Anne Steacy's $1.5 million commitment to science at Trinity

June 16, 2014 -- Anne Steacy ’76, writer, artist and former science writer for Maclean’s, has donated $1.5 million dollars to Trinity College to establish two new streams in the Margaret MacMillan Trinity One program and to fund a writing program for science students all to be launched in fall 2014. In addition, based on the expected success of the first 10 years, Ms. Steacy is committed to ensuring a trust of $4 million to support the programs indefinitely.

Two new streams of the Trinity One program have been established through this generous donation: the Anne Steacy Biomedical Health Stream and the Anne Steacy Health Science and Society Stream; the writing program will be named the Anne Steacy Program in Science Writing. Ms. Steacy’s gift was announced at the Graduation Awards\Ceremony on June 16 by Interim Provost Dr. Michael Ratcliffe.

Ms. Steacy’s belief in the importance of scientific study and communications is clear. “Scientific discovery and clinical trials are producing astonishing results. The necessity for vigorous, informed exploration of the landslide of data in order to communicate clearly, succinctly, critically and accurately from the frontiers of science is paramount. I am delighted to assist Trinity on a quest to face that challenge head-on.”

The Margaret MacMillan Trinity One program was established in 2005 to offer discussion-based seminar courses to first-year students. Only 25 students are admitted to each academic stream, promoting opportunities for creative writing, deep discussion and interaction between students and facilitating mentorship that faculty can provide to these outstanding students. This is an exceptional opportunity for science students entering the University of Toronto, where first year classes can have up to 1,500 students.

 “I am truly excited to see these new streams become a reality thanks to Anne’s visionary gift,” said Interim Provost Dr. Michael Ratcliffe. “While the Trinity One program has been an incredible success for our arts students, there has been a significant gap in programming for science at Trinity, and especially life science students, who account for nearly 35% of our undergraduates.”

With existing streams in International Relations, Ethics, Society and Law and Public Policy, Interim Director John Duncan hopes the two new science streams will augment the Trinity One program, by offering new perspectives to all students in the program. "Trinity One not only provides students with unparalleled opportunities in their respective streams, its co-curricular programming also allows for cross-pollination across streams (such as International Relations and Biomedical Health), fostering the kind of innovation and worldly awareness that will distinguish the next generation of leaders."

Professor Leslie Boehm, an Adjunct Lecturer in the University of Toronto Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation and an Associate of the School of Graduate Studies, sees how this avenue of education can make a significant impact on the future of health care in Canada. “Trinity has a well-deserved reputation for providing a rich environment that encourages leadership among its students. As we move towards the future it is clear that the public health system must continue to evolve and that Canada will benefit from leaders who understand the relationship between health, health care and how this fits with broad public policy.” 

In addition to the two new streams, Ms. Steacy’s gift will establish the Anne Steacy Program in Science Writing, a comprehensive writing program offering students the opportunity to learn how to write for scientific and non-scientific audiences. This new program will not only give undergraduate students the opportunity to work on research papers directly with faculty, this gift will further allow Trinity to expand the services for students currently offered by the Writing Centre.

As a prominent Immunologist, Dr. Ratcliffe is knows the importance of providing specialized communications skills to future leaders in the sciences.  "For many people, writing may seem like a counterintuitive skill for a scientist – but it is an essential one. The world will listen to those scientists who lead not only in research, but who can convey that research through persuasive argument. Trinity is uniquely positioned to do great things with our Writing Centre and the new Anne Steacy Program in Science Writing.” 

Centre Director Patricia Patchet Golubev, also a professional science writer, is excited about the opportunities for students that Ms. Steacy’s gift will bestow. "Trinity students will benefit enormously from this generous gift. In particular, it will provide science students with valuable course opportunities throughout their undergraduate career to learn, practice, and refine their writing and communication skills so that they can write in a wide variety of genres, to a wide variety of audiences. Too often, science students present to the writing centre, anxious about their writing skills, even in communicating their own scientific knowledge. Anne Steacy's donation will go a long way towards solving this problem, greatly enhancing student learning."  

As part of the Trinity One program, co-curricular events are held regularly to bring together students from all five streams to hear from guest speakers, and engage in high-level discussions with professors, speakers and each other. Dr. Alberto Martin, Trinity’s acting Dean of Arts, is excited to see sciences introduced to Trinity One.  “The addition of The Anne Steacy Biomedical Health stream and the Anne Steacy Health Science and Society stream will encourage an even more fulsome and well rounded program within Trinity One. Including health science students in these wide-ranging and lively academic discussions is a great opportunity for Trinity One students in all disciplines.”