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Trent University Durham faculty receive awards

Joe Muldoon, head of Trent University’s Durham GTA campus (left), and Dr. Don McCaskill, an Indigenous Studies professor, are the 2020 recipients of the university’s Eminent Service Award.

The head of the Trent University Durham GTA campus and a long-time professor have been recognized with one of the university’s most prestigious awards.

Joe Muldoon, head of Trent University’s Durham GTA campus, and Dr. Don McCaskill, an Indigenous Studies professor, are the 2020 recipients of the university’s Eminent Service Award. Presented annually, the award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to life at Trent during their time at the university.

Muldoon is well-known for building a reputation and programs as head of Trent’s Durham GTA campus, and McCaskill was instrumental in helping lay the foundation for Trent’s leadership in Indigenous Studies.

“Together with the entire Trent community, I whole-heatedly congratulate and thank Joe Muldoon and Dr. Don McCaskill for their hard work and dedication over many years. It has played a significant role making Trent an outstanding university,” states President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Leo Groarke in a press release.

“This award is a fitting honour for their long and distinguished careers.”

Muldoon retired in September 2019 after a 33-year career at Trent that spanned many roles, including the university’s first research officer, as well as assistant to the dean of arts and science.

In his final role at Trent, as the inaugural head of Trent University Durham GTA, he developed the campus while strengthening Trent’s reputation and presence throughout Oshawa, Durham and the GTA through community engagement, new program development, and negotiating new articulation agreements, all which provided new opportunities for students, the release reads.

“I am both honoured and flattered to join the list of staff and faculty who have dedicated their careers to Trent’s exceptional undergraduate student experience,” Muldoon states. “My final years spent at the Durham campus were amongst the happiest and rewarding of my career and saw student growth in new programs and a new residential and academic building at our unique campus in Durham.”

Muldoon was also honoured at the 2019 Durham Convocation when it was announced that, starting in 2020, students graduating with the highest average from the Durham campus in both general and honours degrees would receive the Muldoon Award.

McCaskill has been a professor of Indigenous Studies for 35 of his 48 years at Trent and is best known for building and growing the discipline of Indigenous Studies at Trent. He founded the Indigenous Studies Ph.D. program, which was the first of its kind in Canada, and also worked with the Department of Indigenous Studies to develop programs that provide Indigenous people with better access to university.

McCaskill has served as chair of both the Department of Indigenous Studies and the Native Management and Economic Development Program. He has also participated in the Ecuador Year Abroad Program, created the Thailand Year Abroad Program, and teaches a summer field course in Mexico.

“I was surprised and very pleased to receive word from the president that I had been nominated for this prestigious award,” McCaskill says about being presented with the award. “I am very honoured.”