Bridging past and present through York’s alumni events program

alumni at the last breakfast

This morning, more than 120 graduates working at York University are taking part in alumni breakfasts at the Keele and Glendon campuses. The breakfasts are part of Red and White Day events celebrating York University’s 55th birthday.

The breakfasts are open to all graduates working on campus. The Keele campus breakfast will take place in Room 519, Kaneff Tower, from 8:30 to 10:30am. The Glendon campus breakfast will take place on the 2nd floor of the Glendon Centre of Excellence from 8:30 to 10am.

The alumni breakfasts are biannual events and are part of an ever-evolving program organized by the Division of Advancement to connect graduates to the University. Other events in the program include regional alumni mixers, GRADitude and the Bryden Alumni Awards. The program is an important component of York University’s ongoing relationship with a vast, international cohort of more than 270,000 graduates who are situated in 159 countries.

Jeff O'Hagan
Jeff O’Hagan

“The program brings grads together from all over the world and reconnects them with York University and its valuable alumni networks, invigorates their red-and-white spirit and demonstrates to them the University’s appreciation for their ongoing participation and philanthropy,” said Jeff O’Hagan, vice-president advancement. “It bridges York’s past, present and future and, together with grads of all ages, helps to build a better University through networking, the sharing of ideas and a spirit of giving back to the academic experiences of current and prospective York students.”

At a recent alumni mixer in Hong Kong, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Dean Martin Singer shared with grads the importance of York University’s alumni and their important contributions to the future of York University.  

“Our alumni are our greatest ambassadors and by attending these events, you’re surrounding yourselves with other grads whose experience and connections you can leverage. I urge you to stay connected to each other and your alma mater and to use these events to extend a helping hand to recent graduates and even current students who might benefit from your knowledge and insight.”

With new grads joining the alumni association each year, the alumni events program is expanding to incorporate new locations locally and globally.  

And while the program provides valuable networking opportunities between the University and its alumni as well as the opportunity for York to expand its base of alumni donors, it has grown into a pan-University effort that connects the University, grads of all varieties, donors and even current and potential students.

Jean-François Latreille (BA ’92), a high school French teacher from Quebec, brought along a group of potential students to York’s Montreal alumni mixer.

“I work with senior students who are looking for a unique postsecondary experience that gives them the opportunity to pursue their passions and study in both English and French. To me, that’s York University,” says Latreille. “As a grad, I understand the potential that comes along with a York degree. It’s a great school and I want to share that with my students as they chart their courses. By connecting them to the University and other grads, these alumni events are the perfect opportunity to show them what a York education can bring them.” 

David Tsubouchi
David Tsubouchi

Later on this afternoon, current students are invited to hear York alumnus David Tsubouchi (BA ’72, JD ’75) talk about life after graduation. Tsubouchi is the registrar and CEO of the Ontario College of Trades (regulator of trades). He was the first Japanese Canadian to be elected to office in Canada, served as the MPP for Markham for two terms and has held cabinet posts in the Ontario Legislature, including minister of consumer and commercial relations, solicitor general, chair of management board and minister of culture. Prior to serving in the Ontario Legislature, Tsubouchi served as a councillor for the Town of Markham for two terms.

Tsubouchi is the inaugural speaker for the new Alumni Journeys: Success after York event, an evolving series of presentations featuring York alumni discussing their careers and lives after graduation. Tsubouchi’s talk, which is free and open to York students, will take place from 3:30 to 4:30pm in S137 Ross Building.

“Alumni engagement is core to the work not only of the Division of Advancement, but of every Faculty at York,” said O’Hagan. “Our alumni are taking their York experiences out into the world and making a difference in every field imaginable. These events are opportunities to learn about the incredible things our grads are doing, tell them about the great things happening at York and thank them for everything they do to support our students.”

To learn more about the upcoming events planned for this year, visit the Alumni Association website or e-mail Photographs from past alumni events can be viewed on the York University Alumni Facebook page.