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Community Awards

John D. Stevenson Award

The UCC Association established the John D. Stevenson Award in 1993 to recognize individuals who have shown outstanding volunteer service to the College over a number of years. 
The award was named to recognize the exceptional contributions of John D. Stevenson ’47. Nominations are elicited annually from the College community. The College's Association Council reviews the nominations and selects a recipient to receive the award at the annual Founder’s Dinner in February.

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  • Learn more about John D. Stevenson

    Great volunteers demonstrate commitment, common sense and an innate understanding of an organization’s aims. Few have displayed these capacities more clearly than John Stevenson. As a student he was deeply involved in College life (1942-47). Among his achievements, he won a Proficiency Prize for academic merit and was assistant editor of College Times. He was also a prefect, platoon commander in the battalion and a member of the First Football Team.
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For further information contact:

Brendan Dellandrea '01
Vice-Principal, Advancement
416-488-1125, ext. 3109

Award Criteria

  • All UCC community members are eligible, with the exception of current faculty and staff. 
  • Council members will consider both the length and nature of the volunteer service, including the diversity of roles undertaken and consistency in provision of service to the College. 

John D. Stevenson Award Winner 2024

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  • Carita Sheehy

    Carita left a career in banking to raise her three active boys (Ryan ’15, Cameron ’17 and Matthew ’20) and serve as a dedicated and active UCC community and sports parent volunteer.

    Carita’s involvement at UCC began in 2004 and has continued throughout and beyond each of her sons’ enrollment at the College. She has held various leadership roles within the Prep Parents' Organization, including as treasurer and then as co-president before taking on the role of co-chair of the Blues Booster Club. 

    Carita remains an active member of UCC's Association Council as an Executive member serving in the role of Vice President of Parents, contributing to the Wellbeing Committee and chairing the Governance Committee. In addition to these leadership positions, she has been actively involved in all aspects of improving the UCC experience. From helping to guide new families to the school by spearheading the “New to Blue” parent handbook, to serving as TUBS Chair, participating as a class, grade, team and house rep, and serving on various and numerous special committees for numerous events at the College.

    Carita’s commitment was formally acknowledged with the Harold A.D. Roberts Award for volunteer service in 2018.

    Beyond her contributions at UCC, and in addition to her years of service as manager of countless hockey and soccer teams, Carita serves as the secretary and one of the founding Board members of The North Toronto Sports Foundation. She’s also a member of the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario Development Cabinet and an active member of the Toronto Finnish community, serving as a director and treasurer of the House of Finland Society and council member of the Finnish Agricola Lutheran Church.
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Past recipients include:

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  • Dr. Liza Murrell

    The John D. Stevenson Award is the Association Council's most prestigious distinction for exceptional volunteer service to Upper Canada College. This year's recipient is Dr. Liza Murrell. 
    Dr. Liza Murrell is a familiar face in UCC’s corridors. The clinical psychologist, mother of two UCC Old Boys, Sabastian ’16 and Nolan ’21, began volunteering for UCC in 2003, and although both of her sons have graduated, she remains a member of the Association Council’s Pluralism Task Force. “Liza has always been an outstanding ambassador for the school,” wrote her nominator.

    She contributed to UCC in myriad ways during her sons’ school years, from working as a Grandpal Day greeter to serving as past Chair of the Prep Parents’ Organization. No task was too small or challenge too great for Liza to take on. It should come as no surprise that she was the 2021 recipient of the Harold A.D. Roberts Circle Award for her UCC community volunteerism.

    Liza served as Association Day Committee Chair (2015 to 2016), and her committee work at UCC also included numerous roles on the Upper Schools’ Parents’ Organization including Volunteer Coordinator, Parent Network Coordinator and Communications.  In addition, Liza served on the Association Council (2011 to 2018), the Association Council Awards Committee (2013 to 2015), and the Blues Booster Club as a team parent for both Sabastian and Nolan’s basketball teams.

    Liza has also lent her talents to other volunteer causes, including the Art Gallery of Ontario Board of Trustees,  UNICEF, Hot Docs and the Art Museum at the University of Toronto.
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  • Richard Willoughby ’80

    The John D. Stevenson Award is the Association Council's most prestigious distinction for exceptional volunteer service to Upper Canada College. This year's recipient is Richard Willoughby ’80. 
    Richard Willoughby’s volunteer roles with UCC span decades. He and his wife, Margot Willougby, are strongly dedicated to the College, and they’re parents to Robert ’11 and Andrew ’15. Currently Richard is a member of the U.S. Foundation Board of Trustees in New York. Recently he retired as chair of the UCC Foundation Board of Trustees, a position he held for six years. He also served on the Board of Governors, as a Foundation trustee, and assisted with the rowing program, among other varied commitments to help make the school the very best it can be, now and in the future.

