Former US Ambassador to the UN and President of the Raptors to receive awards at UWI Toronto Benefit Gala

Susan E. Rice and President Barack Obama

Susan E. Rice, who served as US Ambassador to the United Nations in President Barack Obama’s administration, and Masai Ujiri, President of the Raptors, will be among six  persons who will receive awards at the ninth annual UWI Toronto Benefit Gala on Saturday, April 7, at The Ritz-Carlton Toronto.

Rice will receive the Luminary Award which is presented to people of Caribbean heritage who have made their mark globally, in their respective fields, or people who have brought prominence to the Caribbean or to issues which affect the Region.

She served as National Security Advisor and US Permanent Representative to the United Nations. She also led the National Security Council Staff and chaired the Cabinet-level National Security Principals Committee. For four years, she served as US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

Ujiri will receive the G. Raymond Chang Award. This award was established to honour outstanding individuals who exemplify the ideals of G. Raymond Chang, a Canadian and Caribbean business leader and philanthropist. who died in July 2014.  He was the UWI Gala’s patron for five years.

A native of Nigeria, Ujiri is a former basketball scout and player. After emigrating to the United States, he played at Bismarck State College and Montana State University Billings and then played professionally in Europe for six years. In 2002, he worked as a youth coach in Nigeria after ending his professional playing career.

The Chancellor’s Award will be presented to the YMCA. As one of Canada’s longest standing and largest charities since 1851, it provides vital community services that are having a positive impact on some of Canada’s most pressing social issues. The YMCA has also assisted people of the Caribbean diaspora in Toronto. This award is presented to organizations which have contributed significantly to the Caribbean, or outstanding organizations owned by persons of Caribbean heritage.

The Vice Chancellor’s Award is presented to people of Caribbean heritage and others whose body of work have contributed to the betterment of the Caribbean Region and who have made significant contributions within their organizations and communities.  The following are this year’ awardees:

– Dr. Victor S. Blanchette, a Medical Doctor of the Pediatric Thrombosis and Hemostasis Program in the Division of Haematology/Oncology at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.He is also a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Toronto.

 Dr. Avis Glaze, one of Canada’s outstanding educators.  She was one of five Commissioners on Ontario’s landmark Royal Commission on Learning, setting directions for the future of the education system. She was a classroom teacher, Superintendent of Schools and Director of Education.

 – Dr. Michael S. Pollanen, Chief Forensic Pathologist for Ontario and a Professor and Vice-Chair (Innovation) of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. He is a Founder of Forensic Pathology in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He is also Deputy Chief Coroner in Ontario.

Under the theme Light, Learning and Liberty,” The UWI Toronto Benefit Gala brings together Canada’s business and academic communities to celebrate the work of the honourees, and raise well needed funds for outstanding students in the Caribbean, who otherwise would not have the chance to pursue higher learning, says a news release from the organizers of the gala, says a news release from the organizers of the gala.

In nine years, the event has awarded almost 400 scholarships. Many of the students are now practicing in their field, it noted.

Lead sponsor for the ninth consecutive year is Scotiabank

The patron of the ninth annual gala is The G. Raymond Chang Family (wife Donette Chin-Loy Chang, and children Andrew Chang and Brigette Chang Addorisio).