2012 Bryden Award Recipients

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A series of awards presented each year to grads who have attained extraordinary achievements and made remarkable contributions to York and to their communities.

Pinnacle Achievement Kathleen Taylor
Outstanding Contribution John S. Hunkin
Local Hero Marc Wilchesky
Redefine the Possible Nina Arsenault
One to Watch Chris Penrose


Kathleen Taylor Pinnacle Achievement

A graduate who has achieved distinction in their field and whose integrity and ability inspires alumni, faculty, staff and students

Kathleen Taylor (JD/MBA ’84)
President and Chief Executive Officer, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women, Kathleen Taylor, president and CEO of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, embodies the qualities of a true global leader. Her impressive rise from corporate counsel to head of one of the best-known luxury hospitality companies in the world exemplifies the benefits of her York education.

The first CEO after Four Seasons’ founder, Taylor has restructured the executive leadership team and created the industry’s first executive-level position dedicated entirely to innovation and product development. She is also an active contributor to her community, volunteering for the Toronto United Way and Hospital for Sick Children Foundation.

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John S Hunkin Outstanding Contribution

A graduate who has dedicated their work to the advancement of York through exceptional service, commitment and/or contributions

John S. Hunkin (MBA ’69, LLD ’04)
Former Chairman, President and CEO, CIBC

John Hunkin has played a significant role in shaping today’s York. He is a longtime member of the York University Board of Governors, the Schulich School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council and the York University Foundation Board. He is one of only a few people ever to serve in all three of these capacities.

Hunkin’s exceptional leadership and vision have won him universal respect. With his wife, Susan Crocker, he has contributed generously to student aid, the Faculty of Fine Arts and Schulich School of Business, demonstrating his determination to advance student excellence at York.

In addition to his long-standing commitment to the University, Hunkin’s remarkable involvement with several other organizations have included the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation and the Centre for Addition and Mental Health.

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Marc Wilchesky Local Hero

A graduate and employee who has gone above and beyond the call of duty in their devotion to the University with contributions, achievements, leadership and/or early accomplishments

Marc Wilchesky (PhD ’80)
Executive Director, Counselling & Disability Services, York University

Marc Wilchesky is one of Canada’s foremost experts on supporting students who have learning, mental health and physical disabilities. Since joining York in 1985, he has played a pivotal role in the success of thousands of students. His commitment, skills and creativity have helped establish York as the destination of choice for students with disabilities.

Currently the executive director of the Counselling & Disability Services at York, Wilchesky created Ontario’s first university transition program for students with disabilities. He is collaborating with the Ontario Council of Universities to develop an Education Accessibility Resource Kit for all postsecondary faculty.

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Nina Arsenault Redefine the Possible
A graduate who has demonstrated leadership and successes that are innovative, unconventional and daring

Nina Arsenault (BFA ’96, MFA ’00)
Interdisciplinary Artist

Nina Arsenault is Canada’s most celebrated transsexual. As a multidisciplinary artist, she has honestly and unapologetically documented her physical transformation through live performance, photography, film and print.

She has been at the centre of numerous artistic pieces, including The Silicone Diaries, which revealed her sex work, endless surgeries and redefinition of what a woman can be, and I Was Barbie, her true story about playing the famous doll at a Toronto gala celebrating Barbie’s 50th birthday.

A frequent speaker on gender, sexuality, the fine arts and the rights and dignity of transgender people, Arsenault has been tearing down the walls of our culturally constructed notions of sex and gender through her vulnerable, complex and deeply personal accounts of her own life.

In 2007, she received the Unstoppable Award from Pride Toronto for her transformative contribution to Canadian’s understanding of sex and gender.

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Chris Penrose One to Watch

A graduate who has become a remarkable professional and/or achieved community accomplishments early in their careerChris Penrose (BA ’04)