YFile’s Year in Review: Top headlines at York University, July to September 2015

students in vari hall

As a new year emerges, YFile would like to take the opportunity to look back on 2015 and share with readers a snapshot of the year’s highlights. Year in Review will run as a four-part series, featuring a random selection of top news stories published in YFile. Part three features the stories and highlights from July to September 2015, as chosen by YFile editors.


Jacques Israelievitch. Image by MichaelShaw

York music Professor Jacques Israelievitch appointed to the Order of Canada
Internationally renowned violinist Jacques Israelievitch, a music professor in York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, was named a member of the Order of Canada. The honour, announced by Governor General David Johnston on July 1, recognizes Israelievitch’s outstanding contributions to music as a performer, educator and champion of Canadian musical creation.

Sushanta Mitra

York University appoints a new associate vice-president research
Robert Hache, vice-president research and innovation at York University, announced the appointment of Professor Sushanta Mitra as associate vice-president research, effective Aug. 1. In this role, Mitra will provide leadership in promoting strategic research development at York and lead the development of research policy that bridges the needs of researchers and the institution.

Ring of Fire costume constructionAGYU’s ‘Ring of Fire’ will set Toronto ablaze with cross-cultural energy
On Aug. 9, the Art Gallery of York University in partnership with the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design and community organizations Art Starts and SKETCH, and Trinidadian artist Marlon Griffith in collaboration with Picasso Pro, Equal Grounds, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Capoeira Angola and young spoken word poets from Jane-Finch, Malvern and Regent Park, presented a 300-person downtown street procession for the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games.

Above: York Lions sprinter Sheereen Harris, York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri and York Lions pole vaulter David McKay admire the Pan Am Torch

York U student carries the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games torch into the new Keele campus stadium
June 8 could only be described as a memory maker for Lions sprinter Sheereen Harris, who is studying kinesiology at York U. She participated in the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay and carried the Pan Am flame into the new CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletics Stadium on the Keele campus.

Pan Am Medals, photo: Canadian Mint

York U athletes earn medals at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games
The Toronto 2015 Pam Am Games wrapped after two weeks of exciting competition, and York University students and alumni finished the event with five medals. Lions athletes earned one gold, one silver and three bronze medals in track & field, baseball, boxing and gymnastics.


Lawyers coming from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School make up more than a quarter of the Top 25 Most Influential listed in Canadian Lawyer magazine

Osgoode prof, grads listed in Canadian Lawyer’s Top 25 ranking
Lawyers from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School were included in Canadian Lawyer magazine’s Top 25 Most Influential list. Last year’s honorees included seven lawyers affiliated with York U. The list recognizes lawyers of influence and is split into five categories: government, associations and non-profits — including courts, public inquiries and officers of Parliament; changemakers; criminal and human rights law; the world stage; and corporate-commercial law.

A concept illustration of the space elevator. Image: Thoth Technology

Going up! Lassonde professor’s space elevator attracts global attention
Lassonde School of Engineering Professor Ben Quine attracted global attention with the news that his company, Thoth Technology, has been granted the U.S. patent for a space elevator, a free-standing structure reaching 20 kilometres above the planet’s surface and standing more than 20 times the height of the world’s tallest structures.

Doctoral student Carolyn Perry led a research project at York U that confirms a new form of visual spatial attention

Research at York U confirms new form of visual spatial attention
A research project out of York University’s Faculty of Health confirmed a new form a visual spatial attention that behaves like an “eye in the palm of your hand.” The two-year project shows vision is enhanced in the area around the hand when the eyes are focused elsewhere. Findings of the study confirm that the mechanisms behind eye-related attention and hand-related attention work very differently.

National Student Survey on Engagement poster

York University featured in the National Survey of Student Engagement ‘Lessons from the Field’ report
York was the only Canadian university identified and profiled in the publication; the University’s campaign was cited as a best practice by NSSE officials. NSSE was administered by over 700 institutions in Canada and the United States in early spring 2014. For all Ontario universities, the survey is administered on a three-year cycle.

Osgoode Hall Law School photograph of the building interior

Osgoode announces new funding for financial accessibility to mark 50 years at York U
Osgoode Hall Law School at York University announced a further $1 million investment in financial accessibility to ensure that a greater number of students are able to access legal education. Half of the new funding ($500,000) will create 100 new $5,000 bursaries to be disbursed over two years to mark the 50th anniversary of Osgoode’s affiliation with York University in 1965. The balance of the new funding will go toward Osgoode’s first-in-Canada Income Contingent Loan Program.


Michelle (Hastick) Cowell

York University Sport Hall of Fame inductees announced
York University Athletics & Recreation and the School of Kinesiology & Health Science welcomed four new inductees to the York University Sport Hall of Fame. The 2015 inductees included track & field athlete Michelle (Hastick) Cowell, wrestler Paul Hughes, volleyball player Djordje Ljubicic and longtime track and field head coach Sue Wise.

York Orientation Day featured a New Student Convocation, a Lions Pride pep rally and more

First-years get formal welcome at New Student Convocation
Thousands of new students attended the New Student Convocation held at the Aviva Centre. The event was new in 2015, and ran as part of York Orientation Day, which also included an academic orientation, a presentation on consent and a pep rally. The New Student Convocation was designed to officially welcome incoming students, and put emphasis on the first-year experience. The ceremony kicked off with the piping in of York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri, along with vice-presidents, deans and others who were dressed in full academic regalia.

Royal society logo

Professor John Tsotsos receives RSC medal and Royal Society of Canada elects five York profs into its ranks
Lassonde Professor John Tsotsos has been awarded the Royal Society of Canada’s Sir John William Dawson Medal for important and sustained contributions by one individual in at least two different domains or in interdisciplinary research.
As well, Professors Marie-Christine Pioffet, Seth Feldman, Peter Victor, Leah Vosko and Barry Lever have been inducted into the society as Fellows. The York faculty were elected to the society in recognition of their outstanding achievements.

Vari Hall at night

York U collaborates with Ryerson, U of T and OCAD to coordinate efforts to bring Syrian refugee families to Canada
York University coordinated efforts with Ryerson University, the University of Toronto and OCAD University, in partnership with the Lifeline Syria Challenge initiative, to facilitate private sponsorships, raise funds and engage volunteers in a coordinated effort to bring Syrian refugee families to Canada. York University is turning to its community and will establish campus sponsorship teams, who will work together to raise a minimum of $27,000 each, and commit to supporting a Syrian refugee family for their first year resettling in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Graphic showing different research terms

SSHRC awards more than $8.9 million to York U researchers
The funding from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) will support research into gender inequality in video games, forced marriage in conflict situations, body-worn cameras and police accountability, and more.

Check back in tomorrow’s edition of YFile for Year in Review: Top headlines at York University, October to December 2015.