Reviewer calls Horn’s history of York a ‘masterwork of the genre’

Canadian universities appear to be in a retrospective mood. Several new histories have appeared recently and others are in the works, wrote James Pitsula, history professor at the University of Regina, in a review of York University: The Way Must Be Tried for the Canadian Historical Review’s March edition. Michiel Horn’s York University is the best of the lot, said Pitsula.

Scholarly, engaging, beautifully illustrated, remarkably comprehensive, steeped in affection, but not sentimental, it is a masterwork of the genre…. The author’s voice is distinctive, but not obtrusive. We appreciate his wry asides, but the story is that of the University community as it sees itself, in all its diversity and multiplicity of perspective, not the community as filtered through the predilections of the author. Horn stands on the sidelines – bemused, entertained, heartened and inspired – and always with a sly smile on his face.

Horn’s audience is primarily York people. He makes very little effort to reach out to readers who do not have a direct connection with the University. The index is proper name only, so that scholars wishing to make thematic comparisons with other universities cannot readily do so. In focusing so entirely on York, Horn has missed an opportunity, since the York story is in some ways Canada’s story.

Beneath the externalities, [York] embodies the new Canada. Over the years, it has attracted significant numbers of students who were the first in their family to attend university. Today, the student body is multicultural, with more than a third of the students of visible minorities.

The photo on page 251 of Horn’s book tells it all, concluded Pitsula. It depicts the members of the Visuomotor Neuroscience Lab at York University, the research team headed by Doug Crawford, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Visual-Motor Neuroscience. Their names are Florin Feloui, Gerald Keith, Michael Vesia, Alina Constantin, Matthias Niemeier, Jachin Ascensio-Monteon, Gunnar Blohm, Honying Wang, Farshad Farshadmanesh, Denise Henriques, Joe DeSouza, Aarlenne Khan, Jessica Klassen, Lei Ren, Saihong Sun and Xiaogang Yan – the new Canada.

Can Tiger change his stripes?

He stood stone still at the first tee of Augusta National, drew his club back in a wide arc and then promptly ripped the ball 75 yards left of the fairway, wrote The Globe and Mail April 6. Yet there were no obscenities. There was no look of disgust or throwing of equipment. There was nothing, frankly, resembling Tiger Woods.

Yesterday, in his first news conference since revelations of his affairs surfaced last fall, Woods preached humility and contrition, and promised he was working hard to reinvent himself: not just at home, but on the course as well.

Woods is trying to win over audiences following a sex scandal that has destroyed his public image. And that means curbing the fiery outbursts is essential, says Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business. “He’s got to come across as a contrite, normal human being,” he said.

The Durbar in search of dramatic fulfilment

What started out as an interest in the Raj and the British Empire, while Anthony Nesling (BA Spec. Hons. ’04) was growing up in England, has today – after a theatre course in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts – turned into the script of a 150-minute, three-act play in search of dramatic expression on the stage, wrote Brampton’s South Asian Focus April 1. “We hope to recreate the grandeur of the Raj in our play, The Durbar,” Nesling told Focus.

The play seeks to set the ground for the last days of the British in India, as seen through the eyes of three primary protagonists: a young Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of undivided India who eventually presided over its handover; a young Prince of Wales, King Edward the VIII, who abdicated the throne; and an English clergyman, Charlie Andrews, a friend of Mahatma Gandhi.

Neither Nesling nor his co-writer York grad Joshua Jacobson (BFA Spec. Hons. ’04) want lack of resources to restrict The Durbar. “We have a cast of 30, with considering talking parts for 10 to 12 of the characters. It’ll probably take a quarter million dollars to produce,” says Nesling.

Dream job combines passion for arts, community

Nancy Bodi (MBA ’06) cherishes blending her passion with her work, wrote the Newmarket Era April 5.

Serving as executive director of the newly formed York Region Arts Council is nothing less than a dream job for the longtime King resident as it allows her to apply her business background to help the arts flourish across the region, a cultural aspect she deeply believes is an important component in a strong community. “I truly believe the arts improve our quality of life,” she said. “It helps a community create a sense of place while getting people to take part and engage themselves in the community.”

There is another side of the volunteer and art enthusiast, a professional side that helped her land her current position. Holding an undergraduate business degree as well as an MBA with distinction from the Schulich School of Business at York University, she was originally brought onto the arts council initiative to create a strategic plan, bringing with her senior executive marketing experience with a number of large firms and time as business professor at Seneca College.

After six months creating the plan, she was asked to step in as executive director.

German native helped usher in big-time Canadian Open tennis

When Canada’s biggest pro tennis tournament was being run out of a pair of midtown trailers and the world’s most moneyed pros were billeted by locals, Klaus Bindhardt had a vision of something bigger, wrote the Toronto Star April 6 in an obituary.

Bindhardt, who died of cancer Friday at age 84, was the former president of Tennis Canada and a prime mover behind the upgrading of the Canadian Open, now known as the Rogers Cup and contested at twin $40 million-plus facilities in Toronto and Montreal. It was the architect Bindhardt, a Berlin native who emigrated to Canada in 1952, who designed the National Tennis Centre at York University, precursor to the Rexall Centre that now hosts one of two ATP World Tour men’s and women’s stops in Canada each summer.

Master coach program gives teams high hopes

Giuseppe Politi doesn’t like to waste time, wrote The Sudbury Star April 6. Less than one year into his tenure as head coach of the Cambrian College men’s soccer team, Politi saw an opportunity to bring the entire program to a new level.

Politi has implemented a master coach program at Cambrian, a system he learned from his days as an assistant coach with York University – a program that won the national championship two years ago. The new approach brings together both the men’s and women’s program under one umbrella and vision.

“I picked up the master coach concept from York University, when I was an assistant coach for the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) national champion men’s team in 2008. They had implemented the structure a few years ago and obtained some huge results. Although the structure itself won’t translate to results, it certainly plays a part in contributing to the success of a program.”

Mortgage-rate rise means borrowers’ party nearly over

Moshe Milevsky, finance professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, says that instead of just considering financial savings in whether to have a short-term variable or long-term fixed mortgage, a person should also consider debating whether going with a short-term mortgage will leave a person unable to qualify for renewal, say if they lose their job, at variable and short-term rates, wrote Canwest News Service April 6.

Raptors sports announcer to speak at Prayer Breakfast

The upcoming Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast has as its guest speaker a longtime sports announcer, motivational speaker and evangelist, wrote Niagara This Week April 2.

Herbie Kuhn, a devout Christian, has been the voice at Toronto Raptors games since 1995, announcing to some of the largest audiences in the league. He has also announced countless basketball, volleyball, football and hockey games for Humber College, York University and Ryerson University.

London business wins biotech award

J. Strupat Technologies Ltd. of London is one of the winners in the sanofi pasteur Healthcare & Biotechnology Venture Challenge competition co-sponsored by the Schulich School of Business at York University, wrote the London Free Press April 5.

The company teamed up with two MBA students to present a portable pandemic ventilator to a panel of experts from the biotech industry. The rugged, portable, low-cost life support product can be used by anyone with basic medical training and could be used in recent events such as the H1N1 influenza and the earthquake in Haiti.