Impact: The Campaign for York University officially launched April 21 with a colourful, high-energy celebration featuring the talent of students and grads, an enormous Newton’s cradle, an exciting new campaign video and more.
The most ambitious fundraising campaign in the University’s history, the Impact Campaign has a goal of raising $500 million. It celebrates the University’s impact on the world – past, present and future.
“York is at an inflection point in its history – a time of significant change,” said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “We have established ourselves as a postsecondary leader and we have an unparalleled track record of impact on some of the world’s most pressing issues. Now, as we face unprecedented global challenges such as climate change, chronic disease, war and resettlement, and food and economic security, we must accelerate our impact. This campaign will ensure that York is ideally positioned to do so.”
Joining the president at the launch were the other two members of the campaign’s leadership team, Board of Governors Chair Rick Waugh and the University’s Chancellor Greg Sorbara. More than 120 students, staff, faculty, alumni, donors and friends attended the event, which took place in the High Bay Structures Lab in the Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence. (A shining new landmark on York’s Keele campus, the Bergeron Centre has already garnered significant international acclaim for its stunning architecture and state-of-the-art lab and learning spaces.)
“For almost 60 years, York has pushed boundaries and explored the unknown with groundbreaking research, leading-edge programs, a diverse student body and alumni making an impact all over the world,” Shoukri said. “This campaign is our promise that together we can drive advances in the classroom and in communities around the world, and accelerate the impact that we have each day.”
The president also took time to announce that with record fundraising results achieved in the past few years, the campaign has more than $270 million already committed and is over halfway to its goal.
In addition to its fundraising component, the Impact Campaign is focused on doubling the number of alumni engaged in the lives of York’s students and the communities the University serves, so it was fitting that students and alumni were front and centre at the launch. The entertainment featured high-energy performances by students from the School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design, an intriguing demonstration of digital mapping, a number of interactive, Faculty-based exhibits, and outstanding performances by aerial artists and violinist Sarah Davidson-Gurney (who is a York alumna).
As a symbol for the impact of the University throughout the campaign and beyond, a massive Newton’s cradle was suspended over the reception space and each guest received their own miniature keepsake version.
In his remarks to guests at the reception, Sorbara, who is a two-time alumnus of the University, acknowledged the important role that the nearly 300,000 York alumni will play in the success of the campaign.
“The alumni community collectively has an immeasurable impact on our society, whether locally, nationally or globally, across countless academic and professional fields,” said Sorbara. “We believe that telling the story of this impact is an important way to further the mission of the University – and I am here today to let you know that our campaign is squarely focused on not only celebrating alumni impact, but also amplifying it.”
Among the evening’s guests were members of the University’s Chancellor’s Circle who are outstanding donors who have each contributed more than $1 million to York, and members of the Impact Campaign’s leadership from Honorary Patrons and the Campaign Cabinet.
“All of these exceptional campaign volunteers have stepped forward in their roles to meet this exciting challenge and are ready and willing to help us reach our full potential,” said Waugh to the guests. “Now we turn to the rest of our alumni and friends to join us on this journey – because York University’s impact has only just begun.”
Sorbara fittingly closed out the remarks by sharing the University’s excitement about this monumental next step.“I’d like to thank you all for joining us tonight and for answering our call to serve as ambassadors of York as we prepare to join with alumni, friends and community to show what we can do through the upcoming campaign,” said Sorbara. “This is your opportunity to make an impact – and impact starts with you.”
For more information, to learn more about getting involved in the campaign, and to read inspiring stories from York University’s students, faculty, alumni and staff, visit the Impact Campaign website.