The time is now, and UTS is ready for everything our renewed building has to offer, says the Honourable Hal Jackman O.C., O Ont ’50, a UTS Founder and former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
“All that students gain from UTS will be magnified with the renewed building – better facilities, up-to-date labs, athletics equipment, a new theatre and modern technology.”
One of the first UTS Founders to support the Building the Future campaign, Hal will receive recognition for his gift in the theatre, which will be known to future generations of UTS students as the Jackman Theatre. Hal, who was Honorary Chair of the Building the Future Campaign Cabinet, says he encourages others to support the school: “If you look at the successes of UTS graduates over the years, it’s such a worthwhile cause. UTS makes a contribution to our students and they graduate and make a contribution to Canada. That is truly a great thing.”
As a former Chancellor of the University of Toronto, when Hal learned that the future of the UTS affiliation with University of Toronto was uncertain, he vowed: “I will not forget my old high school.” He advocated with great passion on behalf of UTS, alongside Principal Rosemary Evans and Board Chair Jim Fleck C.C. ’49, to secure a renewed affiliation agreement with U of T in 2015. Now, he remains an avid supporter of everything U of T is trying to accomplish, and feels that UTS really is part of the university.
“Education is a process that starts right from birth and goes all the way through university, graduate school and beyond,” he says. “Every level is important, and the synergies that come from the University of Toronto influence on UTS programs are very important for the university, and UTS students.”
As for the UTS school building at 371 Bloor, he quips, “The old building was just so old.”
When Hal started at UTS for his final two years of high school, his father, Harry Jackman O.C. ’18, a former Member of Parliament, came with Hal for his first day. “He walked up and down the halls and remarked, ‘This place hasn’t changed one bit since 1918.’ And it was the same when I went there, so really it hasn’t changed in 100 years.”
During Hal’s first term at UTS, it became immediately clear he’d come to a school with incredibly strong academics – at his previous school, he was at the top of his class, but not at UTS. He was also struck by the school spirit, how everyone turned out to watch the hockey or the football team. Most of all, he loved the theatre.
His classmate Jack Batten ’50 wrote that Hal “presented a dashing Hotspur” in his book UTS 1910 to 2010, but that had a tense moment when Hal was accidentally stabbed during a dueling scene in the Shakespeare play Henry IV, “but flicked off the wound, and the show went on.” Hal says he actually ended up in emergency (and his character died as well), but the experience in no way diminished his love for the theatre and performance.
Hal went on to great times on U of T’s Hart House stage, as well as performing in summer theatre at Jackson’s Point, and also to become a revered patron of education and the arts through the Hal Jackman Foundation and by serving on countless boards from the Stratford Festival to Roy Thompson Hall, President of the Canadian Opera Company and so many more. His lifelong support of the arts and education earned him the designation of Officer of the Order of Canada.
“Education should be a top priority for every donor,” he says. “The future of our country depends on the education of our people.”
He is surprised that so far UTS has not had a graduate who became Prime Minister of Canada, but suspects that’s something to look forward to in the future, perhaps with our renewed building.