Please Enter a Search Term

Inaugural award named for late professor of English

By Janet Harron | May 26, 2011

A new award established in memory of Professor Helen Jones was given out at recent convocation ceremonies.

Helen Jones was both an alumnus of Memorial and a long time teacher in the Department of English, along with her husband Gordon Jones. They met in 1964 in a production of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood and were married in 1970. Helen Jones passed away in February 2010 from complications associated with multiple sclerosis. A fine teacher and much admired by her students, her particular area of interest was the modern English novel and she specialized in the work of British writer Olivia Manning.

“Since we both dedicated ourselves to teaching English students at Memorial over such a lengthy period, I could think of no more appropriate way of memorializing Helen than by establishing this award in her memory and in recognition of outstanding students in our discipline,” said Dr. Jones. 

The Helen Jones Convocation Awards for Excellence is awarded annually to a student who is graduating with a BA, honours or general degree with a major in English, who has achieved the highest average mark in their English courses. The winner of the inaugural award is Ryan Belbin.

“Receiving this award is a tremendous honour, but an intimidating one as well. I never had the pleasure of knowing Helen Jones, but it was obvious, from speaking to former students and colleagues, that she had a powerful influence within the English department, and the university as a whole,” said Mr. Belbin, who is planning a career in journalism. “Especially considering that this is the inaugural year, I'm humbled at the trust the department has placed in me to live up to the namesake of this award.”

Dr. Jennifer Lokash sits on the Department of English’s Awards and Scholarships  Committee. She loves this time of year and the “happy” task of recommending students for convocation prizes.

“Ryan Belbin is a gifted student and a very worthy first recipient," she said.