22 unforgettable things that happened in 2022 at U of T Scarborough

A Ferris wheel at U of T Scarborough's homecoming
The Ferris wheel at our first homecoming was just one of the standout moments at U of T Scarborough this year (Photo by).

Alexa Battler

Every year, we publish a round-up list of noteworthy moments at U of T Scarborough. I began last year’s edition by writing: “Let’s admit it, 2021 wasn’t as different from 2020 as we’d hoped.” I smiled re-reading that, because I can’t say the same thing about 2022.

We had a lot to celebrate — and celebrate we did.

1. Professor Wisdom Tettey was reappointed for a second term

In 2023, Tettey will begin his next five-year term as principal of U of T Scarborough and vice-president of U of T. Tettey has led an era of growth, with new buildings, partnerships, initiatives, research opportunities and more, all guided by his strategic plan, Inspiring Inclusive Excellence.

2. We launched Scarborough’s first medical academy

The Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH) will open in 2025 and graduate hundreds of medical and life sciences students — with the help of the Orlando Corporation’s historic $75-million donation.

3. We threw our first homecoming

Thousands enjoyed the campus-wide day of activities, games, rides, food, live performances, academic demonstrations and more. There was even a Ferris wheel. And a llama.

4. We welcomed students back for in-person learning

The first day back hit different this year — for hundreds of students, it was their first time on campus. We marked the occasion with a week of activities, booths, tours and performances.

5. We had our first in-person convocations since the pandemic

There’s no more handshakes, but the excitement and energy were palpable as students crossed the stage at Convocation Hall again.

6. We published a report on our campus-wide curriculum review 

A working circle examined every course offered at U of T Scarborough and created 56 recommendations on ways to meaningfully integrate Black, Indigenous, intercultural and international knowledges and perspectives into each program.

7. We kept growing

Construction continued on several major campus additions, including:

We also revamped the Academic Resource Centre (ARC) Quad, with new lighting, seating, electrical outlets, better WiFi access and bright orange shade sails.

8. The Scarborough Shooting Stars played at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC)

The team is the GTA’s first franchise of the Canadian Elite Basketball League and its star-studded roster includes former Toronto Raptor Jalen Harris. The team’s founder Sam Ibrahim also packed the stands with students by donating 250 tickets for Student Leadership Day.

9. We were basically U of T Star-borough

We saw Drake cheering for the Scarborough Shooting Stars as rapper J. Cole hit the court at TPASC. We also welcomed Dragons’ Den investor Wes Hall for a talk and had a livestreamed panel with Scarborough author Catherine Hernandez at Homecoming after screening her book’s eponymous new movie.

10. The Black Health Equity Lab launched

The lab is dedicated to improving health-care for the Black community in Toronto by conducting research and designing solutions. Its first research project is also a first for Ontario — a specialized clinical program for Black people living with HIV.

11. Our researchers landed more than $3 million in NSERC funding

Their studies have them examining the diets of some of our earliest ancestors, using analytics to fight fraudulent behaviour online and exploring the genomics behind species formation of Amazonian birds.

12. We embarked on a $10-million partnership to study wetlands

A group of Canadian researchers led by Irena Creed, vice-principal of research and innovation, is investigating the role wetlands play in fighting climate change. Their results will help illustrate Canada’s progress toward climate change goals and make greenhouse gas inventory reporting more accurate.

13. Our chief administrative officer was inducted into the Scarborough Walk of Fame

Andrew Arrifuziman’s star was added at the Scarborough Town Centre, alongside stars for YouTuber Lilly Singh, hockey player Natalie Spooner and comedian Gerry Dee.

14. The first forum of the Scarborough Charter was held

The Scarborough Charter — the brainchild of Tettey — has united more than 50 universities and colleges across Canada in a commitment to combat anti-Black racism. Its signatories gathered in B.C. for a two-day forum and symposium on supporting Black flourishing.

15. We hosted the second National Dialogues

The series of forums brings together great minds from across the country for discussions on equity and inclusion in Canadian higher education. Its first iteration in 2020 helped develop the Scarborough Charter; the second focused on ableism, disability and accessibility.

16. New and old campus spots were recognized

The Valley Land Trail, one of our newest campus additions, won a national award for urban architecture, while U of T Scarborough’s first building, the Andrews Building, officially became a Canadian landmark.

17. Our community raked in awards

Our students, staff, faculty and alum won prestigious prizes, fellowships and scholarships. Aisha Ahmad was also appointed to the Royal Society of Canada and Caroline Hossein was named a new Canada Research Chair. Maria Assif won the highest honour in teaching at U of T and Maydianne Andrade earned U of T’s top academic rank

18. Our family grew

Khadija Uddin became our first student crisis response co-ordinator, a role designed to reduce police presence when students experience a mental health crisis. The first director of international engagement, Carlos Vargas, is developing the campus’ approach to international activities. We also welcomed Neel Joshi, the new dean of the office of student experience and wellbeing, and Mike DeGagné, who became special advisor on Indigenous initiatives.

19. We were the host with the most (but humbly)

Our podiums got a workout this year. We hosted the first national conference for Black excellence in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine and health. Another event brought together researchers, community members and health experts to address disparities in Scarborough’s health-care system (cue SAMIH). African diplomats and scholars also came to U of T Scarborough to brainstorm ways partnerships can address the world’s most pressing issues.

20. We welcomed whizz kids

A month-long summer mentorship program had more than 60 Black boys aged 11 to 14 exploring campus, attending talks from faculty and professional athletes and enjoying activities. The Sparking Science Mentorship Program brought 100 Grade 9 girls to campus for nine mentorship sessions with scientists in different STEM fields. And the annual Math in Motion… Girls in Gear! event returned with talks, demonstrations and activities to encourage girls in high school to continue their math journey. 

21. The Black Founders Network celebrated its first anniversary

Founded by U of T Scarborough alum Efosa Obano, the Black Founders Network celebrated one year of supporting Black entrepreneurs. The event also recognized the first cohort of BFN Accelerate, a program offering workshops, sessions and mentorship tailored to Black entrepreneurs.

22. We got a store where everything is free

The student group Regenesis UTSC won an Adams Sustainability Student Grant and used it to open a free store on campus. Donated items get a second home, and second owners get a great price (of $0). The store is in the South Residences and is open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 p.m.