Peter John Gzowski
Peter John Gzowski (1934 - 2002)
C.C., LL.D., D.LITT.
Eighth Chancellor (1999 - 2002)
Peter Gzowski, Trent's eighth Chancellor, was one of Canada's most respected and distinguished broadcasters and writers. As the popular host of CBC's Morningside radio show from 1982 to 1997, Peter introduced his listeners to people from across the country who were making a difference and by doing so, raised the Canadian consciousness. He also hosted the network's Gzowski in Conversation and was heard on CBC Radio's Some of the Best Minds of Our Time. In 1987 he received an honorary degree from Trent University for his outstanding contributions to public service and broadcasting.
Peter Gzowski was born in Toronto, raised in Galt (Cambridge) and was educated at Ridley College in St. Catharines, and at the University of Toronto where he became editor of The Varsity, while working nights at the Toronto Telegram. He began his career in journalism at the age of 19 at the Timmins Daily Press. He later became city editor of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald, then managing editor of the Chatham Daily News in southwestern Ontario. At the age of 28, he joined the staff of Maclean's, becoming the magazine’s youngest managing editor. Later, he became entertainment editor for the Toronto Star, then editor at the Star Weekly.
The recipient of seven ACTRA awards, Peter Gzowski began his radio career in 1969 and two years later became host of This Country in the Morning, the program that preceded Morningside on the CBC network. He published 16 books including The Morningside Papers, The Sacrament and The Game of Our Lives, and wrote a monthly column called "Gzowski's Canada" in Canadian Living Magazine. In 1993 he won the Stephen Leacock Medal for humour for his book Canadian Living: Selected Columns. A member of the Canadian News Hall of Fame, he was awarded the 1995 Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in Broadcasting, the Canadian Journalism Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award and a prestigious individual Peabody Award for his Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting in 1997. In 1999 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. Peter Gzowski was the recipient of honorary degrees from twelve Canadian universities and was the founder of the PGIs Golf Tournaments for Literacy, which provides financial support to community-based literacy organizations.
Trent was fortunate to have Peter serve as Chancellor from 1999 until his death in January 2002. The brilliance of his mind, the warmth of his personality and the sense of humanity that he brought to all his associations at the university made him a much-loved member of the Trent community. Mr. Gzowski was passionate about Canada, both the land and its people, and this fed his interest in Canadian culture, the north, Aboriginal people and the environment. Peter Gzowski College opened to students in September 2004. The building itself bears the name Enwayaang, which in Anishnaabe means "The Way We Speak Together." Given Mr. Gzowski's work as a public broadcaster, it is a fitting tribute. Along with his affinity for Trent's Native Studies program, Mr. Gzowski had the exceptional ability to create vivid imagery with his voice, linking a vast nation through storytelling. In the Anishnaabe language, this notion is embodied in the word Enwayaang.
Canada's First Peoples and their traditions were close to Mr. Gzowski's heart, so it is fitting that the First Peoples House of Learning and the newest college at Trent are intertwined in this building.