UTSC Principals

Past principals

Dr. David Carleton Williams: Professor of Psychology and a TV/Radio vanguard lecturer, Williams was University of Toronto’s first academic to serve as Director, Department of Extension.  Williams was part of the Live and Learn TV lecture series, one of the University’s first forays into television.  In 1964 he was tasked with spearheading the development of U of T’s two new campuses in Scarborough and Erindale, and served as the first principal for these two campuses.  Williams was named President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Ontario in 1967, where he served for ten years.  (1964 – 1965)

Dr. A. F. Wynne Plumptre: Distinguished U of T Economist and civil servant A.F. Wynne Plumptre was the first to live in the stately Principal's residence, the Miller Lash House. A U of T graduate, Plumptre studied at Cambridge with John Maynard Keynes. Plumptre had served as assistant secretary of the Royal Commission on Banking and Currency in Canada. He later co-edited, with Harold Innis, The Canadian Economy, work which led him into a study of central banking in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, and later to service with the Canadian Embassy in Washington and the Wartime Prices and Trade Board in Ottawa before returning to academia. Plumptre’s wife Beryl was also a forceful and forthright economist who became famous 10years later after Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau appointed her to head the Food Prices Review Board with the unique mandate to report not only to politicians on why prices were increasing rapidly, but directly to the Canadian public. She was named Canadian Newsmaker of the Year in 1975.  (1965 – 1972)

Professor Ralph Campbell, CM (BSc 1949) Agricultural Economist and Rhodes Scholar, Ralph Campbell had served as the Ford Foundation advisor to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1962 and later left Canada for Kenya in 1970 to help establish the Mumias Sugar Factory, creating thousands of jobs. He returned to U of T in 1972, and as Principal, he spearheaded the University’s first co-operative education program. He was the last Principal to reside in the Miller Lash House. Campbell was appointed President at the University of Manitoba in 1976 and in 1984 led the AUCC’s efforts to assist Canadian universities in establishing productive relations with universities in the developing world. Campbell was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1986.  (1972 – 1976)

Dr. Albert Derrick Allen is appointed Principal.  The inorganic chemist came to University of Toronto from University College London in 1957.  In 1965, Allen and his student C.V. Senoff, made the dramatic development in the chemistry of Nitrogen gas when they isolated the first stable complex of dinitrogen, a remarkable complex that caught the imagination of chemists around the world and continues to be the subject of study today. Allen became ill and passed away shortly after assuming the office of Principal. The A.D. Allen Memorial Scholarship is created in his memory to recognize the top student in each year in any field of study. (1976)

Professor Joan Foley:  In yet another nod to equity and equality on campus, Joan Foley became the first female head of a University of Toronto college. Foley went on to become the first female provost at the University. She began her U of T career as a lecturer in the Department of Psychology in 1963, later serving as Chair of that department, Chair in the Division of Life Sciences, and Associate Dean of Arts and Science.  Prof. Foley also returned to UTSC as Acting Principal from 1999 – 2000.   (1976 – 1984)  

George Ronald Williams: Previously Chair of the Department of Biochemistry at U of T from 1970 to 1977, Williams is known for creating an environment in which research blossomed.  Williams continued the involvement of Toronto biochemists in major administrative roles during his tenure. (1984 – 1989)

Dr. Paul Thompson: Scarborough graduate and professor of Philosophy and Zoology, Thompson was a faculty member at UTSC during the 1970s, where he introduced a course that brought a philosophical approach to current social issues. He later became Chair of Humanities from 1987 to 1989. As UTSC Principal and Dean, he oversaw expansion of UTSC’s Co-op program, the introduction of the Bachelor of Business Administration degree and the strengthening of environmental sciences at the campus.  (1989 – 2002)

Professor Kwong-loi Shun: A distinguished scholar and accomplished academic administrator, Shun previously served as Dean of the undergraduate division of the College of Letters and Science at UC Berkeley. A professor of Chinese philosophy and the author of numerous articles and reviews, Shun completed his Bachelors and Masters degrees at the University of Hong Kong, the University of London and Oxford University, and his PhD at Stanford University. At U of T, Shun holds an appointment in UTSC’s Department of Humanities and in the graduate Departments of Philosophy and East Asian Studies.  (2004 – 2006)

Professor Franco Vaccarino: After starting his career at UTSC in 1984 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, Vaccarino worked in several executive capacities at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health before returning to U of T as Chair of the Department of Psychology, where he was also responsible for the tri-campus graduate program. During his years at the helm, he would oversee significant growth in student and faculty populations as well as a new phase of growth on the North Campus. He was instrumental in reorganizing academic departments and developing a new master plan. Vaccarino was named President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guelph in 2014.  (2007 – 2014)