Golf tournament gives 37 graduate students a reason to smile

Clear skies and warm temperatures set the mood on May 30 as spirited golfers and sponsors enjoyed a great day of golf and fundraising at the Copper Creek Golf Club in Kleinburg, Ont., for the seventh annual Tribute Communities-York University Chair’s Cup Golf Tournament.

The event has become one of York University’s most successful fundraisers in support of graduate student scholarships, producing $555,000 this year, its best-ever result, with net revenue from the event matched two-to-one by the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) Program.

Left: From left, Paul Marcus with co-Chairs Guy Burry and Greg Stack

Over $2.5 million has been raised for student support at the annual event since 2001, when Marshall Cohen, Chair of York’s Board of Governors, initiated the tournament. Chair’s Cup has now contributed to over 170 graduate scholarships worth $15,000 each, with 37 funded this year alone.

After the tournament, guests were treated to a reception and dinner hosted by event co-Chairs Guy Burry (BA ’82), managing director, Tenth Power Inc. and Chair of the York Alumni Association, and Greg Stack (BA ’81), vice-president of Kenaidan Contracting Ltd.

Burry introduced auctioneer Jay Mandarino (left), president of CJ Graphics Inc., for the evening’s live auction. Through his company JBM Auction Services, Mandarino has given back to the community by performing at hundreds of auctions over the past 15 years to support worthy causes.

At the dinner, York President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden stated that "we are so grateful for the generous donations of our sponsors and the enthusiasm of today’s participants, as all funds raised are absolutely crucial in support of our graduate students. By recognizing these students with an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, it gives them the precious commodity of time, allowing them to focus on their research and reducing the amount of time it will take them to complete their degree."

Marsden introduced guests to first-year PhD candidate Cory Gerritsen (MA ’06), an OGS recipient in attendance for the festivities. The clinical psychology student has focused on visual attention research, which examines how people are able to use the emotional properties of an object (an angry face, for instance) to orient their attention toward it. This research helps us understand the psychological mechanisms that underlie visual searching behaviour performed, for example, by motorists and airport security personnel.

"It’s fantastic that some private donors have come forth to fill in the gap in funding for graduate students," said Gerritsen. "I wasn’t even aware that the University was required to collect matching funds for provincial scholarships. I always assumed it all came from public money." Gerritsen joked that receiving the scholarship has allowed him to eat this year. On a more serious note, he remarked that he would fall into further debt while continuing his research and he would be forced to borrow quite a lot from his parents without this financial support.

"The 37 scholarships created through today’s event are incredibly significant as we have about 200 York students garnering Ontario Graduate Scholarships each year," said Ronald Pearlman, interim dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies. "To obtain provincial funding, each of those scholarships must be matched by $5,000 through the University and Chair’s Cup provides one way to achieve this." Pearlman went on to say that the annual tournament is "a huge piece of the OGS puzzle."

Tribute Communities received thanks that evening for their outstanding commitment as title sponsor of the tournament for the past five years. Tribute Communities CEO Howard Sokolowski, a York University Foundation director, participated in the tournament that day.

Above: From left, Greg Stack (BA ’81) and Guy Burry (BA ’82), event co-chairs, Lorna R. Marsden, York president & vice-chancellor, Mamdouh Shoukri, York president-designate, Tim Price, Chair of the York University Foundation Board of Directors, Ron Pearlman, interim dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Paul Douglas, TD Meloche Monnex, and Lucy Stucco, Tribute Communities

A special thank-you was also delivered to founding sponsor TD Meloche Monnex, represented that day by event participants Paul Douglas, vice-president, Affinity Market Group and Colin Marker, manager, Affinity Market Group, for the company’s dedicated involvement in the event since 2001.

Right: Ron Pearlman (left), with Bert Cook, the men’s closest to pin winner, and York VP Academic Sheila Embleton (right)

"The Tribute Communities-York University Chair’s Cup Golf Tournament has grown from just three sponsors to close to 40 and this year we actually had a waiting list more than a month before the event," said Paul Marcus, York University Foundation president and CEO. "Today’s generous support has significantly helped to lay the foundation for our future success."

Burry rounded out the evening’s festivities, congratulating tournament winners as they received prizes from Pearlman, Tim Price, Chair of the York University Foundation Board of Directors and Sheila Embleton, York’s vice-president academic."I think the real prize is that 37 York University graduate students will, next year, have scholarships," said Burry, addressing the room. "So for that we thank you very much."

This year’s event sponsors for the Tribute Communities-York University Chair’s Cup Golf Tournament are:
Title Sponsor: Tribute Communities
Founding Sponsor: TD Meloche Monnex
Beat the Pro Sponsor: Tenth Power
Beverage Cart Sponsor: EllisDon
Cocktail Reception Sponsor: Downtown Fine Cars Group
Golf Cart Sponsor: McLean Budden
GPS Sponsor: Sodexho
Golf Ball Sponsor: HKMB
Golf Hat Sponsor: Kenaidan
Hole Sponsors: Addenda Capital, Alliance Bernstein, AON Consulting Inc., A-Tec Signs, BMO, Brookfield Asset Management, CIBC Mellon, Cinespace Film Studios, Clearsight Wealth Management, Downsview Drywall Contracting, Gryphon International Investment Corporation, Harris Rebar, Jerry and Karmela Klasner and Family, Manulife Financial, MBNA Canada, McCarthy Tetrault LLP, Orderline, PMA Brethour, Sanofi Pasteur, Scotia Private Client Group, Shawneeki Golf Club, The Sorbara Group, Howard Smuschkowitz, Towers Perrin, TD Asset Management, Wedge Capital, WSI Sign Systems Ltd., York University Alumni Association

Submitted to YFile by Earleen Dover, communications officer, York University Foundation