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Celebrating distinguished alumni of University College

University College alumni (from left) Anne Golden, Charles Pachter and Rosalie Abella (photo by Christopher Dew)

University College celebrated its distinguished graduates at the first annual UC Alumni of Influence awards Nov.15, 2012 at the Eglinton Grand in Toronto.

Nearly 400 guests, including 58 of the 100 award-winners or designates, descended upon the restored art-deco theatre for the event.

Honourees in attendance included some of Canada’s brightest lights in education, science, business, law, and the arts: HIV/AIDS crusader Dr. Stephen Lewis and his wife, journalist Michele Landsberg; computing pioneer Calvin Carl Gotlieb; Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella; prominent economist David A. Rosenberg; and contemporary artist Charles Pachter—all of whom got their start as undergraduates at UC. A full list of award winners is available here.

“Your successes in life resonate back to us at the College; you make us stronger,” said UC Principal Donald Ainslie.

Presiding over the festivities was master of ceremonies Adam Growe, host of Discovery Channel’s Cash Cab. Speakers included the Honourable Tony Clement, MP for Parry Sound-Muskoka and President of the Treasury Board of Canada, and U of T President David Naylor, both University College graduates.

Among the highlights of the evening was the Fanfare of Illumination, a unique score composed in honour of UC students and performed by members of U of T's Faculty of Music.

The inaugural awards banquet marked the start of a new tradition at University College, which will recognize 10 additional alumni annually. Instructions for nominating University College graduates for next year’s awards are available here.

Guests had the opportunity to preview artist’s renderings of planned improvements to the historic University College building, an architectural wonder in the Romanesque-Revival style constructed in 1853. The renovations form the basis of University College’s participation in the University of Toronto’s Boundless campaign, and are of a scale not seen at UC for more than 30 years.

“Improving these spaces is a necessity, not a luxury,” declared Ainslie.

The reimagined spaces—including a revitalized Library, Reading Room, Quadrangle, and Croft Chapter House—are both suitable for 21st century students and respectful of University College’s heritage as a National Historic Site.

In combination with accessibility improvements throughout building, the restorations will allow future generations of UC students to benefit from the openness and excellence at the core of a UC education.