Egerton Ryerson Award
For dedication to public education
The 2017 Egerton Ryerson Award
2017 posthumous award recipient: Avie Bennett, CC, OOnt
This year, we will be honouring Avie Bennett CC, OOnt., for his many contributions to education and to Canadian culture.
Avie’s belief in public education and his dedication to advancing the prospects of Canada’s young people were evident in:
- His significant support for universities and colleges, both as a donor and volunteer;
- His role in establishing a scholarship fund for Indigenous students;
- His leadership as Chancellor of York University;
- His ongoing advocacy for Canadian history, culture and authors; and
- His contributions as a founding member of our Egerton Ryerson Award Nominating Committee.
Professionally, Avie was Chairman and President of First Plazas Inc., his commercial real estate company. He was also renowned as a great philanthropist. In 2000, he donated 75% of his shares of McClelland & Stewart, a Canadian publishing house that he owned, to the University of Toronto. He also made significant donations to the University of Toronto, the National Ballet of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, United Way of Greater Toronto, York University, and Historica Canada.
Avie received honorary degrees from the University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, and York University. He was made a companion of the Order of Canada (the highest rank), and was awarded the Order of Ontario.
He was the chancellor at York University from 1998 – 2004, and became Chancellor Emeritus and a member of the Board of Directors of the York University Foundation. In his honour, York’s Student Services Centre is named the Bennett Centre for Student Services.
Among his many positions, Avie was the chairman and president of the Canadian Publishers; honorary chair of the AGO’s board of trustees; chair of the Historica Foundation of Canada; and President of the International Readings at Harbourfront.
We honour Avie with the Egerton Ryerson Award in acknowledgement of his many enduring contributions to education, and society at large, in the province of Ontario.
The Nominating Committee members are: Zanana Akande, Harold Brathwaite, Charlie Coffey, the Hon. David Crombie, the Hon. William (Bill) Davis, the Hon. Ken Dryden, Roberta Jamieson, Sheldon Levy, the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin, the Hon. Margaret Norrie McCain, John Mighton, Charles Pascal, Arlene Perly-Rae, and Celia Rhea.
Many thanks to our valued 2017 event sponsors TD Bank, Ontario Principals’ Council, Penguin Random House, Ryerson University, University of Toronto, and York University, and to generous donors Charles S. Coffey, the Honourable Margaret McCain, and the McLean Smits Family Foundation.
The Egerton Ryerson Award for Dedication to Public Education
“On the importance of education generally we may remark it is as necessary as the light – it should be as common as water and as free as air.” Egerton Ryerson, 1846
The Egerton Ryerson Award is presented annually to a person or persons who have been both active and public in their advocacy for strong public education. The award recognizes the deep value of learning – from the early years until graduation from high school, and those who have made the connection between strong public education, social cohesion, and strong and engaged societies.
Since its inauguration in 2007, the award has honoured Harold Brathwaite, former director of the Peel District School Board; Charles Pascal, former Deputy Minister of Education; The Honourable William (Bill) Davis, former Premier of Ontario; the Honourable Margaret McCain, former Lieutenant Gfdffovernor of New Brunswick; the Right Honourable Paul Martin, former Prime Minister of Canada and Roberta Jamieson, Executive Director of Indspire; Charles Coffey, former Vice President of the Royal Bank; the Honourable Ken Dryden, former MP; Sheldon Levy, President of Ryerson University; the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and John Mighton, Ph.D., O.C., founder of JUMP Math.
Honourees are celebrated at a reception hosted by TD and Canoe. The event attracts leadership from Ontario’s political, education, business, not-for-profit and labour communities.
The 2016 Egerton Ryerson Award
Our 2016 award honouree: Dr. John Mighton, O.C.
People for Education understands that math is a core component of a strong, broadly based education and that every student has the ability to succeed in math and beyond.
On November 23, 22016, we honoured Dr. John Mighton for his extensive advocacy and commitment to ensuring that all students have a chance for success.
Dr. Mighton is a playwright turned mathematician and author who founded JUMP Math as a charity in 2001. He developed the JUMP Math approach, which is unique due to its premise of an “ethos of ability.” His national best-seller, The Myth of Ability: Nurturing Mathematical Talent in Every Child, describes his approach and successes with the program.
His work in fostering numeracy and in building children’s self-confidence through success in math has been widely recognized. He has been named a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year, an Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year for Canada, an Ashoka Fellow, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has received three honorary doctorates.
John earned a Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Toronto. He was later awarded an NSERC Fellowship for postdoctoral research in knot and graph theory. He is currently a Fellow of the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences, and has taught mathematics at the University of Toronto. John is also a playwright and has won several national awards including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, the Dora Award, the Chalmers Award, and the Siminovitch Prize.
We are truly proud to honour John.
