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Winter 2008

Students at the Centre of Innis College Life Innis College and the Innis College Student Society (ICSS) have made enhancing the student experience a top priority. The new Student Activity Centre plays an Photo Credit: Jamie Brand

important part in this ongoing effort to include more commuter students in College life. Scheduling events, such as seminars and social activities, at times suited to commuters is part of that effort.

Innis students (left to right) Kai-Ho Fok, Jae Kim, Webnesh Haile and Regina de los Santos in the new Student Activity Centre lounge.

It’s an exciting

time to be a student at Innis College!

Webnesh Haile Innis College Student Society (ICSS) President

November 22nd marked the informal opening of the Student Activity Centre. Members of the ICSS, the Innis Herald newspaper, the Cinema Studies Student Union, and the Urban Studies Student Union mingled with students in the new Innis Student Organizations office. Across the hall, students relaxed in the new lounge and chatted over pastries and punch catered by the Innis Café. Constructed over the summer and completed in mid-October, the Student Activity Centre is the first in a wave of development. The official opening of the Student Activity Centre with Provost Vivek Goel took place on January 24th, 2008.

The reaction from students has been overwhelmingly positive. Students appreciate convenient access to all the Innis student organizations and a space where they can unwind, meet with friends, use the kitchenette, or work on their laptops. “I live fifteen minutes away, so it’s really helpful because I come down to campus for class, and it’s a space to hang out, relax, and prepare for my next lecture when I have short breaks,” said Nathan Elias, a 3rd year History specialist. “It’s nice to have space at Innis that’s really dedicated to students,” agrees Paul Nandra, a 4th year Physiology specialist who also commutes. In recognition of the fact that the Internet plays a vital part in today’s student culture, the ICSS has launched a brand new, user-friendly website, It is designed to act as a convenient source of information for students who traditionally do not take classes in the Innis buildings. The website, combined with efforts to publicize events and programs via the popular social networking website, has resulted in increased participation in ICSS programs and activities in the first semester. The crowds of mingling students during both openings of the Student Activity Centre are a testimonial to the success Innis has achieved so far. It’s an exciting time to be a student at Innis College!

Giving Awards & Hope

Janet M. Paterson


n the past few months, there has been a great deal of activity at Innis College driven by our desire to improve the student experience. A beautiful new Student Centre has been established thanks to the support and generosity of the Provost of the University of Toronto, Professor Vivek Goel. This new space has inspired the creation of new activities for students, in particular for non resident students under the leadership of Webnesh Haile, President of the Innis College Student Society. New attractive space was also created for students in our new MA Program in Cinema Studies. Innis College was delighted to welcome Norman Jewison and Robert Lantos in the fall of 2007 to celebrate the new graduate program. The College celebrated another important event at one of its awards ceremonies. Kofi Hope, an Innis graduate, was the recipient of a Rhodes scholarship in 2006. He spoke to a packed audience of students and parents about the importance of student involvement in the community. In January 2008, the College hosted a symposium on the “Student Experience and the Role of the Colleges.” Student representatives as well as Principals and Registrars from all Colleges gathered to discuss various aspects of student life. With the growth of the Innis Alumni Network and with the support of generous donors and members of Later Life Learning, who have established a million dollar campaign for scholarships, Innis College is building not only for the present but also for the future of its students.


hanks to the generosity of our donors, Innis College held two ceremonies this fall, to recognize a total of 215 students in Admission, Leadership, Academic, and Program Award categories. Recently selected for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, Innis alumnus, Kofi Hope, addressed the Admission and Leadership Award recipients at the September 12th, 2007 ceremony. Named by the Toronto Star one of the “10 People to Watch in 2006,” Kofi has been a dedicated community activist since high school. He is Chair and founder of the Black Youth Coalition Against Violence (BYCAV), a group that works to foster empowerment amongst black youth and advocates for black youth in discussions around the issue of gun violence. Kofi advised Innis students to study what interests them, to interact with their Professors and instructors outside the classroom, and most importantly, to get involved. Kofi's busy schedule, which included numerous print and television interviews during his final year at University, required him to manage his time effectively. He found that the more that he had to do, the better he did in his studies. Kofi graduated with high distinction from Innis College in June 2006, majoring in Political Science with minors in African Studies and World Religions. He is currently enrolled at Oxford University pursuing his Masters degree in African Studies.

