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Recognition Awards Dinner

An annual celebration of the accomplishments and leadership of our students and alumni, and a formal thank-you to our community partners and alumni for their engagement with students, the event showcases the very best that our School of Public Policy & Administration fosters to develop.

Students and alumni are formally presented with awards for their leadership, teamwork, service to their community of peers, mentoring those more junior; and external partners are recognized for creating meaningful practicum opportunities for our students.

Excellence among our Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPAL) students and alumni is also recognized through our Best Major Research Paper Award and the Foster-Greene Award respectively for work that has demonstrably and significantly advanced social justice, human rights, ethics and good governance in congruence with the program’s founding principles.

As part of our high-school outreach and cultivating the aspirations of a new generation of public service leaders, winners of our annual high school essay contest are also invited to this event and formally presented with the prizes, while they have the opportunity to meet our students and alumni.

A keynote address by one of our senior alumni is an integral part of this event, and provides an inspiring, yet very candid, window into the ups and downs of a career in the public service, and ultimately answers the question why it is worthwhile and meaningful.

2023: SPPA awards focus on adopting an action-oriented and fail-forward approach to public policy

The School’s 2023 Recognition Awards Dinner grew in numbers this year – and still had a waitlist. Another successful year! The keynote speaker of the event, MPPAL alumna Erin Valant, stressed the importance of the concept “fail-forward” – meaning, when it comes to critical social services and programs.

We can’t afford to wait for things to be ‘perfect’.  This is where adopting an action-oriented and fail forward approach comes in. We need to be able to continuously move forward despite the possibility of failure and to get more comfortable testing things, learning and improving instead of waiting around for the ‘perfect’ solution.

— Erin Valant
Area Manager in the Income, Employment & Homelessness Supports Division at the Region of Durham

Past Events

SPPA awards recognize transformational leadership

The School’s 2022 Recognition Awards Dinner was yet another success! The keynote speaker of the event, MPPAL alumna Orelie Di Mavindithe manager of the Legislation and Adjudication Policy unit under Canada Pension Plan - Disability Directorate at the Income Security and Social Development Branch of Employment and Social Development Canada, highlighted the importance of courage in leadership. You can read the full account of the event and list of awards winners recognized in YFile.

SPPA awards recognize public servants in face of pandemic

The School’s 2021 Recognition Awards Dinner was held in person again. The keynote speaker of the event, MPPAL alumnus John Riches, Deputy Chief of Regulatory Compliance & Administration for the Region of Durham Paramedic Services, highlighted the post-pandemic expectations from the public must include wrap-around services and flexible programs that focus on equity. You can read the full account of the event and list of awards winners recognized in YFile.

School of Public Policy & Administration holds virtual Recognition Awards Dinner, MPPAL alumna Judith D'Souza-Soares delivers keynote address

In accordance with public health guidelines, the 2020 Recognition Awards Dinner was successfully held virtually - offering a unique spin on the annual event. MPPAL alumna and 2020 Foster-Greene Award Winner Judith D'Souza-Soares highlighted the evening with a special keynote address titled, What Matters Most: Crucial Leadership Lessons the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Taught Us - which can now be viewed on YouTube.

Read full story about the 2020 SPPA Student, Alumni and Community Recognition Awards celebration in YFile: SPPA awards focus on public service resilience, innovation and leadership in times of crisis.

2019: 10 year anniversary of first MPPAL graduating class

This year alumnus Jim Cassimatis, Interim Associate Deputy Minister of ServiceOntario, delivered the keynote address. Cassimatis reflected on his public service career, offering a candid account of some of the challenges he experienced over the last three decades. To mark the 10 year anniversary of our first MPPAL class, YUSPPAAN established the Foster – Greene Award for Excellence in Public Policy, Administration and Law. The award is named after the MPPAL program’s inaugural Graduate Program Directors – University Professor Emeritus Ian Greene and Professor Lorne Foster - and recognizes an alumnus/alumna of the MPPAL program whose work has demonstrably and significantly advanced social justice, human rights, ethics and good governance in congruence with the program’s founding principles.

Read more in YFile

With over 100 guests in attendance, the 2018 event featured a keynote address by alumnus Derek Lett, Executive Director with the Ontario Conflict of Interest Commissioner’s Office. Lett (BA Spec Honours PPA ’91) reflected on his 26-year career in the Ontario Public Service, which spanned many significant changes in successive governments. Awards were presented and participants got to network extensively.

Read more in YFile

Nearly one hundred alumni, students, faculty and friends of the School of Public Policy & Administration (SPPA) gathered for the annual celebration of service to the School. As part of the annual tradition, last year’s Alumni Award recipient Kevin Giddings (MPPAL 2015) took on the role of Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Several merit awards were also introduced this year, resulting in our longest-yet list of inspiring award winners. The keynote was delivered by alumnus Caspar Hall (BA Spec. Honours PPA 1997), Policy Director with the Anti-Racism Directorate – Cabinet Office, who shared with the audience his Insights from a Public Policy Apprentice. Hall emphasized the importance of integrity and leadership at every level of public service along with evidence-based decision making and keeping the focus on the intended policy outcomes.

Read more in YFile

Victor Severino (BA Spec. Hons. ’88, public policy and administration), returned to York to offer his keynote address, “Reflections on a public service career in (partial) review.” Severino at the time was assistant deputy minister of the Business Climate & Funding Administration Division of the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development & Growth and the Ministry of Research, Innovation & Science. He discussed strategic policy relating to investment, trade negotiations and economic development. He is also Ontario’s Chief Negotiator for the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), a volunteer with a number of organizations, including the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) and, most recently, a part of the school’s own innovative mentorship circle pilot program. The event also included awards presentations and networking.

Read more in YFile

York University’s School of Public Policy & Administration (SPPA) recognized several of its community members during its annual Student, Alumni & Community Awards Dinner on Nov. 12, 2015. The event included the presentation of four awards, the recognition of two special guests of honour and the reflections of several prominent attendees. Awards were presented in four categories: Undergraduate Student, Graduate Student, Alumni and Practicum Honoree.

Read more in YFile

The School of Public Policy & Administration (SPPA) held its annual Alumni and Student Recognition Awards Dinner on Nov. 27, 2014. Each year, SPPA recognizes its outstanding students and alumni for their contributions to advancing its undergraduate and graduate programs. This year two special awards of appreciation were presented to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the school's ongoing development.

Read more in YFile

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