New for 2021, the Mitchell Family Alumni of the Year Awards Presented by Makadiff Sports 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 recognizes the continued contributions by each alumnus to their alma mater. Winners will be announced virtually on Thursday, May 20.
|Business Administration '75|
|Chartered Accountant '82|
Nancy Knowlton was a cornerstone of the Gaiters’ women’s basketball team, leading the Quebec Universities Athletic Association (QUAA) in scoring in the 1972-73 and 1973-74, while also ranking as the top scoring leader in the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (CIAU – now U SPORTS). During her stint with the program, she won two consecutive Quebec championships, en route to the Gaiters’ first two appearances at the CIAU national championships in team history. In addition, Knowlton led Team Quebec to a silver medal at the 1975 Canada Winter Games and toured China as a member of the Canadian National Team. Upon pursuing graduate studies at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Knowlton again led the CIAU in scoring with the Huskies and accomplished the rare feat of being named Athlete of the Year at two different universities.
A leader in advancing education via technology, Knowlton founded SMART Technologies following graduation and served as its CEO – putting interactive whiteboards into millions of classrooms and boardrooms around the world. Together with her husband, David Martin, she also founded the SMARTer Kids Foundation in 2003 to provide grants reducing the price of SMART products to all accredited, not-for-profit educational institutions, museums, libraries and home schools in the United States and Canada. Knowlton and Martin later founded Nureva Inc., which offers a range of practical audio-conferencing systems that solve poor audio performance in meeting and learning spaces.
Looking to give back academically to her alma mater, Knowlton has been instrumental in the creation of two of the highest-impact programs for students at Bishop’s – the Chancellor’s Excellence Scholarships and the Bishop’s Exceptional Student Talent (B.E.S.T.) Project Fund. The Chancellor’s Excellence Scholarship program recognizes and rewards students with outstanding academic records who personify Bishop’s fundamental values of integrity, curiosity, ambition, courage, self-discipline and community engagement. Recipients benefit from being paired with a mentor from the faculty or senior administration, are invited to participate in the university’s annual Leadership Retreat and are invited to scholarly gatherings such as lecture receptions and events organized by the Chair in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence.
The B.E.S.T. Project Fund is the premier experiential learning opportunity at Bishop’s. It assists students in determining their career paths and realizing their ambitions by making it possible for them to undertake transformative experiences that might not otherwise be available or accessible to them, particularly as undergraduates. Since the B.E.S.T. Project Fund was created in 2010, more than 130 students have been awarded funding to pursue a wide range of extraordinary and inspiring projects, in Canada and abroad.
Knowlton’s awards for her contributions include being inducted into the Bishop’s University Wall of Distinction (2008), the Gaiters women’s basketball Team Award being named in her honour, along with receiving an Honorary Doctorate from both institutions, first in 2003 from Saint Mary’s and later in 2009 from Bishop’s.
“Nancy Knowlton epitomizes excellence. Her time as a Gaiter was outstanding; she was an Athlete of the Year and a true leader. What she did after graduation was even more remarkable. She is a pioneer in the business world and is someone we are extremely proud to call a Bishop’s alumna.”
Matt McBrine. - Director of Athletics and Recreation, Bishop's