Trent University Durham – GTA and the Trent University Alumni Association came together for an inspiring and educational evening on October 18 at the Oshawa Museum. Over 100 students and alumni gathered for the unveiling of a special immersive exhibit, "A Carrying Place: Oshawa's Indigenous Story" and to honour Garry Cubitt, the 2017 Trent University Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.
The evening opened with a performance by the All Our Relations Métis Drum Circle. Guests were then welcomed by Trent alumna, Laura Suchan, director of the Oshawa Museum; and given a university update by Julie Davis, Trent vice-president, External Relations & Advancement. Mr. Cubitt was then recognized by Lee Hays, director of Alumni Affairs, Joe Muldoon, head of Trent University Durham – GTA, and Ms. Davis.
The evening’s keynote address was delivered by Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard, Director of the First Peoples House of Learning at Trent University. Dr. Lavell-Harvard is a proud member of the Wikwemikong First Nation, the first Aboriginal Trudeau Scholar and has worked to advance the rights of Aboriginal women as the President of the Ontario Native Women's Association for 11 years.
Trent alumna Melissa Cole curator at the Oshawa Museum introduced the new exhibit before offering a tour.
“This evening’s program, which was a collaborative effort between the Community Museum and Trent University Alumni Association, was inspiring on many levels," noted Ms. Hays. “It was a chance to highlight and learn about the Indigenous history of Oshawa, hear Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard’s hopeful message about a better future, and an opportunity to recognize Garry Cubitt, a remarkable Trent alumnus who, through his work and volunteerism, has made an incredible impression in the Durham Region.”
Mr. Cubitt has worked with the Region of Durham since its formation, becoming Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) in 1993. For more than 46 years he has served the public sector, beginning his career as a social worker.
With nearly 4,500 employees under his leadership, Mr. Cubitt’s guidance has been instrumental in meeting the increasing demands of a region that is growing exponentially. During his time as CAO, Durham Region has grown from 203,925 households with a population of 606,750 in 2008 to 224,810 households and a total population of 658,175 in 2017.
Among his volunteer efforts, Mr. Cubitt was on the founding Board of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, served on Durham College's Board of Governors, and currently sits on Trent University’s Board of Governors. Most recently, he was instrumental in helping develop the Trent University Alumni Association’s Strategic Directions Plan.
“Garry has make lifelong contributions to the post-secondary education landscape in the Durham Region supporting all three post-secondary institutions throughout his career of public service,” said Mr. Muldoon. “We are honoured that his commitment continues on the Board of the #1 primarily undergraduate institution in Ontario with a growing presence in Durham.”
Mr. Cubitt is part of a dedicated Trent family. His wife Vicki, daughter Catherine Switzer, and daughter-in-law Stephanie Cubitt, are all Trent grads.
“I believe Trent has been a key part of who I am, and whatever positive impacts or accomplishments I may have been able to realize,” said Mr. Cubbit in his acceptance speech. “I deeply believe in the quality of the Trent University experience, believe its values and tenets are strong building blocks for our future efforts, and present a strong model from which we can learn. I share these thoughts often and believe that this Trent influence has realized positive impacts in the communities and organizations I have served. Certainly, any accomplishments for which I may be being recognized tonight, I attribute in great part to the Trent impact on my life.”