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Below is a list of our plenary speakers for the upcoming academic year. Plenary lectures take place on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. We will continue to add new speakers as details become available so please visit this page frequently to learn about our exciting lineup for the 2023-2024 year!

Sep. 13, 2023 | Vic One Welcome Session

Vic One Welcome Session

Date: Sep. 13, 2023

Join us for the Vic One Welcome Session! This event will include a few announcements about Vic One, followed by a meet and greet with your fellow Vic One students and stream mentors! This is a mandatory session, so please email if you cannot attend.

Sep. 20, 2023 | Shaun Ross

Education and Uncertainty: Some Lessons from Poetry

Date: Sep. 20, 2023
Speaker: Shaun Ross

Shaun Ross teaches in the Renaissance Studies Program and the Literature and Critical Theory Program at Victoria College. He also serves as Undergraduate Research Coordinator, promoting undergraduate research across the disclpines at Vic. His research focuses on Renaissance poetry, the cultural history of religion and theology, the reception of Greek and Roman literature, and hermeneutics. Hist first book, The Eucharist, Poetics, and Secularization from the Middle Ages to Milton was published by Oxford University Press is 2023. Other academic work has appeared in journals including English Literary Renaissance, The George Herbert Journal, and Religions. He has a wide range of teaching interests, and has taught classes on Renaissance history, print culture, ecocriticism, popular media, phenomenology and the novel.

Sep. 27, 2023 | J. Edward Chamberlin

Storylines: How Words Shape Our World

Date: Sep. 27, 2023
Speaker: J. Edward Chamberlin

Edward Chamberlin is professor emeritus at the University of Toronto and was senior research associate with the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. He has worked on sovereignty and land claims throughout Canada and around the world and has spoken widely on literary, historical and cultural issues. He is the author of several acclaimed titles, including Horse: How the Horse Has Shaped Civilizations (2006), which was a national bestseller, and If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories? Finding Common Ground (2003), both published by Knopf Canada. He and Jamaican poet Lorna Goodison were the 2004-2005 Vic One Pelham Edgar Distinguished Visitors in the Humanities, and donated the Goodison-Chamberlin Poetry Prize to commemorate their lecture and encourage the creativity of Vic One students. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and now lives in Halfmoon Bay, BC.

Oct. 4, 2023 | Basketball in Canada Panel

Basketball in Canada Panel

Date: Oct. 4, 2023
Speaker: Leah MacNab, Jevohn Shepherd, and Joseph Wong, moderated by Tim Hutzul

Join us for a panel discussion on the social and cultural significance of basketball in Canada, featuring Leah MacNab (Sr. VP & Managing Director, NBA Canada), Jevohn Shepherd (TSN basketball analyst and GM and VP of Basketball Operations, Ottawa Blackjacks), and Joseph Wong (Vice-President, International, University of Toronto), moderated by Tim Hutzul (Sr. VP, Legal & General Counsel, Shawcor).

Oct. 18, 2023 | Paul Stevens

Milton's Satan and the Ways We Think About Evil

Date: Oct. 18, 2023
Speaker: Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens is Professor and former Canada Research Chair in Early Modern Literature & Culture. His area of expertise is seventeenth-century English literature, especially the works of John Milton. He has written and lectured widely on literary history, religion, colonialism, and nationalism. His first book was Imagination and the Presence of Shakespeare in Paradise Lost (1985) and most recent The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and War (2021). At the moment, he is working on a Guggenheim-funded book called Sola Gratia: English Culture and the Secular Ways of Grace. Professor Stevens began his teaching career at Victoria College as a teaching assistant for Northrop Frye before heading off to his first professorship in Virginia. In 2007 he was elected to a visiting fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford, and his most recent teaching prizes include the Northrop Frye Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research (2008), Finalist for the TVO Best Lecturer Competition (2009), and the President’s Teaching Award (2010).

Oct. 25, 2023 | Tom Leung

Date: Oct. 25, 2023
Speaker: Tom Leung, Vic 0T6

With an MSc in virology and a Ph.D. in epigenetics from the University of Toronto, Tom’s research focused on the molecular mechanism of repressive genetic bookmarking during cellular division and the potential application of reversing these bookmarks as an alternative therapeutic approach to treating cancer.  

While at the University of Toronto, Tom had an ambitious idea to reduce the number of failed experiments but knew he needed AI, data, and business knowledge. So he recruited a computer programmer, a data scientist, and an entrepreneur, and together they created BenchSci.    

Since 2015, Tom has provided the vision and leadership for BenchSci's R&D efforts, including directing the creation of BenchSci's bioinformatics ontologies and patent-pending machine learning models. As the head of BenchSci's R&D team, Tom has extensive experience in bench research, bioinformatics, and machine learning.  

