Meric Gertler delivers his presidential installation address. VIVEK SRIKANTHAN/THEVARSITY

On November 7, professor Meric S. Gertler was installed as president of the University of Toronto in front of a packed audience at Convocation Hall.. Judy Goldring, Chair of Governing Council, administered the declaration of office, after which Gertler was robed and formally greeted by several dignitaries. The new president then delivered his installation address.

Distinguished guests included the Hon. David Onley, Lieutenant Governer of Ontario, the Hon. Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation, Dr. Suzanne Forteir, principal of McGill University, and several past president and past chancellors of the university

Gertler served as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science from 2008–2013 and has been praised for his innovative spirit and dedication to the university. Greeting the new president on behalf of students, student-governor Adrian De Leon quoted ratemyprofessor.com, calling Gertler “a nice guy, a top gun-prof, and one of the best out there.” De Leon was one of the few speakers who addressed the serious challenges facing the university, and wished Gertler luck in tackling these issues.

During his installation address, Gertler also addressed substantive topics, particularly the question of public funding for the university. He confronted the audience with what he called the paradox of the University of Toronto. First, he noted U of T’s many accomplishments: that it is ranked 20th in the world, eighth in the world in scientific performance,  second in the world in terms of total output of scholarly publishing, and first among Canadian universities. Then, Gertler stated that “U of T is last in Canada and amongst the very lowest in north America when it comes to public funding per student. Simply put, this institution defies gravity.”

In his address, Gertler also identified three areas for change that he plans to focus on in his time as president: leveraging University of Toronto’s location, increasing strategic international partnerships, and re-inventing the experience of undergraduate education, particularly through the use of technology.

Gertler is the sixteenth president of the University of Toronto.

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