In most instances, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. With well-educated and grounded parents, Toye Ojo and his older brother Remi Jr. didn’t have to look far for role models.
Drs. Remi & Velona Ojo, both pharmacists and respected community members, laid the foundation for their children to flourish.
Remi Jr. is a Queen’s University engineering graduate while Toye will be awarded his chemical and bioengineering degree from McMaster University in May.
Before he’s bestowed with his first degree, the younger Ojo will be presented with a Harry Jerome Award for Academic Excellence next month.
“I was pleasantly surprised when I received that phone call informing me that I am one of the winners of this prestigious award,” said Ojo who has been on the Dean’s List every year since he entered McMaster. “I have read about Harry Jerome and his accomplishments despite hurdles. It’s very inspirational and something that will push me to be successful.”
A Duke of Edinburgh Gold Standard Award winner while enrolled at Crescent School, Ojo along with his brother and father collaborated two years ago to start Dewpoint Corporation which strategically acquires and manages real estate.
“While at McMaster, I realized there was a potential for investing in the Hamilton community and sold the idea to my dad and brother,” he said. “We bought a home for $370,000 that’s now occupied by six university students and the intention is to build on that.”
Dr. Ojo is extremely proud of his sons.
“They are smart and they work hard,” said the family patriarch who graduated from Szeged Medical University in Hungary and, along with his wife, co-own the Corporate Pharmacy and Compounding Centre in Scarborough.
While Ojo is set to make his mark on society, Justice Gregory Regis is preparing to step down as an Ontario court judge. The former Central East Region senior judge’s last day on the job is April 30, two weeks after receiving a Harry Jerome Lifetime Achievement Award.
A former journalist, Jane-Finch Community Legal Service executive director, Canadian Council for International Co-operation director, St. Lucia Toronto Association president and Caribana chair, Regis – who migrated from St. Lucia in 1974 – was sworn in as a provincial court judge in January 1999.
This year’s Harry Jerome Awards ceremony takes place on April 12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Other award winners are Justice Donald McLeod who will receive the President’s Award, Liberal Party of Quebec youth commission president Madwa-Nika Phanord Cadet who will be honoured for leadership, master chef Selwyn Richards who is recognized for business excellence, Vaughan Road Academy graduate and music reporter & sound editor Rudy Blair who was last year bestowed with a Humber College honorary degree, event planner Denise Jones, filmmaker Nicole Brooks, Vancouver-based youth entrepreneur Brittany Palmer who started an organization to make scholarships accessible to students, Kansas Jayhawks basketball forward Andrew Wiggins, Noca Inc. president & chief executive officer Collin Haughton, CBC managing director Susan Marjetti and YWCA Toronto president Dr. Rosemarie Moodie who is a paediatrician and neonatologist at the Hospital for Sick Children (HSC),
“I am proud to be recognized by the community that I serve for my achievements professionally and for my contribution to community service,” said Jamaican-born Moodie. “I dedicate this award to all the women and girls who strive to overcome barriers to their personal advancement and to those women who have never received recognition for their achievements. This award is also for my mother, Gloria, a great woman and matriarch whose determination, love and guidance have been instrumental in my success as a woman, mother and professional.”
Award recipients also include Dalhousie University professor Dr. Kevin Hewitt who established the Imhotep Legacy Academy after-school program to promote educational, social and personal development among African Nova Scotian learners, Toronto Star reporter Jim Rankin who in 2002 led a team of reporters, editors and researchers involved in a Michener Award-winning investigative series into race, policing and crime in Toronto and former Toronto Argonauts linebacker Orlando Bowen who was beaten by two Peel police officers in a Mississauga restaurant parking lot decade ago.
Bowen alleged at the time that one of the officers planted drugs on him. The cop was found guilty of seven criminal charges in June 2010, including charges related to the disappearance of fake cocaine that was being used in a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) sting and sentenced to six years.
Bowen was acquitted of drugs and police assault charges and a $14.6 million lawsuit he filed against the Peel Regional Police and several officers was settled out of court.
The 2012 DiverseCity Fellow is the executive director of One Voice, One Team, which empowers young people to utilize their leadership gifts and talents through sport and fun activities.
The awards honour the memory of Jerome who equalled Percy Williams’ national high school record with a 10-second run in the 100-yard dash in March 1959, won gold medals in the 100-metre sprint at the 1966 Commonwealth and 1967 Pan American Games, set seven world records, defended his national 100-metre sprint title in his last official race in August 1969 and established the parameters for the creation of the federal Ministry of Sport before succumbing to a brain aneurysm at age 42 in December 1982.
Since the inception in 1983, a total of 370 Harry Jerome awards (this year’s included) have been presented to individuals and one organization – Eva’s Initiatives in 2005 – for excellence in myriad fields.