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Paul W. Gooch: A Transformational Presidency p. 8

Vic Emerging Leader Awards p. 5

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A Very Human Presidency by larry davies In 2001, on the day the Board of Regents announced Paul Gooch as the next president of Victoria University, many of us were wondering the same thing: “Who is Paul Gooch?” Curious to find out whatever I could about my new boss, I phoned a friend who worked at U of T and asked her what she could tell me about him. “Paul Gooch!” she exclaimed. “We have an expression at Simcoe Hall: ‘Gooch is God!’” I didn’t know whether to be enthusiastic or terrified. The next morning my phone rang. “This is Paul Gooch. I’m calling to tell you how excited I am to be coming to Vic, and I’m really looking forward to working with you. I’ll make an appointment soon to find out more about what you do.” When I spoke with my senior colleagues later that day, each reported having received a similar call. We were immediately won over. When Paul met with me several weeks later, he opened the conversation by admitting that he knew nothing about fundraising and asked me to teach him everything he needed to know. He had heard, he said, of the close bond so many alumni feel with this historic institution and wanted to begin by meeting as many Vic alumni and faculty as possible, without delay. First on his list was a meeting with President Emeritus A.B.B. Moore Emm 7T5, one of the most influential and beloved figures in Vic’s history. A lunch was organized, and Paul and his wife Pauline Thompson Vic 6T3 joined A.B.B. and Margaret Moore at a restaurant in the Colonnade. A picture was taken to record the moment and published in Vic Report a short time later and the caption read, “Lunch with a Legend.” When the first copies of the new issue arrived, I walked one over to Paul’s office. Paul opened it, saw the picture and the caption on the first page, and with mock smugness said, “How about that? I’m a legend already!” Well, here we are, 14 years later, and, in the minds of many, Paul is now indeed a legend. And it is no exaggeration. Paul has caused a tectonic shift at Victoria University. He is the genius behind the creation of Vic One, which has transformed Victoria College’s first-year academic experience and is now replicated at U of T’s other colleges; he brought about a surge in student involvement by forming strong, genuine bonds with students, leading to the revival of the Wymilwood student building, reborn as the award-winning Goldring Student Centre; he has supported the dean of students in her drive to make Vic a leader in student mental health and to create an impressive range of co-curricular programs that reach out to students and the community at large; he has attended to Vic’s financial health by working closely with the Board of Regents, prudently managing Vic’s resources; he has set a record-breaking pace in fundraising by inspiring alumni to understand the value of donating to a progressive vision for undergraduate education; and he has encouraged the principal’s expansion of the scope of Emmanuel College through the creation of a Muslim Studies program and a Buddhist Studies program, the first of their kind in Canada. The list of his achievements could go on for many pages. It is students, however, with whom Paul has connected most closely. In April, as classes ended for this academic year, a huge throng of Vic students surprised Paul with “GoochaPaulooza,” a thank-you and farewell party in the Goldring Student Centre. There were moving speeches and music. But it was a first-year Vic student and student of Paul’s, Harpreet Chohan, who crafted a poem that expressed the sentiment everyone is feeling as Paul’s presidency concludes: As your time as president is coming to an end, My time at U of T is just beginning. It feels like you knew that one day I’d be coming, So you waited patiently until I arrived. Even though you will not be here to sign my degree in four years’ time, I want you to know that you have already signed my heart.  2

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Summer 2015 Volume XLIII No. 3 Published under the authority of the Board of Regents of Victoria University in the University of Toronto. Publisher: Larry Davies, Executive Director, Alumni Affairs and Advancement Executive Editor: Alison (Massie) Broadworth Vic 9T7, Director, Alumni Affairs and Advancement Editor: Jennifer Little Vic 9T5, Manager, Marketing and Communications Managing Editor: Liz Taylor, Communications Officer Copy Editor: Frank Collins Contributor: Elaine Smith Design: Randall Van Gerwen Cover: Paul W. Gooch. Photograph by Horst Herget. Vic Report is sent to all alumni, faculty, associates and friends of Victoria University. Published three times a year; circulation 24,000; ISSN 0315-5072. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40741521 Send letters and undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Vic Report c/o The Victoria Alumni Office 150 Charles Street West Toronto ON M5S 1K9 Tel: 416-585-4500 Toll-free: 1-888-262-9775 Fax: 416-585-4594 E-mail: vic.report@utoronto.ca Website: www.vicu.utoronto.ca Do we have your correct address? Please send your updated address, phone number and e-mail address to the Victoria Alumni Office. Please notify us if the graduate named in the address is deceased (enclose obituary or equivalent) and we will remove his/her name from the mailing list. Victoria University respects your privacy and does not rent, trade or sell its mailing lists.


William Robins Named New President Victoria Welcomes Humanities Scholar William Robins, a professor of English and Medieval Studies and an internationally respected scholar, has been appointed president and vice-chancellor of Victoria University. Robins will be the 13th president in Victoria’s 179-year history. His installation will take place during the University’s Charter Day Convocation on October 14, 2015 in The Isabel Bader Theatre. In his announcement of the appointment on April 9, John Field Vic 7T8, chair of the Board of Regents, said: “I am confident that with Will’s passion for Vic’s success and his excellent scholarship and engagement with students, staff and alumni, he will provide outstanding leadership and vision for Vic in the coming years.” Robins will begin his five-year term on July 1. He has had extensive academic and administrative experience during his 18-year career at the University of Toronto. He has been a fellow of Victoria College since 1996, when he was appointed to U of T’s Faculty of Arts and Science. In 2009 he served

as acting principal of Victoria College and in 2013 served as acting vice-dean, faculty and academic life, for the Faculty of Arts and Science. In 2013 Robins was made an affiliated fellow of the American Academy in Rome and in 2014 he received U of T’s Outstanding Teaching Award. His research has been supported by the Fulbright Program and Canada’s SSHRC. He also served as director of U of T’s graduate English program, one of the largest graduate humanities programs in Canada. Robins holds a BA from Brown University, an MPhil from the University of St. Andrews and a PhD from Princeton University. To read the official announcement, visit uoft.me/robins. 

