York celebrates success of largest-ever fundraising campaign

York University’s largest fundraising campaign came to a successful conclusion yesterday with a wrap event at Glendon Manor.

York to the Power of 50, which launched publicly in 2006, raised $207 million, exceeding its $200-million goal. Students, donors and other campaign supporters joined representatives from York and the York University Foundation for a celebratory fête to mark the occasion. Featured performers included Latin jazz artist Amanda Martinez (IMBA ’99) and Ron Westray, York’s Oscar Peterson Chair in Jazz Performance.

"I would like to thank all of our generous donors who supported the York to the Power of 50 campaign," said York University President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. "This highly successful fundraising effort will continue to support our presence as a leading Canadian university for interdisciplinary research and teaching."

The campaign’s success is due to the more than 30,000 donors who contributed to it. Over the course of the campaign, 44 gifts of $1 million or greater were received. Campaign highlights include:

  • Significant infrastructure funding, including cumulative support from philanthropist Seymour Schulich exceeding $28 million for the Schulich School of Business. Jay (BA ’78) and Barbara Hennick gave $3 million to Schulich and Osgoode Hall Law School for a unique centre specializing in joint business and legal education and scholarship. Substantial gifts were also allocated to the renovation and expansion of Osgoode Hall Law School, with major gifts including $2.5 million from businessman and philanthropist Ignat Kaneff, and $500,000 from Osgoode alumnus Rudy Bratty (LLB ’57).  

  • More than 640 new student scholarships, awards and bursaries were established through the leadership and generous support of Chancellor Emeritus Avie Bennett and many other supporters. University and government matching programs augmented the impact of many of the gifts. 


  • Pioneering programs and research, such as the Sherman Health Sciences Research Centre, made possible by a $5-million gift from philanthropists Barry and Honey Sherman. Scheduled to open in September 2010, the centre will house York’s Centre for Vision Research and laboratory space for kinesiology and psychology researchers, as well as a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. 
  • New chairs and professorships, including the Jean Augustine Chair in Education in the New Urban Environment, named for the first black female member of Parliament. The Chair will study issues affecting schooling in today’s urban environments to improve teaching methods and student outcomes.   

Campaign co-chairs Tim Price and Bill Hatanaka (BA Comb. Hons. ’77) are impressed with the campaign’s success and believe it is the stepping stone to realizing York’s potential. 

“This campaign has energized the entire York community,” says Hatanaka. “As York continues to expand its groundbreaking programs and research, the momentum we’ve built will only grow, and the impact the University and its graduates make will resonate even louder.” 

Right: Campaign co-chairs Bill Hatanaka (left) and Tim Price

“York to the Power of 50 has strengthened our relationships with the community,” adds Price. “York, and the entire region, can gaze back with pride and look forward with anticipation at what’s to come.” 

While the main component of the campaign was major giving, the York University Foundation acquired pledges of $12 million for planned gifts, such as bequest intentions in wills, and garnered support from more than 2,400 York faculty, staff and retirees through the Family Campaign, led by Professor Ron Pearlman, University Professor Emeritus Ross Rudolph and the late Nancy Accinelli, co-president of the York University Retirees Association. 

A group of accomplished alumni, the 50 to the Power of 50 Group, served as ambassadors to help raise the campaign’s profile. Chaired by Ivan Fecan (BA ’01), president & CEO of CTVglobemedia and CEO of CTV Inc., the group included such notables as actress Rachel McAdams (BFA Spec. Hons. ’01), defence attorney Clayton Ruby (BA ’63) and broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi (BA ’95). 

“The generosity of our donors, the wise counsel of our co-chairs and volunteer leadership, and the York community have ensured an outstanding future for York,” says York University Foundation President & CEO Paul Marcus. “We are deeply appreciative of, and humbled by, their overwhelming support.” 

For more information about the completion of York to the Power of 50, visit the York University Foundation Web site.