UTSC has a history of producing leaders. Those students who have worked hard to make an impact on campus, and who continue to lead and innovate in society today.
The Leadership Forum is our way of recognizing the contributions of our UTSC alumni. Check out the profiles of these inspiring leaders below.
written from Samer's perspective.
In the summer of 2003, I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer with CEPAL (Canadian-Palestinian Educational Exchange) in the Palestinian refugee camps of Beirut, Lebanon. CEPAL (www.cepal.ca) is a registered Canadian charity that works to assist Palestinian refugees in Lebanon with the pursuit of their basic human rights. CEPAL helps by increasing the refugees' access to education and by raising public awareness in Canada about their struggle.
I have always had a strong interest in what is happening to those less fortunate overseas, especially refugees. While in the Management program at UTSC, I supplemented my business studies with courses such as African History, Politics of the Middle East, and Economic Development.
Although I was passionate about these subjects, I never took the time to fully explore opportunities in the field of development. After graduating with an Honors BA in Management, I continued the corporate marketing career I began as a co-op student.
After a few years of work, I began, once again, to explore my interests in development and made a decision to return to the University of Toronto to prepare for graduate school in a development-related discipline. It was at then that I began exploring overseas opportunities, particularly opportunities to work with refugees.
I came across CEPAL when searching the Internet for 'refugees', and 'Canada'. Once I read about their summer program in Beirut, I knew it was for me. The two-month long opportunity seemed the perfect way for me to get a good feel for overseas development work. The plight of Palestinian refugees struck a personal chord in me and I wanted the chance to work with them and learn more about their struggle.
Shortly after I applied, I was interviewed by CEPAL and then selected to teach English and computer skills to refugee children in Burj El-Barajne, Sabra and Shatila - the Palestinian refugee camps of Beirut. I lived in Burj El-Barajne, where almost 20,000 people live in a one square kilometre concrete jungle.
Each morning I would teach at two schools in Burj El-Barajne, then in the afternoon travel to either Sabra or Shatila camps, to teach again (Sabra and Shatila are known for the massacres committed against refugees during the Israeli invasion of Beirut in 1982).
Before travelling to Lebanon, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. I had never been to the Middle East and I had never worked or lived among people living in such horrible conditions. At the time, I expected to make a big difference in the children's level of English education.
However, the other volunteers and I soon realized that improving education is difficult to achieve in only two months. It is especially complicated when you are teaching in over-crowded classrooms that often reach temperatures of over 32 degrees Celcius (with extreme humidity), when supplies are difficult to attain, and when the electricity is out for many hours each day.
Add the daily struggles of a people living in poverty and poor health, and it is almost impossible to see immediate and dramatic differences in the children's level of education. That said, the schools we worked with were truly grateful to have us. Many people in the camp expressed their appreciation that we left our comfortable homes, jobs, families, and lives in Canada to help teach their children and understand their struggle.
What did I learn this summer?
In the refugee camps I learned that the poorest people are the most generous; that our media (in my opinion) often misrepresent the people and places of the Middle East; that in Canada we waste our resources, energy and especially take our clean water for granted.
I also learned that life experience is just as important as, and in some cases more important than, work experience and that following my heart brought me to the most rewarding experiences of all.
Most importantly, I realized that although I was the one who traveled overseas to teach others, in the end, it might have been me one who learned the most.
It was a simple theory of labour productivity that helped catapult Adrian Aitcheson (BA 1988) into a fashion entrepreneur whose must-have t-shirts were donned by hip-hop stars Mary J. Blige and Ice Cube.
For this former star UTSC economics student, it was a long way from working shifts at Shoppers Drug Mart to pay his tuition. And it keeps getting better.
After creating and founding the ultra hip Too Black Guys boutiques in New York City and Toronto in the early 1990s, Aitcheson turned toward fashion consulting. Today, he works for clothing retail giant Roots, where he has given pizzazz to the official togs donned by the Canadian, U.S. and U.K. Olympic teams. Aitcheson is also responsible for the Toronto Maple Leafs products and Roots menswear.
According to him, the road to success began in class when a favourite professor, Michael Krashinsky, presented a theory that stuck. The marginal revenue productivity of labour suggests that the employee is only valuable if the revenue generated from his or her performance is higher than his or her wages. From this Adrian determined that the best way to ensure your value in the job market is to work for yourself.
"This theory made me want to start my own business," he says. He just needed to find something to build his business around.
Enter Orville Ellis. A chance meeting with the local designer at a UTSC fashion show led Aitcheson to an intern opportunity with Ellis to learn more about fashion and design.
"I was really enthusiastic about his products and basically offered my help," says Aitcheson. "I was developing his wholesale and also worked in his retail store."
In 1990 Aitcheson felt ready to make his mark. He partnered with friends and developed the label Too Black Guys. They opened a store in Toronto and eventually started wholesaling in New York, capitalizing on the urban hip-hop scene's explosion into popular culture.
Mary J. Blige wore one of Aitcheson's designs in the video for her mega hit "Real Love". "It was a baseball shirt with 'Too Black Guys' printed on the front," he recalls. "That was huge exposure for us."
By 1993, growing interest and sales led to a Too Black Guys store in Manhattan in a building owned by filmmaker Spike Lee. Soon Ice Cube was wearing Too Black Guys in his videos. Quentin Tarantino also wore a piece in Lee's "Girl 6".
Several years later, Aitcheson was itching for something new. That's when Detroit native Michael Budman, co-founder of Canadian clothing giant Roots, came knocking and offered him a job. In 1999, he closed his business and joined the chain.
"Roots provided opportunity for new challenges, an international stage, and access to the kind of infrastructure that would allow me to do basically anything that I wanted in terms of product develop and design."
Aitcheson's designs for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, including the UK's parade uniforms and casual wear, as well as full lines for Canada and the US, started a frenzy they never expected.
"It was a combination of so many different things," he says. "We had the home country at a very patriotic time in history, and I think we had good product and good placement and we had the mechanics in place to move that kind of product."
