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Four OISE students receive 2011 Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Awards

By Jennifer Sipos-Smith

April 6, 2011


Congratulations to four outstanding OISE students who received 2011 Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Awards: Julia D’Ippolito, Jagjeet Gill, Judith Miller, and Shelley Murphy. These students make rich contributions to student life at OISE, and are leaders in other communities too. The University community celebrated their efforts at a gala awards ceremony on March 30.

Cressy Award winners are honoured each spring for outstanding extracurricular contributions to their college, faculty or school, to the University as a whole, or to the world. Established in 1994 by the University of Toronto Alumni Association, the  awards are named after Gordon Cressy, former U of T vice-president of development and university relations who was known for his commitment to higher education and leadership in fundraising and community service.

Pictured from left to right are: OISE SUPO/Student Services Director Eleanor Gower, OISE Dean Julia O'Sullivan, B.Ed. candidate Judith Miller, Gordon Cressy, OISE Registrar Don MacMillan , B.Ed. candidate Julia D'Ippolito, and OISE instructor Jill Goodreau.

Julia D’Ippolito is a B.Ed. candidate specializing in teaching history and politics. Based in OISE’s Inner City cohort at Bloor Collegiate, her learning focuses on social justice and a commitment to working with historically marginalized communities. In everything she does, she considers how she can improve the lives and learning of others. As a teacher candidate at OISE, she displays qualities of leadership and a dedication to the service of others that inspires the community. Julia revealed that the nomination came as a surprise: “It is nice to be recognized for the time and commitment. I look forward to teaching and working with students, and my hope is that I can build strong relationships with my students and make a positive impact on their lives.”


Jagjeet Kaur Gill is a PhD candidate in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. She has been described by colleagues as a "selfless individual dedicated to service, taking up complex leadership roles that benefit her fellow students in important ways." Jagjeet took on positions that provided her with a deeper understanding of students’ needs, and her role as an educator.  She says: “Being an educator is about making a difference in people's lives and volunteering has allowed me to understand how sharing information with other students and informing them of opportunities that they may not be aware of, can affect them profoundly.”


Judith Miller is a B.Ed. candidate specializing in teaching mathematics and accounting. As President of the OISE Student Teachers’ Union, she exemplifies the best qualities of leadership in developing a team of dedicated volunteers to motivate and bring out the best in people. Her work on numerous committees to effect positive change for her fellow teacher candidates has an enormous impact on OISE life. Judith’s experience taught her the importance of collaboration, acceptance, and unity to make positive changes in education. She says: “Receiving a Gordon Cressy Award is such a blessing. I’ve always loved volunteering, both within school and the community and it’s an honour to have been noted for it." Her hope for the future is best expressed in the words of Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon to use to change the world.”

Shelley Murphy, a PhD candidate in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, has been described as "an extraordinary woman who quietly but passionately goes about making life better for students." Her volunteer work at OISE on equity, diversity, and accessibility issues has strengthened her belief in the importance of challenging others to inspire positive change. She brought these learned lessons into her role as a teacher educator, where she believes that achieving even the smallest change can bring about big results. For Shelley, this recognition inspires pride in her community: “It's a great honour to be recognized in the name of Gordon Cressy, whose volunteer efforts had a profound impact on his community and beyond. I'm proud to have contributed to the awareness of accessibility issues.” Shelley says she plans to continue teaching: “I loved being an elementary school teacher and I am strengthened and fuelled by my new role as a teacher educator.”