Chancellors of Trent University

The Hon. Leslie Miscampbell Frost (1895 - 1973)
P.C., Q.C., LL.D., D.C.L.
First Chancellor (1967 to 1973)

Trent University’s first chancellor, the late Leslie M. Frost, was a true statesman who served his province and his country well. Born in Orillia, and educated both in Orillia and Toronto, he was called to the bar in 1933 and established a law practice in Lindsay. He had a long and successful political career that began with his election to the Ontario Legislature in 1937. He served as Provincial Treasurer and Minister of Mines until he was chosen as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party in 1949. He was the longest-serving Premier of Ontario from 1949 until 1961.

Leslie Frost was the father of the modern Ontario university system. When he assumed public office in 1937, there were only five recognized degree-granting universities in Ontario, but by the time he retired in 1961 there were sixteen. While Premier of Ontario he initiated government support of the Ontario series of the Champlain Society publications. He encouraged the preservation of historical records and sites throughout Ontario. Trent was fortunate indeed to have such a prominent and talented individual as its first chancellor.

Mr. Frost was a veteran of the first World War, having served overseas as an officer in the Simcoe Foresters, and he was an honorary bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada. After his retirement, he spent much of his time doing historical research. He was the author of several books on military history, including Fighting Men, and The Records on Sir Sam Hughes Set Straight, and the histories of Peterborough, Victoria and Haliburton Counties. He died in May 1973 at the age of 77.

Trent recognized the vision of Leslie Frost through the name chosen in 1982 for one of its Graduate and Research Centres, the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies. The Frost Centre is located at Traill College in downtown Peterborough.

The Hon. Eugene Alfred Forsey (1904 - 1991)
O.C., P.C., M.A. Ph.D., D.C.L., LL.D., D.LITT., F.R.S.C.
Second Chancellor (1973 to 1977)

The late Eugene Forsey was regarded as one of the foremost experts on the Canadian constitution and was a member of the Canadian Senate from 1970 to 1979. He was named to the Privy Council in 1985. Senator Forsey was born in 1904 in Grand Bank, Newfoundland, and was educated at McGill University and Oxford University where he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. He was an astute political scientist, author and “peerless writer of letters to the editor”.

Although he was involved at various times with all of the major political parties, Eugene Forsey is best remembered as an outspoken federalist. In the 1930s, he drafted the Regina Manifesto, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF)'s founding declaration of policy, and ran for public office four times for the CCF. He served as a lecturer in economics and political science from 1929-1941 at McGill, and held the post of director of research for the Canadian Labour Congress from 1942 to 1966.

From 1966 to 1969, Senator Forsey directed a special centennial project, A History of Canadian Unions, 1812-1902, and served on a committee that founded Labour/Le Travail. He taught Canadian government and Canadian labour history at Carleton University and the University of Waterloo. He was the author of several books including: Economic and Social Aspects of the Nova Scotia Coal Industry (1926); The Royal Power of Dissolution of Parliament in the British Commonwealth (1943); Freedom and Order (1974); The Canadian Labour Movement 1812-1902 (booklet 1975); How Canadians Govern Themselves (booklet 1979); Trade Unions in Canada 1812-1902 (1982), and co-author of Social Planning for Canada (1935), and Towards the Christian Revolution (1936).

Senator Forsey was a member of the Board of Broadcast Governors, President of the Canadian Political Science Association and a recipient of honorary degrees from 14 Canadian universities, including from Trent. He was appointed as a member of Trent University’s first Board of Governors in 1966, and served as an honorary Board member until his death in 1991 at age 86. His lively presence and commitment to ideals made him a much-loved member of the Trent community.

William Lewis Morton (1908 - 1980)
O.C., M.A., B.LITT., LL.D., D.LITT., F.R.HIST.S.
Third Chancellor (1977 to 1980)

The late Professor William Morton was a highly respected historian who served Trent in many roles. He was a professor of History in Trent’s early days, the first Master of Champlain College, and later became the Vanier Professor and Chancellor of the University.

Professor Morton was born in Gladstone, Manitoba and educated at the University of Manitoba and at Oxford University where he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. A distinguished and prolific author, Professor Morton’s work focused on the history of Canada and on university governance topics. Renowned for his studies of Canada's west and north, he was author of The Canadian Identity (1961) and other works, and was executive editor of the 17-volume Canadian Centenary Series, A History of Canada. His extensive teaching experience included appointments at St. John's College, United College, Brandon College, and the University of Manitoba where he was Professor of History and Provost of University College until his appointment to Trent University in 1966. Professor Morton had a close interest in university governance, and was the author of a number of articles on university governance in Canada.

