Memories of Audrey Hozack (née Johnson, Dickie) 1920—2016
Audrey Hozack was one of the most unforgettable people I have ever met. During her term as Canadian Friends of Finland president from 1984 to 1987, she spearheaded the team that staged the 1986 Canadian première of Jean Sibelius’s Kullervo Symphony to an all-but-sold-out house at Roy Thomson Hall. She always claimed that riding on the TTC that evening to the performance was the only time she ever heard Finnish spoken on the subway.
She was one of the founding members of CFF. I can still picture her along with a group of other anxious looking people sitting in Bengt and Carita Gestrin’s spacious living room in 1981 as he, the honourary consul-general of Finland in Toronto at the time, outlined the Finnish government’s hopeful plans to emulate the success of the Finnish Society in the United Kingdom.
Audrey helped make that a reality thanks to the experience she gained over her 39-year career at Hart House on the University of Toronto campus. She started out as a secretary and when she retired in 1985 she held the title of Assistant Warden – Administration.
Her links to Finland were long and strong. They began in 1951 with the first Hart House Finnish Exchange. As a result of those connections, she recruited several former exchange members to serve as executives and board members during CFF’s formative years.
Looking back, Audrey’s life and career echoed many of the themes of Varpu Lindström’s academic work in women’s studies. When Vincent Massey set up Hart House in 1919, it was a male-only bastion like its forebears at Oxford University in England. In its early years, although many of the Hart House clerical staff were women, they were not permitted to eat in the dining hall. After Massey was made aware of the issue, he agreed to change the rules to make their lives more convenient. However, University of Toronto female students did not become full-fledged members of Hart House until the early 1970s after Massey had died.
Since Audrey’s retirement in 1985, two women have been appointed Wardens of Hart House. It is not hard to imagine that given Audrey’s administrative, financial management, people and other skills, had she arrived on the scene a couple of generations later, she too could have served as Warden.
To recognize her contributions to Finland, the Finnish government named her a Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland in 1986.
~ Ken Mark
Our CFFEF Indiegogo Campaign was a resounding success. A huge thank you to all who contributed.
We are thrilled to announce that the online campaign raised $20,108, over 80% of its goal. The campaign also inspired an additional $18,190 in offline donations and commitments. When the two matching donations of $25,000 each are added, the grand total we were able to raise for Finnish Studies is $88,298.
Some statistical information: The online campaign attracted over 4000 visits, 106 contributions from 10 different countries, and 212 referrals. Quite a wide reach!
The result is indeed excellent news for the Finnish Studies Program – its immediate need for 2015-2017 has been met and the future has become much brighter. We are also pleased that such a large number of individuals worldwide have gained awareness of and exposure to the Finnish Studies program.
We wish to remind all those who did not originally include their full name and address to send them to the treasurer of the CFFEF so she can issue and send you a tax receipt.
Finally, we would like to thank all contributors for your generosity. We extend a special thank you also to all those who contributed to the campaign video and the campaign design. The technical know-how was generously donated by Frank Herr at Best Light for which our gratitude is boundless.
The Finnish Studies at the University of Toronto is the largest, most comprehensive program dedicated to the study of Finnish language and culture in North America. The program has offered high-quality courses in Finnish language, literature, culture, cinema, and immigrant experience for more than 1300 Canadian and Finnish-Canadian students.
Sadly, during the economic downturn the Finnish government was forced to drastically reduce its 25-year sponsorship of the program resulting in an urgent need for program funding.
Canadian Friends of Finland Education Foundation is hosting a crowdfunding campaign to help raise the $25,000 needed to preserve the program for the 2015-2016 year.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
- DONATE by visiting our “Preserve Finnish Studies at the University of Toronto” page.
- SPREAD THE WORD by forwarding this message to friends, acquaintances, members, or associates.
- Two individual members of the CFFEF have pledged to match all donations, up to $25,000. This TRIPLES the value of each gift!
Your gift will honour the Finnish legacy in Canada, bring awareness to Finnish culture and values, and strengthen the cultural and economic relations between Finland and Canada.
We thank you for your support.
“Let’s give Finnish Studies at UofT a new future!”