Toronto, Ontario...A new lecture series that will offer students, faculty, staff and alumni at Victoria University and the broader University of Toronto community unique perspectives from public figures with stature in the fields of law, economics, diplomacy, social justice or advocacy will be launched next year, thanks to a gift from Stephen Coxford Vic 7T4. The $350,000 gift by the Victoria College alumnus is a significant contribution toward the University’s campaign, Defy Gravity: The Campaign for Victoria University. Mr. Coxford serves as a volunteer member of the campaign cabinet.
To be presented on an annual basis, The Coxford Lecture at Victoria College will address one of the great public policy issues of the day. It will take place as one of the plenary lectures offered as part of the University’s award-winning first-year program, Vic One.
“Stephen Coxford’s gift is both inspiring and deeply meaningful. As an alumnus, he understands so well the student experience at Victoria College and has remained connected to us throughout his distinguished career. His desire to offer the University community access to the most creative and intellectually compelling leaders in their fields will undoubtedly impact how students and the wider U of T community consider their own roles in shaping the world,” said Dr. Rhonda N. McEwen, president and vice-chancellor, Victoria University in the University of Toronto.
Mr. Coxford offered his congratulations to the faculty, current students and alumni who gathered for Vic One’s 20th anniversary event on April 13, 2023 in the Isabel Bader Theatre. “It is a pleasure to be able to support an annual lecture at Victoria College. It is my hope that the speaker each year inspires members of the University community and contributes to the intellectual and academic mission of the College. I offer my sincere congratulations to all those involved with the Vic One program and to its alumni for sharing their intellectual curiosity and for inspiring us all with their many achievements,” said Mr. Coxford.
The anniversary event featured special guest speakers including Bob Rae, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations, who is a recent recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Victoria University; former NATO Ambassador Professor David Wright; and a panel led by President Emeritus Paul Gooch. Chancellor Emerita and Honorary Chair of the campaign cabinet Wendy Cecil announced Mr. Coxford’s gift, which received rousing applause from the audience.
Mr. Coxford graduated from Victoria College in 1974 and Western University’s law school in 1977 and also holds a graduate law degree from Cambridge University. He is President of Gresham & St. Andrew Inc., a Toronto-based investment company. Mr. Coxford formerly served as Managing Director of Classic Communications Ltd, a cable communications company serving southern York region, and was also a partner at Smith Lyons, a law firm now merged into Gowlings WLG, where he specialized in corporate and securities law. Mr. Coxford has served on the board of directors and as Vice-Chair of the Ontario Educational Communications Authority (TV Ontario, an Ontario Crown corporation). He served on the Board of Western University from 2005 to 2013 and as its Chair in 2012-2013.
About the Vic One Program at Victoria College
Launched in 2003, the Vic One program was created by then Victoria University President Paul Gooch and former Victoria College Principal Professor David Cook as a way to launch the academic journeys of exceptional students in a more community-based approach to learning. The program provides students with robust opportunities to broaden their range of thinking beyond what they are learning within their curricular academic focus. It has since been replicated across the University of Toronto’s three campuses. Eighty-three per cent of Victoria College graduates who have gone through the Vic One program graduate with high distinction, compared to 74 per cent of the broader Victoria College students.
Students accepted into the Vic One program spend their first year at Victoria College in small, intimate-style classrooms focused on one of eight streams and are taught by prominent academics and public figures throughout the year. Vic One’s weekly plenary series features high-profile speakers who in the past have included Margaret Atwood, Jean Chrétien, Colm Feore, Ursula Franklin, John Polanyi and Kenneth Taylor.
About Victoria University in the University of Toronto
Victoria University, federated with the University of Toronto, was founded in 1836 and is one of the oldest universities in Canada. As a recognized leader in undergraduate education in the arts and sciences and in graduate education in theology, Victoria University creates an environment where students discover how to match their distinctive talents to some of the world's most pressing issues. It is home to two outstanding colleges. Victoria College—with its small class sizes, its distinctive first-year programs and its exceptional students—is recognized as one of the most rewarding places in Canada to pursue an undergraduate education. Emmanuel College prepares students from many faiths and backgrounds for leadership roles in religious contexts. The iconic campus is located on the east side of Queen’s Park, south of Bloor Street, in Toronto.