Convocation Hall Donors and the University of Toronto Alumni Association
From creating scholarships and programs to building iconic buildings, the University of Toronto Alumni Association has supported the U of T community in countless ways for more than 150 years.
Established in the 1840s as an informal fellowship of graduates, the University of Toronto Alumni Association (UTAA) stands today as one of the University’s most enduring institutions. Over the years, the UTAA has led a variety of fundraising and advocacy efforts, from lobbying for greater government spending for science and engineering programs to helping raise money for much-needed campus construction projects. In particular, the UTAA is linked to some of the University’s iconic buildings and spaces.
Following the destruction of University College in the Great Fire of 1890, the University found itself without adequate convocation facilities. The lack of a sizable hall became painfully clear when the University granted Edward VII, then the Prince of Wales, an honorary degree in a room large enough for only a few people. The UTAA stepped in, fundraising twice its initial goal for the construction of Convocation Hall, completed in 1907. One hundred years later, U of T alumni again led the way, raising funds to refurbish the building for its centennial.
University alumni and the UTAA also helped fund the construction of Soldiers’ Tower shortly after the First World War. The tower memorializes members of the University community who died in active service, and serves as the site for U of T’s annual Remembrance Day ceremony. Standing 43.5 metres (143 feet) tall, Soldiers’ Tower is the second tallest war memorial in the country behind the Peace Tower in Ottawa.
Today, the UTAA continues to help shape the University’s physical environment with its pacesetting $1-million gift, matched by the University, for the Landmark Project—the most ambitious reimagining of open space on St. George Campus in the past century.
In addition to supporting vital infrastructure projects, the UTAA has a long history of advancing the life of the University by organizing alumni events and programming, and by participating in U of T governance.
For more than 150 years, the UTAA has championed U of T and tirelessly supported projects that benefit the entire community. Convocation Hall—the only U of T building used by all three campuses and by all University graduates—is an enduring testament to the UTAA’s commitment.