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Niagara University Hosts Inaugural President’s Dinner in Ontario

Philanthropist Ginesia Cortellucci accepts the St. Vincent de Paul Award from the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president
Philanthropist Ginesia Cortellucci accepts the St. Vincent de Paul Award from the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president, at the inaugural President's Dinner in Ontario.

Two outstanding members of the Ontario community were honoured at the inaugural Niagara University President’s Dinner in Ontario, June 22 at the Riviera Event Space. The event also raised scholarship support for students attending classes at the university’s Vaughan, Ontario, campus.

Medhat Mahdy, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Toronto and president of the YMCA Ontario, was presented with the Legacy of Service Award in recognition of his dedication to advancing vibrant communities and social inclusion so people of all ages and stages can reach their full potential. Through his work with the YMCA, which has spanned more than 45 years as a member, volunteer, donor, and leader, he has fostered initiatives such as the Cooper Koo Family YMCA, the Wagner Green YMCA for youth in need of housing, the YMCA Sprott House for 2SLGBTQ+ youth and, most recently, the YMCA at the David Braley Vaughan Centre. He is currently leading the development of three additional Centres of Community – two of which are under construction in the Greater Toronto Area.

Mahdy has also served on a number of high-profile task forces, including the steering committee for the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada, the Government of Ontario’s Healthy Kids Panel, Health Canada’s Healthy Living Task Force, and VOICE in Health Policy. He is also chair of the board of trustees of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and a member of the York Region Human Services planning board.

Philanthropist Ginesia Cortellucci was recognized with the St. Vincent de Paul Award for her exceptional service to her community. While supporting her husband’s business and raising her family, Cortellucci has led numerous fundraising events and volunteered on committees for causes including the Universal Youth Foundation, the Knights of Malta, the Sick Kids Foundation, and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. She supports the Diabetes Society, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and her church, and assisted at her children’s schools. She has spent countless hours collecting items to donate to families and the elderly in need during the holidays and provided meals for local healthcare workers through the height of the COVID pandemic.

Cortellucci is a dame with The Grand Prior of Canada of the Knights Hospitaller of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta, a nonprofit organization and one of the oldest orders of chivalry, which is active in charitable assistance around the globe.

The evening also included remarks by the Honourable Maurizio Bevilacqua, mayor of the City of Vaughan; the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University; students Arianna Antoinette Comella and Lubna Abu-Jazar; and dinner co-chairs Paul Harrietha and Frank Fazzari. The Very Rev. Stephen Grozio, C.M., provincial of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission, gave the invocation, and the national anthems of Canada and the United States were performed by Comella.

With ministerial consent and accreditation by the Ontario College of Teachers, Niagara University’s Faculty of Education has offered programs in Ontario for more than 35 years. In addition to the Bachelor of Professional Studies in Education and Master of Science in Education, Niagara University offers a Master of Science in Information Security and Digital Forensics, Master of Science in Finance, and Master of Business Administration in Ontario.

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