Community Awards

Old Boys of Distinction Awards

Old Boy of Distinction

Established in 2017, the Old Boy of Distinction Award is among UCC’s highest honours. Presented annually by the UCC Association Council on behalf of the College’s close to 10,000 alumni, the recipient has demonstrated a lifetime of significant achievement in his field(s) of endeavour; and has made a positive impact on the local, national or global community while upholding the principles and values of the College.

Young Old Boy of Distinction

The Young Old Boy of Distinction Award is presented annually by the UCC Association Council on behalf of alumni for whom it has been less than 20 years since their graduation from the College.

The recipient must have demonstrated a significant contribution in his field of endeavour and made a noteworthy contribution to community service while upholding the principles and values of the College.

For further information contact:

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

Award Criteria

  • Any member of the UCC community may nominate someone for an Old Boy of Distinction or Young Old Boy of Distinction Award. All nominations are treated as confidential by UCC

Old Boys of Distinction Award Winners 2019-20:

List of 2 items.

  • James Arthur '62

    Old Boy of Distinction Award
    Considered one of the top mathematicians in Canada and the only Canadian to serve as head of the American Mathematical Society, James is the Ted Mossman Chair in Mathematics at the University of Toronto, and has been a professor at U of T since 1978. 

    As one of the world’s leading academics in the field of mathematics, James is a highly sought-after lecturer internationally. His work is centred on the trace formula, and he has made fundamental contributions to the theory of automorphic forms.

    James has demonstrated a lifetime of significant achievement and leadership in his field. A dedicated mentor to young faculty and graduate students, he has brought Canada to greater prominence on the world mathematical stage. His commitment to learning and excellence inspires future generations of academics working in the field of mathematics. 

    In 2015, James was awarded the Wolf Prize in Mathematics from the Wolf Foundation. This prize is considered by many to be the precursor to the Nobel Prize, and marks only the second time it has been won by a Canadian. 

    James was Head Boy at the College in 1962, and went on to study at the University of Toronto and Yale University. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1981, a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1992, and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. In 2012, he became a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. James was appointed Companion of the Order of Canada in 2018, and elected a Fellow of the Canadian Mathematical Society in 2019. 
    Read Bio
  • Allen Champagne '11

    Young Old Boy of Distinction
    This year’s recipient of the Young Old Boy of Distinction award is making a remarkable impact on reducing the effects of concussion in athletes participating in contact sports, as well as upholding the principles and values of the College in his dedication to community service and mentorship. 

    During his time at UCC, Allen was the recipient of many scholarships and awards for his achievements and excellent performance in academics and athletics, including the Lorne McKenzie Medal and the General Proficiency Award. He played varsity football and rugby, and was head of Seaton’s House in 2011. 

    After completing his undergraduate degree as a double major in biology and sport science at the University of North Carolina as a prestigious Morehead-Cain scholar, Allen enrolled at Queen’s University in the MSc. program and continued his football career with the Gaels. Following injuries that re-routed his path away from the Canadian Football League, Allen refocused his efforts towards entering the joint MD/PhD program so that he could leverage his football expertise in order to study the effects of sport-related head impacts on the brain, as well as concussions. 

    Allen has recently completed his PhD in neuroscience at Queen’s and is working on his medical degree. He is the lead developer of the NeuroProtection Project, an Ontario and Québec-based initiative which aims to make contact sports safer. Beyond his research and academics, Allen is active at UCC as a Lang Scholar mentor, a defensive-line assistant coach for the Queen's University football team, and co-founder of the Concussion Education, Safety and Awareness Program (CESAP), a student-led volunteer program raising awareness about sport-related head injuries throughout the country.  
    Read Bio

Past recipients include:

List of 4 items.

