Each year, the MSVU Alumni Awards shine a spotlight on graduates who have made significant contributions to the university and in their communities. These alumni exemplify the limitless potential of an MSVU education and the exceptional individuals who study here. Not only do the he MSVU Alumni Awards celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of our alumni, but they also inspire current Mount students to aim for excellence.

Our 2023 Alumni Award winners were recognized on Saturday, November 4, 2023 at a ceremony and high tea held at MSVU. Alumni joined us in their fanciest tea outfits (and fascinators!) to celebrate each other’s achievements and enjoy delicious food and, of course, tea.

Congratulations to this year’s Alumni Award winners:

Young Alumna of the Year Award

Cheyenne Hardy posing beside the Pride Stairs near Evaristus HallThe Young Alumna of the Year Award celebrates the achievements of alumni who have graduated within the last 10 years and who are committed to advancing social responsibility and equity, demonstrated by inspiring change in the community. This year’s recipient is Cheyenne Hardy (BACYS ’23).

Cheyenne currently serves as the TD Fellow at MSVU, a prestigious position awarded to only two graduates in the country this year.

From her early days at MSVU, Cheyenne stood out as a dedicated and high-achieving student. She arrived at the university as a recipient of the President’s Scholarship in 2019 and graduated as valedictorian of her class with a remarkable 4.2 GPA, securing the Child and Youth Study Award for Academic Excellence.

Throughout her academic journey, Cheyenne demonstrated unwavering commitment to her university and peers. She held the position of Professional Studies Representative on the Students’ Union and served on Senate for all four years of her degree. She volunteered with the Mount Student Food Bank before getting hired to fill various management positions. She also played a pivotal role in the creation of Captain Crow’s Café, the campus soup kitchen.

Beyond campus, Cheyenne has volunteered with Better Together, the North Dartmouth Echo, several youth councils, the IWK, and her own community organization, Project Comfort. Project Comfort began in 2016 during an especially challenging time in Dartmouth North where many were losing loved ones due to street violence. Since then, Project Comfort has grown to donate blankets to shelters in Halifax and Newfoundland, and even primary schools/churches in Kenya.

Cheyenne’s dedication to community and leadership has not gone unnoticed. She has received numerous recognitions, including the Prince of Wales Youth Leadership Award, which came with a $2500 cash prize that allowed her to travel and teach English at a primary school in Kenya. In addition, she was named the 2017 Red Cross Youth Humanitarian of the Year, and received the 2019 Young Woman of Excellence Award from the Canadian Progress Club, the 2021 Prime Minister’s Canada Service Corp Certificate of Recognition, and a 2023 HRM Volunteer Award. Cheyenne is a source of inspiration to those around her.

Alumni Community Service Award

The honorable Patricia Arab smiling for the camera in a black suit jacketPatricia Arab (BEd ‘2001) holds a Bachelor of Education degree from MSVU (in addition to degrees from Dalhousie and Acadia) and worked as a teacher for a number of years before launching her successful career in politics.

Her last position in education before running for office, she was a guidance counselor and teacher at Forest Heights Community School in Chester Grant. During her time there, she had the opportunity to work with leading psychiatrist Dr. Stan Kutcher, piloting his mental health curriculum, which has since been adopted nationally.

Patricia was born and raised in Halifax. From a young age, she has been very active in her church communities of Our Lady of Lebanon Parish and Saint Benedict’s Parish (formerly Our Lady of Perpetual Help). As well, she has spent numerous hours volunteering for various organizations, such as the IWK, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Lebanese cultural organization Diman Association Canada.

Since her election to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in 2013, Patricia has become a well-respected representative for the constituency of Fairview-Clayton Park. From 2017 to 2021, under Premiers Stephen McNeil and Iain Rankin, she served as Minister of Service Nova Scotia, Internal Services and Communications Nova Scotia. MSVU’s anniversary year of 2023 is also a miletone for Patricia too as it marks 10 years for her as an MLA.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Legacy Award

Deanne Mohamed posing for the camera in a red floral print topDeanna Mohamed (MEd’08) was born and raised in the historical African Nova Scotian community of New Glasgow. She is a very proud MSVU alumna having graduated alongside 20 African Nova Scotian trailblazers from the very first class of the Master’s of Education in Lifelong Learning with a focus on Africentric Leadership, a program Deanna describes as “life changing and culturally affirming.”

Deanna has worked in the field of education for 20 years. She started her career in New Glasgow (grades 7-12) as an African Nova Scotia Student Support Worker. She has been employed for the past 15 years at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), where she currently works as the Student Services Advisor and African Canadian Supports at Pictou campus. She was seconded for a term at NSCC’s Central Office as the Equity and Inclusion Advisor. She also was an “Understanding Diversity, Building Bridges” facilitator and trainer with NSCC in 2016. Deanna has also recently done some contractual work with the Association of Black Social Workers.

Deanna is a passionate and sought-after keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, having presented on numerous equity, diversity and inclusion topics such as: Africentric approaches, perspectives and practice; being an equity and inclusion champion; Islam 101; leadership and motivation; African Nova Scotian History; and Black Lives Matter. Deanna is also an active community volunteer. She has given of her time to numerous boards, agencies and organizations, including Ignite Atlantic, the Africentric Advisory Committee with the KidsFirst Organization, the Africentric Advisory Committee with Employment Support and Income Assistance (Department of Community Services), the Town of New Glasgow, and the Board of Pictou County Partnership.

Deanna loves working with students to help them realize their fullest potential and greatness through education. It is “heart work” for her, and it is her life’s purpose and passion to support and uplift others to help create a more consciously inclusive and truly equitable society.