Announcing the 2018 Bryden Alumni Award recipients

The Bryden logo with images of each of the recipients

Now in its 18th year, the Bryden Alumni Awards celebrate outstanding York University alumni who have achieved the extraordinary and made remarkable contributions in their fields, communities and to the University. The leaders who will be celebrated on Nov. 20 at a celebration at Arcadian Court are: Paul Sanberg (BSc ’76); Cheryl and Rob McEwen (MBA ’78, LLD ’05); Pernille Ironside (JD ’99); and Jamil Jivani (BA ’10).

The Bryden logo with images of each of the recipients“As we welcome a new group of recipients for this year’s Bryden Alumni Awards, we recognize the achievements and possibilities for those with a York University education,” said Jeff O’Hagan, vice-president Advancement. “Our 2018 honourees are being recognized for their extensive achievements, leadership, philanthropic support and meaningful engagement with the alumni community locally and globally. As they continually inspire us, we look forward to honouring them at the awards this fall.”

This year, there are four categories of Bryden Alumni Awards, each category addresses a distinct set of achievements and contributions.

Outstanding Achievement: An alumnus or alumna who has achieved distinction in their field and whose integrity and ability inspire alumni, faculty, staff and students.

Paul Sanberg

Paul Sanberg
Paul Sanberg

Paul Sanberg is senior vice president for Research, Innovation & Knowledge Enterprise; a Distinguished University Professor of Medicine, Engineering, and Business, the executive director of the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair at the University of South Florida, and the president of the National Academy of Inventors. His work has been instrumental in understanding and developing new pharmaceutical and cellular therapeutics for stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s disease and Tourette syndrome. He studied at York University, the University of British Columbia, the Australian National University and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Sanberg has held faculty appointments at the University of Cincinnati and Brown University, among others.

His research involves discovering innovative ways to repair the damaged brain. Sanberg helped lead the team that demonstrated the use of umbilical cord blood derived cells for neurological disease. He is listed as an inventor on 160 worldwide patents and is the author of more than 660 articles and 14 books, with more than 32,000 citations. He has served on numerous scientific advisory boards, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health. He has industry experience as a founder or director of several companies involved in cell therapy for degenerative disorders. He has served on editorial boards for more than 30 scientific journals, is co-editor-in-chief of Technology and Innovation: Journal of the National Academy of Inventors and has served as president of several professional societies, including the American Society for Neural Transplantation and Repair, Cell Transplant Society, and International Behavioral Neuroscience Society.

Sanberg is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering; National Academy of Inventors, Royal Societies of Chemistry, Public Health, and Medicine. He is the recipient of many notable awards.

Outstanding Contribution: An alumnus or alumna who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of York and its students through exceptional service, commitment and/or philanthropic contributions.

Cheryl and Rob McEwen

Cheryl and Rob McEwen
Cheryl and Rob McEwen

The McEwens have donated more than $60 million to encourage excellence and innovation in healthcare and education. Their donations have led to the establishment of the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Toronto General Hospital; McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University; the McEwen Leadership Program at St. Andrew’s College; and the Lakefield College Gym & Entrepreneurial scholarship. In addition, significant donations were made to the Margaret Cochenour Memorial Hospital & Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre.

In 2017, the McEwens donated $8-million to the Schulich School Business. York University and Schulich named the Rob and Cheryl McEwen Graduate Study & Research Building in honour of their long-term support of the school. With this donation, the McEwens have donated more than $10 million to Schulich and York University.

Rob McEwen is chairman and chief owner of McEwen Mining Inc. with the goal of entering the S&P 500. He is the founder & former chairman and CEO of Goldcorp Inc., one of the world’s largest gold producers. In 1990, Rob jumped from the investment industry into the mining industry where he consolidated five companies to create Goldcorp Inc. During his last 13 years as Goldcorp’s CEO, the company’s market capitalization grew from $50 million to over $8 billion and its share price grew at a compound annual rate of 31 per cent. He is a recipient of the Order of Canada: Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee Award; Honorary Doctor of Laws; 2001 PDAC Developer of the Year Award; 2017 inducted into The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame. He sits on the Dean’s Advisory Board, Schulich School of Business; X Prize Foundation: Vision Circle and Board of Trustees; CEO & WPO.

