The UC Alumni of Influence Awards were established in 2012 in the belief that the success stories of our alumni should be known to current students and fellow graduates. As the College’s signature event, the annual Awards Gala celebrates distinguished alumni who have been selected by the UC community for their leadership and other inspiring contributions.
The late George Washington Orton was a standout athlete, excellent scholar, and key contributor to the growth and development of UC. He was Canada’s first Olympic medalist, at the 1900 Games in Paris, where he won the 2500-metre steeplechase and finished third in the men’s 400-metre hurdles. He was awarded gold and bronze medals posthumously when they became the standard reward for Olympic achievement.
Family physician and researcher Nav Persaud is a Staff Physician and Scientist at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, an Associate Professor in U of T’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, and Canada Research Chair in Health Justice. He has tirelessly advocated to improve the health of disadvantaged communities and individuals. In 2016 he launched a study to examine the effects of providing essential medicines for free, the results of which will have an impact on the development of a national pharmacare program.
Grammy-nominated filmmaker and television director Tim Southam has brought major commercial and artistic successes to screens in English and French Canada, as well as internationally. Currently the Executive Producer of the Netflix series Locke and Key, he has worked on many shows including Lost in Space, Colony, Bones, House, Rookie Blue, and Heartland, as well as documentaries and feature films. As President of the Directors Guild of Canada, he has also dedicated his time, energy, and influence to bettering the lives of artists and performers nationwide.
Kate Taylor is an arts columnist and critic for the Globe and Mail, as well as the author of novels Madame Proust, Kosher Kitchen, and Serial Monogamy. She holds a masters in journalism from Western University, and has been honoured with the National Newspaper Award, Atkinson Journalism Fellowship, City of Toronto Book Award, and Commonwealth Prize for Best First Novel.
The late Joseph Burr Tyrell was a renowned geologist and explorer. He discovered the Albertosaurus sarcophagus dinosaur while surveying potential railroad routes in Alberta for Canadian Geological Survey. He explored and surveyed the Barren Lands region north of Winnipeg and west of Hudson’s Bay beginning in 1893, former fur-trading lands that were new Canadian territory and partially unmapped. A participant in the Yukon gold rush in 1899, he was a recipient of the Royal Society of Canada’s Flavelle Gold Medal. The Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller, Alberta is named after him.
Erwin Angus began his public service with the Government of Ontario, but returned to Jamaica to join the foreign service as the Jamaican representative to Latin America and the United States. He then transferred to the Ministry of Mining and Natural Resources, serving as secretary to the National Bauxite Commission and writing the original paper which helped establish the Jamaica Bauxite Institute. He also helped form the State Petroleum Corporation to secure the nation’s energy resources in the height of the 1970s oil crisis.
Angus later became the chair of the Maritime Institute of Jamaica, successful extending it across the entire Caribbean. The institute is now known as the Caribbean Maritime University. After leaving public service in 1986, Angus became the managing director of Mayberry Investments Limited -- a position he still holds today. He was granted Jamaica’s Order of Distinction (commander class) in 1976 and became a Justice of the Peace in 1977.
When the First World War erupted, Norman Bethune was a 24-year-old medical student. He left school to serve as a stretcher bearer, but was sent home to finish his studies after being wounded. After graduating in 1916, he returned to the military as a surgeon and medical officer. He was the first person to introduce a mobile blood bank to the battlefield, where he performed numerous transfusions. In 1936, he proposed a universal health care system for Canada. At the time the suggestion was not readily accepted, but his compelling recommendations would eventually find a place in Canada.
Bethune died in 1939 from blood poisoning while volunteering as a doctor to the Chinese army of Mao Zedong. In 1998, he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and, in 2000, U of T named an international surgical conference in his honour.
As a writer, director and performer, Daniel Brooks has collaborated with a wide range of artists. His many works include a series of monologues created with Daniel MacIvor, multi-media work with Rick Miller, direction of work by John Mighton, Beckett, Sophocles, Ibsen, Mamet and Goethe and the musical Drowsy Chaperone. His many creations include the Noam Chomsky Lectures, Insomnia, the Eco Show, the Good Life, Bigger Than Jesus, Pokey Jones, Divisadero and a series of plays created with Don McKellar and Tracy Wright (The Augusta Company). He was co-artistic director of the Augusta Company and artistic director of Necessary Angel from 2003-12. He teaches regularly, and his many awards include the Siminovitch Prize for achievement in Canadian theatre. His work has toured across Canada and around the world.
An inspiring interfaith ambassador, Rabbi Edward Goldfarb was named director of education at Temple Sinai Congregation in 1962. After holding the position for 17 years, he pursued a lifelong dream with an acceptance to Hebrew Union College (HUC). After completing his program at HUC, he returned to Canada and became the first rabbi of the Shaarei Beth El Congregation of Oakville. Upon retirement he was invited to join the Holy Blossom Temple, where he remained for 13 years. His unique and accessible sermons would often interweave religious and humanistic views.
In 2000, Rabbi Goldfarb was invited to become a member of the Quadrangle Society at Massey College. He chaired the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto and represented Canadian rabbis at the Central Conference of American Rabbis. In addition to these accomplishments, he has remained committed to his passion for Hebrew grammar and Yiddish language and literature, teaching to various groups.
Klaus Goldschlag came to Canada in 1937 as a Jewish refugee. In 1944, upon completion of his undergraduate degree, he joined the Canadian army and participated in the Allied advance into his hometown of Berlin. Following the war, he earned master’s degrees in Arabic from U of T and in Oriental languages from Princeton University. After completing his second master’s degree, he joined Canada’s Department of External Affairs, fulfilling a distinguished diplomatic career as a foreign-service officer and ambassador to Turkey, Italy and Germany. In 1981, he received an Outstanding Achievement Award of Public Service from the federal government and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1983.