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Opinion: We don’t want this kind of Good Samaritan

Donation app to support homeless is divisive and cold

Opinion: We don’t want this kind of Good Samaritan

When was the last time you saw a homeless person panhandling? How did it make you feel? Guilty? Annoyed? Maybe just maybe you wanted to help, but weren’t sure how.

Well, much like food delivery and astrology, there’s an app for that. After witnessing a Black man panhandling, former tech employee Jonathan Kumar created Samaritan, a contemporary mechanism to help homeless individuals. Samaritan offers privileged passersby a way to help the homeless without needing to make eye-contact or use cash. Donations are even tax refundable.

Kumar’s program has two main goals: to provide urbanites with a convenient way to donate to homeless people in their area and to help homeless people develop closer connections with their community.

After two years of operation in the Seattle area, Kumar hopes to expand his enterprise. However, the Samaritan approach is not as good as it may appear and — despite homeless and social inequality crises in Toronto — it is absolutely not a solution worthy of import.

A seemingly straightforward system

Potential donors download the Samaritan app, which alerts them when they pass by a participating homeless person. The homeless participants are tagged with beacons that beam their photo, personal story, and financial need to the would-be Good Samaritan’s phone. In most photographs, program participants wear their beacons around their necks like crosses.

Givers can select the amount of money they would like to send and cue the transaction in a few swipes. The money is then sent to the beacon holders, who can redeem the donation at participating stores.  

While participation in the Samaritan program does not necessarily preclude the homeless from seeking other avenues of respite, it explicitly seeks to help sustain those left behind by mainstream sources of support.

While this may seem like a step forward, let’s take a closer look.

Despite Kumar’s lofty ambitions, the app itself is not particularly popular among the people it was purportedly designed to help.

In one telling interaction recorded in the Seattle Times, a Samaritan employee stood outside a temporary work placement agency, attempting to drum up interest in the beacons. One man, initially intrigued, looked at the demonstrative beacon the employee held. When he saw it, he asked, “It labels me as a hobo?”

Another reason for the program’s low participation rate is the requirements it imposes on homeless users. Not only are their choices and movement restricted, but beacon wearers must attend monthly meetings with Samaritan counsellors, otherwise they will lose access to the money on their account. The disciplinary tool swings between the collarbones of the wearer.

Gatekeepers to charity

Although Kumar has stated that Samaritan does not use institutional vetting processes for potential beacon recipients, he argues they seek out “those downtown that are truly struggling with homelessness and actively are trying to get themselves out.”

But how can they tell who is truly suffering, and moreover, who sets the definition?

Put simply, the donors determine who is allowed to avail of the service. Through the linkage of initial appearance and quick biographies with donations, participants must market themselves to their potential Samaritan. The appearances and backstories displayed on the app become weapons: a spade and a scalpel used to shape the kinds of people others want to give to.

Even if the donation is given, its very form creates other entanglements. The digital currency donated by Samaritans can only be used to buy “the essentials,” as determined by the developers who created the app and the stores willing to work with the program.

And if they do not have a cell phone or a data plan, beacon holders have no way of knowing who donated or in what amount. In order to check their own balance, they would have to find a participating store and inquire.

Siloing social classes

One might argue — and indeed, Kumar and his supporters do — that removing the cash component of roadside donations enables more spontaneous generosity, which in turn leads to more support for the homeless.

However, the giver  not the recipient  clearly benefits more from this cashlessness. It’s not just the removal of financial autonomy from the homeless person that is troubling either — reducing donations to a swipe sanitizes what should be uncomfortable.

Although some might insist that the app genuinely does help create connections, Samaritan actually works to further silo different social classes. Today’s Good Samaritans can give without looking up from their phones and feel better about themselves without actually encountering anyone. The app makes local suffering as distant as possible.

Moreover, valving compassionate impulses off through a quick dash of a digital credit card could reduce the likelihood of givers becoming more involved in long-term aid or advocacy efforts. After all, they have done their good deed of the day.

At the end of the day, Samaritan is a for-profit company, which makes donors pay up to 7.5 per cent of their total donation for the privilege of a painless transaction.

Contrary to many contemporary invocations, the parable of the Good Samaritan is not about financial generosity. In the biblical story, a man is robbed and left bleeding on the side of a busy road. Two travellers pass him by, but the third — a Samaritan — stops. He cleans the victim’s wounds, clothes him, feeds him, seats him on his donkey, and shares his room with him.