Cheryl McEwen is a volunteer, philanthropist and entrepreneur. She is the recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award for her contributions to advance research in regenerative medicine and stem cells. She is the vice-chair of Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation Board, serving on the board since 2005. She is also an entrepreneur, having worked for 25 years within the fashion industry, and is the founder of Make My Day Foods Inc.

Tentanda Via: An alumnus or alumna who has demonstrated innovative, unconventional and daring leadership and success, reflecting the University’s motto – “The Way Must Be Tried.”

Pernille Ironside

Pernille Ironside
Pernille Ironside

Pernille Ironside is an international civil servant with the United Nations. Since January 2017, she has been serving as UNICEF’s Deputy Representative in Nigeria. She led the development of a new five-year country program (2018-22) for UNICEF as well as a new UN Strategic Development Partnership Framework (2018-21) for the UN Country Team with the Government of Nigeria. Prior to this, she was UNICEF’s Chief of Field Operations in Iraq based in Baghdad, where she led efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance to vulnerable children and their families, particularly in relation to the Anbar and Mosul humanitarian crises. From 2013 to 2015, she served as UNICEF’s Chief of Field Office in the Gaza Strip for which she and her team were awarded an internal UNICEF staff team award for their humanitarian action during the 51-day conflict in Gaza in 2014.

Since joining the UN in 2002, Ironside has also served in Tacloban leading UNICEF’s emergency child protection response in the immediate aftermath of super-typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines in 2013; in Yemen as chief of child protection; in Goma, DRC as a child protection specialist; and in UNICEF global Headquarters in New York during which she advised UNICEF child protection staff and management working in 20 countries affected by armed conflict and/or natural disaster involving frequent deployments to the frontlines. She is specialized in negotiating the release of children associated with armed forces/groups and supporting their community reintegration.

In addition to her work with UNICEF, Ironside has held positions with the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in Goma, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in New York, the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

One to Watch: An alumnus or alumna who has made a significant impact in their field and/or community within 15 years of a bachelor’s degree or 10 years of a professional/ graduate degree.

Jamil Jivani

Jamil Jivani
Jamil Jivani. Photo credit: Wim Van Cappellen

Jamil Jivani (BA ’10) is a Canadian lawyer, law professor and author. He is focused on creating economic opportunities for families, empowering youth and improving public safety.

Jivani has held research and teaching appointments at Osgoode Hall Law School and Yale Law School. He was also the director of law and policy at Our Ohio Renewal, a nonprofit organization founded at Ohio State University to develop solutions to the issues raised in J.D. Vance’s bestselling memoir Hillbilly Elegy. He previously practiced law at the international business law firm Torys LLP.

Jivani’s community leadership includes founding the Citizen Empowerment Project and serving as vice chair of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. He has also volunteered with youth organizations in Kenya, Egypt and Belgium.

His work in disadvantaged neighborhoods in North America and Europe has led him to appear on numerous national and international television and radio programs. His writing has been published by The Guardian, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post and Australia’s Quillette magazine.

A graduate of Humber College, York University and Yale Law School, he was named the 2015 young lawyer of the year by the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and received the International Development and Relief Foundation’s 2017 youth leadership award.

His first book Why Young Men: Rage, Race and the Crisis of Identity was published by HarperCollins in April 2018 and listed for the Toronto Book Awards.

Sponsored by premiere sponsor TD Insurance, the awards are named after the late Bruce Bryden (BA ’64), founder of the York University Alumni Association and the first alumni chair of the York University Board of Governors. A passionate member of the community for nearly 30 years, Bryden’s inspiring commitment, vision and contributions helped shape York into the vibrant and innovative university it is today.

Visit for more information about the Bryden Awards, to learn more about the recipients, or to purchase tickets (note that space is limited for this event).