A glittering night for staff achievers


Left to right: Marion Stasiuk, Marlene Caplan, Orante Del Monte, Marion Perry and Graham Wise

Surrounded by proud family and colleagues at a gala dinner on Wednesday, five York University employees stepped into the limelight, one by one, to receive President’s Staff Recognition Awards. The evening had the feel of an Academy-Awards ceremony as colleagues offered glowing testimonials on video of the award-winners’ exemplary service.

President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden presented the following awards:

  • The inaugural Deborah Hobson Citizenship Award to Marion Perry, director of student programs in the Faculty of Education. Perry started as a payroll clerk at York 25 years ago and within a couple of years was working directly with students in graduate admissions. She shifted to the Faculty of Education in 1989 and by 1993 was director of student programs. She and her eight staff process and screen up to 7,000 student applications every year for 1,000 places. Throughout the year, she and her team advise students and monitor their progress. “There are phone calls, appointments, e-mails. There’s a lot of student contact,” says Perry. “This award is so special because I admired Deborah Hobson so much. She was such a student advocate and so interested in higher education.”


  • The inaugural Phyllis Clark Campus Service Award to Orante del Monte, caretaker with the Division of Facilities, Planning and Construction, for exemplary contributions to the efficiency, cleanliness, safety and security of York’s campuses. Del Monte was too shy to say much on his own behalf, but his boss George Orfanako was not at a loss for words. The caretaker who was usually assigned to Scott Library, Curtis Hall and Central Square retires in June after 35 years at York. Meticulous, dedicated and always willing to fill in for others, he had to be pressed to take vacations, said Orfanako.



  • The President’s CPM Award to Graham Wise, York’s head hockey coach and assistant coordinator, Interuniversity Sport, School of Kinesiology and Health Science, for contributions beyond the call of duty. When Wise quit his job in forestry to study kinesiology at York in his late 20s, he also volunteered to help coach the University’s hockey team. The pattern was set. Since 1987, when he became head coach, he has also devoted half his time to coordinating interuniversity sport, which means, in large part, making all the travel arrangements for all York’s teams. Beyond that, he monitors the academic eligibility of team athletes, taking time out to advise them. He keeps in touch with hockey alumni, sending out weekly e-mail newsletters about team progress and awards. And he organizes the annual hockey alumni golf tournament. It’s more than a full-time job. “But when you’ve been doing it for 16 years, I guess it seems routine.”



  • The Ronald Kent Medal to Marlene Caplan, administrative assistant in two departments – Physics & Astronomy and Engineering – for dedicated service. For 22 of the 31 years she has worked in Physics & Astronomy, and more recently Engineering, Caplan has acted “mother hen” to all the “little chicks,” incoming students. She handles all the admissions and personally helps orient foreign students and new faculty to York and the Canadian way. She schedules lectures, oversees inputting grades and looks after budgets. She’s the information centre for the department and knows almost everybody. “They know me and I know them. It’s a wonderful thing.”



  • The President’s Voice of York Award to Marion Stasiuk, administrative secretary, Office of the Dean, Faculty of Pure & Applied Science, as a first-line-of-contact person and therefore a most important voice of York. Since 1987 at all her jobs, from secretary in the Department of Earth & Atmospheric Science, to field course secretary in Biology, to her current position, Stasiuk has gone out of her way to help those with inquiries. “It’s so important how you deal with telephone inquiries and people who come to the counter,” she says. “I’ve always been sympathetic to people who come with a problem and I try to steer them to someone who can help them.”