University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine
Photo of Ernest Sirluck.
Ernest Sirluck. Photo by Rick O'Brien

In Memoriam: Ernest Sirluck

Renowned Milton scholar spearheaded plan to build Robarts Library

If you’ve ever found just the book you needed at Robarts, thank Ernest Sirluck. During his eight years at U of T in the 60s, the then-dean of the School of Graduate Studies spearheaded an ambitious 50-year-plan for the university’s library system that included acquiring five million books – and building the giant concrete structure to shelve them all. He also oversaw a doubling of the number of grad students admitted to the university.

Sirluck grew up in Manitoba and came to U of T during the Second World War for graduate school, where he became the first Jewish person ever appointed to teach English at a Canadian university. (Mid-appointment, he took a break to serve in France with Canadian military intelligence.) His U of T dissertation launched his reputation, later honed at the University of Chicago, as a respected scholar of Milton. After a stint as president of the University of Manitoba, Sirluck returned to Toronto. He died on September 4 at age 95. “Not only a great scholar and gifted administrator, he was a man of remarkable courage and the greatest integrity,” said Paul Stevens, currently acting chair of the English department.

Recent Posts

Darren Hamilton in a blue patterned, long-sleeved shirt, seated in front of a piano, smiling and looking off camera

Spreading the Gospel

A Juno Award-winning teacher wants all his students to feel there is a place for them in music

A grassy field full of white clovers in a Toronto park, surrounded by trees and condo buildings in the distance

Cities Are Driving Evolution

Globally crowdsourced study shows that white clovers are biologically adapting to city life, demonstrating the profound impact of urbanization

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *