President’s Excellence Award

Program Overview

Established in 2021, the President’s Excellence Award is part of the University of Toronto’s Pinnacle Awards Program, which recognizes exceptional contributions by administrative staff and librarians. The President’s Excellence Award complements the Chancellor’s Leadership Award.

Recipients of the President’s Excellence Award demonstrate outstanding service to the University and enhance the university experience for students, faculty members, librarians, and / or staff in accordance with the University’s mission.

There are three categories of the President’s Excellence Awards:

  • Influential Excellence
  • Distinguished Excellence
  • Emerging Excellence

The President’s Excellence Awards are aligned under the University’s broader Awards of Excellence Program.

2024 Award Recipients

Influential Excellence

Trevor Cuddy

Director, Continuing Professional Development Portfolio, Temerty Faculty of Medicine

Trevor Cuddy

Trevor Cuddy has made longstanding contributions with a national-level impact in three broad areas: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) youth outreach and engagement; health professions continuing professional development (CPD); and staff talent development.

Cuddy has served on the Board of Directors of Actua for the past ten years. Actua is Canada’s largest STEM youth outreach organization. It engages 375,000 young people in 600 communities nationwide annually, 200 of which are Indigenous communities. Actua focuses on engaging underrepresented youth through specialized programs for Indigenous and Black youth, girls and young women, at-risk youth, and youth living in Northern and remote communities. As a testament to his leadership, Cuddy was recently elected Chair of the Actua Board. His commitment to STEM youth outreach dates back 25 years to the beginning of his career in higher education.

Cuddy’s forward-thinking, inclusive, and collaborative approach to leadership have been integral to developing a national CPD community of practice, and he has contributed to the development of innovative CPD programming focused on improving the health of individuals and populations within Toronto, across Canada, and internationally.

Cuddy has also significantly impacted the career paths of an entire generation of staff throughout his career in higher education. He has remained committed to providing spaces where individuals have room and support to grow professionally, and move into leadership roles.

Cuddy’s demonstrated contributions to community engagement, commitment to collaboration and creation of inclusive environments, and active promotion and modelling of equity, diversity and inclusion principles and practices have been constant throughout his career in higher education and in his volunteer work. His colleagues frequently seek his counsel, and his ability to inspire others speaks to his influence at the University of Toronto and beyond.

Distinguished Excellence

Sean Caffrey

Executive Director, Acceleration Consortium

Sean Caffrey

Dr. Sean Caffrey has been known for his commitment, dedication, and drive to achieve the University’s world-class research mission throughout his tenure at U of T. He joined the Division of Vice President of Research and Innovation to support the team in developing and operationalizing the newly created Institutional Strategic Initiatives (ISI) portfolio. This process required creating new ways to work across the University’s divisions to support large, impactful research networks.

As the Executive Director of Strategic Initiative Development, Caffrey led, in partnership with academic leads, the development of several of the ISI’s most significant initiatives, including Climate Positive Energy, the Emerging Pandemics and Infections Consortium, and the Acceleration Consortium strategic initiatives. Once launched, he worked closely with these initiatives as a pivotal resource supporting their governance, operations and growth. To find pathways toward the sustainability of the initiatives launched by ISI, he worked closely with government relations, advancement, and innovation and partnerships.

In addition to his direct ISI responsibilities, Caffrey supported several large-scale institutional grants associated with strategic initiatives. In particular, he assumed a leading role in developing a successful $35M Biomedical Research Fund Canadian Foundation for Innovation application for the high containment facility that is part of the Emerging Pandemics and Infections Consortium. He also helped the Acceleration Consortium secure the nomination as the University’s sole application for a Canadian First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) grant. Caffrey then worked with the Acceleration Consortium team, Alán Aspuru-Guzik, and other faculty members and research services to develop the CFREF letter of intent and full application. These efforts were successful, and the CFREF competition awarded the Acceleration Consortium $200M, the largest grant ever awarded to a Canadian institution. Caffrey subsequently assumed a leadership role in the administration of the Acceleration Consortium. His efforts with the ISI team have set the groundwork for several high-impact research programs that will pay dividends for years.

 

Sean Suleman

Executive Director, Central Administration HR Services & Workplace Investigations, Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture

 

Sean Suleman is one of the University’s most experienced HR leaders. He has demonstrated exceptional skill in managing multiple roles within the Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture (PSEC). Since 2014, he has led the Central Administrative HR Services (CAHRS) and Workplace Investigations (WPI) Offices, and he has provided leadership and strategic counsel on complex HR matters to U of T’s thirteen divisional HR offices and across the entire institution.

In all of his roles, Suleman has distinguished himself as a highly creative problem-solver, adept at managing sensitive issues that impact our community’s well-being and institutional reputation. Known for his calm, collaborative approach, Suleman has been instrumental in working across various functional teams, effectively handling and resolving multifaceted HR issues. His ability to listen and build bridges is a testament to his skill in gaining stakeholder trust and credibility.

Suleman brings a human touch to every aspect of his work, focusing on principles of equity, ethics, and fairness. His unique ability to analyze problems, assess needs, and provide balanced, win-win solutions reflects his wisdom and thoughtful nature as a leader. Suleman’s people-focused, fair, and good-natured leadership style is highly respected by his colleagues and teams.

Under his guidance, his teams have established a benchmark for HR service delivery at the University, supporting staff across their professional lifecycles and aiding in managing change and resolving complex HR issues, setting the standard for HR services at U of T, fostering a more equitable, compassionate, and inclusive institution.

Emerging Excellence

Jonathan Vandor

Learning Strategist, Peer Programs, Student Life: Academic Success, Division of the Vice-President & Provost

Jonathan Vandor

Jonathan Vandor’s leadership and commitment to students has resulted in the outstanding development of programming and services that have revolutionized student learning supports and have become fundamental to the operation of Academic Success. From the 29,000 students served by virtual Study Hubs over the years of remote learning to the hundreds of peer appointments and workshops, Night against Procrastination events, the University of Toronto Tutor Training program and more, he has been a leader in anticipating and responding to student needs.

Vandor has also shared his expertise beyond Student Life with initiatives such as serving on the St. George Student Life Staff Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA) Advisory Committee. He is currently a leading member of the Canadian Tutoring Standards Committee through the Learning Specialist Association of Canada. His passion and leadership towards supporting student academic success and learning have had local and national impacts.

Vandor is also an excellent mentor and colleague; he readily makes himself available to help, shares best practices, and supports onboarding new team members. While enhancing strategic programming, he is never above doing the often unnoticed and unglamorous jobs, making himself a champion of behind-the-scenes work. University of Toronto students, faculty members, librarians, and staff benefit from his leadership and innovation.