York to the Power of 50 campaign reaches new heights

The York to the Power of 50 fundraising campaign has now reached $167 million toward its $200 million goal. The announcement was greeted by cheers and applause from an energized crowd at a reception following the annual general meeting of the York University Foundation (YUF) on Oct. 27.

Those in attendance at the Metropolitan Hotel in downtown Toronto included members of York University’s Board of Governors, YUF board members, senior University administrators, campaign donors and key volunteers including members of the 50 to the Power of 50 Group, made up of many of York’s most accomplished alumni.

Four York presidents: From left, current York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri with President Emeritus Harry Arthurs (1985-1992), President Emeritus H. Ian Macdonald (1974-1984) and President Emerita Lorna R. Marsden (1997-2007)

“That [achievement] could not have happened without the dedication and support and the commitment of our friends in the community who see that an investment in an academic institution is an investment in the next generation of Canadian citizens,” said York University President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri.

Shoukri outlined the significance of the $167-million figure and what the continued march of York to the Power of 50 toward its goal can help the University achieve in the years ahead. “York will grow academically, especially in the areas of science, applied science and engineering. York will grow as a centre for research; a place that helps solve some of the challenges the world faces today. And York will grow in importance – a place that helps shape the city, the province, the country and indeed, the world,” he said.

Right: From left, Frances Price; Judith Cohen, a member of the York University Foundation (YUF) Board of Directors; Timothy Price, chair of the YUF Board of Directors and co-chair of the York to the Power of 50 Campaign; and YUF vice-president development Susan Mullin

YUF President  & CEO Paul Marcus, who acted as emcee, thanked Metropolitan Hotels president and YUF Board of Directors member Henry Wu and the hotel team for making the special event possible.

A highlight of the evening was provided by keynote speaker Clayton Ruby (BA ’63), a prominent Toronto defence lawyer, who spoke passionately about youth and the criminal justice system before moving on to recollections about his time as a student at York.

Ruby, who was a member of York’s first graduating class out of Glendon, said academics did not come easily to him, at first. “I have some gratitude to those who put up with this late bloomer and that is, by inheritance, all of you,” he said. “York gave me the help I needed when I needed it and I will not forget.”

Left: From left, YUF President & CEO Paul Marcus with Clayton Ruby and Timothy Price

York’s upcoming 50th anniversary (U50) celebrations taking place in 2009 also figured prominently throughout the evening. 

Shoukri thanked the many sponsors who are already on board to support the U50 celebrations, including TD Bank Financial Group, Enbridge, Tim and Frances Price and the Lambert family.

Right: From left, YUF Board of Directors member Bob Martin, Suzanne Galipeault, Pat Martin and André Galipeault

Judith Cohen, a member of the YUF Board of Directors, chairs the steering committee planning the U50 celebrations. She outlined some of the many events planned. Cohen also introduced a public service announcement made for York’s 50th anniversary by students working with OMNI Television.

Cohen also spoke about a joint initiative with Lailey Vineyard Wines to introduce York’s very own 50th Anniversary red and white wines, which will be available for sale through the U50 Web site.