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Woodsworth College celebrates 50 years at Hart House gala event

March 20, 2024
Image of Dean Woodin, Woodsworth alumna Sylvia Harvey and Sheri-Anne Wooley
Melanie Woodin, Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science, Sylvia Harvey (BA 1974 WDW), and her goddaughter Sheri-Anne Wooley.

Faculty, staff, donors, alumni and students gathered recently to celebrate Woodsworth College’s 50th anniversary on a sun-dappled early spring day at Hart House. The Spirit Singers welcomed attendees into the reception at the Great Hall as a slideshow of memories showcasing the college’s storied history played on stage.

Founded New Year’s Day 1974, primarily as a home for part-time, mature and non-traditional learners, Woodsworth has been thriving ever since, welcoming full-time students and expanding its facilities.

Among those celebrating at Hart House were hundreds of students and alumni together with University of Toronto President Meric Gertler, Melanie Woodin, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, Carol Chin, principal of Woodsworth College, philanthropist Lynda Hamilton, Professor Emerita J. Barbara Rose, and many other donors to the college.

Here’s what guests had to say about Woodsworth College’s golden jubilee.

Lynda Hamilton, Donor, the Brookfield Peter F. Bronfman Scholarship

Image of Lynda Hamilton
Lynda Hamilton, Donor.

“My husband Peter was a man who loved having people around. He loved the kind of energy an event like the 50th anniversary brings. He inspired me to carry it on, and I love doing it. It makes me very happy to give back. Woodsworth is a wonderful place, and very special. The people that work here are so dedicated and caring. It’s like family.”  

Soban Atique, President, Woodsworth College Students’ Association

Image of Soban Atique
Soban Atique (BA 2024 WDW), President, Woodsworth College Students’ Association and Brookfield Peter F. Bronfman - Leadership Award Winner.

“Everyone in this room has made Woodsworth College a special place for students. From 50 years ago to today, one thing has not changed — our commitment to making sure every student at Woodsworth College has a place they can come to.”

Beau Hayward, Brookfield Peter F. Bronfman Gold Winner

Image of Beau Hayward and family
Beau Hayward (BA 2024 WDW), Brookfield Peter F. Bronfman - Gold Award Winner and family.

“My experience at Woodsworth College, beginning with the Academic Bridging Program, has been life changing. I would not have been able to pursue my degree without financial support and I know it is the same for many of my peers. As this year’s recipient of the Gold Brookfield Peter F. Bronfman Scholarship, I would like to acknowledge Lynda Hamilton for her generosity and commitment to the Brookfield Bronfman Gold and Leadership Scholarship program.”

Sofiya Datsyuk, President, Woodsworth College Alumni Association

Image of Sofiya Datsyuk
Sofiya Datsyuk (BA 2015 WDW), President, Woodsworth College Alumni Association.

“The 50th anniversary is a momentous celebration for the college, a celebration of our past and our present, and a time for us to reflect on everything we've accomplished and where we're headed. It’s important for alumni to be part of events like this and not lose that relationship with the university and college once they graduate. What makes Woodsworth so special is its dedication to diversity and inclusion. It's been like that from the start.”

Meric Gertler, President, University of Toronto

Image of President Meric Gertler
Meric Gertler, President, University of Toronto.

“Woodsworth is a special place, with a distinctive history in the wider University of Toronto. Its commitment to equity and outreach has inspired a number of remarkable innovations, such as the Millie Rotman Shime Academic Bridging Program and the Diploma to Degree Program. Woodsworth remains a champion of access and inclusion, reflecting the fabulous diversity of Toronto and indeed of the world beyond.”

Melanie Woodin, Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science

Image of Dean Melanie Woodin
Melanie Woodin, Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science.

“Woodsworth was born out of a desire to create warm and welcoming spaces for our part-time students. As such, the college has had diversity and inclusion baked into its DNA from the very start as it welcomed mature students, commuter students and single parents — a wide range of students intent on pursuing their academic goals.”

Carol Chin, Principal, Woodsworth College

Image of Woodsworth College Principal Chin and President Gertler
Carol Chin, Principal, Woodsworth College, Meric Gertler, President, University of Toronto.

"Today’s event is about celebrating the past, the present, and the future. We are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the founding of Woodsworth College and its rich history; celebrating the achievements of our present students and the generosity of our donors; and looking ahead to the next 50 years and beyond. We can imagine that the next 50 years at Woodsworth will see a continuation of our proud tradition of providing access to postsecondary education — as the dean so rightly said, these values are baked into our DNA.”

Read the original article posted on the A&S site here. 

Article by Adam Elliott Segal. 
Photos by Lisa Sakulensky.

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