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By Chelsea Miya

Ryerson’s Hall of Fame is home to some of the most famous and influential athletes in Canada.

But, if you stop to ask any students on campus, few would know that one even exists.

The sports and recreation department introduced the Hall of Fame in 2001, inducting 12 new members into the shrine every other year.

“Ryerson has had many athletes to be proud of,” said program director David Dubois. “We wanted to celebrate our past.”

The deadline to nominate an athlete, coach, staff member or any other contributor to Ryerson athletics for next fall’s class of 2007 Hall of Fame inductees is Feb. 28.

Not all Hall of Fame members have all-star titles or Ontario University Championships under their belts.

Far more important is strength of character, Dubois said.

“Many coaches in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s were working 14 hours a day for pennies,” he said. “We owe them a lot.”

Past Hall of Fame inductees include graduate swimmer Marie Claire Ross, the first athlete with a disability to qualify for the Canadian Interuniversity Sports Championship. Ross, legally blind, set a world record in the 50-metre race on top of five Canadian records at the age of 20.

Dave Manara is the only non-Asian to have ever received an eight-degree black belt. For 30 years, Manara was president and chief instructor of the Ryerson Karate Club.

Ontario’s best fencers compete for the coveted Kay Aoyama trophy, named after Ryerson’s coach for more than 30 years. The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist was the first female coach in the Ontario Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

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