Nov. 1, 2023 | Sunil Johal

Date: Nov. 1, 2023
Speaker: Sunil Johal, Vic One Professor, David and Ann Wilson Professor in Public Policy and Society at Victoria College

Sunil Johal is a policy expert with a track record of executive-level experience addressing challenging issues. He is a frequently sought-after advisor to governments, international organizations, media, the business community and non-profits.  
In his current role he is the Vice President, Public Policy at the CSA Group where he is responsible for building and leading a new team to tackle challenging policy issues in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders. He is also the David and Ann Wilson Professor in Public Policy and Society at Victoria College, University of Toronto. 
In 2021, he served as Special Advisor to the Deputy Ministers at Employment and Social Development Canada, where he led the department's medium-term planning and transition activities.  
Sunil was Policy Director at the University of Toronto’s Mowat Centre from 2012 to 2019, where he led the Centre’s research activities and established himself as a thought leader on issues such as the future of work and the implications of disruptive technologies.  

In February 2019, he was named Chair of the Expert Panel on Modern Labour Standards by the federal Minister of Labour. The panel provided advice on issues such as the federal minimum wage and right to disconnect. 
Before joining the University of Toronto, Sunil held senior executive and policy roles with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, Cabinet Office, Ministries of Finance and Intergovernmental Affairs and federal Treasury Board Secretariat. He joined the federal civil service through the Recruitment of Policy Leaders initiative in 2003. 
Sunil is frequently invited to speak at conferences in Canada and abroad. He has contributed expert commentary and advice to a range of organizations and media outlets, including the G-20, World Economic Forum, Brookings Institution, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC, Washington Post, Guardian and OECD. 
Sunil has taught undergraduate, master's and executive education courses at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University since 2009. He is a Fellow of the Public Policy Forum and Brookfield Institute. He holds degrees from LSE, Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Western Ontario. 

Nov. 15, 2023 | International learning opportunities at Vic and U of T

Date: Nov. 15 2023
Speaker: TBA

Join us for an information session on the variety of opportunities to learn and gain professional experiences abroad! Learn more about the wide range of options for international learning, plus funding and supports that are available to students.

Nov. 22, 2023 | Sarah Polley - Pelham Edgar Distinguished Visitor in the Humanities

Pelham Edgar Distinguished Visitor in the Humanities

Date: Nov. 22, 2023
Speaker: Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley is the Academy Award-winning filmmaker of Women Talking. After making short films, Polley made her feature-length directorial debut with the drama film Away from Her in 2006. Polley received an Oscar nomination for the screenplay, which she adapted from the Alice Munro story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain.” Her other projects include the documentary film Stories We Tell (2012), which won the New York Film Critics Circle prize and the National Board of Review award for best documentary; the Netflix miniseries adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel Alias Grace (2017); and the romantic comedy Take This Waltz (2011). Polley began her acting career as a child, starring in many productions for film and television. Her first book, Run Towards the Danger, was a #1 bestseller and winner of the 2022 Toronto Book Awards.

Nov. 29, 2023 | Rawi Hage

The Self

Date: Nov. 29, 2023
Speaker: Rawi Hage, Victoria College Shaftesbury Creative Writer-in-Residence 2023-2024

Born in Beirut, Rawi Hage survived the Lebanese civil war during the 1970s and 1980s and emigrated to Montreal in 1992. His first novel De Niro’s Game (2006) won several awards, among them the prestigious IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. All five of his books have been shortlisted for either the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Giller Prize, or the Rogers Writer’s Trust Fiction Prize: De Niro’s Game, Cockroach (2008), Carnival (2012), Beirut Hellfire Society (2018), and Stray Dogs (2022). He has won the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction twice, and in 2019, he also received the Writer’s Trust Engel/Findley Award, which honours his entire body of work.

Jan. 10, 2024 | John Borrows

The Resurgence of Indigenous Law

Date: Jan. 10, 2024
Speaker: John Borrows

John Borrows B.A. (Vic 8T7), M.A., J.D., LL.M. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Osgoode Hall Law School), LL.D. (Hons., Dalhousie, York, SFU, Queen’s & Law Society of Ontario), D.H.L, (Hons., Toronto), D.Litt. (Hons., Waterloo), F.R.S.C., O.C., is the Loveland Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Toronto Law School. His publications include, Recovering Canada; The Resurgence of Indigenous Law (Donald Smiley Award best book in Canadian Political Science, 2002), Canada's Indigenous Constitution (Canadian Law and Society Best Book Award 2011), Drawing Out Law: A Spirit's Guide (2010), Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism ((Donald Smiley Award best book in Canadian Political Science, 2016), The Right Relationship (with Michael Coyle, ed.), Resurgence and Reconciliation (with Michael Asch, Jim Tully, eds.), Law’s Indigenous Ethics (2020 Best subsequent Book Award from Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, 2020 W. Wes Pue Best book award from the Canadian Law and Society Association). He is the 2017 Killam Prize winner in Social Sciences and the 2019 Molson Prize Winner from the Canada Council for the Arts, the 2020 Governor General’s Innovation Award, and the 2021 Canadian Bar Association President’s Award winner.  He was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2020. John is a member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario, Canada.