Fundamentally, it’s a story of human connection — of messy, visceral sharing between those left intact and those robbed. This is the spirit of giving we must foster. Look to the work of Eva’s Initiative for Homeless Youth, for example, which fulfils the short term needs of homeless youth in Toronto of housing and food while also offering training and emotional support.

Actions rooted in our fundamental closeness, not distance, are the only path toward resolving homelessness and social inequality in Toronto.

Opinion: $100 million donation cements U of T’s global leadership

Recent donations to AI and biomedical research propel U of T’s innovation field toward greatness

Opinion: $100 million donation cements U of T’s global leadership

U of T’s plan to build a new 750,000-square-foot innovation research complex exhibits its commitment to artificial intelligence (AI) and biomedical research leadership, which will greatly enrich our collective university experience. This breakthrough, courtesy of the university’s recent $100 million donation from Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman, firmly anchors its leading status in Canada and its rising position in the world.

After hearing U of T’s plans to build hubs to stimulate innovation, the billionaire couple announced the largest-ever donation the university has ever received at a press conference on March 25 to support these ambitions. The Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre, to be located at the corner of College Street and Queen’s Park, will realize the interplay of technology, culture, and society.

Philanthropic gifts such as these support universities by both expanding on existing innovation projects and seeking opportunities to launch new institutes in areas such as machine learning and biomedical and robotic improvement. At U of T, recent philanthropic projects such as the $6.7 million from TD toward data analytics, health care, and behavioural economics, as well as the $20 million for research on the biological causes of depression from the Labatt family strengthen U of T’s potential impact on innovation both domestically and internationally.

Importantly, the $100 million donation firmly ties U of T with the word “innovation,” as it is the largest donation ever made in the Canadian innovation sector. This donation will likely go down among the most noteworthy advancements in Canada’s innovation history. Other notable programs include CanadaHelps, the country’s largest non-profit platform for donating and fundraising with a focus on innovation, which surpassed $500 million in 2015, and Google Canada, which launched a $5 million prize for non-profit innovation. However, these influences are not as profound as that of the single $100 million donation. This is because the Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre will constantly remind future generations of scholars, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists of the spirit of innovation, and of the university’s commitment to a brighter future.

The emphasis placed on innovation in AI and biomedicine by U of T and Schwartz and Reisman reaffirms the significance of this gift. The donation continues a remarkable industry-wide outburst of philanthropy for innovations in AI and biomedical research to prominent universities around the planet. For example, in October, the single largest donation of $350 million USD to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology prompted its commitment to dedicate $1 billion USD to research into the rapid evolution of computing and AI. That same month, the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute received a donation of approximately $17.6 million USD to foster research in advanced technology. In July 2017, a $10 million USD endowment to the Stanford Cancer Institute called for advance research in cancer cell therapy, the pioneering cancer treatment today. Six months earlier, Carnegie Mellon University had received a $250 million USD gift to fund a new robotic institution.

Colloquially, the term ‘AI’ is used to describe machines that mimic the cognitive functions of humans, such as learning and problem-solving. Biomedicine, meanwhile, applies biological and physiological principles to clinical practice, which has been the dominant health system for more than a century. Innovations, from a historic meaning, are meant to facilitate human wellbeing.

We are in the midst of a revolution focused on AI and biomedical systems. With the significance of such research, the industrial evolution that is now occurring shoulders the responsibilities of optimizing every facet of humans’ lives, from prolonging life to easing low-wage workers from heavy labour.

Schwartz and Reisman’s donation stamps U of T’s profound position as a top educational institution in the innovation industry. Thanks to generous recent donations, U of T is continuing to shift its focus to the innovation and technology spheres. The implication behind this donation also signals U of T’s rising and determinant role in the current revolution and its ambition to work collaboratively with other influential institutions to lead innovation.

Boundless Campaign ends with unprecedented $2.641 billion in donations

Funds to support building, renovations, mental health, student aid

Boundless Campaign ends with unprecedented $2.641 billion in donations

U of T President Meric Gertler spoke about the end of the Boundless Campaign on March 19, after the fundraising drive raised a record $2.641 billion for U of T over seven years.

Following student protests about the university’s mental health services, there is a growing online movement calling on the university to use donations from the Boundless Campaign to fund mental health services. However, most of the donations are not free for the university to use at its discretion.

