Upcoming Retirement Reception honours our Retirees

May 3, 2016

On May 11, 2016 the University of Toronto will recognize staff and faculty members who are retiring as of June 30, 2016.

Several individuals will be honoured at the event at Hart House co-hosted by U of T Chancellor, Michael H. Wilson and Professor Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity.

To mark the occasion, we asked a few of these individuals to take a moment and reflect on their career and their plans for the future:


John Astington

Photo of Dr. John AstingtonDr. John Astington is a Professor of English and Drama. In his Jackman Humanities Building office, he told us about his career and plans for the future.

Tell us about your career path at U of T.

I started my career at the University of Toronto as a PhD. student in the Drama Centre during its second year. In the fourth year of my program, I was asked to teach the first undergraduate drama course at Erindale College. Over my 30 years at the Mississauga campus, I had a graduate appointment in both English and Drama, taught undergraduate courses, and was the editor of the Journal of Modern Drama. In 2001, I was asked to be the Director of the Drama Centre at the St. George campus before becoming appointed full-time to the Drama Department.

What positive changes have you been a part of or seen at U of T?

The University of Toronto has an impressive strength in theatre. There are many theatre spaces on the three campuses of the university now. When I arrived, Hart House Theatre was particularly important because it was one of the major theatres in Toronto. The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star used to review Hart House shows, and I acted in some them as a graduate student!

What are some of your favourite U of T memories?

I’ve really enjoyed working with my talented and amusing colleagues. I’m also in touch with a lot of my former students. A few years ago, an older member of staff who had cancer died. I had known her as a tower of power. The graduate students named the Luella Massey Studio Theatre in her memory. I’m touched that the University of Toronto named this building after a valuable staff member.

What will you miss the most about working at U of T?

I will miss the contact that I have with students in my classes, but I will also be visiting often. I have a SSHRC Grant and intend to continue research for the next few years at least. In addition, I will continue to swim at the Athletic Centre. The campus and its facilities are part of my life.

What are you looking forward to during your retirement?

I’m looking forward to doing work at my own pace, and to rereading books I first read many years ago, as well as reading new ones. My wife has been retired for a few years, and we’re looking forward to spending more time together, travelling, at our cottage, films, theatre, music. I’m not going to be at a loose end.


Wing Ng

Photo of Wing NgWing Ng is the Faculty Controller for OISE. He has worked at the University of Toronto for over twenty-seven years and witnessed a number of positive changes in that time.

Tell us about your career path at U of T.

I started my career at the University of Toronto twenty-seven years ago. I held two accounting positions in the Office of the Comptroller before working as a supervisor in the School of Continuing Studies. My career has spanned five presidents and I’ve had the privilege of serving under several deans, acting and interim deans.

What positive changes have you been a part of or seen at U of T?

When I started, the in-house accounting system called UNIFACTS was used. In that system, you could see monthly transactions for the current month only and subsequently as only a monthly balance. Historical transactions were microfiche. Invoices were on rolls of microfilms. It was a welcome change when the new accounting system called SAP was introduced!

What are some of your favourite U of T memories?

Two memories stick out in my mind. My favourite memory would be the switchover from UNIFACTS to SAP in 1995. When the new system was introduced, I was responsible for meticulously transferring income statement account balances. In addition, when the GST came into effect, I became the unofficial expert in the Office of the Comptroller.

What will you miss the most about working at U of T?

I will miss the relationships that I’ve developed with the very dedicated, knowledgeable, and nice people the over the years. A special privilege was having the opportunity to work directly with the late former President George Connell to create a report that was submitted to both the University of Toronto and the Ontario Government.

What are you looking forward to during your retirement?

I’m looking forward to retirement! My plan is to catch up on some travelling for a few months before tackling on my long list of projects. I will also be able to devote time to my hobbies and interests, particularly bird watching. I anticipate beginning with a trip to Point Pelee to admire the wildlife. As well as learning different languages, I also want to do some volunteering.


Wayne Shaw

Photo of Wayne ShawWayne Shaw was the University of Toronto’s Caretaking Manager. He took out time from his retirement that started this January to share his stories.

Tell us about your career path at U of T.

So far, my working life has spanned over 60 years. It began at 12 years old when my father, who was the Toronto Manager of what was then the largest cleaning company in Canada, suggested that I might earn some extra money by servicing two of his bank buildings on the way home from school.

Since becoming the University of Toronto’s Caretaking Manager, I have had the pleasure of utilizing my decades of practical experience to operate the department in ways which would minimize the impact of tightening budgetary constraints and optimize our contribution to sustainability.

What positive changes have you been a part of or seen at U of T?

There are four sustainability initiatives that I’m proud of introducing. The first is a single ‘green’ cleaning product that’s mixed with water in varying concentrations to clean most surfaces. The second is a process known as ‘retro-plating’. That involves highly polishing and sealing terrazzo and cement floors. In both cases, harsh chemicals were no longer needed. The third is purchasing robots to clean corridors in high traffic buildings, including Sidney Smith and MSB! And the fourth was aiding in the development of design standards for renovations and new construction.

What are some of your favourite U of T memories?

In 2015, I was honoured to receive the ‘Outstanding Individual Employee Award’ from Scott Mabury on behalf of the University Operations Division.

What will you miss most about working at U of T?

I will miss working with the Facilities & Services team. They have been the most supportive, including Ron Swail, the chief, Mark Simpson, and my departmental staff. I fondly remember Freda, the guru of department communications and lost and found, my Area Managers, Ivo, Fatima, and Ron, the dedicated supervisors, and the fabulous support of our caretaking service workers.

What are you looking forward to during your retirement?

I’m looking forward to travelling in my retirement. My wife Carol and I enjoy travelling in Europe. Over five weeks last year, we drove through eleven countries with another couple. The year before that, we travelled to Ireland and stayed in twelve castles. In May, you’ll find us in Greece and Turkey! While at home I will play at restoring old autos / motorcycles, and building / restoring homes for those interested in Victorian replicas.


Graham Kemp

Graham Kemp will be retiring as the Director of Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration. Before embarking on retirement in a few weeks, Graham reflected upon his 18 years at the university.

Tell us about your career path at U of T.

Prior to working at the university I had been the Director of Information Technology for the then City of Scarborough. Soon after the five municipalities which made up Metropolitan Toronto were amalgamated into the new City of Toronto, I left the city to take up the position of Director of Administrative Management Systems at the university and the responsibility for the SAP implementation. When the administrative and student systems were combined, I became the Director of Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration.

What positive changes have you been a part of or seen at U of T?

Aside from my department growing, I have witnessed a greater awareness of information technology and what it can do across the university. The Employee Self Service resulted from this awareness, and we are using it as a model for other applications. I am particularly proud of the work EASI staff have done in partnership with Research Services in automating many of their process with RAISE. I believe there has been much more collaboration between Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration and other parts of the university not the least of which are the collection of new student services called ACORN which serves as an example of collaboration  between the EASI team and our students.

What are some of your favourite U of T memories?

Because of my position, I’ve been fortunate to work with every aspect of the university and to meet many people, both academics and administrators, who make the university great. The relationships that were fostered were crucial for successful information technology implementations and feedback. It’s also been a privilege to travel and represent the University of Toronto at other universities around the world in Australia, Singapore, South Africa, and Belgium for example.

What will you miss the most about working at U of T?

There have been a lot challenges and it has been wonderful to have the support of people you to whom you report. I will also miss working with my colleagues and with the Enterprise Applications and Solutions Management team, there’s a diverse skill-set and many people with great ideas. There’s also the great work ethic and many of the staff go “above and beyond” in accomplishing their tasks.

What are you looking forward to during your retirement?

I’m going to enjoy retirement! Right now, I’m building a woodworking workshop in my home in Bath, Ontario. I’m hoping to work on array of projects. In the past, these projects have included furniture, clocks, and boats. I’m also going to spend more time on photography. I may even volunteer for Habitat for Humanity in Kingston, Ontario.


Bonnie Horne

Photo of Bonnie HorneThis June, Bonnie Horne will be retiring as a Librarian from the Gerstein Science Information Centre. She had fond memories and exciting stories to share from her 40 years working at the University.

Tell us about your career path at U of T.

After receiving my graduate degree in library science from U of T, I was fortune to get a job as a librarian in the Sigmund Samuel Library on King’s College Circle. With the phasing out of “SIG SAM”, twenty-two years later, I became part of the Gerstein Science Information Centre. I am grateful to have worked as a librarian on many special projects such as the building of and addition to the Library’s off-site storage facility, the addition of the Morrison Pavilion and the renovations in Robarts Library. Years earlier, I spent 10 years of active involvement in the Faculty Association.  This culminated in my being the first woman and librarian to be Vice-President, Salaries, Benefits, and Pensions and then President of the University of Toronto Faculty Association.

What positive changes have you been a part of or seen at U of T?

When I started as a librarian we had card catalogues and manual sign-out procedures.  I could recognize a doctoral candidate because he or she would be carrying a shoebox filled with index cards that held their references. As time went on, technological changes happened quickly, starting with automated check-out, catalogues, databases and the World Wide Web. Early on, courses on the internet used to fill the lecture halls. Within five years, they were no longer needed because students had learned about the internet in school. Students today are digital natives.

What are some of your favourite U of T memories?

One memory that stands out happened with the renovation of the Gerstein Reading Room. Built in the 1890s, the roof had a large skylight. Over time, it had become damaged, the ceiling had leaks and a false ceiling was put in to protect the room below. 100 years after its construction, the University replaced the roof in the style of the original building. It was absolutely breathtaking when the false ceiling was removed, and the hidden wood carvings were exposed!

Another great memory happened in the Gerstein Reading Room when I had the opportunity to present Professor Gotlieb with a copy of the photograph, taken in the 1950s and recently hung in the room, depicting his historic contribution to Computer Science.

On a personal note, I met the person, a fellow librarian who became my husband, at work!

What are you looking forward to during your retirement?

I’m looking forward to spending more time with my many wonderful friends and pursuing my interests: quilting, knitting, and reading. There’s a stack of literally 80 books on my bedside table right now and many more arrayed throughout the condo. I’m a fan of Charles Darwin and hope to get around to reading all of his books during my retirement. I have them, it’s just a question of time.


Deborah Simon-Edwards

Photo of Deborah Simon-EdwardsAfter 19 years, Deborah will be retiring as the Executive Director of Finance and Administration in the Division of University Advancement. On a warm spring-like day in February, she took some time to reflect on her career at U of T.

Tell us about your career path at U of T.

I came to work at U of T through several referrals at SickKids. At first, I was a Senior Manager in the Division of University Advancement. Along the way, I worked in numerous positions and areas across the university, including for the Chief Financial Officer. There, I forged relationships with the executive leadership, learned about governance, and became acquainted with the university’s resources. This experience supported me in my current position as the Executive Director of Finance and Administration in the Division of University Advancement.

What positive changes have you been a part of or seen at U of T?

Over the past two decades, I have witnessed the university become more diverse. Today, U of T has an obvious international complexion. I have also seen my colleagues grow from entry to management positions. The Organizational Development & Learning Centre (ODLC) gives employees valuable tools to advance their careers. I have also tried to influence careers of others by being a mentor in the Mentoring Partnership Program administered by the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council. I love giving of myself and my experiences as an immigrant in Canada. I’m evidence of the possibilities that exist.

What are some of your favourite U of T memories?

One of my favourite memories is being at the President’s House to receive the ‘Stepping Up’ Award for the annual Black History Month celebrations. This recognition showed that we were valued for bringing people together and educating people about African and Afrocentric culture. I continue to co-chair the committee that organizes the Black History Month luncheon. The luncheon features delicious food, entertaining music, and a guest speaker. This year’s luncheon is historic because it’s the first time that the President will attend the event.

What are you looking forward to during your retirement?

I’m giving myself six months to rest and rejuvenate. It will be nice to skip the commute from Waterdown in the mornings. Eventually, I will spend time with family and travel. I have siblings in other provinces, the United States, England, and Trinidad and Tobago. I might tutor kids through the Children’s Aid Society. I will try not to cook too much so I don’t have to eat it!