Viola Desmond Awards & Bursary Program
The annual Viola Desmond Awards and Bursary Program celebrates the outstanding achievements of Black women who in their roles as students, staff, faculty and alumni, demonstrate that they are positive role models and advocates of the Black/African-Canadian community.
The theme of the 15th Annual Viola Desmond Awards and Bursary Ceremony was legacy
This year’s Viola Desmond Awards and Bursary Ceremony was held on March 20, 2023.
This year marked the 15th anniversary of the Viola Desmond Awards Ceremony, an annual celebration of Black women, past and present, and their powerful contributions that made a difference. In commemoration of a milestone anniversary, the theme of the most recents Viola Desmond Awards Ceremony was legacy. The Awards recognized the self-determination, resistance, leadership, joy and legacies of Black women across generations.
2023 award and bursary recipients
TMU faculty award
Dr. Rai Reece
TMU staff award
TMU alumni award
Sidney & Mettelia Ferguson student award
High school student award
Honorary patron award
Dr. Pamela Appelt
Learn more about the 2023 award honourees and recipients
The OVPECI would like to thank and acknowledge the ongoing support from our donors, sponsors and organizing committee! Special acknowledgements are given to Juannittah Kamera, Jermaine Bagnall, Marsha Brown, Dr. Catherine Ellis, Shurla Charles-Forbes, Selwyn Richards, Joan Pierre, Nikki Waheed and Nicole Waldron for their sustained and tremendous support of the Awards.
The OVPECI is pleased to recognize the generosity of donors who have made a gift between March 2022 to March 2023:
- Ms. Barbara Chambers
- Dr. Alicia Hussain-Issari
- Dr. Anna Triandafyllidou
- Dr. Beverly-Jean Daniel
- Dr. Karline Wilson-Mitchell
- Dr. Kathleen Kellett
- Dr. Marni Binder
- Dr. Michael Dewson & Ms. Ann Atkey
- Dr. Nadya Burton
- Dr. Pamela Appelt
- Dr. Wendy Freeman
- Ms. Eunice Graham
- Ms. Linda McLaren
- Mr. Michael Tynes
- Mr. Colin Cyrus-Gibbons & Ms. Jenny Gumbs
- Mr. Darrell Bowden
- Mr. Ross Mutton
- Mrs. Adrianne Kenmir
- Ms. Andrea Ridgley
- Ms. Betty Ann Thibodeau
- Ms. Dianne Norman
- Ms. Erika Williams
- Ms. Jastej Gill
- Ms. Kathy Peter
- Ms. Leanne Sachs
- Ms. Leonie Thelwell
- Ms. Marsha Brown
- Ms. Rachel Barreca
- Ms. Rudo Mataure
- Ms. Tiyahna Ridley-Padmore
- Ndija Anderson
- Ms. Paulette Kelly
- Ms. Sandra Ferguson
- The Hon. Jean Augustine
- Mrs. Tonya Wray
- Ms. Marcelle Mullings
- Mr. Trevor Massey
- Mr. Earl Smith
- Ms. Dauna Jones-Simmonds
- Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
About the sponsors of the Sidney and Mettelia Ferguson student award
Sidney and Mettelia Ferguson came to Canada from Jamaica in 1969, accompanied by their three children. At the time of their passing (2016 and 2020), Sidney and Mettelia had dedicated over 40 years to strengthening psychiatric and mental health support in Toronto. They owned six special care homes and helped hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals across cultural, socio-economic and racial backgrounds by preventing, identifying and removing barriers faced by individuals navigating mental illness. They were pioneers in de-institutionalizing patients with mental illness and supporting their reintegration into the wider community.
Sidney and Mettelia are examples of changemakers who had limited means, navigated racism and discrimination, but with faith and tenacity, strived to continuously service and enrich the community.
The 2023 Viola Desmond Awards and Bursary Program was organized by the Viola Desmond Awards and Bursary Committee. The Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion would like to acknowledge the enthusiasm, expertise and efforts that the committee put forth to help keep Viola’s legacy alive for generations of Black women everywhere through this program.
Committee chairs: Grace-Camille Munroe and Tiyahna Ridley-Padmore
Executive planning committee members: Grace-Camille Munroe (co-chair), Tiyahna Ridley-Padmore (co-chair), Marcelle Mullings, Marcia Glasgow, Justin Lloyd, Crystal Mark
Event planning subcommittee members: Marcia Glasgow (lead), Nicole Waldron (lead), Nikki Waheed, Justin Lloyd, Grace-Camille Munroe, Joan Pierre, Anita Oyekewere
Communication subcommittee members: Tiyahna Ridley-Padmore (lead), Eboni Morgan, Natasha Tucker, Surbhi Bir, Marcia Glasgow
Honouree and recipient subcommittee members: Grace-Camille Munroe (lead), Marcelle Mullings, Rahma Hilowle, Marsha Brown, Crystal Mark, Shurla Charles Forbes
If you have any questions, please email Cheryl Lewis (Executive Assistant, Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion) at email@example.com or 416-979-5379.
This event is hosted by the OVPECI
The Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion provides strategic leadership and support for the achievement of TMU’s vision to be a leader in equity, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the university’s mandate.