By Erin Atack
At least one member of Ryerson’s Board of Governors will be showing up to meetings in style.
Harry Rosen, the 75-year-old clothing mogul and executive chairman of Harry Rosen Inc., was invited on to the board for his expertise as a businessman, as well as for his strong ties with the university.
Rosen’s appointment coincidentally came at a time when the board also moved to abolish the 75 age limit for board members. Without this motion, Rosen wouldn’t have been able to serve, but general counsel and secretary of the board Julia Hanigsberg insists the timing was coincidental.
Since the board already has term limits, it seemed unreasonable to also have an age limit, Hanigsberg said. What pushed the board to remove the cut off, she continued, was the province’s removal of a mandatory retirement age.
“He’s really someone who knows the university, (and) who’s interested in the university,” said Hanigsberg. “He really understands the rules of the board and modern governance.”
Rosen has served on the Board of Governors at the University of Western Ontario and George Brown College. He is involved with many organizations including the United Way and also serves on the Board of Governors at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Rosen is also no stranger to Ryerson. He’s worked on the Retail Management Advisory Board since the school of retail management’s inception and was awarded with an honourary doctorate of commerce in 2004.
So, Rosen’s decision to accept the invitation to the Board was not a difficult one. “I liked what was happening at the school. I liked the visions in particular that Sheldon Levy brought to the school and to its future,” Rosen said. “I became very enthusiastic about the future of Ryerson and the students.”
Rosen is most excited about being involved with Ryerson students. “Their training is applicable immediately I think to the working world,” he said. “I think that Ryerson prepares people for work and they fit in and adapt more easily because that’s the nature of the programs.”
President Sheldon Levy, is glad that Rosen’s work with Ryerson is finally being formally recognized. “He has been a very, very good friend of the university for a considerable amount of time,” he said. “In many ways he’s always been on the board, if I can put it that way, and now he’s formerly joining the board.”
The four new members — Rosen along with Nadir Mohamed, Bob Richards and Ravi Seethapathy — will be attending their first meeting at the end of March, where they will likely be given the opportunity to join committees within the board.
“I’m looking forward to guiding Ryerson where its future is concerned,” Rosen said.