Table of Contents
Everybody has a story. At York University, we have many great stories happening on our two campuses every day. A law student who has benefited from the far-reaching impact of a scholarship, a York PhD student who is helping to transform Canada's healthcare system with an app, a studentathlete who represented Canada at the Commonwealth Games — these are just some of the inspiring stories that wouldn't otherwise be told without the support of our generous donors.
As York is at an "inflection point" to lead the way in postsecondary education, we are proud to report that we raised more than $35 million in philanthropic support during the 2013-2014 fiscal year, and more than
$115 million in the last three years. This funding has not only supported our students, faculties, and many innovative projects, but it has enabled us to enhance a culture of student success, academic and research excellence, and community engagement that is truly shaping the global thinkers and thinking of tomorrow.
With the new home for our Lassonde School of Engineering, the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension project, and the new CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletics Stadium all nearing completion, the tremendous transformation underway on our Keele campus is only the beginning of what is to come at York. As the Greater Toronto Area continues to grow, York will continue to meet the needs of our community, and to evolve and meet the local and global demand.
We want to take this opportunity to thank our alumni, donors, and friends for an incredible year. As we look forward to another exciting year ahead, and to continuing to work with you, we invite you to read Our Story and celebrate with us what we have accomplished together.
President and Vice-Chancellor
Click here to view a larger version:
$3.7M added to student financial aid
No student who belongs at York should be compelled to make a decision about whether or not postsecondary education is right for them because of financial need. Thanks to generous donors such as the York University Faculty Association (YUFA), York students have the financial resources they need to challenge the ordinary and deliver the unexpected.
"The scholarship has enabled me to pursue experiences that would otherwise have been impossible." —David Christopher To
Last year, YUFA members contributed close to $250,000 to support and foster student success on campus. These unique scholarships and bursaries are positioned to celebrate persistence and academic performance of students like David Christopher To (JD '14).
A graduate of the Osgoode Hall Law School, To is articling at the Ontario Ministry of Finance in Toronto. He was a recipient of the YUFA Undergraduate Scholarship, which gave him the opportunity to travel to Japan for the first time last fall on exchange at the Waseda University in Tokyo.
"The YUFA scholarship has enabled me to pursue experiences that would otherwise have been impossible," To says. "In Japan, I got to explore a vastly different culture, share experiences with people from around the world, and learn a new language. I am very thankful to YUFA for making this scholarship possible. It is reassuring to have encouragement and support."
From Québec to Glendon
For Sophie Chamberland, a student from Québec, Glendon represented a unique opportunity to get out on her own while continuing her bilingual education. "However, I never thought I would have the chance to attend given the financial burden that moving to a new province would place on my parents," the second-year translation student recalls.
To Chamberland's surprise, her fortunes changed when she became one of four recipients of the Ethel Harris Entrance Scholarship last year. Through their contributions toward the scholarship, totalling $700,000 since 2003, Ethel Harris (MA '73) and the Harris family have enabled York to promote Canadian unity by encouraging students from across Canada to study in Ontario.
"The $10,000 I received was an acknowledgement of my hard work and an indication that I am valued at Glendon," Chamberland says. "I'm able to be at York in a program that I love only because of financial support like this."
"It's our responsibility to provide a first-class education to our students, and the facilities to match it." —Ignat Kaneff
$5M donated by the Kaneff family to the Lassonde School of Engineering
When he arrived in Toronto from Bulgaria in 1951, developer and builder Ignat Kaneff (Hon. LLD '10) had the only $5 in his pocket swindled from him on a taxi ride from Union Station to Queen Street. He slept in a garage for four months.
Today, Kaneff has built thousands of homes, hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial properties, and world-class golf facilities. Because of his life experience, Kaneff, who didn't have the opportunity to attend high school, places a tremendous value on offering young people the opportunity to pursue a formal education. Both of his daughters, Kristina (JD '08) and Anna-Maria, hold graduate degrees from world-class universities, and now work with him and his wife, Didi, in the family business, Kaneff Group of Companies.
Kaneff is a recipient of honorary degrees from York, the University of Toronto, and the University of Ruse in Bulgaria. Last year, he reaffirmed his strong belief in education by donating $5 million in support of York's new Lassonde School of Engineering, bringing his total giving to York to $8 million. To celebrate his latest gift, the University renamed its research tower the Kaneff Tower.
"It's our responsibility as citizens and a collective society to provide a first-class education to our students, and the facilities to match it," says Kaneff, whose generosity will help York educate the next generation of entrepreneurial engineers who, like him, have a social conscience and the passion to achieve their dreams. "It enables our students to compete with the rest of the world."
