Janis Roy bids York farewell

In his book Conquest of Happiness (1930), British author, mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell said, “To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level.”

Left: Sweet good wishes

On July 31, Janis Roy retired from her role as director of advancement services after 32 years at York University to take up a very civilized retirement – one that includes home renovations, travel, sports and her role singing and playing keyboards for the Canadian rock band Vegas Boys.

As director of advancement services, Roy was responsible for coordinating a department that provides resources and services in support of the University and the York University Foundation’s advancement activities. The day-to-day responsibilities of the department include records management, gift processing, reporting and call centre activities. Roy also oversaw the data management of over 250,000 records coordinated through the alumni-development system that also serves as the University’s official alumni database.

Over 100 people came out to bid Roy farewell at a retirement celebration which took place in the West Office Building on July 31. Roy was fêted and toasted by her many friends on campus.

Right: Janis Roy (left) with Naguib Gouda

Naguib Gouda, executive director of alumni & advancement services, acted as the master of ceremonies for the event which saw a number of people pay tribute to Roy.

Marie -Thérèse Chaput, director of advancement, Glendon College, was first up to wish Roy a happy retirement and presented her with a bouquet of flowers. “We have become friends over the years and I know that I will miss you. I am happy for you and sad because you are going,” said a tearful Chaput. “You have worked very hard on behalf of the University. Now you are going to sing and we are all going to come and hear you.”

Speaking on behalf of the York University Foundation, Cathy Yanosik, vice-president, operations for the foundation, reminisced over experiences she shared with Roy while the two were setting up the infrastructure for the foundation in 2002. “During that time, I think it was impossible to overstate the impact that Janis had in keeping our heads above water on a day-to-day basis to handle all of the things that needed to be done and her role in giving us a good base to make us successful in our future work,” said Yanosik.

“Janis jumped in and led her team to do anything that was required. Janis just knew what needed to be done for us to be successful. Janis, I would like to thank you on behalf of the foundation for everything you’ve done for us,” said Yanosik.

Right: Cutting the cake

Gouda took the podium to express his thanks to Roy for her service. “Janis was really so kind to let the University know many months ago of her plans which allowed us to transition many projects and the operation smoothly, including the database conversion project,” said Gouda. “I chose to remain in denial but, Janis, you are not coming in tomorrow morning are you? You are retiring.

“Many of us in this room are very much focused on the spring of 2007–the time we will replace our current database. Let me break some news to you…York is losing its real database today!” said Gouda.

“Janis has promised to come back whenever we need her so it is not ‘Good-bye’,” said Gouda. “I want to thank you for leaving behind such a strong team in Advancement Services. You have been their mentor, teacher and guide.”

Left: Cathy Yanosik thanks Roy

Roy asked that in lieu of gifts, donations be made to a scholarship for students in the Faculty of Environmental Studies that was established in memory of her niece Adrienne Pocock, an environmentalist who was killed in a traffic accident in 2004. Gouda revealed that recent donations to the scholarship to honour Roy on her retirement, including government matching, had reached $2,500. The total of the fund established in Pocock’s memory has now passed $100,000. Donors may still make a donation to the Adrienne Pocock Award as a tribute to Roy by contacting Lisa Gleva at the York University Foundation at 416-650-8210, or by e-mail to gleval@yorkfoundation.yorku.ca.

“This gift, Janis, is a tribute to you and your love for Adrienne,” said Gouda. “On behalf of the University, the advancement team and all your colleagues past and present, we wish you the very best in your retirement.”

Over the course of her career at York University, Roy has worked for admissions, the Faculty of Fine Arts, Faculty of Education, alumni affairs and, finally, advancement services. Roy is an alumna of York University and graduated in 1973 with a BA in psychology.