Professor Morton was the first representative of a university Senate to be elected to full membership of the Board of Governors of any university in Ontario. He was President of the Canadian Historical Association, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a recipient of honorary degrees from several Canadian universities. Professor Morton died on December 7, 1980. His distinction as a scholar, his renown as a senior Canadian academic, and his service in public affairs are known across Canada and beyond.

Each year Trent University hosts the W.L. Morton lecture series, inviting a leading Canadian scholar to give a public lecture on their work, and also to lead an intimate seminar primarily for graduate students. Organized by the History Department, this annual lecture series is named in honour of W.L. Morton.

Jean Margaret Wemyss Laurence (1926 - 1987)
C.C., B.A., D.LITT., LL.D. F.R.S.C.
Fourth Chancellor (1981 to 1983)

In the early 1980s, Trent was fortunate to have as its chancellor the late Canadian author Margaret Laurence. Margaret was born in Neepawa, Manitoba in 1926, and was educated at United College (now the University of Winnipeg). She decided early in life to become a writer and began writing professionally in 1943 when she got a summer job as a reporter for the town newspaper. At United College she published her stories and poems in Vox, the college newspaper, and after graduation became a reporter for the Winnipeg Citizen. Following her marriage in 1947, she and her husband lived for a number of years in Africa where she wrote A Tree for Poverty, The Prophet's Camel Bell and her first novel, This Side Jordan. This writing was followed by a collection of short stories, The Tomorrow Tamer, and a study of Nigerian fiction and drama, Long Drums and Cannons. She spent five years in Vancouver where she wrote her first children's book, The Christmas Birthday Story, and began to write The Stone Angel, the first in her famous series of novels set in the fictional Manitoba town of Manawaka.

After separating from her husband, she and her two children spent seven years in England where she completed The Stone Angel (1964), A Jest of God (1966), The Fire-Dwellers (1969) and A Bird in the House (1970). A Jest of God won Margaret her first Governor General's Award for fiction and was adapted into a movie entitled Rachel, Rachel. While still living in England, she established a summer home on the Otonabee River near Peterborough where she wrote The Diviners, and in 1973 Margaret made Lakefield her permanent residence. She went on to write a book of essays entitled Heart of a Stranger, and continued what she had begun in 1970 with Jason's Quest, three more books for children: The Olden Days Coat, Six Darn Cows and The Christmas Birthday Story (rewritten). She served as "Writer in Residence" at the University of Toronto, the University of Western Ontario and at Trent.

Margaret Laurence is remembered for her enthusiasm for Trent, her affection for students and the courage of her convictions. She “embodied the values and ideals to which the University itself aspires: humanitarianism, justice, informed criticism, creativity and self-examination”.

The last decade of her life focused on promoting causes she passionately supported -- peace, nuclear disarmament, social justice, literacy, the equality of women and environmental protection. Margaret was a Companion of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and held honorary degrees from more than fourteen universities, including Trent. She was winner of the prestigious Molson Prize, and was two-time winner of the Governor General's Award for fiction. Margaret Laurence died in January 1987. Her memoirs, Dance on the Earth, were published posthumously.

The Annual Margaret Laurence Lecture is held each year at Trent University acknowledging Trent's fourth chancellor’s contributions to literature, feminism, ecology, and the peace movement.

John Josiah Robinette (1906 - 1996)
C.C., Q.C., B.A., D.C.L., LL.D.
Fifth Chancellor (1984 to 1987)

John J. Robinette, one of Canada’s leading constitutional and criminal lawyers, served both on Trent University’s Board and as its Chancellor. Born in Toronto in 1906, Dr. Robinette was educated at the University of Toronto Schools, the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School. He taught law at Osgoode Hall (1929-32) and was editor of The Ontario Law Reports (1935-40). In 1958 he was appointed Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada. He was a member of the bars of Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. He was appointed King's Counsel in 1944, made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1973, and held honorary degrees from several Canadian universities including Queens University, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Toronto, and the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Robinette had an enormous impact on the evolution and interpretation of law. During a long and illustrious career, he practiced in many areas of law. In the 1940s, Dr. Robinette became famous when he served as defense counsel in notorious criminal cases including the Crown vs. Evelyn Dick murder trial in which his client was granted an acquittal. In the 1950s he shifted away from criminal law towards civil litigation, appellate and Supreme Court cases. He represented the federal government when its right to repatriate the Constitution without the consent of the provinces was challenged in the Supreme Court of Canada. He also successfully defended the federal government's imposition of wage and price controls in the mid-1970s. Dr. Robinette successfully represented groups opposing construction of the Pickering airport and an expressway into downtown Toronto.

