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Awards of Excellence 2014 Recipients


The Awards of Excellence celebrate members of the University of Toronto community who, through their individual efforts and accomplishments, have contributed to the University’s vision of becoming a leader among the world’s best public teaching and research universities. Those honoured through the program have stepped up to the challenge of making rich and meaningful contributions to the University, the community, and to the world.



Faculty Award
Professor Jonathan Rose, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

Northrop Frye Award (Individual)
Professor Elizabeth D. Harvey

Northrop Frye Award (Departmental)
WIT (Writing Instruction for TAs), Faculty of Arts and Science

Carolyn Tuohy Impact on Public Policy Award
Dr. Avery Nathens, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine

Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award
Professor Elizabeth Cowper, Department of Linguistics
Professor Ian Orchard, Department of Biology

Ludwik and Estelle Jus Memorial Human Rights Prize
Professor Ron Levi, Munk School of Global Affairs and Department of Sociology
Dr. George Sefa Dei, Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education, OISE

Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience Award
Dr. Andrew Dicks, Department of Chemistry

Chancellor’s Award – Emerging Leader
Tamara Breukelman, Faculty of Medicine, Mississauga Academy of Medicine
Tanya Lewis, Director, Academic Success & Accessibility Services, Division VP & Provost

Chancellor’s Award – Influential Leader
Richard Levin, Enrollment Services
Ron Swail, Facilities & Services, University Operations

Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award 
Nadine Borduas, Department of Chemistry

UTAA Graduate Scholars
Mohamed Abdelfattah, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Kathryn Hopperton, Department of Nutritional Sciences
Raili Lakanen, Department of Geography/Program in Planning

John H. Moss Scholarship
Patrick Quinton-Brown, Trinity College

UTAA Scholars
Christine Farquharson, Victoria College
Galina Gheihman, Victoria College
Rufina Yunhoo Kim, Woodsworth College
Nana Mohan Zhou, University of Toronto Mississauga
Shuzhengrong (Roland) Xu, Victoria College


2014 Awards of Excellence Recipients

Faculty Award

Professor Jonathan Rose

Professor Jonathan Rose is an exceptional scholar who has conducted ground-breaking research in his field, in addition to being an inspirational figure as a mentor and entrepreneur.

Prof. Rose served as Chair of the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 2004-2009, and is a pioneer in the area of Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), pre-fabricated semiconductor chips that can be electrically configured to become any digital circuit. He has been a world leader in research concerning the architecture of these devices as well as the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tools needed to employ and explore them.

In 1992 Prof. Rose, a colleague and his students published the first book dealing with the fundamental aspects of FPGA architecture and CAD tools, becoming a foundational reference in the field and cited more than 900 times.

He led a group that started a company called Right Track CAD Corporation, which was later sold to Altera. The methodology he and his group pioneered helped Altera optimize its architectures for the last 10 years.

Prof. Rose has used his experience as a successful entrepreneur to strengthen his teaching style. In one of his courses he began his lecture early, to give a series of mini-lectures on the subject of entrepreneurship – covering steps involved in turning an idea into a company, as well as issues such as funding, recruitment and management. In 2004 he founded the Engineering Entrepreneurship Seminar Series, which brings entrepreneurs in to tell their company’s story. There have been more than 70 such talks over the years. Each talk is followed by a less formal dinner with the entrepreneur and about 12 to 20 students.

In May, 2011 he travelled to Ethiopia to help the Addis Ababa University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering School mount its PhD program and at U of T, he spearheaded the creation of LEGO-based fast prototyping in one of Engineering’s flagship labs, the digital and computer systems. He serves as the inaugural director of the new Engineering Business minor, and Chairs the Advisory board of the faculty’s new Engineering Entrepreneurship Hatchery.

Prof. Rose has received his department’s teaching award four times and recently won the Faculty Teaching Award—the Faculty’s highest teaching honour.


Northrop Frye Award (Individual)

Professor Elizabeth D. Harvey

Professor Elizabeth D. Harvey embodies Northrop Frye’s principle that the most sophisticated research has a central place in the classroom. She is a brilliant scholar of Renaissance literature and literary theory, a superb and innovative administrator, and a charismatic graduate and undergraduate teacher.