The Nominating Committee, consisting of Zanana Akande, Avie Bennett, Harold Brathwaite, Charlie Coffey, David Crombie, the Hon. Ken Dryden, Roberta Jamieson, Sheldon Levy, The Rt. Hon. Paul Martin, the Hon. Margaret Norrie McCain, Charles Pascal, Arlene Perly-Rae, and Celia Rhea unanimously decided in favour of Dr. John Mighton, O.C., as 2016’s honouree.
Many thanks to the event sponsors: TD Bank, Ontario Principal’s Council, Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation, Toronto Education Workers/CUPE Ontario, and Charles S. Coffey.
The 2015 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipient
On November 24, 2015, the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair received the 9th Annual Egerton Ryerson Award for Dedication to Public Education. The awards ceremony was hosted by Shelagh Rogers, with special guests Wab Kinew, Kimberly Murray, and Niigaan Sinclair.
Justice Sinclair was Manitoba’s first Aboriginal Judge. He has been Special Assistant to the Attorney General of Manitoba, Co-Commissioner of Manitoba’s Public Inquiry into the Administration of Justice and Aboriginal People (The Aboriginal Justice Inquiry), legal counsel for the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, and, most famously, Chair of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
With the release of the Commission’s findings and recommendations, Sinclair has provided a vital new public frame for the dialogue about the connection between education and long-term healing and change. He has been extraordinarily vocal, passionate and articulate about education as one of, if not the key to hope for Canada and the future of all First Nations, Métis and Inuit young people. He has been equally clear that for true reconciliation, changes must be made to our public education systems.
Justice Sinclair is truly a worthy recipient for 2015’s Ryerson Award.
The Nominating Committee, consisting of Zanana Akande, Avie Bennett, Harold Brathwaite, Charlie Coffey, David Crombie, the Hon. Ken Dryden, Margot Forsyth, Roberta Jamieson, Sheldon Levy, The Rt. Hon. Paul Martin, the Hon. Margaret Norrie McCain, Charles Pascal, and Arlene Perly-Rae, unanimously decided to make Justice Sinclair this year’s honouree.
Many thanks to the event sponsors: The Bennett Family Foundation, Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation, ETFO, OECTA, OPC, TD Bank Financial Group, Charles S. Coffey, and Power Corporation of Canada.
The 2014 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipient
On November 17, 2014, Sheldon Levy received the 8th Annual Egerton Ryerson Award for Dedication to Public Education.
For nearly 40 years, Mr. Levy has demonstrated how deeply he cares about Canada’s young people, public education and citizen engagement. As a leader in post-secondary education, he has always ventured far beyond the “ivory tower.” His dedication to young people has run the gamut—from tutoring high school math students in his basement, to acting as president at Ryerson, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Sheridan College, and as vice-president of Institutional Affairs at York University. He has been outspoken about the importance of developing broader goals for our education systems, and about engaging many communities in a public dialogue about education.
This year’s nominating committee included Zanana Akande, Avie Bennett, Harold Brathwaite, Charles S. Coffey, David Crombie, the Honourable Ken Dryden, Margot Forsyth, Roberta Jamieson, the Right Honourable Paul Martin, the Honourable Margaret McCain, Charles Pascal, and Arlene Perly-Rae.
Many thanks to this year’s sponsors: Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation, OSSTF, TD Bank Financial Group, Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc., OECTA, OPC, Power Corporation of Canada, Charles S. Coffey, First National Financial Corporation, CUPE Ontario, and CUPE 4400.
The 2013 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipient
On October 28, 2013, we celebrated the work of The Honourable Ken Dryden, the ideal recipient of the 7th Annual Egerton Ryerson Award. Over the last decade he has demonstrated how deeply he cares about Canada’s young people, public education and citizen engagement. He has been an outspoken champion of early childhood education; he has written extensively about education, kids and sports, and he inaugurated the Ken Dryden Scholarships for Youth in Care.
This year’s nominating committee included Zanana Akande, Avie Bennett, Harold Brathwaite, Charles S. Coffey, David Crombie, Margot Forsyth, Roberta Jamieson, the Right Honourable Paul Martin, the Honourable Margaret McCain, Charles Pascal, and Arlene Perly-Rae.
Ken’s work was celebrated at an evening hosted by Albert Schultz of the Soulpepper Theatre Company, with presentations by Alan Convery, the Senior Community Relations Manager at TD Bank Group; Zanana Akande, former Ontario cabinet minister; Terry Chaffe, former principal at Thomas L. Kennedy Secondary School in Mississauga; Martha Friendly, Executive Director of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit at Childcare Canada; Kirk Qayoom, a recipient of the Ken Dryden Scholarship; and Rick Salutin, novelist, playwright, critic and Toronto Star columnist.
Many thanks to this year’s sponsors: TD Bank, Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc., The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, OSSTF, CUPE 4400, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, OECTA, OPC, Power Corporation of Canada, and Charles S. Coffey.
