June 27, 2013
Dear Staff and Faculty Colleagues,
Well, the long, sultry (and humid!) days of summer are upon us at last. Campus is certainly a lot quieter. The convocation crowds have come and gone, and the regular throngs of undergraduates will soon be replaced by gaggles of children attending summer camps. For many of you, summer will give you a break from the classroom and a chance to focus on your own research. For others, I hope the warmer weather will entice you out of your offices and down to the lake on your lunch breaks.
I must admit that I am relieved to have 21 spring convocation ceremonies behind me! It is always a pleasure, however, to be able to look out into the crowds of new graduates – at their expressions of excitement, relief and, yes, mild apprehension at having finished their degrees. We were also truly fortunate to be able to invite so many accomplished people to campus to receive honorary degrees. I’d like to thank everyone who worked hard to make the convocation ceremonies such a success this year, especially those who persevered through a brief power outage during the penultimate ceremony on the morning of June 14.
I also wanted to use this message to let you know about some of the external challenges facing us as a university community. The Government of Ontario recently implemented a revised tuition cap and is reducing per-student operating grants, all while indicating there is no new money for deferred maintenance or new capital projects. With this in mind, our activity-based budget model will help us with transparent planning and will better enable us to maintain fiscal responsibility and protect our mission: to be a balanced academy that delivers a transformative learning experience in a research-intensive environment. Change is never easy to manage or adapt to but I trust that by working cooperatively we will emerge from this challenging period a stronger institution, and with our core values intact.
Finally, please accept my very best wishes for a wonderful summer. There is much to look forward to this fall – from a crop of new students, to a brand new homecoming celebration – but I don’t want to rush things. For now, let’s let summer’s precious days (and to date, they have been meteorologically scant!) linger as long as they can.
I hope you enjoy a safe and happy summer, and I look forward to reconnecting in the fall.
Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor