Humber College Athletic Director Ray Chateau has been honoured as a gold recipient of Colleges and Institutes Canada’s (CICan) 2023 Leadership Excellence Award for Managerial Staff.

The award recognizes Chateau’s many accomplishments during his career at Humber as well as the leadership he has provided.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to receive the award, but I also think it’s reflective of the tremendous team I work with and the support they provide,” said Chateau.

 A smiling person wearing a Humber golf shirt.

Some of the highlights from his career include Humber receiving the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Academic All-Canadian Recognition Award for the second consecutive year. It’s given to the college with the most Academic All-Canadian selections and the Humber Hawks had 15 in 2021-22.

Chateau and his team oversaw a return to play for the college’s student athletes and coordinated the return of fans to Humber’s sporting events while dealing with COVID-19 protocols. When the 2020-2021 season was cancelled due to the pandemic, he helped Humber’s High Performance Centre transition to an online format so the student athletes could continue to train.   

With provincial restrictions prohibiting in-person practices and training at the time, there was a possibility the 2021-2022 season would have been cancelled but Chateau and the Ontario College Athletic Association’s (OCAA) Senior Leadership Council brought stakeholders together to come up with a roadmap to ensure the season went ahead.

Chateau also brought forward concerns to the CCAA on behalf of Humber that were raised by a student athlete. The concerns were about the CCAA’s operating code regarding transgender student athletes and participation in varsity sports.

A special meeting of the CCAA was held and language in the code was revised to allow student athletes to compete on the sports team that corresponds with either their sex assigned at birth or their gender identity.

“Ray is a leader focused first and foremost on the well-being and success of student athletes, having made exceptional contributions and continuing efforts to serve our community,” wrote Jason Hunter, vice-president, Students and Institutional Planning at Humber in the award nomination package. “Ray sets a very high standard for Varsity athletes as academic and peer role models, which is demonstrated in very strong academic outcomes. In addition, Ray has used the profile of Humber Hawks sports to advance equity, diversity and inclusion on our campuses and throughout elite sport at provincial and national levels.”

Last year, Chateau was named co-recipient of the 2021-2022 CCAA Athletic Director of the Year Award, becoming just the second Humber athletic director to earn the honour since Doug Fox won it back in 2002. He also received the 2022 Robert A. Gordon Leadership Award, which recognizes an employee who has demonstrated high levels of leadership that enhances the reputation of Humber or the University of Guelph-Humber.

“Ray’s contribution outside of Humber’s sports accomplishments speaks volumes about his leadership and dedication to postsecondary athletics throughout the province,” wrote OCAA Executive Director Kyle Pelly in the nomination package.

Chateau was inducted into the Humber Varsity Hall of Fame in 2013 and the OCAA Hall of Fame in 2017. In April, he was named winner of the inaugural OCAA Athletic Administrator of the Year award.

The CICan Awards are handed out annually and recognize best practices from institutions across the country and individual leadership and achievements. This year’s awards were presented on April 24 in Montreal.