The 2012 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipient
On November 26, 2012, People for Education celebrated the work of Charles S. Coffey. The work he has continued to do since retiring from the Royal Bank—on behalf of Aboriginal children and youth, early childhood programs, and mentorships for girls and women, as well as his strong voice on diversity—made Mr. Coffey the ideal recipient of the 6th Annual Egerton Ryerson Award. He is an extraordinary advocate for young people and a lifelong believer in public education. He truly understands the impact that strong, accessible, adequately resourced schools can have on young people and their communities.
This year’s nominating committee included Zanana Akande, Avie Bennett, Harold Brathwaite, David Crombie, Margot Forsyth, Roberta Jamieson, the Right Honourable Paul Martin, the Honourable Margaret McCain, Charles Pascal, and Arlene Perly-Rae.
His work was celebrated at an evening hosted by Suhana Meharchand of CBC News, with presentations from Gordon Nixon, the President and CEO of RBC; The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain; David Northcott, Executive Director of Winnipeg Harvest food bank; and Craig Kielburger, of Free the Children and Me to We. Musical tributes were performed by the Métis Fiddler Quartet and Belinda Brady.
Many thanks to this year’s sponsors: ETFO, Maple Leaf Foods, OPC, OSSTF, TD Bank Financial Group, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, and Charles S. Coffey.
The 2011 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipients
On November 28th, People for Education celebrated the work of two great advocates for education, Ms. Roberta Jamieson and The Right Honourable Paul Martin.
Roberta Jamieson is the president and CEO of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, which is dedicated to realizing the potential of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit youth through scholarship assistance and other support.
The Right Honourable Paul Martin leads the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative , which is focused on reducing the Aboriginal youth dropout rate and increasing the number of Aboriginal students attending post-secondary institutions.
This year’s nominating committee included: Zanana Akande, Avie Bennett, Harold Brathwaite, Charles Coffey, David Crombie, Margot Forsyth, The Honourable Margaret McCain, Charles Pascal, and Arlene Perly-Rae.
Their work was celebrated at an evening that included presentations from Shawn Atleo – Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Phil Fontaine – former chief, Senator Gerry St. Germain, the Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, Colton Quinn Clause – a Brock student who received support through the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative, and the Honourable Laurel Broten – Minister of Education.
The 2010 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipient
The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain was 2010’s recipient of the Egerton Ryerson Award for Dedication to Public Education!
Mrs. McCain is a champion for children – from the very young to school age and beyond. Her interest in equity for children, in ensuring that all children have the best start possible, and in keeping children and young people’s issues in the public eye, makes her the perfect fourth recipient of the Egerton Ryerson Award.
A reception to honour Ms. McCain was held on November 23rd, 6pm – 8pm, at the National Headquarters of the Royal Bank of Canada.
The nominating committee – Zanana Akande, Avie Bennett, Harold Brathwaite, Charels Coffey, Martin Connell, David Crombie, Margot Forsyth, Charles Pascal and Arlene Perly-Rae.
The 2009 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipient
2009’s honouree was The Honourable William G. Davis, P.C., C.C., Q.C. for his dedication to public education. During his tenure as Education Minister (1962-71), Mr. Davis oversaw profound changes to the public education system in Ontario. Through his multi-faceted career, William Davis has embodied the spirit of Ryerson. He has been a tireless and non-partisan spokesperson for public education, both during his political tenure and since then – advocating for strong publicly-funded schools with the capacity to provide all students with a broadly-based education.
Thank you to Home Trust, the official naming sponsor for the 2009 Egerton Ryerson Award!
The 2008 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipient
In 2008, our honouree was Dr. Charles Pascal. We were very proud to honour his life-long commitment to education, to children and to equity.
He has run Ontario colleges; acted as Deputy Minister in different ministries in three different governments; and been the chair of the provinces Education Quality and Accountability Office. He is the Premier’s Advisor on Early Learning, and the CEO of the Atkinson Foundation.
A ceremony took place on February 10th at Massy College hosted by Steve Paikin from TVO.
Dr. Pascal was honoured by:
- Zanana Akande, former MPP and school principal
- Harold Brathwaite, CEO, Retired Teachers of Ontario, former director , Peel DSB
- Carol Goar, columnist, Atkinson Board Member
- The Right Honourable Margaret McCain
- Juno-nominee, Blaise Pascal
- Children’s advocate and performer, Raffi
- Former Minister of Finance, Greg Sorbara
- Minister of Education, Kathleen Wynne
The 2007 Egerton Ryerson Award Recipient
Harold Brathwaite was the first recipient of the Annual Egerton Ryerson Award for Dedication to Public Education.
The award honoured Harold’s commitment to public education and his dedication to the ideal that all students should have access to the education they need. Over the years he has been an outstanding spokesperson for public education, he has developed many fine programs for students at risk and participated in the development of public education policy at all levels. He has fought tirelessly for equity in the public education system and for funding sufficient to provide the rich, broadly-based education that every Ontario student deserves.