Honour Court reception honours philanthropists


Above, York scholarship recipient students, left to right: Rochelle Bacigalupo, Kevin Kaminski, Terry Thib and Jordan Worth

York’s Honour Court was an ideal setting for a reception to recognize philanthropists who have made a difference to the University.

Carrie Brodi, communications officer with the York University Foundation, sent the following account of the event.

Left to right: Paul Marcus, Lorna R. Marsden, Marshall Cohen and Timothy Price

A group of York University’s most generous benefactors gathered at an elegant afternoon reception on June 26, held to thank them for their extraordinary support and to celebrate the tremendous difference their philanthropy has made to the lives of York faculty and students.

Left to right: York Prof. Joy Cohnstaedt and Evelyn Rowe, niece and sister-in-law of Harry Rowe

Philanthropic donations to York of $100,000 or more are acknowledged with engraved stones, bearing the name of the individual, corporation or foundation donor, on York’s Honour Court wall. Each engraved granite stone marks cumulative individual giving to the University since its founding in 1959.

The architecturally award-winning Honour Court and Information Centre, located on York Boulevard at the Keele Street entrance, was made possible by a leadership gift from philanthropist Seymour Schulich. The Honour Court stands as a perennial legacy to the spirit and vision of York’s greatest contributors.

Robert McEwen

Represented at this year’s ceremony were 45 donors – both new and longtime friends of York – who cumulatively have provided over $14 million for student support, professorships, research chairs, and infrastructure at York.

“Your gifts make such a palpable difference to our faculty and students,” said Lorna R. Marsden, president and vice-chancellor of York. “We are profoundly grateful to all of you.”

Peter Hogg, second from left, with York scholarship recipient students, left to right: Pius Okoronkwo, Olga Sanmiguel and David Yarrow

Especially grateful were the students in attendance who had benefited from scholarship funding, such as John Sandlos, an Ontario Graduate Scholarship recipient and PhD candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies.

Sandlos is currently writing a dissertation on the history of wildlife conservation initiatives on the native peoples of the Northwest Territories from 1890 to 1970. He thanked guests, including OGS benefactors Guy Burry and Liz Lundell who were in attendance, for enabling him to research the topic at the National Archives in Ottawa this past summer, the results of which are being published in two academic journals.

Left to right: Hinda Silber, David Silber and Sara Horowitz, associate director of York’s Centre for Jewish Studies

“The Ontario Graduate Scholarship I received allowed me to open up the material I was researching and take it in an entirely new direction, something I would not have been able to do if I had to work at a part-time job,” Sandlos said. “Thank you for making a huge contribution to the intellectual culture of this University.”

Rochelle Bacigalupo, both a new mother and an exceptional MBA student, said receipt of the Robert Krembil MBA Award through the Schulich School of Business solidified her decision to attend York.

“The scholarship provides first-year students with full tuition,” she said. “That made all of the difference for me.”

Distinguished guests, faculty and students posed for photographs beside individual stones, against a backdrop of live jazz music, and a sushi bar, donated by Senses Catering through York University Foundation Board of Directors member Henry Wu.

Timothy Price, Chair of the York University Foundation Board of Directors, greeted guests with good news – donations to York have increased by 38 per cent since the previous year.

“This has been made possible by the very generous support of our alumni, major donors and the local community,” he said. “I’d like to thank you all for your leadership and commitment to York University.

Marshall Cohen, Chair of the York University Board of Governors, welcomed 15 new inductees to the Honour Court and Marsden announced that five benefactors had moved to a higher level of Honour Court recognition.

Among those recognized for their generous philanthropy were:

  • Peter W. Hogg, former dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, who recently endowed the Peter W. Hogg Graduate Award for students completing either a Masters or doctoral degree in the Graduate Program in Law.
  • Robert McEwen, Chair and CEO of Goldcorp Inc., who made a generous donation to the new Schulich School of Business and Executive Learning Centre 
  • The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation, for their gift to create the Jack Weinbaun Family Endowment Fund in Support of Jewish Teacher Education in the Faculty of Education.
  • Hinda and Allan Silber of Counsel Corporation, who created an endowed Chair in Holocaust and European Studies in the Jewish Studies Program
  • The Hellenic Heritage Foundation (HHF) for establishing York’s Hellenic Studies Chair in the Faculty of Arts
  • The late Harry W.W. Rowe, for the creation of six major endowed awards in Faculty of Fine Arts, with the support of his niece, Joy Cohnstaedt, professor in York’s Visual Arts Department in the Faculty of Fine Arts.

The Honour Court stands as a model to other universities of innovative donor recognition, and as a testament to potential donors of the impact of giving.

“This is an occasion to express appreciation for your philanthropy,” said Paul Marcus, president and CEO of the York University Foundation, at the event. “Thank you for being such wonderful role models.”