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.
activities were curtailed because of the war. Intercollegiate
athletic schedules were cancelled, though exhibition games took place.
The University of Toronto rugger team, for example, which had been intercollegiate
champion before the war, arranged games with various RCAF teams. Interfaculty
competitions, however, increased during this period.
The sombre tone of
the campus resembled that during the First World War.
reluctantly suspended its debates, and the number of dances was reduced.
The medical students' annual production, "Daffydil," was cancelled.
The sombre tone of the campus resembled that during the First World
in uniforms in the Hart House Library, 1942
of students and alumni who died in the war totalled 557, somewhat fewer
than the number who died in the First World War. Their names are listed
on the memorial tablet under Soldiers' Tower. The numbers who served
in the forces was substantially higher - more than 10,000, compared
to about 6,000 in the first war. Well over half those who died had served
in the RCAF, including Pilot Officer Gregory Maher, a recent engineering
graduate, who was the first University of Toronto person to be killed
- in a bomber crash at Trenton on November 29, 1939.
Rhodes scholars died. One of the two, George Cartwright, had won a Rhodes
to Oxford in 1929. The Memorial Book for the Second World War records
Stevenson Cartwright 425 Sqn RCAF - Trinity College, BA 1929. Killed
in an air operation over Hamburg, Germany, 9, November 1942. Buried
in Dishforth Cemetery, Yorkshire, England.
Rhodes scholar was John Kenneth Macalister. He had graduated from University
College in honour law in 1937 and was studying at Oxford on the outbreak
of war. When it was clear that Larry MacKenzie of the law faculty was
to be confirmed as president of the University of New Brunswick in the
summer of 1940, Dean W.P.M. Kennedy wrote to Macalister offering him
a position as a lecturer.
who had earlier expressed an interest in an appointment, cabled back
immediately: "IN ARMY SINCE YESTERDAY SORRY MANY THANKS - MACALISTER."
He had joined the Canadian infantry, was assigned to British intelligence,
and, along with Frank Pickersgill (a graduate of 1938 and the brother
of the future cabinet minister Jack Pickersgill), was parachuted behind
enemy lines in France in June 1943 to act as a secret agent. They were
captured, tortured, and executed at Buchenwald concentration camp on
September 14, 1944.
Women students and
staff at the University of Toronto - as well as alumnae - participated
in the war effort.
and staff at the University of Toronto - as well as alumnae - participated
in the war effort. It was not until the summer of 1941, however, that
the army and air force set up their own women's corps. The navy corps
was formed the following year.
the approximately 9,000 women students who attended the University of
Toronto during the Second War," stated historians Nancy Kiefer
and Ruth Pierson, "only an estimated 325 enlisted in the armed
forces of Canada," including service in the medical corps of the
three services. The largest proportion - 118 of the total - had studied
physical and occupational therapy. Three University of Toronto women
died on active service: physiotherapy graduate Jean Burgess Atkinson,
former Trinity student Dorothy Britton, and occupational therapy graduate
Mary Susannah McLaren.
tank in front of University College during the Second World War.