Golfing for graduate scholarships – a winning tradition

Golfing in support of graduate scholarships has become one of the York University Foundation’s most anticipated events. On June 1, the sun was shining and golfers were in great spirits at the fifth annual Tribute Communities – York University Chair’s Cup Golf Tournament, held at Copper Creek Golf Club in Kleinburg. Raising a total of $420,000 (after government matching funds) for Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS), this year’s tournament was the most successful yet.


Above: From left, Tim Price, Paul Marcus, Guy Burry,
Lorna R. Marsden, Bipasha Baruah, John Lennox,
and Sheila Embleton, York’s vice-president, academic

“This event is vitally important,” said John Lennox, dean of York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies. “The money raised here today means that we are going to be in an even better position to support talented and ambitious graduate students and prepare them for the numerous academic and professional opportunities they will encounter after graduation.”

The golf tournament, which was initiated as a “friend-raiser” five years ago by Marshall Cohen, Chair of York University’s Board of Governors, has become one of York’s most successful fundraising events. The tournament’s net proceeds are matched 2:1 by the OGS program, meaning that every dollar raised is equivalent to three dollars for graduate scholarships. Since its inauguration in 2001, the event has raised over $1.5 million.

Left: From left, John Lennox, Guy Burry (third from left) and Tim Price (far right) with one of the tournament’s winning foursomes

Funding for graduate scholarships makes all the difference in the world for students like Bipasha Baruah, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, who spoke at the event. “There is a great deal of concern regarding the vast amounts of time that it often takes PhD students to complete their degrees,” said Baruah, “but the reality is that financial constraints are the reason most graduate students are delayed.”

Baruah, whose research interests focus on gender, development economics and urban planning, has conducted fieldwork abroad and published and presented papers at conferences in Canada and internationally. She defends her doctoral thesis this July, after only four and a half years at York, and will be starting a two-year fellowship at the University of Toronto in September.

Right: York Lion’s golf club cover, presented as a gift to tournament participants along with Nike utility club

Lorna R. Marsden, York’s president and vice-chancellor, explained that many graduate students have family and other financial responsibilities that make it difficult to concentrate on their studies full-time. “The funds raised through this golf tournament help us provide graduate students with the precious commodity of time, to further excel in their studies and complete their degrees,” Marsden said. “Graduate student research contributes to a strong and competitive economy and a healthy and vibrant society.” She thanked participants for helping nurture academic excellence through their extremely generous support.

The growing success of the Tribute Communities – York University Chair’s Cup Golf Tournament is due in large part to the commitment of a dedicated group of volunteers. Guy Burry, a York alumnus (BA ’82), Chair of the York University Alumni Association and member of York’s Board of Governors, chaired the event and served as master of ceremonies for the evening festivities. “I am delighted to reveal that proceeds from this event have tripled since its inception,” announced Burry. “This tournament has grown remarkably in just five years, with the number of event sponsors sky-rocketing from three in 2001 to 34 today.”

Paul Marcus, president and CEO of the York University Foundation, thanked Burry for his outstanding involvement with the tournament and so many other York initiatives. Marcus also expressed his appreciation to Tribute Communities for their title sponsorship of the event since 2003.

TD Meloche Monnex and Sodexho Canada Inc. were also leading sponsors of the event. “TD Meloche Monnex is a strong advocate of education,” said Richard Lim, vice-president, Affinity Market Group. “University graduates are our clientele and we are proud to be involved in supporting their accomplishments through our sponsorship of this tournament.”

Garry Knox, president of Sodexho Canada Inc., commented on his company’s reasons for becoming involved with the event. “We’re very glad to be a sponsor of York,” he said. “We feel very strongly about supporting students, many of whom begin working for us part-time on campuses and become full-time employees and often part of our management team after graduation.”

Knox added, “This golf course is superb, the weather has been fabulous and I don’t think we could have asked for a better day.”

Other event attendees included: Tim Price, vice-chair of York University’s Board of Governors and Chair of the York University Foundation Board of Directors, along with York University Foundation directors, Robert Martin, Joseph Sorbara, Aidan Flatley and Karim Lakhani.

This article was submitted to YFile by Allison Berg, communications officer, York University Foundation.