University of Toronto

Office of the
President

History of the Position

On March 15, 1827, the University of Toronto, then called “King’s College”, was granted its royal charter by King George IV. In the years since its founding, the university has been home to a series of colourful presidents who, together with an extraordinary cast of faculty, staff, and students, have guided the university through a history filled with dramatic events — from the admission of women in the 1880s, the University College fire of 1890, two world wars, the student protests of the 1960s, decades of growth and underfunding, to the new wave of building, renewal, and excellence today.

Below is a list of the University of Toronto’s past presidents. Click on a name to show (and hide) a relevant quote from Martin Friedland’s University of Toronto: A History.

  • The Honourable and Right Reverend John Strachan – 1827-1848

  • The Reverend John McCaul – 1848-1880

  • Sir Daniel Wilson – 1880-1892

  • James Loudon – 1892-1906

  • Sir Robert Alexander Falconer – 1907-1932

  • The Honourable and Reverend Henry John Cody – 1932-1945

  • Sidney Earle Smith – 1945-1957

  • Claude Thomas Bissell – 1958-1971

  • John Robert Evans – 1972-1978

  • James Milton Ham – 1978-1983

  • David William Strangway – 1983-1984

  • George Edward Connell – 1984-1990

  • John Robert Stobo Prichard – 1990–2000

  • Robert Joseph Birgeneau – 2000-2004

  • C. David Naylor – 2005-2013

  • Meric Gertler – 2013-…