The 2018 Bryden Alumni Awards gala celebrates the impact of York University grads

“This is a moment when Canada has the opportunity to be a leader in mobilizing an inclusive response to the complex problems facing the world, and I have never been more certain that York is the ideal university needed to realize that goal.”

Bryden Award Recipients (from left): Paul Sanberg (BSc '76), Pernille Ironside (JD '99), Cheryl & Rob McEwen, CM (MBA '78, LLD '05) and Jamil Jivani (BA '10).

York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton addressed the crowd at the 18th Annual Bryden Alumni Awards, honoring five extraordinary alumni who illustrated the remarkable contributions and impact our alumni are making nationally and internationally.

Hosted by Natasha Ramsahai (BSc '01), Meteorologist, 680 News, CityNews, Breakfast Television Toronto, the evening began energetically and proudly as alumni, students, donors and friends gathered at the elegant Arcadian Court on Nov. 20, 2018.

The Bryden Alumni Awards are inspired by Bruce Bryden, who was an exceptionally committed and influential leader at York. Bryden was a member of the University’s first undergraduate class and he held several prestigious positions, including founding president of the York University Alumni Association and member of the York University Board of Governors. To honour his vision and exemplary leadership, these awards have been named after him.

Event host Natasha Ramsahai (BSc '01),
Meteorologist, 680 News, CityNews, Breakfast Television Toronto

Alumni are honoured in four categories: One to Watch, Tentanda Via (The Way Must be Tried), Outstanding Achievement and Outstanding Contribution. In accepting their awards, alumni took to the stage to credit their success to York University, grateful for their education and experience.

"York set me on the pathway of professional success, and if it wasn't for York, I'm not sure I would be working in service of the world's children," said Pernille Ironside (JD ’99), recipient of the Tentanda Via award.

As part of the evening’s festivities, Vanier College Productions performed with music directed by Brian Goldenberg (BFA ’04, MBA ’08) and choreographed by Kristen Pepper (BFA ’13). The performance included selections from Come From Away, the Broadway sensation written by York University alumni and former Bryden Award recipients David Hein (BFA ’97) and Irene Sankoff (BA ’99), eliciting a standing ovation from the crowd.

From left: Paul Tsaparis (MBA ’84) Chair of York University Board of Governors, York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton, and Guy Burry (BA ’82), former Bryden Alumni Award recipient and chairman and chief executive officer, WhiteHat Inc. and owner, Tenth Power Group

With inspiring remarks from the recipients, as well as Vice-President Advancement Jeff O’Hagan, the event looked towards the 2019 recipients, and reminded guests of the extraordinary alumni York continues to recognize each year.

"Every person in this room has something valuable to offer to York—what is important is that others have helped before us and we are all here to help now," said Cheryl McEwen, recipient of the Outstanding Contribution award along with husband Rob McEwen (CM, MBA '78, LLD '05).

A special thank you to Premier Sponsor TD Insurance, affinity program partner providing home and car insurance for York University alumni, students, employees and retirees.

To learn more about the 2018 recipients, their story and their York experience, visit our website and YouTube channel.

If you know of a York graduate who is making an outstanding impact and deserves to be recognized with a Bryden Alumni Award, please contact Nicole Light, Senior Alumni Engagement Officer, at for information on the nomination process. The nomination deadline for the 2019 Bryden Alumni Awards is Feb. 28, 2019.