Canadian broadcasting icon honoured at Bryden Alumni Awards

Barbara Budd (BA ’74), accomplished actor and co-host of CBC Radio One’s “As It Happens”, is one of six York graduates who will be celebrated for their outstanding contributions and achievements this Thursday evening at York University’s Bryden Alumni Awards event.

Emcee and York alumnus Jian Ghomeshi (BA ’95), also of CBC Radio, will host the event, which is presented annually. “The Bryden recipients inspire us – our York community and Canadians in general – to dream big and work hard," says James Allan, senior director of York’s Alumni Office. "We are really proud that they got their start here at York. This year’s event is particularly exciting because it is York’s 50th anniversary and many past recipients, such as broadcaster Sandie Rinaldo [BA Spec. Hons. ’73] and choreographer Debra Brown [BFA Spec. Hons. ’78], will be attending.” 

Left: Barbara Budd

Budd will receive the Pinnacle Achievement Award, which is given to a grad whose integrity and outstanding achievements in their chosen field inspires their peers. Through “As It Happens”, Budd has become a national treasure. Before she took to the CBC airwaves though, Budd made her mark on the Stratford stage, acting there for five seasons. She has narrated for the Discovery Channel and even acted alongside Tom Selleck in Three Men and a Baby.

The Outstanding Contribution Award will be presented to Marshall Cohen (right) (LLB ’60, LLM ’63, Hon. LLD ’86) for his commitment to advancing York University. Cohen spent 22 years on York’s Board of Governors, providing expertise and guidance to four University presidents. And he and his wife recently started a scholarship for first generation students. Cohen was deputy minister of finance during the Trudeau years and CEO of Molson Inc. before joining Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. He has volunteered on the boards of Mount Sinai Hospital, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and The Trilateral Commission, and was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1993.

Sports commentators and brothers Paul and Mark Jones  will share the Redefine the Possible Award for demonstrating leadership and success that embodies York’s motto, "Redefine the Possible.” Mark Jones (BA ’84) works for ESPN and ABC as a basketball commentator. Paul Jones (BSc. Spec. Hons. ’80) is a reporter for TSN and is the voice of the Raptors on The FAN 590, Toronto’s Sports Radio. “Their unconventional paths from the York basketball team to big league success bring new meaning to York’s motto ‘Redefine the Possible’, so there couldn’t be a more fitting award to bestow upon them,” says Guy Burry, chair of the York University Alumni Association and member of the Bryden selection committee.

Gretel Reid-Willis (BA Hons. ’01, BEd ’01) will be awarded the One-to-Watch Award. Her innovative teaching methods for mathematics have been making waves across North Kipling Junior Middle School – she has the students and parents engaged and her colleagues excited. Reid-Willis was awarded the Premier’s Award for Teaching Excellence in Numeracy in 2006-2007, just six years after graduating from York’s Faculty of Education.

Finally, Robert Drummond (left) (BA ’67), a veteran at the University, will receive the Local Hero Award for going above and beyond in his contribution and leadership at the University. Drummond joined York in 1971 to teach in the Department of Political Science.

Later, as union chair and chair of Senate, Drummond shaped the University. He also led it as an administrator, first as associate dean, then acting dean and finally dean of the Faculty of Arts. Drummond has been a role model, change agent and inspirational force at York.

About the Bryden Alumni Awards

Each year, York University honours its most outstanding leaders with Bryden Alumni Awards. Inaugurated in 2000, the Brydens were inspired by one of York’s great leaders, Bruce Bryden.

A student of York’s first graduating class, Bryden returned to work at York. Over the course of 30 years, he held several prestigious volunteer positions. He was founding president of the York University Alumni Association (1965-1966), Fellow of McLaughlin College (1974) and the first and one of only three alumni ever to chair the Board of Governors, to name just a few of the positions he held. His inspiring commitment and vision helped shape York into the innovative University that it is today.

Past recipients of Bryden Awards include: the late Carol Anne Letheren (MBA ’77), the Canadian Olympic Association’s former CEO and secretary general; national affairs journalist Chantal Hébert (BA ’76); longtime Cirque du Soleil choreographer Debra Brown (BFA Spec. Hons. ’78); CTV’s Sandie Rinaldo (BA Spec. Hons. ’73); president and CEO of CTVglobemedia Ivan Fecan (BA ’01, Hon. LLD ’08); and TD Bank executive Bill Hatanaka (BA Comb. Hons ’77).