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Alumni recognized for giving back to the U of T Scarborough community

Alumnus Ganesh Navaratnarajah supports the IMANI mentorship program in many ways including the Nava Cup, an annual golf tournament he founded, which raises funds for laptops for youth in the program.

Joane Mui loves helping people reach their full potential. Ganesh Navaratnarajah wants to open the world to kids in challenged neighbourhoods. John Kapageridis feels a responsibility to give back.

What unites them? All three do volunteer work for the University of Toronto Scarborough, and they are among seven people from the UTSC community who were recently honoured with the University of Toronto’s Arbor Awards for their generous contributions of time and service to the institution.

A graduate in management with an accounting specialty, Mui (BBA, 2006) served as president of the Management Alumni Association for three years, organizing events, mentoring students and offering faculty real-time advice on how the business world is changing.

“I do a lot of volunteer work, and I have a strong interest in developing people and helping them identify their strengths,” says Mui, senior audit manager with KPMG. “I want to help students network with the right people, and help them do more to develop their careers and move forward.”

Mui stepped down as MAA president in 2015, but she continues to speak to students. “It gives me a lot of satisfaction to help out and give back,” she says.

Navaratnarajah, a successful international technology consultant, recalls how, growing up in the hard streets of the Orton Park area in Scarborough, his life was changed as a teen when he got a computer. That led him to team up eight years ago with the Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough to offer laptops to kids in the neighbourhood who qualified with outstanding essays or artwork.

Supported by his annual Nava Cup golf tournament, the program expanded to other clubs in the GTA and, in 2013, to IMANI, UTSC’s academic mentorship program for middle and high school students in East Scarborough. Navaratnarajah also speaks to the IMANI students, describing his success and telling them, “I’m from the same place you are.”

This year the program will distribute 43 laptops. “That sense of pride a kid gets is irreplaceable, when they are rewarded for their hard work at a young age,” he says. “We want them to buy into this powerful story – ‘I can do anything when I set my mind to it’.”

Kapageridis (HBSc, 2010) was instrumental in helping secure passage in 2010 of the student levy that helped support the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre at UTSC while he was president of the Scarborough Campus Athletics Association (SCAA). Since graduating, he has served on the UTSC Alumni Association and the UTSC Athletics Alumni Chapter, and he has been a community member of the UTSC Campus Council since 2013. 

Now an executive with Cambridge Brain Sciences, Kapageridis says he did not have an easy ride through university, taking seven years to graduate. But eventually he pulled himself together. “Getting involved with athletics in volunteer and leadership roles really got me to see a completely different dimension to my university career,” he says. “So I felt this responsibility after graduation – ‘I have to give back, I have to volunteer’.” 

Kapageridis has remained close with George Fadel, his predecessor as SCAA president. Fadel (HBA, 2016) also received an Arbor Award for serving on several of the same organizations.

Graduates Satish Kanwar (BBA, 2008), Andrew Peek (BBA, 2006) and Keith Kwan (UTM BComm, 2000) rounded out the UTSC honorees. All three have given generously of their time for Department of Management events, mentorship and alumni work.  

“These are all people who wear UTSC on their sleeve, whether they are alumni or members of the community,” says UTSC Alumni & Development Officer Regan Tigno. “Some of our programs would not be the same without them. The university gets great value in how they give back their guidance, their wisdom and their support.”

 

 




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