University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

Alumni Leave Their Mark on Con Hall

Mirvishes dedicate three seats

University of Toronto alumni with a sentimental attachment to Convocation Hall could soon call a piece of the grand old heritage building their own. Alumni and friends of the university who pledge $1,907 toward the refurbishment of the landmark will see their name, or dedication of choice, inscribed on a seat plaque.

The symbolic pledge amount – Con Hall opened in 1907 – is part of the university’s campaign to restore the hall in honour of its centenary next year. The U of T Alumni Association and the university have committed $500,000 each to the project, which will include renovating the stage and circular foyer, providing a new suite of accessible washrooms and refurbishing many of the 1,731 seats.

Anjali Baichwal, a communications manager in the Office of Research at U of T, pledged a seat in memory of her father, Gururaj S. Baichwal, who passed away in 2004. “My father came to Canada for grad studies and received his MASc at Con Hall in 1963,” she says. “U of T was a very big part of his life and he never strayed too far, always working on or near campus.”

Another Toronto family, the Mirvishes, have dedicated three seats. “Convocation Hall has been the site of some of the finest lectures in the history of mankind,” says David Mirvish (LLD 2004). (The Dalai Lama and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison have spoken there, among many others.) “To be associated with, and to support, the hall is a privilege and an honour for our family.” Mirvish and his parents received honorary doctorates from U of T and, like most alumni in the past century, attended graduation ceremonies at Con Hall.

If you are interested in supporting the Con Hall restoration project, call (416) 978-3847 or e-mail conhallrestoration@utoronto.ca.

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