Celebrating Excellence Through Service

Photographs: (Opposite page) Victoria Alumni Office; Victoria Alumni Office, Courtesy Frank Iacobucci, Canada Council

The Honourable Frank Iacobucci, C.C. and David Silcox, O.C. Awarded Honorary Degrees Victoria University recognizes the achievements of The Honourable Frank Iacobucci and David Silcox Vic 5T9 at convocations this year. Iacobucci was honoured at Victoria University convocation on May 15, while Silcox will be celebrated on June 16 by his alma mater, at the Victoria College convocation. Both are named Doctors of Humane Letters, honoris causa, in recognition of their exemplary careers and their commitment to Canadian education and culture. A distinguished academic and jurist, Frank Iacobucci served as the 67th Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada from 1991 to 2004. He also had a distinguished career at U of T, serving as professor of law and associate dean in the Faculty of Law; dean (1979–1983); and vice-president and provost (1983–1985). In 1985 he was appointed deputy minister of justice and deputy attorney general for Canada and served in this capacity until 1988 when he was appointed the chief justice of the federal court. Upon retiring from the bench in 2004, Iacobucci returned to U of T to serve as interim president

The Hon. Frank Iacobucci, C.C.

David Silcox, O.C.

and has also served as counsel at Torys LLP. He has acted for provincial and federal governments on many assignments, including as a leading authority on legal relationships with Canada’s First Nations. He has received many honorary degrees and has been recognized in both Canada and abroad for his accomplishments, including his 2007 appointment as a Companion of the Order of Canada. David Silcox is a distinguished art historian, educator, policy maker and public servant who tirelessly advances the cause of Canadian arts and artists. After completing his undergraduate studies at Victoria College, he went on to complete a master’s degree at U of T and pursued further graduate studies at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, England. From 1965 to 1970 he served as senior arts officer at the Canada Council for the Arts, and later joined York University as associate dean and professor in its Faculty of Fine Arts. His career in public service began in 1974 when he became the director of cultural affairs for Metropolitan Toronto. From 1983 to 1985, he served as assistant deputy minister of culture in the federal Department of Communications and served as deputy minister of culture and communications for the province of Ontario from 1986 to 1991. He has served on numerous artistic and cultural boards, including Victoria University’s Board of Regents, and has written extensively about historical and contemporary Canadian artists. In 2003 he was awarded the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts Medal and was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2006. In 2007 he received a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, and is currently a Massey College senior fellow.  vic report summer 2015



Musical Notes of Gratitude President Paul W. Gooch and Professor Pauline Thompson Vic 6T3 are pleased to invite members and friends of Victoria University and the University of Toronto community to a Concert and Reception as an expression of their gratitude. Monday, June 15, 2015 at 5:15 p.m. The Isabel Bader Theatre 93 Charles Street West RSVP at www.vicu.utoronto.ca/about/concert or call 416-585-4511. Acceptances only.


Where There’s a Will…

Need a great read? Don’t miss the Vic Book Sale and help support Friends of the Library. The sale is in Old Vic, 91 Charles Street West. Proceeds go to Victoria University Library.

Victoria University can be designated as a beneficiary in your will. Here’s an example of a suggested wording:

Thursday, Sept. 24 – Only day with admission fee: $3, students free with ID

4 p.m.–9 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 25

10 a.m.– 8 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 26

11 a.m.– 6 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 27

11 a.m.– 6 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 28 – All books half price

10 a.m.– 8 p.m.

Blog: library.vicu.utoronto.ca/friends/blog E-mail: vic.booksale@utoronto.ca Want to volunteer? 416-585-4585 or 416-585-4471


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I give and bequeath to the Board of Regents of Victoria University, Toronto, Ontario, the sum of $ or % of my estate. If you wish to designate a specific bequest (a scholarship, the library, etc.), please contact: Sharon Gregory Telephone: 416-813-4050 Toll-free: 1-888-262-9775 E-mail: sharon.gregory@utoronto.ca


Victoria College Emerging Leaders

Photographs: (Opposite page) Victoria Alumni Office

The AVC announced the newly created Victoria College Emerging Leader Award in the Winter 2015 issue of Vic Report. This award recognizes recent graduates, 35 years of age or under, who have excelled professionally or who have notable accomplishments in their volunteer service, such as community work, humanitarianism and philanthropy. Vic congratulates the first three winners who have been selected for their wide-ranging accomplishments.




Teresa Chan has always enjoyed eclectic interests. While completing her degree in immunology at Vic, she served as South House president and participated in numerous extra-curricular activities— including the Victoria College Drama Society and the North American Model United Nations. She then attended U of T’s OISE, received her BEd and went on to medical school at Western University, and finally residency at McMaster University. While she’s a practising emergency physician by night (and sometimes by day), she’s a teacher at heart. In her fourth year of residency, she began a master’s in health professions education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Currently, as an assistant professor at McMaster University, Chan is able to indulge her love of scholarship and teaching with current medical students. Her academic research focuses on various aspects of emergency medicine, from interpersonal relationships to resident assessment. She also experiments with online teaching. Chan credits her success to her “unconventional education” and “wonderful teachers.” A self-described ‘meducator,’ she is grateful that she has “been given ample and unique opportunities to try various skills throughout the years.”

Currently a manager in marketing at TELUS, Chelsie McKnight began her career in a leadership development program. Her roles quickly grew to include strategic planning, product development and capital governance. As both an employee of TELUS and a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, she organized a group of TELUS women to participate in a house-build and raised enough funds for a home sponsorship. To date, she has helped raise over $130,000 and has recruited and led seven builds. In 2011, TELUS named McKnight a Community Champion for her leadership and dedication to volunteerism. In 2014, she joined Forward Together as an organizing committee member— a movement of companies that works to elevate high-potential women in the workplace. McKnight is known among her peers for her adaptability: she can be put to virtually any task because she is determined to succeed. It is, however, her drive to help others that her fellow workers find remarkable. “Being involved in my community and having a positive impact on the lives of the others is most important to me,” says McKnight.

