Dear Members of the Trinity Community:
It is hard to believe how quickly the last year has gone by. As we head into summer, I wanted to highlight a few milestones and to say thanks to all of those who have made such positive contributions this year.
Making a difference has always been an important part of the Trinity way. Our students are central to upholding the College’s tradition of academic excellence, community service and leadership. In addition to their academic accomplishments, Trinity students are public-spirited. This year they did so much to improve the College, the University and indeed the world in everything from debating, to refugee support, to environmental initiatives and so much more. Their incredible contributions were recognized again this year with a disproportionately high number of awards relative to our small size. As just one example, Trinity tied for first place for the highest number of U of T Cressy Awards for student leadership and community involvement. We are so proud of our students, including graduates Riam Kim-McLeod and Andreas Kyriakos, who won prestigious scholarships for post-graduate studies.
It was wonderful to see so many of our graduates back at the College for Spring Reunion. Thank you to our dedicated and engaged alumni for everything you do for Trinity to make it the community that it is. Your philanthropic support allows our students to thrive while they are here. Several classes this year supported our Mental Health Program and the Anne Steacy Counselling Initiative, which is without question one of the most important recent initiatives of the College. I also want to thank our alumni community for being so generous in every way with your time, talents and experiences.
On behalf of the College, I want to express our gratitude to alumni David Bronskill, Jennifer Hood and David Plant who are finishing their terms as chairs of the Board of Trustees, St. Hilda’s College Board of Trustees, and the Alumni Association, respectively. Trinity Fellow Prof. Nick Everett is also finishing his term as Chair of Senate. The College could not thrive without this kind of commitment and we are so grateful for their leadership and dedication.
I also want to extend our enormous gratitude to alumni George and Martha Butterfield for their generosity in creating the new Butterfield Environment & Sustainability Stream in the Margaret MacMillan Trinity One Program. We are excited to welcome the first cohort of students this September for this fantastic new offering, which is the only one of its kind at U of T. Talking about sustainability – at Trinity, we strive to be the “greenest” college on the U of T campus and beyond. We continue this legacy with the launch of two new initiatives this summer: a rooftop Urban Agriculture Pilot Project and Bike Recycling Program!
We are so fortunate to have two incredible Trinity alumni as Chancellors in our community. The Hon. Michael Wilson’s second term as U of T’s Chancellor ended on June 30. His tremendous contributions to the university community have made a lasting impact and we are so appreciative of his ongoing support.
And Trinity’s own Chancellor, the Hon. Bill Graham, received an honorary degree from U of T at Spring Convocation on June 15. As Chancellor Graham received his award, it was a magical moment to see him on stage with his fellow classmates Chancellor Wilson and the Hon. Adrienne Clarkson. The three of them met at Trinity in 1957 and their enduring friendship symbolizes the strength of the Trinity connection. In his remarks to the graduating class, Chancellor Graham said: “If you’re like me, the golden thread that will link you to your future and determine how you deal with it would have been forged in the disciplines and values that you have acquired in this place.”
Chancellor Graham has done so much to support the College, especially our core academic programs. His generosity enabled the development of a new Contemporary International History faculty position. Created in partnership with the Department of History, it will enhance both the undergraduate International Relations program and will enable the creation of a new Master’s program. In July, we will welcome Prof. Cindy Ewing to this new role. On behalf of the entire Trinity community, I thank our wonderful Chancellor Graham for everything he does to make our College even better.
Across the College, we have also been looking closely at our physical space so we can provide the best learning, living and social environments, while still honouring our historic campus. While Trinity is – and intends to remain – the smallest college, it is clear that our space needs are acute. The residence piece is of particular importance – we are facing unprecedented demand that we cannot currently meet. Over the past 12 months, we have been consulting with members of the community about how to revitalize the Trinity campus. We are currently preparing an application for rezoning to support a new multi-use building (with residence, academic and community spaces) on the parking lot immediately north of the Gerald Larkin Building. We are still in the early planning phase and further consultations will take place in the coming months as we refine our plans. I would like to thank members of the Board, the Finance Committee and the Campaign Advisory Committee for all their hard work and support. As that process goes forward, we continue to upgrade our current buildings to ensure that we are making the best possible use of them. We have also begun a robust multi-year residence renewal program for our existing buildings and are working to maximize our much needed residential spaces.
Related to this, as you will have seen in the latest issue of Trinity Magazine, we are also working on another important initiative – the new Student Services Centre. It will bring key student services such as the Registrar’s Office and the Dean of Students Office together into one space on the main floor of 6 Hoskin Avenue. A one-stop-shop, the Centre will provide a more accessible experience for students and a warmer welcome for all campus visitors.
We have also been engaged in examining other aspects of community life at Trinity to ensure that it is as healthy, inviting and inclusive as possible. Over the last year, we conducted a survey and a number of focus groups on the student experience. We continue to work with students and the incoming student leaders on this priority, which is aimed at strengthening the community and making Trinity a place where all students can flourish.
We have also been busy on a number of community projects. In late April, we finally welcomed our Syrian refugee family to Canada and to Trinity. I would like to thank all those involved – students, alumni, faculty and staff – for their dedication and perseverance in making this happen and for their help in getting the family of three settled in Toronto. We have also struck a Truth and Reconciliation Committee to begin discussions on what the College might do to support that important work.
As Provost, it is also such a privilege to be part of Convocation every year. I extend special congratulations to our 2018 Spring Divinity and Arts & Science graduates and I welcome you to our alumni community! The Class of 2018 has special meaning for me since we started together at Trinity in 2014. Our evening awards ceremony and Convocation itself were both wonderful and bittersweet. To see how our students have grown and flourished over these past four years was truly remarkable. And while we wish them all the best in their future endeavours, we will miss their energy and spirit!
Believe it or not, the very day after our Convocation, we welcomed our newly-admitted students and families to the College for Spring Orientation. The College put on a fantastic program for our new students – they learned about our programs, courses, student services and transition to university life. Their parents were involved in separate programing for the afternoon, which ended with a lovely high tea social in Strachan Hall – what could be more Trinity than that?
At Trinity, we have so many incredible stories to tell about our people, programs and place – I hope this gives you a snapshot of what makes our College such an incredible and magical place.
I extend my gratitude to all members of the Trinity community – faculty, staff, fellows, associates, alumni, students and friends – for everything you do for Trinity and each other. I wish you all a wonderful summer. And for those returning in the fall, I look forward to welcoming you back to campus in September.
Provost and Vice-Chancellor
Categories: Provost’s Messages