- This article is about the Canadian university. For the British university, see University of York.
|Motto||Tentanda via (Latin: The way must be tried)|
|Campus size||2.6 km² (650 acres)|
|Enrollment||43,635 undergrad, 3,339 grad|
|Campus surroundings||Urban, suburban|
York University (YorkU) is a large comprehensive university, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In terms of physical size, it is Canada's largest university, and third largest in terms of student population. There are almost 50,000 students and 7,000 staff and faculty spread over two campuses.
Once thought of as being in the shadow of the larger University of Toronto, York University has since become a large, diverse and respected university, in Canada and internationally.
York University was founded in 1959, by virtue of the York Act, which received Royal Assent in the Ontario Legislature on March 26 of that year. Its first class was held on September 1960, in Falconer Hall on the University of Toronto campus, with a total of 76 students. In the fall of 1961, York moved to the Glendon campus, and began to emphasize liberal arts and part-time adult education.
In 1965, York moved into its permanent home on the Keele campus. The campus, located at the northern edge of the City of Toronto, was regarded too desolate and isolated, in a generally industrialized part of the city. Some of the early architecture was considered to be unpopular. However, in the last two decades, the campus has been intensified with new buildings, including a dedicated Student Centre and new fine arts, computer science and business administration buildings. As well, as Toronto spread further out, York now finds itself in a relatively central location within the built-up Greater Toronto Area.
York University has the greatest number of humanists and social scientists in Canada. Its history department, especially strong in Canadian history, is viewed by many to be the strongest in Canada. Its political science department, one of the world's leading centers for the study of radical political economy, has been noted in Maclean's annual ranking of universities.
The Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies' School of Administrative Studies is the largest business undergraduate program in Canada. The Faculty of Fine Arts is known to be one of a kind in North America. Its joint Bachelor of Design program with Sheridan College is the first and largest in the province of Ontario.
Osgoode Hall Law School, is Canada's largest, and one of the oldest. Osgoode is one of the leading law faculties in Canada.
York University's Faculty of Graduate Studies is Ontario's second largest graduate school offering graduate degrees in a variety of disciplines. There are several joint graduate programs with the University of Toronto and Ryerson University.
The School of Women's Studies at York University is one of the oldest of its kind and offers the largest array of courses in this field in the country, in both official languages.
As well, York is involved in many space projects and has a pair of small telescopes on campus. The university offers the only Space and Communication program in the nation. York’s Centre for Vision Research has developed a ‘virtual reality room’ called IVY (Immersive Virtual Environment at York) in order to study perception of gravity and motion, and how humans orient themselves spatially. The room is the only six-sided immersive environment in Canada, and one of a mere handful internationally. Its walls, ceiling and floor are comprised of pixel maps generated by a cluster of computers running Linux. The entire structure is made of the same glass used in the CN Tower’s observation deck. The floor alone took two years to complete. The research is being used by the Canadian Space Agency and National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) to find ways to help strengthen astronauts’ sense of ‘up’ and ‘down’ in zero gravity environments.
York's libraries, located in five buildings, contain over six-and-a-half million items - books, print periodicals, theses, archival materials, micro-forms, maps, films and music CDs. York has more than 2.5 million books and subscribe to 13,000 electronic journals. The Osgoode Hall Law School houses the largest law library in the Commonwealth of Nations.
The university is represented in Canadian Interuniversity Sport by the York Lions. The team was formerly known as the "York Yeomen" and "York Yeowomen", but the name was changed in 2003 to be more gender-neutral. However, the real reason, as widely rumoured, was that few students understood what "yeoman" meant, except for the many British history majors.
SportYork offers 29 interuniversity sport teams, 12 sport clubs, 35 intramural sport leagues, special events and 10 pick-up sport activities offered daily.
York U has several athletic facilities, some of which are used for major tournaments. These include: a football stadium, 4 gymnasia, 5 sport playing fields, 4 softball fields, 9 outdoor tennis courts, 5 squash courts, 3 dance/aerobic studios, an ice arena, a swimming pool, an expanding fitness centre and the new Rexall Centre (Home of the Rogers Tennis Cup).
There were plans to build a new football and soccer statium to host the Toronto Argonauts Canadian Football League team and future football tournaments, but a deal was signed by the Argos to remain at the Rogers Centre (formerly known as the SkyDome).
Keele Campus, York's main campus, is located in North York and most of the university's faculties reside here.
The Schulich School of Business has a downtown Toronto campus called the Miles S. Nadal Management Centre.
York's Osgoode Hall Law School also has a downtown location, the Professional Development Centre, located in the Dundas West tower at Yonge and Dundas.
York is Canada's third-largest university, with almost 50,000 students enrolled. Most students come from the Greater Toronto Area, but there is a sizeable population of students from across Canada and abroad. To serve this large population, there are 225 student clubs and organizations; two student-run publications and three broadcast programs; two art galleries; 33 on-campus eateries; and a retail mall.
York has 9 undergraduate residential colleges:
- Atkinson 1961- named after The Toronto Star founding publisher Joseph E. Atkinson
- Bethune 1970 - named after Dr. Norman Bethune
- Calumet 1970 - a native nations word for "Peacepipe"
- Founders 1965 - named after the founders of the university
- Glendon 1966 - a combination of "glen," meaning "valley", and "Don" for the Don River.
- McLaughlin 1968 - after Sam McLaughlin, patron and manufacturer.
- Stong 1970 - named after the family on whose land is the main campus
- Vanier 1965 - named after Governor General Georges Vanier
- Winters 1968 - named after federal Liberal MP Robert Winters
Faculties and Abbreviations
- Arts & Sciences (AS)
- Atkinson, Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies (AK)
- Education (ED)
- Environmental Studies (ES)
- Fine Arts (FA)
- Glendon College (GL)
- Graduate Studies (GS)
- Osgoode Hall Law School (OS)
- Schulich School of Business (SB)
- Science and Engineering (SC)
York also shares the Keele Campus with Seneca College, Seneca@York, and offers a number of joint programs with Seneca College:
- School of Communication Arts
- Computer Studies
- Biological Science and Applied Chemistry
- Corporate and Technical Communications
York University is a classic commuter school. Over 85% of the students and 90% of the staff have home addresses in the GTA, and most of them commute by car or transit. Given the size of the main Keele campus, traffic congestion is problematic.
York University's Glendon and Keele campuses are served by Toronto Transit Commission, but the Keele site is also served by York Region Transit buses (both regular and Viva) from the immediate north, GO Transit express buses from several other Toronto suburbs and Greyhound buses for regional transportation. The department of Security, Parking and Transportation Services operates a shuttle service to GO Transit's York University train station on its Bradford corridor, as the station is not within walking distance. Close to fourteen hundred buses move people through the campus each day. A proposed extension of the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line beyond its current terminus would run directly under the campus, creating new stations at Keele and Finch (Finch West), at the centre of campus (York University), and at Steeles Avenue, interfacing with York Region Transit (Steeles West).
There is a long tradition of activist politics on campus, and that has resulted in vocal demonstrations, particularly concerning issues relating to the Middle East and economic globalization. There have been criticisms of both the activists, for disrupting classes and provoking confrontations with other students, and against the university administration for its response to demonstrators and activists, including expulsion and alleged police misconduct against activists.
As well, a recent (2005) controversy arose regarding the sale of university land for a housing development. The land was sold for C$15.8 million to a developer, Tribute Communities, which has close ties with the university administration. Tribute Communities allegedly did not pay the full market price for the land. York University maintained that the proposal, mostly consisting of townhouses, was the best overall concept. A retired judge, Edward Saunders, cleared York University.
In October 2005, Professor David Noble, in opposition to York's practice of cancelling classes on the Jewish High Holidays, which originated in 1974 in deference to the university's large Jewish enrolment, applied to the university's senate body for review of the policy. On the York senate's affirmation of the policy, he pledged that he would teach on those days anyway, but later said that he would instead poll students in his courses to see if they want him to cancel future classes out of respect for any religious holiday they may observe. He argued: "Look, I have very diverse classes and I want to dramatize the point that we are a multicultural, publicly funded university, so we should either recognize all religious high holidays or none." Noble, himself of Jewish ancestry, believes a secular institution should not cancel classes for religious holidays.
