University of Toronto

Office of the Chancellor

Varsity Athletes reception

Chancellor Wilson with students and Big Blue at the Varsity Athletes reception 2014-15

Photo credit: Martin Bazel

March 27, 2015

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

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased and honoured to join you this afternoon – members of Governing Council, faculty leaders, senior administrators, and most of all our outstanding Varsity athletes.

I too was a Varsity athlete, although I would not put myself in the outstanding category. I was a member of the Varsity ski team. Five of us tried out for the team and five of us made the team!

So I am delighted to be here, even though I don’t qualify for the same reason as our athletes today. It’s not just that athletics is still a big part of my life. It’s not just that it was a big part of my life at Trinity in the 1950s – I played on the Mulock Cup team in 1957 and my friends and I never missed a Varsity Blues football game, I’m proud to say. We are here today to recognize and celebrate what you represent as Varsity athletes – the example you set, of excellence in everything we do here at the University of Toronto.

You understand the importance of hard work and discipline in achieving excellence. You understand the pressures and demands of competition in the achievements that you have all earned in the sports that you play.

This training, this experience will stand you in good stead as you move from university to pursue the career that you choose. I am sure that you will find, as I have, that competition and hard work in our complex world are important attributes in achieving success.

Professor Joe Nye of Harvard has developed the concept of the tri-athlete, which is how he describes individuals who have experienced leading positions in business, government and civil society. I think it’s no accident that an athlete is the ideal image of this aspiration to comprehensive excellence. I encourage you all to apply the values that have brought you success as athletes to Joe Nye’s concept of the tri-athlete. The ambition, discipline, and commitment you’ve shown can provide great support for any aspirations you may have to become a tri-athlete.

Congratulations to all today’s award winners, and congratulations to all those who’ve helped prepare you for the achievements we’re celebrating today.

And now let’s enjoy the rest of our time together this afternoon. Thank you, everyone.

Photo gallery from the event