University of Toronto Scarborough 50th Anniversary

October 5, 2014

Thank you Prof Hasenkampf [Associate Dean, Teaching and Learning].

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.

Fifty years ago, U of T Scarborough caught the world’s attention with the opening of John Andrews’ landmark building. You will do so again next summer, when international media broadcast images of the fantastic new Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

Of course the Sports Centre is just one part of the thriving and invigorating development of the Scarborough campus – a simply stunning urban-green environment with world-class teaching, research, and recreational facilities.

How far we have come from those early days, when Time Magazine (in 1967) described the campus as “A Satellite Built for TV”. Time marvelled at the architecture and noted that “45% of the instruction is transmitted throughout a single twisting concrete building by television.”

If only they could see us now!

Since its inception, UTSC has been committed to accessibility and inclusiveness, collaboration with the community, and the highest standards of pedagogical and academic innovation and excellence.

We see this in UTSC’s ground-breaking co-op programs that enrol some 1,600 students… in its remarkable Summer Internship Program for highly motivated Grade 12 students… in its collaborations with local institutions, from Centennial College to the East Scarborough Storefront…

Incidentally, these sorts of collaborations are deeply embedded within UTSC’s DNA. The first such collaboration, with Scarborough’s Birchmount Park Collegiate, began in 1964, before the campus officially opened.

At the same time, UTSC has responded to the pedagogical and research interests of its growing faculty, developing emerging fields of study and innovative programs, in areas such as: Tamil Studies; Modern Standard Chinese and Mandarin Translation; Management and Economics; Entrepreneurship, Environmental Science and Engineering.

Indeed, it is a sign of the evolution and the strength of our tri-campus system that research and teaching excellence at UTSC is burgeoning. Faculty members with primary UTSC appointments have published 26 times as many research papers in 2013 as they did in 2004. UTSC faculty have won 71 major research awards and honours since 2004. The campus boasts 3 members of the President’s Teaching Academy, 2 Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association teaching award winners, and a 3M National Teaching Fellow.

This degree of excellence is characteristic of a collegium and a cohort of exceptional staff that have put their hearts and souls into this campus.

And speaking of hearts and souls… UTSC’s students merit a special focus too. They have taken leadership roles across the campus and they are famously dedicated to the success of their University. UTSC students were leading partners in building not only the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, but also the Student Centre in 2001, and the Bladen Library in the 1970s. Over the years the students have given more than $50M dollars to help develop these projects.

It is worth emphasizing that, in most cases, the students who contributed financially knew that the facilities they were supporting would not be completed before they graduated. They were contributing to future UTSC students and to the growth and success of their campus.

This example typifies the sense of community that makes the University of Toronto Scarborough so special. Of course, today’s students are tomorrow’s alumni. And UTSC’s alumni are fiercely dedicated to their alma mater.

In this regard, I am delighted to be sharing the podium this afternoon with the Honourable David Onley, former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and now Senior Lecturer & Distinguished Guest here at UTSC. David Onley is one of the University’s most distinguished alumni. He will be teaching classes in the Department of Political Science and working with students on research projects. He will also archive his papers at the UTSC Library. And next summer, Mr. Onley will serve as our Special Ambassador for the Pan Am and Parapan American Games.

For all these reasons and more, UTSC has a lot to look forward to. Its Strategic Plan – like the campus itself – is ambitious and inspiring. This place, its people and their ideas provide compelling reasons for us all to be excited about the future of U of T and its tri-campus system.

Indeed, let me pause here for a moment to highlight the strength and value of our unique tri-campus system. This system is a great differentiating advantage for the University of Toronto that transcends simple geography. It is a framework that nurtures innovation and enriches our entire academic community.

UTSC and UTM have shown themselves to be truly nimble, creative, and entrepreneurial, availing themselves of every opportunity to experiment, to increase the diversity of our academic enterprise, and to enable us to respond more quickly and more comprehensively to the interests of our students and our faculty. These institutional ‘degrees of freedom’ have served to enhance the academic mission of the entire University of Toronto. The results are all around us today.

Ladies and gentlemen, as we celebrate UTSC’s Golden Anniversary, we take pride in a series of remarkable achievements. Congratulations to the entire community.

At the same time, we also look ahead 50 years to a very bright future both for the University of Toronto Scarborough and for the University of Toronto itself.

It is now my pleasure to welcome to the podium the individual leading UTSC into that bright future, Interim Vice-President and Principal, Professor Bruce Kidd.