Renison University College marks its 60th anniversary this year, and celebrated the milestone with a Gala dinner at St. George Banquet Hall on November 7, 2019. The celebration included the presentation of annual awards, the Distinguished Alumni, Honorary Member, and Honorary Senior Fellow, as well as honours to Renison’s international partners, presented to the Consul Generals Offices of China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and United Arab Emirates.
The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Asnake Meshesha Dabala. Asnake began his time at Renison University College in 2011, shortly after coming to Canada from Ethiopia as a refugee with his family. He graduated as Valedictorian with a Social Development Studies degree in 2013, followed by a Bachelor of Social Work in 2014, both from Renison. Asnake went on to complete his Master of Social Work degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2015. In addition to his studies, he worked as a Residential Support Worker, Community Support Coordinator, Peer Support Group Facilitator, and Teaching Assistant. Asnake has been working with the YWCA of Waterloo in Supportive housing since his arrival in Canada, and is now the Programming Coordinator. He also sits on the Board of Directors for The Working Centre. His contributions to Renison and to the community are recognized by this award.
Our newest Honorary Member, Caroline Tanswell was also recognized at the Gala. During her almost twenty years at Renison, Caroline helped to establish countless scholarships and awards that removed financial barriers for our students, and celebrated and rewarded their academic accomplishments. Caroline helped to grow and expand Renison’s East Asian Festival, now known as the One Sky Festival, and nurtured and advanced our relationships with the Consuls General of Japan, China, Korea and Indonesia. In addition to giving her time and expertise, Caroline and her husband Rick have also been and continue to be generous donors to Renison and have supported the Town & Gown Society as well as the Builder’s Club and other fundraising initiatives important to Renison today and ensuring its success in the future.
The Honorary Senior Fellow title was presented to Archbishop Anne Germond. Archbishop Germond led a successful and growing ministry in her parish, Church of the Ascension, in Sudbury for nearly two decades. She led international relationships with communities in South Africa, and supported fundraising initiatives to improve the lives and health of those communities. She partnered with local organizations to provide meals and friendship to members of the Sudbury community. The Diocese of Algoma has a strong First Nations presence and her ministry seeks to empower and walk alongside indigenous communities. She is a leader in the reconciliation work that is needs to happen in this post-colonial era as we move forward seeking healing and peace.
Archbishop Germond is also the first woman ever to serve as the Archbishop (Metropolitan of Ontario). As Bishop of Algoma she is de facto Bishop of the Diocese of Moosonee also - to which Renison has a historic relationship. Bishop John Renison, after whom we are named, was the Bishop of Moosonee. Also Anne is also a strong, gentle spirit with a personal commitment to equity, with a worldview which reflects the commitments and ethos of Renison.
Additionally, to mark the 25th anniversary of the One Sky Festival, honours were presented to Renison’s international partners. Representatives were present from the Consul Generals Offices of China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and United Arab Emirates.