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University of Toronto
U of T Great Past

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Who marked a milestone on March 15, 2002?

Answer The University of Toronto, which marked the 175th anniversary of its founding with a year-long celebration.

On March 15, 1827, King's College, the precursor to U of T, was granted its royal charter by King George IV. 175 years later, on March 15, 2002, U of T celebrated the landmark event of its founding with a a formal cake-cutting ceremony. President Robert Birgeneau was presented with an original manuscript of The University of Toronto: A History, a comprehensive look at the university's past written by Professor Emeritus Martin Friedland of the Faculty of Law. Also in attendance at the event was James Bartleman, Ontario's first aboriginal lieutenant governor.

Great Movies for a Great Community transformed the back campus into a giant outdoor theatre.

Lining the streets of U of T's three campuses and downtown Toronto, about 500 Great Minds banners highlighted more than 140 U of T alumni, faculty, staff and students. The banners featured some new faces including doctor Norman Bethune, former prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and Ella Gardiner, Eliza Balmer, Nellie Spence and Henrietta Charles, the first female graduates of the university. Banners were also draped on several university buildings.

New College

Alumni events such as Spring Reunion (June 6 to 9) and Homecoming (October 4 - 6) were tied into the celebrations, giving alumni extra reasons to return to school. Homecoming activities included guided tours, sports, theatre and classes without quizzes, featuring some of the university's most revered professors. On the Saturday, current and former students showed their colours in a parade that recalled the glory of years past. Later that evening, the 175th anniversary supper under the stars brought together alumni of all ages for a buffet along Philosopher's Walk.

The Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences (May 25 to June 1), attracted 8,000 national and international delegates from approximately 100 associations, and featured a number of international colloquia, meetings and joint conferences. A campus event to thank the community - Great Movies for a Great Community, which transformed the back campus into a giant outdoor theatre - took place on August 8. Two feature films by distinguished U of T graduates were shown: The Hurricane by Norman Jewison (1999) and horror classic The Fly, directed by David Cronenberg (1986).

On March 15, 1827, at the request of John Strachan, King George IV signed a charter granting a university for Upper Canada, named King's College, now known as U of T. Two of U of T's federated colleges, the University of St. Michael's College and the University of Trinity College also hosted events marking their 150th anniversary celebrations during 2002.

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