George Tourlakis to be appointed University Professor

George Tourlakis will be appointed University Professor at York’s fall convocation.

With six books under his belt, the scholarship of this computer scientist who likes designing new logic is indisputable. But his extraordinary service to York brings him this latest honour on Oct. 20.

Right: George Tourlakis

Some call him Mr. Harmonization. Since 1993, Tourlakis has played a leading role in reducing program duplication and harmonizing curriculum, a long-term York policy designed to flatten academic "silos" impeding students. His efforts as Chair and member of the Senate Committee on Curriculum &  Academic Standards (CCAS) for 11 of the past 14 years have led to program mergers and increased cooperation between units. On a larger scale, he has also been "a powerful force" in reducing duplication of disciplines between Faculties, writes Peter Cribb, Chair of York’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering, in his letter of nomination.

Tourlakis came to Canada from Athens in 1969 with an engineering diploma. By 1973, he had earned an MSc and a PhD in computer science from the University of Toronto. That same year, he began teaching computing science at York’s Atkinson College. Within a year, he was associate Chair of his department and participating on program and budget committees. Over the past 34 years, he has not only chaired the CCAS, he has chaired his department, University Senate and the Council of the Faculty of Science & Engineering, and represented University Senate on the York Board of Governors.

He was involved early in efforts to start a graduate program in computer science. He helped raise support in the Greek community to establish Hellenic Studies at York. He continues to guide curriculum planning in the Computer Science & Engineering Department and to serve as Chair of CCAS.

"There are few faculty members at York who have made as significant a contribution to the University’s development over such a long period of time as George," writes Cribb. "His participation in the collegium has set a tone, both during difficult times when steady, respectful leadership was critical, as well as in day-to-day affairs, of integrity and principle."

Tourlakis is one of four York faculty members to be named University Professor this year. The other three are Mary Jane Mossman, a trail-blazing feminist legal scholar, Ron Owston, a pioneer in learning technologies, and Ross Rudolph, an expert on the 17th-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes with an outstanding record of service to the University. They were appointed at the June convocation.

The honorary title recognizes long-serving tenured faculty members who have made an extraordinary contribution to the University as a colleague, teacher and scholar. Candidates are chosen by the York Senate sub-committee on Honorary Degrees & Ceremonials.

Tourlakis will be appointed University Professor at the convocation ceremony Oct. 20 at 3pm.