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A vision for the future at Student Learning Centre renaming ceremony

Ryerson’s face on Yonge Street is now the Sheldon & Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre
By: Will Sloan
December 04, 2018
Former Ryerson president Sheldon Levy, right, and his wife Tracy standing in front of the SLC

Former Ryerson president Sheldon Levy and wife Tracy unveiled the SLC’s new name at the November 27 event. Photo by Gary Beechey.

On November 27, at a renaming ceremony for Ryerson University's Student Learning Centre (SLC), the Ryerson community reflected on a decade of enormous growth, while looking ahead to the future. As the SLC was officially renamed the Sheldon & Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre, Ryerson also announced a new Master Plan and an exciting new partnership with Cresford.

The renaming of the SLC acknowledges the tremendous contributions of Ryerson’s eighth president, Sheldon Levy. It was made possible thanks to a generous gift from Board of Governors member Jack Cockwell and the Brookfield Partners Foundation.

The award-winning SLC has transformed the corner of Yonge and Gould, and created a Ryerson presence on Yonge Street. The eight-storey building has provided a world-class learning experience for students, with extensive space to collaborate and study. It is home to vital stakeholders like DMZ Sandbox, the Isaac Olowolafe Jr. Digital Media Experience Lab at the Library, the master of digital media program, the School of Performance, and Student Learning Support.

As Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi noted, the SLC is a symbol of Ryerson’s growing ambitions. He spoke about Ryerson’s future, including a new Master Plan, which will be unveiled next year. “The Master Plan reflects Ryerson’s commitment to city-building into the next decade and beyond,” said Lachemi. “With a creative and strategic approach, the plan will be aimed at addressing our space challenges. Guided by our core values, it will set the stage for how we create accessible, vibrant, and sustainable spaces that inspire our community and our city.”

Since the implementation of Ryerson’s first Master Plan in 2008, Ryerson has opened five new buildings (including the Mattamy Athletic Centre and the Ryerson Image Centre).

Sheldon Levy, who served as Ryerson’s president from 2005 to 2015 was met with a standing ovation at the event. He reflected on the SLC’s legacy and the initial challenges in getting such a detailed and innovative building approved. “I had a call from [Ryerson Board of Governors member] Harry Rosen,” recalled Levy. “Harry said to me, ‘We just really want to know, why are you doing this?’ And I said to Harry, ‘Because I never want anybody to ever ask “Where is Ryerson?” again.’” And Harry said, ‘Well, that’s a good reason.’”

City councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto-Rosedale) also spoke at the event, pointing to the SLC as a turning-point in Ryerson’s relationship with the city.

“This was probably the one initiative or project that opened the doors—not just halfway wide, but fully wide—with the city. The City of Toronto is incredibly proud to be a partner with Ryerson, and I’ve always said: when Ryerson is successful, the city is successful. The downtown is successful. Our futures are intertwined—they cannot be uncoupled at this point—and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

One such exciting new downtown development will come at the southeast corner of Yonge and Gerrard. Dan Casey, president and CEO of Creson Corporation and leading the Cresford development, announced their plans to donate an entire floor of their new, large-scale Yonge Street Living project to the university, providing Ryerson with over 20,000 square feet of new space. “We look forward to achieving our goal, and by doing so, fulfilling our commitment for Ryerson and for the community,” said Casey.

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