Excellent in every language: Kuniko Ueda 

Linguistics graduate wins two prestigious awards

By Russ Cooper

Governor General silver medalist Kuniko Ueda with her daughter. Magnifying glass

Governor General silver medalist Kuniko Ueda with her daughter.

How many different ways can you say, ‘exceptional’?

She could probably say it a few different ways — and tell you each word’s origins, to boot — but Kuniko Ueda doesn’t have to say it. She just is.

Originally from Japan, Ueda came to Concordia in 2007, where her interest in language led her to complete her baccalaureate in Modern Languages and Linguistics with great distinction. With a GPA of 4.28, her academic prowess has earned her the Governor-General’s Silver Medal (awarded to the highest-ranking student at the baccalaureate degree level) and the Rytsia Tobias medal (awarded to the highest-ranking student graduating with a baccalaureate of arts degree).

“I could say that my choice of school was right. Exploring linguistics at this school was an amazing experience for me,” she says. “It completely changed my idea about language.”

Winning these prestigious prizes came as a welcome surprise.

“When I received a letter about the awards, I did not even know the existence of these awards,” she says. “My husband was more excited than I was, and he started telling me about the Governor General. I gradually realized that I was getting quite big awards.”

The honours, she says, are an encouraging side effect of having a supportive environment where she could truly appreciate the learning experience.

“I think all the instructors I met here were so nice and helpful that I enjoyed studying,” she says “I think completing my degree here prepared me for my career pretty well, especially with these awards. I can add something nice and special to my resume. It would prove that I am a hard worker.”

Ueda, who formally graduated in fall 2009, wasn’t able to attend Convocation as she was in Japan to give birth to her daughter.

“What makes getting the awards so special to me is my daughter. I’m very glad to celebrate it with my little girl.”

With her newborn, Ueda is quite busy, no doubt. But she’s looking forward to putting the knowledge she’s gathered here to good use. “I hope I will have a chance to take advantage of what I learned, such as doing research in the linguistic field.”


Concordia University