Tuesday, March 31, 2015

UWI Sixth Annual Benefit Gala in Toronto

Vince J. Ciarlo

Toronto, ON - 
The University of the West Indies hosted its sixth annual Toronto Benefit Gala, on Saturday, March 28, 2015, at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, attended by over 400 guests.

The gala concluded on a high note as the audience was treated to a surprise live auction lot where Grammy award winning artist Shaggy, after receiving his Luminary Award, performed two of his hit songs, adding an additional Canadian $33,000  to the evening's fundraising endeavours for the University's scholarship fund, that also included a live and silent auction.

Donette Chin-Loy Chang, wife of the late Patron, G. Raymond Chang, and his children Brigette Chang-Addorisio and Andrew Chang, now Patrons of the event, greeted guests along with Lead Sponsor, Bruce Bowen, SVP Caribbean Region, Scotiabank; UWI Chancellor Sir George Alleyne, Vice Chancellor E. Nigel Harris, and Honorary Gala Co-Chairs Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy and Herbert Ho Ping Kong, Co-founder, Centre for Excellence for Education and Practice.

The evening, hosted by popular Caribbean media personality Michael Anthony Cuffe, Sr., began with a cocktail reception that brought out members of the media and leaders in arts, finance, academia, and law, and the diplomatic circle including: Her Excellency Janice Miller, High Commissioner for Jamaica to Canada; Jamaica Consul General Lloyd Wilks, Barbados Consul General Haynesley Benn, Consul General of Grenada Mrs. C. J. Augustine-Kanu, Consul General Trinidad and Tobago Dr Vidhya Gyan Tota-Maharaj, Consul General Antigua and Barbuda Ann-Marie Layne, men's clothing guru Harry Rosen, (Toronto International Film Festival’s)
TIFF's Michelle Maheux, Deputy Police Chief Peter Sloly, musician David Rudder, The Honourable Margaret McCain, former Lt. Governor of New Brunswick, The Honourable Jean Augustine, Toronto City Councillors Joe Cressy and Michael Thompson, and Senator Don Meredith.

Rojel Bradford, a Jamaican, pursuing a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery Degree in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Mona Campus and a UWI scholarship recipient represented students admirably with a powerful and emotional address, expressing his gratitude for his scholarship and the impact it has on the lives of students.

Honourees celebrated at this year's gala included:
·         Luminary Award recipients The Honourable Juanita Westmoreland-Traor√©, OQ and Orville ‘Shaggy’ Burrell, C.D.
·         Chancellor's Award recipients George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology, represented by President Anne Sado and Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, represented by CEO Denise Herrera Jackson.
·         Vice Chancellor's Award recipients Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director, Toronto International Film Festival and UWI alumnus Dr. Catherine Chandler-Crichlow, Executive Director of the Centre of Excellence in Financial Services Education.

The inaugural G. Raymond Chang Award, in honour of the late gala patron, was presented to New Brunswick native and retired Royal Bank of Canada executive Charles S. Coffey, O.C., who exemplified the leadership and ideals of Chang. Coffey is a champion of children and early childhood development, young people, Aboriginal peoples, women entrepreneurs, women in public office, as well as education and diversity.

The UWI Toronto Benefit Gala is a signature event that honours Canadian / Caribbean individuals and organizations as well as global citizens whose body of work has impacted the Caribbean.  The event is also the largest fundraiser for the UWI, in Canada.  Since the inaugural event in 2010, over 200 scholarships have been awarded to outstanding academic students in dire financial need across the region.

UWI is grateful to the many gala sponsors that supported the sixth annual Gala, including: Scotiabank, Grace Kennedy, CI Financial, Portland Investment Counsel Inc., RBC, Hitachi Canada Ltd., Accelerator Strategies, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Home Depot, Caribbean Airlines, CAMH, Ryerson University, Ryerson University's G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University Advancement, UHN CEEP, UHN - Toronto General/Toronto Western Hospitals, YMCA, Maple Leaf Foods and George Brown College Foundation. 

Luminary Award Honouree and Grammy Award winning artist Shaggy raised $33,000 in surprise live auction performances. 

For more information on the sixth annual University of the West Indies Toronto Benefit Gala log on to: www.uwitorontogala.com.

Vince J. Ciarlo
Ciarlo Communications
510 – 4070 Old Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON M6S 2R6
Tel: 416-763-3783
Cell: 416-458-5090

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