Prof. Harvey’s research intersects three fields: early modern English literature, Renaissance medicine, and literary and psychoanalytic theory. She has been a leader in bringing these areas of study together for 30 years. Her broad range of publications include Sensible Flesh and Ventriloquized Voices, ground-breaking books that contribute to new ways of thinking about gender, medicine, the sensory body, and literature. She is currently training as a psychoanalyst at the Toronto Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, a qualification that will extend and deepen the theoretical background for the book she is now writing, Shakespeare’s Contiguous Spirits.

Harvey’s teaching builds on and nourishes her research. Student Opinion Surveys rate her with impressively high scores. Students refer to her infectious passion and her amazing depth, her interactive engagement and her outstanding kindness. Two of her publications, Luce Irigaray and Premodern Culture: Thresholds of History and Sensible Flesh: On Touch in Early Modern Culture, were supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council that allowed her to employ students as researchers for their own projects as well as hers, sending them abroad on what became life-changing experiences for them.

In 2004 the Andrew Mellon Foundation awarded Prof. Harvey a long-term fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.  She subsequently initiated a successful proposal for U of T to join the Folger consortium. U of T is the only Canadian university among the more than 40 universities in the consortium; the membership has allowed faculty and students to participate every year in the rich offerings of the Folger Institute.

Prof. Harvey has served as mentor to hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students during her two years as director of Women’s Studies (UTM), four years as the English Department’s Director of Graduate Studies and two years as its Graduate Placement Officer. Many of her undergraduate students have gone on to graduate work at prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, Oxford, and U of T. She has seen her doctoral students placed in top tenure-track positions across Canada, the USA, the UK, and Europe. One such student summed it up: “Professor Harvey exemplifies a career-long commitment to forging vital linkages between disciplines, faculty and students, and the academic and public spheres. She embodies the intellectual rigor, scholarly generosity, and practiced mentorship that this award aims to recognize.”


Northrop Frye Award (Divisional/Departmental)

WIT (Writing Instruction for TAs)

Northrop Frye once said “Nobody is capable of free speech unless he knows how to use language, and such knowledge is not a gift; it has to be learned and worked at.” In helping students to learn and work at their writing, WIT (Writing Instruction for TAs) ultimately helps them achieve freedom of thought.

WIT originated in a series of writing initiatives between 2006 and 2008 to help Arts & Science students develop competency in communication. WIT promotes excellence in undergraduate writing instruction by supporting faculty and training and mentoring TAs across the disciplines to teach writing effectively. Launched officially in 2008 in five departments, 19 units across Arts & Science now participate. WIT trains more than 500 TAs and reaches 22,000 undergraduates in 78 courses each year.

Using a bottom-up rather than a top-down approach has been key to WIT’s success. Participating units receive funding to help their students develop discipline-specific writing skills in targeted courses. Through WIT, instructors receive support from the WIT Coordinator in designing assignments that teach students research and writing skills, skills that are essential for students to engage with and ultimately contribute to disciplinary thinking and knowledge.

A key element of the initiative are the Lead Writing TAs, Ph.D. students who receive specialized training in writing instruction from the WIT Coordinator and who train other TAs to teach writing. Through WIT, students learn how to write across the disciplines, from formulating a hypothesis and writing lab reports in biology and chemistry to developing arguments from sound evidence in anthropology and political science.

WIT courses regularly use iterative or “scaffolded” assignments that give students formative feedback on their written work; rubrics (grading criteria) and exemplars to clarify expectations for students; and benchmarking or moderated marking sessions where faculty and TAs discuss how best to respond to and evaluate student writing.

WIT’s success has been noticed outside of Arts & Science with the Coordinator advising on how to implement similar initiatives in other divisions such as at UTM. WIT has also garnered attention at international conferences and is the subject of a chapter in a forthcoming collection on innovative writing programs.


Carolyn Tuohy Impact on Public Policy Award

Dr. Avery Nathens

Dr. Avery Nathens is recognized internationally as the preeminent scholar and educator in the field of trauma care and trauma systems development, translating his research into effective public policy across North America.

Dr. Nathens, who obtained his PhD at the Institute of Medical Science at U of T in 1996, is the Surgeon-in-Chief at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre after being Director of Trauma at St. Michael’s Hospital. He joined U of T in 2006 as an associate professor and became full professor in the Department of Surgery in 2008. He is an adjunct Scientist at the Institute of Clinical and Evaluative Sciences and has appointments at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation Program and the Institute of Medical Science at U of T.

