University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

The Spirit of Sacrifice

Award is granted annually to a female Innis student who contributes the most to the community

Mary Ann Duffy (BEd 1981) was a born altruist and educator whose teaching career took her from schools as diverse as the City Adult Learning Centre to the National Ballet School. So when her husband, Dennis Duffy (MA 1962, PhD 1964), a former principal of Innis College, established a bursary at Innis to honour student volunteerism, he naturally chose to name it after his late wife.

The Mary Ann Duffy Award is granted annually to the graduating female student at Innis who contributes the most to the community through volunteer work. Dennis Duffy designed the award to recognize the qualities he found most inspiring in his wife. “Mary Ann was extremely self-sacrificing,” he says. “How do you celebrate that virtue in others? You do so by creating an award for pure volunteerism. And I restricted the bursary to women because my wife was an active feminist.”

Dennis Duffy left his position as principal of Innis in 1984, but worked there until 2000. In 2001, he helped found the Vic One program for first-year students at Victoria University, where he serves as a professor emeritus of English. He continues to feel an attachment for Innis, and has met with each of the recipients of the Mary Ann Duffy Award since its inception in 2003. Through Duffy’s own initiative and matching funds from the provost’s office, the award’s endowment will stand at $200,000 at the end of 2005.

Tracy MacIntosh became the award’s first recipient in recognition of her volunteer work with the Daily Bread Food Bank and Beat the Street Learning Centre in Toronto. MacIntosh, who is now completing her master’s in public health and nutrition at Tufts University in Boston, says the bursary is important because it fosters student involvement beyond the classroom.

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