York to honour five alumni for outstanding achievement

Bryden Alumni Awards

York University will recognize the achievements of five illustrious alumni at the 2012 Bryden Awards gala, to be held Thursday, Nov. 15, from 7:15 to 9pm at The Toronto Reference Library’s Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, 789 Yonge Street.

2012 Bryden Alumni Award Recipients are:

Pinnacle Achievement: 
Kathleen Taylor (JD/MBA ’84) - President and Chief Executive Officer, Four Seasons Hotels and ResortsKathleen Taylor (JD/MBA ’84) – President and Chief Executive Officer, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Recently named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women, Four Seasons President and CEO Kathleen Taylor is one of the country’s foremost business leaders. Kathleen’s impressive rise from corporate counsel to head of one of the best-known luxury hospitality companies in the world exemplifies the benefits of her Osgoode-Schulich joint JD/MBA. The first CEO after the company’s founder, Kathleen has restructured the Executive Leadership Team and created the industry’s first executive level position dedicated entirely to innovation and product development. Kathleen is also an active contributor to her community, volunteering for the Toronto United Way and Hospital for Sick Children Foundation. She is an innovator who is no stranger to firsts: the first CEO of Four Seasons after its founder, the first woman named Corporate Hotelier of the World by HOTELS magazine and the first of her family to attend university. Kathleen embodies the qualities of a true global leader.

Outstanding Contribution:
John S. Hunkin - Former Chairman, President and CEO, CIBCJohn S. Hunkin (MBA ’69, LLD ’04) – Former Chairman, President and CEO, CIBC
John Hunkin has played a significant role in shaping the modern face of York University. He is a longtime member of the Board of Governors, the Schulich School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council and the York University Foundation Board. One of only a few people ever to serve in all three of these capacities, his decades-long commitment to York – and his involvement with several other organizations including the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation and the Centre for Addition and Mental Health – is remarkable. John’s exceptional leadership and vision have won him universal respect. With his wife, Susan Crocker, John has also contributed generously to student aid, the Faculty of Fine Arts and Schulich School of Business, demonstrating his determination to advance York and its students.

Local Hero:
Marc Wilchesky  - Executive Director, Counselling & Disability Services, York UniversityMarc Wilchesky (PhD ’80) – Executive Director, Counselling & Disability Services, York University
A trailblazer, Marc is one of Canada’s foremost experts on supporting students who have learning, mental health and physical disabilities. Since he joined York in 1985, he has played a pivotal role in the success of literally thousands of students. Beginning as the coordinator of Canada’s first postsecondary learning disability program, and now as the Executive Director of Counselling & Disability Services, his commitment, skills and creativity have helped establish York as the destination of choice for students with disabilities. He created Ontario’s first university transition program for students with disabilities and is collaborating with the Ontario Council of Universities to develop an Education Accessibility Resource Kit for all postsecondary faculty.

Redefine the Possible:
Nina Arsenault - Interdisciplinary ArtistNina Arsenault (BFA ’96, MFA ’00) – Interdisciplinary Artist
Multidisciplinary artist Nina Arsenault has honestly and unapologetically documented her physical and psychological transformations through theatre, photography, film and print. Her life and body are at the centre of numerous critically acclaimed artistic pieces, including The Silicone Diaries and I Was Barbie, which have played to sold-out theatres across Canada. Nina is also a frequent speaker on gender, sexuality, the fine arts and the rights and dignity of transpeople. Her work has been recognized by Pride Toronto with the Unstoppable Award in 2007 and by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association for Excellence in the Arts in 2012. Nina’s art – vulnerable, complex and deeply personal – is tearing down the walls of our culturally constructed notions of sex and gender.

The One-to-Watch:
Chris Penrose - Executive Director, Success Beyond LimitsChris Penrose (BA ’04) – Executive Director, Success Beyond Limits
Described as a “big-picture thinker with his feet (and heart) on the ground,” Chris Penrose has been working with youth in the Jane-Finch community for over a decade. As the Executive Director of Success Beyond Limits, he has had direct and positive impact on the lives of hundreds of youth in the community, drawing on his own turbulent adolescence to help them achieve higher credit accumulations, better attendance and higher grades than other students in their cohort. A regular invited guest on “CBC Metro Morning”, Chris has become an important voice in Toronto on violence, policing and community issues as they affect youth.

About the Bryden Alumni Awards:
Bruce BrydenEvery year, York University honours its most outstanding 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), Fellow of McLaughlin College (1974) and the first and one of only three alumni ever to chair the Board of Governors, to name just a few of the positions he held. His inspiring commitment and vision helped shape York into the innovative university it is today.

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