Sheldon Levy’s farewell party: Ryerson says goodbye

Sheldon Levy, who was sitting in the front row at the holiday party, teared up.

It was something one of the MCs did not expect, but hoped for, when she took the stage to present a farewell video to the outgoing president on Wednesday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

“I’ve heard that (Levy) is a very hard person to make cry,” MC Ashisha Persaud — a former Ryerson commerce society president — said before the celebration started.

But he did, as did many members of the crowd after watching the video.

As a Ryerson graduate, Persaud said she helped to produce the video with videographers who are also Ryerson film students.

This year’s annual president’s party celebrated more than just the coming holidays, it would be the last time Levy would attend this party as the president of the university. So, it was focused on celebrating his accomplishments during his 11 years on the downtown campus and the city of Toronto overall.

The event started with a reception, followed by speeches and special presentations including a dance by the South Asian Alliance dancers.

There was also an honour song performed by some members of Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services to Levy, as well as a Sheldon Levy take on the “Twelve Days of Christmas” carol performed by a choir.


The choir performing Levy’s special version of “Twelve Days of Christmas,” (Yara Kashlan/Ryersonian staff)

Joanne Dallaire, who is the university’s Elder and a traditional counselor spoke at the event. She presented Levy with an eagle feather, which she said symbolizes strength, courage and leadership. The feather she presented him with is a flight feather, she said, which symbolizes teaching and the teaching the one will provide for the people.

Many of the speakers, including ward 27 councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and Ryerson athletics director Ivan Joseph, touched on Levy’s legacy in their addresses, his impact on them, and what he brought to Ryerson.

“We’re here to celebrate an extraordinary, extraordinary man who’s actually offered so much to Ryerson, but also to the city of Toronto,” said Wong-Tam.

Levy took the stage after the speeches honouring him came to an end.

He was greeted with a warm welcome from the crowd. “Sheldon! Sheldon! Sheldon!” chanted the large audience at the MAC, as they cheered and applauded him.

“I’m in the back of my mind, saying keep your composure, keep your composure,” said Levy in his speech.

He offered some advice in his speech. He said to the audience to “… never stop dreaming, and never stop believing that the impossible is possible.”

“If you wake up, and you have no dreams, it’s not worth living,” he said.

After Levy’s departure, current provost and vice-president Mohamed Lachemi will become Ryerson’s interim president as of Dec. 1, as the search for a permanent one continues.

“So although it’s time to move on, I never really will leave, as so much of who you are remains in what you’ve done,” said Levy.



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