Outstanding Honourees for The University of the West Indies Seventh Annual Toronto Benefit Gala

TORONTO, Dec. 16, 2015 /CNW/ - The University of the West Indies today announced six leaders of Canadian and Caribbean origin, and one organization, to be honoured at the seventh annual Toronto Benefit Gala, on Saturday, April 2, 2016, at The Ritz-Carlton.

The G. Raymond Chang Award will be presented to The Hon. Dr. Vivienne Poy. The award was established to honour outstanding individuals who exemplify the leadership and ideals of G. Raymond Chang, O.C., O.J. (1948-2014).  Mr. Chang was recognized as an outstanding business leader and philanthropist.  He was the Gala's patron for five years.

Dr. Poy was the first Canadian of Asian descent appointed to the Senate of Canada. She is also an entrepreneur, philanthropist, author, community volunteer, historian and fashion designer. During her time in the Senate, from 1998 to 2012, she was integral to establishing May as Asian Heritage Month in Canada. She served as Chancellor of the University of Toronto from 2003 to 2006 and is active in many community and cultural organizations. She has authored five books and co-edited one other.

The Luminary Award will be presented to Dr. Shirley Thompson. The Luminary 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 to prominence issues, which affect the Caribbean. Dr. Thompson is of Jamaican descent; the first woman in Europe to have composed and conducted a symphony in the last 40 years, and the first woman to compose and musically direct music for a major drama series at the BBC. She is a Reader in Music at the University of Westminster and a freelance composer of music for TV, films and the theatre.

The Chancellor's Award will be presented to Food For The Poor Inc. This award is given to organizations which have contributed significantly to the Caribbean, or outstanding organizations owned by persons of Caribbean heritage.

Food for the Poor Inc. is an interdenominational, Christian international relief and development organization.  It has affiliated agencies in Canada, Jamaica the U.S.A., Haiti, and Guyana. It serves the poor, providing food, housing, healthcare, fresh water, emergency relief, micro-enterprise, skills training and other services.  It promotes self-sustainable development projects helping the less fortunate to break free from the cycle of poverty.    

The Vice Chancellor's Award is given to people of Caribbean heritage who have made significant contributions within their organizations and communities. The 2016 honourees are: Mr. Stephen Ames; Mr. Wesley Hall; Mr. Machel Montano and Dr. Paul Steinbok.

Mr. Ames is a professional golfer, born in Trinidad & Tobago. He made his Hoerman Cup debut in 1980 at the age of 16 and turned professional in 1987. In 2004, he enjoyed his first PGA Tour victory, reached the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and was awarded the Chaconia Medal, Trinidad & Tobago's second highest honour. He initiated the Stephen Ames Cup, an international Ryder Cup style competition that pits CJGA Team Canada against Team Trinidad & Tobago. He also co-hosts an annual charity golf tournament for kids and owns the Vintage Chophouse in Calgary.

Mr. Wesley Hall is a well-respected businessman and philanthropist.  He is founder of Kingsdale Shareholder Services, the leading firm in the growing area of outsourced strategic shareholder communication, and was born in Jamaica.  He has over 20 years of experience in corporate governance and shareholder communications.   Hall is a founding member of the Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries (CSCS) and is involved in other corporate governance and investor relations organizations. He is an industry expert in proxy solicitation, depositary, corporate governance and other shareholder related initiatives and has been involved in some of the highest profile deals and proxy contests in North America.   His generosity has enabled cancer care for children in the Caribbean.

Mr. Machel Montano is an award winning soca singer, record producer, and songwriter and recording artist. He was born in the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago and his mission has been to bring soca into mainstream music.   In 1987, at the age of 12, he won the Caribbean Song Festival in Barbados and was the first Trinidadian and youngest to ever win this prestigious contest. He is the only two-time recipient of The Bob Marley Award for Entertainer of the Year and he has received both Soul Train and Grammy Award nominations. He has recorded 18 solo albums and 14 with his band Xtatik and has collaborated with mainstream artists, including Wyclef Jean, Pitbull and Lil Jon. In 2013, he signed a licensing and publishing contract with Universal Music France affiliate AZ.     

Dr. Paul Steinbok is recognized internationally as a leader in pediatric neurosurgery. He is the Head Emeritus of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the BC Children's Hospital and a full Professor at the University of British Columbia, in the Department of Surgery. His medical areas of interest are the surgical treatment of children with spastic cerebral palsy, epilepsy surgery in children and looking after children with craniopharyngiomas, a relatively uncommon type of brain tumor. He was born in Barbados, received medical training at the University of the West Indies and an honors degree at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K. Dr. Steinbok completed an internship in Toronto and a residency in neurosurgery in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada in Neurosurgery in 1977.  He has also provided professional assistance in neurosurgery at hospitals in the Caribbean.

Under the theme "Light, Learning and Liberty", The University of the West Indies Toronto Benefit Gala provides funds for scholarships.  Almost 250 scholarships have been awarded in six years.   Over 70 have graduated, most with first class honours. The Patron of the seventh annual Gala is The G. Raymond Chang Family.  Lead Sponsor is Scotiabank for the seventh consecutive year.

For tickets please order using the online form at www.uwitorontogala.com, or call 416-214-7848 or email the secretariat toni@uwitorontogala.com.

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.

About Scotiabank
Through its global philanthropic program, Scotiabank and its employees support causes at a grassroots level. Recognized as a leader for its charitable donations and philanthropic activities, Scotiabank has contributed on average $55 million annually over the last five years to community causes around the world.

Scotiabank is Canada's international bank and a leading financial services provider in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and Central America, and parts of Asia. It is dedicated to helping its 21 million customers become better off through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of more than 87,000 employees and assets of $863 billion (as at July 31, 2015), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (TSX: BNS) and New York Exchanges (NYSE:  BNS). For more information, please visit www.scotiabank.com and follow on Twitter @ScotiabankNews

SOURCE The University of the West Indies Toronto Benefit Gala

For further information: For media information: Ciarlo Communications, Tel: 416-763-3783, Cell: 416-458-5090, Email: vciarlo@ciarlo.ca

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