  • Bill Wilder ’40

    Old Boy of Distinction (2019)
    There’s good reason UCC’s arena and Prep library are named for William P. Wilder ’40, this year’s Old Boy of Distinction Award recipient. The list of Wilder’s accomplishments is long and varied and only hints at the true extent of his legacy. “I can think of no Old Boy alive today who has the combination of breadth, depth and tenure of service to society and UCC as Bill,” says former UCC Vice-Principal, Advancement Innes van Nostrand ’82 in his nomination. “The presence of the Wilder name on so many institutions, especially in Toronto, is testimony to an impact that is among the greatest by anyone in the last few decades.”
    Wilder left McGill in his second year to join the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve and served as on officer on a Royal Navy destroyer in the English Channel in 1942. After the war, he completed his degree, earned his master’s at Harvard Business School, and became a leader in the business community, eventually as president of Wood Gundy. Over the years, Wilder became increasingly active in public policy, serving as an adviser to numerous companies, government and not-for-profit institutions.
    Meanwhile, his philanthropic streak is legend. Wilder ran the E.W. Bickle Foundation (named for his father-in-law) for decades and is a significant donor to many arts, church, military, industry and education causes, as well as an adviser, fundraiser and board member for many esteemed organizations. Wilder is a recipient of the 2017 Order of Canada and this year was awarded the Legion of Honour, France’s highest honour for military merit.
    “When one looks at the purpose of any great national school, it must be focused on the development of people who will lead society and the nation,” van Nostrand says. “At the core, it requires a combination of competency—the skills and abilities to be highly successful—as well as the development of the kind of character infused by a sense of civic duty, selflessness and generosity. Without question, UCC would not be the place it is today without the role Bill Wilder has played as an Old Boy champion over the last 70 years.”
    Read Bio
  • Jason Rabinovitch ’04

    Young Old Boy of Distinction (2019)
    As this year’s Young Old Boy of Distinction, Rabinovitch will be recognized not only for the significant contributions he has made in the field of space science since graduating from UCC, but also for upholding the principles and values of the College in his dedication to community service and mentorship.
    Rabinovitch earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Yale, then completed two master’s degrees, as well as a PhD in aeronautics. He’s currently a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he has worked on everything from the Mars Helicopter to supersonic parachute deployments for space missions. He regularly shares his passion for science by giving talks in schools (including at UCC), mentoring students and co-leading the Caltech Space Challenge, an opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students to design a space exploration mission.
    Stephen Robinson ’04 met Rabinovitch at the Prep school, where the two discovered that they were born on the same day. They’ve been friends ever since. “As long as I can remember, Jason has been a leader in his many social groups; at school, on the rink, and in the sailboat,” Robinson says in his nomination. “At Caltech, and now at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Jason is often sent as a representative to all manner of events. In this role, Jason explores ideas with other scientists and engineers, educates the public and inspires the dreams of the future generations. Jason followed his own dreams to a career in space science and his sincere enthusiasm for the work is infectious.”
    Read Bio
  • The Honourable Michael Wilson ’55

    Old Boy of Distinction (2018)
    “Michael H. Wilson is a distinguished Old Boy who has contributed greatly to his school, community and country,” says Ed Bracht ’55, UCC class president and head of the peer group that nominated Wilson.

    “Michael certainly has exemplified the principles and values of the College throughout his life. His father, Harry Wilson ’22, former Chair of the UCC Board of Governors from 1962 to 1967, would have been very proud of him.”

    Wilson is chairman of Barclays Capital Canada, a former chairman of UBS Canada and a Companion of the Order of Canada. In the political realm he was, most recently, Canadian ambassador to the United States. He was minister for international trade, minister of industry, science and technology, and minister of finance before that.

    After retiring from Washington, he became chancellor at Trinity College and then the University of Toronto. Among many volunteer activities, he’s most closely associated with his outstanding work on the issue of mental illness, with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, as vice-chair of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and as chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

    Wilson has honorary degrees from the University of Toronto, York University, Trinity College at the University of Toronto and an honorary doctorate from the Royal Military College of Canada.
    Read Bio
  • Max Bruce ’05

    Young Old Boy of Distinction (2018)
    Max Bruce is an explosives technician with York Regional Police. After joining the force in 2010 as a frontline uniform officer, he worked his way up to the emergency response unit, where he’s responsible for high-risk search warrants, weapons calls, hostage rescue and terrorism response.

    Bruce was designated one of nine members of the explosives disposal unit last year and received the Lightning Bolt Award for saving a man’s life while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

    “What has impressed me about Max since his time at UCC is his willingness to follow his own path,” says university counselling director Katherine Ridout in her nomination.

    Bruce combines his career with service work with Ontario Special Olympians and the Southlake Regional Hospital in Newmarket, Ont. He frequently mentors young people who are interested in a police career and coaches football in and outside of the UCC community.

    “His gentleness and caring personality is equalled, if not surpassed, by his strengths — his physical strength, but more importantly his strength of character,” says Bruce’s godfather, Vahan Kololian ’73.
    Read Bio
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