Provost Mayo Moran’s Message to the Trinity Community

Posted: April 03, 2024

Spring blooms on the Trinity campusSpring views on campus (April 1, 2024): On the front lawn, scillas are in bloom (left) and magnolias are budding (centre); and students enjoying the spring weather in the Quad (left).


Dear Members of the ߲Ƶ Community:

I hope you have had a lovely long weekend with family and friends. With April upon us, I hope you find time during these final weeks of the term to do things that bring you joy and a sense of accomplishment. In today’s message, I am providing an update on our new Lawson Centre for Sustainability (celebration, vision and construction update), along with campus happenings and news.


Our journey started nearly a decade ago as we began to think about what Trinity needed to position it for an even greater future. Our historic campus, beautiful as it is, was simply too small to support the desire of students to live and learn and build community here at Trinity. Together with staff, volunteers and supporters, we began to plan. Our late and beloved Chancellor, Bill Graham, chaired the architect selection committee that chose the visionary Dutch firm Mecanoo and local partner RDHA. Our alumni and supporters saw the need and responded with incredible generosity – Nevil Thomas, Jack Whiteside and the Scace family all came forward with unprecedented support for the project. Alongside this, Trinity received the largest single donation in our history. That $10 million gift from Brian and Joannah Lawson supported the visionary new building as part of a larger Integrated Sustainability Initiative – a college-wide effort to promote sustainable living and learning. The Lawson Centre for Sustainability was born! And notwithstanding all the pandemic challenges, we persevered and in fall 2021, we gathered our supporters and community and held a on its future site.

Fast forward to last week when we celebrated another exciting milestone – the Lawson Centre’s Mass Timber Raising Celebration. As we gathered in the sunshine to celebrate, we thought it would be most fitting to hear from one of our students who are, after all, at the heart of all we do.

The crowd was rapt listening to Emmeline Caplan, who is graduating in June. She spoke about how she has had the opportunity to “live and learn” sustainability beginning with the Butterfield Environment & Sustainability stream of the Margaret MacMillan Trinity One program and then through her involvement with the Food Systems Lab (part of Trinity’s Integrated Sustainability Initiative). Then she spoke about what the Lawson Centre means to students:

I am incredibly excited to see ߲Ƶ ascend to new heights, figuratively and literally with the development of the Lawson Centre for Sustainability. This new building will continue to cultivate the well-being of our students and strengthen our sense of community by providing students with a variety of learning, event, residential, communal, and dining spaces. The construction so far has sparked interest in students about zero-carbon, mass timber, and sustainable building practices. It has given students a chance to see sustainability in action; and when it is complete, it will give future students a chance to be immersed in sustainability –pushing Trinity’s sustainability campaign further than it has ever gone before… I cannot wait to return to the completed space and reconnect with the faculty working diligently toward its success.

Mass Timber Raising Celebration: photo collageOn March 25, 2024, Trinity’s Mass Timber Raising Celebration was held near the east end of the construction site for our new Lawson Centre for Sustainability, followed by remarks in Seeley Hall. In Trinity fashion, we had history in our hands as we celebrated the moment – we brought out two precious ceremonial items from the Archives to mark this special occasion (see photo above): the Trinity Shovel which has been used at all major construction projects at Trinity, dating back to March 17, 1851; and the Trinity Trowel (called the Tully Trowel after the architect of the original ߲Ƶ building), which was used to lay the cornerstone of the original ߲Ƶ building at our Queen Street West location. Standing in front of the future Whiteside House (east wing residence), graduating student Emmeline Caplan (photo above) delivered her remarks. Provost Mayo Moran, Chancellor Brian Lawson and Joannah Lawson, Sharon Geraghty, Rebecca Thomas, Whiteside Foundation (Brenda Ha, Glen Ladouceur, Karl Tanner), Gay and Norman Loveland, Cathy Graham, Michael Royce and Carolyn Kearns were invited to sign the piece of mass timber, followed by all attendees. In Seeley Hall, Provost Moran welcomed guests, followed by remarks by Francine Houben (Mecanoo), Trevor Young (U of T Vice-President and Provost), Melanie Woodin (Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science, U of T), Michael Royce and Carolyn Kearns (Living Trinity Campaign Co-Chairs), and Chancellor Brian Lawson.



Rendering of the Lawson Centre for SustainabilityRendering of the Lawson Centre for Sustainability (opening fall 2025) featuring the George & Martha Butterfield Rooftop Farm and surrounding landscape.

From Day One we had a clear vision for the Lawson Centre for Sustainability. It had to set a new standard for sustainability and show what is possible – integrating sustainability into all facets of life at the College while providing much-needed student housing (increasing residence capacity at the College by 80%). And equally important, it had to speak to our glorious historic campus. We wanted a contemporary expression of the traditional collegiate model – a place designed for living, learning and creating community.

Along with mass timber construction (), the new building will be zero-carbon and LEED Platinum and will incorporate an array of sustainability features that are not often found in a single facility, including geothermal heating and cooling, underground cistern for rainwater collection and reuse, urban agriculture, solar panels, and locally-sourced mass timber, limestone and brick. Moreover, beyond the green building features, the Lawson Centre for Sustainability will serve as a platform for the College’s innovative Integrated Sustainability Initiative, placing sustainability at the forefront of teaching and research.

