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The Campaign for University College

The Campaign for University College


Donald C. Ainslie, Principal, University College

“University College’s commitment to an open, non-sectarian education was revolutionary in the mid-nineteenth century. It remains essential in the twenty-first.” The Campaign for University College • 1


“… an institution which freely offers the advantages of a higher education to all who are qualified… and enables the son of the poorest and humblest man in the land to compete on equal terms with the children of the most affluent and the most influential.” John McCaul, first President of University College, 1853 - 80

Introduction University College was founded over 150 years ago on the principle that excellence in higher education can be achieved only by means of open inquiry, without constraints imposed by religion or other dogmas. We continue to be a community of diverse undergraduate students, dedicated staff, accomplished faculty, and influential alumni who have achieved distinction in every field. The centre and pride of our community is the magnificent University College building, an architectural masterpiece and National Historic Site. It stands at the centre of the University of Toronto. And, as the founding college of the University, our values have been at the centre of U of T’s ascendance into one of the world’s great public research and teaching institutions. But, since University College first opened its doors, the way we teach and learn has changed dramatically, and the campus and city of Toronto have grown up around us. The College has always had to strike a balance between adapting to contemporary circumstances and preserving our rich heritage. Our commitment to our values remains

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unchanging while we meet new challenges. Our students remain at the centre of all we do. The Junior Common Room (JCR), for example, was originally the College’s dining hall, where meals would be served to our earliest cohorts of students. Early in the twentieth century, it was converted to a lounge, where students would play bridge or read their textbooks. Today’s students go to the JCR to socialize and do coursework on their laptops and handheld devices. Throughout this time, our tradition of inclusivity has meant that the students who crowd the JCR have come from increasingly diverse religious, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. Just as our building has been repurposed for changing circumstances, the focus of our academic mission has changed from traditional subjects such as Chemistry and Philosophy in the College’s earliest decades, to an emphasis on the humanities throughout much of the twentieth century, to interdisciplinary programs starting in the mid-1970s.


University College today sponsors three undergraduate programs – Canadian Studies, Cognitive Science, and Health Studies – and UC One, a set of small seminars for first-year students. The College is also affiliated with the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies and the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies.

Our plan addresses the needs of our community by supporting innovative academic programs, increasing scholarships and standards of accessibility, and revitalizing the historic UC building. Our values of openness, academic excellence, and community have informed our plan. Our heritage will not be compromised – it will be celebrated, and it will lead us into the future.

With the twenty-first century upon us, University College must once again adapt in order to maintain our commitment to our founding values and meet the needs of our students.

Our community rallied in support of University College after the devastating fire of 1890 and upon the threat of demolition in the 1970s. It is time for us to come together once again. That is why University College, under the rubric of Boundless: The Campaign for the University of Toronto, has launched a campaign to revitalize its unparalleled architectural heritage, secure its innovative UC One initiative and other academic programs, and expand student support to ensure that the College continues to be open to all qualified students. With your support, we can continue to provide the boundless education that prepares our students for boundless success.

Today’s students need an education that encourages open inquiry and creative thinking in order to succeed in an increasingly complex world. They need classrooms and study spaces that are appropriate for modern teaching and learning methods and technologies. Moreover, we must ensure that all qualified students have full access to the College, regardless of their financial background or physical limitations.

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“Your support has a huge impact on our lives. It enables us to build new skills, learn from our mistakes, and celebrate our successes.” Stephanie Burdzy, Scholarship recipient and fourth-year student in Art History, Visual Studies, and History

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Opening Doors We believe that all qualified students should have access to the full spectrum of learning experiences available at UC, regardless of their financial background. Increasing scholarship support helps ensure that deserving students can attend UC by offsetting tuition fees so that they can focus on their studies. Scholarships allow students to take advantage of UC’s rich extracurricular learning opportunities by freeing up time that might otherwise be spent working at a part-time job. Students who serve on our student government, the UC Literary and Athletic Society (UC Lit), write for our newspaper, The Gargoyle, or play intramural sports, not only forge deep connections within the UC community, they also develop the soft skills needed to succeed in the workforce. There are many scholarship funds to which alumni and friends can contribute. We also welcome new scholarships attached to specific disciplines or areas of interest. The Boundless Promise Program, which augments needs-based awards for undergraduates, means that there has never been a better time to give. Through this program, the University of Toronto will match – in perpetuity and on a one-to-one basis – the annual income generated by new endowed donations of $25,000 or more.

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James Mossman (UC BCom 1981), founding donor of UC One

Opening Minds We believe that young people need a certain kind of education in order to succeed in today’s world – an education that promotes open inquiry, creative problemsolving, and real-world experience. That is why in 2011-12 we introduced UC One, a set of small, intensive seminars for first-year students on the theme of civic engagement. Students enrolled in UC One are encouraged to look at the world around them through a number of different lenses. In the four streams that comprise UC One, students explore topics such as citizenship, health, sexuality, and culture in small classes led by some of our best professors and featuring guest speakers who are leaders in the community. UC One encourages leadership and creativity among students by exposing them to inspiring figures and challenging ideas. Students also participate in field excursions where they apply classroom-based learning

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in the real word and build on the UC tradition of giving back to the community. UC One allows students to fully engage with the material, their professors, and each other in a way that is not possible in a larger class setting. The small class sizes help ease the transition from high school to university, and the close interaction with faculty lets students hone their skills for success in whatever field of study they choose to pursue. James Mossman (UC BCom 1981), a long-time UC donor and supporter who has had a successful career in finance, recognizes the benefits of the UC One approach. “The idea of having more direct contact with a great professor in an intimate classroom: I see the power of that. I want kids to have that opportunity.” That is why Mossman chose to be the founding donor of UC One, making a landmark gift and taking advantage of a matching program to double its impact. This matching program continues to be in place for gifts towards the UC One endowment.


“UC One allows me to think critically about our world. This course is not just about learning what one does not know, but also about what one brings to learning.” Rita Ezeakonobi, UC One student, 2011 -1  2 The Campaign for University College • 7


Opening Spaces We believe that student spaces fundamentally shape the undergraduate experience. Generations of students and passers-by have found inspiration wandering through the halls of University College, an architectural masterwork in the Romanesque-Revival style. The countless whimsical, asymmetrical details not only capture our gaze and imagination, they also reflect back to us the diverse nature of our community. When University College first opened its doors to students on October 4, 1859, its classrooms, library, and laboratories were lit by daylight and kerosene lamps, and its dormitories and offices were heated by coal-burning fireplaces. Faculty members relied on the spoken word and a blackboard to communicate their ideas, while students took notes by pen and paper. In the intervening decades, teaching and learning methods have changed dramatically. The IT revolution has seen blackboards, textbooks, and notepads give way to smart screens, e-readers, and iPads. To anyone walking through UC’s grand spaces today, it is clear that they require updating to improve functionality and meet current technological standards. But University College’s breathtaking spaces are not merely utilitarian. They are the backdrops to life stories, the places where undergraduates first discover their passions, form lifelong friendships, and fall in love. Our rooms hold the stories from our past and herald our students’ bright future. By revitalizing our beloved spaces with heritage and functionality in mind, we can ensure that UC continues to tell the stories of our past, while serving the needs of our present and future.

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“When people think of the University of Toronto they think about University College. As a UC student I carry around that pride and I want our beautiful building to be used as well as it can be.” Ryan Phillips, Vice-President, University College Literary & Athletic Society, 2013 -14

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“It was a beautiful hall, fitted up with carved oaken alcoves and galleries, after the model of the older university libraries of Europe.� Benefactors of the University of Toronto after the fire of 1890

Library The University College library was originally located in East Hall. The soaring and majestic chamber held approximately 33,000 carefully selected volumes over two levels and offered the students of the day a quiet, inspirational place for study and research. In many ways the pride of the University, the library, was destroyed in a matter of hours by a calamitous fire that started on the evening of February 14,1890 when a kerosene lamp fell to the ground during preparations for a student social. The blaze devastated the east and south wings of University College, leaving only the laboratory and dormitories in the west wing unscathed. In the aftermath of the fire, the alumni of University College, citizens of Toronto, and supporters from around the world rallied to reconstruct the treasured building. During this process, the East Hall was refashioned as an open hall. This great space, once a repository of knowledge, is currently an underused examination room that sits empty throughout much of the school year.

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Library: Collections Room Our plan breathes new life into the library by returning the Collections Room to its initial location and the East Hall to its first purpose. In accordance with the library’s original design, our plan also calls for the reinstallation of a gallery level complete with alcoves to increase collection and study space. By restoring the historic nature and purpose of the room, we will further our quest for academic and research excellence.

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Library Café A new Library Café will meet the food and beverage needs of students using the revitalized UC Library. Located in the tower of University College, with its handsome, wooden rafter beams and stained-glass rose window, the café will provide a convenient option for study breaks and a community hub for UC students, faculty, and staff.

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Library: Reading Room We envision the West Hall, originally a museum and the first location of what ultimately became the Royal Ontario Museum, as a Reading Room. The room’s stunning heritage features – a dazzling stained-glass rose window, portraits of influential UC professors, and more than 250 unique roundels – will provide an aspirational backdrop. Dedicated areas for individual and group study will accommodate different study styles, allowing students to work independently or learn from each other in groups according to their preference. Specially designed work stations complete with personal lighting and power sources will enable students to literally plug in and recharge between classes.

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University College Quadrangle

A verdant oasis in the middle of both University College and the downtown core, the Quadrangle is one of the UC community’s most loved spaces. Created in 1964 with the addition of the College’s northern Laidlaw Wing, the Quadrangle is where students, faculty, and staff go for relief from the rigours of the day – to break for lunch, play Frisbee, or read a book. (It is also the rumoured resting place of Ivan Reznikoff, UC’s legendary stone-mason-turned-ghost.) While a popular destination, the Quadrangle has not seen significant improvements in its nearly 50 years. Our plan calls for new lighting, electrical support, plantings, and benches, as well as a new walkway on the east side to ensure that all four corners of the Quadrangle are accessible and active. The reimagined Quadrangle will allow for classes to move outdoors in nice weather and for plays to be staged under the stars. While its functionality will be increased, the Quadrangle will remain a green space for quiet reflection –  something that is increasingly important as the campus and city continue to develop around us.

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Conference Centre at Croft Chapter House

Croft Chapter House, with its distinct circular shape and vaulted ceilings, sits at the southwest corner of University College, somewhat apart from the rest of the building – and with good reason. Originally used as a chemistry laboratory, it was designed to contain any explosions or fires that might have resulted from the experiments conducted there. The irony is that the Chapter House was one of the few parts of University College that escaped damage from the fire of 1890. Named after Henry Croft, the chemistry professor who fought tirelessly to establish UC as a non-sectarian, open institution, the former laboratory stands as a testimonial to UC’s inclusive nature and research mission. Our plan returns Croft Chapter House, currently used for administrative meetings and receptions, to a space dedicated to research and open inquiry. The Conference Centre at Croft Chapter House will be a flexible, full-service conference facility with modern lighting, acoustical, and audio-visual elements. The new space will attract conferences and symposia from around the University, Canada, and the world to University College, exposing our students to the latest discoveries and innovations in a wide variety of fields. Historical sensitivity will be paramount in the restoration of this unique domed structure and the finished space will have realized its potential to be one of the finest rooms not only in the University, but also in the city of Toronto.

Cross-section of Croft Chapter House, showing proposed sculptural lighting fixture, with the same circumference as the cylindrical lantern at the top of the dome.

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Accessibility

While University College exceeds most standards of design, it dates from an era when accessibility was not a great consideration for architects. For students and visitors with mobility challenges, UC is not the open place we strive for it to be. Students who use wheelchairs, for example, currently have only one point of access via a difficult, roundabout route. Once inside, they must rely on a single elevator to access multiple wings and levels, and certain areas of the building remain off-limits due to small changes in rise that require users to climb stairs. Our plan calls for additional ramps and points of accessible entry, as well as a central elevator, to make UC truly open to everyone. Enhanced lighting and new way-finding signage in UC’s maze of corridors will make it easier for students and visitors to find classrooms, administrative offices, and faculty offices. University College has long been committed to being open to all those who are qualified, regardless of their religion, financial circumstances, or social status. Physical limitations remain a barrier that we must similarly break down to make UC increasingly accessible.

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Sketches of revitalized classrooms

Classrooms and Study Spaces University College’s academic spaces host the open exchange of knowledge that is at the core of our mission. They are where faculty and students converge for the shared purpose of learning. While UC’s basic classrooms, seminar rooms, and lecture theatres were sufficient to facilitate this purpose throughout much of our history, it is no longer the case today. Twenty-first century teachers and students rely on new technologies such as e-podiums, media projectors, and laptops to share and record information. Our plan will bring UC’s academic spaces up to contemporary standards with the addition of state-of-the-art audio-visual systems and electrical fixtures. While the supportive technologies will be modern, the classrooms themselves will be restored to their historic appearance. The resulting atmosphere will connect today’s students to their predecessors of over 150 years ago, and inspire them to the greatness achieved by UC alumni throughout history.

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“The support of alumni and friends is critical because it shows that UC spirit does not stop outside of the College, but continues after one’s experiences at U of T.” Lyndsay Menzies, Finance Commissioner, UC Literary & Athletic Society, 2013 - 14

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The Campaign We believe that this is a pivotal moment in University College’s history – a time to come together to embrace our future and preserve our shared past.

the needs of our community today are just as real. The plan outlined in these pages identifies the most pressing needs of our community and how to address them.

Alumni and friends have twice rallied in support of University College. Thanks to their efforts, UC was literally rebuilt after the fire of 1890 and saved from the prospect of demolition in the 1970s. While our call to action may not be spurred by something as dramatic as a fire or threat of demolition,

It will take no less than $40 million to equip University College to meet the needs of today and face the challenges of tomorrow. With your support, we can achieve our goals.

The Needs

Open Spaces

Open Minds

renovations and restorations to University College $15 million

innovative academic programs $15 million

Open Doors student scholarships and financial support $10 million

The Goal $40 million The Campaign for University College • 19


Conclusion University College students have the privilege of an education that is uniquely open and forward-looking, in a setting that has been shaped by values that have stood the test of time. The iconic University College building and all that it stands for constitute the centre and pride of our community. As the alumni and friends of University College, we have the power and responsibility to renew the centre of our community and with it, the pride of association and greatness that our magnificent building inspires.

By renewing the physical fabric of University College, securing innovative academic programs, and increasing scholarship support for students, we will ensure that our traditions of openness, excellence, and community live on for generations of students to come. Please join us in the campaign for University College. With your support, we can continue to provide the boundless education that prepares our students for boundless success.

“It is scarcely possible to overestimate the aesthetic influences of noble architecture in a building so intimately associated with the intellectual training of the rising generation at the most impressible period of life…. The influences springing from such a source play their part in the cultured refinement which is not the least valuable element of higher education; and constitute an important factor in the enduring associations which link the graduate to his alma mater.” Sir Daniel Wilson, President of University College, 1880  -  92

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BOUNDLESS.UTORONTO.CA/uc

Advancement Office University college, University of Toronto H-Wing – 15 king's college circle, toronto on, m5s 3h7 416 978 7482, uc.alumni@utoronto.ca

Boundless Education: The Campaign for University College  

Boundless: the campaign for the University of Toronto

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