    “One of the qualities that attracts me to UCC is the modelling of constant learning, and the desire to improve and set its sights as high as can be. But it’s also about preparing young people to be well in all they do — not just educating the mind, but developing the head, heart and the humanity of each student. It’s about inspiring students to lead and serve a connected community at UCC and beyond.”
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  • Russell Higgins ’81

    The John D. Stevenson Award is the Association Council's most prestigious distinction for exceptional volunteer service to Upper Canada College. This year's recipient is Russell Higgins '81. Honouree Higgins was chair of UCC’s Board of Governors from 2016–2020.
    “Ever since he ran a booth at A-Day almost 20 years ago, he has touched every part of school life through his unparalleled volunteerism and uncommon good nature,” wrote nominator Rodger Wright ’70. “Everyone who has worked with him on many endeavours would attest to his wisdom and his patience.”

    The time he dedicates to UCC comes in addition to his busy position as a principal of MacPherson Builders Limited, a builder of subdivisions throughout southern Ontario.

    An integral contributor to the life and future vision of the College and parent to Simon '16, Higgins chaired the Norval Long Range Planning Committee, the Property Committee and the Principal’s Search Committee, which selected Sam McKinney as the school’s 19th principal. Prior to his appointment leading the Board of Governors, Higgins was a member of the Association Council and chair of the Council of 1829. 

    He has tirelessly lent his talents as chair of the A-Day Committee and a member of the UCC Foundation's Board of Directors. He has also participated in a number of subcommittees including Advancement, Old Boy Annual Giving and, most recently, Campus Master Planning. Additionally, he's a charter member of Our Third Century legacy giving society, and a generous supporter of the school’s financial assistance program. 

    Classmate Peter Dotsikas noted, "I have seen the great work Russ has done over the years for UCC. He has given so much of his time and energy. Most importantly, he’s maintained his unique sense of humour."
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  • Chris Cottier ’70

    Last year's recipient of the John D. Stevenson Award was Chris Cottier ’70, who for nearly 40 years has been UCC’s Vancouver branch president, a leader and trusted mentor in the College community, and a global ambassador for the school.

    Chris has been an exceptional relationship builder, going out of his way to get to know alumni living in or passing through Vancouver, and helping to connect graduates to the school and one another. In addition to hosting events, Chris is known to individually welcome new graduates to the region, and to take an interest in their personal and professional successes over the long term.

    Chris has mentored numerous alumni through the Common Ties Alumni Network. Through his own initiative, he has been an important contributor to the UCC Association's engagement mandate. Chris' legacy of volunteering extends to the broader community, and dates back to his time as a student at UCC, when in his final year he was the organizer behind a Rotary-sponsored service club called "Interact," a precursor to the College's current community service program. 

    His commitment to serving others is demonstrated in many areas of his life. Chris has volunteered at various international sports events, including the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics, the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games, IIHF Junior World Championships, as well as the FIFA Men’s U-20 and Women’s U-19 World Cups. Chris' service to the community has consistently exemplified the College's values, and his leadership has become the de facto gold standard of branch volunteer leadership at UCC.
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  • Andy Burgess ’83

    After almost two decades of exceptional volunteer service to the College, Andy Burgess ’83 earned the 2018-19 John D. Stevenson Award. Best known to all as chairman of UCC’s Board of Governors from 2010 to 2014, Burgess was a driving force behind the success of the College’s $100-million Think Ahead Campaign.

    “Andy has never really left UCC since graduating as Head Steward in 1983,” writes the group of peers who nominated him for the award. Whether fulfilling his duties as a 35-year class president and collector of his peers’ news for Old Times, or sporting his tattered, leather, blue football jacket to cheer on the Blues at varsity football games, Burgess is a tireless champion of the College.