Dr. Robinette was a founding director of the Advocates' Society, and one of the original sponsors of Trent University. He died in November 1996 at the age of 90.

Frederick Kenneth Hare (1919 - 2002)
C.C., B.Sc., Ph.D., LL.D., D.LITT., D.S.LITT., D.Sc., F.K.C., F.R.S.C.
Sixth Chancellor (1988 to 1995)

Kenneth Hare was a distinguished, internationally-renowned environmental scientist and geographer who was noted for his research in climatology and biogeography. He was commissioner of the Ontario Nuclear Safety Review and headed major inquiries into environmental issues such as lead contamination, nuclear winter, air pollution and the disposal of nuclear waste.

Kenneth Hare was born in England and educated at the University of London, the London School of Economics and the University of Montreal. He began his career as a meteorologist with the British Air Ministry during World War II then immigrated to Canada in 1945 and joined McGill University as a geography professor. He earned his Ph.D. as an Arctic climatologist and headed a team of Arctic weather specialists who, along with a group of radar physicists, formed McGill's highly successful Department of Meteorology.

Dr. Hare's research interests included atmospheric carbon dioxide, climate change, drought, and arid zone climates. He was active in movements to protect the natural environment, serving on commissions and committees on acid rain, desertification, heavy metals, nuclear reactors and waste products, ozone, greenhouse gases and climate change. He was a member of the Research and Development Advisory Panel of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and conducted studies on nuclear waste management in Sweden and France.

In addition to his scientific accomplishments, Dr. Hare had a long and distinguished career as a university administrator at McGill University where he was Dean of Arts and Science; at the University of London where he was Master of Birkbeck College; at the University of British Columbia where he was President, and at the University of Toronto where he was Provost of Trinity College and Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies.

Dr. Hare was Chairman of the Climate Program Planning Board of Canada, the Royal Society of Canada Study of Nuclear Winter, the Canadian panel on documents related to a proposed Canada-U.S. treaty on transboundary air pollution, and the Federal Study Group on Nuclear Waste Management. He was University Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto, a Companion of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and was a recipient of honorary degrees from 11 universities and numerous medals and awards.

Kenneth Hare believed that the most urgent environmental challenge facing Canada in the 21st century was climate change created by the consumption of fossil fuels. He was a promoter of nuclear power, correctly used, as a more acceptable power source and was a vigorous public speaker and writer on these issues. Dr. Hare died in September 2002.

Mary May Simon
C.M., LL.D.
Seventh Chancellor (1995 to 1999, 2002)

Mary May Simon, Canada's Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs, has attained international recognition for her work on Arctic and Indigenous issues. Throughout her distinguished career, Ambassador Simon has been committed to seeking diplomatic and policy solutions to problems in the North. In the environmental, economic and political arenas, Mary Simon has been a leading advocate for Inuit concerns and cooperation among Arctic nations.

Born in Kangirsualuujuaq (George River) on Ungava Bay, Ambassador Simon began her career as a radio broadcaster with the CBC northern service. As a young woman, she held a series of executive positions with the Northern Quebec Inuit Association and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which led to the first land claims agreement in Canada. Together with other aboriginal leaders, Ambassador Simon participated in efforts that resulted in the historic recognition of aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada's Constitution. Later, as President of Makivik Corporation, she was directly involved with the implementation of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, and with the protection and promotion of Inuit rights.

From 1980 to 1986 Mary Simon served as an Executive Council member of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference: from 1986 to 1992 she was its President, and from 1992 to 1994 she was Special Envoy of the ICC. In 1993, she was appointed Secretary and then Policy Co-Director of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. In 1994 she was named Commissioner of the Nunavut Implementation Commission and became Canadian Circumpolar Ambassador, the first Inuk to hold ambassadorial rank. From 1999 to 2001 she served concurrently as Ambassador to Denmark and Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs.