Kofi Hope

Photo Credit: Pascal Paquette

Message from the Principal

Cinema Studies Comes of Age

Cinema Studies at Innis College has undergone significant change over the last year, with many exciting developments. As of last spring, the Cinema Studies Program became an Institute, a name change that is more than just symbolic. With Institute status, Cinema Studies is now able to admit its own graduate students, and this September, the Institute did just that, welcoming its first cohort of 13 MA students. Cinema Studies is offering a new slate of graduate courses, and all of the new MA students are also serving as TAs in a variety of Cinema Studies undergraduate courses.

Showing clips from many of his most celebrated productions, Lantos Robert Lantos spoke candidly of the challenges facing any independent producer. Although he spoke of the difficulties of the current marketplace, Lantos stood as an inspiring example of what ingenuity, fortitude, and dedication can accomplish. A few weeks earlier, another Canadian filmmaking legend, Norman Jewison, graced the Innis Town Hall with his presence, sharing numerous anecdotes, both insightful and warmly humorous, as he pointed to some of the highlights of a career that spans more than 40 years, stretching from the CBC to United Artists and back to Canada. Populating Jewison’s stories were famous figures from the past and

Director Norman Jewison with Principal Janet Paterson

the present, including Robert Kennedy, Steve McQueen, and Al Pacino. The audience hung on every word and was richly rewarded with a wealth of information from a filmmaking legend who has experienced both the waning years of the Hollywood studio system and the ever-changing dynamics of the current global marketplace. Cinema Studies aims to continue to expand outreach to the community (through increased involvement in a variety of activities and the initiation of an MA internship program) and further develop its research profile. Early in 2008, Cinema Studies will host the annual Film Studies Association of Canada’s graduate student conference, and later in the year will serve as host of the newly-formed Toronto Film Seminar. With so much going on, it will not take long for Cinema Studies to achieve its goal to become the pre-eminent hub of film scholarship in Canada.

Photo credit: Alanna Jones

The students have benefited from the generosity of Robert Lantos, Chair of the Cinema Studies Advisory Council, and a major donor to the Institute. Lantos, one of Canada’s pre-eminent film producers, shared many of his formative experiences with a large crowd in Innis Town Hall at the end of October.

Photo credit: R. George Pimentel

Professor Charlie Keil Director Cinema Studies Institute

Home Suite Home


Innis Graduate Life

With the new MA program in Cinema Studies have come changes to the look of the College. A space off the Innis Library has become the graduate lounge, where the students can relax and discuss their new experiences as members of the inaugural cohort of the new graduate program. Some of the students are graduates of the undergraduate program at the University of Toronto, while others come from Western, Ryerson, Wilfrid Laurier, and McMaster. They are an enthusiastic and energetic group of young scholars who have contributed a new source of intellectual energy to the College. If one walks by the door to the lounge, one can often hear the spirited sounds of animated discussion occurring on the other side.

nnis Residence is like home to me,” says Myra Fahim, President of the Innis Residence Council (IRC). “This is my third year living here.” Under the IRC, residents can participate in many

Innis Residents gather to share Thanksgiving dinner.

committees. The Community Outreach Committee fundraises for charities, holds food and clothing drives, and knits blankets for the homeless. The Residence Environmental Committee has introduced the “Good Food Box” program, a bi-weekly delivery of fresh, local produce. Innis was also the first residence on campus to offer green bin compost recycling.

MA students (left to right) Kevin Pighin, Kira Steiner, Andrea Schofield, and Dru Jeffries meet in the new lounge after a day of assisting with undergraduate Cinema exams

Students In-SIGHT

A new mentorship program, In-SIGHT, was introduced to provide a way for new students to connect, especially for students not in residence. It creates small groups of first-year and upper-year students, mixing residents with commuters. Members are encouraged to develop extracurricular activities in their groups, and as part of the larger organization. The goal is to enhance the vibrant community at Innis and to strengthen links between residents and commuters.

Student Leadership on Council

For four decades, Innis students have enjoyed a unique

the Innis style of

democracy truly works for the benefit of the whole College


opportunity to influence the direction of the College through their participation in Innis College Council. In 1967, Innis College became the first division at the University of Toronto to recognize student representation in governance by including three student members on its Council. Three years later, Innis College Council took an even bolder step by introducing the principle of parity in governance, which gave students an equal voice in the decision-making process. The only parity governing structure at the University of Toronto has been successful, according to Vice Principal Roger Riendeau, because "the Innis style of democracy truly works for the benefit of the whole College community, while offering students active leadership experience that will serve them well in their future careers."

Alumnus, Athlete, Volunteer and University Colleague... Michael “Fuzz” Friend 1944-2007 Michael (Fuzz) Friend dedicated much of his life to Innis College, as a student, an alumnus, and an employee. Fuzz enrolled at Innis College in 1968 and graduated with a BA in 1973. His athletic prowess earned him the Sidney Earl Smith Trophy as the leading intramural athlete at the University of Toronto in 1973-74. He also distinguished himself as a student leader in the mid 1970s, initially as Treasurer and then as President of the Innis College Student Society (ICSS). Even after his student days had ended, Fuzz remained a recognizable fixture at Innis College, serving as bartender in the original Innis Pub, Treasurer of the Innis College Alumni Association, and Treasurer of the Harold Innis Foundation. He went on to become the Residence Steward of Devonshire House from 1986 until it closed in 1997. He joined the staff of the Innis Residence in 1998. On September 19th, 2007, colleagues, alumni, friends, and family packed the Innis Town Hall to celebrate the life of Fuzz and share their fondest memories.

Fuzz’s athletic prowess earned him the Sidney Earl Smith Trophy as the leading intramural athlete at the University of Toronto in 1973-74 A new student award has been established in Fuzz’s memory, which will recognize his outstanding contributions to student life at Innis College. Donations can be made on-line at Click on “Give to the Annual Fund” and under the heading "Other Projects” indicate “I would like to make a memorial donation in honour of Mr. Michael “Fuzz” Friend.” Or please contact: Alanna Jones, CFRE Senior Development Officer University of Toronto - Innis College 2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S 1J5 (Phone) 416.978.0169 (Fax) 416.946.0168 (Email)

Innis Alumni Network


Facebook is a free online social-networking site where

Editor Nina Haikara

members can create personal profiles, post pictures, reconnect with friends, and join groups of interest. In March 2007, alumnus and current U of T medical student, Dave Paskar, established a group on Facebook known as the Innis Alumni Network. Dave, a 2006 graduate, views the site as providing a good opportunity to bring alumni together in a new way: “We have over 250 individuals who identify themselves as Innis alumni. This includes those who lived at the Residence, such as Engineers and those who later moved on to Professional Faculties, but still identify themselves as being a part of the Innis community. We are still in the early stages of planning, but would like to establish a committee from amongst the membership and have more alumni involved in future event planning.” Since many of the Network members continue to reside in Toronto or the GTA, the next step was to host an event. On April 26th, 2007, the Innis Alumni Network met at the Madison Pub. The Network plans to host similar social gatherings.

Contributors Webnesh Hail Charlie Keil Roger Riendeau Garry Spencer

Our thanks to Jamie Brand Sabrina Chang Myra Fahim Kofi Hope Alanna Jones Dave Paskar

Design: PRM Inc. Print: Maud Street Printing Services

SHAKE IT UP! SHAKER, an award winning young alumni program, celebrated its 3rd anniversary on November 22nd, 2007 at Sassafraz in Yorkville. Four times annually, professional alumni are invited to socialize after work in Toronto’s best restaurants and venues. SHAKER now has a global reach, with events taking place for alumni located in Vancouver, New York, the UK, and Hong Kong. To receive invitations to future SHAKER events, sign-up for the VIP list at:

Intersection: Where Alumni meet

Alumni Amy Yu (2005) and Nina Haikara (2003) at the first Innis Alumni Network event.

In February, a group of soon-to-be graduates and young alumni met over dinner to discuss the looming question on many graduating student minds: “What’s next?” Alumni were able to share their current career paths and offer suggestions on job searching and life after graduation and welcome 2008 graduating class members into the Innis Alumni community.

As a past-president of the Innis Residence Council, Dave has many fond memories of his days at Innis and continues to serve on the Innis College Council (ICC) as an Alumni Representative. “I want to be able to stay in touch with the College and my fellow alumni because undergrad was the best time of my life and has had a huge impact on shaping me into the person I am today.” Innis Alumni Network can be found on by searching the name under “groups.”

A New Twist

This spring Innis with a Twist will return to the newly


renovated café space within the College. The event was first held in 2005 for the most recent decade of Innis graduates. Young alumni are invited back to reunite with friends. Visit the Innis Alumni website for date announcements.

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Innis College News - Winter 2008  

IN THIS ISSUE: - Student Activity Centre - Kofi Hope - Cinema Studies Comes of Age - Innis In-Sight - Michael "Fuzz" Friend - Innis Alumni N...