University of Toronto

Office of the Chancellor

University of Toronto Alumni Association Annual General Meeting

May 28, 2016

The Hon. Michael Wilson, P.C., C.C., B.Com., LL.D.
Chancellor of the University of Toronto

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great privilege to serve as chancellor of this University, and I’m delighted to join you for today’s celebration. I know you’re all very loyal supporters and proud alumni of the University of Toronto. And like me, you appreciate how much your education and experiences here have meant in your life and career.

Those of you who attended the Chancellor’s Circle Medal Ceremony yesterday will have heard me list some of the amazing things happening at our University right now. But I think these bear repeating. We have an incredible story to tell, and we really need to spread the word – to other alumni, to prospective students, to colleagues, and to potential supporters.

U of T ranks second in the world after Harvard, both in the amount of research we produce and in how often it’s cited by other researchers, in all fields. Along with our partner hospitals we’re the academic anchor of North America’s third-largest biomedical cluster.

Over the past five years, 150 start-up companies came out of U of T, putting us in first place for innovation among Canadian universities, and among the top universities in North America. Our graduates are Number One in Canada and Number 10 in the world in terms of employability. And in employability we’re actually Number 3 among public universities worldwide, after Cambridge and Oxford, making us a world leader in providing an excellent and accessible education.

Another reason why I’m so proud of my association with U of T is that as an alumnus, I’m part of a large and diverse group of talented, public-spirited leaders in every walk of life. Fellow alumni, your accomplishments have contributed to a better Canada and a better world. And there is absolutely no question that your active involvement in the life and mission of your alma mater has been critical to its success and will continue to be in years to come.

Before I conclude, I’d like to acknowledge a few of our volunteer leaders. First, those serving on the 2015-2016 UTAA board of directors: You are a committed and enthusiastic team who care deeply about U of T and about your peers. Congratulations on a great year and thank you for representing us so well.

Cindy Ross Pedersen has completed the first year of her term as UTAA President and head of the board. Thank you, Cindy, for your leadership, and your commitment to working with divisional alumni groups to build a strong network of engaged alumni volunteers across the University. I know that you’ve worked tirelessly to ensure the UTAA remains an important resource for divisional alumni associations and to promote cross-pollination and collaboration between groups. You’ve dedicated countless hours of volunteer time to this role as well as to the other U of T projects you’re involved with and we’re immensely grateful.

I’d also like to thank Tom Enright, who is retiring from the board. During his time with the UTAA, Tom chaired its Mentorship Committee, which has seen tremendous growth in alumni and student engagement as a result of his passion for this very important cause. Students and young alumni have told us that mentors make an enormous difference in their careers and lives, inspiring them to follow and realize their dreams. Thank you, Tom, for your vision, and your commitment to the next generation of leaders.

Thanks also to Kai Chan, who is also retiring from the board after five years of service. He lives in Dubai, and having a regional director of the UTAA there has allowed us to greatly expand our reach. He’s a long-time supporter of the University and will continue as a great ambassador for us in the region. Thank you, Kai, for your outstanding leadership.

Finally, I’d like to congratulate Elisabeth McGregor on receiving the UTAA Alumni Engagement Award for her exemplary volunteer contributions. As we’ve seen, Elisabeth has dedicated a truly impressive amount of time and energy to The Compass, having volunteered over 10,000 hours as an intake counselor since 2002. Her commitment has had a remarkable and impact on her community. Thank you, Elisabeth.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to welcome Cindy Ross Pedersen back to the podium. Cindy…