The following is a message to the York University community from Paul Tsaparis, Chair of the Board of Governors:
In my message to the community last year, as incoming Chair, I talked about the immense pride I have in York University, and how my experiences as a student and alumnus helped position me to succeed. I also spoke about how the talented and diverse volunteers who serve on York’s Board of Governors are focused on supporting the academic mission of the University and the many ways in which they contribute. Through board and committee discussions, and interactions that happen in many other forums, these community service-minded individuals are true ambassadors for the University. Tangible demonstrations of their ongoing commitment to York’s success range from personal and corporate giving to connecting students to experiential learning opportunities, and more.
A few examples you may be familiar with include: Earle and Berna Nestmann, longtime donors whose gift supports the Dean of Science’s Undergraduate Research Awards (DURA), which funds summer research positions for science students at York University; and Bill Hatanaka, who helped to secure a multi-million dollar gift to establish the York University-TD Engagement Centre.
York University’s strong social innovation agenda is one of many areas that really excites and engages me, and where I am keen to offer my own advice and expertise, given my extensive career in the technology sector, and now in my role as the Board of Governors’ Chair.
At York, it is clear that innovation is more than just a word – it is a reality and an essential part of the University. Its primary home is Innovation York, a brilliant hub offering engaged scholarship and experiential learning through industry and private sector relationships and other opportunities. These enriching collaborations bring researchers and entrepreneurs, students and community partners together through internships and mentoring opportunities across all disciplines to yield exciting fresh knowledge and new discoveries. I am very enthusiastic and supportive of the creative work being done through Innovation York.
Another Board of Governors member and University alumnus Randy Williamson, along with his colleagues at his Toronto Law firm, Aird & Berlis LLP, are actively involved with Innovation York’s entrepreneurship unit. They created the Aird and Berlis StartupSource Market Entry Award, providing both financial support and legal services to the top graduate of the LaunchYU AccelerateUP program. This program provides potential entrepreneurs on campus and in the surrounding community with the opportunity to grow their ventures through a combination of education, mentorship, peer support and investor pitch sessions.
Our students and graduates are the future, and the York University community believes that and actively seeks ways to provide students with important opportunities to grow and learn. Part of their education at York University encourages students to become engaged members of their communities and citizens of the world, which I hope will, one day, include joining the Board of Governors where they can continue to learn and share their hard-earned knowledge with the graduates of tomorrow.
Our York University community is growing; at last count, we have more than 325,000 alumni located across Canada and around the world. We are proud and want them to feel that while they may have left the University, the University has never left them.
For those of you interested in learning more about the volunteers who are members of your Board of Governors, I invite you to go to secretariat.info.yorku.ca/board-of-governors to read their biographies and about their service to this great University.
In closing, when I reflect on the positive global change that is being led by York University’s students, faculty, staff and alumni, I see immense potential. Every day, faculty, staff and the community are focused on delivering an exceptional learning and research experience to our students. Many of these impressive achievements are captured in President Rhonda Lenton’s Annual Report.
Thank you for the privilege and honour associated with the role of Chair of the Board of Governors. I look forward to all the power and promise that awaits York University as we enter 2020 and a new decade of inspiring change.
Paul Tsaparis, Chair
Board of Governors