Had it gone to another manufacturer, Aitcheson says, they would not have been able to respond as quickly to demand. "Most [retailers] have their products made overseas and aren't able to make quick turnarounds," he says. "We have our own factories and almost everything is made in Canada. We were literally making berets during the Games."
His advice for other students: "You can turn any job into a good career if you really enjoy it." Grateful for how he got his start, and admiring of UTSC's co-op philosophy, he hopes to develop an intern program at Roots.
One of Aitcheson's Too Black Guys designs is on display at the Royal Ontario Museum. While he no longer lives in Scarborough, he still plays basketball every week in UTSC's summer league.
Chief William Blair
William Blair was appointed Chief of the Toronto Police Service on April 26, 2005. The Toronto Police Service employs over 5500 police officers and 2000 civilian employees, the largest municipal police service in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The City of Toronto is a vibrant city covering 636 square kilometres with a diverse population of more than 2,600,000 people.
Chief Blair started his 30 year policing career as a beat officer in downtown Toronto, and continued with assignments in drug enforcement, organized crime units, and major criminal investigations. Promoted to the Senior Ranks of the Service, his postings included Divisional Commander, Community Policing Programs, and Detective Operations, responsible for all specialized investigative units including the Homicide Squad, Hold Up Squad, Sex Crimes Unit, Fraud Squad, Forensic Identifications Services, Intelligence Services, and Organized Crime Enforcement, including the Guns and Gangs Unit, and the Repeat Offender Program.
As Toronto's Chief of Police, he oversaw the development of the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) to combat violent crime. Rapid response teams are deployed to at-risk neighbourhoods to enhance enforcement and support local policing initiatives while promoting the role of Community Response Units and the 'neighbourhood police officer'.
Chief Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Toronto with dual disciplines of Economics and Criminology (1981) and a Certificate in Law Enforcement Administration from the University of Toronto (1983). He is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy (1990) and the Police Leadership Program from the University of Toronto, Rodman School of Business Management (2002) and National Executive Institute (2006).
Chief Blair lectures at the University of Toronto, Police and Society Course and the Rotman School of Management Police Leadership Course on Community Policing and Developing Community Relations. He has also taught courses at Seneca College on Drug Investigative Techniques, Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management.
As Chief of Canada's largest municipal police service, Chief Blair has taken a leadership role in the Provincial, National and International policing.
Chief Blair is a Member of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) currently serving as the First Vice-President of the OACP Executive and Board of Directors (in-coming President). He is the Chair of the OACP Organized Crime Committee and also a Member of the Criminal Intelligence Service of Ontario (CISO) Governing Body Executive. He is also a Member of the Executive Committee for the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU).
Chief Blair is a Member of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) serving as Co-Chair of the CACP Organized Crime Committee, Member of the CACP Counter-Terrorism and National Security Committee, and a Member of the CACP Drug Abuse Committee. He is a Member of the National Coordinating Committee for Organized Crime and a Member of the Criminal Intelligence Services Canada (CISC) Executive Committee. He is also a Member of the Police Executive Research Foundation (PERF).
Chief Blair is an active member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Canadian Representative for Major City Chiefs (MCC).
Chief Blair is very active in community organizations and has served as Director and Member of the Executive Board of the Children's Aid Society of Toronto (CAST). He is a Director and Member of the Honours and Awards Committee of the St. John Ambulance – Toronto Branch. He is a Member of the Sheridan College Community Advisory Committee. He is Vice-Patron of the Good Neighbours' Club, a Day Centre for Older, Homeless and Unemployed Men, and Honourary Governor of Canadian Corps of Commissioners.
Policing has been a vital part of Chief Blair's family for generations. He has grown up with the history, traditions and culture of Toronto Police Service and, as a life-long resident of Toronto, is proud and honoured to serve the people of Toronto as its Chief of Police.
In 1981, Justine Blainey-Broker wanted nothing else but to play hockey. She had won a coveted spot to play in the Metro Toronto Hockey League but her dreams were waylaid when an Ontario Human Rights Code specifically denied the participation of women players. Blainey-Broker fought the law and finally had her day in Supreme Court where her appeal was upheld, striking the portion of the Ontario Code that allowed for sexual discrimination in sports. Blainey-Broker's perseverance despite cruelty, threats and social pressure opened the door for women to compete with men in Ontario.
Her determined efforts also helped save the Women's Hockey Team at the University of Toronto and resulted in equal funding for women's and men's intercollegiate sports. Today, despite operating a busy chiropractic practice, Blainey-Broker is frequently engaged to speak about her experience and inspire others to fight for equality.
Maliha Chishti teaches at Ryerson University and George Brown College and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto researching the politics of critical multivocality in post-war reconstruction.
She is the former Director of the Hague Appeal for Peace, United Nations office where she coordinated the Global Campaign for Peace Education, and developed the first peace and disarmament education pilot project for the United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs in four war-affected countries.
While in New York Maliha helped to initiate the historic Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. She has worked as an anti-AIDS education prevention officer in Malawi (Central Africa) and most recently conceptualized and supervised a post-conflict capacity-building training program for over 90 Afghan women organizations across Afghanistan.
Ms. Chishti has given numerous public lectures and panel presentations, and has been featured in the documentary Beyond the Frame alongside Noam Chomsky, Vandana Shiva and other scholar-activists. She is on the Executive Board of the International Association of Muslim Social Scientists. Maliha has been given the distinct honor as a "Great Minds Alumni" by the University of Toronto.
After graduating from Fort William Collegiate Institute in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Matthew Cimone joined the International Development Studies Co-Op programme at University of Toronto Scarborough. His vision of the world was drastically altered as he gained a new understanding of the world where 80% of the globe's population wakes up in a developing country and 50% of those people do not have access to clean water.
Following a one year journey to Uganda and Sierra Leone through the IDS Co-Op programme and a partnership with Right to Play International, Matthew returned from Africa with a desire to engage younger student populations with the challenges faced by so many in our world. His vision is to provide youth with an advantage in change the status quo earlier in life. Discovering several means to reach Canadian youth, Matthew joined the Canadian International Development Agency's youth speaker's bureau and shortly after was named one of two Canadian Goodwill Youth Ambassadors by the United Nations Office of Sport for Development and Peace in 2006.
