Lifetime Achievement Award
Ken Ottenbreit BAdmin’80 is described by his friends and colleagues in various ways. Some call him a devoted family man, others, an august attorney and founding partner of the New York office of international law firm, Stikeman Elliott. Still others call him a compassionate humanitarian.
Many know him as the Canadian to call in the U.S. when something needs doing. Regardless, anyone who knows, works or volunteers with Ken Ottenbreit acknowledges that he is an extraordinarily worthy recipient of the Alumni Crowning Achievement Award Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ken began his career as a corporate lawyer in Toronto at Stikeman Elliott in 1983 and was sent down to assist the New York office on a temporary basis for three months in 1988. He never went back.
For 30 years, Ken has been a distinguished leader within the firm and a fixture in the New York legal and business community.
Ken’s skillful leadership also led to the creation of the Canadian Association of New York (CANY) – no easy task. While CANY’s two founding organizations both had a history of good charitable work dating back to the 1860s, they didn’t always see eye-to-eye.
Ken’s hard work and genuine decency brought the organizations and everyone together. Ken was not only CANY’s first president, but still serves on its board of directors.
Remarkably, he also finds time to serve as a director for Achilles International and the not-for-profit “Ice Hockey in Harlem,” a group dedicated to help children achieve academic success using skills learned playing Canada’s national obsession. As a philanthropist, Ken's efforts were acknowledged as he was a recipient of The Queen's Jubilee Medal.
One of Ken’s greatest legacy is as founder and organizer of New York City’s annual Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research. Seeing that no such run existed when he arrived in New York, Ken got it started in 1994 with only a few dozen participants.
Today, the run attracts thousands to Central Park every October and the fundraising has been impressive. In the past 23 years nearly $3 million dollars has been raised for cancer research. The funds have directly financed the research of Dr. Renier Brentjens at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and led to a significant breakthrough for those people battling Leukemia.