Distinguished Service Award

The highest volunteer award of the McMaster Alumni Association is given in recognition of outstanding contribution and dedication to the Alumni Association and its mission as stated in the Alumni Association constitution. Long-term loyalty and dedication are key ingredients of these very special volunteers.

Visit the Distinguished Service Award Recipients Archive to see past recipients of the award.

2015 Distinguished Service Award Recipients


Peter Vance and Margaret (Starr) Vance

Peter and Margaret Vance met at McMaster University and the University has remained part of their lives for the six decades since they graduated together in 1955.

Peter, a busy Rotarian, joined his father’s law practice in 1959 while Margaret worked as a title searcher before becoming a busy mother and volunteer. An important launching point for the Vances’ volunteer involvement with the McMaster Alumni Association occurred when Peter decided, at age 45, to learn the bagpipes.

Peter’s piping talents have become an integral aspect of two cornerstone events on the Alumni Association’s calendar – the Annual Awards Ceremony (previously the Alumni Gallery Induction Ceremony) and the President’s Luncheon. By performing the ceremonial music for these two events, Peter provides not just a sense of formality and occasion, but also a friendly and constant presence – so constant, in fact, that he holds the record for consecutive years of volunteering at these events. Peter has also been the piper a number of times at the annual McMaster Remembrance Day Service that the Alumni Association organizes on behalf of the University.

Margaret has served as a member of her class reunion committee for 60 years, helping to organize every formal Class of ’55 gathering since graduation. She was also an active member and leader of the McMaster Alumni Association’s Hamilton Alumnae Branch, a now-retired but once vital piece of the alumni program. Margaret was also the founding chair of McMaster Alumni Gallery Committee, the group of volunteers that created and built the iconic program that has been celebrated with national awards for both the overall program and the induction ceremony event ... the event where Peter plays the pipes.

It is with great pride that the McMaster Alumni Association presents its highest honour – the Distinguished Service Award – to Peter and Margaret Vance of the Class of ’55.