Presently Matthew is working with Free the Children on a motivational speaking tour that since September of 2007 has reached 35 000 high school and elementary school students in over 100 schools across Canada. He is presently working to found his own international organization and still has hopes of starting his own socially conscience rock band.
Dr. Tony Cruz is a solid example of a modern Renaissance man whose learning in science is matched only by his business acumen. He is a molecular biologist that specializes in cell signaling and drug screening systems, but also has a strong entrepreneurial streak that served to co-found several biotech companies. Currently a senior scientist at Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute and a professor in the Department of Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto, Dr. Cruz's work involves studying the pathways that antagonize or enhance inflammatory responses. He is also the CEO of Transition Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that is concerned with the treatment of multiple sclerosis, diabetes and restenosis. A founding member of the Canadian Arthritis Network, the first National Centre of Excellence to receive a disease-specific grant, Dr. Cruz's scientific and business endeavours tell the tale of a truly remarkable career.
Charlie Cutts must have a little showbiz in his blood. How else could a Scarborough Campus English Literature graduate with 11 years experience as a chartered accountant become the CEO of The Corporation of Roy Thomson and Massey Hall? As head of these concert halls, Cutts employs an annual budget of $18 million to stage some 400 concerts a year. For eight of the past 10 years, Cuts has helped the halls earn profits without operating subsidies from any level of government. With experience as CEO of the O'Keefe Centre for the Performing Arts, now known as the Hummingbird Centre, and many years of directorship and volunteer officer positions, Cutts is known and respected throughout the national performing arts community. He is a past chairman of the board of the Family Services Association of Toronto, and is founding director and officer of both the Toronto Entertainment District Association and Canada's Walk of Fame. Cutts has also proven to be a true friend of UTSC through his good counsel and his support of the arts management program.
Dr. Jon Dellandrea
Jon Dellandrea has had a long association with UTSC. In 1971 he earned a B.A. in English Literature from Scarborough and later a doctoral degree in higher education from the St. George campus. But it was during his undergraduate years, when Dellandrea played on the Varsity Blues football team, that he honed the competitive skills that would serve him well in the intervening years as he advanced the cause of the university. Dellandrea worked in Scarborough's Athletics Department before becoming Principal Ralph Campbell's executive assistant. He then moved to the University of Waterloo to become its chief development officer. He eventually returned to Toronto to a post with Mount Sinai Hospital, and in 1994, he was recruited back to U of T where he has played an essential role in the university's fundraising campaign. So much so, that the campaign reached its &$36;1 billion milestone one year ahead of schedule. Dellandrea was also instrumental in developing the first co-op program at UTSC.
Mary Di Michele
Since graduating from UTSC with B.A. in English, Mary di Michele has become a well-established Canadian writer and is, without a doubt, Scarborough's most distinguished figure in Canadian letters. A celebrated poet, author and educator, di Michele's work explores issues of family, heritage, politics and literary tradition. While she published her first book of poetry in 1978, it was in 1981 that she became a major voice among the growing number of Italian-Canadian writers and women poets. di Michele is the author of nine highly praised books of poetry, including "Debriefing the Rose", a volume of selected poems. Her second novel, "Tenor of Love" is scheduled for international publication by Penguin in January 2005 Teaching creative writing at Concordia, where she also serves as chair of the department, di Michele inspires and educates as much through her teaching as through her writing.
Marilyn Sue Emery
Marilyn Sue Emery never holds back when it comes to educating her students. Teaching children with disabilities at Bloorview School can be a challenge with some students confined to stretcher beds and restricted to breathing through trachea tubes. But Emery understood the value of educating her charges in more than just the Ontario curriculum, so she organized outings to local attractions, craft shows and even pub nights for her older students. Savouring the extra time she spent teaching life skills, Emery could be found at a nearby restaurant feeding her young adult students pizza and treating them to beer through a straw, bringing everyday experiences into the lives of these special individuals. Emery also works tirelessly as president of the Ontario District Physical and Health Disabilities Association. What's more, Emery does all of this from her own wheelchair from which she has embraced the world since she was a child.
As the president and CEO of Canada NewsWire, the country's number one resource for time-critical information, Thomas Enright knows a thing or two about news. Established in 1960, Canada NewsWire is recognized in all major newsrooms and financial institutions as a key element in the dissemination and receipt of timely information. Enright's posting at the top of this venerable organization is the result of a long history of success. He is the former director of the Toronto Stock Exchange, a former general manager of the Financial Post and the governor of the Canadian Journalism Foundation. Despite his busy schedule, Enright also manages to head UTSC's Mentorship Program. He has mentored several students over the years, and is always willing to speak to student groups about his professional experiences. Enright also acts as an advisor to UTSC's principal and is an avid supporter of the Alumni and Friends Golf Tournament.
Jeffrey Feldberg (9T5) sits back in his chair and grins. He pauses for a moment, as if remembering some private joke. We have been discussing his first major business venture in 1995, E.mba net (later changed to the single-word Embanet) which he started mere days after graduating from his MBA program. Read More
While a student, Fellion was named a University of Toronto Scholar each year, as well as being recognized for the Oxford English Essay Prize, the Margeson Scholarship in English, the Humanities Prize, and the Karlheinz Theil Prize in English. He recently completed his Honours Bachelor of Arts in English. Read More
Lisa Fenton - Lemon
When she graduated from UTSC (Hon. B.A., Arts Management Co-op, 9T7), Lisa Fenton Lemon did not let her involvement in campus life fade. Since graduation, she has held full-time positions at UTSC as cultural affairs coordinator, alumni development officer and senior development officer. Read More
To say that Sylvie Fortin has an interest in art is perhaps an understatement. Her recent appointment as editor-in-chief of Atlanta-based Art Papers, one of the world's top art publications, shows her not only as a highly qualified art historian and critic but also as an enthusiastic visionary. As she takes the helm of this renowned publication, the magazine is also receiving a substantial two-year grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation and the Utne Independent Press Award for Best Arts Coverage. All of which means Fortin's role will continue to grow. Having to satisfy more than 25,000 readers in 25 countries, Fortin draws on her skills as a contemporary art curator, art historian, critic and writer to examine local and international contemporary art and culture.
