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Ryerson at 60 History of Ryerson


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A list of firsts

By Grace Cherian

Founder and first Principal:
Howard H. Kerr

First President:
Frederick Jorgenson

First graduating class:
111 students graduated in 1950 from Technological Diploma and Certificate programs

First Student Union President:
Tom Gilchrist, 1948-49

First issue of The Ryersonian:
Dec. 10, 1948

First degree recipients:
Nine students graduated in 1972 with a bachelor's degree

First honorary degree:
Awarded to Ontario Premier William Davis in 1972 to recognize his many years of public service to education

First MA recipients:
Eight students received a Master of Spatial Analysis in 2001

First PhDs:
In 2008, awarded to Yifeng He in Electrical Engineering, and Felix Odartey-Wellington and Kate Cornell, both in Communication and Culture

First honorary doctorate:
In 1996 to The Right Honourable Romeo LeBlanc, Canada's Governor General

First recipients of the Ryerson Gold Medal:
Joan Bothwell, Fashion ’51 and James Deacon, Mechanical Industrial Technology ’51

First time a husband and wife received honorary doctorates together:
Ruth and Terry Grier in 2000
Second time:
Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel in 2001

First speaker at the School of Journalism Atkinson Lecture series:
Ross Munro, one of Canada's most fabled and respected war correspondents. He travelled with the Canadian Army during the Second World War.