As a columnist, feature writer and editor, Ivor Tossell has made a name for himself as a journalist. A regular contributor to The Globe and Mail for a decade, he has also written for most of Canada’s major publications, covering politics, cities and technology. He also works as an instructor in Humber College’s journalism degree program. He helped to launch Random House’s Hazlitt digital imprint with his e-book about Toronto’s former mayor, The Gift of Ford, and has made regular broadcast appearances on TV and radio. Most recently, he worked at BuzzFeed in New York City as an editorial product lead, helping build one of the most popular websites on the Internet. At Vic, Ivor was the editorin-chief of The Strand, before going on to co-edit The Independent Weekly. Shortly after graduation, he developed a content-management system for student newspapers that was sold across Canada. Shortly thereafter, he interned at World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. This year, he came back to campus as a speaker with Forging Your Future, part of the Ideas for the World program. “Vic is and has been one of my favourite places in the world,” says Tossell.“I’m very happy to have been able to maintain a connection with Vic.” vic report summer 2015


victoria college report

Beyond Boundaries: Offering New Opportunities Over the past year, Angela Esterhammer Vic 8T3, principal of Victoria College, has focused on learning beyond the classroom, reimagining the Northrop Frye Centre and assisting students in their pursuit of post-graduate studies. “Through these activities, we are exceeding boundaries and crossing borders,” Esterhammer says. Looking beyond the classroom, for instance, Vic’s Material Culture program has opened a new learning laboratory that allows students to do hands-on work with objects that embody a particular culture. The program is also providing students with work placements in museums and cultural institutions. In addition to the popular Vic One program that brings together small cohorts of first-year students in a series of themed courses, Vic is placing an added emphasis on its Vic One Hundred courses. These small seminar courses also bring in guest lecturers and try to include an experiential component. “Vic One and Vic One Hundred erase the natural boundaries between faculty and students and make education more personal,” says President Paul W. Gooch. “A hallmark of a Vic education is that personal touch.” The Creative Expression and Society program is another new Vic offering that has been quite popular, Esterhammer says. It focuses on creative writing, along with music and visual arts, and examines topics such as reviewing the arts, marketing and censorship. Part of the program is delivered in a workshop format to allow students to develop their skills in fiction, poetry or creative non-fiction. Vic’s renowned Northrop Frye Centre has also undergone a significant transformation, redefining its borders, Esterhammer notes. Previously, the centre focused on

hosting visiting researchers and editing the collected works of Northrop Frye Vic 3T3, Emm 3T6. Today, it has become a humanities and social science research centre with a special mission to support undergraduate student research and integrate it with the work of faculty and graduate fellows. One-on-one mentoring is available to students engaged in research projects. “Northrop Frye’s work is a really important heritage that Vic has,” says Esterhammer, one of his former students. “We are inspired by the cross-disciplinary work he did. The centre’s new focus on students and research is very much in the lifelong spirit of Northrop Frye.” While the accomplishments of Moustafa Abdalla Vic 1T5, the 2015 Rhodes scholar, may be representative of post-graduate opportunity, other Vic students also displayed exceptional academic prowess during the past year. Alina Guna Vic 1T4 was selected as Gates Scholar with a scholarship for graduate study at the University of Cambridge that was created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is comparable to the Rhodes Scholarship. She is presently working toward a PhD in biological science. Of the six 2014 University of Toronto Alumni Association scholars, three were Vic students: Christine Farquharson, Galina Gheihman and Roland Xu. In addition, says Esterhammer, in June 2014, 51.2 per cent of students who had done the Vic One program graduated from U of T with high distinction, and another 26.4 per cent with distinction. That is more than twice the rate of high distinction achieved by Arts and Science students, in general. “Vic One is not just an excellent first-year experience; it provides an excellent foundation for high achievement throughout a student’s university career,” says Esterhammer. 

Actor Colm Feore, O.C. with his wife, director Donna Feore, deliver the Vic One plenary “Art. . . It’s a Living.”

Northrop Frye Centre guest lecturer Stephanie Malia Hom from the University of Oklahoma.


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The Gardiner Museum is one of several Toronto locales visited by Material Culture students. Pictured: Trevor Dunseith, Katie Paolozza and Kristen Manza.

BY THE NUMBERS Thanks to the generosity of 6,603 alumni, friends and students, Imagination Unbound, Victoria’s $60-million campaign to transform undergraduate and theological education, has raised $66,716,987. With the student contribution of $7 million towards the Goldring Student Centre, as of June 2015, the total is $73,716,987. The Victoria community has been inspired by the Imagination Unbound campaign to build the new Goldring Student Centre and to grow Vic’s endowment funds for scholarships and academic programs, such as Vic One, by over $38 million. Vic’s campaign is part of the U of T’s $2-billion Boundless campaign, which now stands at $1.67 billion raised.








Photographs: (Opposite page) Victoria College Principal’s Office, Diana Tyszko; Victoria University Archives, Lisa Sakulensky.











