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David Peterson installed as 32nd chancellor

November 14, 2006

Source: University of Toronto

Installation address praises university’s strengthsNov 14/06by Michah Rynor (about) (email)

Surrounded by a who’s who of the arts, entertainment, political, academic and business worlds, former Ontario premier David Peterson was installed as the University of Toronto’s 32nd chancellor Nov. 13 in Convocation Hall.

The installation coincided with the university’s fall convocation ceremonies. Peterson, himself a 1967 graduate from U of T’s law school, listened as he was welcomed to his new role by such luminaries as George Smitherman, Ontario’s deputy premier and minister of health and long-term care; Christopher Bentley, minister of training, colleges and universities; Arthur Labatt, chancellor of the University of Western Ontario (Peterson received his BA from Western in 1964); Sheetal Gandotra, president of the New College student council; Paul Cadario, chair of the U of T College of Electors; Vivek Goel, the vice-president and provost; and U of T president David Naylor.

Echoing Naylor’s assertion that the university’s most important responsibility is to its students, Peterson extolled the virtues of his alma mater.

"This is the greatest university in Canada and is probably one of the best universities in the world," Peterson said to the graduating students. "This university has extraordinarily lofty ambitions, it never sacrifices its quest to be better at everything, it is a research powerhouse and it values excellence in teaching. Today there are some 70,000 students at this university and 420,000 graduates who are providing the leadership in so many fields around the world, and I say this to the graduates today that you are part of this wave of leadership graduating from this great university."

Peterson thanked his wife Shelley from the podium, noting that she has been a major factor in his success.

"The happiest people I know in the world are passionate. Passionate about someone and they’re passionate about something. The graduates today will have many, many ups and downs in life but I’ll tell you the ups are higher and the downs are less when you have someone to share them with."

Elected by the alumni’s College of Electors for a three-year term, the chancellor is the ceremonial head of the university, presiding at convocations, conferring all university degrees and acting as ambassador to U of T graduates and friends around the world, as well as acting as the university’s senior volunteer while advocating the vision of the University of Toronto as decreed by the president and the university’s Governing Council.

"I am deeply honoured to be able to serve my alma mater in such an important way and at such an exciting time," Peterson said upon learning of his appointment as chancellor in early 2006. "There is no higher calling than working with and on behalf of young people – the individuals who are our future."



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