Five outstanding York alumni to be celebrated tonight

Five York alumni, including award-winning author Nino Ricci and York University Secretary & General Counsel Harriet Lewis, will be celebrated for their outstanding contributions and achievements at tonight’s annual Bryden Alumni Awards.

Right: Harriet Lewis

“The Bryden recipients inspire us – our York community and Canadians in general – to dream big and work hard. We are extremely proud that they got their start here at York and that they continue to be involved with us,” says James Allan, senior director of York’s Alumni Division.

York University’s annual Bryden Alumni Awards will take place tonight at 6:15pm at the Design Exchange, 234 Bay St., Toronto.

Left: Nino Ricci

Lewis (BA ’69, MA ’71) will receive the Local Hero Award for going above and beyond in her contribution and leadership at the University. Lewis has played a major role in the growth of York over the past 20 years, and continues to impact the University in her current role. Her legal counsel has guided nearly every arm of the University. She also leaves a legacy in the literature prizes she has established, and has made a lasting impact on successive board of governors and senate chairs, and in the students she has inspired as a guest lecturer.

Right: Hana Zalzal

The Pinnacle Achievement Award, which is given to alumni whose integrity and outstanding achievements inspire their peers, will go to Ricci (BA Spec. Hons. ’81). Beyond his numerous literary honours, including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, Ricci is receiving this award for his leadership at PEN Canada, the writers’ organization supporting freedom of expression, as well as his continued involvement with York.

Left: Galit Solomon

The Redefine the Possible Award will be presented to cosmetics mogul Hana Zalzal (MBA ’92) for demonstrating leadership and success that embody York’s motto, “Redefine the Possible”. Her Toronto-based company, CARGO, is a celebrity-endorsed multi-million-dollar operation. Her success has been attributed to her focus on innovation and her marketing savvy, notes James Gillies, University Professor Emeritus at York’s Schulich School of Business, where Hana returns regularly as a guest speaker. “It is innovative people such as Ms. Zalzal who will continue to keep Canada strong in the new, competitive world economy,” Gillies says.

Only one decade into her career, TV reporter Galit Solomon (BA Hons. ’00) has already earned awards for her work, the deep respect of her colleagues and local acclaim. In addition to her journalistic success, Solomon has affected the lives of thousands of people in York Region through her volunteer work, raising awareness of sexual violence. It is for her proven talent and early commitment to social responsibility that York has selected Solomon for the One-to-Watch Award.

Right: James Love

The Outstanding Contribution Award will be presented to lawyer and philanthropist James Love (LLB ’73, LLM ’86) for his commitment to advancing York University. The vibrancy and richness of York’s biodiversity and conservation research can be attributed to Love’s multi-faceted contributions. He is the top supporter of many York fundraising events including an auction that supports Las Nubes, York’s very own rainforest in Costa Rica. He is also a member of the York University Foundation Board and chair of its Fundraising Committee.

About the Bryden Alumni Awards

Every year, York University honours its most outstanding alumni leaders with Bryden Alumni Awards. Inaugurated in 2000, “the Brydens” were inspired by one of York’s great leaders, Bruce Bryden.

A student of York’s first graduating class, Bryden returned to work at York. Over the course of 30 years, he held several prestigious volunteer positions. He was founding president of the York University Alumni Association (1965-1966), a Fellow of McLaughlin College (1974) and the first and one of only three York alumni ever to chair the Board of Governors, to give just a few examples. His inspiring commitment and vision helped shape York and make it the innovative University it is today.

Past recipients of Bryden Awards include: Mark Jones (BA ’84), ESPN and ABC basketball commentator; the late Carol Anne Letheren (BPHE ’63, BA ’69, MBA ’77), former CEO/secretary general of the Canadian Olympic Association; Chantal Hébert (BA ’76), national affairs journalist; long-time Cirque du Soleil choreographer Debra Lynne Brown (BFA Spec. Hons. ’78); Sandie Rinaldo (BA Hons. ’73) of CTV; Ivan Fecan (BA ’01, LLD ’08), president and CEO of Bell Globemedia; and TD Bank executive Bill Hatanaka (BA Hons ’77).