Dan Heath congratulates Kyle Wellband.Professor Dan Heath congratulates Kyle Wellband, a recipient of the Governor General’s Gold Medal, Saturday at Convocation.

Governor General’s medal recognizes top academic achievement

A pair of PhD graduates were honoured for outstanding academic achievement this past weekend during the 108th Convocation ceremonies held in the St. Denis Centre.

Lakshmi Varaha Iyer, who received a PhD in electrical engineering in 2016, and Kyle William Wellband, who received a PhD in environmental science at Convocation ceremonies in June, received the Governor General’s Gold Medal from provost Douglas Kneale.

The medals were established in 1873 by Lord Dufferin, Canada’s third Governor General after Confederation, to encourage academic excellence across the nation. Over the years, they have become the most prestigious award that students in Canadian schools can receive, recognizing a student graduating with the highest grade point average among peers.

During his time at UWindsor, Dr. Iyer received, among other honours, an NSERC Canada Graduate Doctoral Scholarship; a Tri-Council Recognition Scholarship; and the University of Windsor Graduate Scholarship and Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity.

“I'd like to explicitly thank Dr. Narayan Kar, his Canada Research Chair Program, and the University of Windsor,” Iyer said.

“This award is the result of continued guidance from Dr. Kar, Dr. Kaushik Mukherjee, and collaboration with other like-minded professors, fellow researchers, and technologists in the CHARGE labs, as well as sponsoring industries. This award is ours. I am immensely grateful to the Almighty for all the favours received and thank my parents for my upbringing, as well as family and well-wishers for their continued support in my quest for knowledge and excellence.”

Iyer’s publication record is among the top one percent of all graduate students in the history of the Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering, and he is noted for developing novel and advanced design approaches that are now used extensively by practising engineers and research peers.

Dr. Wellband received the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology; the NSERC Postgraduate Doctoral Scholarship; and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, among others. He is the author or co-author of nine peer-reviewed international journal publications, as well as three others currently in review on subjects ranging from lamprey to salmon biology with regard to ecology and evolution.

His colleagues consider him to be an excellent undergraduate mentor and gifted oral communicator with an ability to bring diverse groups and communities together.

“I’m honoured to receive the Governor General’s Medal for my doctoral research,” Wellband said.

“While this achievement is the result of a lot of hard work, it would not have been possible without the positive, collaborative research environment that the graduate program at GLIER provides. I’d especially like to acknowledge my supervisor Dr. Daniel Heath. He not only gave me the resources to conduct my own research but also provided me with the opportunity to mentor graduate and undergraduate students and collaborate with researchers within and outside our lab. These experiences enhanced the quality of my science, allowed me to be more productive, and develop skills necessary for an academic career.”

Lakshmi Varaha Iyer
Lakshmi Varaha Iyer
, a recipient of the Governor General’s Gold Medal, receives congratulations from UWindsor president Alan Wildeman and chancellor Ed Lumley, Saturday at Convocation.