- Murray G Ross 1959-1970
- David Slater 1970-1973
- H. Ian Macdonald 1973-1984
- Harry W. Arthurs 1985-1992
- Susan Mann 1993-1997
Most Famous Chancellor
- Christian Bök - poet
- Scott Thompson - Actor famous for "Kids in The Hall"
- Greg Sorbara - former Ontario Liberal Minister of Finance and current MPP
- Karen Cockburn - Olympics Medallist (Silver in 2004, Bronze in 2000)
- Michael Davey - sculptor and faculty member
- Jian Ghomeshi - CBC host, musician, writer and producer
- K-OS (Kheaven Brereton) - Canadian musician
- Edmund Ho - chief executive of Macau
- Ringo Lam - Hong Kong action director
- Floyd Laughren - former Ontario NDP MPP and finance minister
- Jack Layton - leader of the New Democratic Party
- Richard Leblanc - named to Canada's "Top 40 Under 40", York University Professor
- Steve McCaffery - poet
- Michael J. Bryant - Attorney General of Ontario and Liberal MPP
- Steve MacLean - astronaut
- Rachel McAdams - actress
- Murat Akser - film director, cultural historian
- Sandie Rinaldo - news anchor
- Peter Robinson - English-born Canadian-based detective novelist
- Albert Schultz - actor
- Trish Stratus - professional wrestler currently working for WWE's RAW brand
- Belinda Stronach - president and CEO of Magna International, Canadian politician
- Beatrice Politi - political specialist on CP24 in Ottawa
- Paula Todd - host of TVOntario's Studio 2
- Michael Tziretas - Toronto city councillor
- Richard Van Huizen - Olympic volleyball player
- Kardinal Offishall - Canadian Music Artist, Rapper
- Kenneth McRoberts - Professor of Political Science and current Principal of Glendon College
- Bernard Frolic - Professor Political Science
- Christopher Armstrong - Professor Emeritus of History
- J.T. Saywell - Professor Emeritus of History
- Jerome Ch'en - Professor Emeritus of History
- Jack Granatstein - Professor Emeritus of History
- G. Ramsay Cook - Professor Emeritus of History
- H. Vivian Nelles - Professor Emeritus of History
- Irving Abella - Professor of History
- Sergei M. Plekhanov - Professor of Political Science
- Harry Arthurs - Professor Emeritus of Law
- Rob Bowman - Associate Professor: Ethnomusicology, Grammy Award Winner
- Barbara Godard - Professor of English Literature
- Michael Ondaatje - author and filmmaker, Professor of English Literature
- James Laxer - author, columnist and commentator, Professor of Canadian Politics
- Ed Broadbent (1960s) - Former leader of the New Democratic Party.
- Stephen Hellman - author, and Professor of European Politics.
- Hédi Bouraoui - author, Professor of French and English Literature
- Lorraine Code - Professor of Philosophy
- Christopher Dewdney - author, Professor of English Literature
- Robert W. Cox - political scientist, Internationally influential as Founder of Neo-Gramscianism
- Jack Layton - leader of the New Democratic Party
- L. S. Rosen - Professor Emeritus of Accounting, one of Canada's leading forensic accountants
- David Noble - Historian of Technology
- John Ridpath - Professor Emeritus of Intellectual History and noted Objectivist philosopher
- Alan Young - Noted Law Professor
- Andreas Papandreou - Greek Prime Minister, Economics Professor 1969-1974
- Paul Axelrod - educational theorist, professor of education
- Leo Panitch - Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science, editor of the Socialist Register
- Stephen Gill - Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science, theorist of International Political Economy
- John Saul - Professor Emeritus of Political Science, leading Africanist
- Robin Wood - Professor Emeritus of Film and Video, famous film critic
- John Greyson - film director
- Phil Hoffman - Independent experimental filmmaker
- York University
- Osgoode Hall Law School
- Department of Political Science at York University
- York Political Economy
- School of Womens' Studies
- Faculty of Fine Arts
- Faculty of Education (Toronto School of Liberal Education)
- Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies
- Schulich School of Business
- York University Shuttle