Glendon Campus
York University
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Kenneth Penrose BA’85, BA ’88: a truly lasting legacy for the students of The Glendon School of Public and International Affairs


It was during a 1983 Glendon history class that Kenneth Penrose, BA’85 (History) BA ’88 (Political Science) proved that experience really counts in the classroom.  “We were studying modern British history,” remembers Albert Tucker, professor emeritus of history and former Glendon principal. “I was trying to impress upon the students the importance of the class system.” Mr. Penrose stepped forward with the story of his first job as a footman to the British aristocracy. His classmates were riveted.

A 64-year-old retiree in a sea of students in their twenties, Kenneth Penrose was a stand out during his years as a Glendon student in the 1980s. For all the right reasons, says Dr. Tucker “He didn’t have a secondary school education, but he was ever confident that he had much to contribute to our discussions.” Born in London, England in 1919, Kenneth Penrose served in the British Royal Navy before marrying and immigrating to Canada in the 1940s. Kenneth and Grace Penrose settled in Don Mills and Mr. Penrose worked for Bell Canada until his retirement. The couple never had children, but Kenneth Penrose’s grand-niece, Chantal Penrose, BA ’11 (International Studies) is also a Glendon grad.

Years after Mr. Penrose’s graduation, during weekly dinners at a Toronto Chinese food restaurant, he told Dr. Tucker that his years at Glendon were some of the most enjoyable and important of his life.

When the Glendon alumnus died in January 2011 at the age of 91, he showed how grateful he was for his education. Kenneth Penrose left a $100,000 bequest in his name and that of his late wife Grace, which soon became a $300,000 fund thanks to a program of matching funds available from the University and government for graduate scholarships. These programs were discontinued in December 2011, however Kenneth Penrose’s bequest was matched with the full benefit for the graduate students in the School of Public and International Affairs for generations to come. The Kenneth and Grace Penrose Scholarship will provide approximately $12,500 a year for each of two outstanding graduate students in the School of Public and International Affairs.

“We talked often about Kenneth’s wish to leave a legacy,” says Dr. Tucker. “This gift is a reflection of both his memory and enjoyment of Glendon and his deep love for his wife.”

Published on May 2, 2012