Engineering Alumni Hall of Distinction Award
The Hall of Distinction is an assembly of extraordinary alumni, selected for membership by their peers for their lifelong accomplishments. These are graduates whose performances have ultimately defined what is most exemplary in our graduates and in our profession. The careers of the members stand as examples and add a sense of reality to the aspirations of successive generations of Engineering students. Located in the Sandford Fleming Building, the Hall of Distinction is a familiar daily presence in the lives of students and is often visited by alumni and their families.
Rocco Leonard Martino (UTIAS PhD 5T6)
Dr. Rocco Leonardo Martino is the inventor of the CyberFone — the first smartphone that put the world in the palm of the user’s hand — and the driving force behind the software systems permitting secure real-time video, voice and data linkages. He graduated with a “first” in honours mathematics and finance from the University of Toronto and went on to earn a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS). His work included extensive use of the University’s Ferranti Computer in the early 1950s. He discovered the heating factors during the re-entry of space vehicles, which led to the heat shield developments that made space travel possible. He is the founder and chairman of the board of U.S. Robots, Inc. and was the founder, chairman and CEO of XRT, Inc., a global leader in providing complete treasury, cash and banking relationship management solutions for many of the world’s largest corporations and government entities. Martino is also the author of 28 books as well as scores of papers, and numerous corporate monographs on computers, communications, networks and planning. He served as professor of engineering and chair of the Systems Engineering Department of the University of Waterloo and as professor of mathematics at New York University. He has lectured around the world. Martino served on the Boards of St, Joseph’s University, the World Affairs Council, the Foreign Policy Research Institute — of which he is currently a Senior Fellow — the Gregorian University Foundation, The Order of Malta and numerous other boards. He has been honoured by the Monte Jade Society, the National Italian American Foundation of Washington, the CYO Hall of Fame of Philadelphia, received honorary doctorates from Gonzaga University, Neumann University and Chestnut Hill College, and was knighted by Pope St. John Paul II as a Knight of St. Gregory. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of UTIAS. A visionary leader and philanthropist, Martino continues to create, dream and imagine possibilities through his writing and philanthropy. He not only predicts the future, he creates it.
Kathy Milsom (CivE 8T3)
Kathy Milsom is the president and CEO of Toronto Community Housing. Her contributions to executive teams and boards in the private and public sector are exemplary. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, chair of the Advisory Board for Direct Construction Company Limited, and chair of the Standards Council of Canada. Before focusing on board work, Milsom held executive leadership roles at organizations such as Technical Standards and Safety Authority, Canada Lands Company Limited, Vestar Facility Management, Vertical Markets and Johnson Controls World Services, Inc. Recently, she was also a senior fellow of the Canada School of Public Service for their Crown corporation director orientation program. She has served on a variety of other boards, including as chair of U of T’s Department of Civil Engineering’s Advisory Board and The Riverdale Hospital (now Bridgepoint Health). Milsom is a professional engineer and a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors’ Director Education Program. She received the EAN’s 2T5 Mid-Career Achievement Award in 2008, a U of T Arbor Award for volunteerism in 2006 and the Professional Engineers of Ontario’s Engineering Medal for Management in 2004.
Jonathan Rose (EngSci 8T0, ECE MASc 8T2, PhD 8T6)
Professor Jonathan Rose has had a profound impact on both the academic research community and industry. He was instrumental in organizing a group of professors and graduate students at the University of Toronto to do research on field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology, which ultimately led to U of T being recognized as one of the foremost academic institutions in the world for research in this area. He co-founded Right Track CAD Corporation, as president and CEO, which had the goal to develop novel FPGA device architecture and the computer-aided design software needed to design systems based on these devices. Right Track’s business was to sell these innovations to existing vendors. In 2000, Right Track was acquired by Altera Corporation — one of two dominant providers of FPGAs — and became part of the Altera Toronto Technology Centre. Rose served as the senior director of Altera Toronto Technology Centre until 2003.
