2009 Champions

2009 Honourees

Dr. Peter George, C.M., O.Ont.
President & Vice-Chancellor, McMaster University

Dr. Peter George was appointed President and Vice-Chancellor of McMaster University in 1995. An economist with strong interdisciplinary interests, Dr. George’s research has contributed to our understanding of the historical economic factors that have influenced the development of Canada, our northern aboriginal societies, and our local community. He is an experienced administrator and executive officer, who has held senior management and executive positions at McMaster and in the broader educational sector, and has served on many boards in the educational, voluntary and private sectors. Dr. George is a Member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, and has received many awards for innovative educational and community activities. He has earned a strong reputation for his forthright views on higher education and its contributions to economic and social renewal, and continues to write and speak on issues in the management and impact of higher education.
Susan LaRosa
Director of Education, York Catholic District School Board

Susan LaRosa is the Director of Education for the York Catholic District School Board. A graduate of Queen’s University, Susan holds both an M.B.A. and a M.Ed. in Administration. She served as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, responsible for teacher recruitment at the York Catholic D.S.B. from 1989 –1990. In 1990, Susan joined Lanark Leeds & Grenville R.C.S.S.B. as Superintendent of Education/Human Resources, and in 1997, she returned to the York Catholic D.S.B. as Director of Education. She serves on the York Region Character Council, is a key member of the York Regional Police Appreciation Committee and is a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Human Services Planning Board of York Region. She is founder of the Ontario Catholic School Boards Affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium, director on the Youth Bocce Canada Board, founding member of the Georgina Trades & Training Inc., member of the provincial discussion table regarding teacher bargaining and founding partner of York Catholic/Centro Scuola Canadian Academy in Italy Catholic/Centro Scuola Canadian Academy in Italy.
Jim Leech
President & CEO, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan

As head of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Jim Leech oversees the management of the pension fund and the administration of pensions for 284,000 plan members in Ontario. Mr. Leech joined Teachers’ in 2001 to lead Teachers’ Private Capital and was appointed President and CEO in 2007. Under his leadership, Teachers’ Private Capital became one of the world’s leading private equity investors.

Before joining Teachers’, Mr. Leech was President and CEO of Unicorp Canada Corp., one of Canada's first public merchant banks, and Union Energy Inc., then one of North America's largest integrated energy and pipeline companies. During the 1990s, Mr. Leech guided two start-up technology companies to the revenue generation stage. He graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada with a B.Sc. (Hon Math and Physics) and holds an MBA from Queen's University. He is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors and serves on the boards of Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation and Right To Play. He also chairs the advisory board of the Queen's School of Business and participates on the advisory board for The Learning Partnership.
The Hon. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell O.N.B.
Former Senator & Lt. Governor of New Brunswick

As Minister of State for the Family, she spoke often about the family home as the cradle of learning and of love. Later, as Lieutenant-Governor, she called upon the people of New Brunswick to do everything possible to help each child achieve her/his potential. It was during these years that she held Lieutenant-Governor's Story Hours in the villages, towns and cities of this province and instituted awards for early childhood literacy. Working with the IODE, Les Dames d'Acadie, the Government of New Brunswick and others, Born to Read/Le goût de lire became a program that provided a bag of books to each newborn and his/her parents in the province.

Similarly, she championed Welcome to Kindergarten, on behalf of the Learning Partnership, to ensure that this national program was available in all school districts as part of the Transition to School preparation. In the Senate of Canada, she led a study on Early Childhood Education and Care: the Next Steps.

Now, as President of the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick and as a national board member on the Council for Early Child Development, she continues to inspire the families of her home province to recognize their role as the first and most important teachers any child will ever have, and to grasp the joy, the power and the comfort of books.

​In 2009, she was presented with the Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action by the Canadian Medical Association. She is an honorary lifetime member of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association.
In Memoriam – Milton Wong, O.C., O.B.C.

Milton Wong founded M.K. Wong & Associates Ltd. (MKW) in 1980 to provide investment-counseling service to pension plans, foundations, mutual funds and individuals. HSBC acquired MKW in 1996 and he was (non executive) Chairman of HSBC Investments Canada Limited managing over $5 billion in assets. He was awarded the Civic Award from the City of Vancouver; the Distinguished Leadership Award and an Honorary Doctorate of Law degree from Simon Fraser University. He is also the recipient of the Order of Canada; the Order of British Columbia; the Honour Roll distinction from MacLean’s magazine; The Ernst & Young Lifetime Achievement Award for 2002 and The Ernst & Young Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of the Year in 1994. These awards reflect his support of major institutions and events around Vancouver; including Science World, the UBC Portfolio Management Program, the SFU Global Asset Wealth Management MBA Program, the 4th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention (1997), the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival, The BC Cancer Foundation and the Laurier Institution. Milton was the Chancellor Emeritus for Simon Fraser University. Milton was a board member of Seaspan Corporation and The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, Aga Khan Foundation, and the International Institute for Sustainable Development. ​