A selection of President Gertler's speeches and institutional publications on the theme... Alumni and Communities
- The 2019 Annual Report of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability July, 2019
Note from President Gertler I am pleased to see the publication of the 2019 Annual Report of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability (CECCS). Created in 2017, the CECCS has been advancing our understanding of sustainability as embracing environmental and human wellbeing, and the interactions between them. I am particularly happy to see that […]
- Statement on the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka April, 2019
The University of Toronto community shares in the shock and sadness felt around the world in response to the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka yesterday. These despicable atrocities were orchestrated on Easter Sunday, the holiest day in the Christian calendar, in a country with a long history of religious pluralism and a culture that is […]
- A letter to students, faculty and staff from President Gertler on student mental health at U of T March, 2019
To all members of the U of T community: The past two weeks have been an extremely difficult time for our community, as we mourn the tragic death of one of our students. I would like to thank the many students and others who have come forward to voice their concerns, share their experiences and […]
- International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Conference March, 2019
Reading the news these days – most recently, the news of distressing and tragic events in Christchurch, NZ – it is clear that our circumstances are indeed challenging. Tribalism, nationalism, racism, sexism, xenophobia… all seem to be on the rise in many corners of the world. This is one of the reasons why the theme of this year’s Conference, “Why Anti-Racism Work Still Matters within Learning Communities and Beyond”, is so timely and important.
- Statement on the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, NZ March, 2019
The University of Toronto community has reacted with horror and sorrow on hearing of the terrorist atrocities committed against Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand yesterday. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of these innocent people who were so cruelly murdered while at worship. We stand in solidarity with Muslims around the world […]
- Statement on the death of the Honourable Michael Wilson February, 2019
The University of Toronto community deeply mourns the loss of our Chancellor Emeritus, the Honourable Michael Wilson. A proud and accomplished Commerce alumnus and a Trinity grad, he was our tireless advocate and our global ambassador.
- The 2018 Annual Report of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability December, 2018
The Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability (CECCS) was struck in February 27, 2017, to identify ways to advance the University’s contributions to meeting the challenges of climate change and sustainability, with a particular focus on research and innovation, teaching, and University operations.
- 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.
- Anticipating Tomorrow: The Future of Higher Education in a Turbulent World April, 2018
As the title of my talk today indicates, I want to address ‘The Future of Higher Education’ – and to discuss the turbulent, disruptive nature of change in the economy and what it means for universities.
- In support of Central European University April, 2017
I write as President of the University of Toronto to express our community’s alarm and dismay at the recent vote in the Hungarian parliament supporting legislation that would, in effect, shut down Central European University in Budapest.
- Truth and Reconciliation Entrustment Ceremony January, 2017
As we embark upon a year of celebration to mark the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation, we cannot lose sight of the work that needs to be done before we can truly celebrate a country that welcomes the centrality of Indigenous peoples.
- 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.
- International Collaboration: A Role for Universities and Urban Regions in Fostering Global Prosperity November, 2016
Thank you also to President Lin for the invitation to join you today and the privilege of offering this keynote address. It is a great honour.
I am delighted to be back in Beijing and deeply grateful for the warm hospitality I have received here over the years. Indeed, Beijing truly embodies the spirit and optimism of this Forum. I hope my remarks this morning continue in that spirit. In particular, I want to speak to the Forum’s sub-theme: mutual trust, cooperation, and sharing.
- 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.
- Catalyzing Innovation: Cities, Collaboration, Connections, and Commitment. September, 2016
Address to the 6th Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation & Entrepreneurship.
This morning, I want to talk about what I will call the four ‘C’s: cities, collaboration, connections, and commitment. In particular, I want to investigate how these four ‘C’s combine to foster innovation in our regions.
- 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.
- San Francisco alumni reception March, 2016
Ladies and gentlemen, let me say how truly delighted I am to be back in San Francisco, one of the world’s most beautiful and dynamic cities. Given where we are meeting, in the middle of what is arguably the world’s most innovative urban region, I thought you’d be interested to hear about recent developments in Toronto’s innovation ecosystem, and the very important role your alma mater is playing in it.
- 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.
- Urban Regions and Universities December, 2015
It is increasingly clear that this relationship between cities and universities is critical to our collective prosperity. In fact, my argument today will be a simple one: Global cities in partnership with global universities are building the foundations of our collective future prosperity. While there is growing recognition – both in China and in Canada – that urban regions are fundamental sources prosperity, I believe that their importance remains under-appreciated. I am going to argue this afternoon that this is going to change.
- 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.
- The Engaged University: The Role of the University in the City October, 2015
It is simply extraordinary to see how many things have changed since I was an undergraduate student here. There is a fantastic vibe at McMaster and throughout Hamilton these days.
In fact, this afternoon I want to talk about that vibe and how McMaster is both helping to create it and benefiting from it. I will argue that McMaster and its host city-region of Hamilton are a striking example of an increasingly important global phenomenon.
- 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.
- Foundations for Canada’s Future Prosperity May, 2015
My main argument is a simple one: at a time when our traditional sources of prosperity are being challenged by both cyclical and longer-term change, we need to instigate a local, provincial, and national conversation about where our future prosperity will come from
- 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.
- 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.