PEOPLE BEHIND THE NUMBERS GWENDOLYNNE M. DAVENPORT VIC 5T0 was a long-time friend and supporter of Victoria College. She studied language and literature as an undergraduate student and went on to earn a Master of Social Work from U of T in 1962. She pursued a career as a social worker until her retirement. Gwen came from a family of avid readers, and her love of reading flourished under the guidance of Vic professors such as Northrop Frye Vic 3T3, Emm 3T6, E.J. Pratt Vic 1T1 and John Robson. In 2011, in tribute to her family, she established The Davenport Family Fund for the benefit of the E.J. Pratt Library. Her generous bequest of $1.2 million will be added to the original endowment fund and the income will be used to purchase new books for the library’s collection, for conservation and restoration of rare library materials, to replace equipment, and enhance current study spaces in the building. “This is an extremely overwhelming gift that augments the already generous endowment made by Gwen Davenport in 2011,” says Lisa Sherlock, chief librarian. “Clearly, Ms. Davenport valued the library and placed importance on helping to develop collections and services for students. The impact of this donation will be felt for some time to come.” ELIZABETH (EASTLAKE) VOSBURGH VIC 6T8 believes in the value of hard work backed by a quality education. She has enjoyed a varied career in business and has proven herself a dedicated volunteer. A member of Chancellor’s Council since its inception, she has also held many senior positions at Victoria University and U of T, including chair of Victoria’s Board of Regents and alumni governor on Governing Council. She has supported many Vic fundraising campaigns including being a member of the campaign cabinets for Renewing the Heritage in 1985 and the Campaign for the Dedicated Mind in 1998. Her passion for volunteering can be tied to her close connection with Vic—a connection that formed while living in Annesley Hall. Recently, Elizabeth decided that she wanted to do something that would directly affect the student experience. “It was time for me to give more substantially than just my Annual Fund gift,” she explains. “I established The Elizabeth (Eastlake) Vosburgh Scholarship because as a student, I was helped with scholarship and bursary money. It enabled me to concentrate on both my studies and cocurricular activities. I also believe that living in residence, if at all possible, really adds to the experience of being at Vic.” The scholarship will be awarded to Victoria College students who achieve excellence in their studies and who live in residence, with preference given to residents of Annesley Hall. vic report summer 2015


TRANSFORM by chris berube vic 1to


aul W. Gooch is stepping down as the president of Victoria University, a post he’s held since 2001. And while that assignment is coming to an end, it’s hardly the conclusion of his academic career. He’s going to continue teaching classes, reading voraciously, and will teach a special first-year seminar course at Vic. In short, he will be very active. “I can’t fathom slowing down,” he says, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has encountered him during his presidency. In fact, as of July 1, he will be the chair of the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance—a position he will hold for a three-year term. On paper, Gooch doesn’t seem like a natural fit for administration. He’s a philosopher with a contemplative nature by disposition and training. Nevertheless, he was “bitten by the admin bug early,” and became humanities chair at the University of Toronto Scarborough early in his career. Then, after six years in the Graduate School as various kinds of dean, he became vice-provost of the University of Toronto in 1994. He took on the Vic presidency seven years later, and for many recent graduates, it’s hard to imagine a time before him. “I rather liked the challenge of administration—the job of analyzing problems; philosophy really helps with that. I never saw the two things as a contradiction,” he says. He becomes animated when he’s engaged in conversations about Vic or discussing the intricate clockwork of running a university—the juggling of budgets, staffing, infrastructure, student life, politics. “There’s a popular sense of the word ‘philosophical’ that describes the attitude of a successful administrator,” says Gooch, “one who has a steady eye


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cover story

Photograph: Horst Herget

MATIONAL PRESIDENCY and steady hand when the waters roil and the ship rolls.” In his installation address, Gooch laid out his philosophy succinctly by noting that a president must be there “to preside over human beings,” and many say he’s succeeded in bringing a more human touch to the university. “He has a unique ability to draw people into his vision of where Vic is going,” says David Cook Vic 6T9, who served as Victoria College’s principal for much of Gooch’s tenure. “He always has a twinkle in his eye.” Indeed, Gooch has enjoyed the past 14 years as Victoria’s leader. He has a broad and ready smile, a voice that can verge on large, theatrical pronouncements one second, and then exude calm and empathy the next. He has participated in everything from Victoria Senate meetings to men’s traditional ceremonies, to student trivia nights. And, his colourful socks have become the stuff of legend. Victoria University has seen so many changes, and Gooch has driven the biggest ones. Emmanuel College, a United Church of Canada institution, has introduced new programs in Islam and now Buddhism with the president’s encouragement, bringing interfaith dialogue to the College. Even though postsecondary education in Ontario is, for the most part, a secular endeavour in 2015, Gooch sees the importance of encouraging conversations about faith in the academic context. “If you say—‘leave your beliefs at the door’—it’s not going to work. These conversations will encourage more understanding. The influence of religion on political life is very important, and to have sympathetic conversation, and to understand why people hold these beliefs, is paramount,” he says. “When

it’s in conversation with so many points of view: that’s how faith is strengthened and reformed.” Another substantial change at Vic has been physical—the weathered facade of the Wymilwood student centre has been refreshed, and the modern glass and concrete of the Goldring Student Centre has grown out of it. “There wasn’t enough space for well over 3,000 students, especially when we were adding new programs, clubs and societies.” The new space includes offices and social spaces for student groups and boardrooms. The Goldring Student Centre is bright and inviting, whereas the old Wymilwood was beginning to feel closed and inaccessible. Gooch says the biggest change has been for Vic’s commuter students, who have traditionally been without their own space for student life at U of T, but now have a hub on Vic’s campus. “Study habits have changed with the advent of laptops, and that has blurred the difference between social and study space,” says Gooch. “The Goldring Student Centre meets our needs so beautifully, having doubled the space available for students.” Looking back on his tenure at Victoria University, however, he believes his signature accomplishment has been the focus on the undergraduate experience, and the first-year experience in particular. Gooch devised Vic One after his younger daughter attended the University of King’s College, a smaller school at Dalhousie University. King’s was already well known for its “Foundation Year” program, where students have a more personal relationship with teachers, and take part in a demanding curriculum that includes much of the western canon, from the Bible to Sigmund Freud. There

are big lectures, but those are followed by small, personal seminars that dig more deeply into the material. In a world where some claim postsecondary education should focus on job training, it felt like a breath of fresh air. In a lot of ways, this style of teaching felt more in tune with Gooch’s own outlook on how an education should be, an ideal informed largely by his reading of Plato. “In The Republic, education is not stuffing ideas into people’s heads. It’s more about turning them around to see,” Gooch says. It’s a vision that requires a much more intimate learning environment, a place where the barriers between a student and a professor are less pronounced. So Gooch devised Vic One. The idea was simple. Students enrolled in the program would have two small classes each week at Vic, with a cap of 25 students in each. These seminars would be focused on a particular discipline, but not rigidly so. (The first year, there was a social science stream named for Lester B. Pearson Vic 1T9, and one for humanities named after Northrop Frye Vic 3T3, Emm 3T6.) In addition to the seminars, all 100 Vic One students would come together on Wednesday afternoon for a plenary session, where prominent guests would lecture on a range of topics. The early years featured notable personalities such as Ann-Marie MacDonald and Bob Rae. The idea was for students to learn in an intimate classroom, but still feel like they were part of a bigger whole. “Putting everyone together on a Wednesday afternoon creates a sense of community. That is really important,” says Gooch. As of 2014, the community experience has broadened to include alumni. At first, Vic One was a hard sell to U of T. “I had been trying to extract vic report summer 2015


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money from the University of Toronto,” Gooch says. “But I kept getting the same answer. ‘What a wonderful idea, maybe next year if we have a little spare cash?’” Gooch and David Cook secured the funds from Vic, including support from alumni and friends, and were able to recruit a talented group of academics to oversee the early years of the program. They picked teachers from an enviable roster of humanities faculty for the Frye stream, including acclaimed poet Al Moritz and semiotics professor Anne Urbancic. To shore up the Pearson stream, Gooch went on a mission to find new faculty from outside the academy. At the time, Ken Taylor Vic 5T7 was Victoria’s chancellor, and had strong connections in Ottawa, given his reputation as the diplomat behind the “Canadian Caper” in Iran. “[Ken] took me to Foreign Affairs to see if we could find a diplomat, someone retired who would be inspiring,” says Gooch. “And I still remember sitting there, and the words came out of my mouth to the human resources officer at Foreign Affairs: ‘Don’t send me somebody who doesn’t like young people.’” Within a week, they were in touch with David Wright, who had just stepped down from his post as Canada’s ambassador to NATO, and who was looking for a fresh challenge. At first, Wright was surprised to find out Vic One was a program for undergraduates, and first-year students at that. But after taking the job, he found the students’ relative lack of experience to be a plus. Wright was planning to stay for a year or two. He’s now in his twelfth year with the program, and has become an evangelist for it. As word got around about Vic One, the program became a magnet for high-achieving students applying to U of T. Within a year, competition for the 100 slots became fierce. The program began to grow, adding a science and an education stream. It also encouraged imitators. Today, at the direction of the provost and with the funding to ensure its viability, every college at U of T now has its own foundation-year course 10

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or program. But while parts of the Vic model have been widely copied, Vic One remains the most sought after. Last year, there were far more applicants for the six streams in the program than for any other ‘one’ program at U of T. Vic One is still growing, with recently created streams dedicated to the arts and physical sciences, and a new one to be launched later this year, with a focus on philosophy and justice. That last stream is being named for Paul Gooch, an honour with which he was surprised last fall. “It feels really strange, because my colleagues sprang this on me,” says Gooch, who says he’s both humbled and a little embarrassed. “I had no idea they were doing this, but they knew my weak spot because I care so much about the program.” The accolade speaks volumes to his presence on this campus, and Gooch will be teaching a class in the stream’s inaugural year. The success of Vic One has resulted in the creation of the Vic One Hundreds program, which also provides a seminar-style class for every Vic student in their first year, an initiative that has made the college a leader for small, personalized education. “We could have let the University continue doing what it does, trying to make everyone relatively calm and happy; but I wanted to change things,” says Gooch about these initiatives. “First year is so crucial. These programs allow students to become more grounded in their school.” The results of this approach are remarkable —today, over half of all Vic students graduate with distinction or high distinction. Every Vic student with an A average at the end of first, second and third year receives a guaranteed in-course scholarship of at least $1,000—and today, 28 per cent of Vic students are receiving high enough grades to qualify for the award. That is up from 10 per cent in 2001. It’s all part of a larger Gooch plan— select students for success, get them established in first year, and they’ll flourish all the way through. The Vic One model is being used across U of T, and in other universities.

But it’s only one vision for the future of higher education. In the past few years, Massive Open Online Courses (dubbed “MOOCs”) have provided millions of people with access to elite classes and professors online. More people have access to postsecondary education, but the impersonal nature of online learning has meant many are being left behind. So what is the future of education— personal, smaller programs like Vic One? Or bigger online learning opportunities like MOOCs? Or somewhere in between? Paul Gooch is looking forward to having more time to sit down and seriously contemplate how students are educated. He’s planning to spend the next few years doing more research, sitting on committees that examine issues of quality, and writing about universities—why we need them, and what they should look like 20 years out. A big part of that will be examining the literature around new models of schooling, such as online learning. “I am a big believer in embodied education—we’re human beings with bodies, after all. If I were doing a MOOC, and I was struggling, no one would know. In a small seminar, people can see me.” Part of Gooch’s study will be done at Cambridge next year, where he’s hoping to absorb everything he can about new models of teaching and new experiments being tried abroad. But while he’s eager to learn, he’s confident Vic One will continue to be a big influence. Gooch says he’s been struck by the increase in applications from around the world. “I was looking at an application from a student in England. She wants to do astrophysics in the long term— but she’s applying to the philosophy stream. She wants to do her science in the context of philosophy and human rights. Isn’t that terrific? It feels as if the world is coming to Vic.”  Chris Berube is a Vic One alumnus from the Pearson stream. He currently works at CBC Radio and has contributed to The Globe and Mail, The New York Times and other publications across North America.

