Employees of 1968 and 1983 honoured at reception for long-serving employees

York University celebrated two important anniversaries on Nov. 24 with a special event honouring its long-serving employees of 1968 and 1983. Forty-year service employees joined with those who had served for 25 years for a reception and a trip down memory lane. The event was held in the private dining room in the Seymour Schulich Building on York’s Keele campus.

As is the tradition at this event, Gary Brewer, York’s vice-president finance & administration, offered a snapshot of important events and historic milestones for each anniversary year being celebrated at the event.

Above: President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri (far left), VP Finance & Administration Gary Brewer (far right) and York VP Academic & Provost Sheila Embleton (seated, second from left), with York’s long-serving employees 

Throughout these periods of history, York continued to grow and change, said Brewer. "In 1968, 11 staff members who were there from the beginning, helped a fledgling University get off the ground. The entire student population for York in 1968, including graduate, undergraduate, full- and part-time, was just 13,027, less than the total number of students enrolled in today’s Faculty of Arts," said Brewer.

Above: Staff celebrating 25 years of service to York University

"Twenty-five years ago in 1983, we had a total student population of 33,166, and today of course, that number is well over 50,000," said Brewer. "The number of degrees granted over the years is perhaps the most symbolic of the growth and changes at York. We granted 855 degrees in 1968, 4,500 in 1983, and just over 12,000 last year. Thank you for staying the course and for your contributions to this great institution."

President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri offered his thanks to the honourees for their decades of dedication and service to the University. "You have been central to the evolution and development of York University and it is now not only one of Canada’s largest universities, but also one of Canada’s best universities," said Shoukri. "You have helped create an institution that we can all be very proud of. Your length of service is not the only thing you are being thanked for; we are also thanking you for the quality of service you have given to the University."

Renata Faverin (EMBA ’08), a York grad and director of the University’s Procurement Services in the Finance Division, represented her fellow long-service colleagues. A member of the quarter-century club, Faverin spoke about themes that she felt reflected the York community: growth and change. She touched on two additional influences, which she said were indicative of why York is what it is today, specifically the University’s deep roots and opportunities.

Left: Renata Faverin delivers a speech on behalf of York’s long-serving employees as Gary Brewer listens

"In 1983 we were a campus of 35,000 strong, and today, we number 60,000. In 1983, we were a collection of 60 buildings, today, about 100 buildings make us a city within a city. We were a collection of disciplines, today, we are a global academic community, recognized for our contributions on the international stage," said Faverin. "We were a paper-based community, today, we are connected instantaneously by wireless computers, iPhones and Web casting. In 1983, we were a group of individuals committed to making York the best place to study, play and work, and today, well…some things have not changed."

She paid tribute to York’s past and present leaders, highlighting their strengths – both academically and administratively. "Everyone made me feel like I belonged at York, not just as an employee, but as a fellow contributor to the overall enterprise," said Faverin. "From college masters to academic administrators, each person gave me the sense of having deep roots at York."

"If we asked each of the honourees here today, I’m quite sure they could list as many if not more folks who left an indelible memory and touched their minds and hearts as these folks have mine," she said. "And for all these reasons, York is not only a place where deep roots are formed and embedded for life, but also a place of opportunity."

Members of all employee ranks at York have a special role to play in making sure the University remains strong as it faces the challenges yet to come, said Faverin. "If history is any indication, York will emerge ever stronger for all those who have yet to walk on this campus, participate in classroom debates, invent a cure, and indeed, take York to its next level."

Representatives of York’s administration and Faculties were at the celebration to present the awards to the staff present for the ceremony.

The 2008 40-year honourees:

  • Marlyn Aitken, administrative assistant, Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics, Faculty of Arts
  • Jean Anderson, cataloguing assistant, Bibliographic Services, York University Libraries
  • Maureen Boyce, interlibrary loan coordinator, Law Library, Osgoode Hall Law School
  • Grace Callender, postal service coordinator, Office of the Principal, Glendon campus
  • Anna Cavaliere, administrative assistant, Department of Mathematics & Statistics, Faculty of Science & Engineering
  • Ronald Gustafson, grounds and vehicles, Campus Services & Business Operations 
  • William Hodges, craftsman, technical services, Faculty of Science & Engineering
  • Roger Miller, day operator, grounds & vehicles, Campus Services & Business Operations
  • Adele Minoli, programs coordinator, York University English Language Institute
  • Linda Smith, cataloguing coordinator, Bibliographic Services, York University Libraries
  • Mike Tesoro, assistant manager, custodial support services, Campus Services & Business Operations
  • Valerie Toole, secretary to the master, academic adviser, Office of the Master, Stong College

The 2008 25-year honourees:

  • Marija Aprile, custodian, custodial services, Campus Services & Business Operations 
  • Robert Best, maintenance technician, Instructional Technology Centre 
  • Renata Faverin, director, Procurement Services, Finance Division
  • Susan Foster, media operations technician, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts
  • Teresa Gordon, student financial assistant, Student Financial Services 
  • Lillian Heinson, visual resources specialist, Department of Visual Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts
  • Marika Kemeny, communications officer, Glendon campus 
  • Grant Kingsland, engineer, central utilities, Campus Services & Business Operations
  • Maria Leone, custodian, York University Apartments, Campus Services & Business Operations
  • Agnes Levstik, faculty secretary, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health
  • Christine MacDonald, client services, Computing & Network Services
  • Larry Mattiussi, project coordinator, renovations, Campus Services & Business Operations
  • Peggy McGrath, graduate education adviser, Faculty of Environmental Studies 
  • Primrose Miranda, graduate program assistant, Department of Mathematics & Statistics, Faculty of Science & Engineering 
  • Mark O’Keeffe, accounting/storekeeper, Operations & Stores, Campus Services & Business Operations
  • Suzanne Park, assistant to the master, Office of the Master, Bethune College
  • Heather Pitka, cataloguing assistant, Bibliographic Services, York University Libraries
  • Lisa Provenzano, Budget Office, Finance
  • Lance Rankin, maintenance technician, Instructional Technology Centre
  • Alan Smith, manager of infrastructure operations, Computing & Network Services 
  • Wendy Sparkes, senior accounting clerk, Facilities Operations, Cost Accounting & Stores, Campus Services & Business Operations 
  • Nancy Sperling, manager, Programs & Records, Osgoode Hall Law School
  • Evy Lackman, administrative assistant, Division of Humanities, Faculty of Arts

The reception was hosted by the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice-President Finance & Administration. The event was coordinated by the Office of University Events & Community Relations.