The York community gathered at Glendon for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of Phase 2 of renovations to the Frost Library Nov. 27. The renovations were made possible through a generous donation by Glendon alumna Terrie-Lynne Devonish (BA ’92, LLB ’95).
Chief Counsel at Aon Canada, Devonish has established a proud tradition of giving back to York University. She has served as a member of the Board of Governors, was co-chair of York to the Power of 50 Annual Fund for several years and co-founded a mentorship program with the Black Law Students Association of Canada.
Devonish was accompanied at the event by her family: parents Sylvan and Lynette Devonish; her sister, Karen Devonish-Mazzotta, a Glendon professor in the Faculty of Education; and Karen’s children, Xavier, Siena and Violetta.
In her remarks, Devonish reminisced about her time as a student at Glendon and, regarding her nieces and nephew in the audience with affection, expressed her wish that they might one day attend Glendon also.
As much as it was a donor recognition event, it was also an opportunity for the libraries to host Glendon students, who are enthusiastic about the space. As was evident at the event by the impressive turnout, Glendon students have a strong connection to Frost Library. Jenny David, president of the International Studies Student Association, called Frost “a place of inspiration.” “Students come to the library in great numbers because they feel good here,” she said. “They are welcomed with a smile by the library staff who are always available to help with our research and whose advice usually saves the day.”
The Glendon campus is designated as the Centre of Excellence for French-Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education in Southern Ontario. “Glendon’s unique status as the only campus of its kind in Southwestern Ontario has established a strong identity for this campus on a national – and even an international – scale,” says President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. As the only library on campus, Frost has an important role to play in supporting the expected growth in research and teaching activities. Updating the facilities with modern infrastructure is a crucial step toward meeting this demand.
“The modernization and improvement of this space is a welcome step in the right direction,” said Glendon Principal Donald Ipperciel, “and is already helping Frost Library strengthen its position as a key community space for knowledge sharing and production at Glendon.”
Phase 1 of the renovation, completed in Fall 2012, featured the popular fireside reading room and was the first renovation since the library opened in 1965. Phase 2, completed in early October of 2014, saw the addition of wired study tables, new finishes and new rare book displays.
What’s next? As Ipperciel noted, “The Frost Library will continue to grow in ways that can accommodate the needs of those working in an increasingly digital culture.” The vision for Frost Library includes space for a variety of needs, including work tables equipped with power outlets and task lighting, group study rooms with interactive technology, counter tables along the second floor windows overlooking the rose garden, a modern collaboration lab designed around the model of the “flipped classroom” and, ultimately, new service areas on the first floor.
The libraries will be actively seeking funding to complete its vision. As Interim University Librarian Catherine Davison pointed out, “It’s a testament to the impact of Frost on the student experience that alumni show such commitment and dedication. Terrie-Lynne Devonish is a perfect example.”