Three graduating students win alumni association awards

On April 28, about 300 guests attended this year’s GRADitude event to celebrate the contributions to York of graduating student leaders and to welcome them into the University’s alumni community.  

Held at Toronto’s trendy XS Nightclub, GRADitude also gives top scholars, athletes and student leaders in this year’s graduating class a chance to meet each other and grads from years past.  

Right: Simone Samuels

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of two major awards – the Alumni Silver Jubilee Scholarship, established to mark York’s 25th anniversary, and the new Alumni Golden GRADitude Award, established to mark the 50th anniversary. Both are granted annually to graduating students who have demonstrated academic excellence and made their mark on campus through leadership positions or other significant achievements.

Simone Samuels received the Alumni Silver Jubilee Scholarship. The philosophy and political science major is the founding president of the Golden Key International Honour Society at York, has won many awards and scholarships and is also a member of the College Faculty Council at Glendon.

Rob Coutts (BA Spec. Hons. ’09) and Daniella Sieukaran are the first recipients of the Alumni Golden GRADitude Award. Coutts, who will add a BEd to his credentials in June, has been involved with york is U, the Faculty of Education Student Association, the Aktinson Students’ Association and is also a founding member of Urban Non-Violent Initiatives through Youth (UNITY @ York).

Left: Rob Coutts

Sieukaran, a psychology major, is the founder and director of York Lions in Training (Y-LIT), a mentorship program that allows high-school students to experience university life by shadowing a current York student for a day. She has also served on numerous university committees and organizations. The winner of the 2006 Avie Bennett Visionary Leadership Award, she graduates in June with a Specialized Honours BA in psychology. She couldn’t attend GRADitude as she was presenting research at a conference at the University of Windsor.

Guy Burry (BA ’82), chair of the York University Alumni Association, presented the awards with York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri.

GRADitude was bigger than ever this year, drawing double the number of guests compared to last year. The MC was Galit Solomon (BA Hons. ’00), a reporter with “CTV News”.