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: 2019 Arbor Award

If you are interested in nominating an individual for a 2019 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.

Nominations are due Thursday, April 11, 2019, by 11:59 pm (EST). Thank you.


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.

2016 Arbor Award Recipients

Sarah Armstrong (JD 2002) has given innumerable volunteer hours to the benefit of U of T's law students. For Sarah, maintaining a connection with the law school is very important. She has acted as a compulsory moot judge, participated on the Class of 2002 Reunion Committee, organized her firm's first year advocacy workshop for current students and been a strong role model for future litigators through the law school's mentorship program. She also helped launch the International Human Rights Program's Alumni Group and served on the committee to bring substantive programming to the program's alumni and friends.

Molly Leonard (JD 2010) Molly has actively participated in law's mentorship program since 2012. A firm believer in the transformative power of mentorship, she has connected with numerous students from the law school's LGBT community as well as students interested in starting a small legal practice or who share a passion for family law. From 2013 to 2016, she served on the Law Alumni Association Council and the Council's Alumni Services Sub-Committee. As part of the Alumni Services Sub-Committee, her work involved developing the framework for alumni events designed to engage law alumni across various geodemographics.

Past recipients

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