President Mohamed Lachemi reflects on his first two years in office
April 4th marks the second anniversary of my appointment as the President and Vice-Chancellor of Ryerson University. I wanted to take this opportunity to write to students, faculty, staff and alumni to highlight what we have accomplished together over the past two years and to encourage all of us to look towards the future.
The past two years have been an incredibly productive and rewarding time for our university as we’ve worked together to focus on:
- Achieving excellence;
- Creating exceptional student experiences;
- An intentional, institutional commitment to EDI; and
- Continuing Ryerson’s momentum as an innovation comprehensive university
Many of our programs have been acknowledged for their excellent quality. Most recently:
- Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the Ted Rogers MBA as a top 25 international MBA program and among the top five in Canada;
- The School of Interior Design (RSID) was ranked by Azure magazine as one of the top eight programs in the world;
- The Hollywood Reporter named The RTA School of Media one of the top film and media schools in the world;
- Immigration and Settlement Studies has been selected to nominate a prestigious Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) to bring a world-renowned researcher to Canada to lead an internationally recognized research program; and
- In March, the DMZ was ranked the number one university-based incubator in the world.
Exceptional Student Experiences
I am also incredibly pleased and proud of Ryerson students. The special mission of Ryerson University is the advancement of SRC (scholarly, research and creative activities) to address societal need. Our students have been carrying out our mission in extraordinary ways, to name just a few:
- Growing North is working to grow healthy produce in remote northern communities
- The award winning Hyperloop team is developing components for futuristic travel; and
- An alumna of the engineering PhD program is developing a method to 3D-print material that mimics bone with the potential to revolutionize bone graft surgeries
- We also need to commend our athletics department and the success of our tremendous student athletes over the past two seasons:
- Women’s volleyball team capped off an amazing undefeated season, claiming Ryerson’s first-ever national championship;
- The men's basketball team won the OUA championship and silver at the nationals in 2017; this season they won silver at the OUA and silver in the national championships
Committed to equity, community and inclusion
Across the university, our students come from more than 100 countries and a significant number are from first-generation Canadian families. Our remarkably diverse student body – mirrored by our faculty and staff – is the result of our intentional and ongoing engagement of equity, diversity and inclusion within every facet of university life.
This past January, in a moving community celebration, Ryerson celebrated the university-wide consultation and summary report on the Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The report, Truth and Reconciliation at Ryerson: Building a Foundation for Generations to Come, highlights the challenges our university faces, identifies opportunities for change, and includes next steps and recommendations to create Ryerson’s own pathway to reconciliation.
As evidenced by our recent accomplishments, I strongly believe the role of an urban institution is to move forward for the benefit of the surrounding community.
There are a number of major milestones ahead for Ryerson that we can all look forward to celebrating together, including:
- A potential Ryerson campus in Brampton, which will be transformative for that city’s downtown core;
- Opening HOEM, the first new Ryerson residence in 25 years;
- Bringing a law school to Ryerson, with an emphasis on access to justice, social innovation, and equity and inclusion;
- Celebrating Ryerson’s double anniversary – our 70th year as an institution and our 25th anniversary as a university – later this spring and summer;
- Opening the Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex, which will bring an additional 330,000 square feet of space to our campus; and
- Opening the Centre for Urban Innovation, a research, incubation and commercialization hub focused on finding solutions to urban infrastructure issues.
All of this comes at a time when our university is building our reputation beyond Toronto with the aim of becoming a truly global institution. This is the whole picture – Ryerson University is much more than just a school, it is a community that is innovative and entrepreneurial, a culture that is welcoming and inclusive, and an approach to teaching, learning and working that is incredibly creative.
As our classes come to a close, and as we all look forward to the milestones ahead, I want to wish all of our students the best of luck on their final exams, extend a hearty congratulations to everyone who is convocating this June, and thank all of our faculty and staff who help to make Ryerson an outstanding place to work, study, research and learn.