Creating a special space for students in Accolade East

Mellow notes of jazz music filled the air at the dedication ceremony for the new Martin Family Lounge in the Accolade East Building on March 28. A trio of student-musicians – pianist, guitarist and stand-up bassist – from the Faculty of Fine Arts played for the assembled guests who had come to honour Bob and Patricia Martin for their ongoing support of York.

The open, loft-style lounge has bright windows overlooking the Harry W. Arthurs Common and provides a wonderful study and social space for students. The lounge is located in the Accolade East Building, part of the recent addition of two new buildings with state-of-the-art rehearsal, performance and exhibition facilities for the Faculty of Fine Arts, and teaching space for students across the University. The lounge has recently been equipped with a small stage and enhanced lighting and sound systems, offering the opportunity for performances in an intimate, club-like ambience.

Faculty of Fine Arts Dean Phillip Silver, emcee of the ceremony, said he is thrilled by the new facility. "We’re so pleased to be able to offer students such a warm and welcoming space that they can make their own,” said Silver. He thanked the Martins for their contributions to community-building at York, and for their continuing generosity of spirit.

Above: From left, Dean Phillip Silver, Faculty of Fine Arts; York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri; Bob Martin, York University Foundation Board of Directors; Pat Martin, holding a replica of the dedicatory sign mounted in the lounge; Laura Kelly, a fourth-year music major; and York University Foundation President and CEO Paul Marcus, in the newly dedicated Martin Family Lounge in the Accolade East Building

Laura Kelly, a fourth-year music major and classical singer, spoke appreciatively on behalf of York students. "The doors to the Martin Family Lounge are always open, and it’s a great place to socialize, do homework and meet new people," said Kelly. "It’s also a great place for informal performances. We’ve had many jazz, world music and musical theatre concerts here, and impromptu jam sessions.”

York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri noted one of the great challenges of a University is ensuring students experience the best education possible and receive stimulation both inside and outside the classroom. The Martin Family Lounge offers a perfect venue for that. “It provides an informal setting where students can interact and where they can learn and grow, both academically and personally,” said Shoukri.

Both of the Martins are longtime friends of the University and Bob is also a dedicated York volunteer. Over the years, he has offered his expertise and guidance in many ways, foremost among them as a member of the York University Foundation Board of Directors and as a member of the Board of Governors for York University, where he remains an honorary member. “Bob’s commitment to York University continues everyday,” said Shoukri. “This University is truly blessed to have friends like Bob and Pat.”

Right: From left, Bob Martin; Judith Cohen, York University Foundation Board of Directors; Pat Martin; and Marshall Cohen, York University Foundation Board of Directors and chair of the York Board of Governors, in the newly dedicated Martin Family Lounge in the Accolade East Building

Paul Marcus, president & CEO of the York University Foundation, enthusiastically echoed this sentiment. He thanked Pat for always waving the York flag and making York a priority. He continued, “Bob provides such incredible leadership for this University. Dr. Shoukri thanked you for all the roles you play, but it’s also what you do behind the scenes that I think is really so impressive: your strategic guidance, your ability to bring others on board and create new friends for the University.”

Left: The Martin family (in front, from left): Kelly, Stephen, Tracy, Bob, Pat, Bruce Teron, Adrienne Teron, Scott and Becky; (rear, from left) Jim, Greg and Jeff, in the newly dedicated Martin Family Lounge 

Bob Martin told the gathering. which included three generations of the Martin family, as well as many of their close friends, how York has changed during his long relationship with the University. “In 20 years, this has become a remarkable place with a remarkable story as a result of fantastic leadership, the work of volunteers, faculty and others,” he said.

The Martin family’s donation supports York to the Power of 50, the largest fundraising campaign in York’s history.