The salon in the Learning Commons at Scott Library now bears the name of one of its earliest and most enthusiastic supporters, York President Emerita Lorna Marsden. York administration, supporters, alumni, friends, faculty and staff recently joined Marsden to celebrate the dedication at a ceremony and reception.
Marsden was recognized for her important role in helping to get the Learning Commons off the ground. The space was made possible by the Enhancement Fund for York University Libraries created upon her retirement in 2007, and supported generously by the York community.
|Above: From left, York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri with President Emerita Lorna Marsden and University Librarian Cynthia Archer at the dedication event for the new Marsden Salon in the Learning Commons in the Scott Library|
At the event, York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri praised Marsden as a champion of infrastructure, presiding over major construction projects that have changed the face of the University, including the Seymour Schulich Building and the Accolade Building. “York University now boasts so many great, modern buildings across its campuses, largely thanks to Lorna’s efforts, so our gratitude goes far beyond this space alone,” said Shoukri.
Marsden served as York’s sixth president and vice-chancellor from 1997 to 2007 and remains an active volunteer and supporter. “York is very fortunate that Lorna continues to be part of the University community even after a decade of service as president,” said Shoukri. “She is truly a talented and passionate individual with a tremendous commitment to this institution.”
Right: From left, Bill Hatanaka (BA Spec. Hons. ’77), special advisor to the CEO, TD Bank, director, Ameritrade, and York University Foundation Board member; Avie Bennett (Hon. DLitt ’04), York chancellor emeritus and York University Foundation Board member; and Wade Hall, assistant vice–president, development, York University
“I am deeply honoured that you have named this beautiful space for me,” said Marsden, “but it really should be called the ‘Generous Friends and Donors to York University Salon’ because it all of you who have made this possible.
“The affection is mutual and the friendship is deep and I admire greatly what you are doing,” she said.
Opened in October 2010, the Learning Commons occupies nearly half the second floor of Scott Library to provide 17,000-sq.-ft. of space for quiet and group study, and a hub for academic supports and services. It is also a place where students can eat, drink coffee and work collaboratively. The salon area, in particular, has quickly become a favourite among students with its comfortable lounge seating, computer workstations, reference book collection and space for quiet study.
Left: From left, York University Board of Govenors Chair Paul Cantor and York University Board of Governors member Robert Lewis
The dedication event, which took place on Feb. 28, closed with a two-minute documentary of the positive reception of the Learning Commons, followed by a description of the plans for the second and third phases of renovations from University Librarian Cynthia Archer. Scheduled to begin in the summer of 2012, the renovations will include:
- “Smart” classrooms equipped with up-to-date multimedia technologies to support learning.
- More group study rooms and areas for quiet study.
- An airy quiet study room with floor to ceiling windows.
- A revitalized library atrium providing informal space for student exhibits, displays and cultural programs.
“It’s all about flexibility, making spaces fit the needs of our students – not the other way around,” said Archer.
Archer added that the renovations will help ensure that York remains among the top libraries in the province. Although York University Libraries have the highest gate count reported among Canadian Research Libraries, a testament to students’ desire to work there, they rank low in terms of seat per student ratios in Ontario. When complete, the Learning Commons will add more than 300 seats for York students.
A fundraising campaign to support the second and third phases of the Learning Commons is now underway under the leadership of York University Libraries Advisory Council Chair Isabel Bassett (MA ’73, Hon. LLD ’01) and former Premier of Ontario Ernie Eves (LLB ’70). Donors who wish to support the campaign should contact Tanling Yeung at tyeung@.yorku.ca or 416-650-8209.