Dear Members of the Trinity College Community:
It is hard to believe we’re already passed the halfway mark of the fall term. On all accounts, we’ve had a successful start to the academic year – the first September since 2019 that has felt relatively “normal” with students, faculty and staff back on campus. It’s so wonderful to return to in-person teaching, student services, student life activities and college events, and to be able to share the beauty of our campus.
Throughout the fall term, our Wellness Team hosted various events and fun activities for students and reminded them that the team is available to support their mental health, wellness and overall wellbeing throughout the year.
We are very aware that many students faced social isolation these past few year. One way we’re helping to build community is through a new initiative – community welcome dinners. This fall, we hosted a series of house dinners for residence students to meet with other students, student leaders, faculty and staff. It was great for everyone to get to know one another and share a meal. The events were so successful that next term we will host another set of community dinners for commuter students. In addition, for students in financial need, our bursary applications for fall/winter 2022-2023 are now open. Trinity bursaries are largely funded by our generous donors, including the BIPOC Bursary Fund that supports students who are Black, Indigenous, or people of colour. Thank you to all our donors who support our bursary program and other initiatives such as our Mental Health Program. Your gifts make such a tangible difference in the lives of our students, a difference that is especially important in this time of rising costs. And fresh off the digital press is the Trinity College 2021-2022 Donor Impact Report – together, our extraordinary community is accomplishing great things and I am so grateful or your continued support!
Last week, we held our Fall Meeting of Corporation. I want to express our gratitude to Bishop Andrew Asbil for doing a wonderful job of chairing Corporation, the role of our beloved Chancellor, the late Bill Graham. At Corporation, we honoured Bill’s memory with a video presentation, which you can view here; and fittingly, we also announced this year’s recipients of the Chancellor William C. Graham Awards.
The Graham Awards were created in 2019 to honour and say thank you to our incredible chancellor on the occasion of his 80th birthday. As you may recall, we announced this at a wonderful birthday party for him. Bill was the best possible role model anyone could have – kind, generous and thoughtful. The annual Graham Awards recognize members of the Trinity community – students, staff, faculty and alumni – who lead by positive example and inspire others, just as he did. Congratulations to our 2022 recipients: Urania Gavris, Michael Kessler, Imran Koehnen, Erin McCuaig, Alex McLean, Abhishek Moturu, Gerry Noble and Raquel Serrano. You can learn more about these remarkable individuals and the ways they contributed their time to foster a positive environment at Trinity.
We also extend congratulations to eight members of the Trinity community – recipients of this year’s Arbor Awards, U of T’s highest honour in recognition of exceptional and longstanding volunteer service: Ian L. Forsyth, Sharon C. Geraghty, Neil Hrab, Susan E. M. Huggard, Darcey R. Lazerte, Charles Pick, Ivor Simmons and Anthony Vaz. Thank you for your exceptional volunteerism and contributions to the Trinity and U of T communities.
After months of preparation, I’m pleased to report that our Faculty of Divinity has been re-accredited for a seven-year term by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. This accreditation review process included a week-long visit in October by an ATS team who assessed all aspects of the College and the Faculty. Thank you to our Acting Dean of Divinity Marsha Hewitt and Faculty Administrator Sydney Yeung for their leadership in the review process, along with many other faculty and staff who contributed to a successful visit.
Back to campus life: with our doors more generally open – Saturday, October 22 was an extremely busy day on campus. We had an incredibly successful Fall Campus Day, with about 600 students and their families coming through our doors to learn more about Trinity and U of T.
That Saturday was also the mid-point of the Trinity College Friends of the Library Book Sale. After a two-year pandemic pause, our Book Sale was “the” anticipated sale of the year! And it didn’t disappoint – the Book Sale was a resounding success, raising more than $95K to support the many projects and services of our John W. Graham Library and Archives. On behalf of the College, I wanted to extend sincere thanks to our incredible Friends of the Library for their creative problem solving and for putting on a fantastic sale – a monumental effort in any year, but even more so this year. Thanks also to the College staff who supported them and of course to the amazing dedicated volunteers who ensured that it was an enjoyable experience for everyone.
Looking forward: Fall Reading Week starts on Monday for our Arts & Science students – wishing everyone a chance to recharge and prepare for the second half of the term. Monday, November 7 is also the date for Trinity’s Fall Convocation 2022. Our very own Dr. Rosemary McCarney – Trinity’s James Coutts Distinguished Visitor, International Relations professor, honorary degree recipient and alumna – will address graduates at the ceremony (you can view the livestream of the ceremony here). I extend my warmest congratulations to our graduands on your special day. We are incredibly proud of you and we welcome you to our alumni community!
For graduates from the Class of 2020 and 2021, the University will be holding special graduation ceremonies in Convocation Hall before the winter break. Trinity’s celebration will be held on the evening of December 15, 2022 and more information will be shared once plans are confirmed. I cannot tell you how thrilled we are to be able to welcome you back on campus and to celebrate this important milestone with you.
If you’ve been on the Trinity campus lately, you will know that work has begun on the site for the new Lawson Centre for Sustainability. As of early October, the surface parking lot adjacent to the Gerald Larkin Building permanently closed and construction mobilization has begun with the installation of fencing and staging, and the arrival of equipment. The map below indicates the approximate location of the construction site (shaded in red). Please note that the entire construction site is under the authority of Graham Construction, and for safety and other reasons, no one (students, staff, faculty and visitors) can enter or travel through the fenced enclosure for any reason at any time. In the coming months, there will be more activity our campus, including increased traffic in various areas and some intermittent periods of loud or disruptive work. You can visit our website for construction notices, directions for barrier-free access and other important updates. You will also be able to monitor the progress of our project with a live webcam, which will be installed shortly.
I also want to thank our community for their incredible support for our Living Trinity campaign, which has surpassed our initial goal of $40 million in new money this spring. This means that over the past decade, more than $84 million has been raised to support the College’s priorities! However, as we embark on the Lawson Centre construction in an environment of escalating construction costs, interest rate hikes and related challenges, we need your continued support more than ever to realize our campaign priorities. I believe we can hit the $100 million mark in 2024, which will also be the 100th anniversary of the opening of 6 Hoskin Ave. – $100 million for our 100th anniversary would be a wonderful accomplishment for our wonderful little college! You can learn more about our new building, our sustainability initiative, and how our strategic investments will support students, enhance academic programming and transform our historic campus on our campaign website.
On a final note, I encourage you to visit our website often for a list of upcoming events and Trinity News, particularly as we are able to host more of the in-person activities that we have so missed. And as always, I welcome your ideas for community building and other ways to connect with one another. Enjoy the rest of the glorious autumn weather and thank you for everything you do to make Trinity such a special place.
Provost & Vice-Chancellor