Bryden 2016


Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queen’s Park (Bloor Street entrance)
Toronto, ON

6:45pm Cocktail Reception
7:15pm Dinner & Awards

Cocktail Attire

Alumni and friends tickets:
$100 – Individual
$850 – Table of 10

Corporate tickets:
$1200 – Corporate Table*
$5000 – Honouree Tables Sponsor*
(All prices include HST & business receipts will be issued)
*Please visit registration page for details



The 2016 Bryden Alumni Awards is SOLD OUT. Stayed tuned for post-event highlights and videos.


Join alumni, students, donors and friends as we honour four remarkable alumni at the annual Bryden Alumni Awards dinner.

An expected 300 guests will come together at the Royal Ontario Museum for an evening of superb food and entertainment in celebration of York’s finest.

Tickets are limited, so don’t miss this opportunity to attend! Includes open bar, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, entertainment and more!




Follow the event on social media:
fb twit


Learn more:
Event Sponsors 2016 | Award Recipients | Event Host | Entertainment | Selection Committee



Dr. Catherine Zahn, BSc ‘74

President & CEO, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Dr. Catherine Zahn is a champion for the integration of psychiatry and neuroscience, and is working to steer mental health care into the mainstream of medicine. In 2009, she was appointed president and CEO of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s leading mental health hospital and largest academic health science centre focused on mental illness. For 12 years prior, she held senior executive positions at the University Health Network (UHN).

At CAMH, Zahn has led the transformation of the campus into a modern and respectful hospital facility and has contributed to its reputation for diversity employment, admired corporate culture and healthcare workplace quality.

Zahn has made numerous contributions to health care in Ontario through her leadership in hospital integration, technology assessment, chronic disease management, stroke care coordination, health innovation and mental health care system improvement. She also often speaks publicly on mental health issues and makes extensive use of social media to raise awareness and promote equitable health care access.

Zahn is a professor at U of T’s Faculty of Medicine and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She received a BSc from York University, and an MD and MSc in Health Administration from the University of Toronto. Recent honours include the Order of Canada and recognition as one of Canada’s 25 most influential women by Women of Influence Inc.


Bill Graham, MBA ‘86

Chair of the National Board, Canadian Automobile Association
Executive-in-Residence, Schulich School of Business,
York University

Bill Graham is a renowned business leader with more than 40 years’ experience across the automotive, technological, investment and financial services industries. He currently serves as Chair of the national board of the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), representing their more than 6.2 million members across Canada.

Graham also has a long history of supporting education and future generations of business leaders at York University’s Schulich School of Business. He serves as an executive-in-residence for the International MBA Program, is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council and is the president of the Schulich Global Alumni Network. Graham also served on the board of the York University Alumni Association.

Previously, Graham was the founding President and CEO of Proponix Inc. (now part of CGI), a global technology and process outsourcing company, a role he entered after a significant career at Citibank N.A., where he served in various senior executive positions in Canada and Asia.

Graham holds an MBA (with distinction) in international finance and business from the Schulich School of Business and a BSc in mechanical engineering from Queen's University.

TENTANDA VIA - Jennifer Keesmaat, MES '99

Jennifer Keesmaat, MES ‘99

Chief Planner & Executive Director, City of Toronto

As chief planner for the City of Toronto, Jennifer Keesmaat is committed to creating places where people flourish. Keesmaat is an advocate for density and walkability, mid-rise development, transportation and waterfront, and has engineered master plans for major cities across the country, including Vancouver, Saskatoon, London and Halifax.

Keesmaat’s planning practice is characterized by an emphasis on collaborations across sectors, and broad engagement with municipal staff, councils, developers, business leaders, NGO's and residents associations. She is the leading voice on city planning in Canada, contributing to major publications such as The Globe & Mail and hosting publicly broadcasted roundtable discussions on Rogers TV.

Keesmaat has been repeatedly recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners, OPPI, the Design Exchange, + EDRA for her innovative work in Canadian municipalities. Most recently, she was named as one of the most influential people in Toronto by Toronto Life magazine and one of the most powerful people in Canada by Macleans Magazine.

In 2012, Keesmaat debuted her first TED talk, ‘Walk to School’, and in 2013, she delivered her second, ‘Own Your City’. She is also the founder of Project Walk, which premiered its first short film in 2011, as an official selection at the TIFF. Keesmaat is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and has a MES from York University.

ONE TO WATCH - Cheyanne Ratnam, BSW '12, MSW '14

Cheyanne Ratnam, BSW ‘12, MSW ‘14

Founder & Project Manager, What’s The Map:
Mobilizing Newcomer Homeless Youth;
Primary Investigator/Researcher, Child Welfare Permanency and Family Project

Using her extensive knowledge of and experience in the child-welfare system, and her keen interest in human rights issues pertaining to young people from within these systems, Cheyanne Ratnam is making a big name for herself.

