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Celebrating alumni excellence

Sathish Bala, Bruce McCuaig, David McKibbon, Louise Penny and Anna Amy Ho to be honoured at Alumni Achievement Awards
July 18, 2017
Clockwise from top, left: Sathish Bala, Anna Amy Ho, bruce McCuaig, Louise Penny and David McKibbon

Photo: The five alumni achievement award recipients, clockwise from top left: Sathish Bala, Anna Amy Ho, Bruce McCuaig, Louise Penny and David McKibbon.

Four distinguished Ryerson alumni and one recent graduate will be honoured at this year’s Alumni Achievement Awards ceremony. Founded in 1998 to mark the school’s 50th anniversary, the annual awards recognize individuals who have not only excelled in their respective careers, but who have also made a significant contribution to their profession, their community and their country.

This year, Sathish Bala (Computer Science ’99), Bruce McCuaig (Urban and Regional Planning ’84), David McKibbon (Architectural Science ’83), and Louise Penny (RTA ’79) are receiving the 2017 Alumni Award of Distinction. Anna Amy Ho (Social Work ’15) is recognized with the Isadore Sharp Outstanding Recent Graduate Award.

A recognized leader in digital marketing and branding, Sathish Bala launched his first company, Spyder Designs, with two fellow students while in his final year at Ryerson. Building upon his entrepreneurial experience, he launched NewAge Inc. in 2000. Seven years later, Bala combined his passion for marketing with his background in technology to create BlueBand Digital, a turnkey digital marketing agency with offices in Toronto, Montreal, India and Costa Rica. Bala sold BlueBand Digital and is now vice-president of digital and innovation at Arrivals+Departures. He also raises awareness of Canadian-South Asian musicians through his not-for-profit desiFEST Music.

Bruce McCuaig has a 33-year record of public service in the transportation and land-use planning sectors. He has successfully risen through the ranks in the Ontario Public Service, serving first in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the last 15 years in the Ministry of Transportation, where he was deputy minister. McCuaig became president and chief executive officer of Metrolinx on Sept. 4, 2010. In March 2017, he accepted a new job with the federal government in the Privy Council Office as executive adviser, to support the launch of the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

David McKibbon is responsible for the leadership and management of Cadillac Fairview’s Project Management team and projects. McKibbon is senior vice-president, project management at Cadillac Fairview and he joined the firm in 2013. He has played a key role in expanding the project management team and enhancing processes to execute $4 billion in development projects. A longtime friend to Ryerson, McKibbon was a key figure in establishing the David E. Handley Studios in the School of Architectural Science last year.

Louise Penny started her career at the CBC as a radio host while still a student at Ryerson. After graduation, she had a successful radio career hosting programs, producing documentaries and covering Morningside for Peter Gzowski. In her subsequent career as a writer of critically acclaimed crime fiction, Penny has authored 13 novels set in Quebec featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. She is a #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author, and her novels have been published in 28 languages.

2015 graduate Anna Amy Ho lived a childhood overshadowed by violence, abuse and loss. Despite this, her resiliency has led her to help others in traumatic situations as a crisis counsellor and violence prevention program co-ordinator at Victim Services Toronto. She continues to be a child welfare advocate, ambassador and volunteer with agencies and organizations in the community including as an executive board member for Radio Ryerson Inc. She has spoken at the United Nations Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child and at government, corporate, non-profit and educational events. In 2015, Ho received the Attorney General's Victim Services Award of Distinction.

This year’s awards ceremony will be the centerpiece of the annual Ryerson Dinner on October 14, 2017, hosted by alumna Sangita Patel, Electrical Engineering ’02, host of HGTV's Home to Win and Entertainment Tonight Canada. If you would like to attend, book a seat or table of eight online today. To learn about sponsorship opportunities, contact Cynthia Wilchynski at

Nominations for the Alumni Achievement Awards are accepted all year long. For more information, visit Ryerson Alumni.