Former premier Bill Davis' commitment to education honoured with building re-dedication

Monday, September 20, 2010 - 12:05pm

In 1973, the Honourable William G. Davis presided over the opening of South Building, one of this campus' original structures. Now, this facility will be formally re-dedicated as the William G. Davis Building on Thursday, Oct. 14, at 2:30 p.m., outside the main entrance to the South Building.

The event will take place 37 years to the day that Davis officially opened the campus, and will pay tribute to Mr. Davis' important contributions to the creation of Erindale College and to post-secondary education in Ontario. The re-dedication will feature the unveiling of a plaque, speeches and a reception in the Council Chambers.

The renaming of the South Building as the William G. Davis Building will pay tribute to one of our greatest stakeholders and supporters, says Professor Deep Saini, vice-president and principal of the University of Toronto Mississauga. It will honour the vision and accomplishments of Bill Davis during his time as Member of Provincial Parliament for Peel, Minister of Education and Premier of the province of Ontario.

Post-secondary education in Ontario experienced significant growth during the 1960s. This era saw the expansion of existing universities and the creation of new institutions to meet the higher demand from the baby boom generation.

Davis was appointed Minister of Education in 1962 and added University Affairs to his portfolio two years later. In 1965, he reshaped Ontario's education system by introducing legislation that created Ontario's community college system to provide vocational training at the post-secondary level. As one of the architects of this college system, Davis presided over the creation of 22 community colleges and new universities and the establishment of an education television station. Since then, enrolment in community colleges has grown exponentially and there are now more than 200,000 students studying at Ontario's 24 colleges.

Davis has served as a long-time supporter of the campus. He participated as a member of U of T's Governing Council from 1999 to 2008 and has been presented with an Arbor Award-the university's highest honour for its volunteers-in recognition of his outstanding service.

Arrival and registration begins at 2 p.m.; in the event of rain, the ceremony will be held in the South Building's Galleria (the recently renovated area above the former library).