York wins gold, silver and bronze in educational advancement

Once again, York walked away with a clutch of gold, silver and bronze awards at the annual “Prix d’Excellence” awards ceremony of the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE) this year. And once again, a development officer from the York University Foundation won a Rising Star Award.

Right: Recruitment package wins gold for third time

CCAE presented the awards at its June conference in Ottawa. The organization represents more than 140 postsecondary institutions across Canada. Through its annual “Prix d’Excellence” awards, CCAE fosters excellence and recognizes outstanding achievement in alumni affairs, public affairs, development, student recruitment and overall institutional advancement.

This year, York’s Marketing & Communications Division won gold for best student recruitment program for the third consecutive year, silver for best magazine and bronze for best news release. This is the second year in a row the “Enter Here” recruitment package shepherded by the Account Direction unit and Admissions and designed by doug agency has won this award.

Right: YorkU magazine wins silver again 

YorkU magazine maintains its silver status for the third consecutive year. And media relations officer Melissa Hughes wrote the bronze-winning news release “York U prof finds female birds cheat on spouses, too”.

“We know from independent research that incoming students have really responded to the York recruitment campaign and that alumni rate YorkU magazine highly,” said Richard Fisher, York’s chief marketing & communications officer. “The cheating-birds story was also selected by Globe & Mail editorial writers in their review of top stories in 2005. So this is a very good all-round performance for York.”

Gold also went to the York University Foundation for best donor or volunteer recognition program, for the HSBC Thanks a Million  event, in which York staged an exuberant thank-you downtown for the bank’s $500,000 donation — matched by Ontario Student Opportunities Trust Fund to create a $1-million endowment for student aid. The event was organized by the foundation and involved York’s mascots, cheerleaders and dance squad.

Then there’s Devika Shah, the foundation’s second winner of the prestigious Rising Star Award. As chief development officer, Shah was one of three advancement professionals singled out for early success in the field as a sign of future potential. Shah has guided the development of a strategic international education fundraising plan and been instrumental in bringing in the first two major donations to this area.

Left: Devika Shah is a Rising Star

Her work is raising funds for York students’ international study and work experiences, programs for the University’s 3,200 international students, and the prestigious Emerging Global Leaders Retreat. Previously associate campaign director on the University of Waterloo’s $260-million Campaign Waterloo, she is widely praised for her versatility, creativity, teamwork and energy. She is also a dedicated community volunteer and a part-time student in the MBA Program at York’s Schulich School of Business.

“These awards are a testament to the hard work and dedication of the York University Foundation team,” said Susan Mullin, the foundation’s vice-president, development. “We are thrilled that Devika’s current and future potential as a fundraising professional has been acknowledged through this award. And we are committed to recognizing our generous supporters and are pleased that we could do so in such a dynamic way with the HSBC Thanks A Million event.”

Alumni & Advancement Services won two bronze awards: for best alumni relations program – the York is U student alumni program directed last year by Jeremy Greenberg; and for best alumni event – the Bryden Alumni Awards, a gala dinner at the Design Exchange last November to honour five outstanding alumni, organized by James Allan, director, alumni, and Alumni Office communications officer Marcus Parmegiani.

“It’s always wonderful to be recognized by one’s peers, and so it was very gratifying when both York is U and the Bryden Awards won bronze in Ottawa this year,” said Naguib Gouda, executive director of Alumni & Advancement Services. “I’m sure that York is U will continue to shine under the guidance of Frank Cappadocia, director of Student Community & Leadership Development, and the Brydens will be even more inspiring this year. We’ll be aiming for gold next time!”