One of the most inspiring moments that my wife, Mary Catherine, and I have experienced since returning to the university was the orientation session early last September for new students and their parents at the Scarborough campus. There were about 255 parents at the orientation, and only five had sent a child previously to college or university. The families beautifully reflected the tapestry of the Canadian cultural mosaic, and the pride in the hall that day was palpable.
It was also a powerful reminder that for many in this diverse country, universities hold the key to social mobility. And for all Canadians, research institutions like the University of Toronto will function as the country’s engines of prosperity as Canada moves from a commodity-based to a knowledge-based economy. A relatively small number of the worlds universities will set the standards for excellence, and the University of Toronto must be among them.
To achieve international leadership we must set our sights ever higher. When I announced at my installation in October that the university’s campaign goal would be expanded to $1 billion, and the campaign extended two years to Dec. 31, 2004, I did so with utmost confidence. Thanks to the commitment of President Emeritus Robert Prichard, Vice-President and Chief Development Officer Jon Dellandrea, and campaign chair Tony Comper and his hundreds of volunteer leaders, as well as the generosity of alumni, friends, foundations, corporations and organizations, the campaign has already raised more than $740 million. This is unprecedented for a Canadian university.
To take our place among the top research universities in the world, we must be able to compete in the global marketplace — for the best teachers, researchers and students. In this issue of the magazine, you will learn about some of the new goals we now have in our sights. The Canada Research Chairs program will enable us to add 271 chairs over the next five years. Ultimately, of course, the university’s status as a leading research institution depends on its ability to attract, support and retain exceptional doctoral students. Thus, we intend to raise $100 million to endow graduate student assistance.
Until now, the campaign has been primarily about human capital. But the university system in Ontario will expand by some 90,000 students over the next decade. U of T will hire more than 1,000 professors over the same period. Simply stated, we need more buildings.
Also in this issue, you will learn about some of our graduates who have funded projects as diverse as themselves. They have given in aid of leukemia research, child-care facilities, sexual diversity programs, opera productions, scholarships for single mothers, architectural improvements and career mentoring, to name just some. At the end of the day, a great research university is measured by the quality of its alumni and alumnae — another reason I face our billion-dollar goal with great confidence.
With the full engagement of all of our partners — our more than 300,000 alumni and alumnae, the private sector and the provincial and federal governments — U of T will set a new standard in Canada in the pursuit of excellence in research and teaching. We will be measured against the best public research universities in the world and we will thrive in that competitive environment. I look forward to our journey together.