The Rose Wolfe Distinguished Alumni Award

Status: Congratulations to the 2022 award recipient Paul Cadario. Read more about his decades of volunteerism to the University of Toronto.

Nominations will open in Fall 2024.


About the award

The Rose Wolfe Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes exceptional individuals who demonstrate outstanding achievement in their professional lives, dedication to civic, charitable and social causes, and extraordinary service to the University of Toronto, in a way that enables or inspires others to reach their full potential.

This award is among the highest honours the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Alumni Association bestow on individuals whose extraordinary contributions and achievements embody the values and principles championed by Dr. Rose Wolfe and the ideals of the University of Toronto. This distinct honour has its roots in the Rose Wolfe Award originally established in 1997 to commemorate the completion of Dr. Wolfe’s term as U of T Chancellor.  Distinguished recipients of the earlier award were Dr. Rose Wolfe and Dr. Chao-Shiuan Liu. In 2019, UTAA and U of T renewed the award and named the Hon. Rosalie Silberman Abella as the inaugural recipient of the revised award.

The nomination process generally opens in late fall. Note that the nomination period will be determined on an annual basis and may vary from year-to-year. One award winner will be selected from among the pool of nominees and will be announced on this website.



About Dr. Rose Wolfe

The award is named for Dr. Rose Wolfe who served as Chancellor of the University of Toronto from 1991 to 1997. She was a two-time U of T graduate (BA 1939 UC, Diploma in Social Work 1940) and an exemplary volunteer for the University she dearly loved. In addition to her contributions to U of T, Dr. Wolfe was active in many community organizations including serving as Officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress, and serving on the board of Mt. Sinai Hospital and the McMichael Canadian Art Gallery.

Throughout her life, Dr. Wolfe was honoured with many awards for her achievements. Her strength of character and determination, together with her enquiring mind and sense of humour, enabled her to meet people from all walks of life and put them at ease. She used these attributes to improve the quality of life in the community around her and to inspire others to reach their full potential.

By creating this award in her honour, the UTAA ensures that the values and principles that guided Dr. Wolfe’s work and remarkable volunteer contributions continue to be valued and recognized in U of T alumni.

Photo of Rose Wolfe
University of Toronto 2022 Rose Wolfe Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient, Dr. Paul Cadario

2022 recipient: Paul Cadario

Dr. Paul Cadario, a decades-long University of Toronto volunteer and philanthropist, was recognized as the 2022 Rose Wolfe Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient for his immeasurable impact on the lives of U of T students. He has championed engineering and public policy, been a mentor to graduate students across disciplines, and is a donor whose support has lifted the university for more than forty years.

Watch Paul Cadario's acceptance speech ►
Read excerpts from his candid interview with U of T ►

Margaret McCain sits smiling against a blue background.

2021 recipient: Margaret McCain

The Hon. Margaret Norrie McCain, a champion of strong families and child development, was recognized as the 2021 Rose Wolfe Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. McCain is a long-time volunteer for the University of Toronto, a generous philanthropist to causes and institutions across Canada, and has worked for decades as a national advocate for early childhood education.

Watch Margaret McCain's acceptance speech ►
Read excerpts from her candid interview with U of T ►

Justice Abella

2019 recipient: Rosalie Abella

The Rose Wolfe Distinguished Alumni Award was reinstated in 2019.

The Hon. Rosalie Silberman Abella, Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, was honoured as the 2019 Rose Wolfe Distinguished Alumni Award recipient in recognition of her outstanding achievements, dedication to charitable and social causes, and extraordinary service to the University of Toronto.

Watch Justice Abella's acceptance speech
Watch the fireside chat with Justice Abella and the Hon. Frank Iacobucci ►

Dr. Chao-Shiuan Liu

Past recipient: Dr. Chao-Shiuan Liu

Dr. Chao-Shiuan Liu, Vice Premier of the Republic of China (1997-2000), was honoured as the 1998 Rose Wolfe Distinguished Alumni Award recipient in recognition of his outstanding leadership in science, education and social policy.

Dr. Rose Wolfe

Past recipient: Dr. Rose Wolfe

Dr. Rose Wolfe is the inaugural recipient of this award. It was established in 1997 by the UTAA in her honour and upon the completion of her term as U of T’s Chancellor (1991-1997) in recognition of her extraordinary service to the University of Toronto, professional achievements and dedication to civic, charitable and social causes.


Nominate an outstanding candidate for the Rose Wolfe Distinguished Alumni Award

The Selection Committee for the Rose Wolfe Distinguished Alumni Award will select one award recipient from the pool of candidates submitted. Please see below for information on the selection and eligibility criteria, as well guidelines on what to include in your nomination package.

Complete packages should be submitted to the selection committee via email at by the nomination deadline. 

Selection criteria

The following criteria will be considered by the Selection Committee in selecting the recipient:

  • Demonstrated leadership that enables or inspires others.
  • Distinguished achievement in career and/or volunteer activities
  • Extraordinary contributions to the University and the fulfillment of its mission.
Eligibility criteria
  • Nominees must have successfully completed at least four (4) full courses at the University of Toronto in order to qualify as alumni of the University and to qualify for the Award.
  • Graduates of diploma and certificate programs are eligible.
  • Nominees cannot be current employees of the University of Toronto, currently sitting politicians or elected officials, or currently serving on the UTAA Board of Directors or on Governing Council.
  • Posthumous nominations will not be accepted.
Nomination package
  1. A nomination form completed by the Nominator.
    The Nominator should ensure that the nominee’s qualifications, as they pertain to the selection criteria, are clearly demonstrated and supported by concrete examples in the Rationale for Nomination section of the form.
  2. Up to, but not more than, two (2) letters of support from other individuals. 
    It is recommended that endorsement letters come from individuals who have direct knowledge of the nominees’ activities and contributions as they pertain to the criteria.
  3. OPTIONAL: A comprehensive biography or CV of the nominee is helpful but not necessary.

Nomination rules
  • Ensure that you submit your nomination electronically as one single and complete PDF. Do not submit items individually. Documents submitted individually will not be considered by the Selection Committee. 
  • Do not submit more than the required number of documents/letters, as outlined in the nomination procedure above. Supplementary documents will not be considered.
  • The Nominator is responsible for ensuring the nomination package is complete and that the information provided is comprehensive. Incomplete nomination packages will not be considered by the Selection Committee.
  • All letters of support are confidential and will be viewed by members of the Selection Committee only. Those who wish to view the letters for publicity or information purposes must first obtain permission from the individual who wrote the letter.
  • The Nominator is responsible for retaining copies of the complete nomination package for future reference.
  • It is recommended that the nomination remain confidential and not be shared with the nominee.
  • Nominations received may be carried over for a maximum of two years at the discretion of the Selection Committee.


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