December 2015

What's News?

Key board and Association appointments made


Charlie Sims

Three key appointments were made at the community meeting and Association annual general meeting on Oct. 14.

Charlie Sims ’80 was appointed to the board of governors. He's a member of the advancement committee of the board and served as a trustee on the UCC Foundation board from 2005 to 2014 and from 2014 to 2015 on its investment committee. He was also a member of the foundation's audit and finance committee from 2006 to 2014, serving as chair from 2010 to 2014.​Professionally, Sims most recently served as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Mackenzie Financial Corporation and co-president and CEO of IGM Financial.

Matt JohnsonMatt Johnson ’95 was appointed president of the Association. He has been a council member since 2010. He was a co-founder of the Young Alumni Network and served as chair from 2007 to 2009. ​Johnson also co-founded the Toronto Old Boy Night Out, which is now in its third year, served as chair of Association Day, supported the Blues Booster Club and has volunteered as a mentor with the Common Ties mentorship program.​

Zach Schwartz ’05 was elected a member of the Association Council, replacing Chan Sethi ’03, who stepped down from council but assumed the role of Old Boy chair of the UCC Fund. Schwartz has served on Association Council as an ex-officio member through his role as chair of the Young Alumni Network for the past two years. 

Campaign declares victory and celebrates with Luminous


A celebratory feeling in the air became official on Nov. 21 with a community-wide closing party at the Upper School, aptly named “Luminous” to mark the wrap-up of UCC’s unprecedented Think Ahead campaign. The final total is an astonishing $104.2 million, which was raised by more than 7,000 supporters.

Old Boys participated in force, with about 3,300 alumni making donations. Parent participation was at 2,500, and the remaining balance was comprised of gifts from faculty and staff members, friends of the College and grandparents.

With the Hewitt Athletic Centre made over as a sparkling nightclub, attendees dined, danced and were thanked in a campaign impact presentation by 13 students, teachers and Old Boys, headed up by Justis Danto-Clancy ’07. 

Says board chair Andy Burgess ’83: “The bulk of the campaign happened while I was chair, and it’s so satisfying to finish my tenure on this high note. There are many achievements to reflect on, and I know the community will continue to be strong and cohesive as we move into a new era of progress and generosity. The Think Ahead campaign has clearly shown that when we galvanize into action, wonderful things happen.”


Thank you to our Luminous sponsors:

Norman Hardie logo 


                                             CCR logo

“Ultimate volunteer” Piera Morra earns John D. Stevenson Award


It’s always said of exemplary leaders that they make people feel like they’re the only one in the room. All who’ve worked with Piera Morra would agree she has that talent, and so many more. Morra is the 2015–16 winner of the John D. Stevenson Award for outstanding long-term volunteer service.

“Piera is the ultimate volunteer,” says Matt Johnson ’95, president of the UCC Association Council, which bestows the award.

After two decades of volunteer service, Morra remains a member of the Association Council though her three sons (Marco ’08, Alexander ’11 and Nicholas ’13) have graduated.

“Piera is always full of energy and spirit, demonstrating her wonderful character each time she takes on another role,” says Johnson.

Known for her humour, dedication and willingness to take on the smallest tasks if necessary, Morra has been both the Prep Parents’ Organization vice-chair and chair (2003 and 2004). She’s also been the Parents’ Organization vice-president and president (2009 and 2010). She’s been the Association Day committee chair (2009), a member of the governance review committee (2008 to 2010), and served as a volunteer on the last three UCC galas in 2004, 2007 and 2012. These are only a few of the volunteer roles Morra has held in nearly 20 years of involvement with the College.

Along the way she’s earned respect from parents who value her kindness, consideration and magical ability to find time for everyone. “The real deal” is a popular phrase to describe her.

“Piera’s warmth, dedication and compassionate spirit makes her a great role model for any parent looking to involve themselves in volunteer activity as the school,” says principal Jim Power.

The UCC Association Council established the John D. Stevenson Award in 1993 to recognize individuals who’ve provided outstanding volunteer service to the College over a number of years. It recognizes the exceptional contributions of John D. Stevenson ’47. Nominations are elicited annually from all members of the College community. As always, the award will be presented at Founder’s Dinner on Feb. 10 at the College.

