University of Toronto

Office of the Chancellor

Chancellor’s Circle Medal Ceremony

June 2, 2017

Thank you, Scott, for that warm introduction. Every year, I look forward to presenting the Chancellor’s Circle Medals. U of T is incredibly proud of our alumni community. Today, we have more than 500,000 graduates living around the world. We like to think of our alumni as ambassadors of U of T. And you, our honoured alumni gathered here today, are among our greatest ambassadors.

During and since your time at U of T, we’ve witnessed some of the modern world’s most pivotal moments. Through it all, your spirit and hard work have created a legacy to move our country forward, setting a high bar for those who have come after – including our young students today.

So first and foremost, let me to congratulate those of you who’ve just received a medal. May it serve not just as a memento of your time at U of T, but also as a recognition of your life-long commitment to the values and ideals developed during your formative years here.

Looking back on our student days, we often remark on how much has changed, both in our world and at the University. I’ll leave aside world politics for today! But certainly as Chancellor I can say that there are many exciting things happening at the University right now.

In the past few years, U of T has been in the spotlight for our singular role in advancing the science of artificial intelligence. Thanks to Professor Geoffrey Hinton and other brilliant U of T researchers, we’re leading the way in the development of new medical treatments and self-driving cars, among other amazing things. To propel this leadership farther, we have just helped launch the Vector Institute – a new research hub based here in Toronto that will ensure U of T and Canada remain at the forefront of the global revolution in artificial intelligence.

You may also have noticed how much the campus has transformed since you were undergrads – and maybe even since you last visited us – with cutting-edge new facilities alongside our venerable heritage buildings. While the campus has grown immensely, the importance of its green spaces remains, both in the experience of our students and in the life of the communities around us.

That’s why I’m excited to tell you about the Landmark Project – a grand effort to restore and enhance the original beauty and tranquility of King’s College Circle. Through the plan that’s been approved, cars will be redirected into an underground parking lot, and Front Campus will become an idyllic, pedestrian green space with stone paths, flowering gardens, and places for reflection, picnics, pick-up sports, and of course, celebration with family and friends at Convocation.

Other traditions remain unchanged since your time here. Certainly, the University’s capacity to provide the very best education for its students has not changed. And the curiosity and creativity of our researchers continues to drive breakthroughs in every field.

From the discovery of insulin and the development of communications theory, to the latest advances in regenerative medicine and urban studies, U of T continues to transform our world for the better. That’s why we are consistently ranked among the very best universities in the world.

Fellow alumni, we have so much to be proud of! And a lot to look forward too, as we see the newest generation of outstanding faculty and students at U of T.

It’s been wonderful to see you all here today. Your presence tells me that you care deeply about our alma mater, its past as well as its future. I hope you have a fantastic weekend reminiscing with old friends and renewing the bonds we share from this great, good place.