‘Alumni breakthrough gives students the right to light’

Students in the newly named Cassels Brock & Blackwell Classroom, room 204 on the second floor of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, are seeing the light these days, thanks to the firm’s extra donation that allowed renovations of the classroom to include a window.

New window in room 204 OsgoodeThe new view of the world outside was officially unveiled last Wednesday, Sept. 21, by Osgoode student Marty Venalainen, winner of a contest to write a caption (and the headline above) for a photo of the window project taken earlier this year. In it, sponsor representatives and alumnae Mark Young (LLB ’74), managing partner of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, and Tom Heintzman (LLB ’66), senior partner with McCarthy Tétrault LLP, posed with demolition tools in hand, ready to break a hole in the wall.

Right: From left, Young, Venalainen and Monahan unveil the new window

“We’ve had comments for years about the windows. It was a priority,” said Osgoode Dean Patrick Monahan, before adding with a smile, “Not that we haven’t had other priorities, we did, but now, thanks to the generous support of Cassels Brock we have a window.”

Venalainen’s winning caption won handily in a vote by students taken moments before he raised the window blind, letting the light shine in through Osgoode’s new northern exposure. For his winning entry, Venalainen received a $100 gift certificate for dinner from Cassels Brock, presented by Young.

Monahan told the Law Times that, as soon as Young heard about the chance of putting in a window, he immediately agreed to find a way to fund the project. “I think it’s going to be something of great interest to our alumni because this is something that everyone who’s a graduate of this school talks about,” said Monahan.

 window group

Above: From left, Osgoode contestants Catherine Hayhow, Ron Podolny and Venalainen with Young and Monahan

Two other finalists in the competition, students Catherine Hayhow (“Through Wall to Justice”) and Ron Podolny (“A Breakthrough”), received gifts for their entries, which were selected from a large number of suggested captions. The three final choices were selected “after lengthy deliberation and some really good belly laughs,” Monahan said.

The window in room 204 is the crowning glory on renovations to five lecture halls at Osgoode. Room 104 now also includes a window, thanks to renovations sponsored by McCarthy Tétrault LLP. Osgoode plans to officially open the Cassels Brock & Blackwell Classroom in a ceremony on Nov. 17.