White Rose Legacy Circle celebrates five years of giving

image-1-legacy-articleWarm feelings of gratitude —and hot pots of tea—were the theme of the day at the White Rose Legacy Circle tea. An intimate group of nearly 40 attendees gathered in the Kaneff Tower on Dec. 7 to recognize the contributions of members of the White Rose Legacy Circle, a society honouring York University’s alumni, faculty, staff, retirees and friends who have remembered the University in their wills or through other planned gifts. The event marked the Circle’s fifth anniversary, a testament to the important role legacy giving plays in the vitality of the campus.


“As members of the White Rose Legacy Circle, you have given York the highest honour by investing in our future,” said Jeff O’Hagan, vice-president, advancement, in his address to the crowd. “Although your reasons for giving are many, you all come together for the common purpose of supporting diversity, excellence, and accessibility at York. Your gifts will leave a wonderful permanent footprint on the lives of our students.”

Over the past five years, donor support has helped to shape the character of York, from new places of learning, such as the Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence and the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health, to scholarships and bursaries that help ensure that higher education is within reach for deserving students.

“To know that so many people make arrangements for future gifts to help others acknowledges the selflessness and humanity in the world,” said Shawnette Bankasingh (BA ‘14, BEd ’15), an elementary school teacher in the Toronto District School Board who received the George Tatham Bursary Fund. (It was created by the late John Terrance “Terry” Gardner and other donors in honour of the late Professor George Tatham, York’s first dean of students and first master of McLaughlin College.) “This gesture will continually inspire me to support others. As an educator, I want to instill that philosophy into my students and my son.”


This philosophy of giving resonates with Glendon College alumnus Donald Walker (BA ’72), who created the Donald P. Walker Bursary, an endowment fund for first-generation university students.

“For me, this award is about recognizing how education can impact lives and sharing the benefits that York and Glendon gave to me,” said Walker. “As a first-generation university graduate, I appreciate how education affects opportunity. Donating to the University’s scholarships and bursaries marks my gratitude for my own good fortune.”

President Emerita Lorna Marsden spoke about her decision to leave a legacy gift to York and affirmed that donations of all sizes make an impact.

“During my tenure as president, I’d often walk around the campus and think about the infrastructure and programs I’d support if I were to win the lottery,” said Dr. Marsden. “It’s great to realize that it’s possible to affect change at this wonderful university at any level of contribution. It pays tribute to all the people currently working and studying here.”

To learn more about the White Rose Legacy Circle, or the various ways of making a future impact, visit www.MyYorkLegacy.com, or contact Marisa Barlas at legacy@yorku.ca or 416-650-8221.



Writer: Amy Stupavsky
Designer: Danielle Wu