He has been instrumental in establishing a defined trauma program within the     U of T Department of Surgery. The program highlights collaboration between St. Michael’s Hospital, the Hospital for Sick Children, and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and provides a comprehensive platform to support trauma education, scholarship and clinical practice at U of T.

Dr. Nathens has co-led the development of a mobile website for trauma resources to help trainees, medical professionals and health care providers provide high-quality trauma care and better identify trauma options in the field.

Given his international reputation, he attracts high level trainees from all over the world. Not only does this expand his impact on the field by disseminating his knowledge, it showcases his additional strength as a world-class instructor. Trainees working under Dr. Nathens have a tremendous opportunity to develop the expertise required to study injury, allowing students to gain professional development and accolades.

Dr. Nathens has published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles in widely disseminated and reputable journals such as the Journal of American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine. He is the recipient of several prestigious and distinguished research awards including a Medical Research Council of Canada Research Fellowship and received the Lister Prize in 2013, the Department of Surgery’s highest research honour.

His impact is felt internationally, nationally and locally. As Chair of the Ontario Trauma Advisory Committee, he works closely with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, lending his expertise in an effort to optimize trauma system organization and establishing metrics for performance evaluation that will lead to better patient outcomes. Additionally, as medical director of the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program, he influences the quality of trauma care across North America.


Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award

Professor Elizabeth Cowper

Professor Elizabeth Cowper’s record of citizenship to the Department of Linguistics, the Faculty of Arts & Science and the wider University of Toronto community has been extraordinary.

Prof. Cowper came to the U of T in 1976 and became undergraduate co-ordinator in the Department of Linguistics the following year and in 1980 became a member of the University of Toronto Faculty Association Council, serving on the executive committee and the salary and benefits negotiating team.

Now taking early retirement, she was a leading force behind many committees in the department and also served as a decanal representative on search committees, such as a member of the working group that drafted the university’s first policy and procedures on sexual harassment. She distinguished herself by her extraordinary level of engagement, and her commitment to the well-being of the university as a whole.

Prof. Cowper took on a new challenge in 1999, becoming chair of the Division of Humanities at University of Toronto Scarborough. And in summer 2004 she served as acting vice-principal (academic) and Dean at UTSC, as well as spending one month as acting vice president and principal and six months as interim vice principal (academic resources), all while serving as chair of the Department of Humanities.

After completing her term at UTSC, she became Associate Dean, Division One at the School of Graduate Studies, and in 2006 became Vice Dean (programs), a position she held for three years. In one year alone she served on 22 tenure committees.

In 2007-08 she became a member of Academic Board and as a fellow of Trinity College began serving on various committees of the college, including chairing the college Senate in 2012-13. She was elected to Governing Council in 2011-2012.

Despite her enormous administrative workload, Prof. Cowper has maintained active research and teaching profiles in the department, including creating courses that define what the U of T linguistics program is all about. She has been an exemplary adviser, serving as supervisor for numerous Masters theses, PhD qualifying papers and PhD theses.


Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award

Professor Ian Orchard

Professor Ian Orchard has consistently worked to advance the University of Toronto’s academic mission by creating an intellectual environment that nurtures excellence in both undergraduate and graduate studies.

Prof. Orchard began his career at U of T in 1982 in the Department of Zoology and within a few years was balancing his teaching and highly respected research with participation on several search committees, faculty councils and task forces.

He rose to the decanal level of administration, serving as Associate Dean (sciences) at the Faculty of Arts & Science, and then Vice-Dean of the faculty. His commitment to an outstanding student experience led to his appointment as the University’s first Vice-Provost (students), a portfolio created to reinforce U of T’s institutional commitment to its students and to give them a stronger voice in decision-making.

Prof. Orchard is credited with improving the university’s recruitment efforts and helping it prepare to meet the challenge of the “double cohort” in 2003. One of his notable achievements was to create the graduate student funding guarantee, the first of its kind in Canada – which changed the landscape for graduate student funding in this country.

He was appointed Vice-President, U of T and Principal of University of Toronto Mississauga in 2002. He oversaw planning, growth, governance and development for UTM, as well as keeping a presence on tri-campus administrative bodies including high-level committees, Governing Council and the President’s senior university planning team.

