John Read Teefy was the driving force behind the affiliation of St. Michael’s College with U of T
Teefy Hall, on the west side of St. Michael’s College, is named after John Read Teefy, a professor of mathematics, philosophy and English who played a pivotal role in the early days of the University of Toronto.
Father Teefy graduated from University College in 1871 and later taught at St. Michael’s College. In 1881, he was the driving force behind the affiliation of St. Mike’s with U of T, which included an agreement that allowed St. Mike’s to teach philosophy and history courses. Undergraduate degrees, however, were taken through University College until 1910, when St. Mike’s gained full degree-granting status.
Father Teefy wanted to create “a great Catholic university,” said U of T historian Martin Friedland, “bearing the same relation to modern times that the University of Salamanca did to medieval.” Teefy died in 1911, but it would not be until the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies was founded in 1929 that the college would reach the stature that he envisioned.
Teefy Hall was built in 1936 as a mixed-use space, and is part of a complex of buildings that includes the Pontifical Institute and two other residences. Today, Teefy Hall is home to classrooms and faculty offices as well as dorms.