As the 2017-18 academic year comes to an end, I am delighted to report on the last term and the state of the College generally. This last academic year has been very busy, fruitful and awash in great events, and linkages for our Junior Fellows, across academic and professional networks that are so important for building the futures to which they aspire. I have always viewed doing so as the primary Junior-Fellow-centered mission of the College. That we do so in the Massey spirit of encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration, across generations, and within the context of a diverse, hospitable and welcoming community, makes the mission both unique in its execution and quite compelling in its purpose.
Between the Junior and Senior Fellowships, the Quadrangle society, Alumni and joint occasions we had close to 450 events over the academic year just completed, an all-time high. This is a great credit to the many volunteers in the fellowship and Quadrangle Society, and the College’s small but very dedicated staff team, with whom it is a great honour to work.
The chef and kitchen team continue to get rave reviews. In fact, at the sold-out Book Club Gala on May 2, which featured our College Visitor, the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin and her new book of fiction, Full Disclosure, already in its third printing, the compliments for our chef’s arctic char were widespread and compelling! The catering and food service team headed by Darlene Naranjo, assisted by Senior Steward Greg Cerson are the life force behind so much of what happens of importance and value at Massey as is our creative and inspired chef Joe Frey.
Benjamin Gillard, the 2017-18 Don of Hall, was an immense source of support and leadership for not only the Junior Fellowship but for the College as a whole. It was an honour to work with him over the last academic year in every respect. In good and challenging moments, and every college has its share of both, he was honorable, measured and clear. Ben continues within his chosen career of serving with the Anglican clergy, and will, for the second summer, be serving in a parish at MacGregor Bay in Manitoulin Island. We wish him well and Godspeed!
His successor, David Sutton, is a doctoral student in Classics, who has been at Massey for three years and heavily involved as a volunteer in every aspect of Massey life. He has a strong sense of College history and the unique mix of whimsy and academics that makes Massey special. I very much look forward to working closely with him during the coming academic year.
The closing College barbeque on April 26 saw a robust turnout, and a special celebration of our new automated main doors- a huge step ahead in making Massey more accessible. Jason Brennan, a non-resident Junior Fellow and Emily Macrae, an Alumna, spoke as representatives of the Accessibility and Inclusion Committee. Hamburgers, face painting for children, ice cream followed a champagne toast (in flawless Latin!) by David Sutton to the new doors. Junior Fellow awards of appreciation for Massey staff were presented by the LMF.
Last fall saw a series of events around the inauguration of the Massey College Chapel Royal, with our partners, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.On October 27, First Nation elders, fire keepers and drummers made the day very special, as did the presence, on behalf of Her Majesty, of the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, who spoke with immense candor and sentiment. At the High Table that night Chief Stacey Laforme (who has since been re-elected Chief of the Mississaugas First Nation) spoke with a special poignancy and sincerity about the challenges and opportunities of the Reconciliation agenda.
Later in the academic year, we held a two-day symposium aimed at fostering a greater understanding of reconciliation acts and actions. Alan Corbiere participated with an evening reading and teaching of the CovenantChain Wampum and Dr. John Borrows spoke on Indigenous Peoples’ Laws and the legal traditions of the Crown.
The Book Club acquired new leadership in Angela Ferrante, a long time Quadrangler with extensive experience in journalism, business, government and think-tank work.A Book Club committee was formed, involving the entire community, which is a first at Massey.
This last year’s Book Club had presentations on Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow” reviewed by Senior Fellow and Rotman Dean, Tiff Macklem; Rudyard Kipling’s “Kim” reviewed by Senior Fellow and renowned historian, Margaret MacMillan; Andre Alexis’ “Fifteen Dogs” reviewed by Massey’s own, Sandra Martin; Kamel Daoud’s “The Meursault Investigation”, reviewed by Quadrangler Jean Riley; Roxane Gay’s “Hunger” reviewed by this year’s York Fellow, Lily Cho; Catherine Hernandez’s “Scarborough” reviewed by Junior Fellow Niyosha Keyzad, and Christina Sharpe’s “In the Wake: On Blackness and Being” presented and reviewed by Professor Rinaldo Walcott, Director of the Women and Gender studies Institute at the University of Toronto.
