The second annual Joe and Ben Weider Athletic Leadership Awards were presented to Concordia Stingers Roxanne Galarneau and James Lavallée at a ceremony on the university’s Sir George Williams campus on Wednesday.
The awards recognize one male and one female student-athlete who have excelled in their sports, their academics and demonstrated leadership through community involvement.
In 2020, Galarneau left a career as a medical technologist to pursue a specialization in Actuarial Mathematics. Since then, she has completed three internships and earned 57 credits with a 4.27 GPA. She has many academic honours to her credit, including being in the top 1% in Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Science.
Originally from Mirabel, Que., she never missed a practice as a flanker with the Concordia Stingers women’s rugby team. In 2022, she was named to the RSEQ all-star team.
Galarneau is an exceptional leader on her team, selflessly sharing her knowledge and time, and giving back to the team that she says has given her so much.
Lavallée began his studies in the John Molson School of Business in 2020. He is working on a major in Management with a minor in Political Science and has a cumulative GPA of 3.46.
He joined the cross-country team in 2022 to satisfy his need for self-improvement and to make connections.
Lavallée is the co-founder of Waterways, a non-profit organization that has run hundreds of canoe and culture camps for thousands of Indigenous young people across Manitoba. He is also the chair of Canoe Kayak Canada’s Indigenous Advisory Counsel and a member of the Louis Riel Institute’s Métis Language Champions.
The Weider awards have been established with a $320,000 gift from George Lengvari, a former Loyola College basketball star and Concordia Sports Hall of Famer, with additional support from the Weider Foundation and Terry Tretiak, president of Lengvari Capital. They will be presented annually.
The honours presented to Galarneau and Lavallée came with engraved medals and financial support of up to $5,000 each for tuition expenses.
Joe and Ben Weider were Montreal-born brothers from humble beginnings who built a world-renowned empire on the success of their bodybuilding, fitness and publishing initiatives. Lengvari, who served as a senior vice-president and vice-chairman at Weider Health and Fitness from 1994 to 2009, initiated the awards to honour the Weiders who were his great friends, mentors and benefactors.