The Arbor Award was established in 1989 to recognize alumni volunteers for outstanding personal service to the university over a number of years. Since then, the University has annually acknowledged those alumni whose loyalty, dedication and generosity have added immeasurably to the quality of the University of Toronto experience for students, faculty, staff and alumni. They personify the very best attributes of the University’s motto, Velut Arbor Aevo – “May it grow as a tree through the ages.” Their work represents both our roots and our branches, which have served to anchor our traditions and spread the mission of this University – to meet global challenges and prepare global citizens.

In recent years, the awards have been extended to include friends whose volunteer efforts on behalf of the University of Toronto also richly deserve recognition. Many programs and services offered by the university would not exist without the loyalty and generous dedication of our alumni and friends.

Call for Nominations: 2020 Arbor Award

The call for nominations for the 2020 Arbor Award will open in Winter 2020. If you are interested in nominating an individual for a 2020 Arbor Award, please contact Wasila Baset, Associate Director, Alumni Programs, at or 416-946-8227.

Individuals who are nominated for the award have or are currently providing outstanding volunteer service to the Faculty of Law or the university at large for a minimum of three years.

Thank you.

2019 Arbor Award Recipient

Michael Dineen (LLB 2002) is a long-time advisor to students participating in Law School mooting competitions. He helped establish the appellate criminal law externship, which gives students opportunities to work on pending appeals going before the Ontario Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Canada.

2018 Arbor Award Recipients

Ari Blicker (LLB 1995) advises and supports U of T law students as they navigate recruitment in the legal profession. His annual cover letter presentation to first-year students is one of the most popular sessions offered by the Faculty of Law’s Career Development Office and has benefitted countless students with their job applications. Ari also participates in many other Career Development Office events in his capacity as Director, Student & Associate Programs for the law firm Aird & Berlis.

Angelo Gentile (JD 2006) has volunteered since 2011 for the Tax Advocacy Project, which provides legal representation to low-income clients in tax court. Piloted at U of T’s Faculty of Law, the Project now also operates in Ottawa and Edmonton. As the Project’s lead lawyer, Angelo provides core legal training to law-student volunteers, preparing them for upcoming hearings and providing ongoing mentorship and supervision.

Atrisha Lewis (JD 2012) is a dedicated volunteer in the Faculty of Law. She is an adjunct professor, coaching the Grand Moot and lecturing to students on motions and litigation strategy. Atrisha is also a prominent speaker on issues of diversity in the legal profession.

Laura Trachuk (LLB 1986) has coached many moot teams to victory in the Canadian Labour Arbitration Competition. The Faculty of Law is grateful for her extraordinary commitment to sharing her expertise in labour law with their students.

Maureen L. Whelton (LLB 1995) has coached U of T entries to the Jessup International Law Moot since 2011. Her commitment to students is remarkable. After her team advanced to the international rounds this year, she cancelled a family vacation to accompany the students to Washington.

2017 Arbor Award Recipients

Maggie Wente, LLB/MSW 2002, has volunteered at the Faculty of Law for almost a decade, mentoring Indigenous law students and alumni. She has helped the Indigenous Initiatives Office organize tours of her firm for JD students, and for participants in the Indigenous Youth Summer Program. In 2011, she supervised alumna (Class of 2013) Promise Holmes-Skinner's research on "true costs" of consultation on First Nations. In 2016, she gave a speech to first-year law students about social justice and importance of pro bono work and a lecture on First Nations Governments. In 2017, she coached the Kawaskimhon moot by reviewing student work.

Bryce Edwards, LLB 2002, has coached the Kawaskimhon moot for seven years. Kawaskimhon is a Cree word meaning "speaking with knowledge". This moot is conducted in accordance with Indigenous customs of peaceful negotiation and consensus building. Bryce has guided students with legal research and author-written submissions, but also teaches them negotiation strategies and public speaking skills. In 2013, he and Margaret Kenequanash, CEO of Wataynikaneyap Power, delivered a lecture at the law school called The Far North Act: The Best Worst Act Ever. For many years, he has given his time to speaking on an annual Aboriginal Law Practitioners Panel for students interested in the field.

Past recipients

Visit the Past Recipients page to see the other alumni and friends honoured by the Faculty of Law in recent years.