Celebrating 50 Years Later
Trent marks the anniversary of offering Professor Tom Symons the Presidency
Peterborough - THB Symons On April 12, 1961, the founding board offered Professor Tom Symons the Trent University presidency, a title he held until 1972.
"Trent is an institution anchored in community spirit and Tom Symons was always profoundly in touch with that fact," said Dr. Steven E. Franklin, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University. "As founding president, Professor Symons was able to galvanize the will of the community of Peterborough and bring the notion of a university to life. It is because of Prof. Symons' passion, leadership and creativity that Trent University is the highly-respected, internationally-known post-secondary institution that it is today."
Professor Symons remains an active member of the Trent University community, honouring students and faculty with his regular attendance at many University functions. A few key events he participated in during the 2010-2011 academic year included the opening of Bagnani Hall at Traill College, the Trent Severn Waterway Roundtable Discussion, Ontario Heritage Week Kick-off celebrations, the Tom Jackson Celebrity Pool Tournament, and most recently the Trent International Student Association’s Cultural Outreach 2011.
In addition to being Trent’s founding president and vice-chancellor, Tom Symons has also held many presidencies, chairmanships and memberships in various organizations, often dealing with the issues of education, Canadian studies, native rights and human rights. He is currently the chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust. From 1971 to 1973, Symons was the president of the Canadian Association in Support of Native Peoples. He is currently the chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust.
Prof. Symons was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1976 and was promoted to companion in 1997. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1977. In 1984 he received the Award of Merit from the Association for Canadian Studies. He received the Governor General's International Award for Canadian Studies in 1998, and in 2002, he was awarded the Order of Ontario.
Thomas H.B. Symons was born at Toronto, Ontario on May 30, 1929, son of Harry Lutz Symons and Dorothy Sarah Bull. He was educated at Upper Canada College, University of Toronto (B.A. 1951), and Oxford University (B.A. 1953, M.A. 1957). He married Christine Ryerson on August 17, 1963 and with her had three children: Mary, Ryerson and Jeffery. Professor Symons has held many posts as an educator over the years, including assistant dean of Men, Trinity College and instructor of History, University of Toronto 1953-55; and dean, Devonshire House, University of Toronto 1955-63. He currently resides in Peterborough, Ontario, where he has lived now for four decades.
Trent University is preparing to celebrate 50 years as one of Canada’s top universities in 2014