George Goldsmith graduated more than thirty years ago, but his involvement with Scarborough has done nothing but grow. For one, this president of a successful financial services company has been an important supporter of the renovations that have returned the historic Miller Lash House in the Highland Creek Valley to its former glory. Goldsmith has also proven to be an invaluable part of alumni life at UTSC. He served as a professional advisor to UTSC principal Paul Thompson, showed an unflagging willingness to support the campus in any way he could and has actively participated in the many events surrounding UTSC's current growth. Earlier this year, Goldsmith worked tirelessly to organize a reunion event for UTSC graduates from the 60s, 70s and early 80s, bringing together almost 100 alumni and friends.
Louis Grachos, Director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York since 2003, is well known in the contemporary art world for his groundbreaking curatorial work as well as his considerable skills as an arts administrator. He organized numerous exhibitions by such contemporary artists as Keith Haring, Robert Gober, Doris Salcedo, and Janine Antoni while director of SITE Santa Fe New Mexico, as well as numerous group shows including Extreme Abstraction, which was on view at the Albright-Knox in the summer of 2005.
He has played a pivotal role in facilitating major collaborative exhibitions and events such as the International Biennial at SITE Santa Fe, many site specific installations, Beyond/In Western New York--a much-acclaimed collaborative exhibition in Buffalo, and major audience development and educational initiatives in both Santa Fe and Buffalo.
He is currently serving as a member of the Advisory Committee for the proposed Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado and is on the Board of Directors for the Richardson Architecture Corporation.
Louis Grachos received a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from the University of Toronto and a Certificate for Museum Studies from the Museum Studies Graduate Program, John F. Kennedy University, San Francisco. He began his museum career with a curatorial internship at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and went on to serve as assistant director and then interim director at the Center for the Fine Arts, Miami, curator for the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and director of SITE, Santa Fe, New Mexico before assuming his current position as director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
Sue Graham-Nutter puts on a celebration that draws one million people each year. As the executive director, founder and chief organizer of Taste of the Danforth, Graham-Nutter is at the head of one of Canada's largest festivals. What began as a small gathering of a few thousands people has grown into an event that brings in more than a million attendees and pours millions of dollars into the GTA. In addition, the festival has raised $700,000 for the Toronto East General Hospital. Beyond the tremendous impact of this once-modest festival, Graham-Nutter has distinguished herself as a successful businesswoman, founding her own marketing firm specializing in tourism promotion. Drawing on her valuable experience as executive assistant to the deputy minister of Culture and Communications, and as director of Revenue Development for TVOntario, Graham-Nutter has proven herself a marketing force to be reckoned with.
Dr. Lorne Greenspan
Dr. Lorne Greenspan believes that medicine must not only cure but also respect and empower the individual. As a senior medical consultant at the Medcan Clinic, a leading Canadian health management company, he has held clinical leadership roles that contribute to a high caliber of medical care using new modalities and innovative risk management strategies. As a member of Medcan's team of health professionals Greenspan is committed to minimizing the incidence and duration of illness and injury. His work is part of an integrated health management approach designed to address escalating health and disability costs for a variety of North America's premier employers, financial and government organizations. Prior to Medcan, Greenspan was deputy clinical director of emergency medicine at the Toronto General Hospital and remains an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. He has also shared his expertise consulting for national and international medical organizations, government and private enterprises.
Wojciech Gryc, a graduate of the University of Toronto at Scarborough's international development studies (IDS) and mathematics programs, has been named an Ontario Rhodes Scholar for 2008. The prestigious scholarship comes with a stipend and tuition expenses at the University of Oxford for two years, with an option for a third year. Read More
"As a proud University of Toronto at Scarborough alumni, I began this journey in 2003 and earned my Bachelors of Science Honours degree in Cell and Molecular Biology Specialist (Co-op) program in 2007.
Early on in university, I thrived to learn about Biology. In 2004, I received the William D. Peek Award in Biology. Parallel to my studies, I was happy to be a Student Mentor for the Office of Student Affairs and Services. Participating in the Work-Study program, I served as a Reference Library Assistant at University of Toronto Scarborough Library to interface both Science knowledge and e-database technologies.
As part of my first Co-op experience at Ontario Power Generation, I researched and reported nuclear, radiation protection, and environmental-related issues as a Communications Assistant. During my second Co-op term as an Engineering Training Developmental Student, I administered and facilitated technical training modules with Subject Matter Experts from Engineering, Chemistry, Environment, and Regulatory Affairs departments alike.
Following my final year of Biology courses, I was employed as a Research Assistant by Painting of Arabidopsis Thaliana chromosome 2 short arm. Alongside, I took the leadership role as a Teaching Assistant for Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory designed for second year students. Also, I supported science literacy in Science Inreach and Outreach as a Science Engagement Placement Coordinator.
Since May 2008, I have been highly engaged working as an Applied Science Trainee for the Environmental Compliance Section at Ontario Power Generation, Pickering Nuclear."
Tom Hayes is an award winning journalist and a graduate of UTSC, BA (2007).
Tom began his career at a local cable news program before becoming a news reporter and weekend sports anchor at CKVR in Barrie. Since joining CTV News in 1988, Tom has proven his versatility through his coverage of a wide variety of landmark stories such as: the Paul Bernardo trial, the Royal Visit of Charles and Diana and the Toronto Blue Jays World Series championships.
Tom is the recipient of the Radio-Television News Directors Association Edward R. Murrow International Award, RTNDA Regional Award and the Toronto Firefighter's Association Media Award which recognizes the excellent media coverage of the Toronto Fire Department activities. Also, Tom's series of investigative stories on date rape and Ontario's antiquated liquor law prompted the legislation to be changed in 2007. Ontario Minister of Government Services, Gerry Phillips called the new law "The Hayes Amendment".
