Peter Gzowski College
Trent University names new college after former chancellor, beloved broadcaster
May 21, 2003, Peterborough
Trent University today announced that the University will name its newest college after the University’s eighth chancellor, Canada’s beloved broadcaster, author and journalist, Peter Gzowski.
The announcement took place at a Toronto dinner hosted by Trent University and RBC Financial Group where several of Mr. Gzowski’s friends and colleagues were in attendance. A fund has been established in support of the development of Peter Gzowski College.
Reid Morden Chair of Trent University’s Board of Governors made the announcement. "Peter Gzowski brought a new level of involvement and flare to the role of chancellor at Trent," said Mr. Morden. "He wanted an office on campus so that he could be part of the University and interact with the students. Peter’s love for Canada, his dedication to the cause of literacy, his passion for the north, and his exceptional abilities as a speaker and listener earned him a special place in Trent’s history. Today’s announcement pays tribute to him as an outstanding chancellor but also as a great Canadian."
Mr. Gzowski’s partner Gillian Howard said that he would have been delighted at the notion of having such a presence on the Trent campus he loved so much. "Peter used to say that coming up the long drive leading to Trent’s beautiful campus on the Otonabee River felt like ‘coming home’ and I know that he would be deeply touched by the gesture in today’s announcement," she said. "Peter loved being Trent’s chancellor because it gave him the opportunity to talk to students and encourage them to ask smart questions. It is especially appropriate that his name should be carried on a facility that includes the First Peoples House of Learning as the aboriginal interests of the University were very close to his heart."
Peter Gzowski served as chancellor at Trent University from July 1999 until his death in January 2002. He received an honorary degree from Trent in 1987 for public service and broadcasting. One of his lasting legacies at Trent University is a lively series of panel discussions he inspired called The Chancellor’s Dialogues where famous Canadians debate issues ranging from Canada’s water supply to the value of a liberal arts education.
Commenting on the importance of Trent University, Gzowski wrote in 1989: "From its human scale through its lack of pretension about its own remarkable achievements, and right up to its achingly lovely physical setting, Trent University is as special in the academic community as Canada itself in the wider world. Perhaps more than ever in our history, we need such institutions now, not only to enrich our understanding of our past, but to act as beacons for our future."
Founded on the traditional British College model found at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Trent University is made up of five residential colleges. Peter Gzowski College, a 140,000 square foot building, will encompass an integrated academic facility that includes living, working, and learning spaces which are focused around common areas, and exterior spaces which encourage academic and social interaction. Scheduled to open in April 2004, Peter Gzowski College will also house the First Peoples House of Learning, containing performance, ceremonial and gathering spaces and the new home for Trent’s Native Studies Department. Located on the east bank of the Otonabee River, the new College will also have a satellite operation on Argyle Street in Peterborough for the next four years to accommodate the double cohort.
The CBC radio host of Morningside 1982-97, Mr. Gzowski donated his papers to the Trent University Archives because of his "feeling of affinity for what Trent has come to stand for."He hosted the Timothy Findley tribute banquet held at Trent in 1997.
Mr. Gzowski was raised in Galt (Cambridge) and educated at Ridley College in St. Catharines and the University of Toronto. He began his career at 19 at the Timmins Daily Press, returned to university where he became editor of The Varsity. Later, he became city editor at the Moose Jaw Times-Herald and managing editor of the Chatham Daily News in southwestern Ontario. As a 28-year-old, he joined the staff of Maclean's magazine, becoming its youngest managing editor.
Winner of seven ACTRA awards, Mr. Gzowksi began his radio career in 1969 and in 1971 became host of This Country in the Morning, the program that preceded Morningside on the CBC network. He published many books and wrote a monthly column called "Gzowski's Canada" in Canadian Living magazine. A 1995 recipient of the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in Broadcasting, he was invested in 1999 as a Companion of the Order of Canada and is the only Canadian to receive a Peabody Award for individual accomplishment and contribution to journalism.
Mr. Gzowski’s contributions to Canada have a lot in common with those of his great-grandfather, Sir Casimir Gzowski who was central to some of the country’s great accomplishments and institutions during the 19th century. Sir Casimir Gzowski urged the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway as a feasible engineering project, was a founder of Wycliffe College, now part of the University of Toronto, and a founder of the Ontario Jockey Club. As the first chairman of the Niagara Parks Commission, Sir Casimir planned the world-famous park system on the Canadian side of the Niagara River.
In November, 2001 Trent announced that Peter Gzowski had been reappointed to another three year term as Chancellor of Trent University, for the period July 2002 to June 2005. Commenting on the renewal of term, Gzowski stated, "Trent was important to me when I had the honour of first taking this job and it’s grown more important to me every year. I am thrilled and honoured again to be a part of this special university."
Trent University is an outstanding small undergraduate university known for its commitment to a liberal arts and sciences education. Within a collegial setting, the university offers traditional and interdisciplinary degree programs at undergraduate and graduate levels. Spanning the picturesque Otonabee River in Peterborough, Ontario, Trent's main campus features award-winning architecture designed to complement its natural setting. Trent's strengths include interdisciplinary studies in environmental sciences – especially aquatic and DNA research – Canadian studies and Native studies. The University serves 6,500 full and part-time students in Peterborough and Oshawa.