    “He is a true UCC brand ambassador,” says Ian Martin ’83. Among his countless volunteer roles, Burgess was also a board member from 2005 to 2009, a member of the Principal’s Advisory Council from 2009 to 2013, a Foundation Trustee and Association Council member, and Common Ties mentor.
    In terms of his legacy at the College, his role in championing financial assistance as a campaign priority, is a key aspect of his involvement. “While there have been many influential activists and generous donors to various scholarship funds, it is my view that Andy has been the crucial force in promoting the need to open up accessibility to UCC life to boys who do not have the financial resources to attend otherwise.” says Jock Lowndes ’83.
    Burgess is the father of Charlie ’13 and Campbell ’18.
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  • Jill Adolphe

    Jill Adolphe has been a volunteer at UCC for more than a decade and was awarded the 2017-18 John D. Stevenson Award. Nominated by 20 peers within the UCC community, they unanimously agree, “We are all the beneficiaries of her hard work.”

    Adolphe is the 2018-19 co-president of UCC's Parents Organization and mother to twins Nicholas and Alexander ’17 and Christopher’20, Her dedication to the College has been an inspiration to so many for 11 years.

    “Volunteering at the College has been a privilege,” says Adolphe. “It has provided me the opportunity to: partner with fellow parents, many of whom I am fortunate to call my friends; collaborate with school administration and staff; and engage with students on initiatives focused on enhancing the overall student experience for the boys.”

    Among her achievements, she’s been both a form and year rep, team parent, served as committee member for the PPO, the PO, the Blue Ties Gala and Grandparents’ Day. She was Association Day committee co-chair twice and both vice-chair and chair of the Prep Parents Organization. She introduced and chaired the Blue Ties Breakfast and co-chaired the inaugural Year 7 graduation committee at the Prep and was a member of Association Council for six years.

    “She’s a true leader who always has a smile and is ready to take on any challenge brought her way,” say her peers in their nomination. “No volunteer job is too big or too challenging for her.”

    Adolphe received the award at Founder’s Dinner on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018.

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  • Louden Owen ’76

    Louden Owen ’76 was awarded the 2017 John D. Stevenson Award. Owen’s formal volunteer roles include: six years on the board of governors; co-chair of the Think Ahead campaign; and member of both the Association Council and the boarding task force. The prominent venture capitalist has been an active mentor to many Old Boys over the years and regularly meets with them during his travels.

    “UCC is a seal of approval for me,” says Owen. “Old Boys have the same sensibility, ambition, global perspective and get-it-done attitude.”

    “Loudon Owen is well-deserving of the John Stevenson Award,” says UCC parent and Old Boy Rich Elder ’78, who nominated Owen for the honour.

    “As an Old Boy and past parent, he has tirelessly given back to our school community, serving as co-chair of the most successful fundraising campaign in school history. With his charismatic energy and inexhaustible drive, Loudon continues to be involved with the College and the mentorship of Old Boys to the benefit of everyone.”

    Owen received the award at Founder’s Dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017.
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  • Piera Morra

    Piera Morra was the 2015–16 winner of the John D. Stevenson Award. 

    “Piera is the ultimate volunteer,” said Matt Johnson ’95, president of the UCC Association Council. She is always full of energy and spirit, demonstrating her wonderful character each time she takes on another role.” 
    Known for her humour, dedication and willingness to take on the smallest tasks if necessary, Morra was vice-chair of the Prep Parents’ Organization (2003) and its chair in 2004; Parents’ Organization vice-president and president (2009 and 2010) and Association Day committee chair (2009), a member of the Governance Review committee (2008-2010), and a UCC gala volunteer in 2004, 2007 and 2012.  She is the mother three sons, Marco ’08, Alexander ’11 and Nicholas ’13.

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  • David Walker ’51

    In an age of “robocalls” from various charitable causes, it takes a special person to get on the phone to 1,000 fellow UCC alumni and have a wide-ranging personal conversation about the school with every single one.

    It’s exactly this passion and belief in the power of grassroots support that earned Walker ’51 the John D. Stevenson Award for 2015 (coincidentally John Stevenson was Walker’s head of house in McHugh’s).

    David stepped up in November 2008 with an offer to personally telephone and solicit alumni for the annual fund, now called the UCC Fund. For more than a year he made 3,000 calls and connected with more than 1,000 Old Boys from all generations and raised more than $100,000.

    “For a retiree to step up, without being asked, and contact so many people with whom he has no personal connection is extraordinary,” said former principal Jim Power. “It’s a very special form of volunteer service.”

    David was previously inducted into UCC’s Harold A.D. Roberts Circle in 2009 for his volunteer service, which includes standing as class president since 1997. He was an annual giving committee member in 2008 and 2009, reunion giving chair in 2001 and is member of the Sir John Colborne Society for leadership donors.

