The following is a message to the York University community from the Chair of the Board of Governors, Paul Tsaparis:
I received my MBA from York University in 1984, the same year that Prince had a No. 1 hit on the Billboard singles chart and a family home in Toronto could be purchased for under $90,000. Much has obviously changed since then. But one thing remains constant: the enormous pride I have in this university.
York helped me develop and hone the skills I needed to allow me to succeed, first as CEO and president of Hewlett-Packard Canada and more recently as corporate director and executive-in-residence at the Schulich School of Business, where I am a guest lecturer and adviser to the Master of Business Analytics program.
Education is the great enabler. I, like many others born to immigrants, am the first in my family to get a university degree. A university education certainly helped me and I am committed to ensuring it can help others. Providing equal access to higher education is one of my passions.
To say I am honoured to have an opportunity to give back to the institution that has given so much to me would be an understatement. But let me say it anyway.
After eight years as a member of the executive, I consider it a great privilege to lead a truly diversified and richly accomplished, community service-orientated Board of Governors, made up of people who are all fully committed to helping to take York to the next level. Our collective goal is to support York University’s academic mission by helping to make York a great place for our students to realize their full potential.
The board exists to serve the University by supporting and championing York’s mission statement of academic excellence in research and teaching and promoting innovation, along with the pursuit, preservation and dissemination of knowledge in pure, applied, and professional fields of practice and inquiry.
Members of the board are volunteers. Comprising two members of the York University Senate, two students, two non-academic staff members, and 24 community and business leaders, including two alumni appointees, the board oversees the government, conduct, management, and control of the University and its property.
As a group, the board enhances York’s international reputation as a top-ranking institution of higher learning across all disciplines, while simultaneously representing the incredible diversity of the York community. Cultural diversity is one of York’s greatest assets, and members of the board similarly reflect a diverse group, with skills relevant to the board’s responsibilities and a broad range of academic backgrounds.
With five scheduled meetings each year, and through service on one or more of seven committees vital to York’s progress, our governors bring to bear their diverse experiences, perspectives and commitment to community service to help realize York’s potential as a progressive, engaged and connected university.
Each board member contributes in extraordinary ways – let me share just a few examples:
Loretta Lam brings more than 25 years of experience as a multicultural marketing and public relations pioneer to the External Relations Committee; Bill Hatanaka, a former Bryden Alumni Award recipient for his dedication to the advancement of the University through exceptional service, commitment and contributions, serves as Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee; Francesca Accinelli, director of communications and national promotions for Telefilm Canada (and a York alumna), contributes her years as a cultural administrator as a member of the Academic Resources Committee and the External Relations Committee; and Bobbi-Jean White, a past member of the Standards Committee of Imagine Canada, a national charitable organization that supports charities and non-profits, serves as Chair of the Academic Resources Committee and a member of the Executive and Finance and Audit Committees.
So where do I fit in? I have a curious mind, I love to learn, play sports and listen to new wave music. I am also Chair of the Council of Chairs of Ontario Universities and this role, among other things, permits me a unique perspective and overview of higher education across the province. It enables me to say with certainty that York’s historical strengths, and our vision to provide a broad demographic of students with access to a high-quality, research-intensive university committed to the public good set us apart.
Most importantly, I think my primary contribution is my strong sense of duty and commitment to help to make York University a great place for students to study, for faculty and staff to work, and for alumni and donors to support.
As Chair, my own personal goal is to leverage my 30 years in the technology business, leading innovation and transformation initiatives, to bring the outside world to York to discover the many treasures embedded here, including our internationally ranked programs and award-winning professors who are among the world’s top thinkers.
I also want to meet and engage with York’s stakeholders, alumni, and donors to increase and elevate the impact of innovation at York. We need to become better connected and do a better job of telling the York story. We are a great university.