UTS graduates love learning, innovate, and take initiative as socially responsible global citizens.
Another Year Like No Other
The 2019-20 school year proved to be another truly unique year in the history of UTS. Progress on our new building and fundraising initiatives has continued apace. With the arrival of the pandemic in March, our attention turned to moving the teaching and learning online, as well as planning ahead for a hybrid model of instruction for the fall, with students in the same class learning both from home online and in person, on site. Needless to say, our capacity to innovate increased dramatically.
We were excited to be able to celebrate exceeding our Building the Future campaign fundraising goal, raising over $61 million dollars. This is an amazing achievement for a small school’s first major capital campaign of this magnitude. Our alumni, parents and staff demonstrated their exceptional commitment to UTS and we are extremely grateful for their generosity.
Progress on the building continued despite the impact of the pandemic. While we did experience a four-week shutdown in late March and early April, once school construction was deemed essential, we quickly resumed our efforts. Our construction firm, Eastern Construction; architects Diamond Schmitt; and project management firm JLL have worked diligently to keep the project moving forward. We are currently projecting partial completion for late November 2021, if all continues to go well, which will allow us to have students and staff return to celebrate holiday activities in our new home. With the completion of the auditorium by January 2022, we hope to be fully operational in our beautiful new facilities.
Students enjoy the winter at Wanakita in February 2019.
Progress in the face of a pandemic
The life of the school continued, despite the challenges of the pandemic. A highlight was celebrating our graduates at the 5 Drive-In in Oakville, Ontario. Students and their families were able to socially distance and yet see each other after three months of isolation. The students enjoyed a video production with congratulatory remarks from alumni and staff, and highlights of our graduating class. During the day leading up to the celebration, the graduates received a gift package sponsored by the UTS Parents Association and the UTS Alumni Association. These strong partnerships with our parents and alumni have proven invaluable as we negotiate these challenging times.
Despite the pandemic, we are consistently making progress on our strategic directions. The strategic purpose of UTS is to graduate students who love learning, take initiative and innovate as socially responsible global citizens. This past year we also witnessed the need to go deeper on strategic initiatives related to anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion and preventing gender-based violence and harassment, as well as fostering student wellness. In addition, we have managed to continue to build on our collaborations with the University of Toronto, local organizations and global partners. We have become a full contributing partner with the Munk School of Global Affairs and this year our global challenge focused on removing barriers to suicide prevention among youth in marginalized communities.
Innovation is central to what we do at the school. During the past year, UTS launched our Timeraiser Accelerator Program to foster entrepreneurship among our students. Two students who took part in Timeraiser summarized their experience:
The accelerator program is kind of like Dragon’s Den with a twist. You start the year with any idea that you personally want to pursue, whether that’s social media marketing or eco-friendly fashion. With mentorship from Joe Wilson, a professional who worked in entrepreneurship at Mars Discovery District for several years, you take ideas from just a concept all the way to a realized business. At the end of year, you’ll have an opportunity to pitch several members of the UTS alumni community who themselves have gone on to become entrepreneurs and business leaders.
This is the type of innovation UTS continually brings to the table, even more so during the pandemic. Our school has faced many challenges over its 110-year history, and what endures is our ability to learn and thrive in the face of immense challenges, and our remarkable students, who continually amaze and inspire us all.
Jim Fleck C.C. ’49, P ’72
Chair, UTS Board of Directors
Chair, Building the Future Campaign
M4 students get to know their incoming F1 buddies in May 2020.
UTS adapted on the fly to the pandemic, shifting to online learning in just over a week in March, proof that a UTS education is not so much about what students learn, but who they learn to be as they challenge themselves to greater citizenship and character through the power of critical thinking, collaboration, communications and creativity.
Equity and Inclusion
Equity and inclusion are the cornerstones of UTS, as all students are admitted based solely on merit, bringing together diverse students from across Greater Toronto to grow and learn from each other. In June 2020, UTS embarked on a brave journey towards greater equity, spurred by student leaders on the UTS Black Equity Committee and by the Black Lives Matter movement.
UTS doesn’t just teach students; it empowers them through mentoring, wellness programs and challenging co-curriculars where they are the engineers of change. Robust student support programs champion students, designed to foster their every success. UTS earned the Gold standard for its efforts on mental health from OPHEA in the 2019-20 school year but student wellness continues to be part of our ongoing journey.
We accomplish more together than alone, and this year UTS continued to expand and strengthen local partnerships with many faculties and schools at the University of Toronto, as well as global partnerships with schools overseas in Beijing, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Shanghai and Udine – all opening doors to exciting opportunities for our students.
In the last year,
1,131 amazing alumni, parents, volunteers, staff, students, and friends came together to make 3,198 donations in support of UTS students for a total of
$15, 000, 000
Thank you to the 500 parents and alumni volunteers who gave back to UTS as mentors, guest speakers, campaign volunteers, board and committee members, and event organizers.
