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Glendon Bids Farewell to Professor Evelyne Corcos

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A large assembly of faculty, staff and students joined many members of the Corcos family for a farewell tribute to Glendon professor of psychology Evelyne Corcos, who died on July 8, 2009 at the age of 62, after a lengthy illness.

Evelyne Corcos, who was promoted last year to associate professor, had been teaching at Glendon since 1991, as well as working as a part-time disabilities counsellor for a number of years at the Glendon Counselling and Career Centre.

Right: Tim Moore

“Evelyne was an ambassador for the discipline and a role model for the students”, said Chair of the Psychology Department Tim Moore. “Students reported that she epitomized the word ‘teacher’ and personified the type of educator they were hoping to become.” Moore added that, over the years, Corcos participated in numerous university committees, including as faculty liaison on the College’s information technology committee. “She took part in so many university committees with grace, tact and humour, which qualified her for sainthood. Evelyne was collegial, with a strong work ethic and commitment to students and scholarship. We were the better for her presence in the department and diminished by her passing.”

Left: Pamela Broley

Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts said that ”…in every community there are outstanding people who work with commitment and energy. We have lost a critical individual from our midst and are left with a sense of great loss. I can’t imagine Glendon, the Senior Common Room [Glendon’s faculty club] or committees without Evelyne. She had a deep commitment to teaching, research and students’ welfare.” McRoberts affirmed that Corcos’ innovative research will be continued through the participation of her research associates.

Right: Albert Corcos

Dr. Pamela Broley, director of the Glendon Counselling and Disabilities Centre (formerly the Glendon Counselling and Career Centre) was instrumental in hiring Corcos in 1991. With the collaboration of then Chair of the Glendon Psychology Department John Crozier, Corcos received a joint appointment as special needs counsellor at the Centre and course director in the psychology department. “Evelyne was a great asset, someone who was passionate about and sincerely interested in the students”, said Broley. Corcos established the peer tutoring program at the Centre, in collaboration with career counsellor Sharon Tarshis. She also created In-Genius - a bilingual, interactive software completed in 2000, which functioned as an excellent study skills improvement tool. “Evelyne was a great friend to all of us at the Centre”, added Broley. “She handled adversity with resilience, dignity and a wonderful sense of humour. Her stories about her beloved pets, her voice and her laughter surround us still and it is hard to believe that she is gone.”

Left: Ameeta Dudani

Evelyne’s brother, Albert Corcos spoke on behalf of the family thanking all those present for remembering her together with them. “Everyone Evelyne cared for most in her life is present in this room”, he said. “She knew early on that she wanted to teach, but being a professor was the fourth career she had held. Starting as an elementary school teacher, she next undertook an enterprise – the Hamilton Learning Centre – and later went back to school in her mid-30s. She even drove a school bus to help support herself. Once she completed her PhD, she came to work at York University. Evelyne always lived her best life”, commented her brother. “And she always completed what she set out to do.”

Right: Emilie Lavoie

Several other former colleagues paid tribute to Corcos, among them Glendon professor of psychology James Alcock, manager of Information Technology Services Sabine Lauffer, Glendon librarian Vivienne Monty and Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny. All of them had memories to share about their friendship with Corcos, as well as about their motivating, innovative projects and collaborations with her. Among these were her web-based intervention for social communication in at-risk adolescents (presented at the Third Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education in 2005); the use of the Personal Response System (clickers) in the classroom; her research on cartoons as tools for changing behaviour patterns; as well as her most recent and ongoing research project developing templates and content for a web-based social skills intervention for at-risk adolescents, supported by a major SSHRC grant (2008).

Left: At the memorial

Three of her former students spoke eloquently of her influence on them and her tireless efforts in helping students succeed. “Professor Corcos was most passionate about helping students grasp the material”, said Ameeta Dudani (Glendon Special Honours BA in Psychology, 2004). “She was my mentor, who guided me in choosing graduate programs, provided me with references and always had her door open. She was an inspiration to us all.”

“Dr. Corcos had a profound effect on me”, said Emilie Lavoie, (Special Honours BA in Psychology, 2008) and her classes seemed to go by too fast. She always pushed us to do more, to do better. She changed my life by encouraging me to continue my studies and, thanks to her, I have gone on to graduate school.”

Currently completing her PhD in Psychology at the University of Ottawa, Patricia Poulin (Special Honours BA in Psychology, 2001), travelled to Toronto for the memorial. “Professor Corcos was a remarkable teacher and mentor”, said Poulin. “I can still hear her coming down the hallway, rattling her enormous set of keys. Those keys are a good metaphor for the many different activities she was involved with and for unlocking the students’ minds and hearts.”


Members of the Corcos family, left to right: brother Albert Corcos, sister Diane Howarth-Corcos, Lawrence Corson, cousin Monique Corson, aunt Georgette Benhaim and Evelyne's mother, Denise Corcos

A scholarship fund for Glendon students has been established in memory of Professor Evelyne Corcos. Contributions can be made to the Evelyne Corcos Memorial Scholarship fund through the Glendon Advancement, Alumni and External Relations Department, by telephoning to 416.487.6786 or by e-mailing Marie-Thérèse Chaput, Director of Glendon Advancement, mtchaput@glendon.yorku.ca .

Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny

Published on October 6, 2009