Ratnam is harnessing/channeling her own experiences with child sexual abuse, child welfare, homelessness, and mental health stigmas - using resilience and passion to give back to her inter-connected communities in a profound way.

Ratnam currently serves as project manager and founder for the ‘What's The Map?!: Newcomer Youth Leading The Call to Action - Designing a Support System That Works' initiative, and as the founder and primary investigator of the Child Welfare Permanency and Family Project (Study) with a provincial scope. In these roles, she works to affect the educational and successful outcomes of young people and tackle issues such as: the social determinants of health, poverty and equity; permanency and family conceptualization and construction; community engagement, development and mobilization; and, immigration.

In addition, Ratnam has lent her considerable talent to a number of other community organizations. She is the President of Youth In Care Ontario, Ontario’s Representative and the chair of the Education and Research Committee for Youth In Care Canada, and an ambassador and public speaker for the Children's Aid Foundation. Ratnam was also involved in the Hidden in Our Midst Newcomer Homeless Youth Study and has served with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, and the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth.

Ratnam has a social service worker diploma from Centennial College, and both a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Social Work degrees form York University.


Jill Dempsey, BA '04

Jill Dempsey, BA '04
Host, CBC's Metro Morning

York University is very proud to have Jill Dempsey (BA '04) host the Bryden Alumni Awards for a second time. Dempsey’s career as a journalist and on-air host spans over 40-years.

Dempsey got her start at Toronto's City-TV, working behind the scenes as a writer and producer. She came to CBC in June 1989, anchoring Calgary's late night news. After two months Dempsey was tapped as a backup host for Newsworld, a relationship she maintained for six years after she returned to Toronto.

Dempsey's move to radio came in 1991 when she joined CBC Radio One's Metro Morning. Besides reading and writing the news, Jill has filled in on Fresh Air, Radio Noon and Here and Now. Jill was seconded to the position of co-host on The World at Six with Barbara Smith from the fall of 2002 to the spring of 2003.

Jill has a B.A. in Political Science from York University. For more than 15 years she’s also been an instructor at Ryerson University.  She now also teaches at Centennial College.  She works as a trainer and mentor, assisting hosts and newsreaders in both Radio and Television at CBC.

She is also part of a project that is finishing the final work on a maternity clinic in Ghana.


(re-tró-ci-ty ; rhymes w. “velocity”)

“For pure a cappella-tude, look no further than Retrocity. Eight totally rad singers electric boogaloo their way through your favourite Canadian classics from the 1980s without a Casio or drum machine in sight.”

Retrocity is Canada’s only professional a cappella band devoted to the music of the 1980s. Founded in 1998, it was intended to be a one-off show: the sold-out audience convinced us that there was a greater market for our unique brand of retro music than we ever could have imagined. Eighteen years later we are still going strong, creating original, unusual and complex arrangements, performed only by the unaccompanied human voice. The arrangements are custom-made by all members of Retrocity, capturing the essence of the unique voices – individually and collectively - that make up the group.

The Liam Stanley Trio

The Liam Stanley Trio

Hi-res with Guitar (2)

Liam Stanley is a young jazz guitarist from Toronto, Ontario. Liam has been playing guitar for over a decade, having studied jazz with Humber alumnus Tristan Clark, and York professors Roy Patterson and Lorne Lofsky. Liam graduated from the York University School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design in 2016 with a B.A., Special Honours in Music. While at York, Liam had the privilege of studying with Kevin Turcotte, Kelly Jefferson and Barry Elmes. In his third and fifth years at York, Liam was nominated for the Mary Alice Stuart/JAZZ .FM91 Scholarship.

Liam has been heard numerous times on JazzFM 91.1’s Jazzology and will be featured in 2014. In October of 2011 Liam performed Tim Brady’s Twenty Quarter Inch Jacks during the X Avant Festival in Toronto in a 20-guitar ensemble alongside Ted Quinlan and Roy Patterson. In the summer of 2012 Liam performed with his trio at the Brantford Jazz Festival. He followed this up in 2013 and 2014 with performances at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival with the Jon Foster Group.

Liam currently teaches guitar privately out of his home as well as at Scarboro Music.

Liam can be heard every Monday at Aroma Espresso Bar in The Annex with the Stanley-Adriaanse duo.

Learn more about The Liam Stanley Trio.

Antonio Di Domenico, BA ’02, LLB ’05
Francesca Accinelli, BFA ’92 Kathy Elliott-Bryden, BA ’66
Al Burton, LLB/MES ’00 Stephanie Ling, BA ’85, BA ’87, MEd ’02, PhD ‘08
Shelby Crawford, BSW ‘18 Jeff O’Hagan, VP Advancement
Barbara Crow, BA '84, MA '86, PhD 94 Randy Williamson, LLB ’88
Hamza Dawood, BA ’07, MBA/JD ’11 Bart Zemanek, BA ’07, MSc ’10