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.
University of Toronto Alumni Association cast a wide net.
It included graduates and others who had attended "a whole session"
at the University, as well as current members of the teaching staff
and governing body. It also included undergraduates. The members were
organized on the basis of local branches.
end of the first year of operation (1900), there were 17 branches. Physicist
John McLennan attended twelve of the organizational meetings. In the
summer of 1903, President James Loudon and McLennan travelled to the
west coast to meet alumni. They were surprised at the number of Toronto
graduates in the west. In Edmonton, for example, where they expected
to find perhaps half a dozen, they met with thirty-five. McLennan used
the occasion to promote graduate studies wherever he went, hoping that
westerners would come to Toronto rather than go to the United States.
By June 1904, there were 33 branches, 23 of them in Ontario.
gathering at Hart House Great Hall, after 1928
first year, the association instituted the annual gathering of alumni
at the June graduation exercises. Four hundred alumni attended a banquet
in the gymnasium the night before graduation, June 1900. The new chancellor,
Chief Justice William Meredith, welcomed the graduates, noting that
the energetic secretary of the association, McLennan, would receive
his PhD the following day. A garden party was held on the front campus
after the graduation, and a moonlight boat cruise on Lake Ontario in
No doubt sitting through
convocation in the examination hall of the School of Practical Science
brought home to the alumni the idea that a proper convocation hall
was required to replace the one that had been destroyed in the fire.
sitting through convocation in the examination hall of the School of
Practical Science brought home to the alumni the idea that a proper
convocation hall was required to replace the one that had been destroyed
in the fire. That first year also saw the appearance of the University
of Toronto Monthly. The first editor, assisted, of course, by the
ubiquitous McLennan, was Professor I.H. Cameron, a medical graduate
who had replaced Dean William Aikins in 1897 as the professor of surgery.
established from the beginning was that all articles had to be signed.
The University - and particularly Loudon - had had enough of unsigned
attacks in the press. Within a couple of years a paid editor was hired,
and the monthly continued in more or less the same form until after
the Second World War, when it was incorporated into the new Varsity