Cheryl McEwen’s impressive list of accomplishments and accolades pale in comparison to the impact of a lifetime during which she has inspired others through her contributions to the advancement of education, healthcare, the arts and Canadian culture.

On June 11th, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) presented Cheryl, and her partner and notable Schulich alumnus, Rob McEwen (MBA ’78, Hon LLD ’05), with this year’s CIJA’s Words & Deeds Leadership Award. This national award recognizes leaders who have made outstanding contributions to Canadian society through humanitarian causes, pluralism, and civil discourse.

For decades Rob and Cheryl have championed Schulich’s pivotal role in preparing and graduating tomorrow’s business leaders. Most recently, their philanthropic investment of $8 million toward Schulich’s new Graduate Study & Research Building, which publicly opened in January, is a testament to their commitment and continuing confidence in the School. York University has named its newest, most sustainable building the Rob and Cheryl McEwen Graduate Study & Research Building in their honour.

“What I have learned as a philanthropist is that whatever you give, comes back to you in ways you cannot imagine. It’s about the people you meet, their passion and their ability to make this world a better place that gives you an enormous feeling of purpose and gratitude,” declared Cheryl as she addressed over 600 graduands at Schulich’s Spring Convocation on June 21st.

And on that day a life centred on doing good, inspiring change, and creating opportunities for others comes full circle. Cheryl McEwen received the Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from the Schulich School of Business, York University for her distinguished contributions to making Canada, and the world, better.