50 Years New and we’ve never felt better! The energy at the College is almost palpable as we reach the summit of a half-century. With student registration at an all-time high and more alumni and friends getting involved than ever before, we felt it was important to step back and take a look at our humble beginnings.

New College has come a long way over the last five decades – and we’re only getting started. We hope this timeline will give you a sense not just of where we’ve been, but also where we’re going.


Browse the timeline by year:



Something missing? Send us your suggestions for this timeline.

The personal history of our alumni is important to us too. Share your memories with us here.

1960
Approval is given to U of T President Claude Bissell’s proposal for a new system of residential colleges at the University.
1962

President Bissell recommends the name “New King’s College” for the new College, which ultimately evolved into New College.

Frank Wetmore takes the helm as first Principal of New College, with Stuart Wilson as the first Registrar.

New College’s first students are welcomed into temporary accommodation in the handsome old house at 65 St. George Street – now known as the School of Graduate Studies.

1963

Donald Ivey is appointed as Principal of New College.

The first class (of 13) New College graduates receive their degree.

1964

The first permanent building of New College is completed, offering 285 bed residences for males. It was named Wetmore Hall in honour of our first Principal.

1965

New College’s library (version 1) opens in Wetmore Hall, eventually to be moved to Wilson Hall once construction on the new building was complete.

A 700 year old Stone Angel is donated to us by New College, Oxford and presented to us by Sir William Hayter. The Stone Angel can be seen at its permanent home in the Wetmore Lounge.

1969

New College’s second building, replete with a residence for 398 women, is completed and named Wilson Hall, after our first Registrar Stewart Wilson.

Audrey Taylor is appointed as first Dean of Women at Wilson Hall.

1971

The New College Writing Facility – later known as the Writing Centre – opens to all New College residents and students.

1973

New Faces, New College’s infamous drama group, is created.

1974

A Memorandum of Understanding is signed that makes fundamental changes in the role of the Colleges at the University, giving more autonomy in academic and organizational affairs.

Professor Andrew Baines is appointed as Principal of New College.

Launching a formal undergraduate Program, Women’s Studies comes to New College.

1975

The inaugural Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture is delivered by Carl Sagan. 37 years later his son, Dorion Sagan, would welcome keynote speaker Jaymie Matthews to the stage at the re-launch of the lecture series.

1976

Gerhard Herzberg delivers the annual Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture.

1977

Robert Sinsheimer delivers the annual Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture.

1978

The African studies program is established.

John Polanyi delivers the annual Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture.

1979

Robert Lockhart appointed as Principal of New College.

Richard Dawkins delivers the annual Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture.

1980

Ronald Melzack delivers the annual Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture.

The Women & Gender Studies Student Union (WGSSU) is formed.

1981

Specialist degrees in Women’s Studies are offered.

Steven Jay Gould delivers the annual Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture.

1982

Freeman Dyson delivers the annual Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture.

1983

Biomedical Science Program is launched. The program would be renamed to ‘Human Biology’ in 1985 and eventually gain independent status under the Directorship of Professor Berry Smith, who moved the program to its new quarters in Wetmore Hall.

Ruth Hubbard delivers the annual Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture.

1984

Helen Caldicott delivers the annual Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture.

1985

Professor Edward Chamberlin appointed as Principal of New College.

Nils Nilsson delivers the annual Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture.

1986

Willard Gaylin delivers the annual Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture.

1987

The office of Alumni and Community Development was created by Principal Edward Chamberlin.

New College is put up for sale – sort of. Alumni and friends are able to ‘purchase’ a piece of New College – desks, doors, couches, rooms – which were then recognized with a dedicated name plate. To this day, some rather witty gems lay tucked in around the College.

The University partners with IBM to create the Centre for Computing in the Humanities (CCH). Under the auspices of founding Director Ian Lancashire, the CCH was initially housed at New College in the lower level of Wetmore Hall.

Audrey Taylor, Dean of Women since the opening of Wilson Hall, retires. Ann Yeoman is appointed as the new Dean.

Sander Gilman delivers the annual Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture

1988

Robert Garrison delivers the annual Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture.

1989

The New College Student Council moves into more spacious quarters in Room 136, Wetmore Hall.

1990

Guy Hamel appointed as interim Principal of New College.

Robert T. Watson delivers the annual Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture.

1991

Frederick Case appointed as Principal of New College.

The Mentorship Program at New College is launched, providing opportunities for alumni to offer valuable assistance to students, with only a small investment of time.

1992

The process to make the residence buildings co-ed begins. Wetmore and Wilson Hall Residence Councils are amalgamated into one New College Residence Council.

Olympic athlete, World Games silver medalist – and New College student – Michael Smith receives the first New College Leadership Award for his contribution to the life and spirit of the College.

Charles Kuen Kao delivers the last Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture given before the re-launch of the series in 2012 as part of the College’s 50th Anniversary celebrations.

1994

A graduate collaborative program in Women’s Studies is launched, with Kay Armatage as Director.

1995

The Caribbean Studies program is launched as a 3-course minor under the auspices of Professor Arnold Itwaru and colleagues. The program would eventually grow to offer a Major and Specialist degree.

1996

David Clandfield appointed as Principal of New College.

New College assumes full budgetary responsibility for the residence and food ancillaries. The operation of the residences is then consolidated under a single Dean of Students (Ann Yeoman).

1998

The Equity Studies program is launched, with renowned feminist & anti-racist activist Rosemary Brown as the keynote speaker. The program is the first of its kind in Canada, offering a major comprised of courses from over 25 different departments across the University.

1999

The New College Residence Office, which would later be renamed the Office of Residence and Student Life, opens its doors.

The Institute of Women and Gender Studies is established, thanks largely to the success of the Graduate Collaborative Program in Women’s Studies (GCWS) which was created in 1994.

2000

Michael Dixon is named the first Vice Principal of New College.

2003

New College opens the doors to its 3rd building- a 280-bed residence with Professor’s offices and the William Doo Auditorium. Located at 45 Willcocks Street, the building is affectionately known as ‘New College III’ and ’45 Willcocks.’

2005

The Disability Studies stream is added to the Equity Studies program.

The Women and Gender Studies Institute is created, with authority to create tenure-track academic appointments.

2006

Rick Halpern appointed as Principal of New College.

University Professor Edward Chamberlin (New College Principal, 1985 – 1990) is awarded the prestigious Ludwik and Estelle Jus Memorial Human Rights Prize.

2007

Dr. June Larkin becomes the 2nd Vice-Principal of New College.
An M.A. program with a focus on transnational feminist studies is created at the Women and Gender Studies Institute.

2008

Professor David Clandfield (New College Principal, 1996-2006) is awarded the prestigious Ludwik and Estelle Jus Memorial Human Rights Prize.

The “Equity and Global Food Systems” initiative was launched through the Equity Studies Program, in partnership with Hart House and the Toronto Public Health.

The English Language Learning (ELL) program is initiated at New College as a pilot project to support students for whom English is not a first language. Its success would quickly earn it a permanent home at the Faculty of Arts and Science in 2010/11

The first phase of student-funded renovations begin with the addition of study spaces in Wilson Lounge and the creation of office spaces for student clubs and groups in the lower level of Wilson Hall.

The mandate of the Residence Office is expanded to more actively engage the commuter student community, creating what is now known as the Office of Residence and Student Life.

New College and the Faculty of Applied Science partner to create a unique living opportunity for a small number of University of Toronto Engineering students by creating New College’s first Engineering Living Learning Community

2009

Shahrzad Mojab is appointed as interim Principal of New College.

The International Foundation program is launched.

2010

Yves Roberge is appointed as Principal of New College.

The new Student Centre opens in the renovated basement of Wilson Hall, adding a commuter lounge and student group office spaces.

The New College Leadership Certificate Program is launched through the Office of Student Life and Leadership.

The first Arts & Science Living Learning Community is established for Life Science students in Wilson Hall. A parallel Academic Athletes Living Learning Community, open to students from all faculties, is created in Wetmore Hall for students with a strong commitment to, or interest in, physical health and wellness, healthy living, sports or exercise.

2011

The Jacob Bronowski Lecture Series is re-launched by Professor Jaymie Matthews.

Generously funded by the students of New College, renovations are completed on the Student Centre in Wilson, the Student Council offices, Wilson lounge, Wetmore lounge, the computer lab and study rooms in the D.G. Ivey Library, and the atrium in the New College III building.

2012

Wetmore Hall Residence becomes 100% co-ed, as demand for the last all-male floors plummets.