UTM celebrates three Boundless community members

Sven Spengemann, Candice Jay and Robert Gillespie
Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 10:28am
Blake Eligh

U of T Mississauga recently celebrated three Boundless community members—Robert Gillespie, Candice Jay and Mississauga-Lakeshore MP Sven Spengemann—at the Alumni Awards of Distinction. The annual awards recognize distinguished service, individual creativity, success and entrepreneurial spirit of individuals within the UTM community. The event was hosted by Professor Ulrich Krull, interim vice-president and principal, at a reception at the Glen Erin Inn.

Philanthropist Robert Gillespie received the Paul W. Fox Award, which recognizes those who have improved campus life through dedicated service to the university and community. Gillespie, who has earned many professional engineering accolades, served as CEO of GE Canada, and currently contributes to various community and arts organizations. A longtime supporter of UTM, Gillespie is the champion behind the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre at the UTM Library.

“The Centre helps people, who are struggling, transform drudgery into fun,” Gillespie said. “The 12-year-old centre is a significant success. It helps a lot of people with techniques like one-on-one support and peer study groups. I’m so impressed by the progress being made, and I thank the people in the Centre for their continuing efforts.”

Alumnus Desmond Parker (BA, 1976) presented alumna Candice Jay (HBA, 2007) with the Desmond Parker Outstanding Young Alumni Award. The award recognizes emerging leaders who have demonstrated excellence in professional achievement and community service. Jay, who holds a degree in professional writing, communications and marketing, is a financial advisor, account manager and private investment specialist, and vice-president and manager at Pembroke Private Wealth Management Limited. Parker introduced Jay as “a volunteer and leader extraordinaire,” lauding her for assuming volunteer roles within the university, and her leadership in her industry. “She represents UTM on the U of T College of Electors board, where she lends her voice in discussions about alumni governance. She volunteers with Junior Achievement Worldwide, teaching the Dollars with Sense program to Grade 7 to 9 students, to help them make smart financial decisions,” Parker said.

“UTM has had a lifelong impact on me,” Jay said. “I received a great education that kick-started my financial career. I look forward to working more with the university in the future.”

Krull presented the J. Tuzo Wilson Distinguished Alumni Award to alumnus Sven Spengemann (B.Sc., 1990), recognizing the Mississauga-Lakeshore member of Parliament for dedication to enriching the lives of others through community service, and achieving a level of distinction in their chosen field. “This award recognizes an individual who has had exceptional professional impact across Canada,” Krull said.

Spengemann, whose career has spanned the private sector, academia and public service, spent his formative years in Mississauga, living just a short walk from campus. Following graduation, he attended Osgoode Hall, and earned a PhD in constitutional theory at Harvard’s law school. He has worked in risk management, international cooperation and safety and security, led constitutional and legislative reforms in Iraq and held leadership roles as a senior policy analyst with Canada’s Privy Council. Elected as MP for the Mississauga-Lakeshore riding in 2015, Spengemann currently serves on several committees in Canada’s House of Commons.

“This award means more than you will ever know,” Spengemann said, noting that he made his first foray into politics running campaigns for student government at Erindale College. “I ran two campaigns for UTMSU, and I was elected cultural director, which opened my mind to what public service was all about.”

“I am grateful to have watched the evolution of this campus, and alongside it, this city,” Spengemann said. “Overseas, we’re hearing anecdotally that when bright young students think about Canada, they think about U of T, and in Hong Kong and Qatar about UTM. It is building a reputation that is global in nature, and we’re incredibly proud of what the university has become.”

The awards reception was the first of several Spring Reunion events. The annual homecoming celebrations continued with Flicks on the Field, an alumni outing to watch the Toronto Blue Jays play ball, the Alumni Association Annual General Meeting, Classes without Quizzes and the E.A. Robinson Science Education Lecture.