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1978

Salloum, Trevor (BA English)

Trevor studied literature. But most of the courses he took while at York were in music, which is why, after graduation, he ended up playing percussion in Toronto clubs. Quickly disillusioned by the late-night musician lifestyle, however, Trevor relocated to British Columbia and enrolled at Okanagan College. From 1982 to 1986, he attended the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Ore. Moving to Kelowna, B.C., he practised naturopathic medicine for the next 20 years. In 2006, Trevor retired from medicine to return to music, specifically jazz, Afro-Cuban and Middle Eastern drumming.

Tiidus, Peter (BSc Health, MSc Health ’81)

After graduating from York’s Health Science program, Peter pursued a career in academia. In 2000, he completed a PhD in kinesiology from the University of Waterloo before joining Wilfrid Laurier University where, for the next 26 years, he held positions as a professor and department Chair for both Kinesiology and Health Sciences. In 2015, he left Wilfrid Laurier to take on the role of dean of health sciences at Brock University, the position he holds today. Peter is married to fellow York grad Ann Tiidus, née Westall, (BA Geography ’77, BA Health ’80). They have two grown children, Erik and Thomas, and a year-old grandchild. They live happily in the Niagara Region

1984

Khan, Fareed (BA Political Science)

Fareed has spent more than 30 years using his knowledge and insight into advocacy, strategic communications, stakeholder engagement and public policy development to advance a wide range of public policy causes at all levels of government. He is passionate about issues and policy areas that impact human rights and civil liberties, combat racism and support broader issues of social justice. Recently, Fareed initiated a national grassroots campaign to seek justice for the Rohingya ethnic minority in Myanmar – a people the UN called “the most persecuted minority in the world.” He is now working with other human rights activists to convince the Canadian government to invoke the UN Genocide Convention about the Rohingya genocide.

1990

Roma Yarek, Cheryl (BA Hons. Psychology)

After graduation, Cheryl spent five years working in supportive housing before moving on to Trillium Health Centre (now Trillium Health Partners) as a peer support worker in mental health. Eventually rising to the position of case manager, Cheryl left the organization in 2018, after 17 years, to publish her memoirs, Worst Thing Best Thing, with Christian Faith Publishing.

1993

Sharma, Rajeev (BA Hons. Political Science, LLB Osgoode ’97)

Since 2001, Rajeev has taught Economic Analysis of Law at Glendon College. Along with his father, he owns Sharma Lawyers in Vaughan, Ont. – specializing in corporate, health-care/regulatory and real estate law.

1994

Cornell, Heather (BFA Dance)

Heather is an innovative and accomplished tap dancer, choreographer, teacher and co-founder of Manhattan Tap, a company the New York Times once called “one of New York’s leading tap ensembles.” Recently, she participated in a recorded interview for the New York City Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. The interview will be included in the library’s oral history department this spring as part of a new series featuring leading international tap dancers. Since founding her company in the 1980s, Heather has received numerous grants and awards, including the 2009 Living Legend award from Vancouver’s West Coast Tap Dance Collective for her excellence in teaching, choreographing, performing, directing and mentoring the international tap community.

1997

Topperman, Caroline (BFA Film and Video)

Following graduation, Caroline danced professionally in Toronto before moving to Vancouver to continue her career. While in Vancouver, she pursued different interests, including opening and operating a Pilates studio, working in real estate and blogging. After 14 years, on a whim, Caroline left Vancouver and moved across the world to Poland, where she continued to grow her blog, styleontheside.com, and pursue her passions for writing, dance and travel. In Poland, she worked with startups and wrote several books, including the fitness guide FitWise and a family memoir. Caroline recently returned to Canada and published her latest book, Tell Me What You See: Visual Writing Prompts for the Wandering Writer.

gibbs, monica (BA German)

Monica is the director of recruitment services at Everest Management Network Inc. With over 20 years of diverse international recruitment experience, Monica specializes in recruitment, retention and wellness in the workplace. In 2014, she launched Monica Gibbs Wellness, going on to speak at various HR events, conferences, seminars and team building events. She is passionate about health and wellness, educating others on personal development, goal setting and finding balance.

1998

Peel, Sarah (BES)

Recently, Sarah went from a career in environmental education focused on food and community building to one centred around sustainable fashion. A sustainability educator, social entrepreneur and self-taught stylist, for close to a decade she has worked at the social enterprise Fashion Takes Action, managing a team of workshop leaders and teaching the My Clothes My World program to over 9,000 students in the Greater Toronto Area. Since 2018, she has been running her own fashion startup, Citizenne, which brings together her love of sustainability, style and personal/community development.

2000

Calvert, Michelle (BFA Dance)

Originally planning to move to New York City following graduation to dance with the Isadora Duncan International Institute, Michelle ended up instead in Los Angeles, where she promptly fell in love with the city. Once there, she decided to take a year away from dance and do a postgraduate degree in multimedia and marketing. It proved to be a more career-worthy move. In 2003, she launched Lucid Communications to do public relations work for brands as well as bands. After a few years, she moved back to Toronto to continue to build her company in her hometown. Today, with offices in both Toronto and L.A., Michelle specializes in promoting sustainable fashion, beauty, health and wellness brands. Outside work, she enjoys cardio dance, practising yoga and spending time outdoors in nature with her rescue dog, Iggy Pop.

