Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes McMaster University graduates who have attained a high level of distinction and achievement through scholarship, research, teaching, creative contributions to the arts or sciences and/or service to society. This Award is intended to honour alumni whose accomplishments and contributions are of national and/or international significance, and/or have had a seminal or transformative impact on their field of endeavour. Two Distinguished Alumni Awards will be offered each year, one in the Arts (comprising Humanities, Performing and Fine Arts, Social Sciences and Business) and one in the Sciences (comprising Science, Engineering and Health Sciences).

Recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award will be chosen annually by the Selection Committee from among the nominations submitted. Nominations will be retained and reconsidered annually for a period of three years.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented at Fall Convocation, and cannot be conferred in absentia.

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

More information on Eligibility and Criteria.

Click here to submit a nomination for a Distinguished Member.



The 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients



Brian Bloom

A graduate of McMaster’s biochemistry program in 1998, Brian Bloom continued his academic career as a PhD candidate in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Having completed the Canadian Securities Course long before he had earned his McMaster degree, Mr. Bloom decided to combine his medical and financial expertise by pursuing a career that connected biotechnology and investment. He began working as an investment banking analyst and then an equity research associate in New York before returning to Canada in 2003 to join Dundee Securities Corporation. Over a half-decade there, he played a key role in building his Dundee division into the most profitable healthcare banking team in the country.

In 2008, Mr. Bloom co-founded and became chairman and CEO of Bloom Burton & Co., a firm specializing in healthcare-related investment banking. The company is now Canada’s premier life sciences investment bank. One of the firm’s signature contributions is the Bloom Burton Healthcare Investment Conference which now attracts more than 1,000 participants annually.

Mr. Bloom is also actively involved in guiding the progress of several start-up companies that he and his firm have supported. He is a co-founder and a member of the board of directors of Qing Bile Therapeutics based in Vancouver, as well as the co-founder and chairman of Toronto-based Grey Wolf Animal Health, Halifax-based Appili Therapeutics, and Triumvira Immunologics which is a McMaster University spin-out corporation based in Hamilton.

Mr. Bloom has dedicated himself to a number of sector and not-for-profit boards where his unique expertise makes his contributions particularly valuable. A past member of the advisory board of the Cell Therapy Institute at Princess Margaret Hospital and the University of Toronto, he also served on the advisory board for McMaster’s Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute and has been a strong advocate and champion for the development of the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization Program at McMaster. Mr. Bloom is currently a member of the boards of directors for BIOTECanada and the Baycrest Hospital Foundation, as well as the National Research Council of Canada’s Life Sciences Advisory Board.

McMaster is proud to recognize Mr. Brian Bloom of the Class of ‘98 with the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Patricia Demers

Patricia Demers is a two-time McMaster graduate who has become one of Canada’s most respected and decorated literary scholars. A Hamilton native, Dr. Demers attended her hometown university and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and French in 1968 and then her Master’s degree in 1971. She completed her PhD at the University of Ottawa and began teaching as a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta where she now holds the title of Distinguished University Professor. Previously, she served as chair of the Department of English and Film Studies and as associate dean of Graduate Studies. She is also one of the university’s most-awarded teachers, having collected the University of Alberta Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the Arts Faculty Teaching Award, the McCalla Research Professorship Award and the prestigious University Cup, the University of Alberta’s highest faculty honour.

A leading literary scholar, Dr. Demers has pursued a diverse research program that includes important work on early modern women’s writing, Shakespearean and Jacobean drama, feminist hermeneutics and children’s literature. Her published scholarly work includes Instruction to Delight: Children’s Literature to 1850 and A Garland from the Golden Age, both anthologies of children’s literature. Her critical publications include Women as Interpreters of the Bible, The World of Hannah More, Heaven Upon Earth: The Form of Moral and Religious Children’s Literature to 1850, Louis Hémon’s Maria Chapdelaine and Women’s Writing in English: Early Modern England.

Dr. Demers, who has served as vice-president of SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) and was the first female president of the Royal Society of Canada, was the 2008 recipient of the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ Sarah Shorten Award for contributions to the advancement of women in Canadian post-secondary education. She also chaired the Royal Society Expert Panel on “The Future Now: Canada’s Libraries, Archives and Public Memory.” Dr. Demers is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and, since 2016, a member of the Order of Canada.

McMaster is proud to recognize Dr. Patricia Demers of the Classes of ’68 and ’71 with the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award.