U SPORTS announces Mitchell Family Alumni of the Year nominees

TORONTO — U SPORTS is proud to announce the finalists for the 2021 Mitchell Family Alumni of the Year Awards Presented by Makadiff Sports.

The new award honours the long-time champions of the U SPORTS Athlete of the Year Program, The Honourable Lois and Doug Mitchell, and celebrates eight former varsity athletes who have become leaders in their communities, and recognize the continued contributions by each alumnus to their alma mater.

“Our goal with this award is to create a culture and legacy of giving back. We are pleased to showcase inspirational community leaders that attribute their success, in part, to the lessons they learned and skills they developed as university athletes,” said The Honourable Lois and Doug Mitchell.

“These awards will recognize the essential role that university sports play in shaping Canada’s leaders. We hope this becomes an inspiration for not just students and future students but for all Canadians and we are grateful for the opportunity to share these stories on a national scale.”

The male nominees include former football players Israel Idonije of the Manitoba Bisons and Stuart Lang of the Queen’s Gaels, together with his wife Kim, along with men’s basketball alumni George Lengvari Jr. of the McGill Redbirds and Concordia Stingers, and Shaquille Smith from the Acadia Axemen.

The female nominees are highlighted by women’s basketball graduates Erica McGuiness of the UBC Thunderbirds, Lee Anna Osei of the Laurier Golden Hawks and Nancy Knowlton of the Bishop’s Gaiters, as well as Dr. Cathy Campbell from the Dalhousie Tigers Track & Field program.

The winners will be selected by the Canadian Athletic Foundation – a not-for-profit Board of Trustees from across Canada, formed by Chairman Doug Mitchell in 1993, for the purpose of providing more recognition for Canadian university student-athletes.

The Male and Female Alumni of the Year will be announced virtually on May 20 and will receive the Jim Thompson Trophy, as well as the opportunity to donate a leadership training session provided by Blueprint for a group of deserving students at the institution of their choice.

Leading up to the announcement, U SPORTS will profile each of the nominees as part of a week-long national promotional campaign – featuring highlights of their academic, athletic and professional careers, as well as video interviews posted to U SPORTS digital channels.

“We appreciate the continued support of The Honourable Lois and Doug Mitchell in helping us showcase and mentor our talented and accomplished student-athletes for nearly three decades,” said U SPORTS Interim CEO Dick White.

“This new award presents a terrific opportunity to highlight their achievements that were cultivated from success experienced both in the classroom and on the field of play, while also empowering the next generation to emulate these role models in our society.”

First Name Last Name School Sport Years Hometown
Israel Idonije Manitoba Football 1998-2002 Brandon, Man
Erica McGuinness UBC Basketball 2003-08 North Vancouver, B.C.
Stuart & Kim Lang Queen’s / Guelph Football 1970-74 Guelph / Cambridge, Ont.
Lee Anna Osei Laurier Basketball 2012-15 Vaughan, Ont.
George Lengvari Jr. Concordia / McGill Basketball 1962-66 Montreal, Que.
Nancy Knowlton Bishop’s Basketball 1972-74 Knowlton, Que.
Shaquille Smith Acadia Basketball 2011-15 North Preston, N.S.
Dr. Cathy Campbell Dalhousie Track & Field 1971-75 Halifax, N.S.

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