    David’s first foray into fundraising for UCC was in 1999 when classmates created endowed scholarships in honour of former teachers Jim Coulton and Jay MacDonald that ended up being worth more than $100,000 each.

    David made annual giving calls in 2013 that raised approximately $15,000 for the Ted Stephenson Scholarship Fund, named for an Old Boy who taught at the College from 1964 to 1991.

    “David has vigorously represented our class of 1951 for many years,demonstrating his enthusiastic love and dedication for UCC,” said Alec Pathy. “He’s most deserving of our thanks and recognition.”
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  • Andy Pringle ’69

    Andy Pringle ’69 takes the word “volunteer” to a different level. Throughout more than 33 years of service to the College he has been involved in many of its critical decisions and helped shape the school that it is — everything from co-chairing the original Association Day with Mark Dalton ’70 in 1980 to leading the final committee to review boarding in 2008 with Rob Prichard ’67.

    Pringle is a founding partner and chairman of RP Investment Advisors, serves on the Toronto Police Services Board, is a member of the Independent Review Committee of Fidelity Canada and is chair of both the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research and the Shaw Festival.

    Pringle is a past president of UCC's Association Council and was UCC board chair from 2002 to 2007. In addition, he was chair of various long-range planning committees and sub-committees from 1991 to 2001. During that time he oversaw the International Baccalaureate’s introduction in 1997, the school’s restructuring to accommodate the removal of Grade 13 in the fall of 2002 and the successful recruitment and appointment of Dr. Jim Power as the College’s principal in 2003.
    Pringle was instrumental in the campaign which saw the successful completion of the William P. Wilder ’40 Arena & Sports Complex in 2008. He co-chaired the Think Ahead campaign spearheading efforts to set a new bar for financial assistance.

    The award was particularly meaningful to Pringle because he was president of the Association Council in 1987-88 at the same time John Stevenson chaired the board of governors. “He was very much a mentor,” says Pringle, “so it’s wonderful to be associated with someone who did so much for UCC for so many years.”
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  • Hugh Innes ’72

    Hugh Innes ’72 has been a dedicated volunteer since graduation and has served as class president. He was on the UCC Foundation board of trustees from 2000 to 2009 after becoming a member of the foundation’s investment committee in 1991. He chaired the investment committee and was responsible for a comprehensive review of the transfer formula. This review resulted in the development of the “Convergence Report” designed to demonstrate the impact of the correlation between investment returns, the transfer rate and tuition fee increases. This report served to increase awareness among the governing bodies of the College and the UCC Foundation of the important relationship between the school’s priorities and the growth of the foundation’s assets.
    Innes has served on many committees and task forces in support of the UCC Association and has been actively involved in reunion planning and annual giving as a class president. He organized the fundraising effort that allowed College Times and Old Times to be digitized and made accessible to the community electronically.
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  • Holly Miklas

    Holly Miklas, became a active in the UCC community when her sons  Adam ’11 and Matt ’12 joined the College. Four of the most important roles she played at UCC were: chairing the Ice Blue gala, fine wine auction and shopping night in 2004; co-chairing the arena fundraising campaign cabinet with her husband Paul in 2006; chairing the Prep Parents’ Organization in 2006 and 2007; and president of the Parents’ Organization for 2011 and 2012. She also served as a member of the UCC Association Council.
    “Holly is a natural people person,” says Leslie Alboini, mother of James Alboini ’09 and one of three people who nominated Miklas for the John D. Stevenson Award. “She is always positive and upbeat.

    “She leads effectively and has the respect of her committee members. Holly is inclusive and a true team player. She is an excellent mentor. No volunteer job is too big or too challenging for her. When asked to take on a volunteer role at the Prep or the Upper School, Holly has always said ‘yes’ because she wanted to.”

    “Holly has been one of the most important volunteer contributors to UCC since before my arrival at the school in 2004, and she’s most deserving of the John D. Stevenson Award,” said former principal Jim Power. “Holly is a pleasure to deal with and has worked selflessly in numerous capacities to make the College a welcoming and valued place for boys and their parents.

    “Her commitment and passion has made her a great ambassador in the UCC community, and I’m thankful for and appreciative of everything she’s done.”
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  • Martha Shaw

    Martha Shaw was recognized for her warmth, dedication and passion for the College.

