Newspaper crowns quiz-winning law prof

Bruce Ryder is an extraordinary man, judged the National Post Jan. 5. Out of the hundreds of responses the Post received to The Great 2004 Pop Quiz, only this Torontonian (and law professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School) managed to answer all 50 questions correctly. This is why the Post has selected him as Arts & Life Person of the Year. Asked how he pulled it off, Ryder was quick to note the contributions of others – the millions of strangers connected to him via the Internet. “I couldn’t have done this on memory and knowledge alone,” Ryder admitted. “Technical assistance was necessary. I tried to get family members to check my answers, but they didn’t seem to be much help at all.”

What was the motivation behind Ryder’s stunning feat? “I was grading 150 exam papers over the holidays and I was desperately in need of distraction,” he explained. For his hard work, the professor will receive a National Post tote bag, pen, letter opener, travel mug, and a selection of books that were featured on the Avenue page in 2004.

Milevsky bows out on top

Like the gambler in the Kenny Rogers song, the winner of the 2004 My One and Only stock-picking contest knows when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em, reported The Globe and Mail Jan. 5. Moshe Milevsky, a finance professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, has decided to retire from the competition undefeated after an unprecedented three wins in a row. “My dad used to always tell me to quit while I’m ahead,” the finance professor and author of investment books quipped. “From now on people who want to know my favourite stock picks will have to register for my advanced investments course at York.” Milevsky said the key to making money in the market is knowing when to buy, but more importantly knowing when to sell. “With these contests the last thing you want to do is buy and hold.” The finance professor applauded the rule allowing the winner to lock in gains at the end of a quarter. “I think the ability to lock in during the contest makes sense – and makes the contest more exciting – since this is closer to real life.”

Milevsky won the 2004 contest at the end of the first quarter by exercising a quarterly option to cash in his chips when his pick, pharmaceutical company Forbes Medi-Tech Inc., rocketed 179 per cent from the beginning of the year. It was an uncanny bit of timing as shortly thereafter the stock of the Vancouver-based company plunged – and closed the year down 6.6 per cent at $3.24. Milevsky’s timely profit-taking stole victory from Marco den Ouden, publisher of the Break Out Report, an investment advisory. Propelled by soaring oil prices, his pick, Peyto Energy Trust, finished the year up 86.5 per cent at $47.83.

Students sell ribbons for tsunami relief

York’s response to the Dec. 26 tsunami has attracted media attention. The Toronto Star reported Jan. 5 that at York, students were preparing to sell blue-and-white ribbons in a Ribbons For Rescue campaign launched by the Sinhalese Youth of Canada. The group, representing young people from Sri Lanka whose first language is Sinhalese, sold 300 of them last weekend at Fairview Mall, raising $8,000. “We chose blue to signify the colour of the tsunami, and white to represent sorrow,” said Shehan Andradi, a third-year York student in information technology. York University plans to hold a memorial service Jan. 6 to show support for victims of the tsunami tragedy.

And Canadian Press asked Leslie Greenberg, a psychology professor with York’s Faculty of Arts, to explain the deluge of generosity from Canadians for the victims of a seemingly far-flung disaster. In the Jan. 4 story (printed in the Vancouver Sun, for one), he said, “There’s some sense of identification with [the victims]. I feel a lot of compassion or concern because that could have been me and then I want to do something.”

Fundraising as business

Former Brazilian Ball organizer and 1970 York arts grad Catherine Nugent mused on the business of fundraising in the Dec. 27 issue of Canadian Business: “When I came here [from Brazil] and married, fundraising was a wonderful way to get into a network of people, because I knew very few people. It was Anna Maria de Souza of Brazilian Ball fame that first got me involved in the opera and the Brazilian Ball – and the rest is history. You can’t do fundraising by yourself,” she said. “Everybody has to pull together, otherwise it’s not a success.” Nugent, now fundraising for Toronto’s Bridgepoint Health, said “fundraising is a business, especially now. You have to have people skills, you have to have organizational skills, you have to be able to delegate.”