Old Boys are valuable partners in boarding admission


Exploring boarding schools can be challenging, as many families need to navigate the process from a distance without the benefit of face-to-face conversations — and sometimes in a second language. In these cases, we rely strongly on our community members around the world to help us connect and communicate with great families who would otherwise not investigate UCC as a boarding school.

Chris Hickman ’84 has hosted an annual “recruitment reception” at his residence in St. John’s, Nfld. since 2012, facilitating introductions between members of the UCC admission team and inquiring families. Hickman's contributions have been invaluable to the UCC admission team, as three current boarding students were recruited through him.

“This part of the country has traditionally been underrepresented at the College,” says Hickman. “Given my positive experience there and the opportunities that the school could offer others, I thought it fitting to educate other families about the school.”

There are many ways in which the UCC community and especially our Old Boys can help us build a strong and diverse boarding community. Please see the Admission section on the website for boarding admission details and contact to inquire about assisting with boarding recruitment.


Kaleem Hawa ’12 is UCC’s 25th Rhodes Scholar


Kaleem Hawa ’12 has received a Rhodes Scholarship, perhaps the most prestigious academic award in the world.

Each year, 89 are awarded internationally. Hawa was one of 11 Canadians, including two from Ontario. (Our archivist is working to confirm it, but with 25 Rhodes Scholars to date, UCC may lay claim to more than any other Canadian school since the program’s inception in 1903.)

In his final year at Trinity College at the University of Toronto, where he studies global health and international relations, Hawa is also a junior analyst at McKinsey & Company. He’ll head to Oxford University in England this fall.

K_Hawa“I’ll be studying new threats to security, including pandemic preparedness and climate change,” Hawa says.

To that end, he’ll undertake two one-year masters degrees: global governance and diplomacy; and integrated immunology.                                       

Though the task at hand is kind of enormous, Hawa is more optimistic than anxious. In a wide-ranging discussion, it’s clear why Hawa impressed the Rhodes judges at an “interview party” for the 13 Ontario finalists at the University Club in Toronto in November. He was a star debater, chair of the World Affairs Conference and much more while at UCC. He also graduated as a Loran Scholar. Hawa is past president of the Hart House Debates Committee, the University of Toronto Liberals and the university’s international relations society.

Looking back, Hawa credits UCC’s International Baccalaureate Programme for setting him up so well. UCC is celebrating 20 years of being an IB World School.

"The IB prepared me incredibly well for the rigours of university life and study,” he says. “The debate program in particular played a seminal role in growing my confidence and strengthening my knowledge base.”

Jon Pearce, Former Prep English head, passes away


Jon Pearce, a UCC teacher from 1975 to 1996, passed away on Nov. 18 at age 78.

He was the former head of the English department, a beloved form master, member of the Quarter Century Club, author, world-class sculler, one of Toronto’s premier squash players and a champion of Canadian literature.

         Jon Pearce

“Jon will be remembered as a legend,” said Chantal Kenny, executive director of admissions, in an email to colleagues. “While his achievements are truly distinguished, it is Jon's commanding presence and wise counsel that will be missed. As a teacher of English, Jon inspired and mentored hundreds of Prep boys, many of whom have become accomplished writers in different fields.”

For his colleagues, Pearce made time for all, Kenny recounted.

“Jon quietly took many of us 'newbie teachers' under his wing and taught us how to write concise meeting minutes and no-nonsense report card comments. When you least expected it, Jon would leave sweets on your desk and shared his passion for jazz artists great and small. Students of Form 4P learned how to care for their black polishable shoes and were proud of it. Mr. Pearce will be missed by all who knew him.”

UCC wins first "Battle of the Blues" against St. Mike's


If blue is your colour and football is your game, the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium should have been your destination on Oct. 23.

The UCC Blues squared off against the St. Michael’s College School Kerry Blues at the home of U of T’s Varsity Blues in the inaugural “Battle of the Blues” varsity football showdown, and UCC emerged with a 35-17 victory. Read more here.

Student collage beautifies construction zone


You can find art in the most unlikely places.

UCC’s very own version of “graffiti alley” was informally commissioned by none other than principal Jim Power. He approached art teacher David Holt with a request for a student volunteer to beautify the provisional back wall of the Bernick Family Foyer while its new atrium is under construction. Click here to see the result.