After more than two decades as an anchor and reporter with CTV News, the great story-teller Tom Hayes joined City TV at the end of August, 2011. He is now co-hosting the new news program City News at Five, together with anchors Francis D’Souza and Avery Haynes.
In the spring of 2010, Tom Hayes spoke at UTSC’s Spring Convocation reception where he shared his experience as a mature student and his inspirational journey to obtaining his degree.
In the world of genetic testing, Gregory Hines is something of a revolutionary. As president and CEO of Tm Bioscience, Hines and his team are advancing the way in which genetic testing for cystic fibrosis and other debilitating genetic disorders is conducted. They are creating advanced proprietary technologies that markedly improve the speed, accuracy, flexibility and cost of DNA-based genetic tests. However, being at the head of a biotech company is nothing new for Hines. A former consultant with MDS Capital, Hines also served as president of Spectrum Pharma, a Canadian company that he founded in 1999. He was also president of Leo Pharma, another company he founded in 1981. From 1993 to 1999, Hines was a member of the Board of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Canada and served as Chairman in 1997 and 1998. While a student at UTSC, Hines founded the campus sailing school.
Today, he continues his involvement with Scarborough Campus as an advisor and friend.
Jay C. Hope
Jay Hope, OPP Chief Superintendent is the highest-ranking black police officer in Canada. Graduating from UTSC in 1979 with a BA in psychology and criminology, Hope is the head of the Ontario Provincial Police's (OPP) human resources bureau. During his more than 22 years with the OPP, Hope has taken an active role in operational policing, focusing on the recruitment of women, First Nations people and visible minorities. In the 1990s, he served as a senior investigator for the Ontario Human Rights Commission. In 2001, he was awarded the African-Canadian Achievement Award and the Amethyst Award, the highest award to civil servants.
Throughout his career as a receiver in the Canadian Football League (CFL), Steve Howlett (BA 1985) had a big dream. It wasn't championship rings or endorsement contracts he envisioned, however. He wanted to be on the sidelines. He wanted to coach.
So it's no surprise that as the new head coach of U of T's Varsity Blues, Howlett positively beams.
"I've always aspired to be head coach at a Canadian university and it is added pleasure that it's here at my alma mater."
Football has been a central part of Howlett's life since his days as a high school quarterback. While studying sociology at UTSC, he played on the interfaculty team and was president of the athletic association.
An anthropology class he took at this time had a profound effect on him. "I was at a critical stage at 19," he recalls. "It was then that I really started to embrace the notion of race and ethnicity and it made me believe my calling was to affect how we treat people. I believe as a coach I help people discover their freedom and how they affect their world." Howlett played two years as a receiver with the Varsity Blues before reaching the CFL for a run with the Edmonton Eskimos and the Ottawa Roughriders from 1985-89.
Directly after retirement from the CFL Howlett started coaching football at the junior level. He has been on the coaching teams at Carleton, St. Frances Xavier and most recently with the CFL's new Ottawa Renegades. He also decided to go back to school as a means to enhance his coaching. While an assistant coach at the University of Ottawa, Howlett completed his masters in the field of performance psychology under the guidance of renowned sports psychologist and Ottawa U professor Terry Orlick.
Through his own research, he determined that mental imagery is a skill people can develop and as a result, he believes that people can use their imagination to relax, reduce stress and enhance their overall living. Howlett also went on to do Ph. D work on phenomenology of performance at the University of Alberta.
After years away, he says it's great to be back reconnecting with people and that he is very interested in recruiting student-athletes to attend UTSC.
"I feel that my background as a Scarborough student and Varsity Blues football player make me sensitive to the issues and obstacles, and I believe that a person can have a rich experience by being involved in both the Scarborough and the downtown campus."
Howlett's positive outlook easily translates to his goals for the struggling Varsity Blues.
"The Blues have faced some adversity and challenges," he says. "I believe you should always be developing no matter where you are at."
Howlett says there have been times when he has considered life outside sports but that the great mentors he's had and his passion and knowledge of football brought him to this point.
"Dreams should relate to values, what is important to you in life," he says. "A career is just the vehicle to help drive those values."
For Rodney Hurd, the world is a marvel that everyone should see. It may come as little surprise that this former student council president at Scarborough has risen to head TravelCuts, one of the best-recognized travel organizations in North America. Specializing in discount airfares and budget travel, Hurd's company has grown into one of the most respected tour companies in Canada for students and non-students alike. Every year, TravelCuts helps tens of thousands of young travelers realize their dreams of studying, touring and living in countries around the world. As president of this organization, Hurd plays an instrumental role in creating world-class citizens whose exposure to different cultures helps to close the gap between nations, forging an ever-tightening bond between the generations that shape tomorrow's global reality.
Francis Jeffers knows that scientific innovation comes from one's community. As founder and president of Visions of Science, Jeffers maintains close ties to the black community in an ongoing effort to promote science and technology to African and Caribbean communities. His organization has had a significant impact on the lives of countless young people, particularly through its annual forum, showing thousands of minority students that science is a viable career for them. Jeffers is president and co-founder of the African Relief Committee in Canada, and he and his wife have recently acquired The International Black Inventions Museum, a mobile museum that teaches about the contributions Africans have made to civilization. Widely recognized as a leader in science and community involvement, Jeffers is a model for the young people he inspires and the colleagues whose accomplishments he helps celebrate.
Ali D. Kanji
When he graduated in 2001, Ali D. Kanji made a life-changing decision to found a non-profit organization to fight the spread of AIDS. Since 60 per cent of the global HIV population falls into the age group of 15-24, Kanji created an organization that would employ students to speak to this high-risk group. Today, as executive director of Aiding Youth for Life, Kanji has enlisted the help of some 700 young people to provide AIDS awareness to youth around the world. His efforts, concentrated mostly in Africa, have established eight chapters worldwide and include plans to open a chapter in India by 2005. Leading this organization with passion and integrity, Kanji has founded partnerships with long established aid organizations in Canada to create a synergistic effort that is fighting this modern plague with a powerful, peer-led approach.
