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New student award honours departing principal

A new student award at the University of Toronto Scarborough was announced yesterday to honour Professor Kwong-loi Shun, who is stepping down as principal at the end of August.

The new award will benefit an undergraduate student pursuing coursework related to Asian studies, Buddhist studies and/or Chinese philosophy. The recipient will be a student who demonstrates a participation in campus life and the fostering of cross-cultural connections – two things described as central to Professor Shun’s tenure.

Students, faculty, staff, friends and family members of Professor Shun gathered on campus for a reception to pay tribute to the departing principal. Compassion, fairness, concern for others, and a strong commitment to enhancing the student experience, were among the words used by various speakers to describe Professor Shun, who is leaving to take up a new position as Chair and Professor of Philosophy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong – a professorship traditionally held by leading Confucian scholars.

“Professor Shun clearly cares about students,” said former student union leader Adam Watson, who described his many meetings with the principal as indicative of a deep level of caring and commitment to students.

University of Toronto Provost Vivek Goel announced the student award, towards which people can pledge a donation. To make a donation, please download and fill in the Gift Commitment Form provided.

University of Toronto Chancellor David Peterson and President David Naylor, along with many well wishers at Scarborough campus, lauded Professor Shun for his contributions.

During his time at Scarborough, Professor Shun oversaw a $150-million dollar expansion on the campus and made the student experience a central concern in his planning, said the provost. He was also instrumental in the university’s successful efforts to secure a $4-million gift from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, a Hong Kong-based non-profit Buddhist organization focused on inspiring public interest in Buddhism. The gift, the largest in the history of the University of Toronto Scarborough, will raise the profile of Buddhist studies in Canada by establishing an endowed visiting professorship and creating a series of ongoing conferences and public lectures.

Goel added that under Kwong-loi’s leadership, the campus developed new international collaborations, including the recruitment of high school students from China – the first cohort of which arrived at U of T last year for the innovative Green Path program.

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