Alumni of Distinction

Schulich Medicine & Dentistry is proud to recognize the outstanding achievements of six alumni and one honourary alumnus by naming them Alumni of Distinction.

Young Alumni Award
Sean Bendall, PhD'08

Before Bendall graduated with his PhD, focused on human embryonic stem cells, he had already published eight times, including one in Nature and was recognized with the Dr. William Zaharia Award and the Collip Medal.

Since joining the faculty at Stanford University, his standing as an exemplary scientist has been evidenced through a long list of accolades including the National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award and recognition as a Rising Star in Immunology from the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies.

Bendall is a strong ambassador for biochemistry and an inspiration for all graduate trainees at the School.

Excellence in Basic Science Research Award
Jane Rylett, PhD'80

Rylett has distinguished herself as an academic leader and an outstanding researcher in the field of Alzheimer’s research.

Her work in the area of neurobiology has been recognized with numerous awards from national organizations including the Claude P. Beaubien Prize for Research from the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

Rylett is a Distinguished University Professor and was elected to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. She has published more than 100 research articles and has given more than 100 presentations to scientific and community audiences.

Alumni of Distinction Award — Dentistry
Dr. Antonios Mamandras

“For almost forty years I have treasured my relationships with all of my students, who are my second family.”

Dr. Mamandras is credited for creating one of the best orthodontic educations in North America. Since joining the education team in 1982, he has trained more than 120 residents, supervised the research of more than 40 students and guided the care of hundreds of patients.

Known for his big and inviting smile, Dr. Mamandras has engendered tremendous respect and admiration from trainees, faculty and alumni.

“I feel deeply honoured to be joining a very distinguished group of individuals with remarkable accomplishments,” he said. “Also to know that my students nominated me makes this recognition very special.”

Professional Achievement Award — Medicine
Dr. Richard J. Hawkins, MD'69

“My present research continues to try to answer questions regarding aspects of treating patients that we need to better understand.”

Dr. Hawkins is recognized as a pioneer of the surgical repair of shoulder injuries, an
innovative surgeon and an exemplary teacher who always ensured his students understood the importance of family, personal health and well-being.

An expert in the field, he was a physician for the Canadian Olympic team in 1988, former consultant to the United States ski team, and team physician for the Denver Broncos.

“I am honoured and very humbled by this award, and I want to share this with the Class of 1969. They nominated me and supported me and that is the greatest honour,” he said.

Dean’s Distinguished Lecturer Award
Dr. Danyaal Raza, MD/BEng'09

“I help my patients through their life struggles and celebrate their triumphs with them. I feel so enormously privileged and inspired to be along for this ride.”

Dr. Raza is an inner-city physician passionately committed to improving the well-being of patients through the enhancement of social determinants of health.

He is a leader in building awareness about refugee health, proper housing, interventions for poverty and improved Medicare.

“I remember the day I received my acceptance letter from Schulich Medicine – it was an overwhelming feeling of joy,” he said. “More than a few years on the other side, it feels pretty good to know that in the eyes of my peers, I’ve realized at least some of the potential I felt that day.”

Community Service Award
Dr. Penelope Thornton, DDS'81

“I have the honour of treating up to four generations of families and it is a delight to have a front-row seat on their lives.”

A community dentist and adjunct professor, Dr. Thornton has served as a volunteer with the Dental Outreach Community Service program since 2008. She is known for her kindness, humility and commitment to teaching the next generation of dentists.

She is a strong supporter of Community Living London, Sharing Smiles Day and was founding president of Child Light: A Parent Resource for Blind and Visually Impaired Children.

“I am most humbled by this honour. My volunteer experiences have all been with sincere, hardworking people and I share this award with them,” she said.

Alumni of Distinction Award — Dentistry
Dr. Gordon Payne, DDS'86

“Kids inspire me in my work. I love treating children. Give me a three-year-old patient over a 30-year-old any day. Working with kids is my fountain of youth.”

A paediatric dentist and adjunct faculty member, Dr. Payne is being recognized for his steadfast support of quality education and his leadership in the community.

“It is indeed humbling to be included in this cohort of achievers, and I will need to work hard to continue to deserve this honour,” he said.

Dr. Payne has served in leadership roles with the London & District Dental Society and the Royal College of Dentists of Canada.