Beland Honderich, LLD: One of York’s most generous benefactors

Beland HonderichBeland Honderich, publisher of the Toronto Star for 22 years and one of the original donors to York University, died Nov. 8 in Vancouver at 86.

Honderich, who became publisher of the Star in 1966, was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by York in 1976. He was elected to the York University Founders Honour Society in 2000 for his role in helping establish York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies. As head of the Atkinson Charitable Foundation, Honderich made the principal decisions regarding a substantial gift that was received in March 1961, which established the then Joseph E. Atkinson College for part-time students.

Right: Beland Honderich          

“Beland Honderich was a remarkable and most generous person. He was modest about his generosity and disliked being thanked publicly by York, but literally hundreds of students could never have attended university without his support,” said York President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden. “His commitment was to helping people in need, and when I last spoke with him he agreed with my claim that the Jane-Finch community is full of people with lots of brains and little opportunity. He created that opportunity for many and we will always honour him.”

Honderich joined the Star in 1943, became editor-in-chief in 1955 and was named a director in 1956. He also held honorary degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University (1977) and Carleton University (1989) and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1986.

Born on Nov. 25, 1918, in Baden, Ont., Honderich is survived by his first wife Florence, his third wife Rina, three children, six grandchildren and one brother.