2003

Guistini, Sean (BEd History, MEd Education ’08, PhD Education ’15)

In 2015, Sean moved to Nunavut to develop Nunavut Arctic College Media (NAC Media) – a division of the Communities & Learning Program department at Nunavut Arctic College that publishes books, learning materials, and media products to enhance understanding of Arctic and Inuit culture, history and language. In just four years, NAC Media has become Canada’s most northerly scholarly press. It also supports the creation of films, oral histories, web-based media and a digital archive of Arctic and Inuit cultural holdings. Sean is currently a scholar in the Fulbright Arctic Initiative.

2007

Boron, Lucas (BA Film and Video, BA Spec. Hons. Film and Video ’09)

Lucas is the executive producer and in-house director at Lucas Boron Productions, a full-service video and media production company based in Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo area. Previously, he worked as a production co-ordinator on two films for the Canadian Film Centre. One of them, Life on Juniper, was nominated for Best Short Film at the Yorkton Film Festival. The other, What Doesn’t Kill You, received the Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Film at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014. Over the years, Lucas has published internationally on the topic of film theory. His third and most recent academic article was published in the Quarterly Review of Film and Video by Routledge Press.

D’Urzo, Mike (BA Communication Studies)

Since graduating from York, Mike has gone on to become an international award-winning magician and mentalist. As the founder and creative director of Mega Magic, he performs in hundreds of shows annually for some of the world’s largest corporations, theatres, theme parks, festivals and television networks. Recognized as one of the Top 10 Magicians Worldwide by the Wedding Industry Experts Awards, Mike is also a six-time recipient of the Performer of the Year award presented by Festivals & Events Ontario. His unique style of modernized magic has been featured on the Comedy Network, Disney, Global TV, CTV, MTV and more.

2008

Farooqi, Naeem (BBA Schulich)

A global bus expert, Naeem is principal consultant at management services firm WSP, where he oversees the company’s Canadian transit advisory group. In 2018, he was named one of Mass Transit’s Top 40 Under 40 for his leadership in public transit infrastructure and innovation. In 2019, he was recognized as one of the Clean50 Emerging Leaders for his work in the creation and deployment of sustainable technologies in public transit infrastructure. Heavily invested in nurturing new talent in the industry, last year Naeem taught a graduate business course on infrastructure for the Master of Real Estate & Infrastructure and MBA programs at York’s Schulich School of Business. He also provided books to schools and organized professional workshops in emerging markets outside Canada.

2009

Moser, Gabrielle (MA Art History, PhD Art History and Visual Culture ’14)

Gabrielle is a writer, educator and independent curator based in Toronto. Since graduating with two art history degrees, she has gone on to a tenure-track teaching position at OCAD University, where she specializes in curatorial studies, contemporary art and the history of photography. She has published widely in publications including Artforum, Canadian Art, the Journal of Visual Culture, Photography & Culture and Prefix Photo. In 2019, her first book, Projecting Citizenship: Photography and Belonging in the British Empire, was published by Penn State University Press. Gabrielle has held fellowships at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the Ryerson Image Centre and the University of British Columbia, and in 2017 was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Brown University.

In Memoriam

Faire, Sandra (Supporter)

Sandra Faire, award-winning television producer, writer, business leader, philanthropist and mentor, was a great friend to York University. A trailblazer with a profound love of the arts, Sandra and husband Ivan Fecan spent their time and money sponsoring artistic and philanthropic causes, people and institutions, including at York University. In 2006, York’s 350-seat performance space in the Accolade East Building was named the Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre in recognition of the couple’s patronage. In 2008, Sandra received an honorary doctorate from York. In 2012, she was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her support of Canadian culture and arts. She passed away at home in Toronto on Feb. 27.

Tannam, Father Gerry (Founding Catholic Chaplain)

Father Gerry Tannam was born on May 22, 1923, in Dublin, where he became a priest of the Spiritan order with a doctorate in liturgy. He taught English in Nigeria and was jailed when his order resisted a blockade of humanitarian aid. He was later released during the civil war in 1970. Father Tannam went on to serve his order in Rome, then teach future missionaries in London before arriving in Canada in 1974 to become the founding Catholic chaplain at York University, where he served for a decade. Simply called “Gerry” by everyone who knew him, he was loved for his innate hospitality, listening ear and compassion for all. He passed away of natural causes at the age of 89 on Nov. 28, 2018.

Yashinsky, Palomba (Professor Emerita)

A lover of literature and painting, Palomba was a professor emerita of 19th-century French literature in the Department of French Studies at York University. Originally from Bucharest, Romania, she left her home country after the Second World War, eventually settling in Canada by way of Detroit. Palomba began teaching at York University in 1968 and continued to teach after her retirement. She passed away on Jan. 7 at the age of 89.