Alumni news

Jay Hope

Three alumni were inducted into the Scarborough Walk of Fame at a ceremony on May 12, 2011, at the Scarborough Town Centre

Dr. Harold Stein (MD 1953) Since he began practicing in Scarborough in 1958, Dr. Stein has treated thousands of patients for cataracts, eye injuries and vision problems. He was chief of ophthalmology at Scarborough General Hospital for 35 years and is a professor in U of T’s faculty of medicine.
A pioneer in the development of intraocular lenses for cataract surgery, Dr. Stein was also one of the first eye doctors in North America to practice laser vision surgery. He is a surgeon at the Bochner Eye Institute in Scarborough.

Dr. Vicki Bismilla (MEd 1991 OISE) When Dr. Bismilla was a little girl growing up in South Africa, Nelson Mandela used to visit her house and talk to her uncle, who was a member of the Natal Indian Congress, an organization committed to fighting discrimination against Indians in South Africa. After fleeing the country with her husband and arriving in Canada in 1970, Dr. Bismilla was determined to fight injustice wherever she would find it.
She became an educator, spending 18 years with the Scarborough Board of Education before becoming superintendent of education for the York Region District School Board, where she instituted programs focused on equity for women and minorities. 

Dr. Bismilla is vice president, academic, at Centennial College.

Jay C. Hope (BA 1979) wanted a job that combined community service with recreational activities, and so he became a police officer, serving the public, he says, while walking the beat and chasing criminals. Hope, who majored in psychology, served as deputy chief of the Ontario Provincial Police; deputy minister of emergency planning and management; and commissioner of Emergency Management Ontario and commissioner of community safety for the Province of Ontario. He is now deputy minister of correctional services for the Province of Ontario.
Hope grew up in Scarborough and attended Glen Ravine Public School and Midland High School. 

Nancy Newman (BA) grew up a sports fan, going with her father to hockey, football and baseball games. (They saw the very first Blue Jays game together in 1977.) After graduating from UTSC with a degree in general arts, she went to work for Scarborough Cable 10 in 1988, where she later became sports director. From there, she was hired at TSN and, eventually, CNN in New York, where she was an anchor and sports reporter for 10 years. She’s now an announcer at the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network. Says Newman, “I’m proud to work for the Yankees.”

After graduating with a neuroscience degree, Preet Banerjee (HBSC 2001) decided to pursue an advanced degree—from the Bridgestone Racing Academy. Both neuroscience and car racing were just preludes, however, to his current career as a financial writer and advisor. Banerjee writes a column for The Globe and Mail and a financial blog for the website of the specialty TV channel W Network, where he also has a financial advice show in development.

In high school, Matthew Cimone (HBA 2009) wanted to be an astronaut. When he realized that myopia would prevent him from taking the necessary first step of training as a pilot he set his sights back on Earth and went to university instead, majoring in international development.
During a year-long placement with Right To Play—a humanitarian organization focused on sports and play programs for disadvantaged children—Cimone went to Sierra Leone. There, he met and was impressed with Esther, a local community leader. Later returning to Canada he continued his education and also travelled across the country, speaking out to share his experiences. Along with Stephen Tracy (HBA 2008), Cimone has founded his own aid group—Esther’s Echo, which connects donors directly with small-scale community organizations.

A degree in economics naturally led Kim Garner (BA 1981) to a job in banking, where she made an important discovery—“Banking just didn’t suit me,” she says. After a brief stint in the fashion world, she landed a job at CBS Records and has been in the music industry ever since. Garner is now working for Universal Republic Records as senior vice president of marketing, digital, artist development and video production. She has collaborated with numerous musical artists, including Jack Johnson, 3 Doors Down, Godsmack and the late Amy Winehouse.
Garner says her economics degree has helped her as an executive in the music business. “University gives you discipline. It develops the habit of studying. It opens you up to thinking about the world in a bigger way than you would have otherwise.”

Robert D. Onley (HBA 2009) spent springtime in Paris this year, representing Canada as the Minister of Defense in the G8/G20 Youth Summit. He is currently studying law at the University of Windsor and has been elected president of the Student’s Law Society for 2012.
“My degree at UTSC set the stage for what I’m doing,” says Onley, who had studied political science and history at UTSC and is interested in a career in politics. His father, David Onley (BA 1975; LLD 2010), is Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Read Onley’s take on how social networking might impact the world of international diplomacy

Angie Lim (BBA 2009) feels “more alive in this last year than I can explain.” Lim left a job as a channel audience manager with Microsoft Corp. to become marketing manager of Del Mar Surf Camp in Costa Rica. She went to the surf camp in 2009 as part of a MuchMusic TV reality show. It was an experience, she says, that made her reassess her priorities and embrace the Costa Rican concept of pura vida, an intensely lived life.
At Del Mar, Lim is responsible for marketing, video production and social media—and she gets to surf. “It was one of the best decisions I made in my life,” says Lim, who majored in marketing and strategic management. Some of her most valuable experience, she notes, came from serving as vice president of communications of the Management & Economics Student Association at UTSC.

“Once more into the breach,” says Michael Prue (BA 1971) with a laugh, readying himself for the Ontario provincial election on October 6. Prue has been MPP for the Beaches–East York riding since winning a by-election in 2001. The NDP member hopes that in this upcoming election, his party will enjoy an upsurge in popularity similar to that in the spring federal election, which positioned it well ahead of the Liberals and made them the official opposition.
Prue has held elected office for 23 years. Before moving into provincial politics, he was councillor for East York, then its mayor. After East York was amalgamated into Toronto, he became a councillor for the City of Toronto before being elected as an MPP in 2001.
Prue was among the first graduates of UTSC, where he developed a taste for politics as vice-president of his class.

Emily Hunter (HBA 2011) had an eventful summer. The ecology activist and journalist was named one of Flaremagazine’s “14 Canadians under age 30 to watch.” She went to Borneo, where she participated in a program to save orangutans and the rain forest, then finished the course work she needed to graduate.
Hunter’s career was well underway while she was a student at UTSC. She wrote and produced documentaries about ecological damage and protest movements, as well as edited The Next Eco-Warriors, a collection of stories by young ecology activists. Her parents, Bobbi and Robert Hunter, were co-founders of Greenpeace.

Andre Vashist (HBSc 2010) With 18 aunts and uncles and more cousins than he can remember offhand, get-togethers in Vashist’s family are like big parties, and he has always enjoyed the sense of togetherness. He thinks those early experiences are what interested him in community organizing—on a larger level, in trying to spark a feeling of togetherness.
And so, Vashist established Butterfly Communities—an organization dedicated to working with people in underserved neighbourhoods—whose first project was organizing Scarborough’s Mornelle Community. While at UTSC, he was vice-president, campus life, for the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union. He also initiated a musicians’ collective called Organized Sound.