Dellelce named Purple and White Award winner

By Jason Winders
March 06, 2014

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DellelceSpecial to Western News

Perry Dellelce never wanted to leave his Western Experience behind. And the university couldn’t be happier he never did.

“I knew then, as a student, it was the best time of my life, and the only way to keep experiencing university life was to stay involved,” said Dellelce, BA’85, founding and managing partner at Wildeboer Dellelce LLP. “To this day, every September, I get a little tinge in the back of my mind, a little thing reminding me how much I would love to be going back to school.”

So, Dellelce stayed connected. Through the years, he has remained active in all aspects of the alumni organization.

In honour of that dedication, Western recently named Dellelce as the winner of the 2014 Purple and White Award. The award is part of Western's Founder's Day 2014 celebration. On Friday, March 7, the university community remembers the contributions of its founders and celebrates the work of its students, staff, faculty and alumni.

Created in 1997, the Purple and White Award recognizes outstanding friends and graduates of Western and celebrates their continuing support of the academic mission of the university through their enduring philanthropic interest in the institution. Previous recipients of the Purple and White Award have included Don Wright, BA’33, DMus’86; Paul Beeston, BA’67, LLD’94; and William T. Brock, MBA’63, LLD’05.

In the award’s history, 11 men and three corporations have been honoured, but none since 2008.

Western will present Dellelce his award at a gala tonight in Toronto.

To say Dellelce has been defined by his Western Experience would be an understatement. And for Dellelce, that means starting his story in Sydenham Hall.

“In those first few weeks on campus as a young man, I just remember the camaraderie within residence life. There was the tradition of the university, of course, yet it was infused with youth and fun and vibrancy – all the things the first year of university should be,” he said.

Dellelce remains connected to a core group of Sydenham Hall friends from those early days. Not surprisingly, he said, that experience was set up to create tight bonds.

“Residence life lets you build bonds when you are most vulnerable, likely away from home for the first time,” he continued. “At Western, it was so well done. The commitment by the university was undeniable, and it set the foundation for us to make lifelong friends.”

A key part of those days involved Jean Dunlop – a “mom away from home” – who served as the residence’s secretary for 12 years.

“She was a special woman. You could go to her with anything,” Dellelce said.

During Campaign Western, Dellelce led a group of former residents of Sydenham Hall in a tribute to their former “den mother.” Together, the alumni raised more than $500,000 to support the Sydenham Hall-Jean Dunlop Residence Bursaries, a fund that helps students pay for the residence expenses. Dellelce has also provided financial support to Western’s Faculty of Law, student awards and the Western Fund.

“I grew up in a family dedicated to community service. It wasn’t a question of ‘if,’ but ‘where’ and ‘what,’” he said. “Right from the start, right from those early days at Western, I knew that’s where my dedication would be.”

In 2002, Dellelce received the Albert Citation, which was awarded to a Western graduate “who embodies the spirit of Western through their long-standing dedication to the university and exceptional efforts to enrich the university community and the lives of students.”

At Western, Dellelce has served on numerous committees, including the President’s Council, Alumni Association’s Board of Directors and, most recently, as deputy chair, academic programs, on the Be Extraordinary Campaign Executive Committee.

Beyond Western, Dellelce supports Canada’s Walk of Fame, Merry Go Round Children’s Foundation, Sunnybrook Foundation and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

He speaks fondly of letters he receives from students thanking his family or his partners for their support. Although honoured by official expressions of thanks, Dellelce said, those few words from students make his efforts worth every moment and dollar.

“When you get a true note of gratitude from a student, that’s the one time you know you have made a difference,” Dellelce said. “You can give millions to cancer research, but you’ll never truly know if you made a difference – sadly. But giving to a university, you can move the needle and see a direct impact.

“Education is the great equalizer. There are tons of great and worthy causes out there, but if we educate people properly, especially those who might not get that education otherwise, many of the problems of this world could be solved. Asking myself ‘Where is my time best spent?’ and ‘Where would I most want to spend it?’, that’s how I ended up back at Western.”

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The Purple and White Award recognizes outstanding friends and graduates of Western and celebrates their continuing support of the academic mission of the university through enduring philanthropic interest. Starting in 1997, the award has honoured 11 men and three corporations. It has not been awarded since 2008.

Previous Purple and White Award recipients are:


1997 Don Wright, BA’33, DMus’86;

1998 Paul Beeston, BA’67, LLD’94;

1999 Grant Reuber, BA’50 Honors, LLD’85;

2000 Scott Paterson, BA’85;

2001 Henry Cheng, HBA’71, MBA’72, LLD’97;

2003 Donald K. Johnson, MBA’63, LLD’07, and John A. Schweitzer, BA’74, LLD’11;

2004 William T. Brock, MBA’63, LLD’05, and Donald Rix, BA’53, MD’57;

2005 Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life;

2006 3M Canada Company;

2007 Whit Tucker, BA’62 ;

2008 TD Bank Financial Group; and

2014 Perry Dellelce, BA’85.


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