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Seeds of Hope

Gift to U of T will help students make the most of their opportunity

A man whose Czechoslovakian parents came to Toronto more than 70 years ago seeking opportunities has made a gift to U of T to help students make the most of theirs.

James Hosinec has donated $1 million to support first-year undergraduate scholarships for students in need. The 82-year-old Toronto resident will augment his gift with a bequest of approximately $1.5 million to increase the annual value of the scholarships over time. “I want to help ambitious students take advantage of opportunities I never had,” he says.

Born in the Czechoslovakian village of Kuzmino, located in present-day Ukraine, Hosinec arrived in Canada with his mother in 1934. His father had been living in Toronto for several years, and, fearing another war, had borrowed money to bring his family out of Europe. “In my youth, I thought about becoming a doctor or lawyer,” says Hosinec. “But I decided to work. My family needed the money.”

Hosinec joined the Canadian Armed Forces and was stationed in British Columbia and Nova Scotia during the Second World War. After the war, he worked as a photographer before joining Ontario Hydro.

Although Hosinec had no affinity to U of T prior to his donation, he says he wanted to give money to an established institution whose graduates will make a difference. “These scholarships will help students make something of themselves,” he says. “And that will benefit society as a whole.”

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