    Shaw is a true leader who always has a smile and is ready to take on any challenge brought her way. The volunteer veteran is the mother of four Old Boys: David ’98, Christopher ’99, Stephen ’01 and Nicholas ’09. Among her myriad contributions to College life, Martha and husband David co-chaired the 2007 Blue Ties auction and gala which raised $1.5 million to fund the William P. Wilder ’40 Arena & Sports Complex.

    “Martha worked diligently and almost daily for the two-year period leading up to the gala,” says UCC parent and volunteer Lesley Alboini, who nominated Shaw for the award. “She led her large team with skill, tact and diplomacy to achieve such positive results. Her enthusiasm and commitment were always visible.”

    Shaw received the Harold A. D. Roberts Circle Award in 2009 for service. Her countless commitments also include numerous Parents’ Organization appointments, co-chairing Festive Marketplace, and Grandparents’ Day and Association Day positions.

    “Few have given so much to the College for so many years,” says Alboini.
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  • Roly Watt ’62

    Roland (Roly) Browning Watt ’62, Q.C., has a strong family tradition of volunteerism. He’s served as chair or vice-chair of the Don Mills Foundation for Seniors, the North York General Hospital Foundation and the Better Living Charitable Foundation. He’s a director of the Rosedale Day School and a trustee of the Pet Trust at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.
    Watt joined the board of the UCC Foundation in 1994 and was appointed chairman in 2001. He's served on many UCC committees and acted as a quiet adviser to many friends and faculty members at the school. Watt is a member of UCC’s Scadding Society, the Sir John Colborne Society and the Russell Square Society. He continues to serve as a trustee of the UCC foundations in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
    Watt established the Browning Watt Foundation Speaker’s Fund and later established the Browning Watt Foundation Scholarship to provide financial assistance for students who would otherwise be unable to attend UCC. Watt retired from the UCC Foundation’s board in 2008 but remains active in the College community.
    UCC is fortunate to have benefitted from Watt’s expertise and selfless commitment in so many capacities for so many years. Watt is a true friend to literally hundreds of members of the UCC family. The UCC Association was honoured to recognize Watt as the 2010 recipient of the John D. Stevenson Award.
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  • Vivien Cappe

    Vivien Cappe is the mother of eight children, three girls and five boys, including Jesse ’03 and Tyler ’09. Her connection to the College deepened each year. When Jesse first attended the Prep in 1993, Cappe jumped right in as a form representative. She volunteered in countless ways since then including as Association Day chair in 2008 and president of the 2007–08 Parents’ Organization. Her community involvement on behalf of the College includes clothing and food drives and a Mother’s Day campaign to assist women in shelters. From chairing registration and the silent auction at the 2007 Blue Ties Gala to volunteering for Grandparents’ Days and chairing bingo night at the Prep, Cappe’s involvement at the College is heartfelt, consistently energetic and exceeds all expectations.
    “Vivien’s involvement at UCC has been a life-altering experience for her and for her family,” says her husband Leslie. “Vivien has only one way of approaching any task, large or small — with heart, with feeling and with care for all her peers.”

    Cappe was presented with the John D. Stevenson Award at Founder’s Dinner on Feb. 11, 2009.
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  • Ted Mills ’81

    Ted Mills is the consummate “in the trenches” UCC volunteer who has quietly championed UCC since graduating in 1981.

    Mills’ primary volunteer involvement has related to the College’s Norval Outdoor School. He’s a longtime member of the Norval committee, a member of the outdoor environmental committee and chair of the outdoor education committee. He was also a member of UCC’s green school advisory council and the energy advisory committee, and a past chair of the College's annual Founder’s Dinner.
    Mills was presented with the John D. Stevenson Award at Founder’s Dinner on Jan. 30, 2008.
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  • Other Past Recipients

    2007 - Carmen Ford, Parent ’07
    2006 - Patricia Gouinlock, Parent ’05 and ’08
    2005 - David Caspari ’67
    2004 - Ian Marchbank Gray ’54
    2003 - Nancy Hamm, Parent ’99, ’02 and ’03
    2002 - Shirley Domelle, Parent ’02
    2001 - Campbell Parsons ’37
    2000 - Tom Scoon ’69
    1999 - Sue Schaal, Parent ’99 and ’00
    1998 - Lynda Dryden, Parent ’97
    1997 - Alan Ely ’65
    1996 - Janet Kennish, Parent ’84, ’90 and ’97
    1995 - Hazel Kawaja, Parent ’83, ’92, ’94 and ’95
    1994 - A.M. & John Jarvis ’40
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