Farewell to Camelot

David Naylor speaks at farewell reception
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 3:55pm
Nicolle Wahl

When President David Naylor came to bid farewell to the campus he affectionately calls “Camelot”, it wasn’t just members of government, donors, faculty and staff who came to wish him goodbye. As Naylor finished his remarks to the packed house at Lislehurst, a herd of five deer strolled through the garden, nibbled at the greenery and then disappeared into the forest.

A reminder, perhaps, that while the U of T Mississauga campus has expanded tremendously during Naylor’s time as president, it remains a green and peaceful gem in the university’s crown.

“I’m deeply honoured by today’s reception,” said Naylor. “It’s inspiring to be here at the youngest part of the U of T institution. Right now, [UTM] is on the sweet spot—the role of innovation is burgeoning, and things could not be better aligned.”

“I’m thrilled by this, and moved. Thank you for the last eight years.”

Professor Deep Saini, vice-president of U of T and principal of U of T Mississauga, spoke at the event in the principal’s historic residence on campus, and praised the “outstanding legacy of [Naylor’s] presidency”. For example, noted Saini, during Naylor’s time in office, he attended nine groundbreakings and official openings at UTM alone, amounting to $250 million in capital investment, and added that with Naylor at the helm, the Boundless campaign has already raised $1.35 billion towards its $2 billion goal.

“He has provided inspiring guidance,” said Saini. “He is a true champion of tri-campus government, forges strong internal and external ties, and he is a joy to work with.”

Mississauga East-Cooksville MP Wladyslaw Lizon and David NaylorBoth Saini and Naylor welcomed local dignitaries including Mayor Hazel McCallion and other members of municipal and federal government.

McCallion praised Naylor’s “personal touch”, citing his direct involvement in the request for the City to support UTM’s Institute for Management and Innovation. On his watch, she noted, U of T moved into the top 20 universities worldwide. “You’ve been an inspirational leader,” she said.

Also present at the event were some of UTM’s greatest supporters, including former Ontario premier and education minister William Davis and philanthropist Terrence Donnelly.  Richard Nunn, former chair of Governing Council, and former UTM principal Professor Ian Orchard also attended the event.

“I can’t think of any better president of U of T,” Davis told the crowd. “He made great efforts for the student experience. I respect him, I appreciate his efforts, and I wish him the very best.”

Naylor was presented with several gifts, including an antique piano lamp, a photobook about his time at U of T Mississauga, and a framed photograph entitled, “The Lesson” by artist Barbara Harmer.

Photo gallery from President Naylor's farewell events.