MONTREAL - Marymount Academy welcomed back one of its own Thursday: an internationally recognized scientist – who is only 17 years old.

Abicumaran Uthamacumaran graduated from the Cote-St-Luc Rd. school four months ago, and was put on an accelerated track.

"My plans were to go to college and then university, pursue a Bachelor's and then a Master's, Ph.D., (or) med school or something like that," said the ambitious Uthamacumaran, who was fast-tracked four years ago when he sent dozens of e-mails to professors about his passion for science.

The only one who wanted to speak with him was Dr. Phil Gold, a pioneer cancer researcher who has committed his career to improving patient care through the development of groundbreaking therapies.

"After about 10 minutes, it became quite obvious he wasn't off the wall at all, but he was a very bright guy," said Dr. Gold, who said the young man is a unique young student. "From my vantage point, he's like the big bang. He's a singularity."

Gold, who was the first director of the McGill Cancer Centre, now serves as executive director of the Clinical Research Centre of the Research Institute of the MUHC, and is a montor to Uthamacumaran.

After being mentored by the leading scientist, McGill agreed to waive the Cegep prerequisite and enrolled Uthamacumaran.

The accomplishment was recognized Thursday by the staff and students at his former high school with an honorary doctorate of science from the English Montreal School Board and Marymount Academy.

Abi, as he is known, spoke humbly to students at his alma mater Thursday.

"I'm no different than anybody in this room. We're all just at the same level," he told them, serving as inspiration for some other young minds.

"I see him, the way how he's achieved his goal, and he's continuing to strive to reach higher. It makes me feel like I can do the same," said Krystopher Collymore, a student at Marymount Academy.

Uthamacumaran said he believes when you put your mind to it, there's nothing that can't be done.

"We say the sky's the limit, but there is no limit to the sky," he said. "The sky just extends forever."