The ultimate partnership: BMW Group Canada drives new award

(Left to right: Paul Marcus, president and CEO, York University Foundation; Lorna R. Marsden, president and vice-chancellor, York University; Stan Shapson, VP research & innovation; Hendrik von Kuenheim, president, BMW Group Canada; Mark Webber, co-director, CCGES at York; and Baris Karaagac, York student and winner of the BMW Award for Excellence)

BMW Group Canada and York University’s Canadian Centre for German and European Studies (CCGES) forged a “partnership of excellence” on April 2 with the inauguration of a first-time award to York from the company.

An endowed gift of $50,000 from BMW Group Canada will provide a yearly scholarship to one exceptional graduate student in the CCGES diploma program. The BMW Award for Excellence will recognize values in students that the CCGES and BMW proudly tout: innovation and excellence.

The following account was submitted to YFile by Carrie Brodi, York University Foundation communications officer:

This year’s winner of the BMW Award for Excellence, Baris Karaagac, is a PhD candidate in political science. A speaker of six languages, Karaagac is majoring in international relations with a focus on European integration and the role of Germany in this process. The award, he noted, would assist in his plans to study in Berlin in the next academic year.

“Baris, maintain the passion you have for the subject of German-Canadian relations,” advised Hendrik von Kuenheim, president of BMW Group Canada, as he presented Karaagac with the award. “You have set the benchmark for future recipients of this award, which is something to be extremely proud of.

(Right: BMW Group Canada Award for Excellence)

“At BMW, excellence is a daily achievement,” added von Kuenheim. “York is a vital source of innovation and fast becoming a competitive player on the international stage. BMW looks forward to a long relationship with the University.”

Lorna R. Marsden, president and vice-chancellor of York University, thanked BMW for its support of the University and its students, while applauding the success of the CCGES. “The centre broadens the scope of York University and its relationships across Canada,” she said.

In the first five years of its existence, the internationally focused CCGES has established itself as the expert authority on German and European issues, and as Canada’s only national centre in this field. As a cooperative venture between York University, Université de Montréal and the German Academic Exchange Service, the centre is successfully preparing the next generation of Canadian experts on German and European issues.