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UTSC Celebrates 50 Years

The University of Toronto Scarborough has evolved tremendously since its humble roots in 1964, creating lasting memories and establishing a legacy of academic excellence along the way. This October UTSC will celebrate its 50th anniversary in style.

The 1960’s are remembered as an era that rocked the establishment, ushering in enduring cultural change.

Ontario’s population was booming. Canada’s new immigration regulations revolutionized policy, opening an increasingly wider door. Suburbs rapidly grew to the north and east of downtown Toronto. The Beatles became internationally famous. Marshall McLuhan published his insightful analysis of television’s impact on society, Understanding Media: the extension of man. Defending champions, the Toronto Maple Leafs, won the Stanley Cup at Maple Leaf Gardens. 

Against this backdrop in 1964, the University of Toronto established a campus in the eastern GTA—its first of two new campuses—with 16 faculty members in three divisions: Social Sciences, Humanities and Science. The next year 191 full-time students began their training as future leaders and members of the first class of Scarborough College.

Today the campus is known as University of Toronto Scarborough.

Interim Principal Prof. Bruce Kidd says the original campus was both an ambitious social exercise and an architectural one.  “UTSC has always pioneered new paths for the well-established U of T, Canada’s leading research university,” he notes.  “From the beginning, the campus aimed to offer students higher education that is innovative, inclusive and equal to the excellence that is the University’s hallmark.” John Andrews designed Scarborough College’s buildings to forge interaction among disciplines, teachers and students.  The internationally renowned Science and Humanities Wings also included a 6,000 square-foot (560-metre) television studio to develop and transmit closed-circuit lectures, a unique experiment in pedagogy.

Today’s UTSC offers a comprehensive range of opportunities for 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 80 countries, with 350 faculty, a full array of student services, highly regarded research centres and 43,000 alumni who have found their place in the worlds of politics, sports, education, entertainment and industry.  The campus’s expansive footprint is larger than that of the University’s St. George campus, occupying 300 acres or over 121 hectares, stretching from the Highland Creek Ravine to the new Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, home to UTSC’s Department of Athletics and Recreation. 

UTSC’s academic program offers 180 undergraduate and graduate programs, from International Business to Global Asia Studies to Clinical Psychology, including 53 co-operative education programs.  More than 200 student clubs and associations guarantee an engaged student experience.

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, this is an exciting time to be on campus as UTSC looks to its past even as it ponders its future. Events have reached out to alumni, the local community, and across the University. A celebration of the campus’ official establishment by U of T’s Governing Council happens on October 6th and the program of festivities, symposia, lectures and events continues into the new year, when UTSC hosts nine events for the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan American Games, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors, the technologically-advanced Environmental Science and Chemistry Building opens its doors and the University introduces UTSC’s next Principal. 

While much has changed, Kidd says the campus remains true to its roots, still pushing the boundaries of traditional structures, and offering a program that is challenging, current and both locally and globally relevant. “We’re actively engaged with our communities, so the UTSC experience doesn’t stop at our campus borders—it’s a key part of the student experience.  Being located in an area with the highest density of diversity in the country adds a level of energy, creativity, culture and engagement that is uniquely UTSC.” 




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