The University of the West Indies hosts 2nd Annual Benefit Gala in Toronto

Proceeds raised will contribute to the UWI Scholarship Fund and Haitian Initiative

 KINGSTON, Jamaica, Feb. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The University of the West Indies (UWI) is hosting its 2nd Annual Benefit Gala in Toronto honouring Donovan Bailey (Jamaica) and Michael Lee-Chin (Jamaica), among other notable individuals who have made significant contributions to UWI and the Caribbean and Canadian communities. Outstanding individuals to be honoured include: The Honourable Justice Dr. Irving Andre (Dominican), Keith L. Forde, Kamala-Jean Gopie (Jamaica), Dr. Karl Massiah (Barbados) and Dr. John Stewart. Two organizations are also being honoured: Ryerson University for its contribution to the advancement of Caribbean people through its joint programs with UWI, and GAP Adventures, owned by Trinidad born Bruce Poon Tip, for its numerous successes.

 Under the patronage of Dr. G. Raymond Chang, immediate past Chair of CI Financial, Chancellor of Ryerson University and himself, an honorary graduate of UWI, the gala promises to be an evening of celebration, embracing Canada’s rich diversity while raising funds for students in the Caribbean.  Proceeds from the Toronto gala will benefit students through the UWI Scholarship Fund and the UWI Haitian Initiative.

 ”This benefit gala is about supporting students, celebrating the good works of those within our community; and hopefully inspiring others by recognizing the valuable relationship between Canada and the Caribbean,” says Chang.  “This year’s honourees demonstrate our common thread of education, giving back; and service to community, which has added to the rich fabric of Canada.”

 The first man in history to achieve the rare triple title of World Champion, Olympic Champion and World Record Holder, Donovan Bailey is also the first Canadian to break the 10-second barrier in the 100m. Jamaican born, Mr. Bailey now runs Bailey Inc. focusing on real estate and media relations.  He also volunteers his time working with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada and ParticipAction.  Also Jamaican born, Michael Lee-Chin, Chairman, Portland Holdings Inc. is widely regarded as a visionary entrepreneur whose philosophy of “doing well and doing good” has resulted in phenomenal success and inspiring philanthropic initiatives.

“Our University’s proudest achievement is our graduates who are leading all sectors of Caribbean life and, in the case of those who have migrated, contributed amply to communities in North America, Europe and other places to which they have gone”, says Professor E. Nigel Harris, vice-chancellor, The University of the West Indies.  “This Gala will provide another generation of young people with the means to ensure their place in a rapidly changing global marketplace and to engender a robust future for the Caribbean.”

 The gala will take place on March 26, 2011 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, with interview and photo opportunities available for select honourees. Find additional gala details at, and for more timely updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  

About The University of the West Indies Benefit Gala, Toronto

 Building off the success of its inaugural Benefit Gala last year, and with such a strong Caribbean community in Canada, UWI is striving to develop a successful event that will continue to strengthen the relationship between Canada and the Caribbean for years to come.

 The 2010 Benefit Gala was sold out with 460 attendees.  Approximately $230,000 was raised, resulting in 17 scholarships being awarded to students in need.  Those honoured at the inaugural event included: Dr. the Honourable Harry Belafonte, The Honourable Mayann E. Francis, The Honourable Jean Augustine, Professor Dionne Brand, Mr. Austin Clarke, Ms. Maud Fuller, Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong, Dr. Robert Moore, Mr. David Rudder, Project Advancement Childhood Education (P.A.C.E), Royal Bank of Canada and Scotiabank.

 About The University of the West Indies Scholarship Fund and Haitian Initiative

 The UWI Regional Endowment Fund (UWIREF) scholarships and bursaries are offered to outstanding students in the Caribbean region who have difficulty financing their university education. The scholarships and bursaries are based on academic excellence and financial need.

The University of the West Indies has accepted numerous Haitian students to complete their degrees at the Mona Campus in Jamaica and St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago.

 About The University of the West Indies

 The University of the West Indies (UWI) was established in 1948 as a college of the University of London.  It achieved full university status in 1962 and today, is the only pan-Caribbean tertiary level institution offering a wide array of diverse and accredited programs to 40,000 students throughout the region, with campuses in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean.