Celebrating Fall Convocation 2012

Author: 
Gavin Au-Yeung

The installation of the Honourable Michael Wilson as the 33rd Chancellor of the University of Toronto marked the opening ceremonies of fall Convocation on the morning of Nov. 12, launching a week of celebration for thousands of students, their families and faculty mentors.

"The University of Toronto is Canada’s leading institution of advanced research and research-intensive education – and one of the finest in the world,” said Chancellor Wilson. “That status, that global reach and impact, is the result of the talent and hard work of the remarkable people who make up the U of T community. It is also the legacy of those who have gone before us.

“It is therefore a tremendous privilege for me, as an alumnus of this great, good place, to serve now as its 33rd Chancellor."

The former Canadian Ambassador to the United States and federal Minister of Finance graduated from Trinity College in 1959. Trinity students were among those graduating that morning with Faculty of Arts & Science classmates from University College, Innis College, Victoria College and St. Michael’s College. Students from New College, Woodsworth College and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education received their degrees later that day.

Many of the traditions of the university and convocation originated in medieval times, said Louis Charpentier, Secretary of the Governing Council, from the use of Latin to the regalia and other ceremonial items, such as the silver and gilt mace emblazoned with the Arms of the university. These traditions, along with music provided by students from the Faculty of Music and the University Organist, Professor John Tuttle, added to the colour and dignity of the installation ceremonies.

This year, fall Convocation includes eight ceremonies, for undergraduate and graduate students from all three campuses, including the first-ever graduating class of the Faculty of Law’s Global Professional LLM program. It also includes the conferral of honorary degrees, to Vandana Shiva on Nov. 12 and to Anne Carson on Nov. 16.

Through scholarship and activism, Dr. Shiva has made important contributions in the fields of Intellectual property rights, biodiversity, biotechnology, bioethics, genetic engineering and women’s rights. She has received the Right Livelihood Award, the United Nations’ Global 500 Award, and the Earth Day International Award, among many other accolades. Dr. Shiva founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in 1982, working closely with local communities and social movements to address ecological and social issues. In 1991 she founded Navdanya, a national movement in India to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources and to promote organic farming and fair trade.

Professor Carson is known for blending forms of poetry, essay, prose, criticism, translation, and dramatic dialogue in her writing. A distinguished poet, essayist, translator, and professor of Classics, she has taught at McGill University, the University of Michigan, and Princeton University. Professor Carson received her B.A. (St. Michael’s College), M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. Her other awards and honors include the Griffin Poetry Prize, the T.S. Eliot Prize, and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.