David Smith, a strategic advisor to the leaders in the family business sector, and graduate of Rotman, is our newly elected Quadrangle Society Chair. He has been consulting widely with Quadranglers and others about how to maximize the Quadrangle Society’s impact at the College and ensure full college life participation for Quadranglers. We are working with our Alumni Association so that they too can elect their President going forward.
We were also very fortunate to have one writer-in-residence (Garry Thomas Morse) and five visiting fellows and scholars from OCADU (Andrea Fatona), York University (Lily Cho and Karen Krasny) and Ryerson (Anthony Bonato and Catherine Ellis) with us in the last academic year. Their involvement in the life of the College was, independent of the benefit to them in their sabbatical years, of immense value to the life, activities, learnings and experiences this year for both the Junior Fellowship and the entire community.
The Clarkson Laureateship High Table was held on January 5; the laureates were Jason Brennan (Junior Fellow), Judy Matthews (Quadrangle Society) and Mary Eberts (Senior Fellow).
Our new Governor General, Her Excellency Julie Payette, visited Massey twice: once on an informal basis, and once to speak at the Junior Fellow High Table. As a Senior Fellow at Massey, and former Junior Fellow, her warmth and the reciprocal welcome is deep and abiding. In her second visit, she visited the Chapel Royal, spending time with our First Nation partners and the Massey community.
Over the past few years, we have worked with Junior Fellow committees to raise awareness on mental health, sexual harassment and improve our readiness to respond to problems that may arise. The Equity Secretariat and the LMF are planning to include education sessions on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as part of the orientation for all new and continuing Fellows at the College. We have a Junior Fellowship that consists of scholars from all disciplines, cultural, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds and we are looking forward to welcoming a new generation shortly. We are pleased that we have managed to hire Zoe Sharpe, who will be assisting Amela Marin in facilitating education and student life support for Junior Fellowship and other members of the community in all these areas.
The rare book and printing collections in the Robertson Davies Library continue to be valued resources for students, faculty and independent researchers in the history of the book, printing, typography, book illustration, graphic design, publishing and manuscript studies. Tours and demonstrations on our 19th-century printing presses were held for classes from both within and outside the University. Three special exhibitions are held every year in the reading room to showcase the collections and several have included collaborative efforts with other institutions and individuals.
The 2017-18 Journalism Fellowships officially ended with the Fellowship’s annual trip to Helsinki. Its highlights were trips to the Canadian Embassy, Kalasatama – Helsinki’s smart city, and more than a couple of saunas. The selection committee has also selected next year’s fellows, and they will be made public at the Canadian Journalism Foundation Awards on June 14.
The team here at Massey College continues to work on the new website (www.masseycollege.ca), and we will have our member login – and online directory, available this summer.
This year’s Massey Lectures, in partnership with CBC and House of Anansi Press, were delivered by human rights lawyer and former UN prosecutor Payam Akhavan: both the tour and the book were sold-out.
The CIFAR Massey Talk which this year focused on Artificial Intelligence, The Walter Gordon Symposium on the ethics of counting and Massey Grand Rounds on the Opioid Crisis were resounding successes, and we look forward to working with returning Junior Fellows, Senior Fellows and Quadrangle Society Members on new and existing event programming. In all three cases distinguished speakers, scholars and practitioners blended with Junior Fellows who were involved in an integral and substantial way. As part of the Massey Grand Rounds event in March, the College announced an annual Dr. Janet Rossant lectureship, in honour of a Massey Senior Fellow and present head of the Gairdner Foundation, whose focus on research in medical science is both compelling and inspiring. Senior Fellow Dr. Aubie Angel is intimately involved with the MGR programme as academic advisor, Dr. Barbara Sherwood-Lollar (Massey Science Chair) and Dr. Tom Axworthy (Massey Public Policy Chair) were all directly involved with the science and Gordon Foundation initiatives respectively.
Back in 2015 our Governing Board, then called “Corporation”, embarked on a plan to modernize the College governance for the first time in half a century, with my sincere support. Outstanding long-serving Senior Fellows, Alumni, Quadranglers and Junior Fellows, embarked on a review, led by our current Chair Alan Broadbent. This produced a detailed report, and a full open listening session at the College in the fall of 2016. The Corporation adopted the provisions of the report, on a trial basis, ending in November 2018.