The Lawson Centre has also been intentionally planned to build community with generous spaces for communal dining and shared cooking in a beautiful community kitchen, exciting teaching and learning spaces such as the George & Martha Butterfield Rooftop Farm, fireplace lounges for socializing, and nooks and crannies for quiet study. It has been thoughtfully designed to complement the existing college buildings through both the use of local stone and masonry and the configuration of space, which creates beautiful new quad-like areas and courtyards.

Trinity understands the profound value of community and that is what made this dream a reality, from early champions including our beloved late Chancellor Bill Graham, and Brian and Joannah Lawson with their transformational gift, Nevil Thomas, Jack Whiteside and the Scace family and so many other generous supporters that we cannot list them all here. Without them we would not be where we are today, and we are incredibly grateful for their steadfast support throughout our long journey. I also want to take this moment to thank our Campaign Co-Chairs, Michael Royce and Carolyn Kearns, and Campaign Cabinet, our hard-working Board of Trustees and our fantastic staff for their unfailing support through thick and thin. (Michael Royce would tell me to remind you however that we are not quite done fundraising yet, and still need more support for the building in these difficult times!)

I would also like to express my deep gratitude for the vital support of our partner in federation, the University of Toronto, for their commitment to the success of the Lawson Centre for Sustainability. We are also so appreciative of having such great project partners bringing this building to life – our architects Mecanoo and RDHA, and construction partners Graham and JLL. And we are thrilled that with the support of our banker BMO, we secured the in North America for a post-secondary institution! On behalf of the College and all those who will live, learn and work in our revitalized campus for decades to come, thank you all so much.



View of the construction site, March 25, 2024View of the construction site for the Lawson Centre for Sustainability – mass timber installation (March 25, 2024).


Now that most of the foundation work has been completed, the above ground construction is quickly taking shape. As the , it is ready for installation once it is delivered onsite. This means, for the east residence wing (Whiteside House), we expect the mass timber installation to be completed this month as one floor can be built per week. Make sure to view construction updates and view our progress to see our campus grow, including the work completed during the last 3 months (view construction logs).



The winter term has been incredibly busy on campus and full of exciting news and wonderful events. I have included a few snapshots of recent happenings (see photos below). Tonight, for graduating Arts & Science students, we are hosting the inaugural Last Lecture, which offers the Class of 2024 an opportunity to come together and celebrate their upcoming graduation and to hear from a graduating student, an alum and a faculty member. Xinyi Li has been selected to be the graduating student speaker; the alum speaker is our James Coutts Distinguished Visitor, our incredible Rosemary McCarney; and I am thrilled to be this year’s faculty speaker. In a way, this will be my “last lecture” here, as I am also “graduating” from Trinity as my final term as Provost ends in June. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank members of the Trinity community for all their kind words following the community message sent by our Chancellor Brian Lawson and Sharon Geraghty, Chair, ߲Ƶ Board of Trustees. I am incredibly honoured to have received both U of T’s Ludwik & Estelle Jus Memorial Human Rights Prize and the Law Society Medal, and touched by the lovely messages I received from so many of you. As I approach the end of my second term as Provost, the feeling is so bittersweet.


Trinity's UTSLA recipients 2024Congratulations to Trinity’s 12 students and 4 alumni (current U of T graduate students) on their 2024 University of Toronto Student Leadership Awards!


TCURC 2024: collage of event photosUndergraduate research prowess was on display at the 10th annual ߲Ƶ Undergraduate Research Conference on March 16, 2024. Thank you to all presenters and attendees for celebrating the incredible work being explored by our students! Photo credits: Jerome Chang (top row left, lower row left and right); Christina Tao (top row right).


Conversat 2024: collage of event photosAlways a terrific way to mark the end of the academic year before final exams – the141st Conversat student ball was held on March 23, 2024! The evening started with a formal dinner in Seeley Hall and continued at the AGO. Photo Credits: ߲Ƶ Meeting (lower row left); Trin En Rouge (lower row centre); Cameron McBurney (all other photos).


Among the many end-of-year events, we will celebrate with our graduating classes, open our doors to prospective Divinity students, honour Professor Robert Bothwell, and host Reunion 2024:

  • Class of 2024 Convocations: In addition to the Last Lecture, we will be celebrating with our graduands at the Arts & Science Convocation on June 21, and the Faculty of Divinity Convocation on May 14.
  • Faculty of Divinity Open House: If you, or someone you know, are considering pursuing a degree in theology, are interested in auditing individual courses for personal enrichment, or are simply curious about what our program has to offer, there’s still time to join our Faculty of Divinity for an in-person Open House: tonight (April 3) at 6 pm.
  • Celebrating Robert Bothwell: Members of the Trinity community and former students, scholars and friends of Professor Robert Bothwell are invited to join us on April 5 for : An academic and social event in honour of Professor Robert Bothwell’s more than five decades of teaching at the University of Toronto. Prof. Bothwell served as Director of the International Relations program at Trinity for 16 years!
  • Trinity Reunion 2024: For our alumni both near and far, please mark your calendars for Reunion, May 29 to June 2 – we have a great line up of reunion activities and we look forward to welcoming you back to campus.

We have so much to celebrate as a community and I look forward to connecting with you in my last months as Provost of this incredible institution.

Yours truly,

Mayo Moran
Provost & Vice-Chancellor