The unseasonably warm weather last week gave way to frosty temperatures yesterday, but no one would have guessed as students, faculty and staff donned their York gear and gathered in the Student Centre to celebrate the University’s 53rd birthday.
Rhonda Lenton, vice-provost academic, and Steve Dranitsaris, senior executive officer in the Office of Vice-President, Finance & Administration, dressed their best York gear for Spirit Day
Thousands of cupcakes were handed out and the bookstore did a booming business selling York T-shirts, sweat shirts and gear in advance of the birthday celebration. In Vari Hall, students signed an enormous birthday card.
The party got underway in the Student Centre as York Federation of Students President Vanessa Hunt and members of the York is U student club introduced York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri.
“This is our 53rd anniversary, which is not a long time in the life of a University,” he said amid cheering and clapping. “You see around you how wonderful a University we’ve managed to create over such a short time. It is all because of the people and our students. We have every reason to be proud of this great institution and to celebrate. Happy birthday York!”
The York University cheerleading squad got the crowd warmed up for the Spirit Rally to honour York’s athletes with a rousing rendition of “Let’s go Lions” and “Deep in the heart of the York U jungle”.
Following the cheers, Jennifer Myers, director of sport & recreation, invited York athletes from the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) all-star teams to the stage. The audience cheered and clapped for each athlete honoured as Myers read out their accomplishments.
Students sign a York birthday card
The festivities continued into the afternoon with a cheering competition for best spirit, prizes, a cake-cutting ceremony and a talent show featuring performances by student musicians and dancers.
The day’s events and birthday tweets were compiled using Storify and can be viewed here.
The student group York is U was hard at work during the day to make sure the events were a success. They sponsored and distributed the cake and the 6000 cupcakes handed out to the community. Some 50 student volunteers decorated Vari Hall, the Bear Pit and the Student Centre, and organized the stage show, the card signing and button making tables.
Below is the list of athletes celebrated at Red and White Day:
Samantha Ernest – OUA all-rookie team
Richard Iheadindu – OUA all-rookie team
David Tyndale – OUA all-star
Jesse Messier – OUA all-star
Andrew Perugini – OUA all-rookie team
Kristen Barbara – CIS all-rookie team, OUA all-star, OUA all-rookie team
Brandie Wilkerson – CIS all-Canadian, OUA all-star
Marko Dakic – OUA all-rookie team
Melissa Humana-Paredes – CIS all-Canadian, OUA all-star
Karim Khalil – community service award
Nick Tran – coach of the year
Track and Field
Daniel Novia – CIS all-Canadian, OUA all-star, CIS gold medallist, OUA gold medallist
Kristin Obrochta – CIS all-Canadian, OUA all-star, CIS gold medallist, OUA gold medallist
Dontae Richards-Kwok – CIS most outstanding athlete, CIS all-Canadian, OUA all-star, CIS gold & silver medallist, OUA silver & bronze medallist
Cynthia Appiah – CIS all-Canadian, CIS silver medallist, OUA bronze medallist
Tyrone Halstead – CIS all-Canadian, CIS silver medallist, OUA bronze medallist
David Mayer – CIS all-Canadian, CIS silver medallist, OUA bronze medallist
Olu Ogunde – CIS all-Canadian, CIS silver medallist
David McKay – OUA rookie of the year, OUA all-star, OUA gold medallist
Vinh Le – OUA all-star, OUA gold medallist
Elizabeth Petrov – OUA all-star, OUA gold & silver medallist, CIS bronze medallist
Umar Khan – OUA all-star, OUA silver medallist
By Jenny Pitt-Clark, YFile editor