Suddenly, it’s raining freshmen – but not in Toronto

Nearly 2,500 extra students have signed up for universities across Ontario this fall, reported the Toronto Star July 14. Of those, the University of Guelph has landed 800 more; the University of Waterloo 630 more and Wilfrid Laurier 500 more than anticipated. Trent University in Peterborough is up nearly 10 per cent.

In some cases, it may be simply that money talked. Two of the boom campuses sweetened their entrance scholarships this year; Guelph hiked its grant for students with a final average of 85 per cent to $2,000  up $500 from last year, and for the first time, Waterloo gave $1,000 to students with an 85 per cent average. For those with 90 per cent, Guelph tripled the prize to $3,000 from $1,000.

Others credit fresh marketing efforts. Trent bought radio commercials and subway ads in Toronto for the first time this year and Guelph hosted a new open house for prospective students in late May, just weeks before their June 12 deadline for choosing a school.

Or could it be location? Are students avoiding Toronto? The University of Toronto’s acceptances rose by only 1.5 per cent and York University‘s actually dropped by 6 per cent. Experts suggest there are simply more students heading to university overall, and schools will simply take turns landing larger pieces of the pie. York said it had taken more than it wanted last year, and needed to ease the pressure.

  • Broadcast News also carried the story July 14.

Ritual a way of life for York dance alumna

Santee Smith (MA ‘04) calls herself an overachiever, and with good reason, reported The Globe and Mail July 14. She is a dancer, choreographer, actor, potter, composer, singer, artistic director, producer and administrator, to name just a few of her job descriptions. Her latest venture is mounting Living Ritual: World Indigenous Dance Festival, which has a performance at the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ont., tonight, and master classes, panel discussions, film screenings and performances at York University, Saturday and Sunday. This first festival of its kind in Canada features guest artists from four Canadian provinces, the United States, Mexico, Colombia and New Zealand.

Nineteen ninety-eight was a momentous year for Smith. A single mother, she gave birth to her daughter Semiah, and got her first grant to begin the creation of her full-length dance work, Kaha:wi, which premiered in 2004 and made Smith’s reputation. The title, which means “she carries,” gave name to her company (Kaha:wi Dance Theatre) and honours her grandmother’s name. It is also the ceremonial name of her daughter. Her second full-length piece, Here on Earth, premiered in 2005. In between, she got her master’s degree in dance from York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies. One of Smith’s courses there was World Dance. As a course project, she designed a model for a world indigenous dance festival. It was a logical next step to mount the festival as a reality.

Elijah Allen jumping to glory

Sudbury’s Elijah Allen made the most of his trip to Colorado for the North American Indigenous Games, reported The Sudbury Star July 14. The local track athlete captured gold in the 100-metres, triple jump and long jump, earned silver in the 200-metres and bronze in the 4×4 relay. After nationals, Allen plans to take some time off before his freshman year at York University, where he will be a member of the track team.

Family court a balancing act

Not many days ago, Osgoode alumna Eileen Martin (LLB ‘79) was a well-respected family court lawyer enjoying a vacation looking at the wonders of ancient Egypt, wrote the Welland Tribune July 14. Today, she is Justice Eileen Martin and she’s presiding over the Ontario Family Court at the Welland Courthouse. “It’s been kind of a whirlwind couple of weeks,” said Martin. “So much has happened.” Born in Montreal, Martin moved around Canada while growing up, as her father’s job in the railroad industry took the family all over the country. She lived in Winnipeg, Moosejaw, attended the University of New Brunswick and then obtained her bachelor of law at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

Lawyer leaves practice to explore his artistic side

A year ago, Osgoode alumnus Gord McSevney (LLB ‘86) opened a stained glass studio in the basement as he shifted gears and tried to leave a less than fulfilling law career behind him, wrote The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo) July 14. “I realized I was reaching the age, that if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t do it,” he said, sitting inside Phoenix Stained Glass Studio. “It’s a wonderful release. When you’re in the courtroom, that reminds you it’s not a happy business.”

Ex-student who took fire truck for joy ride was schizophrenic

A former York University student who entered a fire truck left unlocked by shopping firefighters and took it for a wild joyride along city streets has pleaded guilty to three counts and walked out of court, reported the Toronto Star July 14. Because Kapil Patel‘s dangerous escapade was sparked by the onset of schizophrenia, a judge gave him a suspended sentence and three years’ probation so his parents can fly him back to his native India for treatment.

Although the disease had first surfaced three months earlier, this was its first dramatic manifestation, said Patel’s lawyer Donna Pledge. Patel’s father said the young man dropped out of his third year of computer studies at York University when the symptoms hit. “This was his study time,” he said. “So it was terrible for him.”