York University announces student award in honour of Invictus Games

York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton welcomed the Invictus Games National Flag Tour to York Sept. 20 and announced a new award in honour of the Invictus Games in support of increased access to post-secondary education for Canada’s Military personnel and their children.

The York University Service Award provides up to $20,000 over four years to a York student who is a Canadian Armed Forces member, active or retired, and who has a physical, sensory, medical, mental health or learning disability. The award will also be available to a student with a disability who is a child of a Canadian Armed Forces member.

photo of President & Vice-Chancellor of York University, Rhonda Lenton, Schulich School of Business student and flag bearer, Sayam Khan, Brigadier-General Stephen Cadden, Commander, 4th Canadian Division, York U Professor Walter Perchal, Giovanna Cioffi, three-time graduate of York University, behind a row of York varsity athletes

(Left to Right) President & Vice-Chancellor of York University, Rhonda Lenton, Schulich School of Business student and flag bearer, Sayam Khan, Brigadier-General Stephen Cadden, Commander, 4th Canadian Division, York U Professor Walter Perchal, Giovanna Cioffi, three-time graduate of York University.

President Lenton announced the award at the Invictus Games’ inaugural National Flag Tour earlier today.

“This new award will stand as a legacy of the 2017 Invictus Games at York, and will serve as an important way to honour the dedicated individuals whose commitment to service exemplifies the best of Canada,” said Lenton. “It is a great honour to host the inspiring athletes who will compete at next week’s Invictus Games here at York, and we look forward to welcoming competitors, their families and the wider community to the University.”

“The York University Service Award demonstrates the institution’s recognition of the dedication and courage of the men and women who serve our country so well. I know what a tremendous impact events and programs like this have on our military and their families,” says Brigadier-General Stephen Cadden, Commander, 4th Canadian Division.

photo of Vimy, Invictus Games mascot, Flag bearers Sayam Khan, Schulich School of Business student, Professor Walter Perchal, York University, Giovanna Cioffi is a three-time graduate of York University

(Left to Right) Vimy, Invictus Games mascot, Flag bearers Sayam Khan, Schulich School of Business student, Professor Walter Perchal, York University, Giovanna Cioffi is a three-time graduate of York University

York University’s Keele Campus was one of the stops for The National Flag Tour, which travels from coast-to-coast visiting 22 military bases, 15 legions and more than 50 communities from August 16 through to September 22.

The following York students and faculty were selected to help carry the Official Invictus Games Flag – a physical representation of the unconquerable spirit of the Games' competitors.

Sayem Khan is a member of the elite Schulich Ambassador Program at the Schulich School of Business at York University. Sayem applied to be a flag bearer via the Invictus Games. He arrived in Canada as an immigrant and is proud of his work with the Toronto Police Service's 'Youth in Policing' initiative.

Professor Walter Perchal is a current member of the York University faculty. He served with the Canadian Forces for many years. Over the course of his duties, as a Senior Officer, he previously commanded The Royal Regiment of Canada. He later served as Special Advisor to the Canadian Army Commander, and did foreign service as a Military Advisor with NATO Allies.

Giovanna Cioffi is a three-time graduate of York University. She is now pursuing her Ph.D. in Communication and Culture. She earned two master's degrees including Environmental Science and Disaster and Emergency Management from York, following her undergraduate York Degree. She currently serves with the Canadian Forces.

The Invictus Games Toronto 2017 takes place from September 23 to 30. York is among several venues in the Greater Toronto Area to host the competition. On September 24 and 25 athletes will compete at the York Lions Stadium in athletics events, including track, jumping, throwing and combined events including those competing in wheelchairs, with prostheses, or under the guidance of a sighted person known as a guide.