On Campus

Rewarding a community-minded spirit

A commitment to volunteering and giving back through many organizations and causes has earned Dave D’Oyen this year’s James G. Wright Award from the McGill Alumni Association.

Story by McGill News

April 2019

Dave D’Oyen’s commitment to helping others has been a steady constant in his life. 

As a student in his native Jamaica, he would visit seniors’ residences as part of a high school outreach club. Through his church, he helped prepare and deliver food to those in need.

D’Oyen, BA’13, wanted to bring that same community-minded spirit to McGill where he majored in Industrial Relations.

The fact that he received financial aid from McGill for his studies played a role in his active volunteerism on campus, but it wasn’t the only reason. 

“I have a natural inclination to do good, I think,” says D’Oyen, BA’13. “We have many in this world who need help and it’s just a moral imperative of us to leave the world in a better place than we got it.”

D’Oyen jumped into campus life, joining activities that helped children in care and homeless youth. He served on committees and welcomed new students to McGill as a Student Life Ambassador and international buddy.

Not surprisingly, community engagement remains a central theme in D’Oyen’s post-McGill life. Since relocating to Toronto, he has volunteered on numerous committees, including with the Toronto Police Service and the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. He also sits on the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

An equity and diversity consultant at the City of Toronto, D’Oyen is this year’s recipient of the McGill Alumni Association’s James G. Wright Award, which recognizes exemplary service to the community by a young McGill alumnus/alumna. He will receive the award on May 8 at the MAA’s Honours and Awards banquet in Montreal.

A proud McGill alumnus, D’Oyen is one of the fathers of the Toronto McGill24 event in 2016, which drew more than 300 people to the fundraiser. He has also volunteered at McGill Send-Offs and Rendezvous events for newly admitted students. What does he tell the incoming students?

“Build a support network. Make sure you’re meeting as many persons as you can. Of course you want good people in your network because you want healthy relationships—people who will be there to look out for you and help you as necessary because you can’t do this alone,” he says.

D’Oyen credits McGill Principal Emerita Dr. Heather Munroe-Blum with being helpful and supportive of him in his career journey. In explaining that support, Dr. Munroe-Blum says, “Dave is a very special person, gifted in his capacity and commitment to doing good in his community, and to assessing where best his talents can be placed to do that good. He was a remarkable McGill student, student leader and McGill community contributor, and he demonstrated early and consistently the values he holds dear: to do the right thing and to do it in the right way. He wears McGill on his sleeve and in his heart. It’s terrific that he is now bringing his talents to bear as Consultant, Equity and Diversity, for the City of Toronto and that we at McGill can always claim him as ‘ours’.”

D’Oyen would like to encourage McGill alumni to become a sponsor – “really help someone to open the door so they can launch their career.” 

The difference between a mentor and a sponsor, is that a sponsor actively seeks opportunities for you, he says. 

D’Oyen says he’s grateful to donors and others who advocate for education accessibility like Dr. Munroe-Blum, and support student aid. 

“There are a lot of needy students such as myself who are entirely and wholeheartedly grateful for the opportunity to study there, and of course [that] would not be possible unless people gave of their treasure, made donations to help someone in financial need.”

Read more about McGill Alumni Association Honours and Award winners.

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