Shenalie Fernando: Astronaut-in-Training
Generous support of the Lassonde School of Engineering is enabling York to offer a new type of engineering education to create problem-solvers, critical thinkers, leaders, and entrepreneurs. As a result, students like Shenalie Fernando are benefiting from an innovative program, unparalleled experiences, and an education as distinct as she is.
Enrolled in York's Space Engineering Program, the only one of its kind in Canada, the aspiring astronaut is part of York's acclaimed rover team, building a rover for space exploration and competing in engineering competitions around the world.
"My passion to explore the unknown has grown stronger at York, which has given me a unique opportunity to pursue my dreams of being a mission specialist," says Fernando, who hopes to oversee the development of the first lunar spaceport, a launch pad for exploration by 2032.
"The Jewison series has given us the ability to keep up with the way the world of moving images is changing." —John McCullough
1,544 gifts in support of programs at faculties, colleges and departments
Sarah Polley's Oscar-shortlisted Stories We Tell is a genre-defying personal essay on the intractable subjects of truth and memory, family and love, and the lies and stories that hold all together. Thanks to the Norman Jewison Series, created by the Norman and Margaret Jewison Charitable Foundation, film students at York got up close and personal with Polley last year, when the award-winning Canadian actor, director, and writer came for the screening of, and discussion with students about, her groundbreaking feature documentary.
"The Jewison series has given us the ability to keep up with the way the world of moving images is changing," says Professor John McCullough, Chair of the Department of Film. "Our students have benefited directly from the insight and experience of world-renowned filmmakers, writers, film historians and theorists."
With the Jewison series presenting on average half a dozen film screenings, lectures, and talks each year at York and premier venues such as the TIFF Bell Lightbox, McCullough says it has put York on the map as a major intellectual player, showcasing superstars and York alumni who have gone on to make a name for themselves in the film industry.
"It has enabled us to invest in new fields of study, to nurture our students to be world citizens who appreciate the best filmmaking and thinking about film and media that the world has to offer," he adds.
James Love Lecture Series
While lots of students dream of going into med school, biology Professor Bridget Stutchbury, nicknamed the "bird detective," believes "the real heroes are people who devote their lives to saving the environment because this ultimately will determine our health and quality of life."
At the inaugural James (Jim) B. Love Lecture in Avian Conservation earlier this year, Stutchbury presented research data conservationists can use to decipher which locations to conserve to help stop the strong population declines in these songbirds. Named after lawyer and philanthropist James Love (LLB '73, LLM'86) in recognition of his tremendous support for York and its Faculty of Environmental Studies, the lecture enabled the former Canada Research Chair in Ecology and Conservation Biology to share her breakthrough findings of more than 10,000 kilometres of migration tracking results for purple martins, red-eyed vireos, and wood thrushes.
"My biggest hope is that our new migration maps will inspire bird watchers, naturalists, and the public at large to admire and protect these birds," Stutchbury says.
$500K donated by alumni through the York student call centre
It took more than 3,000 hours and close to 40,000 phone conversations with alumni. In the end, a total of 200 students smashed the fundraising record of the student-operated York University Call Centre for supporting priority initiatives on campus. The amount they raised — more than $500,000 during the 2013-2014 fiscal term — doubled the record from last year's already record-breaking total.
"It's nice to know our alumni are willing to help continue the cycle of York students giving back to one another." —Raveena Kaura
Raveena Kaura, an accounting student at York, sums up the impact of her work at the call centre and alumni giving as something that reaches beyond financial support.
"I love listening to stories alumni have to offer," Kaura says. "It's amazing to see how York has changed over the decades. I once had a conversation with a grad for more than 30 minutes. We talked about everything. We were on the verge of solving all the issues in the world. Another time, I talked to a Schulich grad from the '70s. He told me about how one winter he had to drive a snowmobile to hand in an assignment. As a current student, it's nice to know our alumni are willing to help continue the cycle of York students giving back."
Schulich Class Gift
Collaboration is an integral part of the Schulich experience, and for many students, the Seymour Schulich Building's courtyard provides the perfect environment for this.
"There is no better place for students to work on projects and discuss new ideas," Mithun Dig (MBA '13) says. "With a growing student body, some physical enhancements could help future students take better advantage of this space."
The Graduate Business Council (GBC) put this idea into action when it decided to direct part of the 2013 Schulich Class Gift, which is funded by donations from the graduating class, toward new courtyard benches that would enhance the collaborative space. Inder Dhillon (MBA '13), former GBC president, says the gift allows soon-to-be alumni to look back at their time and pay it forward for the benefit of future classes. "It's an opportunity for us to give back to a school that has given us so much," Dhillon adds.
55 major donors contributed to the Winkler Institute at Osgoode
In the latter stages of his judicial career, Warren K. Winkler (LLB '62, LLM '64, LLD '12), retired chief justice of Ontario's Court of Appeal, became such an active instigator of reform — often wading into seemingly unresolvable corporate disputes in order to wrest settlements — that he acquired the nickname Canada's Mediator.