Tom Siddon (UTIAS MASc 6T6, PhD 6T9)
For over 50 years, The Honourable Tom Siddon has contributed to his profession, country and local community. After graduating from the University of Alberta as the gold medalist in his class, he went on to pursue his master’s and PhD degrees at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS). In his early career, he split his time between teaching at UBC and growing his aero-acoustics engineering consulting firm. In 1976, while teaching at UBC, Siddon took on a leadership role as city councillor for Richmond, BC. From there, his participation and achievement in the public service grew. He was successively elected in five federal elections between 1978 and 1993, and worked under several prime ministers in various cabinet roles. His appointment as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in 1990 led to what he considers his most significant achievement: the creation of Nunavut. After his federal career, he helped develop a long-range water management plan for the Okanagan river valley and even found time to serve on his local school board and also as a Regional District Director — a role which he continues to hold today.
2T5 Mid-Career Achievement Award
The Class of 2T5 was the first class in Canada to receive iron rings at The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer. Since 1975, the Class of 2T5 annually presents the 2T5 Mid-career Achievement Award. This award recognizes a graduate (11 to 25 years from undergraduate graduation) who has earned respect within the profession as well as the broader Canadian community.
Tom Chau (EngSci 9T2, ECE MASc 9T4)
A double graduate of U of T Engineering, Tom Chau is a leader, innovator and community champion. He is currently the vice president of research at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, director of the Bloorview Research Institute, the Raymond Chang Foundation Chair in Access Innovations, and a full professor in the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) at the University of Toronto. In addition to his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, he also holds his doctorate from the University of Waterloo in the area of pattern analysis and machine intelligence and received post-doctoral training in pediatric rehabilitation engineering as a Duncan Gordon Fellow. From 2004 to 2014, he held a Canada Research Chair in Pediatric Rehabilitation Engineering. He was graduate coordinator of the Master of Health Science Program in Clinical Engineering from 2006 to 2011 and was the leader of the NSERC CREATE: Academic Rehabilitation Engineering doctoral training program from 2009 to 2015, both at the University of Toronto. Chau’s contributions to pediatric rehabilitation are world renowned with numerous significant awards and accolades to recognize his great achievements. Chau is also an extremely active and dedicated volunteer both within his profession and his community.
7T6 Early Career Award
The Class of 7T6 annually presents the 7T6 Early Career Award to engineering graduates who have attained significant achievement early in their career and shows promise of further contributions. The award is presented to an individual who is distinguished early in their profession, community, university and other related fields.
Andrew Gillies (MechE 0T7)
After Andrew Gillies graduated from U of T Engineering, he went on to obtain master’s and PhD degrees in 2013 from the University of California at Berkeley working in Ron Fearing’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab. His research focused on developing controllable adhesives inspired by gecko footpads, with an emphasis on materials systems and microfabrication techniques. Throughout the course of his academic research, he won two NSERC post-graduate awards, published several scientific journal articles, and filed numerous provisional patents. Shortly after graduating, he co-founded Dash Robotics, Inc. — with the mission of creating affordable, educational STEM robots designed to inspire students to get involved in robotics and engineering. He regularly conducts workshops for at-risk middle school students in financially disadvantaged areas of Oakland. Gillies is active in the Silicon Valley startup community as both a mentor and speaker.
Christopher Wilmer (EngSci 0T7)
Christopher Wilmer embodies simultaneous leadership in three significant areas: research, entrepreneurship and environmentalism. He is currently an assistant professor and principal investigator at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Engineering. His lab explores the properties of hypothetical materials using computer simulations. As a leading researcher in his field, Wilmer has accumulated 3,390 academic publication citations and an “h-index” of 20. As a doctoral student at Northwestern University, he co-founded a materials company, NuMat Technologies, to bring his research to market. NuMat has won significant environmental prizes and private funding and is now a prospering company with over a dozen employees. In 2012, he was recognized by Forbes in its “30 Under 30 in Energy” list. In his spare time, Wilmer has initiated numerous programs dedicated to addressing global poverty and climate change. He also co-founded the interdisciplinary graduate student think-tank The Earth Team, which addresses global poverty and climate change, and develops innovative solutions to address humanitarian, environmental and social problems.
