Retired faculty and staff thanked for their service to the University

Retirement is not what it used to be. That was evident on Wednesday, Oct. 15, when 19 members of the York community who recently retired from active service, were feted at a special retirement luncheon held in the Underground Restaurant on York’s Keele campus. Many of those who attended spoke about the new experiences and opportunities they were pursuing. Some were continuing with the professional lives they began at York, others were pursuing new research opportunities, while others were pursuing new and dynamic careers.

In his welcoming remarks, York’s President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri expressed his gratitude for the years of dedicated service to the University provided by the retirees and commented on how the retirement experience had changed over the past few years.

Above: York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri (at the podium) addresses guests at a luncheon celebrating the many contributions made by retiring faculty and staff to the University

"It is really an incredible journey that York University gone through and you have participated in, taking the University from its early days to what is has become today," said Shoukri. "Through your hard work and commitment to the University, York  has grown from a small liberal arts college to a leading university. York is now Canada’s third largest university and is quickly moving to become Canada’s leading interdisciplinary university. People, like myself, who have come in to take part in leading York, can only bow and say a huge ‘thank you’ to each of you. I hope that you will help us continue the journey.

"Retirement certainly isn’t what it used to be," said Shoukri. "In talking to you, I learned that someone has a class to teach this afternoon and another person has to get back to work at their new job.

"It is interesting to note, that today we have 11 faculty and staff who have accomplished 30 or more years of service and three with 20 or more years with the University," said Shoukri. "I cannot thank you enough for the tremendous job that you have done to support York University." Shoukri noted that the entire group of retirees, including those not present at the luncheon, had given a total of 579 years of service to the University.

Many of the retiring faculty and staff in attendance traded stories about their experiences since retiring. Joanne Chumakov, former bibliographic services librarian with the York Libraries, spoke about spending time with her three grandchildren who live in New York City. Chumakov and her husband, who are both fluent in Russian, have been very busy volunteering with an association involved in resurrecting cadet schools in Russia. In her spare time, this dynamo is working on a Russian English vocabulary to help children interested in learning the language with basic words.

Above: President Shoukri and Douglas Peers, dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, congratulate retiring faculty. From left: Douglas Peers, Professor Glen Norcliffe, Professor John Miller, Joanne Chumakov, President Shoukri, Professor Shirley Katz and Professor Eshrat Arjomandi.

Elvira Arevalo, a former student adviser with the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, is busy in her free time. A classical movie buff, Arevalo recently enjoyed watching a collection of Paul Newman movies that were screened as part of a memorial film festival for the late actor. Arevalo is also the grandmother of one and says she is hoping to volunteer with her local public library.

Michèle Ann Young, who retired this summer from her career as the executive officer in York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies, has embarked on a new career as a romance novelist. With three books completed and another due in bookstores this month, she also pens a blog on the Regency period in English history. 

Faculty members who attended the retirement luncheon included:

  • Professor Eshrat Arjomandi, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, Faculty of Science & Engineering (32 years of service);
  • Joanne Chumakov, Bibliographic Services, York University Libraries (38 years of service);
  • Professor Shirley Katz, Division of Humanities, Faculty of Arts (39 years of service);
  • Professor John Miller, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Faculty of Science & Engineering (37 years of service);
  • Professor Glen Norcliffe, Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts (38 years of service).

Above: President Shoukri joins members of York’s administration to congratulate retiring staff. Back row, from left: Amos Johnson, Robert Ranjitsingh, Franklin Pereira, Alexander Keegan, Clifford Ives, Newton Gurdyal, Susan Spence, President Shoukri, Elvira Arevalo, York VP Finance & Administration Gary Brewer and Caterina Equizi. Front row, from left: Vinay Kumar, Marilyn Stewart, Roberta Castellarin, Joan Shields and Michèle Ann Young

Staff members who attended the retirement luncheon included:

  • Elvira Arevalo, Student & Academic Services, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies (34 years of service);
  • Roberta Castellarin, Graduate Program in Law, Osgoode Hall Law School (23 years of service);
  • Caterina Equizi, York Apartments, Campus Services & Business Operations (37 years of service);
  • Newton Gurdyal, Technical Services, Faculty of Science & Engineering (23 years of service);
  • Clifford Ives, Building & Fire Code Compliance, Campus Services & Business Operations (39 years of service);
  • Amos Johnson, Custodial Services, Facilities Services (17 years of service);
  • Alexander Keegan, Code Compliance, Facilities Services (37 years of service);
  • Vinay Kumar, Maintenance, Facilities Services (17 years of service);
  • Franklin Pereira, Custodial Services, Facilities Services (11 years of service);
  • Robert Ranjitsingh, Custodial Services, Facilities Services (13 years of service);
  • Joan Shields, Research & Graduate Studies, Osgoode Hall Law School (34 years of service);
  • Susan Spence, Information Systems, Computing & Network Services (29 years of service);
  • Marilyn Stewart, Alumni & Advancement Services (8 years of service);
  • Michèle Ann Young, Office of the Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies (37 years of service).