young alumni profile

Meghan Lawson Vic 1T0: A Pearsonian Endeavour

Photograph: Courtesy Meghan Lawson

by kerry clare vic 0t2

It was Vic One that convinced Meghan Lawson 1T0 that Victoria College would be the place for her. She appreciated the program’s intimacy, and the Lester Pearson Stream was the perfect complement to her plans to study history. And Vic One and the Pearson stream would turn out to be a fortuitous choice, the foundation of a career that has taken her to the Canadian embassy in Washington, the House of Commons in Ottawa, and to earn a Master of International Peace and Security from King’s College London, England. “Being in the Pearson stream of the Vic One program really broadened my perspective,” Lawson explains. She cites the influences of many professors, in particular David Wright, a former Canadian ambassador to NATO: “Even his career stories were an inspiration—to learn from people who’ve done these amazing things and think you could be involved like that. Partly through the influence of the professors that I met and partly through my peers, I became more interested in international affairs and decided to apply for the Peace and Conflict Studies Program.” She ended up graduating with a double major in history and Peace and Conflict Studies. “I would be in a very different place today if I had pursued only the history degree, and I am really glad I decided to pursue both.” At Vic, Lawson wrote for The Strand—her inaugural assignment was an interview with the children’s singer, Raffi—eventually becoming co-editor-in-chief. Her adventures in campus news, she explains, “taught me to be more inquisitive and curious and see things in a different light.” Such curiosity took her to the University of Melbourne for a semester abroad during her third year. “With my interest in international affairs, I figured I should experience living somewhere else.” In Melbourne, she took courses in Asian and Middle Eastern politics and history, deepening her understanding of global politics. “When you’re in another country, you realize how the same event can be interpreted so differently, and how the Canadian perspective is just one of a huge multiplicity of perspectives.” Upon graduation from Vic, Lawson put her education into practice with an internship at the Embassy of Canada

in Washington, D.C., followed by another at the House of Commons in Ottawa. She quickly discovered that politics and international affairs were different outside the classroom. “You actually get in the thick of it and realize there is a confluence of factors influencing why things turn out the way they do,” she said. “You learn that things happen much more quickly than you ever could have imagined.” This didn’t cause Lawson to eschew academics, however; in fact, it left her wanting more: “By the end of my time in the Parliamentary Internship Program, I had the itch to go back to school. I had a lot of questions on my mind and I wanted to delve more deeply than I would have been able to do in a professional setting, and have that space to be a bit more creative.” In 2012, Lawson was one of three Canadians selected to receive the prestigious Chevening Scholarship, awarded to outstanding students with leadership potential. She graduated with distinction from King’s College London’s graduate program in the Department of War Studies, her thesis about the use of Twitter by the Israeli Defence Forces and Hamas. Since 2013, Lawson has been back in Ottawa, serving as the legislative assistant in the office of Jack Harris, Member of Parliament from St. John’s East, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Defence Critic for the Official Opposition. “Every day is very different,” she says. “It’s a mixed bag, a very exciting job that’s fast-paced, and it’s opened my eyes with respect to the parliamentary system, Canadian democracy and how it works.” And does it work? “I think it’s often very difficult to get things done,” she answers, “but I do have a lot of faith that MPs are working really hard to serve their constituents.” In the future, Lawson sees herself working for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, furthering her engagement with Canada’s diplomatic efforts—a most Pearsonian endeavour. “Vic,” she says, “was the foundation for the path that I am on.”  vic report summer 2015



Students Celebrate and Surprise President Gooch When he’s not teaching, Victoria University President Paul W. Gooch is often seen walking through campus and talking to students, staff and faculty and so it’s not easy to keep a surprise party a secret from him. But Vic students pulled it off on April 9, 2015, with support from the Office of the Dean of Students. In just a few short hours, the Goldring Student Centre was transformed with “PG” bunting, balloons, and an enthusiastic crowd of current students and recent graduates who came to campus to say a heartfelt thank you to their popular outgoing president. Kareem Jarrah, VUSAC’s vice-president external, helped to organize the event: “Our goal for the evening was to honour a man whose tireless efforts have served to build Victoria University into a beacon of quality learning that goes beyond what is taught inside the classroom. The enthusiasm students showed in celebrating his accomplishments was so stunning

Students hosted a surprise celebration for their outgoing president in the Goldring Student Centre.

that President Gooch seemed to be walking around in a state of surprise. The evening was filled with laughter and both he and students shed tears of bittersweet joy.” The emotional celebration got underway when three floors of students greeted the president by shouting “Surprise!” along with various family members, including his beloved grandchildren. The ceremony opened with He is the Victoria Man sung by Vic Chorus, followed by remarks from Kelley Castle, dean of students. John Field Vic 7T8, chair of the Board of Regents, also spoke and Wendy Cecil Vic 7T1, chancellor of Victoria University, offered a toast with “The Gooch”— a signature mocktail introduced by the Orientation Executive in fall 2014. This event was just one of a series of celebrations and regional events for the president. See photographs from this event on Vic’s Facebook page.

Chancellor Wendy M. Cecil Vic 7T1 toasts the president and his wife Pauline Thompson Vic 6T3 for their contributions to the Vic community.

The entire three floors of the Goldring Student Centre were packed with current students and recent graduates who came to say thank you to their president.


vic report summer 2015

President Gooch dons his signature sock-and-tie combo.

President Gooch shows off a pair of sock-shaped cufflinks, a gift from the current student body—a sartorial tribute to his penchant for unique and colourful footwear.

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presence of intelligent non-human beings who have interbred with humans, creating hybrids. Tanis Helliwell offers convincing evidence about the existence of 22 different human-hybrids (elementals, angels, dolphins, giants, dragons, centaurs, pan and many others).

Choice Magazine, the journal of the American Library Association, has presented Ken Bartlett Vic 7T1 with its 2014 Outstanding Academic Book Award for European History for his book A Short History of the Italian Renaissance. Every year, the magazine’s subject editors single out for recognition the most significant print and electronic works reviewed in the magazine during the previous calendar year. Appearing annually in Choice Magazine’s January issue, this prestigious list of publications reflects the best in scholarly titles and attracts extraordinary attention from the academic library community.

