“It was terrific because you could stand in the Meeting Place at noon hour and see just about everybody. If you were looking for someone, you could stand there, and sure enough, they would come walking by.”
BComm, 1977 in Economics and Commerce, Len also earned his MBA at U of T. He owns and runs Coerente Capital Management, an investment management firm, and recently recruited a new employee from U of T. While at UTSC, he played intramural hockey. He spent a decade working in Montreal before returning to the Toronto area.
“One of the book storage spots was a barn in the valley where there used to be horseback riding. My first job at the library after I was hired was to move books out of the barn because of Highland Creek flooding that fall. We had to inspect the books to see if they were salvageable, pack them and move them to another storage space.”
BA, 1979 in Drama and French. Linda worked in the UTSC communications and public affairs department for a decade before striking out on her own as a freelance editor, a career she continues today. After graduation, she served on the campus’s cultural affairs committee and helped to form Althea Productions, an alumni drama group that performed for more than a decade.
“We had the best of both worlds: a small population as part of a bigger institution. We had all of the resources of the U of T network at our disposal, but we had the enormous advantage of smaller classes and access to professors and research facilities.”
BSc, 1981 in Psychology. Victoria also graduated from U of T Law School and is currently a partner with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. She is part of a U of T family: her husband is a Victoria College graduate, her daughter attends U of T Mississauga, and her son starts Trinity College this fall. Victoria’s niece has followed in her footsteps, starting classes at UTSC.
“I enjoyed the closeness of everything. I could even go to the library in between classes and maximize my time. The professors were also accessible. Everything was at your fingertips.”
BA, 1983 in Commerce. Kam emigrated from Hong Kong with her family after finishing high school and the equivalent of Grade 13. She attended classes full time and worked part time, because she and her husband, Bob (see next profile), helped put each other through university. Kam originally planned to be an accountant, but the recession interfered. Today she is a district vice-president for TD Canada Trust.
“I told one of my professors I wanted to fast track my prerequisites. He told me that I couldn’t, and he did me a service. University is not a vocational college. It should prepare you for broader knowledge you’ll need to acquire during the years. A lot of people lose sight of that, but you need to take other disciplines and topics to get well-rounded knowledge.”
BA, 1986 in Commerce. He is a partner in BDO, the fifth largest accounting firm in Canada, and oversees their business in China. Bob is a Hong Kong native who came to Canada at 18 to marry his high school sweetheart, Kam (see previous profile), whose family had immigrated to Canada. Initially, he attended UTSC part time and worked full time at a bank to help put his wife through university. A scholarship allowed him to finish his last year of university full time.
“It was esthetically beautiful and a wonderful environment to learn in. It had great professors, and I really enjoyed my English classes. I guess that’s how I turned into a writer.”
BA, 1988 in Arts. Nancy began her career as a sports reporter for TSN’s Sports Desk. She moved on to work as a sports reporter at CNN in Atlanta for a decade before moving to New York to serve as an anchor and reporter for YES, the network of the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets. Her work has her brushing shoulders with superstar athletes such as Wayne Gretzky, Derek Jeter and Steve Nash.
Heather Lynn Benson
“I thought it might be awkward coming back as a mature student, but I found I was accepted by fellow students just like anyone else. I got involved with the kids in the choir, did a musical and had a great time. They didn’t treat me as someone old enough to be their mother.”
BSc, 1998 in Cognitive Science and Psychology. Heather started UTSC in 1968, but found she really wasn’t ready for the challenges of university, so she went to work in the insurance industry instead. In 1993, she returned to UTSC and finished her degree. She enjoyed mentoring the younger students in her classes, sang in the choir and took part in a musical. Heather also worked as a research assistant. As a result of her experiences as a mature student, she established the Heather Lynn Benson Scholarship in Psychology and Biological Sciences for returning students. She has also recently created the Heather Lynn Benson Athletics and Recreation Fund.
“UTSC is a place where you have lots of opportunities to showcase yourself. It’s big enough to be recognized as a prominent university, but small enough that you can make a difference.”
BComm, 2001 in Management and Economics. Andrew is currently assistant vice-president, commercial mortgages, for First National Financial and sales is his focus. While at UTSC, he played on its championship soccer team, ran a club for business students and served as a teaching assistant for an introductory economics course.
“The politics courses prepared me for what I saw in Africa: the gap between the very rich and the very poor, the different ethnicities and the roots of a civil war. I was actually applying what I learned there on the ground.”
BA, 2004 in Political Science with a minor in History. Paul is a lieutenant-colonel with the Canadian Forces and works as deputy chief of staff at the Canadian Forces College. He began his degree in 1985, but interrupted it for his army career and finished in 2004. In the interim, he spent a stretch as a U.N. observer in Eritrea. The electives he took at UTSC included business, which set him on a path to the MBA he later earned.