"This is going to be something for a new generation of law students." —Warren K. Winkler
To honour Winkler on the occasion of his retirement, a group of his friends banded together to create a legacy and redraw the dispute resolution landscape in Canada. Enter the newly opened Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution. The groundbreaking project was created with more than $2 million in funding, including donations, and a $1-million matching grant from York. The institute carries a broad mandate to engage in activities across academic, professional, and practical contexts. Guided by a desire to push research boundaries in the service of exploring and improving all forms of dispute resolution, the institute focuses on the experimentation and implementation of fresh, creative ideas, and action-oriented pilot projects that aim to improve access to justice.
"This is going to be something for a new generation of law students," Winkler says. "These students do not talk about black letter law. They are talking about how we can solve disputes."
Glendon's Centre of Excellence
Thanks to the generosity of alumni donors and friends, Glendon celebrated the naming of 107 seats in the amphitheatre inside Canada's first Centre of Excellence for French-Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education last year.
The collective effort raised more than $100,000 over two years. This built on a previous major investment by the provincial government to establish the centre, supporting French and bilingual education for students at Glendon. Since opening in 2012, the centre, winner of a 2013 Toronto Urban Design Award, has enabled Glendon to broaden its range of programs and courses in response to the urgent need for increased postsecondary offerings in French in southern Ontario. The facility boasts more than a dozen new classrooms and lecture spaces, state-of-the art language labs, open study spaces and a 250-seat amphitheatre.
"We may refer to this building as the Centre of Excellence, but in effect, through this building all of Glendon is able to become a centre of excellence," says Kenneth McRoberts, who retired earlier this year after 15 years as Glendon's principal.
"Education is the greatest opportunity." —Shan Chandrasekar
402 corporations and organizations donated to York
With a growing community of more than 270,000 alumni, York grads are making their mark around the world. Thanks to alumni champions who are leaders in their professions, York has enjoyed partnering with companies like Deloitte, RBC Financial Group, and the Asian Television Network.
Chris Gray (MBA '07) and Frank Vettese (BBA '86, MBA '91) of Deloitte, alongside former colleague David Dawson (MBA '92), led a $250,000 commitment from the Deloitte Foundation to renovate the Seymour Schulich Building at the Schulich School of Business. The renamed Deloitte Student Commons has enhanced the informal workspaces available in the building.
James McKellar, academic director of Schulich's Real Estate and Infrastructure Program, was behind the design and implementation of the new space. "I don't think people realize the extent to which their physical environment influences them," he says. "Our building symbolizes the culture of our community."
Janice Fukakusa (MBA '79), Canada's 2014 CFO of the Year, has demonstrated her passion for education through her roles as a top executive with RBC. Her Leadership effort has helped steward a $2-million gift from RBC in support of the Schulich School of Business's newly launched Centre for Global Enterprise, a one-stop consulting, research, and teaching hub that helps Canada's small- and medium-sized businesses compete internationally.
Similarly, Shan Chandrasekar (Hon. LLD '10), founder of Asian Television Network, has always believed "education is the greatest opportunity." Last year, his network donated $1-million advertising support over five years for York's award-winning "this is my time" campaign. In total, 210 30-second television spots have been devoted to the campaign, which has inspired incoming students and positively impacted York's mission to cultivate student success.
"We hope our gift will help future students and faculties realize a wide range of activities." —Barbara Crow & Michael Longford
10% increase in estate gift commitments
When Barbara Crow (BA '84, MA '86, PhD '94) and Michael Longford (BFA '88) were students at York, the couple never imagined they would one day return as faculty members. She was immersed in social justice issues and political activities. He was interested in sculpture and visual arts.
"York is a place for experimentation," Longford says. "We can come and try new things, experiment with new ideas, rethink old ways of doing things and look for ways to positively impact the world around us."
Today, Crow is dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Longford an associate professor in the Digital Media Program. In honour of their time at York then and now, the husband-wife duo — longtime supporters of scholarships and bursaries at York — has made a bequest to the University in their will and named their alma mater the beneficiary of their life insurance policy.
"We hope our gift will help future students and faculties realize a wide range of activities that will augment and enhance the intellectual environment on campus," says Crow and Longford, who have structured their gift so units may determine how to best use the funds. "The funds could be used to support external speakers, travel for research, or to organize special events and exhibitions — do things that might fall outside the realm of what's part of the regular curriculum."
Peggy Lau: Youngest Estate Gift Donor
Like many York alumni, Peggy Lau (BA '08) has fond memories of the hours she spent at Scott Library. "It was a quiet place for me to hang out and get work done," Lau says. "Scott's vast collection meant that I could spend hours discovering new and interesting things to read and learn about."
