Each year, members of the York University community take a break from their busy schedules to spend an evening celebrating their colleagues during the President’s Staff Recognition Awards gala.
On May 4, more than 150 guests joined York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri at the staff awards celebration held in the Underground Restaurant on the Keele campus. They paid tribute to the award recipients and thanked them for their commitment to the University, its community and students.
The event, which was emceed by the president, featured remarks by President Emeritus H. Ian Macdonald; also attending was President Emerita Lorna R. Marsden.
“This year is very special for me as it marks my last as president and vice-chancellor of York University,” said Shoukri. “Two eminent former presidents are here with me and this shows the incredible appreciation we have in what each member of the staff does for the University.
“For 10 years, I have been so fortunate to work with faculty, staff and students. The University is very privileged to have such excellent employees. Each of you has an important role as we educate the next generation of citizens. You keep everything running smoothly and work with pride and a commitment to excellence and keep this university on an incredible trajectory to realize our aspiration to become a truly globalized and research-intensive university.”
The recipients of the 2016 President’s Staff Recognition Awards are listed below. Click on the names to view video testimonials:
The Ronald Kent Medal was awarded to Carol V. Weldon, centre coordinator and administrative assistant for the Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science.
The Deborah Hobson York Citizenship Award was presented to Sheelagh Atkinson, associate director, University Events & Ceremonies in Advancement Services.
The President’s Leadership Award was awarded to Sarah L. Cantrell, assistant vice-president institutional planning and analysis, Division of the Vice-President Academic and Provost.
The President’s Voice of York Award was presented to Donna Grace Hewison, student affairs assistant, Office of the Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies.
The Phyllis Clark Campus Service Award was presented to Feleg Belay, custodian, Custodial Services in Campus Services & Business Operations.
The Harriet Lewis Team Award for Service Excellence was awarded to the staff in the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies. Team members are: Anesa Albert, executive assistant to the dean and AVP Graduate; Juan M. Arangote, financial officer; Arun Devdas, graduate student funding liaison officer; Christopher Douris, web and communications assistant; Audaisha A. Franks, student affairs coordinator; Richolette Freckleton, scholarship and awards coordinator; Donna Grace Hewison, student affairs assistant; Nisa Lawson, student affairs assistant; Linda Lee, database analyst; Susan Lyn, human resources business partner; Kim McIntyre, postdoctoral services coordinator; Wesley Moir, manager, communications, public relations and recruitment; M. Michael Schiff, coordinator, faculty governance; Judy Tse, student affairs coordinator; Almey Tse Soriano, manager, student affairs; Natalie Vacianna, student affairs thesis coordinator; Sarah Whitaker, academic affairs officer; Stephanie Wong, administrative assistant; and Sandra Yiu, graduate student funding officer.
As part of the event, the video testimonials were shown at intervals during the dinner. The president presented the awards after each video and the recipients then offered a few words.
“This evening is a very special evening for a number of reasons,” said Cantrell after receiving the President’s Leadership Award, who called her fellow nominees “rock stars.” In addition to receiving the award, Cantrell said that reading the nomination letters submitted by colleagues from across the University was a deeply moving experience. “Hearing what people say about you, and those who send emails congratulating you, offer such kind and inspiring words. I hold my fellow nominees in such high regard because they push me and others to do their very best and they all have tough jobs. I take your words to heart.”
Cantrell spoke on behalf of all the award recipients and nominees: “I will wrap up with one final expression of gratitude to the president who is hosting his final staff awards [event] this evening after a decade in the big chair. Thank you for always taking the time to honour and celebrate the many contributions of staff from all areas of campus for their enthusiasm, effort and dedication to helping turn York’s vision into a reality.”
The staff in the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies dedicated their award to outgoing Dean Barbara Crow, who attended the event with her arm in a sling after breaking it in a fall the day before. Crow is leaving York to take a position at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.
“I work with this amazing team and will miss all of you,” said Crow. “This award is such affirmation of everything we are doing.”
Speaking for the FGS team, Moir, who is the manager, communications, public relations and recruitment for the Faculty, thanked Crow for her leadership.
The evening concluded with congratulations from Shoukri and a toast to the recipients. Shoukri thanked TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, one of the University’s affinity partners, for its long-standing support of the awards reception.