Alumni old and new paint the town red

Seventy of York University’s most engaged graduating students crowded into a downtown Toronto bar on Wednesday, June 3 for GRADitude 2009, an exclusive soiree that celebrated the entry of new grads into the University alumni community.

Above: From left, alumni Turgay Kirbiyik (BHS ’08), Jennifer Corriero (BA ’03, MES ’06), Barbara Budd (BA ’74), with Ashley Fraser

Each year, GRADitude brings top scholars, athletes and leaders on the cusp of graduation to a social event where they can meet each other and grads from years past. This year’s GRADitude took place at the trendy Club XS.

“The event is a great opportunity to network and to explore different industries that we are considering pursuing. It’s a chance to get involved and get connected with fellow alumni,” said Ryan Pacht, a 2008 Atkinson Shining STARS award recipient and one of this year’s event committee organizers.

Left: New grads Elaine Tay and Michael Yu

Representing some of the University’s 250-plus student organizations as well as the faculties, this was the first time most of the graduating students had met each other. Among those present were Tina Shum of the Kinesiology & Health Science Student Organization, Maria Sergio, coordinator of the Maloca Community Garden, and Kyle Kolasingh, recipient of the President’s Award of Excellence for International Students.

Shum, Sergio and Kolasingh, along with other grads, mingled with top participants from GRADitudes past. Some of the well-known alumni present at this event were York University Alumni Association (YUAA) board member and Bryden Alumni Award-winner Jennifer Corriero and CBC meteorologist Nick Czernkovich (BSc. Spec. Hons. ’03). “This event is important because it builds community among alumni,” said Czernkovich. “It helps us make contacts between each other and it welcomes the new alumni into the family.” 

Right: Kyle Kolasingh with York student Sian D’Abadie

On stage alongside Guy Burry (BA ’82), chair of YUAA, was CBC Radio icon Barbara Budd. Budd entertained the audience with an anecdote about her time at York. A regular at Toronto alumni events, Budd stressed to the young crowd the importance of maintaining connections with fellow grads. “The associations you’ve made at York are valuable ones­ – as valuable as your education,” she said.

Hosted by York’s Alumni Office and the YUAA, GRADitude 2009 was also a U50 event. It is part of a series of events connecting York alumni that are organized year-round by the Alumni Office. This year, other receptions will also be held across North America and in Hong Kong.

For information on upcoming events and to volunteer, visit the York Alumni Web site. 

Submitted to YFile by Elizabeth Teodorini, manager, alumni communications