The scope of his commitment extended beyond the campus borders. Prof. Orchard worked with several community institutes and organizations, making a profound impact on Mississauga and the region. One of his many duties included chair of the Healthy Cities Stewardship Advisory Committee (HCSC) and joined Mayor Hazel McCallion in London, England to receive the 2006 World Leadership Award for the HCSC’s work with 14 organizations in the city to collectively work toward improvements in local health.

Prof. Orchard continued to serve the university community since leaving the principal’s office, teaching undergraduate courses, and mentoring biology graduate students and professors.  In January, 2014, he was appointed Vice-President and Provost of the University of Waterloo. 


Ludwik and Estelle Jus Memorial Human Rights Prize

Professor George Sefa Dei

Professor George Sefa Dei is a scholar, teacher and community leader whose extensive body of work has been singularly devoted to constructive change in education within and beyond the classroom, with a view to challenging discrimination and advancing equity and diversity.

Professor Dei is an outstanding teacher and an active and collegial supporter of the goals and activities of the Department of Social Justice Education at OISE, University of Toronto.

Some of the themes that have been central to his work are anti-racism, inclusive schooling, Indigenous knowledge and anti-colonial thought. He is recognized as a leading scholar in the fight against racism and social oppression and his intellectual work and professional recognition span across a number of sectors and constituencies, both within academia and broader society.

He has consistently demonstrated a commitment to forging anti-racist social change both inside the university – including being the inaugural director of the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies at OISE – and his work with external stakeholders such as community organizations, school boards, governments, the broader academic community and international partners.  He has been a longtime powerful advocate for Black/African-Canadian and minority youth education in Canada. His community work and scholarly writings on the African Canadian community helped establish an Africentric school.

Professor Dei is a scholar of considerable international merit and recognition. He has uniquely challenged discriminatory barriers, particularly faced by marginalized youth, in countries around the world. He won the title of “Professor Extraordinaire” from the University of South Africa, among other international awards, and has been awarded several honours in Canada including the Excellence in Education and Community Development award from the Canadian Alliance of Black Educators, and he recently won the 2014 OISE Distinguished Teaching award.

Prof. Dei’s publications include over 29 completed books and over 70 articles in refereed journals. His most recent works address the epistemological divide between African traditional knowledge production and the western educational models.


Ludwik and Estelle Jus Memorial Human Rights Prize

Professor Ron Levi

Professor Ron Levi is an exceptional scholar, generous colleague and passionate educator in the fields of global justice, and the sociology of international law and human rights.

The current holder of the George Ignatieff Chair in Peace and Conflict Studies at  U of T, Professor Levi is being recognized for his scholarship and service in support of the university’s commitment to values of equal opportunity, equity and justice, as well as action and education against discrimination.

Professor Levi is an Associate Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and the Department of Sociology. He is Director of Academic Programs at the Munk School and Director of the Master of Global Affairs program.

Professor Levi researches and writes broadly on the role of law during unsettled times. His current work focuses on institutional responses to atrocities and massive human rights violations, with a particular focus on the design and politics of legal institutions for responding to atrocities, deterring violations, and managing societal transitions. Much of his research attends to the development of international criminal law as a mechanism for holding individuals accountable in the wake of atrocities – a legacy of the 1945 Nuremberg Trials

He is now pursuing a multi-year project on international human rights, focusing on the work of global justice professionals in the UN system and beyond. This work encompasses how human rights programs and interventions are designed by local and transnational actors in different parts of the world, the efforts and focus of human rights professionals in headquarters and in field offices, and the institutional, professional and bureaucratic demands that are reconfiguring the field of human rights.

Professor Levi has also worked on the law and politics of crime prevention strategies, and relationships to law and the state among immigrant groups and diaspora communities. In developing his research agendas, he was a Fellow and Scholar in the Successful Societies program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research for seven years.

Professor Levi is an award-winning, and a transformative educator and institution builder. During his three-year term as Director of the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (2009-2012) he led a curriculum reform of its undergraduate program to expand its focus by attending to the role of justice mechanisms worldwide. He has served in policy roles for justice, policing, and security with Canada’s Metropolis Project, and is inaugurating a new Global Justice Lab in the Munk School. Professor Levi also led the creation of the new Munk One program for undergraduate students, which focuses on global innovation.


