Provost’s end of academic year message: June 2022

Posted: June 03, 2022

The Trinity campus in full bloom

Our beautiful campus: crabapple blossoms (left & centre-foreground) and cherry blossoms (centre-background and right) in full bloom at Trinity.

Dear Members of the Trinity Community:

The 2021-2022 academic year has been another strange one, going back and forth between in-person and online learning, opening up and shutting back down. But in true Trinity fashion, our community has been simply fantastic – we all pulled in one direction, from students to staff, faculty and volunteers, adjusting to whatever has come our way. We have once again made it through a challenging year in extremely good shape and are so grateful to everyone for working together to make this possible.

One of the highlights of the academic year was the return of many more students, faculty and staff back to campus. As we know students are facing special challenges right now because of COVID, we increased the supports we provide to our students. An addition that our students especially appreciated was the creation of two new positions of Community Wellness Coordinators (CWCs) as part of our Wellness staff team. Our CWCs also work in collaboration with our Community Advisors and Academic Dons to support both residence and commuter students. Through programs such as these, we are continuing to strengthen our community and to ensure that all of our wonderful Trinity students get the support that they need to flourish and reach their potential.

Compiled image of Trinity's 2021-2022 CWS, Dons and CAs

Trinity’s 2021-2022 teams: (left: 1st column) Community Wellness Coordinators; (next 4 columns) Academic Dons; and (last 4 columns) Community Advisors.

LAWSON CENTRE FOR SUSTAINABILITY

The imaginative new Lawson Centre for Sustainability will shape the future of Trinity. It will enable us to build our community and strengthen our connections. It is also a very tangible expression of our values and our commitment to sustainable living and learning. You can view the recording of our Ground Blessing Ceremony on the future site of the new building, which is the anchor of our Living Trinity Campaign. As you all will be aware, we find ourselves in a very challenging environment – cost escalation and supply chain issues are affecting all construction projects. However, I am pleased to report that work on the new building is proceeding with ongoing site preparations, city permit processes and final cost estimates. We will continue to provide the community with updates as this critical project moves forward.

Projects like these, which are so critical to our future, are only possible because of the generosity of our alumni, all in the service of making a difference in the lives of our students. Your generosity gives us the opportunity to create a rich learning environment and provide support to important programs like the Anne Steacy Counselling Initiative and financial aid for our students, and we are very grateful for your support!

Members of the Trinity community attend the SFSRG's repotting event

Even during these challenging times, our students, faculty and staff continue to work on innovative programing and research, including our Sustainable Food Systems Research Group’s (SFSRG) urban agriculture research project as part of Trinity’s Integrated Sustainability Initiative. (photo) Members of the community join SFSRG’s repotting event on April 16, 2022 at St. Hilda’s College.

INCLUSION & BELONGING

We continue to implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Anti-Black Racism and Inclusion, such as on work on recruitment and supports for Black and Indigenous students. We are now pleased to be able to offer students the support of a newly created BIPOC Bursary Fund. Work also continues in a number of areas including our nominations processes for governance, training programs (on equity, diversity and inclusion, and sexual violence and sexual harassment) and our academic programs (as one example, see Dean Christopher Brittain’s new course on race, theology and diversity), as well as community outreach, among other initiatives.

Our students also continue to be deeply engaged on these important issues. The Divinity class and the TCM organized a virtual tour of Mohawk Institute (a residential school in operation from 1831-1970) to learn about the history of residential schools in Canada and the impact that the system had on Indigenous communities. Another wonderful student-led initiative – the Trinity College Student Multi-Faith Prayer and Meditation Room opened earlier this year. And in the College’s collective work to celebrate diversity and inclusion, we continue to profile members of the Trinity community on our website and social media.  We join the university community in celebrating Pride Month, and in honouring and recognizing National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21.

Students in the Multi-Faith Prayer Room and images of TRINfocus stories

(left) Trinity student organizers welcome members of the community to the official opening of the new Multi-Faith Prayer and Meditation Room on April 1, 2022. (right) Featuring members of the Trinity community for TRINfocus.

And it is great to see this finally come to fruition: Canada’s first two Black doctors – including Trinity’s Dr. Alexander Augusta, who graduated from our medical faculty in 1860 – will be honoured with commemorative plaques near campus (view CityNews article). We’re so proud of the amazing Dr. Augusta who was such a trailblazer in so many different areas and who always used his incredible talents to work tirelessly against injustice.

