Bruce by numbers

On the eve of his retirement, York’s treasurer Bruce Dugelby was the centre of attention at a celebration on June 27. Dugelby is officially retiring from York on July 29 after a career that has spanned more than 39 years with the University. He was lauded for his many personal and professional accomplishments, roasted and feted for his contributions to York University during a memory-filled, emotional tribute. Members of the York community, treasurers from other institutions, past colleagues and friends filled the Hospitality York Dining Room to capacity.

 Above: A standing-room-only crowd attended Bruce Dugelby’s retirement party

The tributes began with a letter from York President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden, who was unable to attend the retirement party because she was away on vacation. Her eloquent letter to Dugelby was read by Trudy Pound-Curtis, York’s assistant vice-president finance and CFO.

“Your retirement as University treasurer marks the end of nearly four decades of your immeasurable contributions to York University,” wrote Marsden. “Your strong sense of loyalty and level of involvement in York University and to the greater York community has truly been remarkable. As one of the longest serving members of the York family, you have helped to build a strong foundation of excellence and have been an incredibly significant contributor to the evolution of life at York.”

The celebration quickly evolved into a history lesson which took all who were in attendance down memory lane. Steve Dranitsaris, senior executive officer in York’s Office of the Vice-President Finance & Administration, was the first to pay tribute to Dugelby. Dranitsaris spoke about how he first met York’s intrepid treasurer. “As an undergraduate, I was the treasurer of the Stong College student government. One of the first written communications I received from the University in my capacity as the treasurer was what I still regard as the definitive ‘officious’ memo. It was addressed to ‘Treasurer, Stong College Student Government’ and it was from ‘J.B. Dugelby, Accounting Department’.”

Right: From left, Steve Dranitsaris and Bruce Dugelby

The letter, said Dranitsaris, threatened to suspend the Stong student government’s use of the University budget appropriation account. “Well, I decided to phone Mr. J.B. Dugelby and challenge both his authority and his tact.”

After a heated discussion, the conversation became friendly and a truce was reached. “Little did I know at the time how strategic that phone call would be. Although he [Dugelby] cringed a bit when he heard that I had been hired to work at York full-time [four years after that conversation] Bruce and I have grown to be good ‘York’ friends. For the past 34 years, I have called on Bruce many, many times for help.

“Bruce, you have seen York grow from its humble beginnings and as York grew, so have you, from an accounting clerk to University treasurer. You have been a great teammate, a highly principled and genuinely reliable and loyal colleague that so many of us have come to rely on time and time again,” said Dranitsaris.

Colin Deschamps, executive officer in Atkinson’s Office of the Dean and a former co-worker of Dugelby’s, was next to speak. “I wasn’t sure if this was a roast or a toast! Over the years, our working relationship grew into a friendship,”  said Deschamps. He spoke about their mutual interest in model trains, music, books and physical fitness. “Bruce is also a collector, he loves music and books and he is a person of strong opinions. In fact, he has been asked to run in local and provincial elections. Under that opinionated exterior, there is a very kind person who will do anything for you.”

Trudy Pound-Curtis presented the toast to Dugelby. “During the very short time we’ve worked together, I have developed a strong respect for you and your contributions to York’s Finance Division,” she said.

Right: From left, Bruce Dugelby and Trudy Pound-Curtis

“You have been a constant in the division. Your loyalty and dedication to York is unsurpassed. Over the years you have accepted all the challenges that were asked of you, in fact, you took on each challenge, mastered it so well, you were asked to take on more,” said Pound-Curtis.

“You have guided the University well and held your ground. You were recently nominated for the CPM award, at the national level – you will be missed by your fellow university treasurers. I have come to rely on you. I have tried my best to get you to reconsider retiring at age 70. I feel truly blessed that I have had the benefit of your expertise over the past few years,” said Pound-Curtis. “You have truly made a difference.”

Left: From left, Betty Brendel, Jeannie Montgomery, Bruce Dugelby, Bonnie Barbayanis, Evadney Bailey and Betty Anagnostopoulos

Dugelby was presented with a number of mementoes of his career at York. His staff, Betty Anagnostopoulos, Evadney Bailey, Bonnie Barbayanis, Betty Brendel and Jeannie Montgomery gave the retiring York treasurer a framed copy of a group photograph of “Bruce’s Babes”.

Dugelby was also given a framed copy of his original handwritten letter of application to York which he wrote in the fall of 1965. “We hope you will enjoy and appreciate the significance of this gift,” said Pound-Curtis. “We have the original letter of application! It was written on Nov. 22 and Bruce came in on the morning of Nov. 26 for an interview and started work the following week. The letter also states that he would like a job ‘that pays me at least $80 a week’.” The audience roared with appreciation at this comment to which Dugelby replied, “Forty years ago, that was considered to be a very good salary!”

 Above: From left, Gary Brewer and Bruce Dugelby

Gary Brewer, vice-president of finance & administration, made the final presentation to Dugelby of a barbecue for his new home. “It is all really surprising to me that the government announces the end of mandatory retirement and now it seems that people can’t get out the door fast enough,” joked Brewer. “Serving an institution for almost 40 years really is worthy of note. In a rapidly changing world, where it seems you are lucky to get 40 weeks from some people, Bruce’s level of commitment and dedication is truly exceptional. Bruce you have earned a happy and healthy retirement. On behalf of the University, I wish you a happy and healthy retirement. Thank you for everything you have done for everything you have given to York.”

The final words went to Dugelby. “We have been together for almost 40 years and it doesn’t seem a day too long,” he said. “I have experienced a wealth of experiences, challenges, organizational changes and friendships. To all the people who I have known and worked with over the years, there are too many of you to name but you know who you are…thank you.”

Dugelby paid tribute to his staff, to the University and he provided a brief overview of the many changes he had witnessed since 1965. “I will end with the words from a song, ‘I gotta go now, I guess I will see you around’. God bless and take care.”