SPPA marks York’s 60th birthday with a celebration of public service

From left: MPPAL Alumnus Piragal Thiru, Head of Policy and Stakeholder Relations, Transportation Services for York Region; Chancellor Greg Sorbara and President Emeritus H. Ian Macdonald

The School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA) hosted its annual Queen’s Park reception on March 26. The event celebrated public service and was held in the Royal Ontario Museum.

The non-partisan event brought together elected officials, public sector and non-profit employees, faculty and students from the school to take a brief pause from the daily challenges facing the public service and recognize the important work of those who answer the call to serve.

Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, president of the Treasury Board, took the lead to represent the Ontario government at the event. In his remarks, he congratulated York University on its 60th anniversary.

Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy during his address at the School of Public Policy and Administration reception

Also in attendance at the event were York President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton, Chancellor Greg Sorbara and President Emeritus H. Ian Macdonald.

From left, President Rhonda L. Lenton with SPPA alumnus Jim Cassismatis, associate deputy minister (Acting), Government and Consumer Services and Alena Kimakova, director of SPPA

In her remarks, Lenton reflected on the establishment of the school and the Master of Public Policy, Administration and Law (MPPAL) program as a part-time executive style program designed to advance to the careers of those in the public service under her leadership as dean of the former Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies. Currently one of the largest graduate programs at the University, the MPPAL program represents a key link between the University and the public service.

From left: MPPAL Alumnus Piragal Thiru, head of policy and stakeholder relations, Transportation Services for York Region, Chancellor Greg Sorbara and President Emeritus H. Ian Macdonald
From left: Professor Naomi Couto, Jamie West, MPP for Sudbury and NDP Labour Critic, and Professor Dagmar Soennecken, graduate program director for the MPPAL program

The reception offered an occasion for SPPA students, both MPPAL and undergraduate students, to engage in thoughtful discussions with senior public servants and policy makers on the ongoing transformations in the Ontario public service and broader complexities of public administration in the 21st century.

From left: BPA student Samer Khurshid, MPPAL student and Graduate Student Association President Hyacinth Khin, and PPA alumnus Derek Lett, executive director, Conflict of Interest Commissioner’s Office
From left: Sarah Afriyie, president of the Public Policy and Administration Student Association (PPASA) with Professor Alena Kimakova, Nancy Sanders, assistant deputy minister for modernization, Ontario Solicitor General’s Office, and Bruce Preston, assessment officer for the Federal Courts Administration Service