Much of the funding will be used for specific projects across U of T and funds that are not specifically earmarked for particular initiatives are generally given to student support.

David Palmer, U of T’s Vice-President Advancement, wrote to The Varsity about how the money will be distributed. He explained that $406 million of donations have been provided specifically to establish or grow nearly 4,000 scholarships, support 220 student-focused programs, and lift the university’s endowments for student support “above $1 billion for the first time in [the university’s] history.”

A further $600 million was donated for use in construction and revitalization projects, including the renovations of University College, the Munk School’s Citizen Lab, the construction of the Jackman Law Building, and the Robarts Common — an extension that was originally planned for Robarts Library but never fulfilled.

Some contributions are targeted to address mental health at U of T, such as donations totalling $3 million by the Rossy Family Foundation. The Foundation gave $1 million to the Health & Wellness Centre in 2016, and has donated an additional $2 million to the university to support mental health initiatives. These initiatives will include a prevention strategy, which would educate students on managing their own mental health, as well as increase the number of embedded counsellors and nurses in accessible locations.

Other donations for mental health initiatives include $1.5 million for the Anne Steacy Counselling Initiative at Trinity College, $2 million for research into prevention and early detection of youth mental illness, and $20 million to research the biology of depression.

The majority of donations to the Boundless campaign originated in Canada, though significant contributions also came from Hong Kong, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

U of T receives $100 million donation for innovation advancement

Largest-ever donation to fund 750,000-square-foot innovation complex for AI, biotechnology research

U of T receives $100 million donation for innovation advancement

U of T has received a $100 million donation to fund a new innovation research complex that will support artificial intelligence (AI) and biomedical research. The donation, from the Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman Foundation, is the largest that the university has ever received. U of T President Meric Gertler, Toronto Mayor John Tory, and Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains were among the speakers who lauded the donation at U of T’s March 25 press conference.

“Today we enter an incredibly exciting new chapter in this history of generosity, signalling a new era of world-leading innovation and progress at the University of Toronto,” Gertler said.

Gerald Schwartz is the founder and CEO of private equity firm Onex. Heather Reisman is the founder and CEO of book retailer Indigo.

Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre

The new 750,000-square-foot Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre will be located at the corner of College Street and Queen’s Park. U of T expects that the building will host thousands of researchers, investors, industry partners, and international visitors annually. The building will also house the new Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society and the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

Gertler told The Varsity after the announcement that the centre will provide opportunities for graduate and undergraduate U of T students from a variety of disciplines, including the humanities and law. “All of these disciplines are really trying to understand this incredibly tumultuous time that we’re in, both [with] the advances of technology and their applications but also what it means for society,” Gertler said. “Students will be fundamental for this.”

U of T will appoint a director to lead the new institute, who will oversee the development of programming and research initiatives, as well as the creation of new fellowships and a research fund. The institute will research digital surveillance laws and the ethical and societal implications of AI and biotechnology.

U of T Professor Emeritus, winner of the Turing Award, and leading AI researcher Geoffrey Hinton said, “My hope is that the Schwartz Reisman institute will be the place where deep learning disrupts the humanities.”

Construction will begin in the fall.

The donation

Reisman said that the donation was inspired by an article that the billionaire couple had read about U of T’s plans to further tech-driven entrepreneurship, business partnerships, and artificial intelligence leadership. She praised U of T for creating “a foundation upon which true greatness can be built.”

“At the end of the day, what stirs us most is the opportunity to supercharge the university’s ability to recruit and inspire the best,” Reisman said. “We are grateful to be part of something so pregnant with possibility.”

The gift is the largest donation ever made to the Canadian innovation sector.

“A testament to our excellence as a city”

Tory praised the donation as further evidence that Toronto is a powerhouse in international innovation. He said that continued public, private, and philanthropic investment are needed to succeed academically and commercially and that he hopes the donation will encourage further donations to Toronto’s innovation sector. “It is vital to our ability to finance the things that are very human, whether it’s education or whether it’s support for those who are struggling,” Tory said. He added that the gift will attract more researchers and academics to the city.

Bains also emphasized the importance of an “all hands on deck” approach in furthering the federal government’s long-term vision to “build a nation of innovators.

“I think it’s a great day not only for Toronto — I think it’s a great day for Canada. The investment… will make sure that Canada will leave its mark on the world,” Bains said.

Hinton added that the donation “will further cement Toronto’s leadership as a thriving industry for innovative applications of AI.”

