Alumni Association of UNBC Names 2015 Award Winners

May 22, 2015

Prince George, BC – UNBC alumni Ray Noonan and Matthew Thomson will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards, and community members Mary Kordyban and Dr. Todd Whitcombe will earn honorary UNBC alumni designation at the 2015 Alumni Awards Reception on May 28.

Ray Noonan will receive the Community Service Award, while Matthew Thomson will collect the Professional Excellence Award. In addition, philanthropist Mary Kordyban and UNBC faculty member Dr. Todd Whitcombe will be made honorary members of the Alumni Association.


Alumni Association of UNBC 2015 award winners from left: Todd Whitcombe, Ray Noonan, Mary Kordyban, and Matthew Thomson. Download High Resolution Image.

“Ray Noonan and Matthew Thomson are superb examples of how UNBC alumni are leaders in the community,” says UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks. “I also congratulate Mary Kordyban and Todd Whitcombe on being named honorary members of the Alumni Association and thank them for their engagement in community work and ongoing support of UNBC.”

The Alumni Association has named 21 honorary members since beginning the practice in 1997. The first Distinguished Alumni Awards were handed out in 2012.

“Each year the Alumni Association of UNBC is fortunate to recognize the amazing contributions that graduates and supporters of the University make in Northern BC, across the province, and around the world,” says Alumni Association of UNBC President Andrew Seabrook. “The 2015 award winners and honorary alumni join an illustrious group who are accomplishing great things.”

Ray Noonan

BSc Biology 1998 and MBA 2006

Noonan has spent nine years on the board of directors with the Prince George Community Foundation and is currently the charity’s President and Chair of the Fund Development Committee and Legacy Committee. The Community Foundation works collaboratively with the UNBC Development Office through events such as the annual Dr. Bob Ewert Memorial Lecture and Dinner to raise funds.

Noonan has also volunteered as a coach and leader in youth sports with the College Heights Community Association and has served numerous terms as a director with the Northern BC Scotiabankers Staff Association. He works as a Financial Consultant with the Scotia Private Client Group in Prince George.

In addition to his two UNBC degrees, Noonan has earned five designations with the Canadian Institute of Bankers and completed the Canadian Securities course.

Matthew Thomson

BSc Chemistry 1998

Thomson works as a High School Teacher in Prince George and has shown a commitment to his students well beyond the classroom.

Thomson developed an Outdoor Recreation course for senior students that includes numerous non-motorized activities ranging from winter camping to white-water rafting. The course provides students with the knowledge and experience that will allow them to continue to pursue outdoor adventures after they graduate from high school.

While teaching senior Information Technology classes at Prince George Secondary School (PGSS), Thomson brought his students to UNBC for a day to show them the campus, take part in lectures, and increase their awareness about options for studying Computer Science at university. Currently, he is the Senior Chemistry Teacher at PGSS.

Thomson has also been actively involved in extracurricular activities, including coaching rugby and soccer, serving six years as President of the North Central District Schools Athletic Association, and sitting on the board of directors of BC School Sports for five years.

Thomson is a former lay representative on the UNBC Senate and a former board member of the Alumni Association.

In addition to his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from UNBC, Thomson holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Arts in Leadership and Administration from Gonzaga University.

Mary Kordyban

As the founder of the Mary Kordyban Foundation, Kordyban has provided financial support for countless community projects in Prince George and Northern British Columbia.

Kordyban established the William Wilfred Kordyban Memorial Award for Cancer Service at UNBC. The endowed award, valued at $2,700, is given to a nursing student at UNBC who has demonstrated community involvement at the Kordyban Lodge, or who otherwise demonstrates community involvement in a health-related field.

The Canadian Cancer Society’s Kordyban Lodge in Prince George bears her family’s name thanks to the $2 million donation her foundation made to the project to provide a home away from home for patients at the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North.

Dr. Todd Whitcombe

Dr. Whitcombe has been a passionate advocate for UNBC and post-secondary education since arriving on campus as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in 1994. He is also generous financially to UNBC and has established three awards that support students each year.

Dr. Whitcombe has extended his teaching into the community by writing more than 800 newspaper columns for a number of regional publications on scientific topics and producing some 300 radio columns for CBC Daybreak North and Daybreak South.

Dr. Whitcombe founded the Active Minds summer camp program at UNBC, another designation to which he regularly donates. He is also the creator, head judge, writer, and one of the producers of the QuizMe program on CKPG TV in Prince George.

Dr. Whitcombe is now an Associate Professor, a faculty representative on the UNBC Senate, and is the Chair of the Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Environmental Engineering program.

Contact Information

Kirk Walker

Alumni Relations Officer
250-960-5873   |   kirk.walker@unbc.ca

Peter James

Communications Officer
250-960-5420   |   peter.james@unbc.ca

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