The New College community with fondness remembers Dr. Donald G. Ivey, the college’s second principal and a former vice-president of the University of Toronto, who, after a long, active, and fulfilling life, passed away on Monday, June 25, 2018, at the age of 96.
A consummate teacher, avid tennis player, and witty storyteller, Don Ivey was a professor of physics from 1949 to 1992 and served as New College’s second principal for 11 years (1963–1974), taking the reins after Frank Wetmore’s untimely death just four months after the creation of New College. Under Don Ivey’s leadership, the college moved from its temporary residence home at 65 St. George Street to two permanent buildings of its own (Wetmore and Wilson Halls), increased its enrolment almost tenfold and grew into its own as an academic and socially engaged community.
While students, faculty and staff at the University of Toronto today most often associate his name with the New College library, he liked to joke that he was named after it, rather than the other way around, and that he believed his successors most appreciated about him his insistence that the Principal’s Office have a private washroom.
Believing the role of the teacher to be “the most important job there is,” Don Ivey left his mark beyond the classroom as well, most popularly, perhaps, as the original host of the televised general-science show The Nature of Things, which is now guided by David Suzuki. So impressed was one young high school student with the physics professor on TV, in fact, that many years later, in 2017, he successfully nominated an asteroid — 22415 HumeIvey — to be named in honour of Dr. Ivey and his longtime colleague, the late Dr. J. N. Patterson Hume.
While Don Ivey’s enthusiastic pursuit and sharing of scientific knowledge, as well as his lust for life, will be greatly missed in the world, we are proud to celebrate and carry on his legacy at New College. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this time of loss.
To honour its longtime teacher and senior administrator, the University of Toronto will be flying the university flag at half-mast on all three campuses for the entirety of Thursday, July 5.
If you would like to make a donation in Don Ivey’s name, the Donald G. Ivey Scholarship in Physics, administered at New College, is open for online contributions. You can also contact Alison Liddell for further information.