Kiggundu honoured with Sutherland award

Kiggundu, ArtSci ’06, will receive the Sutherland Award at her convocation.
Kiggundu, ArtSci ’06, will receive the Sutherland Award at her convocation.
Journal File Photo

The extensive contributions of Jacquie Kiggundu, ArtSci ’06, to Queen’s and the greater Kingston community will leave a lasting impression for years to come.

After facing stiff competition from five other nominees, Kiggundu was announced as this year’s recipient of the Robert Sutherland Award at the AMS Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Night at Alfie’s on Tuesday.

“Receiving this award means so much to me because of who Robert Sutherland was and what he represents,” Kiggundu said. “Not only was the man the first black student to study at this University, he was a benefactor as well. Black students have historically faced various barriers to admission and continued success in post-secondary education, and for me, Mr. Sutherland represents tenacity and determination.”   The award was launched in 1996 by then-AMS President Greg Frankson and recognizes graduating students of colour who, like Sutherland, have made outstanding efforts to foster growth and diversity in the Queen’s community.

AMS President Ethan Rabidoux outlined Kiggundu’s accomplishments to the crowd of approximately 70 people at the awards dinner. Highlights include her work at Kingston’s Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, her volunteer work with the Queen’s Human Rights Office and her initiative in organizing a community group established by the United Nations Association of Canada to act as a liaison between minorities in Kingston and city council.

She has also worked as a deputy commissioner of the Social Issues Commission in the AMS and has been the editor of Culture Shock: Queen’s Anti-Racist Review for the past two years.

Robert Sutherland was the first student of colour to attend Queen’s and graduated in 1852 in classics and mathematics. Sutherland was also an early benefactor to the school. After earning a degree in law, he bequeathed his entire $12,000 estate to the University—the largest donation at the time—following his death in 1878. A room on the third floor of the JDUC was named in his honour in 1997.

Rabidoux said that he, along with a representative from the dean of student affairs office, two members of cultural clubs at Queen’s and four members of the AMS Assembly, had a difficult time choosing a winner.

Scheherazaad Cooper, ArtSci ’06, Mawulom Kuenyehia, ArtSci ’06, Rachel La Touche, ArtSci ’06, and Ekta Singh, MEd ’06, were also nominated for the award.

Their extensive experience and qualifications ranged from La Touche’s presidency of the African-Carribean Student Association at Queen’s to Singh’s thesis work, which seeks to examine the areas of faculty diversity and anti-racist policy at the University.

“Everyone’s accomplishments were so impressive,” Rabidoux said.

Rabidoux said the references were “glowing with praise” for all the candidates, but Kiggundu’s set her apart.

“They made it clear that she inspires people wherever she goes and has the ability to invoke critical thinking in her peers,” he said. “She’s destined to accomplish much in her life if she continues on the path she’s on now.”

Kiggundu’s name will be added to the plaque in the Sutherland Room. She will receive the award at her convocation ceremony later this year.

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