University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

Celebrating McLuhan

Scholarship will support a student in information studies

A U of T professor and a longtime benefactor of the university have created a new graduate scholarship in honour of one of U of T’s truly “great minds.”

Derrick de Kerckhove, director of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, and Michael Paine of Belmont, Mass., have contributed $25,000 each to create the McLuhan-de Kerckhove-Paine Ontario Graduate Scholarship in the Faculty of Information Studies.

The university matched the contributions, and the province of Ontario will double-match the income, to yield a $15,000 annual award for a student pursuing a master’s or PhD in information studies.

Marshall McLuhan taught English at St. Michael’s College for more than 30 years, and devised the theory that the way we receive information is crucial to how we perceive and interpret it; hence “the medium is the message.” A resurgence of interest in his work began in the mid-1990s, with the rise of the Internet and other digital technologies.

“We’ve gone through the end of print and are into the ascendancy of the computer,” says Paine. “McLuhan explained that form itself was a result of print and that as we move to the new medium, we will have to reinvent form.” He hopes the new scholarship will give more students the opportunity to consider McLuhan’s provocative ideas.

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