Matthias Li

Place of Birth: 
Hong Kong
Graduation Years: 
1978, 1979
Department / Division: 
BComm (UTM)
MBA (St. George)

U of T Mississauga has a warm place in my heart, even though the weather is cold. It is my second home.

Matthias Li

It was a complete fluke that Matthias Li ended up studying at U of T Mississauga, but not one that he regrets.

Li, a Hong Kong native, applied to the University of Toronto because a friend studying there offered Li a place to stay if he came to Toronto. Upon noticing that his friend’s mailing address was Eglinton Avenue West, he chose to attend U of T Mississauga, since from afar, it appeared to him to be on the west side of Toronto.

“I had no idea of a university with different campuses, and with no Internet back then, everything was done by correspondence,” Li says. “I picked Erindale because I thought it would be closer to my friend’s place. I realized later that I’d have to take a bus to the subway to get to the St. George campus and, from there, the shuttle bus out to Mississauga.”

Commute notwithstanding, Li credits UTM for giving him the tools for future success.

“UTM enlightened my mind and laid the foundation for whatever I decided to do in life,” Li says. “I got the foundational knowledge and skills development there.”

While at UTM, he was active in the Chinese Students’ Association and served as its treasurer for two years. Today, Li is still in touch with seven or eight fellow club members and gets together with them regularly for hikes in the hills of Hong Kong.

After graduation, Li earned his MBA at the St. George campus. He remained in Toronto for 15 years, earning his chartered accountant’s designation while working for Arthur Andersen in Toronto before moving on to corporate finance positions at BMO.

Eventually, Hong Kong beckoned and Li relocated his family to be closer to his parents and siblings. He has spent the past 22 years working for the Ocean Park Corporation where he currently serves as the chief executive officer for the company and a trustee of its wildlife foundation.

“My years at UTM were formative for me,” Li says. “The university provided me with all of my analytical skills and basic knowledge. I am very honoured and proud to be associated with UTM.”


Selected Awards:

  • E. A. Robinson Medal, 1978, Awarded to the four UTM students graduating with the highest Cumulative GPA from each of the four College centres