York to the Power of 50: Students join alumni for speed-mentoring

York’s 50 to the Power of 50 Group launched March 26 with a speed-mentoring event that also kicked off a year-long countdown to York’s 50th anniversary.

The group, made up of some of York University’s best-known and most accomplished alumni from over the years, includes actress Rachel McAdams, Scotiabank president & CEO Rick Waugh, astronaut Steve MacLean, two-time Olympic team member Sandra Levy and 50 Group Chair Ivan Fecan, also a member of the York University Foundation’s board of directors. 

Right: CTV News weekend anchor and 50 Group member Sandie Rinaldo with York human resource management student Auroosa Kazmi, one of the day’s mentees

"I am delighted and honoured to chair York’s 50 to the Power of 50 Group," said  Fecan. "This is a group of highly-successful, innovative role models who exemplify diversity in personal experience and the outstanding achievements that are possible with a York University education."

For the speed-mentoring event, members of the 50 Group took over the CIBC Lobby of the Accolade East building to provide five-minute one-on-one "speed-mentoring" sessions for current students. The event was inspired by the well-known speed-dating concept.

Left: York to the Power of 50 Campaign co-Chair Bill Hatanaka (left), chairman and CEO of TD Waterhouse, mentors computer engineering student Hassan Nadim

Students and alumni mentors discussed everything from career and academic advice to favourite memories of York University. Students said many of the mentors encouraged them to follow their passions, take risks and never give up. Elisa Tersigni, who spoke with former lieutenant governor Lincoln Alexander and Ontario Science Centre CEO Lesley Lewis among others, echoed the thoughts of many participating students. "I was impressed by the high-level of people here today. But all the mentors were humble, really easy to talk to," said Tersigni.

Computer engineering student Hassan Nadim said he had been interested in learning how mentors had started their careers and what role extracurricular activities had played in their lives. He especially appreciated the advice he received from York to the Power of 50 Campaign co-Chair Bill Hatanaka and was duly impressed to learn the chairman and CEO of TD Waterhouse is a former York University and CFL football athlete.

Right: From left, 50 to the Power of 50 Group Chair Ivan Fecan, president & CEO of CTVglobemedia and CEO, CTV Inc.; Susan Mullin, York University Foundation vice-president, development; 50 Group member and CBC Radio "As it Happens" co-host Barbara Budd, who emceed the speed-mentoring event

"As we look toward our 50th anniversary, York has a proud legacy that is best represented in those who have studied and graduated from our University," said York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. "Today’s event allows current students to benefit from the experience of those who have gone before them."

Following the mentoring portion of the event, students made a special presentation to the York to the Power of 50 campaign. Student council representatives from York’s colleges, including Bethune, Calumet, Founders, McLaughlin, Stong, Vanier and Winters, and the Atkinson Student Association presented a cheque to the campaign for $255,000 – representing a combination of student support, government matching and other contributions – to establish nine new student awards supporting more than 15 students annually in perpetuity.


Above: Student representatives present a cheque in support of York to the Power of 50. Accepting the cheque in the back row (left to right) are: York University Foundation president & CEO Paul Marcus, York to the Power of 50 Campaign co-Chair Bill Hatanaka, 50 to the Power of 50 Group Chair Ivan Fecan, York University President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri, and York University Foundation Annual Fund co-Chair Terrie-Lynne Devonish.

Juno-nominated singer and 50 Group member Matt Dusk then led the entire group in singing Happy Birthday as a cake was cut in celebration of York’s 49th birthday.

Above: York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri and members of the 50 to the Power of 50 Group cut the cake at the day’s celebrations

York to the Power of 50 supports the University’s research and teaching priorities, and the University’s vision to become a leading international centre for interdisciplinary research and teaching. The 50 to the Power of 50 Group will act as ambassadors for York as the University celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2009. 

Right: Front row, from left, York to the Power of 50 Family Campaign co-Chair Nancy Accinelli; 50 Group member and former lieutenant governor of Ontario Lincoln Alexander and Paul Marcus. Back row, from left, 50 Group member and jazz crooner Matt Dusk and York VP Academic Sheila Embleton.

The York to the Power of 50 fundraising campaign has received more than $150 million in pledges to date toward the University’s goal of $200 million. For more information on the campaign, visit the York University Foundation Web site, or call 416-650-8210.