Malcolm F. McGrath Alumni Achievement Award
Named in honour of Malcolm McGrath on his retirement as assistant dean — alumni liaison, this award recognizes contributions of personal service to the Faculty, the University or to the community. McGrath was the first assistant dean responsible for alumni affairs and development in the Faculty. Among his many accomplishments are the growth of the Annual Fund, the Engineering Open House, the introduction of the Skule™ Stage Band, and the establishment of the Graditude Campaign.
Don Andrew (CivE 5T4)
Don Andrew founded Andrew Paving and Engineering Ltd. eight years after graduating from U of T Engineering. As president and CEO, he was responsible for the company’s growth and success during its 55 years of operation. He was an initial member of the Toronto and Area Road Builders Association (TARBA), an organization which negotiates contracts for the union locals and also provides training and rehabilitation services for union members. Over his long association with TARBA, he has been president three times and spent many years as chairman on the Labourer’s Training School Board. In recognition of his long time commitment he was nominated in 2004 to become the association’s first Honorary Lifetime Member. Andrew was active in the Engineering Society as an undergraduate and this continued upon graduation. As an alumnus, he has been involved with the University and the Faculty in a variety of ways. He has served on Governing Council, and on the Engineering Alumni Network (formerly Engineering Alumni Association), first as a member and then as president. He has also been a continuing and loyal friend of the Department of Civil Engineering. On one occasion, he raised the necessary funding to rebuild the concrete testing lab and have new equipment supplied and installed. Andrew’s community involvement also extends to athletics. From 1980–1982, he was chairman of the Vanier Cup — the championships of Canadian university football.
L.E. (Ted) Jones Award of Distinction
This award was established to acknowledge the contributions of Professor Emeritus L.E. (Ted) Jones and is in recognition of the contributions over his long and distinguished career to students, alumni and the Faculty. It also pays tribute to his continuing support and dedication to the Engineering Society and the Engineering Alumni Network (EAN) of the University of Toronto. The award endorses Jones’ great appreciation of the arts and his love of music.
Allan Kuan (EngSci 1T4 + PEY, CivE PhD Candidate)
An important part of Allan Kuan’s experience at Skule™ has been continuing to play the piano while completing his studies. His primary outlet has been through the Appassionata Music Group, a student-run group that organizes classical music concerts on campus and to the community abroad. In his six years as a member, he has performed dozens of concerts and established himself as an important member of the music community at Skule™. He has also performed in collaboration with other musical groups at U of T, including Open Score, Hart House Orchestra, the Innis College Choir, and Skule™ Orchestra, with whom he performed Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18” in 2016. Outside of music, Kuan has devoted most of his efforts to teaching first-year engineering students, who have given him glowing reviews and led to his receipt of several awards including the Spirit of EngSci Award in 2015, and the 2015–2016 Engineering Science Teaching Assistant Award.
Alex Perelgut (EngSci 1T6 + PEY)
Alex Perelgut has demonstrated a strong appetite for performing, creating and preserving the arts within and outside of the Skule™ community. He has been a cornerstone of the Skule™ Nite team for five years as a clarinetist, arranger, lyricist, band director and the producer of Skule™ Nite 1T7. He has helped the Skule™ Orchestra flourish since 2012 by acting as a performer, external relations officer and financial director. Through his efforts, he managed the budget through a period of shortfalls and increased the reach of the orchestra by pushing for greater audience sizes. Academically, Perelgut is an honours student and has built a strong record of professional experience including a Professional Experience Year (PEY) internship at ZS Associates, and summer work terms at RBC and the Sargent Group at U of T. He has also been involved in extracurricular efforts such as the NSight mentorship program and as an Engineering Science Ambassador.