Melanie (Chandler) Jackson Vic 7T8 has written a young-adult suspense novel called Eye Sore (Orca Books). This is Melanie’s tenth novel with Orca. Eye Sore tells the story of Chaz who is working at his dad’s Ferris wheel on Vancouver’s North Shore. Things are tense between Chaz and his dad because Chaz would rather be dancing, like his idol, the late Gene Kelly. Although his dad doesn’t know it, Chaz also suffers from vertigo. When someone starts sabotaging the Eye, Chaz must face down his vertigo to solve the mystery.

The Hong Kong Government Central Policy Unit has re-appointed Johnny K.M. Chan Vic 9T4 as an associate member, an advisory role on policy that directly advises the chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region since 2010. Please e-mail him at johnny@titan-works.net. The Second: A Novel about Spirituality, Religion and Politics (Exile Editions, 2013), a new novel by Alan J. Cooper Vic 6T9, Emm 9T7, examines spirituality and how it differs from organized religion.

Barlow Book Publishing has released Unstoppable: The story of the asset-based finance and leasing industry in Canada by Beth (Brewer) Parker Vic 7T7. The book tells the previously untold story of a business that has grown to be the largest source of debt financing to Canadian consumers outside of the traditional bank loan, and shows how this form of finance helped to grow Canada’s former industrial economy.

Photographs: (Opposite page) Horst Herget

Tanis Helliwell Vic 6T9, founder of the International Institute for Transformation, announces the release of her seventh book Hybrids: So You Think You Are Human (Wayshower Enterprises, 2015). Myths, religions and archeological discoveries around the world discuss the


Grad Year: Vic

Alumni are invited to send information for inclusion in Milestones. For marriages please indicate, if applicable, whether you prefer to be known by your married or birth name. An obituary must accompany notices of death.


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City Commemorates Poet and Scholar Local Parkette Renamed the Jay Macpherson Green In honour of Jean “Jay” Macpherson, Toronto City Council has renamed the Dupont Parkette East the Jay Macpherson Green. The motion to rename the parkette was brought forward to the council by relatives, friends, colleagues and admirers of the late professor and poet, and also recognizes Macpherson’s service to the Avenue-Bay-Cottingham Residents Association. A commemorative plaque at the site reads: Jay Macpherson, June 13, 1931–March 21, 2012. Awardwinning poet, scholar, professor at Victoria College, activist, and devoted friend, Jay was a long-time local resident. A modest person of great wit, she was a spirited champion of liveable and inclusive cities that respect heritage, public space, and parks. Jay Macpherson enriched our world.


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vic report summer 2015


milestones William W. Pearce Vic 5T0 and Lilian (Trevor) celebrated 66 years of marriage on May 24, 2015. They live in Ottawa, as do both their children. Alan Redway Vic 5T8, has published Governing Toronto: Bringing Back the City that Worked (Friesen Press, 2014). This book traces the growth and governance of the city from its creation in 1834 through its Metro years to why and how the decision was made to establish the present megacity. Redway, a retired lawyer, served for six years as the mayor of the Borough of East York and member of the Metropolitan Toronto Council and Executive Committee. He later was elected to the parliament of Canada, where he served for almost 10 years. Nancy (Adams) Ruhnke Vic 7T3 and her late husband Craig have been recognized for Ontario Volunteer Service Awards thanks to their volunteer work for Vic’s annual book sale. The award ceremony will be held on June 17 at which Nancy will also accept Craig’s award. Nora R. Wilson Vic 5T5 has published her memoirs in a book called Reluctant Pioneer (Volumes Publishing Limited). This book describes her long career as a social worker and teacher on three continents and includes accounts of her travels around the world and her sometimes hair-raising adventures, as well as family history and stories about cottage life in Georgian Bay.

MARRIAGES Heather McLean Vic 0T5 married Darren Kinash on September 20, 2014

in Toronto. In attendance were friends Linda Tung Prangley Vic 0T6, Nick Charalambu Vic 0T6, Soloman Lam Vic 0T5, Chris Anderson Vic 0T2, Leslie Weeks Anderson Vic 0T5, Kayley Collum Vic 0T7, Jennara De Souza Vic 0T7, Stacey O’Malley Vic 0T5.

Richard W. Jeanes Vic 4T5, professor emeritus of French at Victoria, in Victoria, B.C., April 1, 2015.


Jean (Wells) Kitchen Vic 3T9, in Mississauga, Ont., February 25, 2015.

A. Lloyd Jewett Vic 4T8, in Minden, Ont., January 1, 2015. John Kippen Vic 4T7, in Toronto, April 12, 2015.

To Karen Whaley Vic 0T6 and Peter Quinsey Vic 0T6, a daughter, Elizabeth Rose, November 15, 2014, in Toronto.

Lawrence “Larry” Lake Vic 4T9, in Woodstock, Ont., June 4, 2014.


Keith C. Laking Vic 5T3, in Toronto, November 14, 2014.

Vincent D. Alfano Emm 7T3, in Toronto, January 27, 2015.

Frederick F. Langford Vic 5T3, in Sidney, B.C., January 24, 2015.

June E. (Strangways) Anthony Vic 5T1, in Toronto, February 1, 2015.

Agnes E. (Wilson) Masters Vic 4T3, in Niagara Falls, Ont., January 17, 2015.

Jean E. Barkley Emm 7T5, in Kingston, Ont., January 29, 2015.

Jacquelyn “Jackie” (Oldham) Mayer Vic 5T7, in Toronto, March 2015, U of T Arbor Award recipient.

F. James “Jim” Burn Emm 5T6, in Cobourg, Ont., May 16, 2014. Jonathan Crombie Vic 9T5, in New York, NY, April 15, 2015. David G. Evans Vic 5T3, in London, Ont., September 14, 2014. Mary M. (Karl) Gray Vic 3T8, in Victoria, B.C., June 17, 2014. Olga T. “Babs” (Horlington) Griffin Vic 5T4, in Barrington, IL, November 6, 2014.

