York U to honour five alumni for outstanding achievement


Recipients of this year's Bryden Awards represent the best in business, finance, social justice and politics

TORONTO, Nov. 20, 2013 – York University will recognize the achievements of five exceptional alumni at the 2013 Bryden Awards gala this week.

“These five York graduates are leaders who have truly distinguished themselves in business, politics, education and the non-profit world. Through their work, they have had a profound impact on people’s lives here in Toronto, nationally, and around the world,” said James Allan, executive director of York’s Community and Alumni Relations Office.

There are five categories of Bryden Alumni Awards, each of which honours a distinct set of achievements and contributions.

The 2013 Bryden Award recipients are:

Pinnacle Achievement: Recognizing true distinction in professional life or in any field of endeavour

Janice Fukakusa (MBA ’79), chief administrative officer and chief financial officer, Royal Bank of Canada

Janice Fukakusa, RBC’s chief administrative officer and chief financial officer, has broken down barriers for women in business by making a name for herself in the financial and non-profit sectors. As a chartered professional accountant and business valuator, she was named a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. In 2007, she was inducted into Canada’s Most Powerful Women Hall of Fame and in 2013, she was named one of 25 “Most Powerful Women in Banking” by American Banker Magazine.

Outstanding Contribution: Dedication to the advancement of the University through exceptional service, commitment and contributions

Guy Burry (BA ’82), chairman and chief executive officer, WhiteHat Inc. and owner of Tenth Power Group

As York’s ultimate ambassador for the past 30 years, Guy Burry has contributed to York in a multitude of ways − as a tireless volunteer, a passionate fundraiser and a philanthropist. A driving force behind the Chair’s Cup Golf Tournament since its inception, Burry helped the University raise more than $5 million for graduate scholarships. Along with his family, Burry’s prolific support over several decades has impacted students and researchers in dozens of programs and areas across York. He currently divides his time among his duties as a member of York’s Board of Governors, several corporate boards, his asset-consulting practice and Chair and CEO of WhiteHat Inc., a Toronto-based IT security and business solutions firm.

Redefine the Possible: For leadership and successes which are innovative, unconventional and daring, embodying York’s theme “redefine the possible”

Carolyn Acker (BAS ’87), founder of Pathways Canada

Carolyn Acker was the founding CEO of Pathways to Education Canada, a public foundation dedicated to helping youth in low-income communities graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education. Acker began her professional career in the nursing and healthcare industry. She used the experience gained from serving Toronto’s disadvantaged to drive her entrepreneurial spirit. Today, Acker is bringing her expertise, passion and decades-long reputation for social improvement to other worthy causes as a management consultant in innovative social-impact solutions.

Local Hero: A York alumnus and employee of the University who has gone beyond the call of duty

Dave Smith (BSc ’70, MBA ’72), director, management information, York University (retired)

Dave Smith has enjoyed more than 45 years of history with York. As a student, Smith excelled in athletics, competing as a varsity runner and winning five provincial and two national cross-country titles. Upon graduation, he remained with the York community, volunteering both as the University’s cross-country coach and head coach of the track and field team. Smith shared his unrivaled passion and competitive spirit, creating the York Open, an indoor track meet that has been held for 42 years. He also co-directed the annual Corporate Challenge Indoor Track and Field Meet, raising scholarship funds for York students. Smith began his working career at York in 1972 as the sports seminars coordinator and went on to play a leading role as the university’s director of management information. He is now retired and living in Aurora, Ont. with his wife, Donna.

One to Watch: For remarkable professional and community accomplishments early in his or her career

Karen D. Foss (BA ’01), Canadian foreign service officer, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Karen Foss is the coordinator of international critical incidents at the Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. With an undergraduate education in international studies from York’s Glendon Campus and a passion for creating change at a global level, Foss joined the foreign service in 2002. Since then, she has served as Canada’s deputy political director at the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan and opened Canada House in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. In Ottawa, she has covered files on fragile states, security sector reform, civilian policing and multilateralism right across the globe.

About the Bryden Alumni Awards:

Every year, York University honours its most outstanding leaders with Bryden Alumni Awards. Inaugurated in 2000, “the Brydens” were inspired by one of York’s great leaders, Bruce Bryden. A student of York’s first graduating class, Bryden returned to work at York. Over the course of 30 years, he held several prestigious volunteer positions. He was founding president of the York University Alumni Association (1965-1966), Fellow of McLaughlin College (1974) and the first and one of only three alumni ever to chair the Board of Governors, to name just a few of the positions he held. His inspiring commitment and vision helped shape York into the innovative university it is today. Past recipients of Bryden Awards include: ESPN and ABC basketball commentator Mark Jones (BA ’84); national affairs journalist Chantal Hébert (BA '76); longtime Cirque du Soleil choreographer Debra Lynne Brown (BFA Spec. Hons. '78); CTV host Sandie Rinaldo (BA Spec. Hons. ’73); Ivan Fecan (BA '01, LLD), president and CEO of Bell Globemedia; and TD Bank executive Bill Hatanaka (BA Spec. Hons. '77).  The 2013 Bryden Awards are sponsored by TD Insurance Meloche Monnex.

NOTE: Media are welcome to cover the awards gala – please contact Media Relations for further details.

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre, York is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York’s 11 faculties and 28 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 288 leading universities worldwide. York's community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 250,000 alumni.

Media Contact: Tabassum Siddiqui, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x44543 / tsiddiq@yorku.ca