Jan. 17, 2024 | Gordon Rubenfeld

Who lives? Who dies? Who pays? Who decides? The Bioethics of Intensive Care

Date: Jan. 17, 2024
Speaker: Gordon Rubenfeld

Gordon Rubenfeld is Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a practicing critical care physician.  He was the inaugural Chief of the Program in Trauma, Emergency, and Critical Care at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Dr. Rubenfeld received his undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Comparative Literature at Johns Hopkins University; his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College; his internal medicine training at Duke University; and pulmonary and critical care training at the University of Washington.  He received additional research training in clinical epidemiology as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at UCSF.  He served on numerous professional society committees for the American Thoracic Society including the Bioethics, Critical Care Long Range Planning, Health Policy, and as Chair of the Critical Care Assembly.  He directed the Advanced Clinical Research section of the Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical and Operations Research course administered by the ATS.  He has served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Respiratory Care, the Journal of Critical Care, Critical Care, Lancet-Respiratory Medicine, and JAMA-Network Open. He served on numerous advisory panels and consensus groups in critical care including the American European Consensus Conference on Acute Lung Injury, the working group that developed the Berlin ARDS Definition, the LUNG-SAFE steering committee, and the Surviving Sepsis guideline committee.  He has served on study sections for the National Institutes of Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.  

Dr. Rubenfeld’s research focuses on the clinical epidemiology and outcomes of critical illness syndromes, the transfer of evidence into clinical practice, and end-of-life care issues in the ICU.  His research is funded primarily by the National Institutes of Health.   Ongoing projects include a trial of interventions to increase use of lung protective ventilation in patients with acute lung injury, a randomized trial to improve long-term outcomes in survivors of prolonged mechanical ventilation, and a randomized trial of pre-hospital resuscitation for sepsis.   

Jan. 24, 2024 | James L. Turk

The Dark Side of Censorship

Date: Jan. 24, 2024
Speaker: James L. Turk

Jim is Director of the Centre for Free Expression at Toronto Metropolitan University. He speaks and writes extensively on expressive freedom and its relationship to social justice, human rights, civil liberties, and democracy as well as on academic freedom and university governance.

From 1998 to 2014, Jim was Executive Director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. Previously he was an associate professor of sociology at the University of Toronto and has held several senior positions in the Canadian trade union movement.

Jim received his B.A. from Harvard University, his M.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, and was a Knox Fellow at the University of Cambridge.

Jan. 31, 2024 | Mark Carney - The Coxford Lecture at Victoria College

The Coxford Lecture at Victoria College

SOLD OUT – contact for wait list information

Date: Jan. 31, 2024
Speaker: Mark Carney

Mark Carney is the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Co-Chair for the Glasgow Finance Alliance for Net Zero, a practitioner-led coalition working to increase the financial sector’s ambition on climate change and accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy. Chair of Brookfield Asset Management, and Head of Transition Investing at Brookfield Corporation. Across these roles, he is focused on developing tools, guidance, and products for investors that will combine positive social and environmental outcomes with strong risk-adjusted returns.

He is also an external member of the Board of Stripe, a member of the Global Advisory Board of PIMCO, Harvard University, Rideau Hall Foundation, Bilderberg, the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, the Peterson Institute for International Economics the Hoffman Institute for Global Business and Society at INSEAD, Cultivo, Senior counsellor of the MacroAdvisory Partners, Advisor of the Watershed, Advisory Board Chair for Canada 2020 as well as Chair of the Group of Thirty, Chair of Chatham House and Chair of Bloomberg LP’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Carney was previously Governor of the Bank of England (from 2013 to 2020) and Governor of the Bank of Canada (2008 to 2013). Internationally, Dr. Carney was Chair of the Financial Stability Board (2011 to 2018), chaired the Global Economy Meeting and Economic Consultative Committee of the Bank for International Settlements (2018 to 2020), and served as First Vice Chair of the European Systemic Risk Board (2013 to 2020). Prior to his governorships, Dr. Carney worked at Goldman Sachs as well as the Canadian Department of Finance.

He is a long-time and well-known advocate for sustainability, specifically with regard to the management and reduction of climate risks.

Feb. 7, 2024 | Kathleen Wynne

All Politics Is Toxic: Why Would I Get Involved?

