The annual Arbor Awards are the University of Toronto's highest honours, given to alumni or friends who have performed extraordinary volunteer service at the university. The awards were established in 1989, and have since been received by about 2,400 people, out of more than 600,000 U of T alumni worldwide. This year's recipients include four people who were nominated specifically for their service to the Daniels Faculty.
The Daniels Faculty's honourees are:
Barry Sampson (BArch 1972) is a longtime professor (now professor emeritus) at the Daniels Faculty, and a principal at Baird Sampson Neuert Architects. As a career educator, he has inspired and mentored successive generations of students in the technically demanding field of whole-building design. He was chosen for an Arbor Award as a result of his many extracurricular contributions to life at the Faculty — particularly his service as an advisor to the dean during construction of the Daniels Building. "This is a very much appreciated and unanticipated honour," Sampson wrote in an email. "It has been particularly satisfying for me to have had many opportunities over the years to support the work of the Faculty and, ultimately, assist in creating a fitting new home for it at a prominent location within the University of Toronto and city."
Jane Welsh (MScPl 2000) is a project manager at Toronto City Planning and also president of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects governing council. Her Arbor Award recognizes her efforts to engage the OALA's membership in support of the Michael Hough/OALA Visiting Critic in Landscape Architecture, an endowed position that continually enriches the Daniels Faculty's landscape architecture program. Welsh has also personally mentored several Master of Landscape Architecture students and has been a frequent participant in the Faculty's student-professional networking events. "I think it's so important to foster emerging practitioners in landscape architecture," she says. "It's a very important profession — especially in the world we're in now."
Blanchaer has played a pivotal role in city-building, both as a principal at WZMH Architects (a role from which he is now retired) and as a member of Toronto's Design Review Panel, which helps shape the municipal government's response to high-stakes development proposals. Carl also serves on the University of Toronto's Design Review Committee, where he has volunteered his expert judgment on countless campus design projects, including the St. George Campus Secondary Plan. On top of that, he has, on many occasions from 2016 to the present, generously volunteered his time as a guest critic during the Daniels Faculty's design reviews, making him a crucial bridge to the design professions and development community. "I feel like I've been very fortunate with the opportunities that I've had in my professional career, and volunteering at the university was an opportunity to give back to the community in a way where I could offer some experience and expertise," Blanchaer says. "I was really taken aback by the award, but obviously I was incredibly pleased. I never expected any recognition."
Heather Dubbeldam is the principal of Dubbeldam Architecture + Design and a past chair of the Toronto Association of Architects. Heather is known within the profession as an advocate for racial and gender equity — a cause she advances in her role as advisory vice chair of Building Equality in Architecture Toronto (BEAT). Her Arbor Award recognizes her role in helping establish the Daniels Faculty's student-professional networking event series, as well as her time spent as a guest critic during the Faculty's design reviews. "Engagement between students and professionals really helps to strengthen our profession," she says. "There's so much new thinking that's happening at the school, and that can really enrich the practice of architecture."