Varsity Athletes Luncheon

March 28, 2014

Check against delivery.

Note: Photos from the event are available here: http://www.president.utoronto.ca/events/9th-annual-varsity-athletes-reception

Thank you, Dean Jacobs, for your kind introduction. It is my privilege to welcome all of you to the 9th annual reception honouring our Varsity athletes.

I am pleased to see past and present governors, senior administrative staff and faculty leaders here this afternoon. And I note that a number of them are past Varsity Blues – continuing to represent the University with great distinction.

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.

Of course, it goes without saying that the pride we feel of every one of you is not contingent on standings at the end of a season. We admire your commitment, your talent, and your ability to balance academics with the demands of highly competitive athletic endeavours. These are attributes that set you apart as influential and inspiring role models for your fellow students.

Along with our stellar student-athletes, I would also like to salute the entire Varsity athletics community: Dean Ira Jacobs and his remarkable leadership team—all the faculty members, coaches, trainers, and volunteers who help our athletes; not least those who raise funds for individuals and teams.

Thank you for supporting the amazing young women and men who are gathered here this afternoon—and the generations of great student-athletes that came before them. You enrich our students’ education in the broadest sense—by emphasizing and investing in life outside the classroom, library and laboratory. And, as Dean Jacobs would be quick to remind us: there is an important and established link between athletics and performance within the classroom, library and laboratory as well.

Recognition of that fact is why the University of Toronto has worked so hard over the years to ensure that our mission includes supporting some of this country’s very finest competitive student-athletes

It is why we have witnessed our recent athletic renaissance:

  • The Varsity Centre
  • The Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport and the Kimel Family Field House.
  • The fabulous Recreation, Athletics and Wellness Centre (RAWC) at UTM
  • CIBC Aquatics Centre and Field House rising out of the ground at UTSC.

It is also why we have engaged closely with the upcoming Pan-Am Games through both the Toronto 2015 secretariat and three levels of Government. These facilities have another important result: They give all U of T students, faculty and staff as well as the local community access to a world-class athletics and recreation experience.

Again, I congratulate each and every one of our Varsity Blues. You join the tradition of exceptional student-athletes who, for well over a century, have done our University proud and created a great legacy of excellence.