York University celebrates its outstanding alumni at 2015 Bryden Awards


TORONTO, Nov. 17 – York University’s annual Bryden Awards will celebrate four of its outstanding alumni on Thursday, Nov. 19 for achieving the extraordinary and making remarkable contributions to the university and the community.

The four recipients are: Bruce Lourie (MES ’87), president, Ivey Foundation; Douglas Bergeron (BA ’83, Hon. LLD ’13), founder, chairman and CEO, Opus Global; Gail McVey (BA ’85, MA ’89, PhD ’95), psychologist and health systems research scientist for the Hospital for Sick Children, director of the Ontario Community Outreach Program for Eating Disorders, and associate professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto; and Michael Prosserman (BAS ’08), founder and executive director, UNITY Charity.

“With each new group of Bryden recipients, we are reminded of the endless possibilities that come with a York education – and this year’s recipients are no exception,” says Jeff O’Hagan, vice-president advancement. “Like Bryden recipients before them, our 2015 honorees inspire all of us through their outstanding achievements and leadership. These incredible York alumni have made major contributions to society and encourage the entire York community – students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends – to reach even higher.”

This year’s awards will be presented at a gala dinner at the Royal Ontario Museum hosted by York alumna Galit Solomon.

Each recipient will be honoured in one of four categories.

Outstanding Achievement: a graduate who has achieved distinction in his/her field and whose integrity and ability inspire alumni, faculty, staff and students.

Bruce Lourie

Bruce Lourie

For nearly 20 years, Bruce Lourie (MES ’87) has set himself apart as one of Canada’s pioneering leaders in the environmental sector. He is president of the Ivey Foundation, a private charitable foundation in Canada, and a director of the Independent Electricity System Operator. He is also director of Philanthropic Foundations Canada and Canadians for Clean Prosperity. Committed to connecting environmental issues to human health, Lourie initiated the campaign to shutdown coal-fired power plants in Ontario – the single largest climate action in North America. He also helped convene the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, one of the world’s largest conservation initiatives. He co-authored two best-selling books, including the internationally acclaimed Slow Death by Rubber Duck (2010). He has been recognized as a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of Canada and is an honorary director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.

Outstanding Contribution: a graduate who has dedicated his/her work to the advancement of York through exceptional service, commitment and/or contributions.

Doug Bergeron

Doug Bergeron

Doug Bergeron (BA ’83, Hon. LLD ’13) is a 25-year veteran of the financial technology industry, currently serving as founder and CEO of Opus Global and executive chairman of Hiperos. In 2001, he led the acquisition of VeriFone from Hewlett-Packard in a transaction valued at $50 million. In 2002, Bergeron partnered with GTCR and embarked upon a strategy to aggressively grow VeriFone into a multinational company, operating in more than 100 countries, with an enterprise value of more than $5 billion. A longtime supporter of York, Bergeron, along with his wife Sandra, recently made a record-breaking $10-million gift to York University. The recently completed Lassonde School of Engineering’s new home has been named the Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence.

Tentanda Via: a graduate who has demonstrated innovative, unconventional and daring leadership, and successes, reflecting York’s motto “the way must be tried.”

Gail McVey

Gail McVey

As Canada’s foremost eating disorder prevention researcher, Gail McVey (BA ’85, MA ’89, PhD ’95) is an internationally recognized expert in prevention science and its application to mental health interventions at all stages of life. She is a psychologist and health systems research scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children, with an appointment as a senior associate scientist with the Research Institute. She is director of the Ontario Community Outreach Program for Eating Disorders, a community-based clinical training program in evidence-based treatment and prevention of eating disorders, where she led the development of a first-of-its-kind provincial network of specialized eating disorder service providers. McVey has carried out a 17-year program of community-based intervention research and published longitudinal studies on the prevention of eating disorders, linking her findings to public health practice and policy.

One to Watch: a graduate who has made a significant impact in his/her field and/or community within 15 years of a bachelor’s degree or 10 years of a professional/graduate degree.

Michael Prosserman

Michael Prosserman

By the time Michael Prosserman (BAS ’08), a.k.a. “Bboy Piecez,” was three years old, he was already standing on his head while watching Saturday morning cartoons. By high school, he was accepted into Cirque du Soleil, featured in the major motion picture Honey and travelling the world as one of Canada’s top breakdancers, winning more than 22 international competitions. Prosserman accomplished all this while overcoming a chronic neck condition and taking care of his mother who was suffering with a serious mental illness. He is the founder and executive director of UNITY Charity, an organization spawned out of his own personal story of expressing stress. Today, UNITY reaches over 60,000 youth each year across Canada, empowering them to become positive and influential leaders in priority communities, using hip-hop as a vehicle for change. He currently runs and participates in a number of keynotes and workshops, and has shared his story with more than 100 audiences of all ages in places like Canada, Italy, Asia, the Arctic and beyond.

Sponsored by TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, the awards are named after the late Bruce Bryden (BA ’64), founder of the York University Alumni Association and the first alumni chair of the York University Board of Governors.

For more information, visit the alumniandfriends.yorku.ca/bryden2015 website.

York University is known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our 52,000 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 24 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide.


Media Contact:
Sandra McLean, York University Media Relations, 416-736-2100 ext. 22097 / sandramc@yorku.ca