Joan E. Foley Quality of Student Experience Award

Dr. Andrew Dicks

Dr. Andrew Dicks’ pedagogical excellence is well known at U of T and beyond, resulting in several awards including the university’s highest teaching honour, the President’s Teaching Award and the Ontario Federation of University Faculty Associations’ Teaching Award. 

Since joining the Faculty of Chemistry in 2001 he has consistently sought ways to ensure students feel like valued members of the university community and experience a range of meaningful curricular and extracurricular learning opportunities.

Dr. Dicks became the faculty adviser for a new First-Year Learning Community for life science students at Innis College in 2005. He meets with small groups of students to provide guidance about academic and non-academic matters, including how to get involved in research while an undergraduate, and how to communicate with professors and effective team strategies.

In 2006, Dr. Dicks conceived and launched unique course opportunities for chemistry, including Molecular Science in which small groups of first year students meet regularly under the guidance of an upper-level undergraduate mentor, trained by Dr. Dicks and a group of graduate students. The initiative has been remarkably effective in providing students with a sense of belonging in chemistry and sparked dramatic increases in chemistry enrolment since the program began.

Dr. Dicks’ impact has extended to students throughout the university. He has played a key role since 2004 as a faculty adviser for U of T’s Peer Tutoring Group and continues to run training sessions for new tutors. He connects other faculty members to the program and encourages students in his classes to seek the group’s service or volunteer themselves. The program has provided more than 10,000 hours of free tutoring since it began.

Dr. Dicks teaches the introductory organic chemistry course, which includes close to 1,000 students making it one of the largest undergraduate classes in Arts & Science; he still finds the time to meet individually with students, offering half-hour sessions after term tests to discuss their performance.


Chancellor’s Award - Emerging Leader

Tamara Breukelman

Tamara Breukelman, the inaugural Operations Manager of the newly-founded Mississauga Academy of Medicine, has provided creative leadership resulting in the development of an efficient and effective administrative and technical team for the Academy.

Ms. Breukelman has developed, streamlined and improved business processes to better serve the university’s mission. These procedures are frequently models for other programs within the Faculty of Medicine.

Her extensive collaboration with stakeholders from U of T, especially the Faculty of Medicine and with Trillium Health Partners, brought the Mississauga Academy of Medicine (MAM) into audit compliance with Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) policies. She planned, gained approval for, and ultimately deployed, the HST process, through the generation of healthy dialogue, and by working jointly and transparently to create processes between university and hospital stakeholders.

Ms. Breukelman has been a force behind several student-interest projects. Combining her ability to nurture lasting relationships with her ability to affect change, she advocated on behalf of students when they proposed a composting program for the Health Sciences Complex, and assisted in the development and approval of the program. Tamara continues to solicit feedback, attend town halls and meetings with student representatives and generate discussions around quality improvement, earning the trust and confidence of the student body by listening to and then translating their suggestions and concerns into timely action.

In addition to her professional responsibilities, she has shown outstanding volunteer and community service, including her work as Employee Campaign Co-Chair for the Peel Region United Way campaign at UTM in 2012 and 2013. She connects the campus to the community by facilitating events which team young people with U of T students to conduct scientific experiments, stimulating their enthusiasm for learning.


Chancellor’s Award - Emerging Leader

Tanya Lewis

Tanya Lewis is an innovative leader, educator and bridge-builder who brought great foresight and vision to her role as Director of the Academic Success Centre and Accessibility Services at St. George Campus.

As director, has she created a team environment in which staff feel safe, supported, challenged and committed to the welfare of students. Accessibility Services plays a complex and multi-faceted role in the wider support network       U of T offers to its students. They utilize the office for a combination of academic, practical and psychological support, and staff must be able to respond thoughtfully and adaptively to the needs of approximately 2,800 students who come through the door every academic year.

Ms. Lewis is a technological innovator who updated Accessibility Services’ database which allowed for a vastly more efficient electronic bookkeeping and recording system.

She is a collaborator and encouraged dialogue with faculty, staff and students with regard to accommodations. She has worked to build relationships, including partnering with Counselling and Psychological Services as well as Student Crisis Response and Health Services to create a more secure circle of care for students in distress.

Ms. Lewis has fostered the growth of peer mentorship programs within Accessibility Services, the Academic Success Centre and the First in the Family program. Her innovations have helped create a more accessible university for students socially and academically. 

