Excalibur celebrates 40th anniversary

To mark its 40th anniversary, Excalibur has invited everyone who has ever worked on York’s independent student newspaper to a birthday celebration April 26 at the Underground.

It’s the first ever such celebration and invitations have been sent across the continent to former editors and production staff, many of whom went on to forge careers as journalists at media outlets including the CBC, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, Newsweek, the New York Times and CNN.

The April 26 event begins at 7pm in the Underground in the Student Centre, and features speeches by distinguished alumni from three decades: from the 1970s, Michael Hollett (left), co-founder and co-owner of NOW Magazine and Now Communications Inc.; from the 1980s, Edo van Belkom, an award-winning horror fiction writer, and Roberta (DiMaio) van Belkom; and from the 1990s, Miguel Martin-Garcia, of the Toronto Star.

Over four decades, Excalibur has been the training ground for many accomplished and high-profile journalists (see Profiles, March 2000). Well-known alumni include: Jonathan Mann (right) (BA ’80), CNN anchor; Lorne Manly (BA ’89), reporter for the New York Times; Paula Todd (below left) (BA ’82, LLB ’88), CTV host of "The Verdict" and former co-host of TVO’s "Studio 2"; Adam Bryant (BA ’85), senior editor of Newsweek‘s business section; Jeannine Amber (BA ’91), reporter for Essence Magazine; Jim Munroe (BA ’95), former managing editor of AdBusters, currently an award-winning sci-fi writer; John Montesano (B.Sc. ’89), vice-president and general manager of Telelatino Network; Doug Saunders (studied at York 1986-89), Globe columnist; Gary Symons (BA ’87), CBC radio journalist; Oakland Ross (BA ’74), an ex-Globe writer now working at the Star; and Julian Beltrame (BA ’74), former Ottawa bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, now working for Canadian Press.

Excalibur editor-in-chief Simona Siad says this event will be one to remember, where the past meets the present. "We wanted to offer alumni a chance to reunite with old colleagues, remember the good times and pay tribute to one of the most successful student newspapers in Canada," says Siad.

Above: Excalibur staff in the 1980s: From left, front row seated, Zena McBride, Liz Reyes, Brian Poser, Paulette Peirol, Jeff Shinder, James Flagal (legs extended), Adam Kardash; second row seated, Loren Arduini, Sujata Berry, Jennifer Parsons, David Dollard, Andrew Vance; back row standing, Lorne Manley holding Ryan McBride, Robert Castle, James Hoggett, Merle Menzies, Patty Milton-Feasby, Kevin Pasquino, Janice Goldberg, Lisa Olsen, Luis Aguila

She and managing editor Frances Olimpo know first-hand about the commitment that Excalibur inspires. They’ve spent three years at the paper and know others who’ve spent longer on the masthead.

"Not many people know this, but Excalibur was founded in Founders College," says Olimpo. "It moved to Central Square and during the ’90s it finally settled at 420 Student Centre. We’ve even got some of the same furniture." She says former editors are more than welcome to visit the office for one last nostalgic look.

For information about attending the anniversary celebration, visit the Excalibur Web site.