Chair’s Cup celebrates 10th anniversary with best year yet

There was an air of excitement surrounding the 10th anniversary of the Kenaidan-York University Chair’s Cup Golf Tournament held at Copper Creek Golf Club.

More than 150 golfers took part in this year’s tournament to raise a record total of $633,000 (after government matching) for graduate student scholarships. The proceeds will benefit 42 York graduate students, with each receiving a $15,000 Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS).

“Events like this are vital elements in supporting graduate education in Canada, particularly the research work being done by our students,” said Douglas Peers, dean of York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies. “As we’ve seen over the past several years, the most important discoveries that are currently being made come from our graduate students and they are now a vital part of what we call the knowledge economy.”

Above: The event raised a record $633,000 for graduate student scholarships. From left, Paul Marcus, president & CEO, York University Foundation; Mamdouh Shoukri, president & vice-chancellor, York University; Guy Burry, event co-chair; Heidi Marsh, PhD candidate and OGS recipient; Greg Stack, event co-chair; and Patrick Monahan, York vice-president academic & provost.

The Chair’s Cup has become one of the University’s most successful fundraising events. Since 2001, participants and sponsors have generated an excess of $4 million in graduate scholarships supporting more than 300 students.

The continued success of the tournament is due in large part to the commitment of a dedicated team of volunteers. York University Alumni Association Board chair and event co-chair Guy Burry (BA ’82) has been a fixture of the tournament since day one. “Ten years ago when I was the new kid on the block, Mickey Cohen, then chair of York University’s Board of Governors, told me that he wanted to do a golf tournament – and that I would be the one to do it!” said Burry. “Here we are, a decade later and the tournament has grown to become a key source of funding for graduate research at York.”

Greg Stack (BA Spec. Hons. ’81) has served as event co-chair since 2007 and, alongside Burry, has been instrumental in advancing the tournament, providing both leadership and support.

Above: The team from Q9 Networks Inc. took home the first-place prize for the second year in a row. From left, Richard Carleton, Anthony Giorgi, Mike Bedard and Dushant Sharma.

“The Chair’s Cup has achieved incredible success in its 10 years,” said Stack. “Each year we raise more and more funds to help the young bright minds who will lead our way into the future. It’s another terrific example of the corporate community and individuals coming together to support York and its students.”

During the dinner and reception after the June 2 tournament, Burry took the opportunity to acknowledge members of the tournament committee for their months of hard work behind the scenes, securing sponsorships, participants and prizes for the Chair’s Cup.

“Your support and contributions to this event are the reason why we have had a decade of success,” he said.

Many companies have also played key roles over the years through generous sponsorship of the tournament. Burry expressed his gratitude to Kenaidan Contracting Ltd., along with president & CEO Aidan Flatley, for their outstanding commitment as title sponsors of the Chair’s Cup.

Special thanks were also delivered by organizers to the event’s premier and founding sponsor TD Insurance Meloche Monnex in addition to Bird Construction which assumed the role of partner sponsor for 2010.

York University President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri thanked the sponsors for their generosity and described how the donations have had a positive effect on the University. "We are extremely grateful to all of our sponsors for their tremendous support over the years," said Shoukri. "The donations raised at this event have helped York fund graduate scholarships, which in turn, has provided our students with the ability to become the leading researchers and academics of tomorrow."

Right: From left, Earle O’Born, York University Foundation Board of Directors member Henry Wu and Paul Waddell

Three-time OGS recipient Heidi Marsh is one of the many students who have thrived thanks to such support. A fourth-year PhD candidate in the Graduate Program in Psychology, Marsh works with orangutans at the Toronto Zoo to research problem-solving strategies in primates.

“Graduate school provides a unique opportunity for students – it allows us to explore the world around us and, through our research efforts, to create new knowledge about that world,” said Marsh. “But that opportunity isn’t free and many graduate students must take on extra work, such as teaching assistantships to offset the financial costs of their education.”

Left: Chair’s Cup participants and supporters of the Adrienne Pocock Memorial Award Donna Pocock (left) and her son Aaron

“For me, the Ontario Graduate Scholarships I have received have meant that I can focus solely on my research without having to take on [extra] work,” she said.

For more information about the 2011 Kenaidan-York University Chair’s Cup Golf Tournament, to be held on June 1, contact Melanie Litwin, manager, events & sponsorship, York University Foundation, at 416-650-8107.