One example of her innovative methods is the creation of an embedded Learning Strategist, who works collaboratively with Accessibility Services but placed at Woodsworth College.  Ms. Lewis has also contributed to the Poet-In-The-Community program, which brings a creative, embodied approach to the writing process.


Chancellor’s Award – Influential Leader

Richard Levin

Richard Levin has provided dynamic leadership and strong vision since joining the University of Toronto three years ago as Executive Director, Enrolment Services.

His work has been transformative, not only because of the innovations he has championed in Enrolment Services but because of the way he has worked collaboratively with the university’s teams of registrars and recruiters and gained their trust and respect.

As a proponent of Strategic Enrolment Management (SEM), Mr. Levin embraced the vision for recruitment and admissions expressed in Towards 2030 and other strategy documents. As a published and respected expert on enrolment and registrarial issues, his approach was to rely on data and evidence to persuade divisional partners to participate in a unified and consistent approach to recruitment.

He took charge of the “Join U of T” portal for applicants and oversaw its implementation, making improvements to the original concept. He began introducing and tabling the metrics that enabled a nuanced analysis of processes and strategies. Once he had put in place new directors of Recruitment and Financial Aid and Awards, he revitalized the offices to create a dynamic and rewarding work environment for staff.

One recent innovation was the Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) program which is designed to allow specialized and differentiated communications, and already in its first year is helping to streamline and personalize correspondence with prospective students.

Another innovation is the President's Scholars of Excellence Program. Mr. Levin's developed a program to provide high-average applicants with guaranteed research opportunities, faculty mentors, international opportunities and an on-campus job in the second year. The program was developed using survey results from high-achieving applicants who had chosen not to come to U of T.

He was instrumental in redesigning the Work Study Program after government funding was withdrawn. Mr. Levin continues to manage the program which is now open to part-time and international students.


Chancellor’s Award - Influential Leader

Ron Swail

Ron Swail has a decade-long record of innovative thinking and actions that have demonstrably improved the physical operations of U of T – resulting in better service, performance and outcomes – often at lower costs.

As Assistant-Vice President, Facilities & Services at the St. George Campus, Mr. Swail has transformed the culture of the department which is now highly respected and valued by its clients for providing excellent service, sustainability, value for money and transparency.

Under his leadership, Facilities & Services has realized a cumulative cost savings of $44 million; assessed and prioritized those areas where the University has operational risk; and made sustainability a major focus of the department's initiatives.

Mr. Swail put together the submission that prompted the U of T to become one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the first time in 2012. U of T’s mark in the College Sustainability Report Card went up a full grade after he took over the submission package. U of T has one of the most comprehensive recycling and waste management programs of any North American educational institution and a record diversion rate of 72 percent.

Mr. Swail also initiated the Energy Resource and Management Fund to harness and engage the university community. It provides financial backing – up to $75,000 – for innovative ideas from students, staff and faculty about how to conserve energy or water on campus.

Mr. Swail was instrumental in creating the University’s first LEED Gold project (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) at 255 McCaul Street (Exam Centre) at the St. George campus. This project established a new standard – combining sustainability innovations with best practice interior design resulting in a triple bottom line work environment.


Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award 

Nadine Borduas

Nadine Borduas has an enviable work ethic, a desire to succeed in everything she does and is extremely committed to improving the Chemistry departmental experience for everyone who works there.

Ms. Borduas is working towards her PhD in environmental chemistry, and is a previous winner of both the prestigious NSERC Vanier and Hamer scholarships. After spending her undergraduate years at the University of Sherbrooke, she came to U of T to complete her Master’s degree in organic chemistry.

She switched to environmental chemistry because of her devotion to help finding solutions to climate change – and her great love of the outdoors, being an avid skier.

Ms. Borduas is a natural leader, both in the Department of Chemistry and beyond. She has been the president of the Chem Club organization; actively involved with both the search for the new Chair of Chemistry and for the new Dean of Arts & Science; involved in promoting science to elementary and high school girls; the only Canadian participant in a special U.K. course on societal issues related to energy; promoted discussions in the Chemistry Department on ethical practices in scientific research and developed a course for her fellow graduate students on that topic; and served as leader of a Nuit Blanche presentation on chemistry.

She has tackled additional scientific projects, such as participating in a large scale Environment Canada field campaign in the Alberta oil sands last summer. She continues to work with Environment Canada, analyzing data on air quality.

