Two community leaders will be recognized with honorary degrees at York University’s fall convocation ceremonies, during the two ceremonies for the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies on Thursday, October 19.
The honorary degrees will mark the contributions of a business leader and a social justice activist.
“We are proud to honour these individuals whose lives and careers are remarkable not only for the enormous impact they have had within their respective fields, but for their positive and lasting influence on the broader local and global communities to which they belong,” said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton. “Though diverse in their experiences and skills, these extraordinary individuals all share a dedication to the public good. As we celebrate our newest graduates, we also honour York’s most cherished values of excellence, public service and social justice, all of which are exemplified by this year’s honorary degree recipients.”
Rudy Bratty – solicitor, developer, philanthropist and inspirational business leader
Doctor of Laws
Thursday, Oct. 19, 10:30am – Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies – I
Referred to as ‘The Man Who Built Toronto’, Rudy Bratty is synonymous with real estate development in Southern Ontario and indeed throughout Canada. Born in Toronto in 1932, Bratty was building and selling homes by the age of 17 to finance his education at the University of Toronto. He then obtained his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School before being called to the bar in 1957, and was eventually appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1970.
With his legal career focused on real estate and development law, Bratty expanded his interests by serving on sports, entertainment, and publishing boards including Canada Trust Company, Financial Post, Toronto Blue Jays, Cineplex Odeon, and Brampton Brick. He has also served on several hospital boards including St. Michael’s Hospital, the North York General Hospital Foundation, and the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre.
A notable philanthropist, Bratty has supported Toronto’s cultural communities for decades. As a result, he has an extensive list of accolades, including a star on the Italian Walk of Fame, Queen Elizabeth II Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals, the Human Relations Award by the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, and the Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association’s Business Excellence Award.
He is the son of Italian immigrants, and so it is fitting that a wing of the museum in Halifax’s Pier 21 is dedicated the Rudolph P. Bratty Exhibition Hall. Bratty is a community leader who has pursued excellence in business and community service, and he continues to improve Canada with his generosity.
Angela Robertson – social justice activist and advocate for women’s and low-income people’s rights
Doctor of Laws
Thursday, Oct. 19, 3:30pm – School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design, Faculty of Environmental Studies, and Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies – II
Dedicated to people and communities facing discrimination, poverty and marginalization, Angela Robertson is a passionate feminist leader whose activism and career is focused on community support. A proud York alumna, Robertson is the type of action-person that cities yearn to have on their frontlines.
Beginning in the 1990s, Robertson worked as an editor of social issues manuscripts at Women’s Educational Press, served as an advisor to the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, was a manager at Homes First Society and the Community Social Planning Council of Toronto, and was the executive director of Sistering – A Woman’s Place for more than a decade. Since then, she has expanded this impressive resume to include a directorship at Women’s College Hospital, and is currently the executive director of Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre. Each vocation benefited from her undiminished passion and leadership.
Whether the challenge is battling the feminization of poverty, the struggles of the homeless, LGBTQ rights, racism, or eliminating the stigma of HIV/AIDS, Robertson has been recognized with a number of awards including: the Urban Alliance on Race Relations Award, the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Social Change, the Rubena Willis Women of Distinction Award for work on violence against women, the Women’s Post Top 20 Women of 2010 Award, and the Fred Victor Centre Mary Sheffield Award for work addressing poverty and homelessness in the City of Toronto. She has also been recognized by Toronto’s NOW Magazine as one of the top 10 community activists on social justice issues and one of six Toronto LGBTQ heroes worth celebrating.
A proponent for equity and justice, Robertson embodies the principles of York University and is an inspiration for all members of society.
All ceremonies (except #5 on Friday, Oct. 20) will take place at the Aviva Centre, 1 Shoreham Dr, York University, Keele campus. For location information, visit convocation.students.yorku.ca.