A very special ‘thank-you’

 Above: Donors, faculty members, students and other guests at York’s recent
“Red and White Thank You Night” event.

On Nov. 24, donors, faculty members, students and other guests braved Toronto’s first snowstorm to attend the second annual “Red and White Thank You Night” at York.  Hosted by York University’s Office of the Vice-President Students, the celebration was organized by the York University Foundation. The event provided an opportunity for students and members of York’s administration to thank York donors who fund pan-University bursaries, awards and student leadership opportunities.

“We really appreciate you joining us on this blustery evening,” Rob Tiffin, vice-president students, told guests. “You are all hearty Canadians.”

Held in Chancellors lounge of The Underground, the event was an opportunity for students and donors to meet and share experiences – to “put a name to a face” as one student commented.

Right: Judy Ransom (left), president of the University Women’s Club of North York, and York student Hadassah Rosenthal are flanked by the York mascots

“Donors are extremely generous people,” said student Hadassah Rosenthal, the recipient of the University Women’s Club (UWC) Bursary. “They don’t owe us anything and yet they give freely. I’m excited to be able to personally thank the people who helped me.”

Rosenthal is an undergraduate student in the Faculty of Science & Engineering, majoring in psychology. She works part time with an autistic child and is newly married. The bursary of $500 that she received helped her to support her education and in turn gave her the confidence and encouragement to continue earning high marks.

This event gave Rosenthal the opportunity to meet Judy Ransom, president of the University Women’s Club of North York, to thank her personally. “It’s inspiring and gratifying to meet the student recipient of our bursary,” said Ransom. “It makes our donation very real.”

Like UWC, donors in attendance had established endowed student scholarships, bursaries or awards, many of whom are multi-year benefactors of York University.

Donor Bruce Roberts, along with friends, family and others, recently established an endowed award in honour of his late wife, Karen Hadley (BA ’76), who passed away in 2004 after a 21-year battle with breast cancer. Hadley was a York graduate student who worked closely with York researchers in the School of Women’s Studies on the subject of precarious employment. The Karen Hadley Memorial Award will be given to a graduate student in the School of Women’s Studies who is focused on similar research.

“Karen would be pleased to see this award,” said Roberts. “She would see it as a way of passing the baton to the next generation.”

Other donors in attendance included:

  • Retired York staff member Nancy Accinelli, who is a longtime donor that continues to give back to York as a volunteer;
  • Retired York faculty member Hédi Bouraoui, who has established various student awards and other funds at York;
  • York alumna Katherine Kiang (BA ’89), who established an award in memory of her father, Paul Kiang;
  • Marion Lambert, whose late husband Allen Lambert – along with others – created the Allen T. Lambert Scholars Award. Allen Lambert, who served on York’s first board of governors, had also made many other gifts to York. Marion’s son Bill accompanied her to the event;
  • Retired faculty member Virginia Rock, who was the first master of Stong College and is a longtime supporter of York’s students;
  • Faculty member Tom Zivic, a pioneering gymnastics coach at the local and national level, who established an endowed bursary in the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences; and
  • Vice-Consul Shoaib Sarwar, representing the Consulate General of Pakistan, who, together with the Pakistani community, created the Jinnah, Founder of Pakistan Scholarship for undergraduate students at York.

Left: Marion Lambert

Tiffin applauded donors for supporting initiatives that improve the student experience at York, both intellectually and socially. Scholarships, awards and bursaries free up time in a student’s schedule, allowing them to get involved with extracurricular activities like sport and recreation, student clubs, campus publications, student government, theatrical productions and other activities, Tiffin said. Donors also improve the student experience through funding for facilities, equipment, research and programming. For example, since May 1, 2005, more than 120 donors have contributed over $70,000 in support of York’s Sport & Recreation. These funds have supported various areas including interuniversity sport teams, student financial aid and facilities enhancement.

The experience a student gains outside the classroom, Tiffin remarked, leaves a lasting impression on a student and lays the foundation for their future career and life success. “Campus involvement is critical for our students because it enhances their connectedness to the University,” he said. “Thank you for helping make York a more connected, engaged experience.”