York University announces “game-changing” $2M gift for music education partnership

 TORONTO, November 17, 2016 – York University and the Regent Park School of Music (RPSM) will establish a new research chair in music education, and develop a new partnership through a $2 million gift from the Carswell Family Foundation (CFF). York professor emeritus Allan Carswell announced the donation at an event held at York University on November 16. In addition to the new research chair, the funding will support the RPSM’s collaboration with the Jane-Finch community, benefiting more than 1,300 children.

“It is an honour to thank the Carswell Family Foundation for this incredible gift, which will strengthen evidence-based research in music education and music programming, and transform the lives of children for years to come,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, President and Vice-Chancellor, York University.

The celebration included a number of performances including the York Gospel and Regent Park choirs and featured Grammy and two time Juno Award winning singer, Liberty Silver.

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Professor emeritus Allan Carswell announced a $2M donation to music education at an event at York University, November 16. Part of the funding will support the Regent Park School of Music collaboration with the Jane-Finch community, benefiting more than 1,300 children.

The $2 million CFF gift will fund the Helen Carswell Chair in Community Engaged Research in the Arts, a permanent endowed chair position within the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD), York University. The Chair will facilitate and direct interdisciplinary projects and enhance community music and art programs. The gift will also fund an important new partnership between York and the RPSM to strengthen community music programming and research, increase reach and impact on students; and enhance community music education initiatives in Toronto.

“This remarkable gift from the Carswell Family Foundation will be a game-changer for Regent Park School of Music and the 1,300-plus kids we are currently reaching in Jane-Finch and across the city,” said Richard Marsella, executive director of the Regent Park School of Music. “The partnership with York University will give us access to academic researchers, who will inform, improve and refine what we do to help kids succeed through music. We are delighted to be part of this truly unique community and academic initiative.”

Dr. Allan Carswell and the CFF focus on community philanthropy that has direct impact. The Foundation has previously, generously supported York with funding for new scientific research labs, awards, and scholarships. Earlier this year, the Foundation gifted $1 million to fund graduate scholarships in the University’s Faculty of Science and Lassonde School of Engineering.

“The Helen Carswell Chair will amplify the scope and impact of the research being done by artists and scholars at York in collaboration with community partners, and the outstanding work being done by the Regent Park School of Music,” said AMPD Dean Shawn Brixey. “It establishes a crucible in which scholarly research, creative practice and community art-making come together to generate even more powerful, more influential and more lasting outcomes to benefit our local community and society at large.”

For 30 years, Dr. Allan Carswell served as a full-time professor of physics at York, where he developed a new remote sensing laser technology that is now used worldwide. At York, he also founded his company, Optech Incorporated, which commercialized the technology.

York University recently launched “Impact: The Campaign for York University”, a $500-million fundraising and alumni engagement initiative. The campaign aims to build stronger communities on campus and throughout the University’s local and global networks to enrich learning and research. The creation of the Helen Carswell Chair in Community Engaged Research in the Arts directly supports that priority.

York University is known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-discipline programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university—our 11 faculties and 26 research centres have partnerships with 200-plus leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 295,000 alumni. York U's fully bilingual Glendon campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

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Media contact:
Gloria Suhasini, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 ext. 22094suhasini@yorku.ca