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York alumnus appointed Knight of the Order of Dannebrog

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November 24, 2005

Source: York University:

York alumnus appointed Knight of the Order of Dannebrog

TORONTO, November 24, 2005 -- William J.S. Boyle, an alumnus of York University (BA ’69, MA ’71), has been named Knight of the Order of Dannebrog by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

Boyle, who is chief executive officer of Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, was officially presented with the appointment yesterday by Poul E. K. Kristensen, ambassador of Denmark. It is an honour rarely conferred on people of non-Danish heritage.

The appointment recognizes Boyle’s outstanding and unprecedented contribution to the development of cultural ties between Denmark and Canada. Boyle’s vision resulted in the presentation of "SuperDanish: Newfangled Danish Culture" at Harbourfront in the fall of 2004. An extensive, 13-week investigation into contemporary Danish Culture, the exhibit showcased a broad cross-section of Danish contemporary art. It was the largest international cultural festival ever staged in Canada by a single country.

The idea for SuperDanish was borne in 2002 but a general election in Denmark and restructuring in the Ministry of Culture, "added its own dynamics to the mix," said Kristensen.

"Many would have thrown in the towel at that stage, but Bill Boyle’s vision was a burning one, and his passion became infectious," said Kristensen. "Bill and his staff, working closely with the embassy and The Danish Arts Agency, became expert mediators, negotiators and bridge builders, and their dogged determination and resilience kept the project on track and on time."

The founding director of The Power Plant contemporary art gallery at Harbourfront, Boyle was responsible for the direction of the capital campaign and building strategy which resulted in the opening of the new facility in 1987. In addition to SuperDanish, Boyle has initiated several major international arts projects including: Today’s Japan, the largest exposition of contemporary arts of Japan ever held in North America; FOKUS: The Contemporary Arts of Germany; Japan/Canada New Century Creators Series; and the 2001 event World Leaders: A Festival of Creative Genius.

Boyle has participated on many boards and cultural committees and was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2004 in recognition of his work to champion Canadian and international culture at home and abroad.

The Order of Dannebrog was instituted in 1671 by King Christian V of Denmark and was expanded in 1808 "to recognize meritorious citizenry for all subjects, regardless of position or nobility."

York University is the leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto, Canada’s most international city. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 190,000 alumni worldwide. York’s 10 faculties and 21 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries. This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.


For more information, contact:
Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416-736-2100 x22101 /



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