Golfing up a storm – literally – for graduate students

Thunder and lightning could not dampen the spirits of York’s dedicated golfers and benefactors at the sixth annual Tribute Communities – York University Chair’s Cup Golf Tournament. Held on May 31 at Copper Creek Golf Club in Kleinburg, Ont., the popular event raised $510,000 for graduate student scholarships (after a two to one government match). This total exceeds last year’s fundraising accomplishment by almost $100,000.

Right: Celebrating an impressive result are Richard Lim (left), Guy Burry, Adam Pulpan, Lucy Stocco, Mark Cohen, Tim Price, Ronald Pearlman and Paul Marcus

The proceeds from this year’s tournament will secure the future for 34 York graduate students, who will each receive $15,000 scholarships through the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) program.

Adam Pulpan, a two-time OGS recipient, attended the evening portion of the event. Currently finishing his master’s thesis, which is focused on the role of traditional Inuit knowledge and school in Nunavut, Pulpan will be entering a PhD program at York next year. The financial assistance he received was pivotal to his success at York.

Left: Getting ready to hit the fairways are Mark Cohen (left), Andy Brethour, Bud Purves and Howard Sokolowski

“The OGS program allowed me to continue my master’s studies after completing my undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Education, enabling me to follow my interests into an exciting and important field of research and academic inquiry,” said Pulpan. “Funding for graduate students is one of the main reasons why such stellar interdisciplinary research is conducted at York. This program is so incredibly important for students and the research they are doing.”

When the Chair’s Cup was launched in 2001, Marshall Cohen, Chair of York University’s Board of Governors, and his wife Judi envisioned creating a “friend-raiser” as well as a fundraiser, to rally friends, alumni, and other supporters around a great cause – student financial aid.

Through the last six years, this once casual day of golf has turned into a “first-class event”, said Steve Mirkopoulos, president of Cinespace Film Studios and a member of York University Foundation’s Board of Directors. Since its inception, the tournament has raised over $2 million and helped over 130 graduate students achieve their academic dreams.

Right: Guy Burry (left), who chaired the tournament, receives a special commemorative statue from Paul Marcus

“Graduate students are attracted to York because of the freedom they are given to conduct interdisciplinary research and to examine issues from multiple perspectives,” said Rob Tiffin, vice-president students at York. “Through financial rewards such as the OGS program, we are preparing our students to become the next generation of teachers, scholars, researchers, and corporate and community leaders.”

The tournament’s ability to succeed year after year rests largely on the shoulders of a group of very dedicated and highly passionate volunteers who make up the Chair’s Cup committee.

Walter Woloshyn, senior vice-president, construction management, of EllisDon Corporation, serves on the Chair’s Cup committee. EllisDon, a company responsible for various construction projects including the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Building and the Computer Science Building at York, helped sponsored the tournament this year.

“York is a thriving 50,000 student-strong community, which is becoming an integral part of the city of Toronto,” he said. “It’s just amazing how much growth the University has experienced especially over the last two decades and we are very proud to have played a small role in that.”

Robert Martellacci (BA ’84), president of Mindshare Learning, serves on the committee and also helped sponsor the tournament. “I have had a long history with York as a student, an alum and an employee,” said Martellacci. “It’s really great staying connected to the University, giving something back and connecting with students who are our future leaders.”

Left: Golfers Peter Sullivan (left), Aidan Flatley, Greg Stack and Gian Fortuna

Guy Burry, a York alumnus (BA ’82), Chair of the York University Alumni Association and a member of York’s Board of Governors, once again chaired the tournament and served as master of ceremonies for the evening. This is Burry’s sixth year with the tournament and each year he brings even more energy than the year before.

Paul Marcus, president and CEO of the York University Foundation, thanked Burry and presented him with a foot-tall brass statue of a golfer of Austin design. As well, Marcus expressed York’s appreciation for the continued support shown by Tribute Communities, the title sponsor of the tournament for the past four years.

“Tribute Communities takes great pride in giving back to the communities we work in,” said Lucy Stocco, the company’s executive vice-president. “York University gives so much to its community by fostering young minds, that it is only natural that we at Tribute help York in raising Canada’s future leaders.”

Right: Auctioneer Jay Mandarino gets into the swing of things

Founding sponsor TD Meloche Monnex has also been a supporter of the tournament since the beginning. “This is a delightful event, very well run and the venue is spectacular,” said Richard Lim, vice-president, Affinity Market Group, for TD Meloche Monnex. “We support this event year after year because we believe that York is an incredible institution.”

The evening festivities also included a popular live auction.

“This year’s golf tournament has set a new fundraising precedent for York,” said Marcus. “As a steadily growing event, we look forward to raising even more funds for students next year.”

This story was submitted to YFile by Bibianna Poon, communications and events intern, York University Foundation.