Founders College celebrates 50th anniversary

Founders College Master Mauro Buccheri and Founders College Student Council President Kaitlin Malfara
Founders College Master Mauro Buccheri and Founders College Student Council President Kaitlin Malfara

Founders College is celebrating 50 years of nurturing student success.

Honouring five decades of service to the York University community, Founders is hosting a variety of events from Oct. 13 to 15. Festivities begin with a celebratory breakfast, followed by a birthday party, a roundtable with former College masters and student leaders, and a gala dinner with a dance performance and keynote speech.

Three former masters will join the roundtable. They are French studies Professor Emeritus C. Edward Rathé, history Professor David Trotman and social science Professor Emerita Patricia Stamp.

The gala dinner features a dance performance with York alumna Mimi Star and her partner Jamie Domb. The keynote speaker will be economics and social science Professor George Fallis, who is associated with Founders through his research and as dean of York University’s former Faculty of Arts, with which the college was affiliated.

Founders College was inaugurated on Oct. 15, 1965, as the first of its kind on York’s Keele campus. It continues to offer students a sense of community within the larger university. Its name reflects the variety of individuals and organizations that donated to its creation. The college, with the theme of “Self, Culture and Society,” supports a diverse array of students in their academic endeavours while encouraging them to engage with each other and the University overall.

Founders College Master Mauro Buccheri and Founders College Student Council President Kaitlin Malfara
Founders College Master Mauro Buccheri and Founders College Student Council President Kaitlin Malfara

“The college system has provided the University with communities of professors and students dedicated to learning and scholarship. A sense of community and belonging is essential to an institution of higher learning like York University,” says current Founders College Master, Professor Mauro Buccheri. “In a university as large as York, the colleges provide students with a sense of community that can hardly be replicated elsewhere. The colleges become, as it were, the students’ ‘home away from home.’ ”

Throughout the college’s history, it has had eight masters and one interim master. Buccheri has served as master since 2006 and has been a Fellow of the college since 1989. The college has 93 active Fellows who are available to help students academically, socially and career-wise.

“I can say with certainty that my life as a York professor has been made more meaningful by the interaction with Founders’ Fellows and faculty members from various disciplinary backgrounds,” he says. “What I cherish most about being master of Founders College is the feeling of belonging to a community of students and scholars. Social, cultural and academic events bring together all the members of the community.”

Buccheri adds, “Needless to say, an essential part of college life is the ongoing relationship with the members of the Student Council, with students in residence as well as those from our affiliated programs.”

The current student council president is fourth-year environmental studies student Kaitlin Malfara.

“To be president for FCSC in its 50th year means a lot,” she says. “I’m very happy to be in this position during such a milestone year for the college because I truly love being part of such an amazing team and doing amazing things for the student body. Founders College has become a sanctuary where I can come, relax and enjoy my time here at York University. I can truly call Founders College home, as it has been for the last three-and-a-half years.”

Twenty-three of the college’s 24 affiliated programs are offered through the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, with one offered by the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Founders boasts more than 5,000 current students, its own newsletter, titled The Phoenix, and an active alumni chapter that holds regular events.

“The most obvious legacy is the over 20,000 Founders alumni who have lived and studied at the college during the last half century,” says Buccheri. “We hope the next 50 years will continue to be the academic and cultural home that it has been for the past 50 years for students, Fellows and faculty.”

For a complete list of events related to 50th anniversary celebrations, visit