She writes a blog on the Chemistry department’s Green Chemistry Initiative, which seeks to promote awareness of sustainability and green chemistry principles within the department and across campus. Ms. Borduas designed an undergraduate assignment that is being rolled out to about 50 students this spring, focusing on teaching green chemistry in the context of industrial synthesis of pharmaceutical compounds.

Ms. Borduas’ long-term plan is to establish a research group in atmospheric chemistry at a Canadian university. After she obtains her PhD in 2015, she will travel and attend conferences to build her network of scientists before choosing where she will do her post-doctoral work.


UTAA Graduate Scholars 

Mohamed Abdelfattah

Mohamed Abdelfattah is an outstanding student and researcher, and a natural leader both academically and in extracurricular activities. While working on his PhD in Computer Engineering he has continued to maintain a perfect GPA, after being one of only two students in the history of the MS in Information Technology program at the University of Stuttgart to achieve a perfect GPA. He has won seven academic prizes in engineering, including a Connaught International Scholarship and a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. He is fluent in three languages – English, German and Arabic – and is studying French. Mohamed is President of the Egyptian Student Association at U of T and volunteers for the Food and Water Institute maintaining its SkyGarden which produces food for local food banks. In 2012 he helped organize Egyptians living in Toronto to vote in their home country’s election.

Kathryn Hopperton

Kathryn Hopperton is distinguished as a leader in the Department of Nutritional Services, having served as Community Liaison and President of the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Student Association. In the wider University of Toronto community, Kathryn has served as Activities Director and Chair of the Ontario Genomics Institute Student Network, as a program developer with Let's Talk Science and a as mentor to high school students through the Nutritional Sciences Mentorship Program.  In 2013, Kathryn received an Ontario Volunteer Service Award from the provincial government for her outstanding commitment to the Girl Guides of Canada. Kathryn is an author on three scientific papers and her PhD thesis examines the role of the fatty acid DHA in the resolution of inflammation in Alzheimer’s Disease. Kathryn has received several competitive fellowships and awards at the University of Toronto, including the Nora Martin Fellowship in Nutritional Sciences, an Ontario Graduate Scholarship and the SCACE fellowship in Alzheimer's Research.

Raili Lakanen

Raili Lakanen is a PhD in Planning student in the Department of Geography and a Junior Fellow at Massey College. Her dissertation project examines the role of young people in the environmental movement in Canada and the factors that shape individual decisions and collective actions. She has received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council doctoral scholarship and the first prize in the International Sustainable Development Research Society 2012 Student Paper Competition. She has been published in the Toronto Star online and the Ontario Planning Journal. Her activities include being Vice-President Academic in the Graduate Geography and Planning Students Society and Policy Planning Director of We Canada, where she oversaw a team of volunteers who developed and submitted policy briefs to the U.N. in 2011. She was a member of the organizing committee of the Walter Gordon Symposium on Public Policy for two years, and has been actively involved in planning cultural events at Massey College.


John H. Moss Scholarship 

Patrick Quinton-Brown

Patrick Quinton-Brown is the epitome of the intellectual ability, leadership and community engagement that the Moss Scholarship seeks to recognize. The fourth-year international relations student at Trinity College carries a 4.0 CGPA, continuing his academic excellence that began in high school, when he recorded one of the highest graduating academic averages in Ontario.

While his academic accomplishments are remarkable, he is also highly engaged in a variety of diverse interests. Building on his time as an Ontario public school board student trustee while in high school in Whitby, he co-founded the group Student Voice Initiative during his time at Trinity. The group is dedicated to promoting and implementing the student trustee concept in other school boards across the country.

Mr. Quinton-Brown, 22, was president of the International Relations Society and co-founder and president of Syria Watch. As co-president of the International Relations Society, he produced an astonishing number and range of intellectual and social events for his fellow students. He has travelled extensively internationally and conducted research under Michael Ignatieff, the former federal Liberal leader. One of his great passions is the research work he does with the Global Centre for Responsibility To Protect in New York.

His other passion is film-making. His film Wired for Change won at the Ford Foundation’s student film festival. Its progressive theme is about access to technology and the internet, while strongly rooted in social justice and cross-cultural equality.

