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A Celebration of Aileen Rakocevic – Administrative Secretary Emerita of the Glendon School of Translation

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<p>The <a href="http://myglendon.yorku.ca/monglendon.nsf/GLNewsReaderE/F161D160F50FFF8C8525787100681E17?OpenDocument" target="_blank">professional segment of Translation Night</a> featuring four inspiring speakers and a record attendance, was followed by a moving celebration of the outstanding career and contribution of Aileen Rakocevic, longtime administrative secretary of the Glendon School of Translation who retired in April 2010 for reasons of health.&nbsp; <br /><br />She received her education in Drummondville, Quebec and at the Stanstead Ursulines College, Quebec, studying business and banking. After working at a number of positions in banking institutions in Quebec, Vancouver and Ontario, Aileen joined Glendon College in 1985, working for then Executive Officer, the late Jacques Aubin-Roy.</p>
<p><img style="float: left;" src="http://myglendon.yorku.ca/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/plugins/imagemanager/files/20110413/Plant_Clifford__Rakocevic_resized.jpg" alt="" width="302" height="284" /><span class="image_caption">Left: L-r: The fern, Andrew Clifford and Aileen Rakocevic</span><br /><br />Rakocevic was hired into the Glendon School of Translation in 1986 and served under four directors during her Glendon mandate. <br /><br />Over the years, Glendon and the university as a whole recognized the scope and importance of Aileen&rsquo;s contribution in formal ways. In 1998, she was the recipient of Glendon&rsquo;s Jacques Aubin-Roy Staff Award, named after the person who had originally hired her to Glendon, in appreciation of service and dedication to the university beyond all requirements and expectations. In 2005, she received the York University President&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.yorku.ca/president/awards/past_awardrecipients.htm" target="_blank">Ronald Kent Medal</a> for 21 years of complete personal commitment and dedication to her department, her college, the students and alumni. <br /><br />The host of the evening was current director of the School of Translation, Andrew Clifford, who was the last director that Aileen worked with. Glendon principal Kenneth McRoberts expressed his thanks on behalf of the college and confirmed that Rakocevic is close to the hearts of the entire Glendon community and has been one of its central figures for many years.</p>
<p>In a loving testimonial, professor emerita and senior scholar Rosalind Gill, director of the School of Translation from 2002 to 2006, recalled Aileen&rsquo;s wonderful presence in the Translation office. &ldquo;In Sunday school, when I was a little girl, we were told that you should be GOOD&rdquo;, said Gill, &ldquo;but I didn&rsquo;t really believe that it was possible to be that good, in that shiny, golden way, until I got to know Aileen. She embodies the qualities of courtesy, kindness, legendary patience and the notion of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.&rdquo; Gill went on to say that Rakocevic always gave her utmost, never leaving until the task at hand was finished to her satisfaction; that she was always ready to help others in distress; she never put herself first, and gave a gentle touch to the world around her. &ldquo;Aileen was always professional, timely and correct and supported the department in every possible way. It was a pleasure to walk through her office door, because she was a paragon of good cheer with a sweetness of nature and full of compassion. Aileen has that golden quality of being genuine and sincere. She is a person who cares.&rdquo;</p>
<p><img style="float: left;" src="http://myglendon.yorku.ca/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/plugins/imagemanager/files/20110413/Rakocevic_McRoberts_cropped.jpg" alt="" width="197" height="210" /><span class="image_caption">Left: L-r: Aileen Rakocevic with Principal McRoberts</span></p>
<p>The next speaker was another professor emerita and senior scholar, Christine Klein-Lataud, who had completed two terms as director of the School of Translation &ndash; from 1984 to 1992 and 1996 to 2000. &ldquo;I was still finding my way in my first administrative role of director, when Aileen took the position as the school&rsquo;s administrative secretary. Her caring, reassuring presence, not to speak of her morning muffins, put me at ease right away. She was like a protective angel and so, I now believe in angels &ndash; because Aileen is the proof that they exist. Throughout our work together, we were always a team, taking care of the students, advising them in their academic and life concerns. It was like a family &ndash; and Aileen&rsquo;s influence is still very much there.&rdquo;<br /><br />Another former director of the School of Translation Candace S&eacute;guinot, in office from 2006 to 2009, also paid tribute to her collaboration with Rakocevic. &ldquo;For a lot of people, what made the difference in getting through the program was Aileen. She knew the students individually and was able to help them find their first job, matching each person to the job&rsquo;s requirements. Thank you, Aileen, for being by my side and for teaching me what is important.&rdquo;</p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://myglendon.yorku.ca/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/plugins/imagemanager/files/20110413/Clifford_Seguinot_Klein-Lataud_Rakocevic_Gill_cropped.jpg" alt="" width="483" height="287" /><span class="image_caption">L-r: Andrew Clifford, Candace S&eacute;guinot, Christine Klein-Lataud,<br />Aileen Rakocevic and Rosalind Gill</span></p>
<p>Long-time staff member and Glendon alumna Karine Frankian (BA Translation 1984), currently administrative secretary in Glendon&rsquo;s History Department, paid tribute to Rakocevic on behalf of Glendon&rsquo;s staff, and herself as a colleague and friend. &ldquo;Aileen has inspired us at so many levels with her many skills, her professionalism, her generosity, and her empathy and devotion to the Glendon community. [&hellip;] How many times did I witness Aileen&rsquo;s efforts to convince certain students to get down to their studies and to make them understand that their future career depended on their efforts, all the time encouraging them. How many hours did she spend to develop contacts with employers in order to arrange student internships. I also remember seeing Aileen, on a particularly cold and rainy day in April 1997, during the YUFA strike, taking a tray of coffees to the professors who were freezing on the picket line. Aileen always put her talents entirely to the benefit of the Glendon community. And finally, who has not tasted her legendary chocolate cake, which appeared each year at various functions and holiday events. Aileen, we miss you.&rdquo;</p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://myglendon.yorku.ca/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/plugins/imagemanager/files/20110413/Chocolate_cake_resized.jpg" alt="" width="420" height="312" /><span class="image_caption">The chocolate cake</span></p>
<p>&ldquo;Students and alumni loved Aileen&rdquo;, said Glendon graduate Rosanne Kendall, currently senior translator, RBC Insurance. She has been the &rsquo;Rocky Mountain&rsquo; of the School of Translation, always there for us, students, ready to help solve problems, with a cheerful smile and the greatest respect even for the lowliest undergraduates. Aileen really cared, remembered everybody&rsquo;s name, maintained a huge network of contacts. Aileen is a rare person in this world and a privilege to know, someone who filled a very important role with such modesty and grace.&rdquo;</p>
<p><img style="float: right;" src="http://myglendon.yorku.ca/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/plugins/imagemanager/files/20110413/Heart_box_and_flowers_cropped.jpg" alt="" width="107" height="107" /></p>
<p><span class="image_caption">Right: The heart box filled with messages for Aileen</span></p>
<p>Aileen received a beautiful fern for her home, representing her love of nature, and a huge heart-shaped box made by translation student Leah Hardwood, containing the many messages of affection sent by all her friends at Glendon. There was also a giant chocolate cake featuring her name, a wonderful cake &ndash; though everyone agreed that none could match her own.<br /><br /><em>Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny</em></p>

Published on April 13, 2011