FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2023
WINDSOR, ONTARIO – The Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County (MCC) has announced this year’s recipients of the Herb Gray Harmony Award and the MCC Champion Award.
“For more than 20 years, the MCC Awards Gala has been an opportunity to express gratitude to individuals and organizations who embody our mission and vision.” said Fred Francis, MCC Executive Director, “This year’s recipients have directly contributed to making Windsor-Essex a more welcoming community for all. We are proud and excited to invite the community to join us as we recognize our deserving honourees.”
The Herb Gray Harmony Award, established to recognize individuals and groups who have made an outstanding contribution to building a more welcoming community for all in Windsor-Essex, will be presented to Dr. Patti France, President of St. Clair College.
Dr. Patti France has over 35 years of experience in the post-secondary education sector. She holds a Bachelor of Adult Education Degree from Brock University and a Master of Adult Education Degree from St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia.
On September 1, 2015 she was appointed the sixth President, and first female President, of St. Clair College.
Patti’s board and committee involvements are extensive, reaching beyond education to include the enhancement of healthcare, social services and technological infrastructure in our community.
Patti has been involved in the Windsor Regional Hospital Board of Directors and the Human Resources Sub-Committee, WFCU Credit Union Board of Directors, Connecting Windsor-Essex Chair, United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex “Women Leading the Way in Windsor-Essex” member, Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce Gold Circle member, Pathway to Potential, Chatham-Kent Community Leaders’ Cabinet member, Committee of Presidents of Ontario Colleges member, and School Boards in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent.
In 2017, Patti was awarded the ATHENA Award recognizing women leaders in our community. Additionally, she is a Rotary 1918 Paul Harris Fellow Award Recipient, and in 2022 she received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Assumption University for outstanding contributions to higher education in the community and she was awarded with a key to the City of Windsor for assisting the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patti’s personal involvement in various charitable causes has been reflected by the College’s support of a number of community projects and programs during her Presidency. This includes the Special Olympics and food banks across Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent.
Patti encourages the use of the term “community college” to demonstrate St. Clair’s efforts to enhance the well-being of citizens throughout southwestern Ontario.
Leading a diverse student body with high international student enrollment, Patti has contributed greatly to creating an inclusive and welcoming campus, while at the same time promoting Windsor-Essex globally as a destination for higher education.
The Champion Award celebrates the contributions that immigrants make to our community. This year, the honour will be presented to Mr. Biagio (Bill) Marra, President and CEO of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.
Born in Cantone Ticino, Switzerland, Mr. Bill Marra carries both a Canadian and Italian Citizenship.
Along with his parents, Bill immigrated to Windsor at the age of three. He attended W. D. Lowe Secondary School and obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degrees in both Sociology and then Criminology from the University of Windsor. Bill received the designation of a Certified Dispute Resolution Mediator through a joint University of Windsor and York University program, and then earned his Masters Certificate in Public Management from The Schulich School of Business at York University.
Currently President and CEO of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH), Bill previously held the position of Vice President of People, Mission, Communications & Corporate Affairs and President & Executive Director of the Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital Foundation.
Since being named President and CEO, Bill has led a person-centered model of care change in the Complex Medical Care and Palliative Units, introduced Personal Support Workers to the healthcare unit, established a HDGH Wellness Committee, and formed an EDII Alliance.
Prior to his time at HDGH, Bill worked in the Criminal Justice & Social Services Sector.
Bill was also a six term Windsor City Councillor serving for a total of 21 years. In that time, he participated on dozens of committees, boards and commissions.
A passionate and dedicated community volunteer for nearly 40 years, Bill has received many awards and acknowledgements. These include a Municipal Recognition Award in 2022 for his role and support with COVID-19 Relief Efforts and Services as well as the Queen’s Jubilee Award in 2012 for outstanding community service benefiting Canadians.
Bill also received the 2016 Canadian Italian Business Professional Association Community Service Award.
Presentation of to this year’s recipients will take place at the 2023 MCC Awards Gala, to be held on May 4th at the Ciociaro Club. Attendees can look forward to celebrating the diverse and vibrant culture of Cuba with this year’s theme “Havana Nights”.
For more information including ticket, corporate table and sponsorship information, please visit www.themcc.com or call 519-255-1127.
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MCC Community Engagement
Celebrating 50 years in 2023, the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County’s mission is to create a welcoming community for all through education, community engagement and the promotion of diversity and equality. We provide award-winning programming in the areas of Language, Orientation, Settlement and Integration, Health and Wellness, Employment, Special Events, and Community Engagement.
We are exceedingly proud of our history of offering varied programs and of serving as the lead agency for numerous major initiatives in our community. As champions of diversity and harmony, our organization strives to identify and address cultural and societal barriers throughout our city, county, and region.