2016 has flown by and here I am, writing to wish you a happy holiday season.
As educators and researchers, we’re wired to look forward rather than back, so it’s easy to forget all the moments that make a year. But it’s just as important to savour our accomplishments as it is to collect them. I would like to close 2016 with a ‘thank you’ for helping set U of T Scarborough apart. Each and every faculty and staff member makes a difference in the lives of those we teach, support and partner with, and those we may not even know who benefit by the work we do every day.
We started the year with the official opening of the Environmental Science & Chemistry Building—the University’s second new building that has achieved LEED Gold status. This is a particularly impressive achievement for a building that is primarily a lab facility. We’re walking the talk—and showing others how to do the same.
We broke ground on the renovation of the R-Wing, the project we’re calling Highland Hall, that will give us a new doorway to the community, a new home for our social sciences departments, and much needed student space. Not only is this project moving well along—we’ll start to see five stories rise above ground soon. The new space has attracted a higher level of giving from alumni and friends than we’ve seen before. That’s an important milestone for our campus, and sets a bar we will continue to raise.
We’re telling new chapters of the U of T Scarborough story with the students we attract—this year’s incoming students have the highest average grades ever. We can all be proud that Mihil Patel claimed the John Black Aird Award—the fourth consecutive year in a row for a U of T Scarborough student. Our contributions as an anchor institution strengthen Scarborough and the eastern GTA economically and culturally. Our faculty has again been recognized with prestigious awards including three new Canada Research Chairs. And our own Bill Gough was named our Vice-Principal academic and dean.
We hosted Scarborough Fare, the annual conference of three academic organizations in a first-ever joint event that brought more than 500 academics together to explore the changing nature of food production, distribution and consumption.
We welcomed our first South Korean Green Path student. And we said goodbye to Cindy Nicholas and other great advocates for U of T Scarborough.
Nearly 100 newcomers to Canada took their oath of citizenship in the Meeting Place. We shared Stories of UTSC in a multi-media exhibit; current student Marc Lombardo and our alum Chris Aitken were two of only seven named Global Changemaker Youth Ambassadors. UTSC Hacks found ways to make it easier for families to manage money. Jason Barnable—a first-year student—scooped the 2015 CUFLA Outstanding Rookie award. And city staff released a report proposing the 17-stop Eglinton Cross-Town LRT that will run right to our campus, putting back on track the transit plan promised with the funding of the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.
I could go on and on. This has been an unforgettable year. I appreciate all of your great work; it is because of you that I could not be more excited about what’s in store for 2017.
For now, I wish each of you and your loved ones a very happy and peaceful holiday.
Thanks and best,
Bruce Kidd, O.C., Ph.D., LL.D.