Akwatu Khenti is the Director of International Health Programs at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and its former Director of Education and Training Services. Akwatu is also a lecturer in The Department of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto and teaches two graduate courses in the department: International Health, Human Rights and Peace-building and A Global Perspective on the Health of Women and Children. Akwatu is also a boardmember of the Scarborough Hospital.
Akwatu Khenti is committed to translating academic knowledge into practical information that communities can use to promote development. He ensures that goals of translation are met by creating processes that allow for thorough questioning of assumptions and applicability as well as reciprocity in learning. Akwatu stresses collaborative learning and insists that health professionals prepare to play an advocacy role with respect to marginalized clients, as well as complex humanitarian emergencies and conditions, and pushes his students in this regard.
Akwatu is engaged in diverse programs to build addiction and mental health capacity in Toronto as well as across the world. He teaches courses on youth and addiction, children of alcoholics, and mental health promotion. Akwatu leads a project to adapt certain addiction and mental health resources for the Spanish and Portuguese speaking communities in Toronto and supports local mental health capacity building in primary care. He is leading teams working on strengthening addiction and mental health capacity in primary and secondary care in Chile and Mexico. Akwatu is co-directing an initiative to build mental health capacity in Tsunami affected areas of Sri Lanka. He is also a member of the planning committee, and faculty, for the Caribbean Institute on Alcoholism and other Drug Problems (CARIAD). CARIAD organizes an annual addictions training program for health professionals from eight Caribbean countries. Akwatu is also the coordinator of the Working Group on Community-based Treatment for a United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) initiative aimed at building drug treatment capacity in under-resourced areas of the world, entitled TREATNET. He is co-director of a Drug Research Capacity Building initiative of the Inter-American Drug Control Commission, Organization of American States (CICAD, OAS) involving ten universities in seven Latin American countries. Akwatu led the team that developed and implemented a specialized drug treatment and prevention program for Black youth in Toronto- - the Substance Abuse Program for African and Caribbean Youth (SAPACCY). He also sits on the Board of the Scarborough Hospital.
Akwatu Khenti has a Specialist Degree in Economics and a Masters in Political Science, specializing in development studies, from the University of Toronto. In April 2007, Akwatu received the award, Educational Excellence for Community Health Care, from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto for excellence in teaching. In November 2002, Khenti received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for his innovative use of culture in substance abuse programming. In November 2005, he was awarded the William P. Hubbard Award by the City of Toronto for "pioneering work in community development, human rights and promotion of the African Canadian heritage."
Alek Krstajic found his calling in telecommunications. This economics graduate is currently the chief marketing officer of Consumer Marketing at Bell Canada. In this role, Krstajic oversees the revenue side of all the businesses under the Consumer banner. In effect, he's responsible for more than $8 billion of business. Prior to joining Bell, Krstajic was a senior executive at Rogers Cable. He is a director on of a number of boards for both public and private companies and has worked tirelessly to identify and connect with UTSC supporters. A testament to his business skills, Krstajic was named one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40 in 2002 and recognized as one of the most influential young leaders in the country. A high performer in the world of communications, Krstajic is also a world-class sailor and has competed in the Canada's Cup. A strong UTSC supporter himself, Krstajic has helped Scarborough Campus navigate its current course of success.
Will Kwan is an artist with a sense of humour. For one of his most popular pieces, Don't Toe the Line, Or Toe Your Own Line, he painted a hopscotch court in the middle of a busy downtown intersection, then stood back and videotaped pedestrians' reactions. A graduate of the Visual and Performing Arts Program in 2002, Kwan currently lives and works in New York City where he recently completed his MFA at Columbia University. Recognized in 2003 by Maclean's magazine as one of Canada's top ten artists "worth keeping an eye on", Kwan doesn't disappoint. An outstanding and prolific member of the Toronto art scene, he is fast fostering an international reputation. He was the only Canadian invited to create a work in a four-week artist-in-residence program last year at the 50th Venice Biennale event, and his piece "Pass It On" was recently presented at the Prague Biennale.
Wayne Lewis came sideways into a career in law. When he first enrolled in life sciences at U of T Scarborough, his plan was to become a doctor, at the urging of "my dear mother," he laughs. A friend gave him the book, All You Need to Know about the Music Business. "It was by an entertainment lawyer, and his story inspired me." Read More
David Lucatch is one of those rare entrepreneurs who mixes his keen sense of business with a penchant for charity. A successful businessman who has started several ventures since graduating in 1985, Lucatch's endeavours have included printing, web marketing as well as person-to-person marketing. Despite this range of business operations, one thing has remained constant: his dedication to fundraising. In fact, Lucatch has helped raise millions of dollars for charitable organizations in both Canada and the United States. He is equally generous with his time, serving as a UTSC mentor and speaking to student groups on campus. An active member of the Principal's Advisory Committee, Lucatch has a strong personal interest in supporting the Scarborough campus, now and well into the future.
Doug McCormick is an Ontario Entrepreneur-Of-The-Year recipient and a graduate (1977) of the University of Toronto, Scarborough with a B.A., majoring in Economics. He also holds an M.B.A. (1978) from the Schulich School of Business.
Doug has fond memories of his time at UTSC, and is grateful for an education that served him well throughout his career. He credits two UTSC professors, in particular, for the inspiration and encouragement they provided. Doug was teaching assistant for his mentor, the late Lorie Tarshis, past chair, department of social sciences and also for Mike Krashinsky, past chair, department of management.
Kim McLean isn't afraid of being first. Like many at UTSC, she was the first in her family to go to university. But that was just the start of many firsts to come for this aspiring leader. McLean was part of one of the first classes to graduate from UTSC with a degree in co-op management in 1985. She went on to finish her MBA at the Rotman School of Business and has since held a series of progressively senior roles at the U of T. Working in the Planning Office at the St.George campus, McLean eventually became the director of budget analysis and planning. Today, she is the chief administrative officer and assistant principal at UTSC where she oversees a $50 million budget. McLean sits on Business Board and the Audit Committee for U of T, and represents the campus on a variety of Search Committees including recent competitions for UTSC's principal and the provost of U of T.
