A gala evening for York alumni and friends

The 2003 annual Bruce Bryden Alumni Recognition Awards dinner took place Wednesday night in style, this year at the elegant downtown Arcadian Court. The classical columns and adjoining Thomson Collection of Canadian art provided a suitable setting as York honoured the dedication and contributions of its alumni and friends.

Sandie Rinaldo, right, (BA ’73), CTV news anchor and director of York’s alumni association board, was, as she said, “master or mistress of ceremonies, or host — I’m not sure which.”

Those who received the awards were:

  • Broadcasting executive Ivan Fecan (BA ‘ 01, LLB Hon.), who told the audience that while U of T would have been much closer for him to attend as a downtowner in the 1970s, he still chose to spend 75 minutes on public transport to get to York because of the excellence it offered in his film courses.
  • Business leader and former lawyer John Tory (LLB ’78), who said that as a student councillor he opposed having the York name on his Osgoode diploma, but now, having watched York in recent years, “I’d put York in big letters.”
  • Businessman Steve Mirkopoulos (BSC, P.Eng.), a friend of the University who said his 90-year-old father, a Greek Orthodox priest, always “told us to keep giving, and we are very proud to continue that tradition.”
  • Ontario Culture Minister David Tsubouchi (BA ’72, LLB ’75), who spoke movingly of how his father Tom — who attended — was interned with other Japanese-Canadians in British Columbia during the Second World War.

Pictured left, York’s Silver Jubilee Scholarship Award winners were Iania Thompson (left) and Joy Abramson.

“York University takes great pride in this year’s alumni award recipients,” said Barbara Sutton, director of the York University Alumni Office. “Their extraordinary achievements demonstrate that York is a place where students can break the mold and follow their own paths to success.”

The award is named after the late Bruce Bryden (BA ‘64), founder of the York University Alumni Association (YUAA) and the first alumni Chair of the York University Board of Governors.

Here are sketches of each recipient:

Ivan Fecan – Alumni Contribution Award

One of North America’s most experienced broadcasting executives, Ivan Fecan is president and CEO of Bell Globemedia and CEO of CTV Inc. Before joining CTV in 1994 (then Baton Broadcasting) as senior group vice-president, Fecan was news director at Citytv in Toronto (1976-80), where he helped develop the station’s innovative CityPulse newscast format. He was also vice-president of creative affairs for NBC in Los Angeles (1985-87) and vice-president of English language television at the CBC (1993-1994). He has served on the board of the Wellesley Hospital, the McMichael Gallery and the Hospital for Sick Children Foundation. Fecan has a BA in Fine Arts from York and is on the board of the York University Foundation.

John Tory – Alumni Achievement Award

As president and co-CEO of Rogers Cable Inc., John Tory has since 1999 led Canada’s most extensive broadband cable service provider with more than 2.2 million customers. Previously, he was president and CEO of Rogers Media Inc., one of Canada’s largest broadcasting and publishing companies. Before joining Rogers, Tory was a managing partner and member of the executive committee at the law firm of Tory Tory DesLauriers & Binnington (now Torys). In the early 1980s, he served as principal secretary to Ontario Premier Bill Davis and associate secretary of the Cabinet. He recently announced his candidacy for mayor of Toronto in elections scheduled for November. Tory has a law degree from York’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

Steve T. Mirkopoulos – Contribution – Friend of York University Award

As vice-president of Cinespace Film Studios, Steve Mirkopoulos heads Toronto’s largest provider of film production studios and ancillary facilities. He also serves as President of the Ontario Film and Television Owners Association. Mirkopoulos is former president of the Hellenic Heritage Foundation (HHF), a non-profit charitable organization that seeks to enrich the unique social and cultural fabric of Canada by preserving and sharing Hellenic culture and heritage with the broader Canadian community. The Hellenic Heritage Foundation Chair in Modern Hellenic Studies at York is Toronto’s first permanent Chair and program in modern Hellenic Studies, and is focused on modern Greek history. Mirkopoulos is a member of the advisory board for the Chair and theYork University Foundation board of trustees.

David Tsubouchi – Alumni Leadership Award

David Tsubouchi is the Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet and Ontario Minister of Culture and has held several other cabinet positions since his election as MPP for Markham in 1995. He was senior partner in the law firm of Tsubouchi & Nichols & Associates and was a councillor for the Town of Markham (1988 to 1994). A member of the Markham Lions Club, he has held directorships with the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Optimist Club of Markham, Rouge Valley Advisory Committee and the Unionville Home Society Seniors’ Foundation. Throughout his political career he has received numerous awards and accolades. In recognition for his commitment to law enforcement, Tsubouchi received a special award from the Police Association of Ontario. He also received an award of appreciation from the First Nations Chiefs of Police and from the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He is an honourary patron of the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art and a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. He has a BA from York and an LLB from York’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

R. Bruce Bryden, after whom the awards are named, graduated from York in 1964 with a BA in sociology and economics. His lifelong commitment, vision and contributions helped shape the University into the successful and diverse institution it is today. He was founding member of the York University Alumni Association, an alumni member of the York Senate, a member of the University’s Board of Governors and a fellow of McLaughlin College. As well, Bryden helped launch the York University Development Corporation to attract capital investment to the University. Largely due to his efforts, York was able to launch the $170-million building campaign in 1988.