Alexandra Gillespie standing outside on the UTM campus, surrounded by snow

Wishing you hope, health and happiness for a bright new year

Alexandra Gillespie

Over the winter holidays, my family and I had the chance to go home to Aotearoa-New Zealand for the first time in ages. The place—and the experience of separation and pandemic life over the past three years—brought to mind a Māori phrase that New Zealanders often repeat as an affirmation of resilience: kia kaha. It means: stay strong; we can do it; we can do better together.

I feel like our UTM community has spent a lot of the past years putting the spirit of that phrase into practice. We have reason for optimism now, because our students, faculty, staff and librarians continue to step up and take care of each other. We did do it, after all, by working together.

Last fall, we celebrated our biggest back-to-school ever. Our campus hummed with energy as we came together again to learn, grow and connect. And we earned again—are people tired of me bragging about it?—our place as one of the world’s best universities for research and teaching and as North America’s top public university for the employability of our graduates.

Now, in 2023, we’re ready for new opportunities to seek and share knowledge, make new friends, and collaborate with colleagues. I’m excited to open our new science building and to learn about all the discoveries and connections its labs make possible. I’m also excited to see all the ways our community continues to make a difference, here and around the world.

Our community is powering robotic innovation, supporting child wellbeing, protecting urban environments, telling new stories, promoting truth and reconciliation—and so much more. We’re doing it as the only research university in Peel region, working to give back to a place—my new home for the past 20 years—that gives so much to us.

I’m grateful to be part of it all, and to work with you as our community keeps bouncing back and doing better. Kia kaha. Wishing you hope, health and happiness for a bright new year together.

Alexandra Gillespie
Vice-President & Principal
University of Toronto Mississauga