Dr. Thomas H.B. Symons

It is my distinct privilege and pleasure to convey greetings to you, the graduating class of Trent University.  This is a unique and unprecedented time in the history of Trent and, indeed, of the world.  Although we cannot be together for Convocation this year, I hope that you will take heart in knowing that you are still very much a part of a special tradition that will see you join with a passionate and connected group of individuals – Trent alumni.  Ranging from the 103 students who enrolled in Trent’s first year – to the 55,000 graduates who now circle Canada and the Globe, you are what Trent is all about.  You are the University’s crowning achievement.


Trent was founded in part as a reaction and a response to widespread and growing concern at the time about the consequences of the large and rapid growth of the existing universities, which resulted in a loss of community and communication.  It did not set out to be big or to grow fast.  It has certainly respected, and attained, the highest standards of scholarship and research, – and a very substantial volume of publication.  But it did not want to do this at the cost of good teaching and of providing a collegial setting and experience in which students could learn from and with one another, and have the opportunities to come to know and to work with the faculty.  Indeed, the educational function of this collegiate approach can extend far beyond physical spaces, fostering and assisting the quest for knowledge as it facilitates and inspires discussion, communication, the exchange of information and ideas, and helps to build personal relationships that bridge disciplines and fields of study throughout the university community.


Reflecting on the University’s opening ceremonies, nearly 56 years ago, I believe now more than ever that the “character of this University is related to even deeper considerations than its striking physical factors of site and location – important though these are. It is the product primarily of the people who serve it and who are a part of it:” of the founders and supporters, the faculty and staff, the students, and the alumni.  Although we are physically apart, we are still very much together as a community that embodies the very essence of Trent. I am confident that Trent University has the character and spirit, and the intellectual strength, to meet whatever challenges lie ahead.  As do you, its newest members of the alumni community. 


As you move into this next chapter of your life, I hope that Trent’s motto, “Nunc cognosco ex parte”, (“Now I know in part”), will remain with you, reminding you to greet the world and its challenges with intellectual curiosity, a sense of opportunity and, perhaps most importantly, an open heart and mind.  I hope that you, as I have, will find strength and commitment from the pleasure and inspiration that lies in the continued pursuit of knowledge – this mission upon which we are all engaged.


In closing, may I record my appreciation, pride and affection for you, the graduating students of Trent University. Your accomplishments and future contributions honour the legacy of Trent, and make it all worthwhile.  


Thank you.


Thomas H.B. Symons, C.C., O.Ont, FRSC, LL.D., D.Litt., D.U., D.Cn.L.,  F.R.G.S., KSS., Founding President and Vanier Professor Emeritus, Trent University, Honorary President, Trent University Alumni Association

Jess Grover ‘02

On behalf of the Trent University Alumni Association, I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the 2020 grads! Trent alumni often tell stories of their graduations as the unique experiences they were, but truly none of us have a story that will match yours. You are graduating in an uncertain and unprecedented time, but I can say with absolute certainty that the Trent Alumni family is so proud of you and will always be here for you. We all carry the spirit of Trent with us, wherever we are in the world.

Welcome to the family!

Jess Grover ‘02

President, Trent University Alumni Association

Class of '67

Pandemic 2020 has scuttled plans for your in-person convocation ceremony, but not, we hope, your pride in completing your degrees. Congratulations!


It is important to respond as we each can to the short-term disruption, anxiety, and even tragedy caused by the current pandemic. At the same time, we urge you to keep your minds on the “long game”   -    the contributions you will each make over the coming decades through your chosen fields and in your personal lives. Regardless your program, your Trent experience has  -   among many other things   -   expanded and quickened your critical thinking, helped you to develop a broader view of the world, and provided a greater sense of the intellectual and emotional growth and resilience that comes from the free and respectful exchange of ideas and perspectives. What you have gained from your Trent experience is essential to addressing the momentous issues facing humanity and the planet we share.


To the Graduates of 2020 from the Class of 1967, good luck and best wishes. And thank you for all that you will do!



June 8, 2020

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their graduation from Trent University

A Message from The Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau 

Credit: Adam Scotti

A Message from The Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities

The Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities