Recipients of 2019 Carolyn Layden-Stevenson Distinguished Alumni Awards Announced

St. Thomas University will be honouring three alumni who have excelled in the creative arts at its Gala Dinner on Saturday, April 27. The dinner, which supports student bursaries and activities, will celebrate the achievements of master stained-glass artist Ned Bowes, author and educator Sheree Fitch, and author and senator David Adams Richards with the Carolyn Layden-Stevenson Distinguished Alumni Award.


“Each of these alumni have national standing in the creative arts in Canada and they have spoken proudly of the impact STU has had on their lives — we will be thrilled to honour them,” said St. Thomas University President and Vice-Chancellor Dawn Russell, herself an alumnus of the university.  


Further information on the Gala Dinner may be found at


Master stained-glass artist and conservator Ned Bowes has been working with stained-glass for more than four decades and is one of the most respected restoration experts in the country. Following his graduation in 1973, he trained under English artist Robert Hunt and studied with Maurice Lorreaux a French artist in New Mexico. He opened his stained glass studio in Fredericton and for 31 years operated Shades of Light. He then spent eight years working for the Anglican Diocese of the West Indies restoring windows in several parishes. In 1980, he was awarded the title “Maitre de Vitraux” from the American Stained-Glass Institute. He has received the Dr. Ivan Crowell Award, a Heritage Fredericton Award, and many honours for his restoration work in Barbados and Canada. Most recently, he was artist-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick where he spent 13 months restoring stained-glass windows in Memorial Hall. His art is also displayed at St. Thomas University as the St. Thomas Aquinas stained-glass window and the Virgin Mary stained-glass window are hung in the Great Hall.


Sheree Fitch is an author, educator, and literacy advocate. She earned her BA in 1987 and her first book, Toes in my Nose, was published the same year. She has written more than 30 books, ranging from playful children’s verse to adult fiction. Her best-selling children’s book, Sleeping Dragons All Around, won the Atlantic Booksellers Award in 1990. Her latest book is Everybody's Different on Everybody Street, a book commissioned to educate and break stigma around mental illness. She has numerous other awards to her credit, including the Mr. Christie Award, the Anne Connor Brimer Award, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a body of work inspirational to Canadian children. In 2008, her first adult novel, Kiss the Joy as it Flies, was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Award. She has also worked in the Arctic with women in a literacy program and taught writing to college students and teachers in Bhutan. She has received three honorary doctorates for her contribution to Canadian literature and for her work as a literacy advocate and activist for women and children. She owns and operates Mabel Murple's Book Shoppe and Dreamery, a seasonal book shop in River John Nova Scotia which specializes in Canadian literature.    


From his time as a student to his years as a novelist and now as a senator, David Adams Richards has been a contributor to our university. He attended STU in the early 1970s, leaving early in order to complete a novel, and received an honorary degree in 1990. He co-chaired our Centenary Celebrations, was a featured speaker at the SSHRC National Congress of the Humanities when it was hosted at STU and UNB, was Artist-in-Residence, was the Irving Chair in Journalism, and has spoken to classes in numerous departments. David has received many national and international awards for his novels, essays and screenplays, and is one of only three writers to earn the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction and non-fiction. He was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award for three other novels, and has won the Canadian Authors Association Award, the Alden Nowlan Award for Excellence in English Literary Arts, and the Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, among other prizes.