“Cressy” Awards for Molly Dea-Stephenson and Sanghoon Oh

Published: March 18, 2021

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Molly Dea-Stephenson and Sanghoon Oh, two of our Philosophy undergraduates, have been awarded a University of Toronto Student Leadership (“Cressy”) Award for their sustained and enthusiastic efforts on behalf of the student community.

Molly, who is in the final year of her bachelor’s degree, has become a well-known entity in the department. Serving not only in various roles on the Philosophy Course Union (PCU) Executive Committee since 2017 (Women and Minorities in Philosophy chair, co-president, and, most recently, event co-ordinator) but also teaching through the Socrates Project and volunteering at numerous departmental events geared toward undergraduates, she has steadfastly pursued the improvement of all aspects of student life at the university. In particular, she has emerged as a constant advocate of greater inclusiveness and equality, working to ensure that a wide range of voices is heard and creating safe spaces for students to speak on challenging issues such as mental health.

That she has consecutively held three elected, sought-after positions within the PCU shows the confidence and trust that her peers have placed in Molly. The undergraduate student union’s rejuvenation under her leadership in fact stands as her greatest point of pride in being awarded the Cressy. She says, “Winning this award really means a lot to me. The PCU has been at the heart of my experience at U of T. As a result, it was incredibly heartening to even be nominated for this award. More than anything, I am just so proud of how strong the PCU has become and am honoured that anyone feels I have helped strengthen it over the years. I am now completely confident in the executive we have and am very excited to see the PCU flourish in the years to come.”

Sanghoon, a fourth-year student, has equally focused his leadership energies on fostering an open, welcoming, and diversified environment at the university and the department, especially for incoming students. As first an assistant peer mentor and now the lead mentor in the Department of Philosophy’s PHL1 Mentorship program—designed to help first-year students interested in philosophy integrate into university life and meet like-minded peers—Sanghoon has gained a reputation as a personable and knowledgeable guide and interlocutor who truly cares about his charges.

He describes assisting others in finding their way as his greatest accomplishment and, with typical modesty, expresses surprise at his nomination for a student leadership award. He adds, “And while awards are great and all, I’m more thankful to the Philosophy Department for giving me the opportunities and worldview to engage with the community in a meaningful manner. The PHL1 program has been really foundational for me, and I hope that my mentees are finding it a supportive experience for them as well.” His combined interest in philosophy as a field and his desire to pave the way for a diversity of voices and thoughts in the U of T community have also filtered into Sanghoon’s second area of volunteer engagement: his editorial work for the undergraduate journal Noēsis, where he has strived, most recently as co-editor-in-chief, to highlight underrepresented philosophical topics and arguments, like African philosophy.

Gratitude and congratulations to both! It is thanks to your efforts that the Philosophy community and the university student community as a whole continue to improve.