In her role as Ambassador, Mary Simon worked hard to raise awareness of the challenges facing Northern residents and promoted environmental protection initiatives among the circumpolar nations. In 1996, under Mary's leadership, the Arctic Council (an intergovernmental forum for the eight arctic states) was established to address common concerns of the circumpolar north. The following year Ambassador Simon was appointed as a member of the Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission on Environmental Cooperation of NAFTA, and served as its Chair in 1998. In 2001 Ambassador Simon was appointed Councilor for the International Council for Conflict Resolution with the Carter Center. Mary Simon presented at the Climate Change Conference at Trent University on March 2, 2007 sharing her unique perspective on the effects of climate change on Inuit peoples in Canada’s far north.

Mary Simon has received honorary degrees from McGill and Queen's University and is a member of the Order of Canada, the National Order of Quebec and the Gold Order of Greenland. She is a recipient of the Governor General's 125thCommemorative Medal, a National Aboriginal Achievement Award and the Gold Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. She is a Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.

Trent University was honoured to have such an outstanding individual serve as its seventh chancellor. Mary Simon also returned to serve as Chancellor for Convocation in 2002 following Peter Gzowski's death in January of that year.

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.

f 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 Enweying, 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 Enweying.

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.

Roberta Lynn Bondar
OC, O.Ont, B.Sc., M.Sc., MD, PhD, FRCP, FRSC
Ninth Chancellor (2003 to present)

Dr. Roberta Bondar is Trent's ninth Chancellor. She is an eminent Canadian and a nationally recognized hero with the distinction of being the first Canadian woman to fly in space. Roberta Bondar is an accomplished neurologist, scientist, pilot, astronaut and photographic artist who holds the NASA Space Medal and is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a laureate of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. She is the recipient of 24 honorary degrees from Canadian and American universities and colleges.

Dr. Bondar has had the rare opportunity to view the earth from space and is a passionate advocate for the environment. Science and photography have always been linked in her life and it was natural that one of her assignments aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1992 was to take photographs of Earth.

Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Roberta embarked on a career of scientific pursuits beginning in high school. Using her camera in support of her studies, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture and zoology from the University of Guelph, and developed new techniques for photo microscopy while pursuing a master's degree in experimental pathology at the University of Western Ontario. She completed her doctorate in neurobiology at the University of Toronto working extensively with black and white photography. Dr. Bondar earned her medical degree at McMaster University with a special interest in space medicine. After completing her board certification in neurology, she studied at Tufts New England Medical Centre in Boston, specializing in neurophthalmology. She also studied professional nature photography at the Brooks Institute of Photography in California.

In 1984, Roberta Bondar was one of the six original Canadian astronauts chosen to train at NASA. In January 1992 she ascended into space aboard the NASA space shuttle Discovery. In her role as an international payload specialist she conducted life and material science experiments in space, becoming the world's first neurologist in space.

She is co-author, with her sister Barbara, of a children's book entitled On the Shuttle (1993), and is author of Touching the Earth (1994); Passionate Vision: Discovering Canada’s National Parks (2000); Canada - Landscape of Dreams (2002); The Arid Edge of Earth (2006); and numerous scholarly articles. In accepting the position of chancellor, Dr. Bondar said,

"In all my endeavours and travels, I have come to value how my educational experiences at the undergraduate and graduate levels have helped me to understand our world and shape me as an individual. The unique educational experiences offered at Trent, with its emphasis on the arts and sciences, combined with a strong research focus, help to distinguish the University. The University is producing graduates in a variety of sectors who are critical thinkers, lifelong learners and well-rounded citizens who contribute to our communities. Trent also has a tremendous expertise in environmental education and I am very pleased to be associated with a university renowned for its environmental science programs."

In the Spring of 2007 the Roberta Bondar Fellowship in Northern and Polar Studies was established. A post-doctoral teaching and research award, the purpose of the fellowship is to attract up-and-coming young northern scholars to Trent for the period of one academic year, in which they participate in Northern Studies at Trent University through teaching, scholarship, and public lecturing. The Inaugural Roberta Bondar Fellowship in Northern and Polar Studies was appointed to Ice Shelf Expert and Trent Alumnus, Dr. Derek Mueller.