New Gold and Silver Prizes in Finance encourage BCom students to shine

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Above: From left, Professor Chris Robinson stands with Jiangmeng Xie (BAS ’17), winner of the Silver Prize in Finance, and Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, dean of LA&PS, at the June 2017 convocation

York University Professor Chris Robinson has endowed two new merit awards for finance students in the School of Administrative Studies (SAS). The Gold and Silver Prizes in Finance are awarded to the graduating students with the highest and second-highest GPA respectively in the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) honours program. The prizes were presented for the first time at the June 2017 convocation.

Robinson has taught finance in SAS since 2004, after 21 years at the Schulich School of Business. His motivation for founding the prizes reflects the impact of education on his own life.

“My success is founded on my education, and that’s why I give,” said Robinson. “With these new awards, I am trying to encourage students to strive for excellence in their academic work. The BCom degree in SAS is an excellent program that continues to grow, particularly in finance, with about 700 majors. We must continue make it better by encouraging our students to reach higher.”

The BCom is an interdisciplinary program that builds students’ business skills through a range of concentrations, including finance.  York’s historic Bachelor of Administrative Studies (BAS) program changed its name in 2016, and students will begin graduating with the new BCom designation in 2018.

“Graduates of SAS are extremely well regarded across a range of industries,” said Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. “These awards help us further promote the excellence and rigour that help our alumni thrive in their professions.”

In supporting exceptional students, the awards have succeeded in inspiring its winners to strive for more. Now working in the finance department for an insurance company in Hong Kong, Ian Chun Sang Wong (BAS ’16), winner of the Gold Prize, says that the award is not only a financial boost, but a recognition of his hard work.

“I’m honoured to receive this prize,” said Wong. “It validates the idea that if you put your mind to something and follow through, you can achieve what you thought was impossible. It’s shown me that I can realize my goals.

“The prize is proof of my efforts in my studies,” echoed Jiangmeng Xie (BAS ’17), who won the Silver Prize. “It will continue to remind me of my past successes and be a strong source of support as I pursue new goals in the future.”

Robinson also recently established the Chris Robinson Personal Finance Prize. It will be awarded for the first time next June to the student who earns the highest GPA in the personal finance courses of the BCom program.