Mr. Quinton-Brown’s academic writing has been published, something rare among undergraduate students. As a first-year student he passionately supported the NATO intervention in Libya, which represented the first full-blown implementation of the “responsibility to protect” principle (R2P) in history.

He is writing the first annual Global R2P Report Card, which will assess how UN Security Council members have upheld R2P over the past year by comparing resolution voting trends, official statements and records of state complicity in mass atrocity crimes.

Mr. Quinton-Brown hopes to complete an MPhil in international relations at Oxford University, focusing on the fundamental questions of whether R2P is an inherently “western” intellectual tradition and what circumstances are necessary to create an international culture of prevention rather than a culture of reaction on the issue of mass atrocities.


UTAA Scholars

Christine Farquharson

With a double major in Economics and European Studies and a minor in Political Science, Christine Farquharson is laying a broad foundation for a career in public policy.  Along with her superlative GPA, she has completed international fieldwork, including a study of the economic impact of Kosovo's Diaspora and another on regionalism in Brazil and its impacts on trade negotiations. She is employed as a media analyst in the Cabinet Office of the Ontario Public Service and has worked with sponsored refugee students. She is also a peer mentor with the First-Year Learning Community program and with the Economics Study Centre. She was recognized by her peers at Victoria College last year with the Crescam Serviendo award for her outstanding contributions to student life. She has produced musicals, coaches high school students in Latin recitation, and runs a trivia club.

Galina Gheihman

Galina Gheihman has a breathtaking academic record and at the same time is deeply engaged in research, both in the health sciences and health policy at Victoria College. She won the top prize in 2012 in the Health Council of Canada's national Health Innovation Challenge for her project on dispensing prescription drugs in rural and remote areas. She was recognized last year with a Dr. R. Wilson Student Achievement Award for her laboratory excellence and peer leadership. Her intention is to go to medical school and become a physician, believing physicians need to have a more prominent role in creating and implementing health care policy. Galina is an executive member with the U of T Chapter of VIDA, is a volunteer at the Hospital for Sick Children, and co-founded Shadow Dance Club, which offers free beginner lessons in Latin and Ballroom dancing to U of T students.

Rufina Y.H. Kim

Yunhoo (Rufina) Kim has a stellar record of academic achievement in the Faculty of Arts & Science, pursuing challenging majors in neuroscience, ecology and evolutionary biology. She has a cumulative GPA of 4.0 and made contributions to Woodsworth College, the U of T and the larger community. She has won several awards, including the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award in Science and was awarded one of the five Brookfield Peter F. Bronfman Leadership Scholarships. She is president of the Pre-Medical Society and an accomplished musician, as principal first violinist in the Hart House Chamber Strings. Rufina is a running guide with Achilles Canada, a volunteer with the Elder Life program at Toronto Western Hospital and worked as a Paleontological crew member in southern Alberta.    

Mohan (Nana) Zhou

Nana Zhou is a model to her peers in demonstrating exceptional academic performance, transforming and improving communities and engaging students in learning experiences. She is an active member of U of T’s Governing Council, working with its Business Board and Planning and Budget committee as well. She has been President of the UTM Residence Council and Peer Academic Leader.H Her initiatives include the founding of the EnvirOlympics, negotiating additional bursary support for students with financial need and recruiting external partners to engage in UTM’s on-campus community. The Accounting Specialist and Economics Major was recognized as the top resident student for three years in a row and through her work at the Career Centre established the “Pop Up shops” in residence.

Roland Xu

Roland Xu has excelled in his studies in Pathobiology and Neuroscience at Victoria College, attaining a cumulative GPA of 4.0. As a member of the research team of Dr. Carol Swallow, he has produced brilliant results in his lab work on cancer biology. Roland hopes to pursue a career in medicine, with a particular focus on translating scientific discoveries from the Bench to Bedside. He wants to volunteer for Doctors Without Borders and follow in the footsteps of Dr. Norman Bethune in effecting positive change in his native rural China. In addition to his mentorship contributions as part of FLC and NAUS, he is a violinist in the Hart House Chamber Strings and organizes the Mount Sinai Minstrels, an ensemble that plays for and with hospital patients.                          

COVID-19 Update:

In light of the current situation, in-person events in May (including Alumni Reunion events) have been postponed or cancelled. Looking for online events and resources for alumni while staying home? Visit the online #StayHome hub. Have questions? Contact us.