Last week, the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education hosted a virtual Reception for Scholars, an annual event to celebrate the academic achievements of students and the donors who help them succeed.
Professor Ira Jacobs, dean of KPE, welcomed everyone to the online celebration, acknowledging that we are all still adapting to a life disrupted by a pandemic.
“That is why I think it is all the more important to find opportunities to recognize, in an event such as this one, the special achievements and the commitment of students, and the donors who help our students achieve great things,” he said.
The event honours students who excel not only in the classroom, but also through co-curricular activities on campus and volunteer work in their communities.
“These students are bright, engaged and talented leaders and we are proud to provide a framework for them to do all of this, and to call them our students,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs also expressed his appreciation, on behalf of the Faculty, for the support received from generous alumni and friends.
“Our donors make a profound impact on the lives of students, student athletes and the Faculty as a whole,” he said. “There are many worthy causes in need of support and U of T and our Faculty feels very privileged and appreciative of the generosity that donors extend to supporting the outstanding achievements of KPE students.”
Fourth year kinesiology student Edina Bijvoet shared a message on behalf of the undergraduate student award winners. A beneficiary of this year’s Mike Furlong Award, Bijvoet is planning to pursue a career in medicine after graduation.
“Although I really miss seeing everyone’s faces around campus and I wish we could have been at this ceremony in person today, I am so happy that we can still honour KPE students in a safe way,” she said. “We are so lucky to be part of a Faculty that is so warm and welcoming and I think that this event is another example of this.
“I have had the pleasure of receiving awards at this event over the past few years and I would like to extend my sincerest thank you to our donors for their committed support. My fellow students and I greatly appreciate your generosity.”
Following Bijvoet’s remarks, the names of all undergraduate award recipients for the year 2020 appeared on the screen, alongside their awards.
Joseph Manzone made remarks on behalf of the graduate student award recipients. A fourth year PhD student in the area of motor control, Manzone’s research explores the interactions between the decision-making and motor systems in the brain. He spoke about the ways in which awards enhance graduate school, making it a more positive, productive and enlightening experience.
“Personally speaking, the financial support has had the effect of alleviating the stress associated with managing money and given me the freedom to solely focus on my graduate studies,” said Manzone.
He shared one of his more memorable experiences has been studying abroad in a laboratory at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, for four months.
“While being successful in graduate school requires great individual determination, character and work ethic, it’s important to acknowledge the role that a supportive environment provides,” said Manzone.
"Throughout my academic life, I have been fortunate to receive unparalleled support from my professors, supervisors, laboratory groups, as well as my family and my partner. Receiving graduate awards throughout my PhD has been one more form of support that has enhanced my overall experience and the quality and impact of my work.”
Following the remarks, students and donors were assigned to smaller, virtual breakout rooms to mingle and chat online.