When Cindy Nicholas set out to swim across Lake Ontario, she hadn't intended to change anyone's life but her own. Decades later, however, her record-breaking feats continue to inspire generations of swimmers. In 1975, she set the women's record for the fastest crossing of the English Channel, and two years later she set a record for the fastest two-way crossing of the Channel. A member of the Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Order of Canada, Nicholas provides advice and encouragement to aspiring distance swimmers. Today, Nicholas is a successful lawyer and stands as a shining example of the impact a single person's determination can make to inspire a legion of others.
Elliott Noss is President and CEO of Tucows Inc., a global Internet services company headquartered in Toronto with offices in Europe and the United States.
Elliot graduated from University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) with a BA in commerce and economics in 1984, and a combined MBA and law degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1988. After graduation he articled at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt in Toronto before starting his own law practice. “U of T is a great place to learn economics, commerce and accounting, and the profs stacked up against any I would meet later on,” he says. “The level was deeper than anything I did in my graduate studies.”
Councillor Jennifer O'Connell
Jennifer O'Connell (HBA 2006) is a member of Pickering City Council who encourages people to pursue their goals, even if the odds are against them. O'Connell knows what she's talking about. As the youngest member of council and one of only two female Pickering councilors, she bested the incumbent and another candidate to win a council seat in July 2006. Read more...
The Right Honourable David Onley
David Onley is one of Canada's leading space program observers and the author of a best selling novel, Shuttle. He received his BA in political science from UTSC and went on to join CityPulse as a Science/Weather Specialist in 1984 and was named by Toronto Life as one of the "Torontonians Most Likely to Succeed". He was inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame in 1997 for his on-going contribution advancing the causes of people with disabilities, and in 1996 he was awarded the Clarke Institute "Courage to Come Back" award. He is actively involved in the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons, the Ontario March of Dimes and Bayfair Baptist Church.
David Ossip's company has it right. Workbrain, a workforce management software company, has designed a solution that enables large companies to ensure that the right people with the right skills do the right jobs at the right time – and all for a low cost. In December 2003, Workbrain became the first technology company in three years to go public through an IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Under Ossip's leadership Workbrain was selected as a 2003 winner of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies and recognized by Profit Magazine as the second fastest-growing company in Canada. In April 2004, Ossip himself was selected to Canada's Top 40 Under 40 - a program that honours the country's business and academic elite. He is a member of the Young President's Organization, holds a MBA from Harvard and demonstrates inspiring success in the tempestuous world of high technology.
In October 2004, Hong Kong IT professional Gigi Pang celebrated one full year as the University's top volunteer in Hong Kong as president of the Hong Kong U of T Alumni Association.
In October 2004, Hong Kong IT professional Gigi Pang celebrated one full year as the University's top volunteer in Hong Kong as president of the Hong Kong U of T Alumni Association.
In the first half of her two-year term as the UTAA (HK)'s president, Pang has overseen many U of T alumni activities including monthly happy hours, regular charity events, an inaugural alumni networking trip to Mainland China and one of the UTAA (HK)'s most successful dragon boat teams in years.
But alumni volunteerism is nothing new for Pang. Before becoming the UTAA (HK)'s president, she served on the executive committee for over five years. The roots of this exceptional involvement go back to Pang's student days at UTSC.
"I arrived at UTSC with two suitcases and one high school friend," she says.
Like many students at UTSC, Pang quickly built a network of friends from across Canada and around the world. She joined campus student groups and showed her natural athletic talent by becoming the UTSC's women's tennis champion in 1993.
From 1992 to 1993, Pang hosted a two-hour Cantonese-language radio dating show called 'Under the Sky with Pang,' which quickly gained a loyal fan base.
People had to get their gossip other ways," she says.
After seeing the way that even a well-established communication technology like radio could help people to connect, Pang decided to focus her career on the IT and communications industries. She was interested in how new communication technologies could enhance lives and bring people closer together.
As a recent graduate returning to Hong Kong in the years before the Asian financial crisis, Pang worked at the forefront of Hong Kong's transformation into a major technology and telecommunications hub. After her years of experience with some of Hong Kong's most high-profile IT firms, Pang is still excited by the possibilities new technology offers in bringing people together.
Mark Purdy was recognized for his contributions to the University of Toronto Blues Varsity soccer team in the 1980s, and for his long list of athletic accomplishments while he was a student and afterwards. Read More
Aly-Khan Rajani (BA '02) missed his graduation ceremony at UTSC. He was in Afghanistan working for the United Nations.
A month later, he was scrambling for cover as three rockets targeted for the US Embassy exploded just blocks away.
This is all in a day's work for Rajani, whose co-op degree in international development studies had already taken him to Zambia with CARE Canada (one of the country's leading non-sectarian international relief and development agencies).
After his time in Zambia, Rajani returned to UTSC briefly to complete his coursework, exams, and thesis one month early in order to travel to Afghanistan with the UN. Four months later he returned to Ottawa to start a full-time communications position with CARE Canada.
"Unpacking and packing has been the story of my life," says Rajani. "My mother sold real estate. Every time she saw a house she liked for our family, she would call my dad and before we knew it, we were moving again. This was great practice for my chosen profession."
In late January 2003, CARE sent him overseas again, this time to Jordan and Iraq – straight into a war zone. Rajani says his family and friends were worried. "They didn't get it. This wasn't about going on an adventure. This was my work, what I studied to do, what I have identified as my niche, my contribution to the world – as small as it may seem in the grand scheme of things. It's a challenge I thrive on – learning more, understanding more, and developing as a person and professional for those who need it most."
Without hesitation, he signed up for the journey.
"This is what strangers did for my family when they had to flee from Uganda in 1972 as political refugees. Canada opened its doors to people it didn't know. A generation later, my parents have settled well in Canada and I have the good fortune of living here. Now it's time to give something back."
Rajani's work with CARE has taken him across Canada and abroad, including a trip back to Zambia with Much Music's George Stromboulopoulus and Swollen Members' Prevail to shoot a documentary on HIV/AIDS.
