Alumni

Members of the University community have played an important role in the history of Canada. Their contributions have helped shape the country we live in today. In this section, we will be profiling several of those notable U of T alumni.

Margaret Langley

Margaret Langley was one of the first women students to attend lectures at University College, starting on October 6, 1884, and graduating in 1885.

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Alexander T. Augusta

In the early 1850s, Alexander T. Augusta was the first black medical student in Canada West. He completed his medical degree at Trinity Medical College after being denied entrance to American medical schools on the basis of colour.

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Clara Benson

In 1899, Clara Benson became the first woman at U of T to graduate with a chemistry degree (see photo above). She was also one of the first two women to earn a PhD and one of the first two female professors.

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William Lyon Mackenzie King

From the fall of 1893 until the summer of 1895, William Lyon Mackenzie King wrote for The Varsity while studying at the University of Toronto. This experience spawned a career in journalism, but it was a short one. The Prime Minister of Canada’s seat beckoned.

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Adrienne Clarkson

Adrienne Clarkson has written about immigrants to this country who struggled, survived and ultimately thrived. As an immigrant herself, she’s helped transform the face of Canada.

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Paul Martin

When Paul Martin gave a convocation address to the class of 2011 at the University of Toronto, he joked about the time he lost his case at moot court while in law school. It is a great example of how an early defeat is by no means a portent of things to come. He did, after all, become Canada’s 21st prime minister.

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Measha Brueggergosman

Measha Brueggergosman is an internationally-renowned soprano who is respected as both a classical music sensation and contemporary singer. The 1999 U of T music grad quickly became an international star on the world opera stage, performing solo recitals at Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall and the Kennedy Center.

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Lester B. Pearson

Many graduates of the University of Toronto have gone on to make their mark internationally, but perhaps only one has been described as saving the world. That graduate, Lester Bowles Pearson, became Canada’s 14th Prime Minister in 1963.

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David Cronenberg

From parasitical infections and DNA swaps to Russian gangsters and Sigmund Freud, film director David Cronenberg has challenged audiences and astounded critics with his vivid view of the world. At U of T, he studied science, then literature – a good combination.

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Bonnie Stern

From her early beginnings as a chef to opening her renowned cooking school, Bonnie Stern has become a Canadian culinary guru.

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Vicky Sunohara

In a country that worships at the altar of hockey, there is no greater praise than to be called the “Wayne Gretzky of women’s hockey.” Seven-time world champion, three-time Olympian and two-time gold medalist Vicky Sunohara has certainly earned this designation.

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Frederick Banting

If the phrase “the gift that keeps on giving” can be applied anywhere, it can be applied to Frederick Banting and the medical marvel of insulin.

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David Onley

In 1984, David Onley commenced a 22-year career with CityTV as Canada’s first on-air reporter with a visible disability. He was also an outspoken advocate for disability rights. As a Host/Producer, Science and Technology Specialist, and Weatherman, he showed that ability outshines disability. In 2007, he was recognized for his community service and leadership by being selected to become the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

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Raymond Moriyama

When Raymond Moriyama entered the U of T’s school of architecture in 1949 he was asked to write a report by his professor, Eric Arthur, about why he wanted to be in the business. He was worried about it, thought he might fail, but got an A+, and it led to a career as one of Canada’s greatest architects.

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Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson has gained international respect as an accomplished public servant of unquestioned integrity, and as a businessman who had the vision to foresee the economic crisis in North America. He is admired also for his outstanding work in shining a light on the issue of mental illness.

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Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood began writing in early childhood and by mid adolescence knew she wanted to be a writer. The rest of the world is thankful she came to that awakening early on.

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Doris McCarthy

During the 1980s, “when any sensible person of my age would admit they were far too old to start a university degree, I decided I’d like a BA, and began my studies at the Scarborough College campus of the University of Toronto.”

Doris McCarthy wrote those words in an autobiography, My Life. She was 76 when she enrolled at U of T. She had already accomplished much in her life and would go on to accomplish so much more.

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Robert Herjavec

Robert Herjavec calls himself a “serial entrepreneur.” This designation might sound a little scary, especially given his role on CBC Television’s Dragons’ Den. But Herjavec’s rags-to-riches story is really about a nice guy who worked hard and made it big in the worlds of business and entertainment.

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Craig Kielburger

When Craig Kielburger was 12 years old, he read a story about child labour that made him suddenly understand “that a young person can make a difference.” Now Kielburger continues to demonstrate that young people can really change the world.

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David Peterson

David Peterson’s work over the past six years has been so exemplary that he is probably recognized more often on campus as the 32nd Chancellor of the University of Toronto than the 20th premier of Ontario.

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Kirstine Stewart

“It’s time for action and I think leadership has changed, business has changed.”

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