Shortly after graduation, Lau decided to include a bequest to York in her estate plans, making her the University's youngest planned giving donor.
"Most students benefit from the libraries at York, so I knew this was an area where I could make a real impact with my future gift," Lau says. "I may not be a big-name philanthropist, but York has given me so much in terms of education and experience and I wanted to pledge my gift sooner rather than later."
$38M contributed by 19 public, private and academic partners to the Connected Health and Wellness Project
Want to manage your own health and wellness? There's an app for that.
Led by York, NexJ Systems Inc., and McMaster University, the newly completed Connected Health and Wellness Project enables health coaches to communicate with patients, track their moods, exercise, eating, and counsel them in adopting healthier behaviours — all via an app.
"All of this helps coaches guide clients to improve their health." —Noah Wayne
The project is transforming Canada's health-care system by enabling health-care professionals to educate patients at the point-of-care, deliver patient-friendly care plans, and ensure patients receive the support they need. The initiative, which saw 19 public, private, and academic partners collaborate over two years, was made possible through contributions from multiple partners, including the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, for a total of about $38 million.
For health coach Noah Wayne, a PhD student at York, remote monitoring with smartphones and NexJ System's software creates a 24-7 client connection at the Black Creek Community Health Centre, which serves the Jane and Finch community.
"It provides more precise understanding of what our clients eat, their blood glucose levels, emotional ups and downs, and what health behaviours they exhibit on a daily basis," Wayne says. "All of this helps coaches guide clients to improve their health."
Kari Hoffman: Racking Her Brains
According to Professor Kari Hoffman at York's Faculty of Health, the brain is still largely a mystery. But thanks to the support of donors like the Krembil Foundation, she has been able to take advantage of the best and latest technology and create opportunities to better understand what exactly causes patients to develop the memory loss seen in Alzheimer's disease.
With a mandate to support quality research initiatives like Hoffman's, the Krembil Foundation has provided more than $440,000 in funding to her project, which centres on understanding how different brain cells — particularly those involved in memory retention — communicate with each other and how this communication causes patients to develop Alzheimer's disease.
"The Krembil Foundation's support has created countless new possibilities for our research, for neuroscience at York, and for Alzheimer's patients around the world," Hoffman says.
134 donors contributed to the University's athletics programs
Like many kids, former York wide receiver and slotback Greg Ebel (BA '87) played backyard football before making the football team in local city leagues and high school. Today, at 50, Ebel is still deeply passionate about the sport that provided him with a sense of belonging and laid the foundation for his success.
"A competitive football program is a critical component of any successful athletics program at a university." —Greg Ebel
"Football is very important to me. It taught me discipline, the value of teamwork, commitment and the ability to overcome adversity. These are all key elements to being successful at football and in business," says Ebel, who heads up Spectra Energy Corp., a Fortune 500 company in Houston, Texas and one of North America's leading natural gas infrastructure companies.
To support his alma mater and honour his former coach Frank Cosentino, Ebel has donated more than $40,000 to York's football program to bolster recruitment efforts and established the Frank Cosentino/Yeoman Football Award for student-athletes. Cosentino, who coached at York between 1978-1980 and 1984-1987, is the University's winningest coach of all time.
"A competitive football program is a critical component of any successful athletics program at a university," Ebel says. "York's reputation as an all-around great educational institution will only be enhanced by such a program."
Dontae Richards-Kwok: Sprinting to the Finish Line
Without donor support, our talented student-athletes wouldn't be able to pursue their goals and realize their potential. For Dontae Richards-Kwok, a product of our athletics program that has benefited from many generous donors, competing at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro isn't just a dream — it's an achievable target he continues to make sacrifices for.
A sprinter, Richards-Kwok is the fastest man in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) world. He's the most decorated student-athlete to ever compete for York, winning 14 CIS medals in five years, 10 of them gold. Earlier this year, he led the Lions men's track and field team to winning its first national championship since 1984 and became one of only three repeat recipients of York's Athlete of the Year. This summer, he competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
"Competing for York has helped me develop as an athlete and further my goals," he says. "York has understood my commitment to the national team while allowing me to progress through my psychology degree at my own pace. Not everywhere can you find a school that is flexible. I'm grateful for my time at York."
Publisher: York University Division of Advancement Manager: Chad Craig Editor: Tiffany Hsieh Designers: Jonathan Dolphin, Danielle Wu Writers: Tiffany Hsieh, Phil Sach Photography: Claus Anderson (Athletics Canada), Gary Beechey, Nicola Betts, Cathy Bottoms, John Hryniuk, Mckenzie James, Ron Mumme, Terry Tingchaleun, Ken Woroner (National Film Board of Canada) Infographic: Randal Boutilier.