The University of the West Indies announces Canadian and Caribbean leaders to be honoured at the eighth annual Toronto Benefit Gala Saturday, April 1, 2017


TORONTO, Feb. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ – The University of the West Indies today announced leaders of Canadian and Caribbean heritage to be honored at the eighth annual Toronto Benefit Gala, on Saturday, April 1, 2017, at The Ritz-Carlton Toronto, hosted by CBC News Anchor Dwight Drummond.

Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, will receive the Luminary Award. This award is given to people of Caribbean Heritage who are outstanding achievers on an international scale in their respective fields or people who have brought prominence to the Caribbean or to issues which affect the Region.

Archbishop Tutu has a strong passion for social justice, starting with his unflinching activism against Apartheid since the early 1970s, as the first Black Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and as Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. He has also used his high-profile position to campaign globally for poverty, HIV/AIDS, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and land rights. This is the second time UWI is recognizing the Archbishop for his accomplishments as he received an honorary degree from the university in 1986. Other prestigious acknowledgements he has received include the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the Gandhi Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He will be represented at the UWI Toronto Gala by his daughter, Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth.

Canadian Senator Murray Sinclair will receive the G. Raymond Chang Award. The G. Raymond Chang award was established to honour outstanding individuals who exemplify the leadership and ideals of G. Raymond Chang (1948-2015). Mr. Chang was a recognized outstanding business leader and philanthropist who embodied great humility and commitment to his fellow persons. Chang, who passed away in July 2014, was the UWI Gala’s patron for five years.

Senator Sinclair 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, Inuit and Métis background. Sinclair also served as the justice system in Manitoba for over 25 years and was the first Aboriginal Judge appointed in Manitoba and Canada’s second. He served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Manitoba. Over the course of his career, he has been recognized for his work in his profession and his community as the recipient of numerous awards, including Honorary Doctorates from eight Canadian universities.

The University of the West Indies Toronto Benefit Gala will also honour one Caribbean organization and five Canadian and Caribbean leaders in the following award categories.

The Chancellor’s Award will be presented to GraceKennedy. Established in 1922 by Dr. John Grace and Mr. Fred William Kennedy, in Kingston, Jamaica, it is one of the Caribbean’s largest group of companies that began as a general mercantile, shipping and insurance business. It operates in the food and financial services industries, with operations in Jamaica, other Caribbean countries, and Belize, the U.S., UK, Canada and Africa. GraceKennedy has also contributed to Jamaica’s development through the years through its two Foundations, generously providing financial assistance to a host of worthy causes. They are the Grace & Staff Community Development Foundation (Grace & Staff) and the GraceKennedy Foundation. The Chancellor’s award is given to organizations, which have contributed significantly to the Caribbean, or outstanding organizations owned by persons of Caribbean heritage.

The Vice Chancellor’s Award, awarded to people of Caribbean heritage who have made significant contributions within their organizations and communities, will be presented to the five community leaders.

Dr. Renn Holness, Consultant Neurosurgeon
Dr. Holness is an alumnus of UWI’s Mona campus and recipient of an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science (DSc). He served as Professor and Head of the Department of Neurosurgery, Dalhousie University and Director of The UWI Clinical Training Programme in Nassau, Bahamas. He served as President of the Canadian Neurological Society and Chairman of the Examining Board in Neurosurgery, Royal College of Physicians of Canada. He is a Professor and Examiner in Neurosurgery in the DM (UWI) Neurosurgery Programme and teaches at Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Ms. Kay McConney, Businesswoman and Retired Diplomat
Ms. McConney was the youngest Consul-General of Barbados in Canada. She also served as a high-level diplomat at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Switzerland; and as a trade negotiator at the World Trade Organization (WTO). In 2009, she founded The Executive Minds which specializes in strengthening institutional and individual capacities for 21st century environments, through training, coaching and consulting.

Mr. Wayne Purboo, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
Mr. Purboo is the President, CEO and Co-founder of Quickplay, developing award-winning technologies and forging critical partnerships with market leading content providers, video service providers, handset manufacturers and mobile service operators. He is also active on a number of Boards in Toronto.

Dr. Vivian Rambihar, Cardiologist and Community Activist
Dr. Rambihar is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a globally renowned cardiologist, involved in teaching, research and practice in Toronto for 35 years. Since 1990, he has lectured on ethnicity and health, and chaos/complexity and health across the West Indies. He is a pioneer in chaos and complexity science and is the first to apply these ideas to medicine, proposing their use in solving complex world problems, including peace, health, development, poverty reduction and climate change.  

The Honourable Mr. Justice Michael H. Tulloch, Judge, Ontario Court of Appeal
The Honourable Mr. Justice Michael H. Tulloch has been a judge on the Court of Appeals for Ontario since 2012 following nine years on the Superior Court of Justice. He was an Assistant Crown Attorney in both Peel and Toronto.

In 1995, he entered private practice, specializing in criminal law and continued in this practice until his appointment to the Bench in 2003. During his private practice, Justice Tulloch was also appointed a special prosecuting agent with the Federal Department of Justice, participating in a number of commissions. He has been actively involved in post-secondary education as well as numerous community organizations.

In 2011, he was appointed a Distinguished Research Fellow for the Centre of Law and Policy at Ryerson University. He is the recipient of two Honorary Doctorate Degrees. A Doctor of Laws from the University of Guelph and a Doctor of Theology from Tyndale University and Seminary.

The UWI Toronto Benefit Gala brings together Canada’s business and academic communities to celebrate the greatness and tireless work of the honourees, making it a much-anticipated event on the Toronto social calendar. Former honourees include: Dr. Shirley J. Thompson, Food For The Poor, Mr. Stephen Ames, Mr. Wesley Hall, Dr. Paul Steinbok, The Honourable Dr. Hedy Fry, P.C., M.P., Dr. the Honourable Jimmy Cliff, OM, Tessanne Chin,  Roger Mooking and Mr. David Taylor, retired boxer and undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, The Hospital for Sick Children, Mary Anne Chambers, Dr. Upton Allen, Dr. Budhendranauth Doobay, The University of Toronto, award winning author Malcolm Gladwell, The University Health Network, Zanana Akande, The Honourable Harry Belafonte; The Right Hon. Michaëlle Jean, former Deputy Chief of Toronto police Mr. Keith L. Forde; Hon. Michael Lee-Chin, OJ; the Hon. Jean Augustine; the Hon. Justice Dr. Irving André and Dr. Karl Massiah, Senator Vivienne Poy and Mr. Charles Coffey.

Under the theme “Light, Learning and Liberty”, The University of the West Indies Toronto Benefit Gala provides funds for scholarships.  Over 250 scholarships have been awarded to date. Over 70 have graduated, most with first class honours. The Patron of the eighth annual Gala is The G. Raymond Chang Family (wife Donette Chin-Loy Chang, and children Andrew Chang and Brigette Chang Addorisio).  Lead Sponsor is Scotiabank for the eighth consecutive year.

Please visit our website, or call 416-214-7848 or email the secretariat [email protected], for more information.  At this time, the event is SOLD OUT.

About The University of the West Indies
The University of the West Indies was established in 1948 as a College of the University of London. It achieved full university status in 1962. Today it is the only pan-Caribbean tertiary level institution offering a wide array of diverse and accredited programmes to 45,000 students throughout the region, with campuses in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Anguilla, Antigua, The Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Turks and Caicos.

Social Media