Over 900 join Golden Key International Honour Society at York

Over 900 York students will be inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society’s York University Chapter at its inaugural New Member Recognition Ceremony.

The new member recognition reception will take place Friday, March 26, from 7 to 8:30pm for those with last names beginning with a letter between A and L, and from 8:30 to 10pm for the rest, in the Price Family Cinema, Accolade East Building, Keele campus.

Students are invited to become members based on academic performance and must be in the top 15 per cent of college and university sophomores, juniors, seniors and top performing graduate students in all fields of study. Membership is open to those in their second year of study or above. Golden Key recognizes outstanding academic achievement among college and university students from all academic disciplines and connects high-achieving individuals locally, regionally and globally.

Right: Simone Samuels

The reason for starting a chapter at York is to help identify and incubate future leaders and high scholastic achievers and to foster community spirit and pride. “We are a university of 50,000, and too many students, especially the ‘over-achievers’, just come to school and leave. There is no sense of engagement, when in fact, these are just the people we want to engage,” says Simone Samuels, president of the York chapter and a Glendon political science and philosophy major.

Samuels, who won a 2006 Harry Jerome Award for leadership from the Black Business & Professional Association, heard about the Golden Key society from a fellow Harry Jerome Award winner and decided to start a chapter at York. That was over two years ago. “I wanted it to be a pan-University organization that would bridge the gap between diversity, language, culture and campuses,” says Samuels. “At York we are really insular; we look at it as Keele, Glendon, Schulich and Osgoode, rather than as York. It’s not cohesive.” Samuels wanted to change that.

She thought it would be great to have an organization where high-achieving students from all study areas could meet and collaborate and where their drive, ambition and dedication could be turned toward getting involved with community activities.

At the ceremony, new members will meet other inductees and chapter executives, and will have an opportunity to learn more about the society. In addition, several honorary members will also be inducted, including Rob Tiffin, York’s vice-president students; Joanne Duklas, associate vice-president enrolment management and University registrar; Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts; Barbara Rahder, dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies; Professor Elizabeth Maynes, program director of the Bachelor of Business Administration and International Bachelor of Business Administration at the Schulich School of Business; Irvin Studin, editor-in-chief and publisher of Global Brief; Marty Williams, Golden Key chapter adviser and senior policy analyst in the Office of the Vice-President Students; Kathleen Wynne, minister of transportation; and Ian Sankey, Golden Key associate director for university relations in Canada.

Committed to an ethos of recognizing academic achievement and encouraging altruistic service, the society’s on-campus presence has reached over 375 chapters at colleges and universities in eight countries: Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Bahamas and the United States.

The society offers members opportunities for individual growth through leadership, career development, networking and community service opportunities, as well as more than US$600,000 annually through scholarship and award programs. Members are connected to career opportunities and assistance through Golden Key’s corporate partnerships and graduate programs. The society also provides campus and community service opportunities for personal growth and leadership development.

The Golden Key National Honour Society was founded by a group of undergraduate students and faculty members at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia on November 29, 1977. In 2001, the society modified its name to Golden Key International Honour Society to reflect its diversity and global presence.

For more information, contact Simone Samuels, president of the York chapter, at gkihs@yorku.ca or Marty Williams, chapter adviser and senior policy analyst, Office of the Vice-President Students at martyw@yorku.ca.  You can also visit the Golden Key International Honour Society at York University and Golden Key International Honour Society Web sites.