Faculty of Education holds a donor appreciation reception

York’s Faculty of Education rolled out the welcome mat for guests at its Donor Appreciation Reception on Aug. 28. Held in the TEL Building, the event offered an opportunity for faculty members to express their gratitude to alumni, friends and donors for their contributions which support a variety of important and innovative educational projects at York.

In his opening remarks, Paul Axelrod, dean of the Faculty of Education and host of the reception, described a number of recent initiatives that have received donor support. These include student awards drawn from endowments in honour of two faculty members who recently passed away, and one for Richard Forbes, an Education student who died a number of years ago. Forbes’ parents, Reginald and Julian, established the award in his name and were present at the event.

Above: York Faculty of Education Dean Paul Axelrod speaks to guests during a recent donor appreciation event

The faculty has received significant donations for the Westview/York University partnerships, which offer a variety of outreach programs for children and youth from the Jane-Finch communities, said Axelrod. Financial support has also been provided by Suncor Corporation for the organization of a Faculty of Education/ Schulich School of Business professional development seminar for educational administrators on the theme of Sustainability Education. The faculty has received numerous donations in support of the emerging Jean Augustine Chair in Education and the New Urban Environments; and members of the Retired Women Teachers’ Association of York North have endowed a graduating student prize as well.

Mamdouh Shoukri, York president & vice-chancellor, expressed great enthusiasm for the scholarly and instructional work of the Faculty of Education. He recalled how central teachers were to his own professional growth.

Right: York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri speaks at the Faculty of Education donor appreciation event

Gail Cornish (BEd `03), a teacher at Yorkwoods Public School – the school she attended as a child – described the exceptional teacher education program offered at York  which prepared her for a job she loves.

The audience also heard from York alumna Stephanie Ling (MEd `02), who has been a long time advocate for the Faculty of Education and York University. Ling, the founder and principal of Cornerstone Preparatory School,  has established with her husband Winston, two awards for graduating teacher education students who show leadership ability and potential. Among her greatest pleasures, she noted, has been recruiting graduates from the York program to teach in her school.

Left: Paul Axelrod (left), Julian Forbes, Reginald Forbes and Mamdouh Shoukri

Finally, Penny Milton, CEO of the Canadian Education Association, presented clips of “Imagine a School”, a film, co-developed by Destination Arts, with collaboration from York’s Faculties of Education and Fine Arts. The project, directed by Destination Arts Co-ordinator, Kathleen Lundy, assembled adolescents from three Canadian cities who scripted and performed a play about contemporary life in high school.  The students’ raw honesty and creativity are captured in the film which is now being used in professional development programs for teachers throughout Canada and the United States. (It is available from the Canadian Education Association).

Axelrod told the audience that their support “matters immensely” in the life of the Faculty of Education and he encouraged everyone present to visit the Faculty of Education at its new location in Winters College.