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Davis praised as ‘education premier’ at U of T building rededication

U of T Mississauga honours him with namesake -- the administration and student services hub

By Nicolle Wahl, posted Monday, October 18, 2010

Part ceremony, part reunion and—at times—part stand-up comedy, the rededication of the William G. Davis Building at U of T Mississauga brought together generations of the University of Toronto community to celebrate the former premier’s enduring relationship with this campus.

With Professor Deep Saini, vice-president and principal, acting as master of ceremonies, the gathering on Oct. 14 included students, alumni, past principals and chairs of Governing Council, along with friends of the campus such as developer and philanthropist Ignat Kaneff, Mississauga city Councillor Katie Mahoney and Bonnie Crombie, MP for Mississauga-Streetsville.

“For over 40 years, Bill Davis has worked hard to improve the lives of people in the province of Ontario and nowhere is this more apparent than in our post-secondary education system,” said Saini. “Everywhere you look, we see reminders of his commitment to excellence in education—be it in the extensive growth of our college system or right here where he paved the way for what is now the University of Toronto Mississauga.”

U of T president David Naylor praised Davis both for his role as “the education premier”, and also as a nation-builder who earned the respect of leaders across the country—a sentiment echoed by Chancellor David Peterson.

But Peterson, along with Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion, used their time at the podium to both praise and poke fun at Davis.

Davis laughed at their remarks along with the crowd and stepped to the podium promising a “historical or hysterical” take on his accomplishments. “I’m having so much fun, this may go on for hours,” said Davis with a laugh.

In closing, Davis took a more serious tone and argued for the support of post-secondary education as a critical pillar of the nation.

“The University of Toronto is a national institution,” he said. “I know what the Constitution says and I know the steps that the government of Canada has taken in graduate work and many other fields but there’s still a very relevant role [for them to play].

“Post-secondary institutions are the most important institutions we have in this country, and the government of this county has an opportunity and obligation; there should be more money provided for post-secondary education here in Canada.”
A plaque unveiled at the opening, describing Davis’ role in post-secondary education, will go on display inside the William G. Davis Building once renovations are complete.