2020 Senecans of Distinction Award Recipients
Donna Duncan has a deep commitment to advocacy, volunteerism and higher education. Donna served on Seneca’s Board of Governors for six years, including as board chair during the period of Seneca’s largest capital expansion that brought about Magna Hall and CITE. Donna is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Long-Term Care Association, the largest association representing long-term care providers in Canada. Prior to this role, she was the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, a large children’s mental health treatment, research and education centre serving the Greater Toronto Area. Donna has spent more than 20 years working with governments at all levels. In fact, when she worked in the provincial government, she worked with the minister overseeing colleges and universities, advocating for us in higher education even then. Seneca has benefitted greatly from Donna’s leadership and extensive experience in government, community care and postsecondary education. But we honour her mostly for her true passion of ensuring that whatever she takes on, she is making a real difference to improving peoples’ lives.
A professor in the Social Service Worker program, alumnus Phillip Jang shares a powerful message with his students: “Find your passion, follow your heart and change the world.” Phillip is an advocate for marginalized individuals and a registered SAFEtalk trainer, preparing others to become suicide-alert helpers. He has created intervention plans to manage negative behaviours for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Philip also works with homeless youth and studies the shelter experiences of LGBTQ+ youth. He founded the successful Red Dot Project, a not-for-profit organization that provides menstruation supplies to people experiencing homelessness. Through the Red Dot Project, Phillip advocated for free menstrual products at Seneca. Now, all 100 female, accessible and gender-neutral washrooms on campus offer free feminine hygiene products making Seneca the first and only Canadian postsecondary institution to make an institution-wide commitment of this kind. In 2017, the Red Dot Project won a “Sustainable Development Goals Recognition Award” from the Toronto branch of the United Nations Association of Canada.
Tatiana Mighiu is committed to ensuring that the next generation of Opticianry professionals are prepared for the industry. As a professor, program co-ordinator and alumna of the Opticianry program, Tatiana is passionate and well-respected among academics and industry leaders. She has been the force behind syncing the full- and part-time Opticianry programs, ensuring that industry standards are exceeded in both programs. Tatiana has also worked to improve Seneca graduates’ national exam averages by implementing changes to classroom instruction. This resulted in Seneca ranking higher than the national average in exam scores the following year. Tatiana’s colleagues have stated that 2020 is the year to celebrate 20/20 vision, and there is no better time to honour her with this award.
Marc Neeb is one of Seneca’s most accomplished graduates and dedicated advocates. He came to Seneca on the advice of former King Campus Program Director Bill Hare, choosing the Recreation Facilities Management program over law school. A recipient of the Seneca Cup, Marc built a successful career as a municipal administrator with the city of Brampton and Mississauga and the Town of Aurora before joining Magna International. He recently retired as Magna’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Human Resources Officer. Marc has returned to King Campus on various occasions to mentor to students, and he served on the advisory committee for the Campaign for King Campus. In this role, he helped secure the largest philanthropic gift in Seneca’s history: Magna’s $3 million donation in support of the infrastructure expansion at King Campus. This landmark gift helped fund the state-of-the-art 200,000 sq. ft. academic building at King Campus, which has been named Magna Hall.
Mike Shaver’s career has been defined by the bravery to take a different path. When he graduated from high school, he started working, sharing his brilliance as a software developer and engineer with companies like Netscape, Mozilla and eventually Facebook. Today, Mike is the Chief Technology Officer for integrate.ai, a new AI-powered enterprise data and software platform developer. During his time with Mozilla, Mike worked with Seneca’s School of Information & Communications Technology to incorporate open source technology into the curriculum, establishing Seneca as a thought leader in the field. This relationship led Shaver to volunteer with Seneca’s Board of Governors, be awarded an honorary degree and become a donor. Mike’s contributions to Seneca have been designated to support women in technology, provide financial aid for Early Childhood Education students and create a student experience fund at HELIX.
TD Bank Group
TD Bank Group has been a generous benefactor of Seneca students and supporter of our programs since 2007. To date, the TD Bank Financial Group Bursary has supported 300 Seneca students with financial difficulties. TD also made a substantial donation to the School of Accounting and Financial Services to develop the TD Bank Group Elder Financial Planning program, which includes a suite of resources for financial services students that focus on elder financial planning, including an online training module and a speaker series. The TD Friends of the Environment Foundation supported the King Observation Lab Teaching School, providing Early Childhood Education students the opportunity to work with toddlers and preschoolers in a “forest school” setting, helping build their appreciation for the great outdoors. TD’s most recent contribution was an incredible $1 million gift through the TD Ready Commitment to launch Career Recharge, an initiative to support mid-career professionals with a year-long series of free workshops, resources and networking opportunities.
TD Insurance, another branch of the TD family, has been Seneca Alumni’s affinity partner for home and automobile insurance since 2014. Sponsorship revenues generated from this partnership have supported the Seneca Alumni Affinity Program, which funds alumni events, field trips and experiential learning opportunities for students. TD Insurance also funded the TD Insurance Meloche Monnex Scholarship in support of two graduating students with high academic standing. As well, TD Insurance sponsors a number of events at Seneca, including the Senecans of Distinction Awards, the Seneca Golf Tournament and was presenting sponsor of the 2018 and 2019 Climate Resilience Symposia, helping Seneca students engage in issues surrounding climate change.
Stacy Wyatt is the Founder and Creative Director of Canadian Special Events, an award-winning magazine and blog that connects event professionals with ideas, inspiration and creative resources. She is also the Director of Events and Special Projects at the University of Manitoba. Stacy established a formal relationship with Seneca in 2010 when she invited students to participate in her annual national conference for event professionals. Then in 2013, Canadian Special Events became a media sponsor for Inspired Spaces, an annual tabletop competition for Event Management students. For the past seven years. Stacy has provided pre- and post-media coverage of Inspired Spaces and published coverage of Seneca’s involvement in Bloor Street Entertains. In 2018, Seneca’s Event Management program won the award for Best Event for a High Profile Charity at the Canadian Event Industry Awards, thanks in part to Stacy’s encouragement to apply. In 2019, Inspired Spaces was integrated into CSE Live, an annual conference for event professionals across Canada. With Stacy’s help, the event grew dramatically and put Seneca on the national event industry radar.