Diane Carol Morrow Emm 9T4, in Parry Sound, Ont., March 29, 2015. Norman A. Peck Vic 6T5, in Toronto, September 4, 2014. Donald F. Pounsett Vic 5T6, in Toronto, February 5, 2015. Erik J. Spicer Vic 4T8, in Ottawa, September 27, 2014. Edgar “Ted” Thomson Vic 4T4, in Newmarket, Ont., April 17, 2015. Maxwell F. Yalden Vic 5T2, in Ottawa, February 9, 2015, Victoria College Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.

Phyllis M. (Hulse) Harper Vic 4T2, in London, Ont., April 1, 2015. Audrey M. (Geer) Hilliard Vic 4T3, in Huntsville, Ont., March 15, 2015.

Hugh E. Zimmerman Vic 5T1, in Aurora, Ont., January 11, 2015.

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vic report summer 2015

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faculty forum

Getting it Wrong, and Having it Come Right

Photograph: Peg McCarthy

by paul w. gooch In 427 CE, Augustine decided to review his writings in order to say what displeased him about his earlier views and to set the record straight before his death. Though I’m not in quite the same mood, the end of an administrative term does occasion reflection on what I’ve done wrong in my life. Fortunately for the reader I have only this page, and must therefore omit many glaring missteps. It all went wrong a long time ago, when I did not choose to come to Vic for my undergraduate degree. There were reasons (mainly the desire to leave home and four squabbling siblings), but had I known differently I would have set a better example to future generations and enrolled here. Fortunately, at Bishop’s I was able to change my original plans and major in philosophy, thereby altering the course of my life and saving generations of high schoolers the pain of my teaching them Latin and French. For me, at least, it did come right. Somewhere in a file I have a letter from Robertson Davies inviting me to apply for a junior fellowship at Massey College when I returned to Toronto for graduate work. I turned him down, for reasons not very good. I am now a continuing senior fellow at Massey, grateful for the opportunity to get it right in the end. In that file is a second letter, this time from Francis Sparshott at Victoria College (the envelope was stamped “Office of the Sparshott”) with another invitation I didn’t take up: the position of part-time lecturer in ethics. It was undoubtedly wrong to spurn Vic (though I had already agreed to a position at the Scarborough campus), but I’ve been able to put that right by serving for 14 years (among other things) lecturing at Vic part-time, one course a year, in philosophy. These wrong decisions seem small in comparison with a much greater mistake in my administrative career. In 1997 to 1998, it was my responsibility to lead negotiations for U of T for a renewed memorandum of agreement with the federated universities: St. Michael’s, Trinity and Victoria. Over the years, the role of the colleges in the Faculty of Arts and Science had, to some minds, been eroded. The four constituent U of T colleges were challenged to find renewed purpose. The three ‘feds’ had gradually migrated most of their employment contracts of arts faculty members to U of T departments, and felt some loss of identity. I decided to put representatives of all seven colleges in the same room, to forge together some sense of mission for the colleges. The intention was simple: to treat every college like every other college. The system was too complicated to take little differences into account. Colleges were good things, but it was too difficult to explain, and justify, the arcane distinction between federated colleges and constituent colleges. So I pushed for an agreement reflecting what I might now call Collegial Homogeneity. That was, I came to see, to get it wrong. Seriously. It took a walk across Queen’s Park to come to my senses. For after I had repented my earlier follies and actually taken

up life at Vic, I began to view the world from a different vantage point. My initial focus was upon undergraduate experience. One of our daughters had transferred to Vic after starting elsewhere, but didn’t have a chance to connect here. The other had gone to King’s in Halifax, and thrived in the foundation year. I thought that perhaps Vic could do as well, or even better. Not the Great Books of the standard, first-year special curriculum, but something more Vic-ish: a Frye stream, or Pearson stream, with small seminars conducted by very experienced professors. It didn’t take long before it dawned on me that Vic should be offering an experience that would distinguish our students from those of other colleges. Those colleges should do the same. Only in that way could the vast University of Toronto make itself intelligible as a community of small neighbourhoods, a unity with fascinating diversity. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to correct my late 20th-century error. In the 2008 negotiations at the 10-year review of the memorandum, the provost and I worked together to make sure that diversity was encouraged within the broad framework of our relationship. Instead of a single agreement signed off by all parties, each federated university signs its own agreement with U of T. If the language is similar, that signifies our common purpose. But the structure is available with which to signal diversity. Vic has taken advantage of this possibility with special entrance requirements, distinctive programs in first year and beyond, and remarkable faculty who add professional as well as disciplinary excellence to their teaching. Vic has been blessed with U of T leaders who understand the importance of distinctiveness. After all, U of T is distinctive in the Canadian system, giving new students, staff and faculty a reason to become members of this community. It only makes sense for the college system to replicate that distinctiveness, so that those remarkable young people who yearn for a special university experience have real choice. They can come to Vic, or choose something different. Our determination is to make Vic one of the best choices for those who care to be challenged and supported by their college. And I am blessed with the knowledge that sometimes, things come right after wrong choices that at the time looked right. Even though those decisions should have been made otherwise, they opened other doors, and doors that I’d shut moved open when I was ready to knock again. For that I am ever grateful.  Paul W. Gooch is a professor of philosophy, with a cross-appointment to the Centre for the Study of Religion. He completes his term as Victoria University’s president on June 30, 2015. vic report summer 2015


on campus with president gooch

Photographs: Horst Herget

At Orientation Week 2014, participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to promote awareness and raise research funds for the disease.

Teaching in the Purpose, Power, and Politics of University stream, part of the Ideas for the World program.

Delivering the Vic One plenary “Vic, Vic One and Me� to students and alumni in The Isabel Bader Theatre.

Profile for Victoria University in the University of Toronto

Vic Report Summer 2015  

Vic Report Summer 2015