— With files from Srivindhya Kolluru

U of T receives $20 million for depression research

Research to focus on biological causes of depression

U of T receives $20 million for depression research

The Labatt family has recently donated $20 million to U of T to support research into biological causes of depression. This field is regarded as the next frontier of depression research.

The donation has been used to create the Labatt Family Network for Research on the Biology of Depression, which also involves the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), both of which are partners of U of T. The network has established two chair positions at U of T with links to these institutions to further research.

Professor Benoit Mulsant of U of T’s Department of Psychiatry is serving as the inaugural Labatt Family Chair. According to Mulsant, the donation will fund more academic fellowships, help attract talent to U of T’s clinical research effort, and enable mentor residency opportunities. Mulsant’s research primarily focuses on the treatment of elderly people with severe mental disorders. He is also a Clinician Scientist at CAMH’s Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute.

In Canada, mental health-related research at large receives about one third of the money that is invested in cancer-related research. From 2008–2015, the Canadian Institute of Health Research invested about $44.7 million a year in mental health-related research, compared to $133.8 million a year for cancer-related research.

A myriad of biological factors can result in mood changes and trigger mental health issues. In the human body, the nervous system, the endocrine system, and the immune system work in tandem, and any changes to these could result in behavioural changes that may manifest as depression or other mental health disorders. These changes can be wrought by physical stressors, like changing seasons, or psychological stressors, like abuse.

In 2007, the Labatt family donated $30 million to SickKids to support the Brain Tumour Research Centre and establish the Labatt Family Heart Centre, a facility dedicated to heart research, cardiology, and providing care for children with congenital heart disease.

U of T planning to establish new medical research fund

Daniel Drucker proposes $6 million endowment in anticipation of centenary of insulin discovery

U of T planning to establish new medical research fund

Plans are underway to establish a $6 million endowment fund to support medical research conducted by U of T faculty members. The endowment, slated to be named the Drucker Family Innovation Fund, was proposed by U of T Professor of Medicine Daniel Drucker and is planned as part of the university’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin.

The Drucker Family Innovation Fund will be used to finance an annual grant competition focused on medical research. Those eligible to compete will be U of T faculty members in the Department of Medicine — stationed at either Mount Sinai Hospital or the University Health Network (UHN) — along with all faculty affiliated with the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre. Individual grants as high as $50,000 will be awarded.

As part of the proposal, Drucker has pledged to contribute $2 million, contingent on U of T and the UHN each gifting the same amount. The money invested by all three parties will coalesce into the $6 million endowment fund.

The UHN is a Toronto-based health care and medical research organization affiliated with the university. In addition to housing research facilities occupied by U of T faculty members, its constituent hospitals provide training for medical students and postdoctoral fellows. These researchers would be among the potential beneficiaries of the prospective fund. Due to an existing patent license agreement, the UHN has already benefited monetarily from Drucker’s research.

According to Vivek Goel, Vice-President Research & Innovation, U of T will derive its $2 million from revenue generated by Drucker’s discoveries. Like all U of T researchers, Drucker owes the university a certain percentage of earnings on inventions made using U of T resources; this arrangement is outlined in the university’s Inventions Policy. Thanks to the importance of his work, Drucker’s research has already generated $7.4 million for the university.

U of T’s share of inventions revenue, from inventions that generate over $500,000 in cumulative net revenue, is normally funnelled into the Connaught Fund, which distributes the money to faculty members through various research awards. However, the Inventions Policy allows the Vice-President Research & Innovation to invest this money elsewhere in exceptional cases. “The combination of the generous donation from Prof. Drucker, the level of royalty revenue and the upcoming anniversary represent a very exceptional circumstance,” Goel wrote in a report submitted to the Business Board of U of T’s Governing Council.

The 100th anniversary of insulin’s discovery is significant for the university — it was primarily a team of four U of T researchers that identified the hormone in 1921. Frederick Banting, John JR Macleod, Charles H Best, and James B Collip used a novel experimental technique to discern that insulin, secreted by the pancreas, plays an essential role in diabetes prevention. Following the team’s announcement of its findings, the university helped produce and distribute insulin to diabetics worldwide.

The upcoming celebrations and U of T’s connection to the discovery present a unique opportunity for the university. By capitalizing on the medical community’s excitement, fundraising initiatives might raise more money to finance U of T researchers. This is part of Drucker’s motivation for establishing a fund in honour of the occasion. “Professor Drucker is hoping that when we publicly announce this with the [UHN], it will be the kickoff for [a] much larger fundraising campaign,” said Goel at the latest Business Board meeting.

