York honours five exceptional alumni

York University will recognize the leadership and achievements of five alumni tonight at the annual Bryden Alumni Awards dinner, taking place at The Design Exchange.

The recipients of the 2006 Bryden Alumni Awards are: 

  • Chandra Siddan, community activist, filmmaker and founder of the Regent Park Film Festival;
  • Aidan Flatley, president and chief executive officer of Kenaidan Contracting Limited;
  • John Lennox, professor of English in the Faculty of Arts at York University;
  • Chantal Hébert, journalist and political commentator; and
  • Andrew Craig, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, producer, musical director, composer and CBC broadcaster.

“These five exceptional individuals have distinguished themselves in fields ranging from news reporting to film, music, community activism, academic scholarship, and business,” said York’s executive director of Alumni & Advancement Services, Naguib Gouda (MBA ’84). “York graduates are making a difference in the world, and this year’s winners demonstrate that our alumni follow remarkable paths to success and influence the lives of all Canadians.”

The awards are named after the late Bruce Bryden (BA ’64), founder of the York University Alumni Association (YUAA) and the first alumni Chair of the York University Board of Governors. Bryden helped launch the York University Development Corporation and was a passionate member of the community for nearly 30 years. His inspiring commitment, vision and contributions helped shape York into the vibrant and innovative University that it is today.

Redefine the Possible: For leadership and successes which are innovative, unconventional and daring, embodying York’s trailblazing motto “Redefine the Possible”

Chandra Siddan (BEd ’03) is a community organizer, filmmaker, and the founder and coordinator of the Regent Park Film Festival. Her imaginative work in arts and education, and the inspired way she has dedicated herself to working in Regent Park has made a unique contribution to Toronto’s cultural life. She has earned the Tony Stoltz Completion Award for the work in progress “Remembrance of Things Present”, and press coverage in the the Toronto Star, Metro, and India’s national newspaper, The Hindu. Siddan is the first graduate from the Faculty of Education to receive a Bryden Alumni Award.

Outstanding Contribution: Dedication to the advancement of the University through exceptional service, commitment and contributions

Aidan Flatley (BA ’78) is a consummate leader, hands-on volunteer and generous benefactor whose contributions to York University are truly exceptional. He is a member of the York University Foundation Board of Directors, and is currently volunteering as the Annual Fund Chair of York’s 50th Anniversary Fundraising Campaign. Flatley is a partner in one of Ontario’s top building contractors, Kenaidan Contracting Ltd., whose recent projects include the Seymour Schulich Building and the Honour Court & Information Centre at York University.

Local Hero: A York alumnus and employee of the University who has gone beyond the call of duty

John Lennox (BA ’67) is an early graduate of York who returned in the mid-1970s after earning an MA at the University of Sherbrooke and a PhD from the University of New Brunswick. Throughout his career, Lennox has been continuously involved in service to the University, acting in such roles as the United Way Leadership Chair, director of the Graduate program in English, and director of the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies. He is an institutional treasure, whose accomplishments as the academic convenor for the recent Congress of the Humanities & Social Sciences demonstrate his ability to lead and inspire others. Lennox is an outstanding scholar and was the recipient of the Governor General’s International Award for Canadian Studies in 2000.

Pinnacle Achievement: Recognizing true distinction in professional life or in any field of endeavour

Chantal Hébert (BA ’76) is a renowned bilingual national affairs writer for the Toronto Star and Le Devoir, and a political commentator who has appeared on leading television and radio news programs, including CBC Television’s “The National”. Hébert’s outstanding work has earned her the 2006 Hyman Solomon Award for Excellence in Public Policy Journalism presented by the Public Policy Forum, and the 2005 APEX Public Service Award.

One-to-Watch: For remarkable professional and community accomplishments early in his or her career

Andrew Craig (BFA ’93) is a highly accomplished musician, vocalist and media personality, whose exceptional work as a performer, musical director, producer and host has earned his recognition as a rising star on Canada’s musical scene. He has twice performed for Nelson Mandela, and has toured with Molly Johnson and Ashley MacIsaac. He has performed with world renowned Wynton Marsalis, and worked behind the scenes on “Canadian Idol”. He is also the voice behind CBC Radio Two’s flagship show “In Performance” – a position he has held since Nov. 2004. Craig recently served as the master of ceremonies at the opening of the new Recital Hall in the Accolade fine arts complex at York. He is a member of York’s Facutly of Fine Arts Advisory Council.

For more information on the awards, visit the Alumni Web site.

This article was submitted to YFile by Marcus Parmegiani, manager, alumni communications.