I am also pleased to report the completion of the Trinity College specific external review which arose out of concerns regarding Andy Orchard, who was Provost from 2007 to 2013. While there were no formal complaints to Trinity College regarding the former provost, one goal of the external review process was to provide pathways to support and resources for anyone who might require them. Although we have made many changes at the College since 2013, another important goal of the review was to identify areas for further improvement within Trinity’s jurisdiction and to frame recommendations on best practices for addressing sexual violence. I am grateful to external reviewers Ms. White and Ms. Goldberg for their thorough work, and to our students, staff and faculty who provided thoughtful feedback during community consultations. The final report and recommendations can be viewed here. The College is committed to providing a safe and healthy campus, and we will continue to work together to strengthen our community, enhance our processes, and ensure that college culture is an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone.

OUR COMMUNITY

Although the pandemic has been challenging in many ways, there are so many reasons for us to celebrate! I’ve highlighted just a few below and I encourage you to visit Trinity News for more stories about our community members.

It was so wonderful to hold our first in-person event in years and meet our graduates in person at our Faculty of Divinity Convocation 2022! What an incredible group – congratulations! We also conferred Honorary Degrees upon two incredible women: alumna Mary Kitagawa (Class of 1959) and The Right Rev’d Susan Bell. Dr. Bell spoke to convocation about mission and our path – and our graduates’ path – to the future. Dr. Kitagawa shared how the harrowing experience of being interned as a Japanese-Canadian inspired her lifelong fight for justice and human rights.

Faculty of Divinity Class of 2022; Honorees in the Trinity Chapel

(left) Faculty of Divinity Graduating Class of 2022 at the reception in the Trinity Quad (pictured here: 12 of the 20 graduates); (right: left to right) Chancellor Bill Graham, Honorees The Right Rev’d Susan Bell and alumna Mary Kitagawa, Provost Mayo Moran and Dean Christopher Brittain.

For our Arts & Science graduands – I hope to see you in a few weeks at Trinity’s Convocation on June 22. Following the ceremony, graduates and their families are invited back to the College for a reception – we hope you are able to join us. We will also be celebrating with our graduands who are receiving Trinity Graduation Awards at a ceremony on June 21. To our entire Class of 2022, we’re so proud of you!  And celebrate with us – feel free to download our #TrinityGrad22 virtual backgrounds!

Although this was the third pandemic reunion, I hope our alumni were able to reconnect with classmates. One of the wonderful traditions of reunion is the act of giving back, and we thank all those who made a special gift to support our students. And it’s not too late, you can still give to Reunion 2022 in honour of your reunion year.

Alumni attend in-person events at Trinity Reunion 2022

(left) Trinity alumni drop by our Reunion table at U of T Alumni Fest 2022; (right) About to start one of our guided nature walks around the Trinity campus to learn about our sustainability initiatives and urban ecology.

STAFF NEWS

Professor Chris Brittain will finish his first term as Dean of Divinity, and is eligible for reappointment. I am chairing the Advisory Committee that will consider this. As part of the process, I would encourage anyone in the Trinity community who has comments and feedback to get in touch with me in confidence at provost@trinity.utoronto.ca before Friday, June 10, 2022. This message will also be available on the Trinity website for the community.

A committee has also been struck for the appointment of the Director, John W. Graham Library and Nicholls Librarian.

Since the start of the pandemic back in March 2020, several of our staff have retired from the College. We are happy that we are finally able to celebrate the many years of their dedicated service at an in-person gathering in the Quad later this month. Congratulations to our recent and upcoming retirees: Gladys Castillo, Tim Connelly, Marilyn Laville, Sheelagh Loy, Judy Martin, Laurel Martineau, Sergio Martinez, Adriana Stan and Gordon Szeto. Thank you for your invaluable service to the College! We will miss you and we wish you all the best!

THANK YOU

To our 2021-2022 student leaders and leadership volunteers – it’s been an absolute pleasure working with you and thank you so much for your commitment and leadership. And a sincere thank you to all our students, faculty, staff, alumni and volunteers for your continued support, positivity and willingness to contribute, even during the highs and lows we faced together since the start of the pandemic. Through it all, we have kept the student experience a priority, and collectively we have accomplished so much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

For members of the Class of 2022 – congratulations! We are so proud of you and so delighted to welcome you to our alumni community. For those returning this fall, we are hoping that the year ahead is smoother, as it promises to be. I know that so many of you have worked so incredibly hard so I hope you get some time this summer to refresh and recharge. Have a wonderful summer ahead.

Yours truly,

Mayo Moran
Provost & Vice-Chancellor