Drucker’s research has helped to create life-saving treatments for diabetes and other endocrine disorders. His work is closely tied to the research conducted by Banting and Macleod’s team. In addition to being a Professor of Medicine at U of T, Drucker is a Senior Investigator for the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, located at Mount Sinai Hospital. His research there centres on the physiology of specific hormones responsible for diabetes, obesity, and intestinal disorders. Some of these hormones are known to regulate insulin secretion. Studies conducted by his personal lab have helped produce new treatments for both type 2 diabetes and short bowel syndrome — diseases that affect millions of people across the world.

The university made Drucker an Assistant Professor of Medicine in 1987. By then he was already familiar with the institution, having earned his medical degree from U of T seven years prior. He spent the intervening time receiving clinical training in endocrinology and internal medicine from both The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and Toronto General Hospital, which is now part of the UHN. Additionally, he completed a research fellowship in molecular endocrinology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

As the fund has yet to be finalized, the university has not formally announced it. However, in an email to The Varsity, U of T spokesperson Elizabeth Church said that it is one of many initiatives planned. “We are working on university-wide celebrations for the 100th anniversary in 2021, and we will start to share those plans once they are finalized,” Church said.

The Business Board, responsible for conducting periodic reviews of university fund allocation, received information of the proposed fund at its latest meeting. The Connaught Committee, which allocates funds for further research, approved Goel’s reallocation of inventions revenue plan in December.

Daniels receives $6 million donation to establish financial aid awards

Gift from Daniels Foundation to support undergraduate, graduate students

Daniels receives $6 million donation to establish financial aid awards

The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design has received a $6 million donation from the John and Myrna Daniels Foundation that will be used to provide financial support to its undergraduate and graduate architecture students. The donation establishes the John and Myrna Daniels Foundation Opportunity Award, which will be awarded to students based on academic merit and financial need.

According to Dale Duncan, the Daniels faculty’s Senior Communications & Media Relations Officer, $2 million of the endowed fund is reserved for undergraduate students, while the remaining $4 million may be used to support both undergraduate and graduate students. U of T will match the annual payout of the donation, hence doubling its impact. “In time, this will provide close to $500,000 in student financial assistance every year,” said Duncan.

Like other endowed award funds at U of T, this contribution is established in perpetuity in order to preserve its value over time, accounting for inflation. As a result, the capital from the donation will be invested by the University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation.

The award is the second that John and Myrna Daniels have created for the faculty, following the John and Myrna Daniels Scholars Award, which was created in 2008 from a $5 million donation. The Scholars Award, targeted exclusively to graduate students, has provided financial aid to 81 master’s students. According to Duncan, many of the awards established at the faculty have historically been directed solely to graduate students because the faculty did not offer undergraduate programs from 1998–2012.

“With our undergraduate programs attracting large numbers of students, the Faculty is very appreciative of those donors who now wish to support the undergraduate student community with their educational costs,” wrote Duncan.

U of T phased out undergraduate programs from Daniels in 1998, moving the undergraduate major in Architectural Studies to the Faculty of Arts & Science. In 2012, the architecture faculty reintroduced the undergraduate program. It now has two undergraduate programs and seven graduate programs.

As of November 2017, the Daniels faculty had 1,046 undergraduate students and 396 graduate students. Like students in the Faculty of Arts & Science, tuition for domestic undergraduates is $6,590; international undergraduate tuition is $45,690. Domestic tuition for master’s studies in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Design is $12,070; international tuition is $41,840. Tuition for master’s studies in Visual Studies is $8,860 for domestic students and $31,150 for international students.

This latest donation brings the John and Myrna Daniels’ support of the faculty to $30 million. The John and Myrna Daniels had previously provided $14 million in 2008 to create the Scholars Award and provide capital support to the faculty. In 2013, they provided $10 million to support the revitalization of One Spadina Crescent, where the faculty is currently located.

“The Daniels Faculty is tremendously honoured to have received three gifts over the past decade,” wrote Duncan.

John Daniels graduated from U of T in 1950 with a Bachelor’s of Architecture. “He received financial support in the form of an award during his time at U of T,” said Duncan. “He has noted that the support he received as a student helped make it possible for him to complete his studies and pursue a very productive and rewarding career.”

