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In 1956, concerned about the growing number of students at the downtown St. George campus, the University of Toronto proposed the creation of two suburban satellite campuses. In 1962, University of Toronto President Claude T. Bissell decreed that the new campuses, Erindale (now Mississauga) and Scarborough, would offer programs of the same admission standards, quality and degree level as the downtown campus, with the same tuition fees. The colleges would concentrate on offering general Arts and Science courses, to be expanded at a later date. The intention was for extension courses to be offered in Scarborough beginning in 1964, with on-site teaching to begin at the new campus itself in 1965.
In 1963 the University of Toronto purchased a 202-acre estate on Highland Creek for close to $650,000 from insurance broker E. L. McLean. The property was originally developed in 1911 by Toronto businessman Miller Lash, who built the 17-room mansion in the Highland Creek Valley that now serves as the Principal’s Residence. In 1964 construction began on the college buildings, designed by local architect John Andrew and located on the eastern ridge of the Highland Creek Valley. 16 faculty members were appointed this same year, and evening courses were taught under the Scarborough College name at Birchmount Park Collegiate beginning in October. The College’s first Principal, D. C. Williams, was also made a Vice- Principal of the University of Toronto.
Due to a construction strike, the first cohort of Scarborough College students were taught in temporary classrooms at the Old Biology Building on the St. George campus. Arthur FitzWalter Wynne (A.F.W.) Plumptre was named as the second Principal of the College and took up residence in Miller Lash House in 1965. The Scarborough College Athletics Association was formed, and in January of 1966 the S-Wing (Science) and H-Wing (Humanities) were opened to students. The official Opening Ceremonies took place in the fall, and the College’s first full year of operation began with 500 students. By 1967 enrollment had doubled to 1000, and the first student magazine, Marooned, was published.
The first graduating class of Scarborough College received their degrees in 1968, and the Scarborough College Alumni Association was consequently formed in 1969. The first literary magazine, Mimesis, was also published in 1969, along with the new student newspaper, Balcony Square, which replaced the short-lived Apocalypse. This strong literary tradition was upheld by the first edition of Scarborough Fair – An Anthology of Literature in 1974, and The Underground newspaper in 1982.
In 1970, the first F. B. Watts Memorial Lecture, named in honour of Scarborough College’s retired professor of economics, was given by former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, beginning a long-standing tradition of high quality guest lecturing at the College. Former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker also gave a Watts lecture, in 1977. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau visited campus to give lectures on two separate occasions while in office, in September 1971 and in 1979.
In 1972 Scarborough College became a separate arts and science division within the University of Toronto, allowing the college to take control over the development of its curriculum. The R- Wing (Recreation) also opened, providing students with a fine arts studio, gymnasium, and other sporting facilities. CSCR Radio began to broadcast from Scarborough College. The first student residences opened in 1973, following designs that had been approved in 1971, allowing for the accommodation of 250 students. The College also became the first in Ontario to implement a credit-based system for academics.
In 1974 Don Carr became the first winner of the Plumptre Award for outstanding contribution to the advancement of athletics and recreation at Scarborough College. The College became a frontrunner in interfaculty athletics, winning the T. A. Reed Trophy for overall success in interfaculty athletic competition in 1977 and the Marie Parkes Award for overall participation and athletic excellence in interfaculty competition in 1982, and was awarded a Government of Ontario Citation for continued outstanding support to the advancement of amateur sport in 1984.
In 1976 Joan Foley became the first female Principal of any University of Toronto college with her appointment at Scarborough. Construction of a dedicated library building was made a leading priority, and in 1978 the students of the College voted in favour of a $10 per student fee for ten years for the construction of the new library. Construction began in 1981 and the library was opened in 1982, named in memory of Economics Professor Emeritus Vincent W. Bladen.
In 1983, in order to emphasize its relationship with the University of Toronto, Scarborough College changed its name to Scarborough Campus, University of Toronto. The Student Village Centre opened its doors in 1985. Despite the growth of the campus, though, student unrest due to lack of funding culminated in a protest rally at Convocation Hall at St George campus in 1986. The following year, Scarborough Campus celebrated its rich arts history with a week-long event that showcased performing and visual arts called Encore: Festival of the Arts.
Scarborough Campus celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1989, hosting an Open House, Homecoming Weekend, and Alumni Reunion. The West Village opened in 1990, bringing the total number of students that could be accommodated in on-campus residences to 536. In 1992, for the first time, Scarborough Campus became the U of T campus with the greatest number of applicants. Bladen Library established its first World Wide Web site in 1994. The Scarborough Campus Women’s Centre also opened that year, and in 1995 Dr. Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first female astronaut in space, delivered the 25th anniversary Watts Lecture.
The campus took on its present name in 1996, when it became the University of Toronto at Scarborough, or UTSC. Initial plans for the Academic Resource Centre (ARC) were presented in 1998, and the building opened five years later with an inaugural lecture by CBC journalist Joe Schlesinger. Joan Foley Hall, the campus’s newest residence, also opened in 2003. In 2004 the Student Centre was opened, funded in part by a $20 million contribution made by the students of UTSC, the largest financial commitment in University of Toronto history. The Doris McCarthy Gallery and the Management Building were also unveiled as UTSC celebrated its 40th anniversary. The following year also saw the opening of the Arts and Administration Building.
In 2010 two new departments were created – the Department of Philosophy and the Department of English – by a unanimous vote of the Council, bringing the total number of departments to nine. UTSC was awarded $70 million for the construction of a new Instructional Centre in 2009, as well as $170 million for a new athletics center that will be a legacy venue for the 2015 Pan-Am Games.