Thank You

Special Thanks to Our Partners & Donors

Spanning the Gaps would like to extend special thanks to the following partners:

Dr. William Waters

In the fall of 2008 Dr. William Waters and his wife Phyllis made a generous donation of $1 million to Spanning the Gaps Access to Post-Secondary Education. By providing financial support for students and enhancing program opportunities, the donation has helped to transform lives and create educational opportunities by opening the door to post-secondary education for many marginalized youth and adults.

A highly successful entrepreneur and respected academic, Dr. Waters understands what it means to be a non-traditional student who is struggling financially. He received his first degree in his late 20s because economic circumstances only allowed for part-time studies.

Dr. William Waters and Dr.Rona Abramovitch, Office of The Provost and VP Academic Advisor on Access and Outreach

Dr. William Waters and Dr.Rona Abramovitch, Office of The Provost and VP Academic Advisor on Access and Outreach

“My life experience has taught me that fate and chance play roles in shaping everyone’s life but for some incredibly more than for others,” Dr. Waters said. “It was my good fortune to have a mother who encouraged and supported me quietly with little thanks every step of the way to high school graduation and beyond. Now I reflect on those who don’t have such a mother, or have had no real opportunity because of their familial circumstances or have just lost their way. Our society is coming to the understanding that these young and some not-so-young people deserve more than a favourable beckon from the fickle finger of fate to shape their destiny. I am very pleased that Ryerson University has created its Spanning the Gaps programs and that Phyllis and I can contribute to further its exemplary endeavours.”

On receiving the gift, Ryerson University President and Vice-Chancellor Sheldon Levy said “Spanning the Gaps reaches out to students who are rarely typical and need their confidence raised in a way that makes the next steps possible to take. The investment requires faith, but the return is incalculable for each and every student whose life will change so dramatically. The leadership of Bill and Phyllis in advancing the well-being of our community is an inspiration. Ryerson is proud to partner with the Waters to encourage a remarkable group of students to aim high.”

Sugi Kumaresan, FMA, CFP, of The Kumaresan – CIBC Wood Gundy Team

Sugi Kumaresan is an Investment Advisor that continues to make contributions to the Spanning the Gaps program.  We greatly appreciates Mr. Kumaresan for his support and dedication in furthering the success of young and mature students’ access to post secondary education through Spanning the Gaps .

Community Partners

  • City Adult Learning Centre (CALC)
  • Independent Learning Centre (ILC)​
  • Pathways to Education
  • Toronto District School Board (TDSB)​

Awards / Bursaries

The Elaine Stanton Award for Academic Excellence in the Bridges to Ryerson Program is a merit-based award provided by The Chang School.

The Wellesley Institute–Blickstead Family Award for students taking courses in Spanning the Gaps was established by Rick Blickstead, President & CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association, and Martha Lee-Blickstead, Program Director, Community Services, The Chang School.

Additional Awards and Financial Aid:

Student Participants

Thank you to all the students that participated in the digital narratives project, thank you for sharing your insights and experiences in your transition to post-secondary education. All of your stories are important for others to see that a higher education is possible for everyone and you are that proof… “Our Story, Is Your Story”.

  • Andrew Goary
  • Ashianna Batchoo
  • Andre Reid
  • Chris Munro
  • Clinton Reid
  • Francine Campbell
  • Jennifer Johnson
  • Lee-Stahr Robertson
  • Meghan McArthur
  • Lara Bakare
  • Rudhra Persad
  • Tahir Grant
  • Tali Ajimal
  • Tracy Francis

Digital Narrative Filming/Production Team

  • Whimsical Productions – Director Sheena D Robertson and D.O.P. Richard Fung
  • All of the Spanning the Gaps staff, team and supporters – O’neil Edwards, Hirma Leon , Janice Pinto, Sarah Gaikwad, Tonisha Boyd, Andre Reid, Michelle Green
  • Tracy Francis, for your vision and project management
Programs offered
at Spanning the Gaps →
What are some of the obstacles you have faced related to education?
What were your main concerns about returning to school?
What is your advice for future Spanning the Gaps students?