The Defy Gravity campaign’s volunteer leadership includes honorary chairs, campaign co-chairs, a campaign steering committee, and divisional campaign cabinets.
The campaign’s Honorary Chairs include some of U of T’s and the country’s most esteemed benefactors: the Hon. Henry N. R. Jackman (BA 1953 VIC, JD 1956, Hon LLD 1993, Hon DHL 2011), Arthur S. Labatt (Hon LLD 2011), Sonia H. Labatt (BA 1960 UC, MA 1990, PhD 1995, Hon LLD 2011), Michael Lee-Chin (Hon LLD 2007), the Hon. Margaret Norrie McCain (BSc 1955, Hon LLD 1996, Hon DLitt 2004), Heather Reisman (Hon LLD 2021), Sandra A. Rotman (BA 1975 WDW, Hon LLD 2007), Susan Scace (BA 1963 TRIN, Hon DSL 2003 TRIN, Hon LLD 2013), Gerald Schwartz (Hon LLD 2016), James and Louise Temerty, and Helen Vari (Hon DHL 2011 VIC).
The Campaign Co-Chairs—John M. Cassaday (MBA 1981, Hon LLD 2017), Claire M. C. Kennedy (BASc 1989), Brian D. Lawson (BA 1982 TRIN), and Som Seif (BASc 1999)—will lead a coalition of campaign volunteers devoted to inspiring the highest level of support for advancing U of T’s excellence and aspirations. The co-chairs will serve three-year terms, with Cassaday and Kennedy beginning in 2021 and Lawson and Seif taking the helm in 2024.
The Campaign Steering Committee includes a wide range of prominent business and civic leaders: John M. Cassaday (MBA 1981, Hon LLD 2017), Noble C. Chummar, Michael Dan (MD 1984, Hon LLD 2018), Victor G. Dodig (BCom 1988 SMC), William A. Downe (MBA 1978, Hon LLD 2018), Meric Gertler, Ira Gluskin (BCom 1964 UC), Mitchell Goldhar, Blake C. Goldring (BA 1981 VIC), Daisy Chiu-Fung Ho (MBA 1990), the Hon. Henry N. R. Jackman (BA 1953 VIC, JD 1956, Hon LLD 1993, Hon DHL 2011), Claire M. C. Kennedy (BASc 1989), Mark Krembil (BA 1988 UTSC), Brian D. Lawson (BA 1982 TRIN), the Hon. Margaret Norrie McCain (BSc 1955, Hon LLD 1996, Hon DLitt 2004), George Myhal (BASc 1978, Hon LLD 2018), David Palmer, Rose M. Patten (Hon LLD 2009), the Hon. David Peterson (LLB 1967, Hon LLD 1994), Richard D. Phillips (BCom 1990 TRIN), Susan Scace (BA 1963 TRIN, Hon DSL 2003 TRIN, Hon LLD 2013), Som Seif (BASc 1999), Sachin Shah (BCom 1999 UTSC), and Leah Temerty-Lord. The committee will provide strategic advice on how to engage the University’s diverse base of alumni, donors, and friends. They are joined by volunteers at the divisional level across the University.
“Volunteers are at the heart of any successful campaign,” said David Palmer, Vice-President, University Advancement. “They embody the vision, optimism, and determination we bring to supporting talented students, strengthening U of T’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, sparking exciting interdisciplinary research initiatives, and building facilities and spaces that create community and enhance world-class teaching, research, and innovation.”
With the help of the campaign volunteer leadership, the Defy Gravity campaign has set two ambitious goals for the University. For the first time ever, U of T will seek to inspire 225,000 alumni to get involved as volunteers, mentors, donors, and leaders and contribute their time and talent to U of T one million times collectively. The campaign will also aim to raise $4 billion for the University’s highest priorities, a target that reflects the ambition and scale of the University’s community and its potential for global impact.
“The world is searching for solutions to the ongoing pandemic, climate change, inequity and systemic racism, and so many other challenges,” said U of T Chancellor Rose Patten. “The campaign will inspire our global community of alumni and friends to support U of T’s vital work on these fronts, and we’re fortunate to have such an extraordinary group of campaign volunteers to lead the way.”