"Canadians are good at development work. With multiculturalism and diversity as the two pillars of our society, we are good at listening and learning in the field," says Rajani.
"Whether it be Afghanistan, Jordan, Zambia or places yet unknown, I know that together we can improve the conditions of life for less fortunate people, and make the world a better place for all of us."
UTSC alumni, faculty and staff may recognize a familiar voice on CBC's Metro Morning. Environmental science graduate Natasha Ramsahai (Hons. BSc 1998) became the on-air meteorologist for the morning radio program in September 2002.
Natasha says she has always had an interest in the science of weather, and was attracted to UTSC.
"I live in Scarborough, so for financial reasons I wanted to attend a university in Toronto. I chose UTSC because I knew of the great environmental science program," she says.
Looking back, professor Bill Gough stands out in her mind as an excellent teacher.
"He was definitely my favourite professor. The way he taught weather got me even more interested than I already was in the field,"says Natasha.
After finishing her bachelor of science, Natasha applied to York University for graduate studies in atmospheric science.
"My time at UTSC did give me a great foundation to go on and do graduate work. I would have continued at UTSC at the graduate level if I could have," Natasha says.
During her time as a graduate student, Natasha got interested in broadcasting as an intern at The Weather Network and says she enjoys working at the CBC.
"It's great that there is now a meteorologist on Metro Morning. With many radio and television stations, there is often no meteorologist on air, it's someone reading the weather reports," she says. She says she feels it's important to get more meteorologists on air to describe how and why we get the weather we do.
Natasha has fond memories of her time at Scarborough, particularly her stints with the campus radio stations both at UTSC and at St. George.
"I'm glad I went there, and if I could do it all again I would do it the exact same way. Some of my best friends now are people I met at UTSC."
Jeff Rybak describes himself as a misfit during his high school years. As a teenager he skipped classes and was not concerned about postsecondary education. At the age of 18 he decided to experiment with the university system and applied to various colleges and universities. Read More
Higher education has come a long way since the 1960s, and so has alumna Maureen Somerville, who first walked through the doors of the Scarborough campus four decades ago. Read More
Kevin W. Thistle
When Kevin Thistle stands on the first tee block of the Angus Glen Golf Club, he's at work. As vice-president and general manager of one of Canada's best public golf courses, Thistle takes his greens seriously -- and it has paid off. Under his direction, Angus Glen brought in $5 million in sales last year, a figure five times the industry average. In 2002, the course was selected to host the Canadian Open, an honour only bestowed upon the best-tended, best-managed courses in the country. Perhaps even more impressive is Thistle's role as a driving force behind the creation of Angus Glen North, a course that, two years after opening, was awarded the prestigious 2007 Canadian Open. Thistle was selected Markham's Business Leader of the Year in 2003 and continues to inspire students by working as a UTSC mentor. Whether he is volunteering his time refereeing hockey or organizing UTSC's Alumni and Friends Golf Tournament, Thistle is a great ambassador for his profession and for the Scarborough campus.
Dr. Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson has seen UTSC as a student, professor, researcher and, for 14 years, as its principal. Not surprisingly, he has seen and effected considerable change at Scarborough. As a professor of philosophy, he introduced a Social Issues course that applied theories and tools of ethics and morality to practical issues like abortion. His class was the first philosophy class at UTSC to have more than 200 students. Thompson later served as chair of humanities, and in 1989 became UTSC principal and dean. His tenure as principal and dean saw a decade of change with the expansion of the co-op program, the new bachelor of business administration degree and the strengthening of environmental science programs at the campus. These renowned programs drove an 86 per cent surge in UTSC enrollment by 2002.
Having completed his term at UTSC, Thompson is now the director for the Institute for History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at U of T's Victoria College.
Kim Tull is the manager of UTSC's Alumni Relations and a proud graduate of the University of Toronto Scarborough.
She prides herself on managing programs that keep alumni connected while still maintaining U of T Scarborough's overall objective of advancing and promoting the interests of the university and its local and international alumni.
Being a graduate of U of T Scarborough has brought a unique perspective to Kim's role and has been invaluable. She is able to draw on her student experiences, thinking about what she wanted and needed as a student and apply it to alumni programs. What could have potentially made her student experience a better one or made the transition from student to alumni an easier one?
Kim hopes to build a sense of Scarborough spirit within the alumni community by bridging the gap between U of T Scarborough and our alumni through various programs. She believes it’s important to link students with alumni of everygeneration and geographic location to contemporary campus life.
U of T Scarborough is in the middle of many exciting initiatives. New buildings, renovations, expansion of existing facilities, sector-leading increases in student applications and continued success in Co-op programming, experiential learning and research, are all indicators of an institution in bloom. Kim invites all of you to take the time become part of this growth – visit the campus, attend events and get involved!
As far as Chris Waddell is concerned, business news is where the real stories can be found. As the first occupant of the Carty Chair in Business and Financial Journalism at Carleton University, Waddell has developed a business and financial journalism curriculum that will provide journalists with a solid grounding in business and economic issues. Teaching newsmakers to understand financial statements, learn how stock markets operate as well as how the economy works is essential to developing accurate and insightful coverage of the business world. With an extensive journalism background that includes work as a CBC parliamentary bureau chief, a senior editor at the Financial Post, a reporter with the Globe and Mail and, currently, a political commentator for CBC's News Online, Waddell has spent a career telling the stories that shape the world around us.
John Wright pays particular attention to numbers. As the senior vice president of Public Affairs for Ipsos-Reid, one of North America's most prestigious public opinion research companies, he knows a lot about the numbers that affect us every day. Rarely a week goes by without hearing this Scarborough graduate's enthusiastic voice on national radio or television expressing with fascination the interesting statistics that shape Canadian lives. In fact, his enthusiasm for knowledge and learning trace back to his undergraduate years at UTSC. Wright's efforts as student union president helped bring about the construction of the desperately needed Bladen Library. Wright continues to contribute to UTSC campus life speaking to student groups and advising UTSC on marketing and communications issues. Even in his current high-profile post, he reminds us all that determination and attention to details can bring about tremendous change.