Utilizing the quality education they received, Ryerson University graduates can be found in Canada and the rest of the world excelling in myriad professional fields.
The list includes Jamaica’s director general of tourism, Carrole Guntley, who was presented with an Outstanding International Alumni Award last week. She graduated with a degree in hotel, resort and restaurant administration in 1975.
Guntley credits the Ryerson experience for opening the door for her to become the Jamaica Tourist Board’s (JTB) first female director and a leading Caribbean tourism professional.
“Ryerson provided me with the opportunity to learn all aspects of tourism operations,” said Guntley, who at one time considered pursuing medicine. “Cornell University and the University of Michigan were on my radar, but I settled on Ryerson because the practical aspect of the program appealed to me. I also had a sister (Dr. Edith Guntley-Lorimer) who was attending McMaster University at the time, so that helped with my decision to come to Toronto to attend university.”
Guntley used the skills she was acquiring in the classroom to help organize the International Food Day event and she was an active member of the university’s Afro-Caribbean Society. She was the recipient of several awards, including the inaugural JTB Pringle Scholarship in Hotel Management and the Ryerson and Korey Awards for exceptional academic achievement and extensive participation in extra-curricular activities.
“I worked hard and made many wonderful friends and teachers,” said Guntley. “I remain today a proud graduate and a Ryerson ambassador.”
Since graduation, Guntley has served in several key tourism posts in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
Starting as the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel’s executive sales manager, Guntley rose to the position of director of sales & public relations at the Rose Hall Inter-Continental Hotel & Country Club in Montego Bar, special assistant to the director of tourism, regional director of the Caribbean Hotel Association and the now defunct British West Indies Airways (BWIA) and the JTB’s first female director of tourism.
It was during her tenure as director that Jamaica achieved healthy visitor increases, reaching the landmark one million arrivals in a single year and earning the reputation in the marketplace as an all-round destination. She also launched Jamaica’s first and only sustained travel show, The Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX).
Guntley is the recipient of Jamaica’s Order of Distinction and the Jamaica 50 Award for her significant contributions to tourism.
The Ryerson Alumni Achievement Awards were established in 1998 to mark the university’s 50th anniversary and its fifth since the transition from a polytechnic institution.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News Toronto anchor, Dwight Drummond, was the recipient of the Alumni Award of Distinction. He graduated in 1991 with a radio & television degree.
“I was lucky to be accepted by both Ryerson and the University of Toronto, but I chose Ryerson because of the promise that they would prepare you for a job,” said Jamaican-born Drummond, who grew up in the Jane & Finch community. “As a kid coming out of one of the designated priority neighbourhoods, I felt that this place would really equip me with the tools I needed to really go out there and succeed. I was right.
“What I also liked about the university was that our teachers were working in the industry and we got a lot of hands-on-experience. That transcended after I graduated as my first on-air job came through Dr. Rita Deverell who taught me at Ryerson.”
Drummond was employed part-time at CityTV as a security guard on Electric Circus for two years before becoming a full-time staff member in 1991 after graduating from Ryerson. He worked as an assignment editor, videographer and anchor for almost two decades before joining CBC in September 2010.
The Isadore Sharp Outstanding Recent Graduate Award was presented to Lisa Codrington. The award is granted to alumni who have brought honour to the university within a decade of graduation.
A 2003 theatre graduate, Codrington appeared for three seasons at the Shaw Festival and at plays in Colombia and England.
“I love telling stories and Ryerson provided me with the perfect platform to do that,” said Codrington, who is a past Playwright-in-Residence at the Canadian Stage Company and the co-session director of the Artists Mentoring Youth program. “The instructors were supportive of my writing and that gave me a lot of opportunities to express myself.”
A first-generation Canadian whose family migrated from Barbados to Winnipeg, Codrington is a member of Obsidian Theatre playwright unit, where she’s developing a play about Caribbean migrant farm workers in the Niagara region.
Other alumni award winners were Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president and chief operating officer, Tom Anselmi; hockey executive, Al Coates; Sheridan College’s president and chief executive officer, Dr. Jeff Zabudsky; former Ryerson University Alumni Association director, Ross Mutton and interior designers, Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu.
By RON FANFAIR