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Founding President Honoured for Enduring Commitment to International Education & Canadian Heritage

November 16, 2016

Thomas H.B. Symons recognized by the Canadian Bureau for International Education and National Trust for Canada

Tom Symons being presented with his award

The living legacy of Professor Thomas H.B. Symons continues to thrive. Adding again to his impressive list of accomplishments, the founding president of Trent University received his latest honour – the Founders Award for Excellence in International Education from the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) on November 15, as part of the organization’s 50th Anniversary Conference in Ottawa. 

As a university student in the 1940s, Prof. Symons was a founding member of CBIE, then known as Friendly Relations with Overseas Students. Coming full circle, the 2016 Excellence Award honours Prof. Symons’ decades-long commitment to advancing international education.

“The international dimension of higher education in Canada has been one of my lifetime interests and I have the greatest admiration and appreciation for the good work done by CBIE in this important field,” said Prof. Symons, commenting on the honour.

Prof. Symons’ work in international education fostered the development of International Development Studies at Trent and Trent International. He was also instrumental in forming Trent’s Canadian Studies program and Canada’s first Indigenous Studies program.

Prof. Symons served countless institutions outside of academia as well.  As a result, the awards keep coming.

In honour of his outstanding service to the country advancing the cause of heritage conservation, Prof. Symons also recently received the Gabrielle Léger Medal for Lifetime Achievement from National Trust for Canada on October 21. It is the premier honour for individual achievement in the heritage field.

In this realm, Prof. Symons’ worked with many organizations including Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and the Ontario Heritage Trust to bring Canada’s history to light for all Canadians. He wrote numerous reports and articles and was a contributor to many books on Canadian history.