BMW Group Canada awards student excellence at York

On April 6, faculty and students of  the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies (CCGES) at York, members of the York community, representatives of BMW Group Canada and prominent members of the Toronto business and professional community gathered as York student Keith O’Regan received the fourth annual BMW Canada Award for Excellence.

Left: Lindsay Duffield (left), president and CEO of BMW Group Canada and York University Foundation board member, with student award recipient Keith O’Regan

O’Regan is a PhD candidate in social & political thought and is also pursuing a graduate diploma in German and European studies, which is offered in conjuction with CCGES. In introducing O’Regan, CCGES co-director Mark Webber praised his loyalty — to the centre, to his dissertation project and to the highest academic standards.

O’Regan’s research deals with the ways in which social conditions affect literary production, using the works of Bertolt Brecht and William Blake as examples. “I am looking to show how the tradition of moral economy forms the starting point for the development of an oppositional aesthetic in both of these authors’ writings,” said O’Regan. As a CCGES Graduate Diploma student, O’Regan was given the opportunity to study at the University of Konstanz in southern Germany.

“We are really pleased to be in partnership with York,” said Lindsay Duffield, president and CEO of BMW Group Canada and York University Foundation board member. “It has been four years since the establishment of this award, which honours the commitment and excellence of up-and-coming academics and I couldn’t think of a better candidate than Keith to be this year’s recipient.”

Lorna R. Marsden, president and vice-chancellor of York University, thanked Duffield and BMW Group Canada for supporting CCGES by instituting an award that encourages Canadian-German relations and recognizes student excellence. “We are so grateful to BMW Group Canada for the establishment of this prestigious award which allows York to celebrate the accomplishments of extraordinary students.”

O’Regan said the support he received from the centre has been vital to his academic successes. “Winning an award of this calibre is an acknowledgement of my academic work,” he said. “What’s more, the financial aspects of this award will afford me the opportunity to further my research in the coming months, concretely offsetting the costs of presenting my research as a whole at academic conferences both in Canada and in Europe.”

“BMW Canada’s ongoing support towards the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies is crucial for research and recognizes the important relationship between research and graduate education,” said Stan Shapson, York’s vice-president research & innovation. “The centre is an important part of York University’s leading-edge research. It plays a vital role in driving our interdisciplinary and collaborative research hallmarks, growing our strengths in international studies research, and training the leaders of tomorrow.”

Right: Mark Webber (left), co-director of CCGES, and Helen Ching-Kircher, vice-president, chief operating officer & general manager of Downtown Fine Cars Inc.

To conclude the ceremony, Paul Marcus, president and CEO of the York University Foundation, commended BMW Group Canada for showing community leadership and support. “This is a very important award that speaks to the mutual excellence of BMW Group Canada and York University. We are grateful for your support.”

Also present were several members of the CCGES advisory committee, including Jan Heck, president of Miele Limited, Gerry Meinzer, president of PMP Associates Inc., Steve Caldow, project manager at Miele Limited and an alumnus of York (IMBA ’01) and the Graduate Diploma in German & European Studies, along with Klaus Koeppen, president of the German-Canadian Business and Professional Association (GCBPA) of Kitchener-Waterloo, and, from Downtown Fine Cars Inc., Peter Kircher, chief executive officer, and Helen Ching-Kircher, vice-president, chief operating officer & general manager of Downtown Fine Cars Inc.

Established in 1997, CCGES is now recognized as Canada’s leading source of expertise on German and European issues, and as Canada’s only national centre in this field. As a cooperative venture between York University, University of Montreal and the German Academic Exchange Service, the centre is successfully preparing the next generation of Canadian experts on German and European issues.