Welcome, and welcome back, to Trinity!
It’s fantastic to have the campus abuzz with energy once again and I can tell that you are all as excited as I am to get the 2023-2024 academic year started! I want to thank everyone who helped to prepare the College for the start of the new year and to welcome our newest members to the Trinity community. I also want to extend my gratitude to all those who will serve in volunteer and leadership roles this year, including dedicated members of our governance bodies and our wonderful student leaders – thank you for supporting the College and keeping the community connected to one another.
Orientation 2023 (left to right): TOP ROW Moving into St. Hilda’s College Residence; introducing our wonderful Orientation Executive team; and dining with new friends at the Provost’s Dinner in the Quad. LOWER ROW Learning about student services & supports at TRIN101; sharing a meal at the Faculty of Divinity Orientation Weekend; and beautifying the hoarding boards – the creative results of the friendly mural painting competition between the residence houses! (You can view the murals along the south end of the construction site)
Matriculating Students (left to right)): TOP ROW Students gather in the Quad (before it started to rain!); group photo of members of the incoming class of 2023; and the student procession to MacMillan Theatre. MIDDLE ROW Students acknowledge and declare their membership; students make their way to the stage and sign the College Register. LOWER ROW Following the ceremony, a reception was held back at the College: students make s’mores, catch up with new friends, and Associate Registrar Jerome Chang keeps things cool!
In the Quad: (left) Provost Mayo Moran, Honorees Martha and George Butterfield, and Chancellor Brian Lawson; (middle) the two Chancellors – Trinity Chancellor Lawson and U of T Chancellor Rose Patten; (right) U of T President Meric Gertler, Provost Moran and Chancellor Lawson chat with students.
This year’s Matriculation Convocation was particularly special as we installed our new Chancellor Brian Lawson. As the ceremonial head and our highest-ranking volunteer officer, we are so fortunate to have him as our 13th Chancellor. Brian and his wife Joannah are committed volunteers who have made tremendous and positive impacts both at Trinity and U of T, most notably in the areas of nutrition and sustainability. Following Chancellor Lawson’s installation, there was a touching moment as Cathy Graham – wife of our beloved late 12th Chancellor Bill Graham – robed Chancellor Lawson with the Chancellor’s gown.
At the ceremony, the College installed our new Chancellor: (left) Cathy Graham robes the Chancellor and (middle) Trinity’s 13th Chancellor is officially installed. (right) Chancellor Lawson confers honorary degrees upon Martha and George Butterfield.
As part of the evening’s ceremony, Trinity alumnus Michael de Pencier spoke about honorary degree recipients George and Martha Butterfield. He referred to them as “pioneering green visionaries,” words that are also fitting for Michael himself! In recognition of George and Martha Butterfield’s exemplary leadership in championing sustainability at Trinity and their dedication to educating students on the complex issues and challenges of environmental stewardship, the College conferred the degree of Doctor of Sacred Letters (honoris causa) upon them. Dr. Butterfield then delivered the Convocation address, noting the challenging times matriculating students have come through as they embark upon this new chapter of their lives. He gave them a sustainability challenge – to take action to solve the climate crisis that past generations have contributed to. It was an inspiring message that we should all take to heart. He also provided a little bit of theatre, tossing “green” Trinity t-shirts into the audience!
As you may have seen, construction is well underway for our new mass timber, zero carbon, LEED platinum building – Lawson Centre for Sustainability – on the north end of the Trinity campus. The new academic and residence building is vital for our future; not only will it help make sustainability part of daily life at the College, but it will also provide critical residential, academic and community spaces, and make the full collegiate experience available to more of our students. You can view photos here, get construction notices here and learn how you can support the Living Trinity campaign here.
Watch the short 1-minute video below to view our progress over the last year, fall 2022 to now!
We are committed to taking action to ensure a just and sustainable future, and recently announced that Trinity College will divest from remaining indirect investments in fossil fuel companies by 2030 or sooner. And alongside the College’s investments in the new landmark building, we are actively engaged in a wide range of other sustainability priorities through our Integrated Sustainability Initiative, which includes sustainability focused academic, co-curricular activities and research opportunities for students.
As one example, throughout the summer, the Initiative’s Trinity Food Systems Lab along with Dig In! Campus Agriculture held a farmer’s stand, offering produce and seedlings at no cost to increase access to nutritious, locally grown food on campus. More broadly, the Food Systems Lab’s urban agriculture research is exploring how to drive campus sustainability objectives through food. The Lab’s work is also informing how we will expand campus agriculture on the new building’s George and Martha Butterfield Rooftop Farm, and exploring how we can integrate this with native ecological landscaping and pollinator-supporting spaces. It is especially exciting to see the transformation of ideas into research projects and community outreach, particularly when our students are involved!
All the Best for 2023-2024
For our incoming students – the transition to university life may at times feel overwhelming. Thanks to the generosity of our community, we have special health and wellness supports available through our Mental Health Program and the Anne Steacy Counselling Initiative, and much-needed financial aid to support our excellent students. There are also many services and resources available at Trinity, including academic supports and financial advising, to support you – and all students – during your university journey. Please reach out if you need help, advice or just a friendly person to chat with.
For everyone – I want to thank our students, faculty, staff and alumni for making our community a wonderful and welcoming place for everyone. It’s the people that make Trinity so special – as the saying goes, it’s the company we keep… so we are in good hands.
After a sweltering first week of September, I’m sure many of you are hoping for cooler weather ahead. Have a great start to the fall term and I hope our paths cross soon in our beautiful, storied spaces at Trinity!
Provost & Vice-Chancellor