The UWI welcomes Scotiabank’s extended partnership for Toronto Benefit Gala and Student Scholarships

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) celebrates Scotiabank’s commitment to extend title sponsorship of The UWI Toronto Benefit Gala for another five years. Mr. Brendan King, Sr. Vice President, Scotiabank International Banking made the revelation during a visit to The UWI this week.  Mr. King also shared Scotiabank’s pledge to increase its annual support for student scholarships to CAD $75,000 annually, for a five-year cycle as well.

Over the past 10 years, The UWI and Scotiabank have enjoyed a fruitful relationship in which Scotiabank has been the lead sponsor for The UWI Toronto Benefit Gala. The annual event which is the University’s largest fundraising event in Canada, provides scholarships to empower students with a world-class education that shapes future generations of the Caribbean.

Mr. King visited the regional university’s Mona Campus on January 21 and its St Augustine Campus on January 22 to discuss areas of mutual interest. He met with Chancellor of The UWI, Mr Robert Bermudez, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal at The UWI Mona, Professor Dale Webber and Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal at The UWI St Augustine, Professor Brian Copeland, among other senior University Executives. He also toured facilities and interacted with some of the past and current beneficiaries of Scotiabank scholarships on each of these campuses.

In welcoming Mr King to the University’s Regional Headquarters in Jamaica, Executive Director of The UWI’s Institutional Advancement Division, Mrs. Elizabeth Buchanan-Hind drew attention to The UWI’s strategic intent to continue nurturing industry-academic partnerships, as these she said, not only yielded tremendous results for the parties involved but also for the wider Caribbean community. She noted in particular that the Toronto Benefit Gala, a fixture on the Toronto social calendar, enjoyed tremendous support from corporate Canada and had raised close to CAD $2 million and awarded 500 scholarships across the region since its inception.

Speaking during Mr King’s visit to The UWI Mona Campus, Professor Dale Webber shared that The UWI’s strategic goals are focused on access, alignment and agility. He said, “This commitment from Scotiabank to support our students will certainly improve the University’s capacity to provide access.” He added that it comes on the heels of donations from the University’s Chancellor, Mr Robert Bermudez and Prime Minister of Jamaica the Most Honourable Prime Minister Andrew Holness towards the end of 2019. “We are grateful that different entities are coming forward to support our students. It shows great confidence in them. This I believe will be instrumental for them to achieve their full potential.”

When Mr King visited The UWI St Augustine Campus, Professor Brian Copeland expressed gratitude to Scotiabank for its increased support, noting that The UWI shares the bank’s commitment to sustainable business and creating a better future for all. Professor Copeland revealed that aligned with this, the campus is in the process of creating an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem that will support innovators and entrepreneurs, primarily from the student body, to develop globally competitive, technologically advanced start-ups. He noted that his vision for students of the region is that they would help to create a UWI Caribbean Mittelstand, a greatly enhanced SME sector that would contribute to at least 30% of foreign exports by 2034.

Mr. King underscored Scotiabank’s commitment to the Caribbean region and developing its future leaders. “At Scotiabank, we believe in the importance of investing in the youth of our communities to help them reach their infinite potential. We know that how we support young people today can help them for tomorrow, and that’s why we want to help them thrive. Our sponsorship will now include 15 Scotiabank Scholarships per year, designated to support students in need of financial aid.  Through these scholarships, more students will have the opportunity to experience the incredible benefits from higher education.”

Now into its second decade, the 2020 UWI Toronto Benefit Gala, to be hosted at the Toronto Ritz Carlton on April 4, 2020, will recognise honorees Dr. David Suzuki (Luminary Award); The Honourable Margaret McCain (G. Raymond Chang Award); Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited (Chancellor Award); Mr. Harold Braithwaite, Dr. Gervan Fearon, and Ms. Shastri Ramnath (Vice-Chancellor Award).  Further information on the event can be obtained at

Photo Caption: Mr. Brendan King and team with UWI Execs and UWI Toronto Gala Scholarship recipients at UWI St Augustine Campus