Leading academic to head York University

Calling it the greatest challenge of his career, engineer Mamdouh Shoukri has been named the new president of York University, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 7. Shoukri, 59, currently the vice-president of research and international affairs at McMaster University in Hamilton, will assume the post on July 1.

His appointment was confirmed at a meeting of the York University Board of Governors Feb. 6. "I am very excited by this new challenge which is without doubt the greatest of my career," said Shoukri, an Egyptian-born mechanical engineer and married father of two who has been at McMaster since 1984.

"I watched York grow to become Canada’s third-largest university and it is racing ahead," he said in a written release. "I consider myself to be very privileged to be given this opportunity at this important juncture in York’s history."

Shoukri replaces Lorna R. Marsden, who is retiring after 10 years at the helm. "He’s clearly a first-class academic and is the perfect person to champion York’s mission with its heavy emphasis on interdisciplinary research and teaching," she said.

The Star said one of the key criteria listed in the job description was finding someone to enhance the research activity and culture so York can "reach the pinnacle as one of Canada’s pre-eminent research universities." Marshall (Mickey) Cohen, Chair of the board, called Shoukri "a proven leader, academic and researcher," who at McMaster showed himself to be "a skilled administrator, diplomat and visionary."

On Shoukri’s watch, McMaster won Research University of the Year in 2004 in an annual ranking of institutions’ ability to attract and capitalize on research income, said the Star.

  • York University has reached down the QEW to select a career engineering researcher and administrator as its next president, wrote The Globe and Mail Feb. 7. Mamdouh Shoukri was announced last night as York’s seventh president and vice-chancellor. Shoukri has been at McMaster since 1984. Prior to that he spent seven years working in the research division of Ontario Hydro.
  • York University has chosen a "skilled administrator, diplomat and visionary" as its seventh president and vice-chancellor, wrote the National Post Feb. 7. The appointment of Mamdouh Shoukri, the current vice-president of research and international affairs at Hamilton’s McMaster University, was announced at York’s Board of Governors meeting yesterday. He replaces Lorna R. Marsden, who has led the country’s third-largest university for nearly 10 years. "I am very excited by this new challenge, which is without doubt the greatest of my career," Shoukri said in a statement.
  • Last night, the original mover of McMaster Innovation Park was confirmed at an evening meeting as the next president of York University in Toronto, wrote the Hamilton Spectator Feb. 7. But the departure of Mamdouh Shoukri, vice-president of research and international affairs, won’t delay the park’s evolution, McMaster University President Peter George said. It’s not a one-person project, he said. "I am delighted for Mamdouh and he deserves the opportunity. We are really proud of him and know he’ll do a great job," said George.

Competition is driving advertisers to cross the line

A Super Bowl commercial for Snickers candy bars that involves two burly men kissing met a quick demise yesterday when it was pulled from the Snickers Web site and future American TV broadcast, the latest in a series of marketing campaigns gone awry, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 7. Part of what is inspiring companies to push the boundaries in their advertising is the intensely competitive environment that sees consumers bombarded with thousands of commercial messages every day, said Ashwin Joshi, a marketing professor at the Schulich School of Business. "One way of breaking through the clutter is by doing something different, crossing the line," he said.

Corporate ethical behaviour no longer a frill, conference told

Speaking at an ethics conference in Gatineau, Que., Feb. 6, Wesley Cragg, professor of business ethics at York’s Schulich School of Business, put a scale to the problem of corruption and human rights abuses in the corporate sector, pointing out that companies like Wal-Mart produce more revenue annually than Sweden’s gross domestic product, wrote the Ottawa Citizen Feb. 7.

Such corporate giants have unprecedented tools to amass wealth and can select any place in the world from which to operate, opening up huge possibilities for corruption and abuse, said Cragg. He and Kariann Aarup, director of the Community Experience Initiative in Montreal, both spoke about the need to incorporate more business ethics training into the university programs so the next generation of leaders sees ethical concerns as an integral part of business strategy.

Frigid photo opportunity

A photo of York student Hamid Osman protesting rising tuition costs by living in a tent at the University’s Keele campus, Feb. 6, was published in The Toronto Sun Feb. 7.