A selection of President Gertler's speeches and institutional publications on the theme... Staff


  • 2018
  • Statement on the events in Pittsburgh October, 2018

    The University of Toronto condemns the horrific and abhorrent shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

  • The University and the City: A Mutually Beneficial Partnership September, 2018

    I recently had a nightmare. It is 2030, five years after a perfect storm has forced the city’s universities to close. Universities saw their public funding reduced substantially over time, as part of the effort to tackle the provincial deficit. Tuition fees were abolished in the belief that this would expand access. Universities’ pension plans faced huge unfunded liabilities, requiring onerous extra payments to be diverted from increasingly depleted operating budgets. The Ministry required more courses to be offered online and demanded that degree programs be just three years in length, to reduce costs and to speed graduates’ entry into the workforce. …

  • President’s statement on the Danforth Avenue shooting July, 2018

    On behalf of the University of Toronto community, I offer my deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the two people who died in the mass shooting on The Danforth on the evening of Sunday, July 22 and to the victims who are now recovering. The Danforth is one of Toronto’s most vibrant communities, […]

  • Statement on the Attack in Toronto April, 2018

    Yesterday we received the heartbreaking news that one of our students has died as a result of the van attack in our city on Monday. I wanted to say at this time how deeply saddened we are, and how concerned we are for the victims of the attack and their families and friends.


  • 2016
  • President Emeritus David Strangway, In Memoriam December, 2016

    The University of Toronto’s David Strangway, who led U of T as president from 1983-1984, died yesterday. He was 82. Strangway was the only person to serve as president of both U of T and the University of British Columbia. He was also the chief geophysicist for NASA in the 1970s, leading the analysis of moon rocks collected by Apollo astronauts.

  • Boundless Campaign Celebration December, 2016

    Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We are here tonight because we share a love for the University of Toronto, a commitment to its academic mission as one of the world’s great public universities, and a belief in its vital importance to our country and our planet. We are here because U of T plays a major role in our lives, and because we know that, in supporting U of T, we are playing our own role in the history of this great, good place.

  • Statement on Recent Acts of Anti-Semitism October, 2016

    The University of Toronto’s St George campus has recently witnessed blatant acts of anti-Semitic vandalism. We deplore these abhorrent acts. We will support those affected, investigate or assist in the investigation of apparent crimes, and forward any evidence to the Toronto Police for their assessment.

  • Statement on Free Expression October, 2016

    Recent events on our campuses have led us to reaffirm the University’s commitment to free speech and to highlight, once again, two critical features of this commitment.

  • Statement on the events in Orlando June, 2016

    The University of Toronto community has reacted with horror and grief at the news of the mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando. Our heartfelt condolences go out to all those who are mourning the loss of family and friends, and those who have been injured in this immense tragedy.

    Our thoughts are also with our LGBTQ community here at U of T and in the greater community across Canada and around the world.

  • Statement on Anti-Semitism and Racism May, 2016

    The values of diversity, inclusion, respect, and civility are fundamental to the University of Toronto. Discrimination or harassment of individuals or groups based on race, religion, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, citizenship, or any other identity as stated in the University’s Statement on Human Rights is intolerable.

  • Innovation Creativity and Urban Regions – Address at the Utrecht Town Hall April, 2016

    For my remarks, I would like to build on some of what my esteemed colleagues have said and offer five policy considerations for successful cities. I recognize, of course, that success takes many different forms and has many different ingredients. Each region will have its own unique characteristics – perhaps this is something my colleagues and I might address in the question and answer session.

    Nevertheless, the five policy considerations I will propose are, in my view, essential to building and growing innovative, successful city clusters. They are based on my ~15 years of research with David Wolfe and colleagues at the University of Toronto.

  • Administrative Response to Report on Sexual Violence April, 2016

    The report of the Presidential and Provostial Committee on Prevention and Response to Sexual Violence was released on February 2nd. Comprised of tri-campus representatives from among students, staff and faculty, the committee and its three working groups were tasked with establishing a set of recommendations to prevent and respond to sexual violence at the University of Toronto.

  • Beyond Divestment: Taking Decisive Action on Climate Change March, 2016

    Late in 2015, the President’s Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuels issued its report on a petition urging the university to divest fully from direct investments in fossil fuel companies.  Today, the university is releasing its response to the advisory committee report. 

  • The 150th Anniversary of the German Department March, 2016

    I am delighted to join you tonight to celebrate this remarkable milestone, and to extend congratulations on the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Department of German on behalf of the University of Toronto!


  • 2015
  • Report of the Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuels December, 2015

    On March 6, 2014, Toronto350, the University of Toronto chapter of the larger 350.org movement, presented the Office of the President with a petition requesting that the University of Toronto fully divest from direct investments in fossil fuels companies within the next five years and to stop investing new money in the industry. This is the report of the Presidential Advisory Committee struck to consider the petition.

  • President’s Statement on Diversity and Inclusion November, 2015

    Diversity, inclusion, respect, and civility are among the University of Toronto’s fundamental values. Outstanding scholarship, teaching, and learning can thrive only in an environment that embraces the broadest range of people and encourages the free expression of their diverse perspectives. Indeed, these values speak to the very mission of the University. They spark education, discovery, and understanding and so take their place among humanity’s greatest forces for good.

  • Statement on the attacks in Paris November, 2015

    The University of Toronto community shares the shock and sadness felt around the world in response to the deadly attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015. Our thoughts are with those whose loved ones were killed or injured, and with all the people of France. In particular, our thoughts are with U of T students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are from France or who have friends and loved ones there.

  • Students and scholars at risk September, 2015

    We have watched news of the Syrian refugee crisis with overwhelming distress, sorrow, and frustration. Our reaction has been all the more visceral, particularly here at the University of Toronto, as we witness the disproportionate impact on young people and children.

  • In Memory of Professor George Luste March, 2015

    Colleagues across the University of Toronto community, and well beyond, are saddened to learn of the death of Professor George Luste.

  • In Memory of Professor George Connell,
    President Emeritus of the University of Toronto
    March, 2015

    With the passing of Professor George Connell, the University’s 12th president (1984-1990), the University of Toronto community has lost a great leader, scientist, colleague, and friend.

  • In Memory of Dr. John Evans, President Emeritus of the University of Toronto February, 2015

    The University of Toronto receives the news of the death of Dr. John Evans with sadness at our collective loss, and gratitude for his decades of contributions to diverse facets of Canadian society.

  • Universities and City-Regions: A Partnership for Innovation and Opportunity January, 2015

    Universities and city-regions collaborate on many of the themes at the very heart of the Intercultural Dialogue Institute: community building, peace-building, social innovation, opportunity, and prosperity.
    But before I get too far ahead of myself, let me start with an image from the past… Imagine that you are standing at the corner of Bay and Richmond looking east.


  • 2014
  • President’s Statement on violence and threats against women December, 2014

    Violence against women is a despicable reality in Canada and around the world. We must take every opportunity to condemn it and work tirelessly to bring it to an end. Many of you are disturbed, as I am, at news of anonymous online threats targeting women at our university. In response to these specific threats, […]

  • National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women December, 2014

    Twenty-five years on, the violence against women committed on December 6, 1989 is no less shocking. And it is no less a challenge to our society.

  • Announcement of the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research November, 2014

    Ted Rogers said, “There are always lots of opportunities, if you persevere and aren’t afraid to take chances. But the important thing is that you have to work very hard and take risks.” Given the number of people affected by heart disease in Canada and around the world, we need to take Ted Rogers’ advice.

  • Boundless Milestone November, 2014

    Ladies and gentlemen, this is an exciting time to be a part of the U of T community. And tonight we celebrate a new milestone in the Boundless impact of the University of Toronto as a force for good in our world. The Boundless campaign, launched officially just three years ago, is helping to open new horizons of exploration for our researchers. And it is boosting our ability to provide an excellent and accessible education for our students.

  • University of Toronto Scarborough 50th Anniversary October, 2014

    I am simply delighted to be here and help mark such a major milestone in the history of the University of Toronto Scarborough.

    We are celebrating not just UTSC today, but the entire U of T family – and the gathering this afternoon is a tangible manifestation of that fact.

  • Richard Nunn Portrait Unveiling September, 2014

    Ladies and gentlemen, the portraits in this room, and those in the halls leading up to it, remind us that the University of Toronto is a great academic community comprised of people, collaborating in our shared missions of teaching and research.

    Of course the portraits also represent their individual subjects. In this, they remind us of the unique character of each of these leaders. And in so doing, they convey the ethos of this wonderful community of learning and discovery, to which we are so privileged to belong.

  • 1914-1918 In Memoriam July, 2014

    Ladies and gentlemen, visitors to this campus are struck by its marvellous buildings, old and new. Invariably they pause at a uniquely dignified landmark, at the heart of it all. The Soldiers’ Tower…

  • Global LGBTQ Human Rights: In Conversation June, 2014

    The University of Toronto has a long—and proud!—history of advocacy on LGBTQ issues; marked by an important string of ‘firsts’. While there are too many for me to list here, I will touch upon a few highlights.

  • TechKnowFile Opening Remarks May, 2014

    Techknowfile owes some of its importance to what I might call, with apologies to Gordon Moore, Gertler’s Law. That is: The number of IT related challenges and opportunities at the University of Toronto doubles every two years.

  • Milestone Service Awards Reception

    During my time at the University of Toronto as professor, Dean and now as freshly-minted President, I have been struck by the high calibre and remarkable commitment and loyalty of those who work at the University. For a quarter-century or more, you have helped to define the nature and quality of U of T, and you have provided such a great service to the people of Toronto, Canada, and beyond.

  • The Honourable David Peterson, Portrait Unveiling April, 2014

    Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Council Chamber in historic Simcoe Hall and to a
    wonderful celebration of our Chancellor Emeritus The Honourable David Peterson.

  • Faculty of Medicine Retreat April, 2014

    Over the next twenty or so minutes, I would like to share two key messages with you. The second message – about partnership – will comprise the lion’s share of my remarks.

    But my first message is this: Thank you. Thank you for your leadership… for your scholarship, mentorship, and clinical expertise… for your commitment to research, and research-intensive education… for your dedication to your students, your colleagues, your patients, your hospitals, your University, and your extended communities.

  • Varsity Athletes Luncheon March, 2014

    I am delighted to be here this afternoon to celebrate our outstanding Varsity athletes.It has been another extremely rewarding year for the Blues, and you have each carried our colours with talent and dedication. This past season has seen its share of individual and collective victories, glorious achievements, personal bests and proud podium moments.


  • 2013
  • A Celebration of the Remarkable Life of Nelson Mandela December, 2013

    Nelson Mandela is a towering figure in the history of the world. As our first speakers have made clear so eloquently, Mr. Mandela epitomized courage, integrity, and wisdom. His unflinching dedication to human rights for all people – in the face of unimaginable personal suffering and injustice – remains a singular inspiration. His example is a source of hope and optimism in a

  • Installation Address November, 2013

    20th … 8th … 2nd … 1st … and last. That is the paradox that is the University of Toronto.