Right now, 57 donors have planned a gift to UTS in their wills, with gifts ranging in size from $500 to $2.5M.
We thank you for your legacy!
And that’s not all!
Thanks to the unprecedented support from the UTS community, the Building the Future campaign succeeded in surpassing its $60M fundraising goal for a renewed school building at our historic home at 371 Bloor Street West.
All figures are from June 30, 2020.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020! In their final months at UTS, they worked through the challenges no one could have expected with tenacity and equanimity to graduate and move on these esteemed post-secondary institutions, near and far.
|University of Toronto||24|
|University of Waterloo||13|
|University of British Columbia||4|
|University of Guelph||2|
|Carnegie Mellon University||3|
|University of Pennsylvania||3|
|New York University||2|
|University of College London||1|
|University of Edinburgh||1|
|University of Michigan||1|
|University of Southern California||1|
“At UTS, my children know if you focus on your love learning, everything else will follow.”
Will burnfield P ’23 P ’24
“I am forever indebted to UTS for these past six amazing years.”
shuruthi sivadaS ’21
“UTS is for everyone. If you look in the right places you will find something perfect for you.”
Daeja Sutherland ’21
UTSPA: A Year of Extraordinary Accomplishment and Change
As we look back on a year of extraordinary accomplishment and change at UTS, we recognize the challenges as we move forward in this new environment impacted by the pandemic, which will require continued active UTS parent engagement. We are thankful for the amazing work of so many UTS parents, including the 52 members of the UTS Parents’ Association (UTSPA) Executive Committee and over 220 members of the UTSPA Parent Volunteer Group! UTSPA participated in a range of activities in the 2019-20 academic year, including forums focused on student wellness, support for new student orientation, our transition to a new funding model and the implementation of revised funding guidelines to streamline our evaluation of funding requests. UTSPA also established a sustainability committee and committed to key steps to address climate change, responding to a compelling presentation by students. UTSPA, in partnership with UTS, hosted virtual grade parent meetings to provide clarity regarding the student experience in the online learning environment. As the COVID-19 crisis challenged all aspects of UTS student life early in 2020, UTSPA rapidly moved online, as UTSPA grade representatives organized online check-in calls for each grade and UTSPA planned online parent sessions on student well-being in partnership with UTS. Additionally, UTSPA’s Annual General Meeting was hosted online this year.
During the summer, UTSPA’s Summer Experiential Program offered M4 (Grade 10) and S5 (Grade 11) students the opportunity to connect virtually with expert hosts in fields like artificial intelligence, human resources, urban design, medical sciences, transportation planning, water treatment engineering, law (mediation) and finance. Collectively, over 60 virtual learning opportunities took place with nine expert parent hosts. We are excited to continue organizing this program in partnership with UTS. No doubt the coming academic year will demand further evolution in how UTSPA and UTS parents connect to support students. We remain appreciative of the inspirational commitment of the UTS administration and staff, who continue to further the UTS reputation for exceptional learning!
Will Burnfield and Rimmy Kaur
2019-20 Co-Presidents, UTSPA
UTSAA: Our Connections Grow Stronger Than Ever
The way we rise to a challenge at University of Toronto Schools brings us closer together. During the pandemic’s early days, our alumni were bright lights in a crisis with their leadership across pandemic frontlines in medicine, prevention, policy, long-term care, and business. Together we do what needs to be done and our connections grow stronger than ever.
Over the 2019-20 school year, the immense support from our alumni for the Building the Future campaign took on a life of its own during the home stretch. In total, the campaign raised over $61 million, with 1,260 alumni from 16 countries stepping up in a show of unprecedented support, securing the future of our school.
That success was built on a foundation of many other steps forward that forged a stronger, more interconnected alumni community including a crystallized mission and vision of the UTS Alumni Association (UTSAA), increasing the diversity of the UTSAA board to make it more representative of the UTS community and fostering stronger interconnections with our stakeholders, especially the school itself. The lives of alumni intertwined more with students, by strengthening programs where UTSAA supports students. One example is Don’s Den which provides funding to student initiatives. Another is when the Class of 2020 couldn’t celebrate their graduation in the normal way in June, our alumni sent messages of hope for graduating students that played on the big screen during a socially distant celebration at a drive-in theatre.
With the pandemic, UTSAA began hosting virtual events including the Branching Out mentorship program, and the first virtual Alumni Trivia Night in the summer. In the same vein, the UTS Connect online platform, a modern virtual community for our alumni, has grown to have more than 1,000 alumni users.
Even in a pandemic, our UTS community remains stronger than ever – more connected, more vibrant, and more at the ready to step up and do what’s needed for the future of our school, and our world.
Last year was truly one for the history books.
Thank you for being a part of the UTS community.