Award for Distinction in Outreach & Engagement - Spring 2007
Dr. Lisa Vargo is an individual whose contributions to literacy and volunteerism have contributed greatly and with distinction to the University's outreach and engagement mission.
Dr. Vargo is an Associate Professor of English specializing in romantic literature. She is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College and the University of Toronto. She joined the faculty at the University of Saskatchewan in 1990. In her academic life, Dr. Vargo teaches introductory and senior undergraduate courses, specializing in British romanticism. Her research interests include women writers of the Romantic period, especially Mary Shelley's writings.
In addition to enhancing the academic environment of the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Vargo has made an exceptional contribution to literacy in the province and beyond. Her interest in literacy began in Toronto where she served as a literacy worker for a community-based learning centre. She also volunteered with an adult learning program in Peterborough, Ontario. Upon her arrival in Saskatoon, Dr. Vargo joined READ Saskatoon and has served as a tutor for the past 17 years. She has served on the Board of Directors and twice assumed the Presidency of the organization. She was involved with the Word Whiz Fundraiser for the Saskatchewan Literacy Foundation and served on the Board of the Saskatchewan Literacy Network. In 1999, she received the Saskatchewan Literacy Award of Merit for her volunteerism and in 2004 was awarded the Canada Post Literacy Award as an educator.
Dr. Vargo has been described as "energetic, inspirational and indefatigable in her dedication to literacy." Others have said that "she brings a deep understanding of the complexities of literacy and of human justice to the way she works with learners and to the way she helps organizations develop respectful and fair policies and practices for volunteers and staff." One of her students said "I am so proud of the person that I am today. I know with my whole heart that it has everything to do with Lisa Vargo." She has demonstrated a sustained commitment to use her expertise in ways that engage individuals and groups beyond the borders of the campus and she has enhanced the University's reputation in exceptional ways.
Dr. Vargo's outreach and engagement activities have had substantial impact and long-term significance and she is truly deserving of the University of Saskatchewan's Award for Distinction in Outreach and Engagement.