University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

Trinity College’s Founding Moments

New book places college in a rich social, cultural and religious context

There is more to the story of Trinity College’s creation than is documented in the founders’ accounts, says William Westfall (BA 1968 TRIN, MSc 1969, PhD 1976) in The Founding Moment: Church, Society and the Construction of Trinity College (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002). Winner of the Canadian Historical Association’s 2003 Clio Award for the best history of Ontario, the book gives a voice to the founders’ critics and places the college in a rich social, cultural and religious context. Westfall shows that the founders’ desire to shelter the college from the powerful social forces of the day – especially secularization – was not shared by some of their contemporaries, or many of their successors. “People might not expect a book about the founding of an all-male Anglican college to touch on questions of class, gender and ethnicity, but I draw these issues into the story.” Westfall, a professor of history and humanities at York University and a research associate in divinity at Trinity, says he is heartened by the Trinity community’s response to the book. “I think they appreciate that my approach brought Trinity to life in a new way.”

The book can be purchased at the U of T Bookstore, or by contacting Trinity College’s Office of Convocation at (416) 978-2651.

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