An official groundbreaking ceremony on the Glendon campus on September 20th marked the launch of a new building, which will enable Glendon to fulfill its mandate as the Centre of Excellence for French-language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education in Southern Ontario.
Right: John Milloy, Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges & Universities and Minister of Research and Innovation
York University President Mamdouh Shoukri and Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts were joined by John Milloy, Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges & Universities and Minister of Research and Innovation; Paul Genest, Ontario Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Deputy Minister of Francophone Affairs and Associate Secretary of Cabinet; Jérôme Cauchard, Consul General of the Consulate of France in Toronto; Paul-Arthur Huot, of the Bureau du Québec in Toronto and a host of other dignitaries, faculty, staff and students at the launch of the construction, projected for completion in December 2011.
Minister John Milloy’s formal announcement at Glendon in 2008 outlined the Government of Ontario’s intention to invest $20 million in this Glendon expansion to improve access to French-language higher education in Southern Ontario. The investment is also intended to support partnerships between Ontario’s Francophone colleges and Glendon, bringing new joint university/college programs to the Glendon campus.
Left: Paul Genest, Ontario Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Deputy Minister of Francophone Affairs and Associate Secretary of Cabinet
“We are pleased that the Government of Ontario is investing in a facility to make York University’s Glendon College a Centre of Excellence for French-language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, President and Vice-Chancellor of York University. “This new facility will provide our French-speaking students with a superior educational experience necessary for the changing economic and political world.”
Minister Milloy expressed his enthusiasm for the project and the outstanding collaboration among the participants. “The Government of Ontario is proud to work with Glendon to enhance [this campus’] well-deserved reputation for excellence in French-language and bilingual education”, said Milloy. “This is a great day for York, a great day for Glendon College and a great day for Ontario.”
A large crowd of students, faculty and officials attended the groundbreaking ceremony
Messages of greeting and continued support were also delivered on behalf of Madeleine Meilleur, Ontario Minister of Community and Social Services, and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs; and Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Minister of Transportation and former Minister of Education.
“Glendon is an excellent choice for the Centre of Excellence for French-language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education”, said Genest, whose ties to Glendon include being speaker last year at a Master’s level symposium in Glendon’s bilingual School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). Genest took the opportunity to announce the first Annual Franco-Ontarian Day this September 25th, an event which “recognizes the importance of our history, and of the French language in Ontario.”
Right: On the left: Jérôme Cauchard, Consul General of the Consulate of France in Toronto, with Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts
Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts expressed his thanks to Minister John Milloy for his remarks and his support of Glendon. He also recognized the personal gift to the project made by York University President Emerita Lorna Marsden, as well as the contribution of the Banque Nationale.
“Glendon has a unique role in Southern Ontario”, said McRoberts. “It is the only institution in the region to offer [such] a range of university programs in the French language […] within 22 undergraduate programs, primarily in the social sciences and humanities, as well as three Master’s programs and a doctoral program. Moreover, most of its full-time faculty members are able to teach in French as well as English, and all of its personnel can serve students in both languages.”
McRoberts commented that Southern Ontario now contains one third of the province’s Francophone population, a group that continues to increase. The region is also home to the largest concentration of French-immersion students in the province. These facts support “the growing need for French-language education at the university level in our region. In fact, Glendon’s student body has undergone a 40% increase in the past decade”, from 1700 to nearly 2700 enrolled this year.
Left: L-r: York University President Emeritus H. Ian Macdonald, Mamdouh Shoukri, John Milloy and York University President Emerita Lorna Marsden
“It is obvious, therefore, that we have reached the limits of our current infrastructure […] and the Government of Ontario’s decision to invest $20 million in this campus arrives at a critical moment for Glendon”, added McRoberts. “The new building will be connected to York Hall and will include ultramodern classrooms and study areas for students, as well as a 250-capacity amphitheatre.
With the knowledge that this additional space will be available to us, we have been able to establish several new programs, such as the B.Ed. for future French teachers, the bilingual and trilingual iBA option in many of our current programs, a Ph.D. program in Études francophones, and a bilingual M.A. in Public and International Affairs (MPIA). The latter is a part of Glendon’s unique School of Public and International Affairs – the first bilingual graduate school of this nature in Canada.”
"The groundbreaking ceremony was an exciting step for the Glendon community", commented Professor Andrew Clifford, Director of Glendon's School of Translation. "When the construction project is completed, Glendon will be able to offer a clear and impressive welcome to all those who come to be a part of this campus. The new classroom, laboratory, and conference spaces will offer vital support to new research and training efforts that will have a profound impact on the education of Francophones and other student populations."
Dignitaries dip their shovels into the ground
“Studying in a Centre of Excellence for French-language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education, appreciated by the international community, fills Glendon students with a sense of pride and privilege”, said Oscar Mera-Burbano, President of the Glendon College Student Union (GCSU). “We are also grateful to the Ontario Government for recognizing and supporting the uniqueness of Glendon’s bilingual reality”.
The funds provided are part of a $1.4-billion strategic infrastructure investment announced by the Government of Ontario in 2008, and also fall under its Access to Opportunities strategy for French-language postsecondary learners and its Politique d’aménagement linguistique, which aims to ensure the sustainable development of the Franco-Ontarian community.
An article by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny