York launches its largest-ever fundraising campaign

The York University Foundation yesterday announced major donations as it launched an unprecedented fundraising campaign that aims to raise $200 million leading up to the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2009.

“The campaign will celebrate York’s first 50 years of achievement as well as our generous donors and volunteers who have played such a major role in helping us redefine the possible,” said Paul Marcus, president & CEO of the York University Foundation.

The “York to the Power of 50” campaign has already secured considerable support and was further strengthened by major gift announcements at last night’s kick-off gala for outside friends of York. The campaign will be launched to the internal York community at a celebration tomorrow at 1:30pm in the Scott Library, second floor (see invitation).

In all, close to 30 gifts of $1 million or more launched the campaign, backed by the support of thousands of donors.

Right: Avie Bennett                  

Recognizing the many unique talents of York students, York University Chancellor Emeritus Avie Bennett made a leadership gift for undergraduate and graduate awards and scholarships to exist in perpetuity for the benefit of more than 30 students each year.

The dedicated, high-profile leaders who participated included campaign co-chairs William Hatanaka, chairman & CEO of TD Waterhouse, and Timothy Price, Chair of Brookfield Asset Management. A growing group of York alumni dubbed the “50 to the Power of 50” team also were introduced as ambassadors for the campaign in the community (see list below). Each team member uniquely demonstrates how York graduates are making a difference in the world around us.

Among the other gifts, the Honey and Barry Sherman family very generously made a $5 million commitment last night to be designated for the renovation and refurbishment of a building which will provide much-needed research space and create a state-of-the-art facility. Honey Sherman is a member of the board of the York University Foundation.

 Right:  Honey Sherman               

“The Sherman Family gift is very important. Enhancing our research facilities is vital, as research is the number one priority for York University,” said Stan Shapson, York vice-president of research & innovation.

Professor John Tsotsos, director of the world-renowned Centre for Vision Research at York University, added: “This will allow York to retain and attract world-class researchers in the continuance of their leading-edge work.”

Left: John Tsotsos

Marcus also paid tribute to philanthropist Seymour Schulich, who has given a total of $27 million to York over the years and transformed the University with his gift to create the Schulich School of Business. More recently, thanks to another major gift from the philanthropist, “this connection was literally set in stone with the magnificent new home for the school, the Seymour Schulich Building,” said Marcus.

Right: Seymour Schulich               

“York to the Power of 50” kicked off  at the BMW Toronto Centre last night with York alumna and CTV news anchor Sandie Rinaldo (BA ’73) hosting the evening’s festivities, which featured a variety of other York alumni.  

Those performing included Juno-nominated crooner Matt Dusk  (BFA ’02), and Line 1 – choreographed by Emmy-winner Debra Brown (BFA ’78) of Cirque du Soleil fame – who combined a unique mix of music, dance and circus artistry into an amazing spectacle.  

The “50 to the Power of 50” team
This growing group of York alumni will be capped at 50 ambassadors. 



  York Degree

 Isabel Bassett 

 Chair, Library Advisory Committee, York University  

MA ’73, LLD ’01 (Hon.)

William Boyle 

 CEO & General Manager, Harbourfront Corp.

BA ’69, MA ’71 

Debra Brown 

Choreographer, Cirque du Soleil 

BFA ’78 

Barbara Budd 

CBC Radio co-host As It Happens 

BA ’74 

Joel Cohen 

Producer, “The Simpsons”, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. 

MBA ’92 

 William Dimma 

Chairman, Home Capital Group 

MBA ’69, LLD ’98 (Hon.) 

Matt Dusk 

Singer and actor 

BFA ’02 

Ivan Fecan 

President & CEO, Bell Globemedia Inc.; CEO, CTV Inc.

BA ’01

 Margot Franssen 

President & CEO, Accessorize Canada 

BA ’79 

Jian Ghomeshi 

Broadcaster, CBC

BA ’95 

Mitchell Goldhar 

President & CEO, SmartCentres 

BA ’85 

 Edward Greenspan 

Partner, Greenspan, White

LLB ’68 

 Ethel Harris  The Milton & Ethel Harris Research Initiative, York University MA ’73

Chantal Hébert 

Journalist and television commentator, The Toronto Star, Le Devoir, CBC

BA ’76

Jay Hennick 

President & CEO, FirstService Corporation 

BA ’78 

Jennifer Ivey Bannock 

Vice-President, Ivey Foundation 

BFA ’76 

Ellis Jacob 

President & CEO, Cineplex Entertainment 

MBA ’76 

Farouk Jiwa 

Agribusiness Sector Specialist, Private Sector Development, CARE Canada 

MES ’03

Robert Krembil 

Chief Executive Officer, Chiefswood Investors Ltd. 

MBA ’71, LLD ’00 (Hon.) 

Armand La Barge 

Chief of Police, York Regional Police Force 

BA ’95 

Stephanie Ling 

Principal, Children’s Primary Centre/
Cornerstone Preparatory School 

BA ’85, MEd “02 

Steve MacLean 

Astronaut, Canadian Space Agency 

BSc ’77, PhD ’83, DSc ’93 (Hon.)

 Douglas Mahaffy

Chairman, President & CEO, McLean Budden Limited 

BA ’66, MBA ’71

Jonathan Mann 

Television Anchor, CNN International 

BA ’80

Robert McEwen 

Chairman & CEO, McEwen Capital & US Gold Corp. 

MBA ’78, LLD ’05 

 Sandie Rinaldo

Weekend news anchor and co-host, “W-Five”, CTV 

BA ’73 

Clayton Ruby 

Senior lawyer and partner, Ruby & Edwardh

BA ’63 

Chandra Siddan 

Founder, Regent Park Film Festival  

BEd ’03 

Kanhai (Ken) Singh 

President, Atlas International Freight Forwarding Inc. 

BA ’79, BA ’81 

Irvin Studin 

Rhodes Scholar and author 

BBA ’99 

 Paul Tsaparis

President & CEO, Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Ltd. 

MBA ’84

 Rick Waugh

President & CEO, Scotiabank 

MBA ’74