mount Royal University. He is the current chair of the board of directors for the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council.

He’s been a dedicated member of the community as well, volunteering with The Power of Life Project, a corporate charity of Newfoundland Power that operates in partnership with the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation, as well as working with future generations of business leaders through Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta and currently, Junior Achievement Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Smith was a member of the business faculty’s advisory board for over a decade and was a contributing member of its resource committee. He has often served as a judge for MBA case competitions and while living in Calgary, was instrumental in the growth of Memorial’s Calgary Affinity Newfoundland and Labrador Dinner, one of the university’s most successful alumni and fundraising events that has raised over $560,000 to date for entrance scholarships.

“In some ways, the business faculty at Memorial has impacted everything I have accomplished in my career,” said Mr. Smith. “It was the foundation upon which I have built my career. The education at Memorial is second to none and has allowed me to compete and succeed in all aspects of my business career.”

Art, business and community


Morgan MacDonald:
2016 Horizon Award

The youngest of the three award recipients, Mr. MacDonald is being recognized with the 2016 Alumni Horizon Award for exceptional achievements by a Memorial graduate under the age of 35.

“It is incredibly humbling and such an honour,” Mr. MacDonald said. “I think of all the past recipients, the list of their achievements and the things that they have accomplished in their careers. To me it is humbling to be among this group of inspiring individuals.”

“It’s always reassuring for what you do in your career to be recognized this way,” he added. “It reaffirms your belief in the possibility that you can accomplish your goals if you have the courage to embark on the journey. However, for me, the award is secondary to what I receive back from the communities that I get to do my work for. I am only starting to see the affect art can have on a community and am overwhelmed by how people feel about the work. It is a gift that I never had anticipated receiving.”

Mr. MacDonald began his post-secondary education in the fine arts program in Corner Brook, his hometown, but switched to a business administration degree. While attending Memorial, he apprenticed with renowned sculptor Luben Boykov while working on his own skills as a sculptor. At the age of 23, he was commission to do his first life-sized bronze statue: The Rower at Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John’s.

He has since worked on notable pieces such as the Sealers Memorial in Elliston, A Time in St. John’s and the RCMP Memorial in Moncton, NB that honours three RCMP officers killed in 2014.

History in bronze

pull-quote-MacDonaldMr. MacDonald has also worked on several projects involving the military and Royal Newfoundland Regiment such as Corner Brook Remembrance Square and the Conception Bay South Monument of Honour. He recently completed a piece for Grenfell Campus of the Danger Tree and is currently working on 100 Portraits of the Great War, a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Beaumont Hamel.

Mr. MacDonald started the Newfoundland Bronze Foundry in 2005, now the largest bronze foundry in Eastern Canada.

“As cliché as it may sound, I believe it to be true that the business faculty was and is a place that can give students the core tools and knowledge to succeed,” he said. “It was no different for me. Whether it was communications, accounting, entrepreneurship, management and marketing, all of these studies were core to approaching my career path in a disciplined and focused manner. Also of great and unexpected value was the experience of being in an environment that can act as a catalyst for greater opportunities, partnerships, networking and idea sharing.”

The 35th annual Alumni Tribute Awards will be held on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland in St. John’s.

Susan White