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Vivienne Poy gets degree, then begins conferring them

There was an interesting twist in the traditional convocation ceremony on Nov. 17: Senator Vivienne Poy (MA 1997, PhD 2003) received her doctorate in history from President Robert J. Birgeneau (BSc 1963 St. Mike’s) just minutes before being officially installed as U of T’s 31st chancellor. After a quick change in ceremonial garb, Poy went from being proud graduate to the ambassador of the University of Toronto. It was the first time this unique situation is known to have occurred at a university.

Poy assumed the role of chancellor last July and is serving a three-year term. A longtime U of T volunteer, she has been a member of the University of Toronto’s Governing Council and the Faculty of Arts and Science Advisory Board. In 1997, Poy received an Arbor Award for her outstanding volunteer service to the university.

As chancellor, Poy represents the university and its more than 360,000 graduates worldwide. She participates in a host of alumni events, presides at convocations, serves on Governing Council and is the honorary president of the University of Toronto Alumni Association.

Born in Hong Kong, Poy is the first Canadian of Asian descent to be named to the Senate of Canada. She also established the Richard Charles and Esther Yewpick Lee Chair in Chinese Thought and Culture at U of T’s Faculty of Arts and Science in honour of her late parents.

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