Another successful, sold out event.
That’ s how organizers of the eighth annual UWI Toronto Benefit Gala described last Saturday night’s festivities at
the Ritz-Carlton which brought together leaders in arts, finance, academia and law and members of the diplomatic circle.
The Gala honours Canadian / Caribbean individuals and organizations as well as global citizens whose body of work has impacted the Caribbean. It is also the largest fundraiser for the UWI, in Canada.
At Saturday’s event, attended by 450 guests, more than $100,00 were raised in live and silent auctions for the UWI scholarship fund. Since the inaugural Gala in 2010, 260 scholarships have been awarded to outstanding academic students in dire financial need across the region.
Representing UWI’s scholarship students at the Gala, Jezeel Martin related his personal story of using education to overcome adversity and expressed gratitude for the scholarship students whose lives and futures have been profoundly impacted.
Martin said he is completing law studies at the Norman Manley Law School in, Jamaica, and will join Jamaica’s largest law firm, Myers, Fletcher & Gordon.
The Gala opened with a Land Acknowledgement and Smudging Ceremony by Elder Laureen (Blu) Waters, followed by brief addresses from the podium by key speakers. Among them were Gala patron Donette Chin-Loy Chang; Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies.
Awards were presented to the following:
Luminary Award recipient: Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, who was represented by his daughter, Rev. Canon Mpho Tutu-van Furth
Chancellor’s Award recipient: GraceKennedy Ltd., represented by Dr. Mary Anne Chambers, Chair, GraceKennedy Ontario
Vice Chancellor’s Award recipients: Dr. Renn Holness, Consultant Neurosurgeon; Ms. Kay McConney, Businesswoman and past Consul-General of Barbados in Canada; Mr. Wayne Purboo, Philanthropist and President, CEO and Co-founder of Quickplay; Dr. Vivian Rambihar, Cardiologist and Community Activist, and The Honourable Mr. Justice Michael H. Tulloch, Judge Ontario Court of Appeal.
The G. Raymond Chang Award, in honour of the late gala patron, was presented to Canadian Senator Murray Sinclair who served as the Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), documenting the history and legacy of Canada’s residential school system that affected the lives of more than 6000 indigenous women and men of First Nations and Inuit and Métis background. The award is given to a leader who exemplified the leadership and ideals of Chang.
A special presentation was made to Sir George Alleyne, Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, who is retiring later this year, to commemorate his contributions to the success of the UWI Toronto Benefit Gala since its inception.