U of T alumni to match all donations to Hong Kong scholarships

Billionaire Lawrence Ho, sister Daisy Ho start HK Match initiative

U of T alumni to match all donations to Hong Kong scholarships

U of T alumni and siblings Daisy Chiu-Fung Ho and Lawrence Ho have pledged to match every donation received by the U of T (Hong Kong) Foundation in a new initiative called HK Match. The foundation, established in 1996, provides financial aid to prospective U of T students from Hong Kong.

According to the university, the U of T (Hong Kong) Foundation has provided scholarships to 80 Hong Kong students who have entered 43 different fields of study, with 59 per cent of them pursuing postgraduate studies.

Doubling the impact of every donation, HK Match will allow “the U of T (Hong Kong) Foundation to expand its existing scholarship program so that it fully covers tuition and living costs,” according to the university.

This academic year, total expenses for international students from Hong Kong at U of T are estimated to be at least $59,000, with an upper limit of roughly $70,000. Foundation scholarships currently range from $13,000–22,000. These scholarships are some of the most substantial and competitive of those available to U of T undergraduates.

Established by dedicated alumni and friends from Hong Kong, the foundation named its first scholar in 1996. It runs three scholarship programs — the University of Toronto (Hong Kong) Foundation Scholarship, the Dr. Cheng Yu-tung Scholarships, and the Fung Yiu King Memorial Scholarship — which are awarded annually to up to four incoming undergraduate students and are renewable for up to four years.

Making the campaign possible

Daisy and Lawrence Ho have each donated at least $1 million to U of T’s Boundless campaign, which the U of T (Hong Kong) Foundation is nested under. The Boundless campaign works to realize the university’s three priorities of “excellence and leadership in society,” “innovation and impact,” and a growing “global footprint.”

As a means to nurture this global footprint, the university encourages an international student population, as this introduces “unique perspectives to the classroom, and [helps them] think and engage globally.” As of the 2017–2018 academic year, 19,187 — or 21.3 per cent — of U of T’s enrolment are international students.

Daisy Ho earned her Master of Business Administration at U of T in 1990. “My University of Toronto education pushed me to the limit and brought out the best in me,” she told U of T. Through HK Match, she wants to help as many Hong Kong students as possible experience the same growth and become global leaders.

Daisy Ho holds multiple directorial positions in financial and investment companies, and she recently inherited a portion of her father’s multi-billion-dollar casino resort empire in Macau. She is also on a number of committees and boards, including those of U of T’s Rotman School of Management and of the Canadian International School of Hong Kong. In 2015 she donated $500,000 to establish a research fund for third-year students interested in contemporary Asian studies, specifically studies of China.

Likewise, Lawrence Ho, who received his bachelor’s degree from U of T in 1999, noted that “quality education has never been more important, both to its young recipients and the communities, industries and services that benefit.” Lawrence Ho also thanked past and present donors for “their generosity that enables these [awarded] students to enjoy what is truly a life-changing experience at U of T.”

Casino mogul Stanley Ho’s oldest remaining son and Hong Kong’s 29th richest man, Lawrence Ho began supervising the Melco branch of his father’s empire in 2003.

Scholarship recipients

This year’s U of T (Hong Kong) Foundation Scholar and Fung Yiu King Memorial Scholar Joshua Raphael and 2015 U of T (Hong Kong) Foundation Scholar Huberta Chan both agree with the benefits of international student integration.

Raphael, who has only been in Toronto for two months, wrote to The Varsity, “I have already been opened up to interesting perspectives, cultures and people who I otherwise would not have met and taken in.” As an intended management and finance specialist, Raphael also noted that the work and networking opportunities offered by U of T’s business co-op program will “most definitely put [him] a step higher on the ladder [in terms of his] career goals.”

Praising the matching campaign as “very impressive” and “a certain success,” Raphael added that he “will without a doubt in the future contribute towards [the foundation’s] development and success.”

For fourth-year student Chan, studying linguistics at U of T has endowed her with a new appreciation for linguistic, cultural, and historical heritages. “The University has offered me a second chance to fall in love with my hometown, my culture and civilization, and my mother tongue – Cantonese,” she wrote to The Varsity. She described the foundation scholarships as making an “enormously positive difference” for its recipients.

“Leaving home is always not easy for me… but I never regret [doing] so,” she wrote. “The way I have grown up and [been] inspired here in U of T tells me that this will be one of the best choices I have ever made in my life.”