Celebrating the Syed family’s support for the York Libraries

York’s Steacie Science & Engineering Library, one of York’s six academic libraries, receives close to half a million visitors each year. This staggering number alone describes the tremendous impact that donations in support of the library can have on those who use its resources. 

Brothers Hasanat Ahmed and Hameed A. Syed have been generous supporters of the York University Libraries through gifts to York University Foundation. Gifts such as those received from the Syed family are used to improve library space and the student experience. 

The Syed family’s generosity has been honoured through the naming of group study rooms in the Steacie Science & Engineering Library. Most recently, on Oct. 31, a Syed Group Study Room was dedicated in honour of the brothers’ parents: Al-Haaj Hafiz Shafi Ahmad Syed (1889-1941), an Indian journalist, author and orator; and Begum Shafi Ahmad Syed (1900-1970), a Pakistani journalist who worked tirelessly for women’s rights in Pakistan.

Above: Friends and members of the York University community gathered with Hasanat Ahmed Syed (middle front row) on Oct. 31 to celebrate his family’s gifts to York University Libraries

“Students work on a lot of group projects in here,” explained University Librarian Cynthia Archer, of the study room. “Many are engineering students, so who knows what wonderful ideas will be discovered here.” 

Ontario Fairness Commissioner Jean Augustine, former member of parliament and former member of York University’s Board of Governors; Susan Mullin, vice-president, development, York University Foundation; and Lal Khan Malik, president, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Canada, all expressed their appreciation of the Syed family’s gifts and the work done by York University Libraries.

“Libraries are the lifeblood of great universities and supporting them is critical,” said Augustine. 

Gifts to the York University Libraries count toward the University’s anniversary fundraising campaign, York to the Power of 50 – now at more than $167 million toward its $200-million goal.