Five leaders honoured at the 2007 Bryden Alumni Awards

More than 200 alumni, faculty, staff, and friends gathered on the Trading Floor at the Design Exchange on Nov. 8. to celebrate the leadership and achievements of five York graduates at the Bryden Alumni Awards dinner.

The gala featured an opening performance by jazz singer and York faculty member Rita Di Ghent (BFA ’83), and some unexpected storytelling by CBC broadcaster and master of ceremonies Barbara Budd (BA ’74).

Left: The evening opened with two numbers by jazz singer and Fine Arts Faculty member Rita Di Ghent

"This year’s event was exceptional. The music was wonderful, the winners’ speeches were inspiring, and Barbara was a treat to watch. She jumped on stage during a technical glitch and told her tale of misadventure with comedian Bill Cosby and then-Fine Arts Dean Joseph Green when she was a student," said Naguib Gouda (MBA ’84), president of the York University Alumni Association and executive director of Alumni & Advancement Services.

Right: From left, Barbara Budd, Naguib Gouda and CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi (BA ’85)

Each of the Bryden recipients were profiled in dynamic video segments before receiving their awards (for full profiles and to view the video segments, visit the York Alumni Web site). After each video, the award recipients addressed the room, delivering insightful speeches that engaged and entertained the guests.

Paul Alofs’ (MBA ’83) (left) had the whole room snapping fingers to his rendition of a "New Orleans rap" for the Schulich School of Business. Everyone joined in as Paul chanted, "I sure like that Schulich School / Dezsö Horváth, he’s keeping it cool / I sure like that Schulich School / Financial Times says we rule." (In New Orleans style, he pronounced "sure like" as "shoo-lack", after noting that nothing rhymes with Schulich.)

Karen Kraft Sloan (MES ’90) (right) called for greater action to curb global warming, praised the social and intellectual diversity of the Faculty of Environmental Studies, and advocated for the involvement of northern communities in securing Canada’s sovereignty over arctic lands.

Maxwell Gotlieb (BA ’72, LLB ’75, LLM ’97) (left) spoke fondly of his time as a student and as a faculty member at York, and his pride in the transformations that have taken place at York over the last two decades. He also thanked his spouse Heather (left) for being a full partner in his contributions to York University, especially the Brazilian Ball, and asked her to come up on stage to accept a bouquet of flowers and take credit along with him as a "joint award."

Charmaine Courtis (BA ’72) (right) spoke of the tremendous work that York has accomplished in educating the leaders of Canada’s future — especially first generation University graduates, new Canadians, and female students. She also thanked her friends, family and two colleagues in particular: Dean Dezsö J. Horváth and Professor Emeritus Thomas Beechy.

Jennifer Corriero (BA ’03, MES ’06) (left) praised the interdisciplinary program that she pursued at the Atkinson Faculty of LIberal & Professional Studies, saying that she felt that she was able to "Redefine the Possible" in her undergraduate education by crossing boundaries that might not have been able to at other institutions.

The evening closed with speeches by York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri and Marshall Cohen, chair of York’s Board of Governors.

Shoukri expressed his pride in York University, and congratulated the award winners on their accomplishments. "The winners of the Bryden awards are truly remarkable. Remarkable for the level of success that they have achieved, and remarkable for the diverse areas in which they have achieved it," said Shoukri. "From hospital and university administration to law and politics, from the music industry to environmentalism and international development for youth, I can’t say enough about how proud I am of the winners and what they represent. This is what York is all about."  

Left: York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri addresses guests at the Bryden Gala

Picking up on speeches that he made in 2005 and 2006 where he invited alumni to speak about their York pride, Cohen said he felt "a difference in the room –  I think we’ve arrived." He also mentioned the upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations in 2009, and called for everyone to "stand up and shout, ‘we are Yorkies!’" in the anniversary year.

Supporters of the 2007 Bryden Alumni Awards include: lead sponsor Manulife Financial, reception sponsor MBNA and video sponsor the Wellington West Clearsight Financial Program.

Who was Bruce Bryden?

R. Bruce Bryden (1943-1992) graduated from York University in 1964 with a BA in sociology and economics. Bryden’s commitment, respect and contributions helped shape York University. He became founding president of the York University Alumni Association (1964-1966) and was the alumni member of University Senate (1966-1968). In 1971, he joined the University’s Board of Governors, and in 1974 became a Fellow of McLaughlin College. Bryden served as the first alumni Chair (of only two) of the York University Board of Governors from 1982 to 1992.