These provisions moved the College into the mainstream of independent not-for-profit and charitable institutions, embracing more open process and transparency. A Governance and Nominating Committee (GNC) has been working intensely to bring recommendations to the board that will make more clear and transparent criteria for election of Senior Fellows, and members of the Governing Board. The Governing Board approved a Community Liaison Committee to make suggestions on how best to maximize joint contact and events involving the entire Massey Community, and not just separate estates within the College. This idea was presented to the Governing Board in November of 2017 by Benjamin Gillard, the then Don of Hall. After the March JCR elections, Junior Fellows David Gafni, Alexander Sarra-Davis, Daniel Szulc and Symon James-Wilson were chosen to serve on the Liaison Committee. The other members of the Committee are Senior Fellows Ivan McFarlane (who will be the lead Senior Fellow on the committee), Kim Stanton, Carolyn Tuohy and Quadrangler Jamison Steeve. Both the Don of Hall, David Sutton, and the Principal will also serve on the committee. The committee will be working on a series of program ideas to facilitate intergenerational activities at the College that encourage college spirit, cooperation and a mix of perspectives and experiences very much in the best of the Massey tradition.
Other improvements in governance presented to the Governing Board include an open call for elections to fill a vacancy on the Governing Board, the decision to publish minutes of the Governing Board and agendas of all committee meetings on the Massey website, creation of subcommittees to consider nominations for Senior Fellows on an annual basis. This move to greater transparency and inclusion and the more determined use of the website for broader college-wide communications is a first for our college very much in keeping with the modernization of the College’s governance which began in 2015. We owe a great deal for the many hours of volunteer time put into the Governance and Nominating Committee work by members Jane Freeman, Jonathan Rose (co-chairs), Aubie Angel, Alan Broadbent, Jane Hilderman, Alissa Trotz, Sarianna Metso and Paul Gooch. Special thanks to Anita Anand, who was a founding co-chair, until der departure for research leave.
A draft Massey College proposal for a framework around civility, mutual respect and comportment for the entire College was presented by the GNC to the Governing Board earlier this year. This followed an event in the fall, where the absence of such a framework in the face of a complaint lodged about a then Senior Fellow made the need for such a framework and concurrent due process apparent. Many Senior Fellows and Junior Fellows who believe, as do I, that Massey can always improve on this front, are pleased with the initiatives taken to date by many groups, including the Junior Fellowship, as well as many positively engaged Senior Fellows to always look for ways to strengthen the linkages, deepen respect for diversity and facilitate an atmosphere of open discussion, fun and the building of relationships that will last a lifetime. Being pleased with work to date must not equal complacency about the task ahead for present and future generations of leadership at Massey.
The College’s finances continue to be balanced but tight especially with the significant impacts of Bill 148 – Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 that will increase minimum wage by 29.3% over two years. Fortunately, we were able to offset part of the higher costs with increased catering and summer rental revenue, and operating cost efficiencies. We are thankful for the continued donations from the community especially during this period of transition to the full impact of Bill 148.
Under the inspired leadership of Senior Fellow Michael MacMillan, the fundraising committee has raised just under $2.7 million dollars to assist the College finances in the quiet pre-public launch phase. Some of these funds are in endowments that support student bursaries and some funds are dedicated to enhancing Junior Fellow amenities. Needs to decorate rooms that have not been addressed for many years, provide for at least two fully accessible suites, a proper elevator, refurbish and moisture-proof the Robertson Davies library are genuine and pressing. Architectural plans for the College, including for a new elevator, and other vital changes have been commissioned; for these priorities and to strengthen our modest endowments, the Massey Next Decade Campaign will be of vital importance.
Donna joins me in expressing our deepest appreciation to the many Junior Fellows, Senior Fellows, Quadranglers and Alumni who put resources of time, creativity, insight and money into the depth and breadth of Massey activities. As to our colleagues on the Massey College staff, we were all able to get so much done this last year, because of their spirit, loyalty and commitment to the college that inspired everyday work at Massey in so many ways.
In the end, a remarkable year, but clear hints and directions for more to be done!
All the best for a safe and healthy summer.