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2015 Arbor Awards recognize our volunteers for remarkable service

Pictured left to right: Anne Venton, Michael Salvatori, Rumeet Billan, Cindy Sinclair, Robert Muncaster, Jason De Luca with Dean Glen Jones

Pictured left to right: Anne Venton, Michael Salvatori, Rumeet Billan, Cindy Sinclair, Robert Muncaster, Jason De Luca with Dean Glen Jones

"It is inspiring to be surrounded by those whose passion about education drives such a remarkable impact, locally and globally," says 2015 Arbor Award recipient Rumeet Billan.

The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education is fortunate to have an incredible network of alumni and friends who selflessly devote their time and energy to volunteering in our community. Since 1989, the University of Toronto Arbor Awards has recognized the extraordinary leadership of our volunteers. Billan was honoured in year’s awards with other remarkable contributors to OISE's future. 

"It is an absolute honour to be receiving this award alongside many of those I respect and admire,” says Billan. “It is a privilege to give back to a university that has given so much to me as a student. I look forward to continuing to contribute and hopefully make an impact."

Billan is an award winning and internationally recognized leader and social entrepreneur who continues to focus her efforts on enabling opportunities in education. She helped establish the OISE Young Alumni Council and has been a speaker for many student engagement initiatives, in addition to being President of Jobs in Education and Partner at Viewpoint Leadership.

"My experiences at the university have shaped who I am, how I view the world, and played a huge role in my belief in possibility."

We offer gratitude to the following eight outstanding citizens on this year's award recipient list who have generously contributed towards our best future.

OISE's 2015 Arbor Award winners

Rumeet Billan

Rumeet is a double nominee, championed by the University of Toronto Mississauga and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. She is an internationally recognized social entrepreneur – her company, Jobs in Education matches teachers with jobs in schools and universities. At OISE, she helped establish the Young Alumni Council. At UTM she is a frequent and popular keynote speaker and informal mentor, affecting hundreds of students through her kindness and generosity.

Jason De Luca

Jason is a powerful advocate on behalf of some of the youngest members of the U of T community. He is a parent at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School, and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at the Ontario Institute for the Study of Education. Jason has helped strengthen community partnerships at the ICS, and pushed to enhance equity, diversity and accessibility.

Michael Salvatori

Michael is an inspiring education leader, mentor and volunteer ambassador who is committed to giving back to the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. As CEO and Registrar of the Ontario College of Teachers, he is a key ally in the education community, but he also gives back personally. Michael has been involved in many career network evenings, workshops and Backpack-to-Briefcase series, and his dedication as a mentor has helped many students advance their careers.

Robert Muncaster

Robert and his family founded the Diana Rankin/Muncaster Family Tuition Support Fund at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, in memory of Robert’s late wife, Diana. The fund offers financial aid to families at the Laboratory School, in order to increase economic diversity in the student body. Robert has been integral to the success of the fund, which has grown every year.

Anne Venton

Anne has been a hard-working volunteer with the alumni association of the Ontario Institute for the Study of Education for seven years. She has served on the association executive, she’s represented the association on the University’s College of Electors, and in 2012, she was co-chair of a highly successful Spring Reunion. Anne’s relationship with OISE actually goes back to the 1970s, when she was a parent volunteer at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute for Child Study.

Cindy Sinclair

Cindy has been part of U of T’s administrative staff since 1973. She has completed two degrees and is currently pursuing a PhD, and somehow she has still found time to volunteer. For the past two years, Cindy has chaired the Spring Reunion Committee at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Her tireless efforts and superb planning skills helped produce two successful events. In her spare time, Cindy is an active participant in several University community-building volunteer activities.

Sandy Houston and Kirsten Hanson

Sandy and Kirsten are steadfast supporters of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study. As members of the Capital Campaign Advisory Board, they selflessly gave their time, expertise and resources to help raise $12 million for the expansion of the institute. They also served as Co-Chairs of the Jackman ICS Parents Building Committee, which served as a voice for the families of the Laboratory School throughout the Capital Campaign. The music room in the new wing of Jackman ICS will bear their name and serve as a lasting testament of their cherished relationship with the institute.