March 15, 1827, King's College - the precursor to the University of
Toronto - was granted its royal charter by King George IV. Throughout
2002, U of T celebrated 175 years of Great Minds. As part of the
celebration, the U of T website featured excerpts from The
University of Toronto: A History, written by Martin Friedland, University
Professor and Professor Emeritus of Law at U of T.
dean, Harold Innis was able to continue his scholarship. He published
three major books on communications between 1950 and 1952, including
The Bias of Communication, in which he noted, for example, that
"as modern developments in communication have made for greater
realism they have made for greater possibilities of delusion."
McLuhan later wrote,
"he showed us how to understand cultures." .
influenced Marshall McLuhan and others. "By directing attention
to the bias or distorting power of the dominant imagery and technology
of any culture," McLuhan later wrote, "he showed us how to
the central administration of the University for additional funding
for graduate work. The thirty-seven institutions that made up the Association
of American Universities, he pointed out, had an average of $100,000
a year for graduate fellowships, whereas Toronto had less than $25,000,
mainly for the sciences. Over a four-year period, only 138 students
out of the more than 5,000 who enrolled in the graduate school held
other questions about what was happening at the University. He was concerned,
for example, about the concentration of undergraduate students from
the Toronto area. It was becoming a streetcar university. The graduate
students were also predominantly from Ontario, and almost half were
from Toronto. In earlier periods, the majority of students had come
from outside Toronto. Just before the First World War, for example,
about two-thirds of the students were from outside Toronto, and in the
1880s the proportion of those from outside had been even higher.
also concerned about the role of the colleges, which were losing their
importance because students were less interested in the college subjects
than in the university subjects and the professional courses. Innis
had suggested earlier to President Cody that University College could
be revitalized by bringing in the social sciences. In the fall of 1951,
[Sidney] Smith formed a high-powered committee to examine the humanities
and asked Innis to head it.
humanities committee had held three meetings when Innis became ill.
In January 1952, he felt pain in his back while walking from the University
to his home on Dunvegan Road. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer,
and in May he underwent surgery. He kept working from his home, meeting
on graduate school matters with Andrew Gordon and Jack Sword, the graduate
school secretary. Innis was also preparing his presidential address
for the American Economic Association meeting in December. He died on
November 8, 1952 at the age of 58.