What makes York special is sense of community, says president

York University presedent President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri has issued this fall welcome message and video to the York community:

Welcome to the new academic year at York University! This is going to be an exciting fall semester for the University, so please take the time to enjoy it.

We have some incredible new spaces for students to experience, including the Centre for Aboriginal Student Services, an impressive space dedicated to providing support services to the Aboriginal student population, with many features designed by some of Canada’s leading aboriginal artists.

Of course, this is just one of the many newly transformed spaces on our campuses, created to enrich our vibrant community. At our Keele campus, we will soon be celebrating the opening of the new Life Sciences Building and the renovated Osgoode Hall Law School building, and will begin construction on the engineering complex. At Glendon, work is well underway on the Centre of Excellence for French-Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education. And internationally, we broke ground for the Schulich School of Business campus in Hyderabad, India. We cannot talk about construction without also mentioning the Spadina-York University subway extension. The arrival of the subway in 2015 will truly transform the Keele campus.

There is much more to a university than its buildings. What makes this university so special is its sense of community. Over the past several weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet numerous students, faculty and staff at various events like orientation, the Red Zone talks, and the flash picnic. And there are still many great events to come like the Terry Fox Run, Can I Kiss You event, Yorkfest, homecoming, and the Red and Blue bowl (an annual tradition in which our football team plays against the team from the University of Toronto).

I will also be hosting an open Town Hall session on Sept. 21, where I will share my vision for the University. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions to the senior executive team. I hope to see you there!

This summer, we have already witnessed some fantastic successes. Several student-athletes represented Canada in the 2011 Summer Universiade in China, our researchers were awarded almost $12 million in SSHRC funding and two graduate students received the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships. And, we officially launched the redesigned York website.

In addition, we welcomed two new members to the senior executive team: Robert Haché, vice-president research & innovation, and Jeff O’Hagan, vice-president advancement.

This fall, we will continue to focus on operational efficiencies through the Process Re-engineering and Service Enhancement (PRASE), as we have appointed four project directors.

And finally, we are working hard to enhance the campus environment for our community members to live, learn and work. I recently issued a statement to the community on safety highlighting the many safety initiatives that we have implemented. I would also encourage you to visit York’s safety awareness website to learn about the many safety resources that are available.

If you have any questions, a concern, or would like to visit, my office is always open to students. Simply visit my website for student hours.

It is an exciting time to be at York University, and I hope you all have a successful fall term.