2015 Herb Gray Harmony Award Gala

The Multicultural Council of Windsor Essex County would like to honor the 2015 Harmony and Champion Awards recipients. The Herb Gray Harmony Award was introduced in 2002 to honour the Right Honourable Herb Gray in recognition of his distinguished service to Canada and this community for over 40 years. The awards where presented at the gala event held on Thursday April 23rd at the Ciociaro Club.

2015 Harmony Award Winner

Dr. John Strasser

The Harmony Award was established to recognize individuals/groups who have actively promoted the social equality of all cultures and who have made an outstanding contribution to encourage and build a community that is multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-faith.
Dr. John Strasser is the President and CEO of St. Clair College of Applied Arts and Technology. His leadership skills and vision have enabled the College to play a critical role in transforming our community. During his presidency, the College has experienced a dramatic increase in enrolment levels, it has introduced new academic programs and has transformed the College campuses through projects such as the Ford Centre for Excellence in Manufacturing, the MediaPlex, the St. Clair College Centre for the Arts and the Student Success Centre in downtown Windsor, the Centre for Applied Health Sciences, the Centre for Construction, Innovation and Production and the SportsPlex. The College is now positioned as the leading post-secondary educator of health care workers in the Province of Ontario.
In addition to expanding and diversifying the College, Dr. Strasser has played a pivotal role in increasing the College’s presence in the community and enhancing its role in the identification and removal of barriers. Through partnerships with the Multicultural Council and other immigrant serving agencies, the College has led many provincial initiatives aimed at supporting foreign trained professionals with credential evaluation, advanced standing and prior learning assessment. These strategies have enabled foreign trained professionals to integrate successfully and to contribute to the social, cultural and economic fabric of our community. To ensure that St. Clair College students have a choice of global pathways to reach their maximum potential, the College has signed articulation agreements with educational, medical and industrial institutions in Canada, the United States of America, Central America, Mexico, Australia and China.
In addition to this, in the past decade, under his leadership, community organizations have also benefited financially from College initiatives. The College has raised funds for organizations such as the United Way, the Haiti Relief Fund, the Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association, Special Olympics, Brentwood, Children’s Safety Village, the John McGivney Children’s Rehabilitation Centre and Hospice.
Dr. Strassers’ leadership and vision has positioned St. Clair College as a leading educational institution in Ontario and as a key community partner committed to the values of diversity and inclusion and to making Windsor – Essex a more welcoming community for all.

2015 Champion Award Winner

Mario Collavino

The Champion Award celebrates the contributions that immigrants make to our community.
Mario Collavino is a successful entrepreneur born in Udine, Italy. After completing his studies in architecture and design, he immigrated to Canada in 1952 in search for a better future. He found a job with a local cement company earning 60 cents/hour and two years later, in partnership with his brother Valentino, he established Collavino Brothers Construction. First building homes followed by civil construction work and then expanded into pre-engineered and pre-fabricated facets of construction.
In 1990 Mario took over the General Contracting Business while his brother headed the pre-engineered and pre-fabricated company. Mario’s leadership, vision and determination took his company to new heights. Working with his sons Renzo and Paolo they established the Collavino Group of Companies, a diversified construction company responsible for landmark projects worldwide such as the 50 storey Borgatta Casino in Atlantic City, Ford Field Football Stadium, Comerica Park Baseball Stadium, Windsor’s WFCU centre, University of Windsor Engineering Building, One World Trade Centre and the Windsor-Essex Parkway project.
Mario’s hard work, vision, dedication and the support from his family have played a pivotal role in positioning the Collavino Group of Companies as one of the top 50 Canadian Construction Companies. Over the years, he has received many recognitions including an Honorary Civil Engineering Degree from the University of Udine, Italy and Gold Lion from the Lions Club Udine Host and Lions International. Mario and the Collavino Group have also been recognized with the CIBPA Family Business of the Year Award, the Concrete Industry Board 2012 Roger H. Corbetta Annual Award presented for One World Trade Centre project and many more.
Mario and his family have shared their successes with the community. They have contributed to many local charities including Hospice, Autism Society, Cancer Society, T2B, United Way, Canadian Handicapable Association and St. Peter’s Seminary.
Mario has never forgotten his roots, in 2011, Mario and his brother Valentino unveiled a statue of an immigrant that they commissioned in their hometown in Italy, a great reminder of the sacrifices immigrants make in search for a better life.