In January, our university celebrated a remarkable achievement, unprecedented in this country. Thanks to the generosity of 112,819 donors and the work of thousands of faculty, staff, alumni and friends, the Campaign for the University of Toronto passed the $1-billion milestone, one year ahead of schedule.
The significance of this campaign is not just in the unmatched financial total. It can be measured best in its impact on our students, and on teaching and research. The campaign has enabled us to provide financial assistance to tens of thousands of our students. The number of students reporting parental income of less than $50,000 in 2003 over the previous year increased from 39 to 45 per cent for undergraduates, 37 to 50 per cent for doctoral students and 29 to 33 per cent for students in dentistry, law, medicine and pharmacy. We are proud to say that accessibility is at an all-time high at the University of Toronto.
The campaign has also enhanced our ability to attract and retain faculty members who are among the finest in the world. This issue of University of Toronto Magazine offers a sampling of the many stories that illustrate the ways in which students and faculty have benefited from campaign donations.
While we celebrate our success, we must remain focused on our goal to become unequivocally one of the world’s leading public teaching and research universities. As our graduates, you should expect no less from us. In turn, we will continue to rely on you and our friends, as well as government, to accomplish our ambitions.
The future of the University of Toronto is simply too important to our city, our province and our country. Canada is on the cusp of dramatic demographic change. A great wave of young people, the largest since the 1960s, is entering our universities. They represent the face of Canada in all its diversity, and they will build the new Canada of the 21st century. How we receive them, and how we educate them, will play a large part in determining the quality of our national life and our place in the world.
This is why it is so important that the federal and provincial governments fund Canadian universities at levels comparable to those in the United States and Europe. The global competition for top faculty has never been more intense. The success of U of T’s faculty members in obtaining top international fellowships and high rankings in research citations are just two ways of evaluating our international competitiveness. However, the University of Toronto’s very ability to sustain its standing as Canada’s pre-eminent university is being challenged by the fact that Ontario ranks last among our 10 provinces in per-student funding.
We also need continuing support from our alumni and friends. Indeed, if the University of Toronto is to stand with the very best internationally, we will need to raise a minimum of $1 billion in additional private support over the next decade.
The University of Toronto has the potential to increase the quality of life of every Canadian by educating superb graduates in all fields, and by generating ideas that will make a critical difference to our society and our economy.
This is a time to celebrate the success of our campaign. It is not, however, a time for complacency. We face daunting challenges, but with confidence and planning, we can ensure the future for our young people and the generations to follow.