“You are the New Hope,” Dr. Stephen Stohn told the Trent University graduating class, rallying students, graduates and alumni alike as he was installed as the University’s 12th chancellor at the June 7, 2019 Convocation ceremony.
“In your everyday lives, use the skills we have learned here at Trent to face and embrace today’s challenges with the agility, the flexibility, the curiosity, the openness, and the compassion that have been fostered within you each and every day here at Trent,” Dr. Stohn said after being officially installed as chancellor during our special ceremony at the University. “Let us all, always, remember what our job really is. Saving the world. Being… A New Hope.”
Dr. Stohn, who succeeds Trent’s first alumnus chancellor Dr. Don Tapscott ’66, is no stranger to inspiring generations of young Canadians. The entertainment industry powerhouse, respected entertainment lawyer, Trent University alumnus, and 14-time Canadian Screen Award winner (formerly the Gemini Awards) may be best known as the executive producer of the Degrassi television franchise. In a speech encouraging graduates to rise up and accept an ambitious mission to save the world, Dr. Stohn shared his belief in what he calls Trent’s “secret sauce and multi-disciplinary approach to learning.”
Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor at Trent University heartily welcomed Dr. Stohn. “We are fortunate to have Stephen Stohn as our next chancellor. He brings a breadth of experience and knowledge to this position as well as a passion for Trent that is, quite frankly, contagious. Trent alumni are among the world’s top leaders and we are fortunate to have two of our alumni leaders from 1966 in the role of chancellor – Stephen Stohn now succeeding Don Tapscott.”
In his address at Convocation to hundreds of graduates and guests, Dr. Stohn called students to action, saying that Trent graduates are “up to the task” of responding to a rapidly changing world with the unique education experience that they received in their time at Trent University.
“To challenge the world requires education, but not just any education, rather education which trains us to be adaptable and flexible and to think in new and innovative ways,” he said. “That’s the secret sauce of Trent University, and you reach it by a multidisciplinary approach to learning. That’s the Trent system.”
Epitomizing the qualities Trent students and graduates are capable of bringing to the world, Dr. Stohn has given back to the University that helped launch his career. He has been an influential donor and friend to Trent, providing transformational philanthropic support for Trent has been key in the development of several projects, including a $1-million gift to make the stunning Student Centre a reality. Stohn Hall, a 200-seat lecture theatre within the Student Centre, is named in his honour.
Dr. Stohn is Trent’s second alumnus chancellor, succeeding digital technology guru Dr. Don Tapscott ’66. Previous chancellors at Trent include Leslie Frost, Margaret Laurence, Peter Gzowski, Roberta Bondar and Tom Jackson. The role of the chancellor includes conferring degrees and diplomas and sitting as an ex officio member of the Board of Governors and the Senate. In addition, the chancellor represents the University in an official capacity at external functions from time to time.
More about Dr. Stephen Stohn
Dr. Stohn’s outstanding career in the entertainment industry, as a well-respected lawyer, award-winning producer, songwriter and author, started as a Philosophy and Economics student at Trent. At the University, he co-founded Trent’s student newspaper, Arthur, as well as Trent Radio – both of which are still active and are widely known on campus and in the Peterborough community.
As the president of Skystone Media Inc. and its related companies, Dr. Stohn has also been the executive producer of numerous other television series including Instant Star. For nearly 20 years, Dr. Stohn worked for Canada’s biggest music awards, serving as executive producer and then chair of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Junos.
Also serving as an attorney, Dr. Stohn is a founding partner in the law firm, Stohn Hay Cafazzo Dembroski Richmond LLP where he provides legal advice to those in the entertainment industry. For his innumerable contributions to the industry, Dr. Stohn was inducted into the Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame in 2011. In 2015, Trent presented Dr. Stohn with an honorary degree – the University’s highest honour.
About Trent University
One of Canada's top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that's personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent's unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent's students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.
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