Passings: Gregory Malszecki

Gregory Malszecki, a longtime faculty member at York University, died at the age of 75 on July 6.

Professor Gregory Malszecki

Malszecki was a member of the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at the University, where he taught for 40 years. He first joined York as a contract faculty member in 1979, where he was a course director and lecturer in the Faculty of Arts, School of Kinesiology and Health Science. In 2003, he was tenured as associate professor, and from 2004-13 was also appointed in the graduate program in sociology.

Before joining York he was a course director and lecturer in the Department of English at Victoria College, University of Toronto. He earned an AB in psychology in 1970 from the University of California at Berkeley, followed by a masters in English language and literature in 1971 from Wayne State University, a master's in social history from the University of Toronto in 1973 and a PhD in social and political though from York University in 1995.

Malszecki was highly involved in York University, and was a senior scholar (KINE); Fellow of Stong College; Stong College academic advisor (1989-95); Kinesiology and Health Science Student Organization faculty advisor; and LaMarsh Centre board member.

He earned recognition for his work and pursuits, earning the inaugural Mary McEwan Memorial Award from the School of Women’s Studies in 1995 for his work in breaking down gender barriers in his PhD dissertation. He was also the recipient of the 2004 Merit Award by Dean of Arts, the 1993 Academic Advisor of the Year Inaugural Award in the Faculty of Arts, as well as the 1992 award for Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Kinesiology and Health Science.

He will be remembered as a mentor to thousands of students, and was the creator of "Destination: Graduation" – an induction motto (or battle chant) for entering students. The School of Kinesiology and Health Science continues his legacy with each class being inaugurated. He authored a 12-page document outlining the origins of "Destination: Graduation" in which he is quoted as saying: "The phrase 'Destination: Graduation!' in its tormented origin, its manifold applications and its universal aim, has always been about the journey, not the arrival – the destination is a prize one never wins but that acts as a moral compass.”

Professor Gregory Malszecki, pictured on the left in the second row, during a Destination Graduation event

“Greg was always so energetic and full of life. Never short of things to discuss, often based on life-experiences that were very unique. Greg always had a constant stream of students visiting his office, discussing ‘life’ in all its aspects, and always treated students with a great deal of respect and compassion,” said Merv Mosher, School of Kinesiology & Health Science.

Malszecki was the author of several book chapters and journal articles, and organized several conferences. He also contributed to York University serving on the executive board, LaMarsh Centre for the Study of Violence and Conflict Resolution; the board of the Centre for Practical Ethics; and the board of the Centre for Jewish Studies.

In his retirement, he developed and distributed his 'Secrets of Success Strategies' to help others become extraordinary active listeners and realize the potential that exists in all of us.

"Greg was not just my colleague. Greg was my pal, my friend, my guide. Early at York, it was Greg who took my hand and invited me to teach with him. His generosity was unlimited and his constant smile contagious,” said Hernan Humana, School of Kinesiology & Health Science. “Students lined up outside his office to chat with him. They loved Greg.”

Malszecki is survived by his children Karis and Aislinn, their partners Kevin and Savannah, and his wife Jennifer.

To share stories and tribute messages, visit gregmalszecki.com.

To view Malszecki's final lecture "Healing and Happiness in a Broken World," recorded Oct. 20, 2019, see the video below:

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