Date: Feb. 7, 2024
Speaker: The Hon. Kathleen Wynne

Kathleen Wynne was Ontario’s 25th Premier. She was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003 as the MPP for Don Valley West, and she became the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party in January 2013. 

Kathleen has dedicated her professional life to building a better province for the people of Ontario. She and her government were guided by the values and principles that knit this province together: fairness, diversity, collaboration and creativity. 

Kathleen has served as Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Minister of Transportation, Minister of Education and Minister of Agriculture and Food.  

In her role as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Kathleen worked in partnership with First Nations communities to address issues such as mining development, First Nations land claims, and improving quality of life for Indigenous people living off-reserve through affordable housing and recreation programs. 

As Minister of Education, Kathleen led the government’s efforts to reduce class sizes, implement full-day kindergarten and provide more opportunities for high school students to reach their full potential. 

Kathleen has served as a Public School Trustee in Toronto. She has led citizens’ groups in a number of grassroots community projects, and has played a major role as an organizer and facilitator. This experience has contributed to her results-based approach to life, government and community. 

Kathleen has three adult children, Chris, Jessie and Maggie, and six grandchildren, Olivia, Claire, Hugh, Violet, Arthur and George. Before moving to Alliston, Ontario, Kathleen and her partner Jane lived in North Toronto for more than 30 years. 

Feb. 28, 2024 | Program Advising

Program Advising

Date: Feb. 28, 2024

4pm-5pm - Info Session | 5pm-5:45pm - Programs Fair

Learn about the outstanding Victoria College upper year programs with a focus on small class sizes, experiential learning and internship possibilities.

Meet our faculty and mingle with current students! 

Mar. 6, 2024 | Alison Keith - Judy LaMarsh Lecture Celebrating Women in Leadership

Lessons in Leadership from Ancient Greece and Rome

Date: Mar. 6, 2024
Speaker: Alison Keith

Alison Keith is Director of the Jackman Humanities Institute and University Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto, where she also holds cross-appointments at the Centre for Medieval Studies and the Women and Gender Studies Institute. A senior fellow at Victoria College for thirty-five years, she has taught in the Chambers Stream of Vic One and enjoyed it immensely. Her research focuses on the intersection of gender and genre in Latin literature and Roman society, and she has authored five books and edited or co-edited another ten volumes on Latin poetry and Roman culture. A past Editor of the classical journal Phoenixand past President of both the Classical Association of Canada and the Ontario Classical Association, she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and President of the Society for Classical Studies, the largest classical association in the world. Her current research projects include a biography of Sulpicia, the earliest female Latin poet whose work survives, and a monograph on Latin literature and Roman philosophies of hedonism.  

Mar. 13, 2024 | Karen Kubey

An Architect's Approach to Housing Justice

Date: Mar. 13, 2024Speaker: Karen Kubey

Karen Kubey is Assistant Professor, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto. Karen Kubey is an urbanist specializing in housing design and social justice. She is the editor of Housing as Intervention: Architecture towards Social Equity (Architectural Design, 2018) and served as the first executive director of the Institute for Public Architecture in New York. Holding degrees in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley and the Columbia University Graduate School for Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), Kubey began her career as a designer of below-market housing. She has received support from the New York State Council on the Arts and MacDowell, and has completed a Fulbright U.S. Scholar fellowship at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Currently Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Toronto, Kubey convenes the American Institute of Architects Right-to-Housing Working Group. 

Mar. 20, 2024 | Anne Urbancic

Large Double Double: How Tim Hortons Coffee Informs and Ritualizes Canadian Cultural Identity and Collective Memory

Date: Mar. 20, 2024Speaker: Anne Urbancic, Mary Rowell Jackman Professor at Victoria College

Anne Urbancic is the Mary Rowell Jackman Professor of Humanities at Victoria College. An award-winning instructor of language, culture and semiotics, her research interests focus on the Italian Tuscan author Mario Pratesi (1842-1921) and on the works of Annie Vivanti (1866-1942). Most recently she has also studied Italian foodways and cookbooks. She has published widely in North American and European journals. Among her publications are Reviewing Mario Pratesi: The Critical Press and its Influence (University of Toronto Press, 2014) Mario Pratesi’s lost manuscript, All’ombra dei cipressi (SEF, 2018) and Literary Titans Revisited (Dundurn Press, 2017). Together with Giuliana Sanguinetti Katz, she has translated three novels, and two plays.

Her interest in archiving and historiography has resulted in the online publication of the vast correspondence of Mario Pratesi whose letters and notebooks were found in Toronto and donated to E.J. Pratt Library. She is also a founding member of the Canadian Slovenian Historical Society and Archives. Her interest in how we practice the spaces of everyday life includes studies like the topic of today’s plenary; an earlier version of this study appears in the Proceedings of the 2023 Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery.