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York honours Professor Mark Webber, founder of the Canadian Centre for German & European Studies

York honours Professor Mark Webber, founder of the Canadian Centre for German & European Studies

A reception was held by the Canadian Centre for German & European Studies (CCGES) on Sept. 15 to honour Professor Mark Webber.

Webber, who retired from York University in July, dedicated his career to serving the University and its students. Educated at Harvard and Yale universities, he was a founder of the CCGES and taught at York University for 38 years.

At the reception, Webber received a model car as a gift from BMW Canada to mark his retirement.

Left: Christian Feilmeier, VP finance & administration, BMW Canada; Professor Mark Webber; and Sabine Sparwasser, consul general of Germany in Toronto

“Such a turnout is strong testimony to the impact Mark has had not just on institutions, but also on people and their lives,” said Peter McIsaac, current CCGES director. In addition to a crowd of York faculty, the reception was attended by Sabine Sparwasser, consul general, Federal Republic of Germany and Marek Ciesielczuk, consul general, Republic of Poland.

In 1995, Webber was presented with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the German equivalent to the Order of Canada, for his work in fostering German-Canadian and Jewish-Gentile understanding.

He was a key figure in creating the Ontario/Baden-Württemberg Student Exchange Program. For nine years he served as its academic coordinator. It is the largest single student exchange arrangement in Canada.

His legacy includes the Mark & Gail Appel Program in Holocaust and Antiracism Education, which he initiated with his colleague Michael Brown. This project brings together Canadian university students and fellow students from Germany and Poland to explore how best to counter racism through teaching about the Holocaust.

Right: Mark Webber with Professor Michael Brown

"With Mark's departure, York loses one of the people who care most passionately about it and who have worked to build an institution that was different from others: a place where scholarship was harnessed in the service of teaching; a place dedicated to the humanities but no less to the humane; a place where principles counted for much but never more than individuals; a place where people of all backgrounds would always feel comfortable and be eager to learn,” said Brown.

Funds are now being raised to create an award in Webber’s honour. Arrangement for gifts to the fund can be made by calling the York University Foundation at 416-650-8210.

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin