Mitchell Cohen, President of The Daniels Corporation, received a Doctor of Laws degree at Ryerson University’s Fall 2013 Convocation earlier this month.
After receiving the honour, Cohen spoke to Ryerson grads and others in the audience about his own graduation, reminiscing that he had “absolutely no idea” what he wanted to do when he left school.
“What I did know was that, along with all of us who had come of age in the sixties, I had an obligation, a responsibility in fact, to make the world a better place,” he said.
His career began after he answered a help-wanted ad in the Montreal Gazette and was hired as a community developer worker for the YMCA. Now, after 40 years of seeing his career evolve, Cohen is still doing community development work, the most obvious example being Daniels’ integral role in the ongoing Regent Park revitalization project.
During his speech, Cohen acknowledged Ryerson’s role in the revitalization of the community. The Daniels Centre of Learning, located on Dundas Street East in Regent Park, is led by the Centre for Community Learning and Development in collaboration with Ryerson, the University of Toronto and George Brown College.
“It is such an honour to receive this degree from a school that not only educates in the classroom, but in the broader community as a true city-builder,” Cohen said. He also paid tribute to John Daniels and all members of the Daniels team for their commitment to social justice and community building.
The developer’s commitment to the Regent Park community was on display last week, when the Paintbox Bistro hosted the graduation ceremony of the Dixon Hall Mill Centre Pre-Apprenticeship Carpentry Program. A group of young people received their certificates for completing the program in a ceremony that saw Daniels’ Vice President Martin Blake speak about the importance of community building. City Councillor Pam McConnell also attended the event.
Want to learn more about Daniels’ work in Regent Park? Get more info on One Park Place, the multi-phase condo project currently under construction in the neighbourhood.