Governor General Award

About the Governor General’s Academic Medal

The Governor General’s Academic Medal was first awarded in 1873 by the Earl of Dufferin and has since become one of the most prestigious awards that a student in a Canadian educational institution can receive. The Governor General of Canada continues this tradition of encouraging scholarship across the nation and recognizing outstanding students.

Notable past recipients include prime ministers Kim Campbell and Pierre Trudeau, premiers Robert Bourassa, Tommy Douglas and Robert Stanfield, and author Gabrielle Roy. 

The Collegiate Bronze medal is awarded to the student who achieves the highest overall average upon graduation from a diploma level, post-secondary program.

2023 Governor General Award Recipient

Brian Phelps, Magnetic Resonance Imagining 1st Discipline ’23

Brian Phelps Governor General Award recipient

As a student, 2023 Governor General’s Academic Medal winner Brian Phelps was driven to understand a subject as deeply as possible – so much so that he achieved a PhD in genetics by his late 20s, following that with jobs in research.

But something was missing.

“I enjoyed working in the lab,” says Phelps. In time, however, “I wanted to do something more applicable, or that had more of an immediate impact. I was getting interested in health care and helping people.”

NAIT’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging program, he says, “fit that description. I could work with people [and] help them get an accurate diagnosis so they could hopefully get treatment and get better.”

Phelps took to his studies at the polytechnic with characteristic enthusiasm, earning the collegiate bronze medal for the highest overall average upon graduation. It is one of the most prestigious awards for academic achievement in Canada.

To Phelps, his effort simply made sense. “I like learning, and it's things that I need to know for the job.”

The 33-year-old is newly employed as an MRI technologist at Grande Prairie Regional Hospital. The position gives him the job satisfaction he was looking for, working directly with patients to promote health and wellness.

“I'm hoping I can make this my long term career,” says Phelps.

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