After 444 issues of YFile, Cathy Carlyle retires her keyboard

Friday marked the last time YFile’s founding editor Cathy Carlyle hit “send” and made York’s daily online newsletter “Go Live”. After producing 444 issues, the York communications officer is stepping away from her keyboard and will be moving with her husband, York Professor Patrick Gray, to a new life in Port Hope, Ont.

Gray will commute from Port Hope to York where he teaches religious studies from a historical perspective. He will continue to teach in Atkinson’s School of Arts & Letters until his retirement in 2006.

At a retirement party held in Carlyle’s honour on June 22, members of York’s Communications Division toasted her and wished her well on the next adventure in her life. Carlyle was lauded by Director of Publications Berton Woodward for her professionalism and commitment to York University and for making YFile such a successful online newsletter right from the start. 

Right: Cathy Carlyle

York’s Chief Communications Officer, Richard Fisher, toasted Carlyle with a series of quotes from her ancestor, the Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle. She was presented with several gifts including a humourous, commemorative copy of YFile.

After she opened her gifts, Carlyle said how much she had enjoyed working at York University and how much she had enjoyed working with the many colleagues who came to wish her well. “I will miss all of you,” she said.

“However,” she laughed, “I can’t say that I will miss the responsibility of producing a daily newsletter.”

As news spread of her imminent retirement, members of the York community have sent their own thoughts and feelings about the tremendous contribution Carlyle has made to the University since she first arrived in April 1999.

Here are some of the many tributes to Cathy Carlyle sent to YFile:

Cathy Carlyle will be sadly missed by all of us in the Faculty of Science & Engineering who had the very good fortune to work with her over the years on YFile stories. With consummate skill she produced magnificent YFile pieces from the often very scrappy suggestions which we made to her on a wide range of topics. She brought many diverse aspects of York Science & Engineering and its people to the broader readership of YFile.

Not only was Cathy the founding editor of YFile, she produced it daily and its many other York stories on a variety of topics, always to an unremitting time schedule. I know that the entire York community owes her a massive debt of gratitude for her sustained efforts of the highest quality on our behalf.

Thank you so much for all you did for us, and for York, Cathy. We shall be thinking of you, and wish you every success in the future.

Ralph Nicholls
Distinguished Research Professor of Physics (Emeritus)
Director (Emeritus) Centre for Research in Earth and Space Science

Cathy should be remembered not only as the founding editor of YFile but, as well, for her role as a strong feature writer for previous publications including the York Gazette, Universe, Profiles and now YorkU magazine. She also worked on publications for research. Cathy always managed to tell a great story – both for the readers as well as the faculty themselves. They were interesting, informative, truly reflected the significance of the scholarship and research and promoted the values of York University.

Jessie-May Rowntree
Director, Account Direction

Cathy infused every article she wrote and every project she tackled with great enthusiasm. She was always genuinely interested in the content and the people behind the story. Scrupulous in her attention to detail, Cathy worked hard on behalf the faculty and staff of York. To have produced YFile on her own for 18 months is a testament to her tenacity and ability as a journalist.

Few people at York know that Cathy also has a wicked sense of humour and is a closet “Trailer Park Boys” enthusiast. For this reason and many others, we have bonded on many levels and I am fortunate to say that I have gained a friend for life. She is gracious, professional and caring and I will miss her.

Jenny Pitt-Clark
Editor, YFile

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Cathy Carlyle during the last seven months as publicist for the Faculty of Fine Arts.

When I caught up to Cathy during the annual BBQ on June 22, I noted she was sporting a Tilley hat that not only suited her, but spoke volumes about her. The modest Tilley hat is acknowledged worldwide as a dependable comfortable piece of clothing which can withstand whatever the world has to offer. A welcome companion for millions of adventuresome people, the Tilley ages every so gracefully over time.

All the complimentary characteristics associated with the Tilley brand are equally applicable to Cathy – modest, dependable, comfortable to be with, gracious under fire, a welcome companion and a stalwart worker with a positive upbeat attitude.

Mary-Lou Schagena
Faculty of Fine Arts

Cathy as you may know is a great lover of mushrooms, pots and pots of strong tea, annoying cats that shed, and all things English. She’s especially fond of wild morels and bad puns – hence her  marriage to Patrick Gray. I can say she was a good person to hang with through good times and bad. We’ll remember her trudging through the rutted, muddy fields in her office shoes between York Lanes and University City in her signature Tilley Hat.

Michael Todd
Managing Editor, YorkU

Cathy was always respectful of the “partner” unit being featured, open to suggestions, fair in decision-making and explanations, appreciative of any cooperative work and fun.

Suzanne Firth
Director, Communications
Schulich School of Business

The thing that truly impressed me about Cathy is that we worshiped the same cult and cult leader out of Cupertino, California. We even invented a secret cult salute – an outstretched hand in the shape of half-eaten fruit. Yes, being among the few Apple Macintosh afficionados in a sea of PC Bill Gates clone drones was never easy.

Right: From left, Ken Turriff, Cathy Carlyle

The cult of Macintosh and our mutual admiration of Steve Jobs was difficult at best because we were forced to conform and use those personal computer machines. Cathy – best wishes, health and happiness to you and your husband Patrick as you venture along life’s exciting path.

Ken Turriff
Media Relations Officer

More about Cathy Carlyle
An experienced journalist, Cathy Carlyle earned her credentials as a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press and the Winnipeg Tribune. A skilled freelance contributor to a variety of media outlets, her byline has been featured in Maclean’s magazine and she was a regular contributor to CBC Radio.

Carlyle has also worked for the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre as a publicist, as a communications officer with the Manitoba government and as an educational assistant with the Winnipeg School Board. She was employed as a writer for a number of organizations based in the United Kingdom.

For many years, Carlyle worked with Joyce Milgaard, mother of David Milgaard who was wrongfully convicted of first degree murder. As an investigative reporter, Carlyle fought to uncover the truth and was instrumental in collecting information that would eventually lead to the release of Milgaard.

Carlyle joined York University in 1999 as a feature writer for the York weekly newspaper the Gazette. She was also a regular contributor to award-winning York magazine Profiles. In September 2002, she produced the first issue of YFile, York’s first daily online newsletter which is circulated to faculty and staff. (Click here to view the issue.) She was also a regular contributor to YorkU magazine.

Married to York Professor of Humanities Patrick Gray, Carlyle has three adult children and with stepchildren included, she has a total of seven children and six grandchildren.