York students say ‘thanks a million’

Frigid temperatures didn’t diminish the energy of more than 50 York students – cheerleaders, football players, dancers and mascots – who travelled downtown to HSBC Bank Canada headquarters last Thursday to say, ‘thanks a million’.

Left: Students stopped traffic with their airborne athletics

They danced, cheered, flipped into the air, distributed cinnamon hearts and even stopped traffic –  all in thanks to the bank for its recent donation of $500,000 to the York University Foundation. The gift, along with a past donation from HSBC of $250,000 and matching funds, amounts to an additional $1 million in financial aid for York students.

Many students in attendance could attest to the importance of this gift and the life-changing difference a full scholarship can make.

Scholarship recipient Emily Cohen, a fourth-year student in international studies at Glendon College, spoke about the impact of the financial support she received as a multi-year recipient of the John Proctor Scholarship. “The full funding I received allowed me to become involved in a lot of activities, such as debating, and to make the move from Victoria to Toronto,” said Cohen. “I just want to thank HSBC Bank Canada. Your generosity will provide support to 10 more people just like me each year.”

HSBC Bank Canada first opened its doors in Canada in 1981 and has grown to become the 7th largest bank overall and the leading international bank in the country with over 170 offices. The gift is in keeping with the bank’s philanthropic vision of supporting education.

“We want to give back to the community,” said Sean O’Sullivan, chief operating officer of HSBC Bank Canada and a member of the York University Foundation’s board of directors. “Education is one of our primary focuses so I am pleased to announce that HSBC will be donating $500,000 to York University for student scholarships.”

Right: Sean O’Sullivan

Prior to his promotion to president and CEO and his move to Vancouver, HSBC Bank Canada’s Lindsay Gordon, a former COO of HSBC, also volunteered his time on the York University Foundation’s board of directors.

“What HSBC has done is really terrific. It’s very cold outside but they have ensured that students are not left out in the cold,” said Paul Marcus, president and CEO of the York University Foundation. “I want to thank everyone at HSBC for really caring about students, for caring about the community and education.”

The event, organized by York’s Media Relations team in partnership with the York University Foundation, also included a re-naming of York St. (home to HSBC Bank Canada’s Toronto office) to York U Street for the day.

Bob Martin, a member of the York University Foundation board of directors and a member of the HSBC Bank Canada board of directors, emceed the event.

Right: York students cheered HSBC and thanked the company in a spirited way for its generosity

“The York University community has come downtown today to thank HSBC for its generosity in funding 10 York students annually,” said Martin. “This is a tremendous gesture of support and we are very grateful to HSBC Bank Canada.”

Tim Price, Chair of the York University Foundation’s board of directors, presented O’Sullivan with a York University varsity jacket and thanked the students for their participation.

“The York students who are here today epitomize the very best York has to offer,” said Price. “They are full of energy and fun; they are leaders and they are talented, bright and ambitious. These students are excellent ambassadors for York and for the community in which we live.”

“Our student volunteers handed out tens of thousands of cinnamon hearts and flyers to people in the financial district that day. It was a great way to raise awareness and encourage other companies and organizations to help give future students the opportunity to attend York,” said Nancy White, director of media relations, Communications Division, following the event.

Left: York Street in Toronto’s financial district was renamed York U. Street for a day

Sandra Crejenica, a member of York’s dance team gave her reasons for getting on the bus that morning, “I support York – I love York – and this is a great event. I wanted to come down here and express my thanks on behalf of those future students who will benefit from this gift.”

This article was submitted to YFile by Carrie Brodi, communications officer, York University Foundation.