They sacrificed everything, and they might not have anyone left to remember them, except us.
One anonymous donor established an initiative to honour the 140 UTS alumni and one staff member who lost their lives in World Wars I and II by dedicating 47 seats in the new Withrow Auditorium to their memory. With three names inscribed on each seat, his gift will serve as an ever-present reminder of how the sacrifices of the past gave us the freedoms of the future.
“This symbolic gesture is made in the hopes that future generations understand and respect their sacrifice, and value – not taking for granted – all of the liberties we enjoy, such as the right to gather for an assembly and speak, and the right to focus on truth, and on science. Everything could well have been very, very different.”
The donor also made a bequest to UTS in his will, joining the UTS Arbor Society for Planned Giving. He credits his time at UTS as a wonderful opportunity to develop skills essential to both success and happiness. “Surviving both successes and failures provided great lessons in humility and resilience, and wonderful changes in the arc of what was then my future: opportunities and options that probably would not have existed, but did because of UTS.”
As a member of the post-war Baby Boom generation, he attended UTS in the sixties and served as Twig editor, during a time when the spectre of the World Wars was more present – almost everyone had parents or family members who had served in World War II and there were veterans on staff at the school.
“The Remembrance Day assembly was an important part of the ethos of the school: a commitment to service and the respect for freedoms their sacrifices gave us.”
But now over 60 years later, the memories of those World Wars are receding, and he foresees that, “With each subsequent generation, it will become more difficult to imagine life under those circumstances.”
UTS students today are winners of an extraordinary birth lottery, the donor says. “They have an opportunity to attend one of the finest schools in North America, in a great city and a great country, and generally, in a time of peace. The school is an outstanding experience with remarkable people, both students and staff.”
With his gift, he hopes when students see the names of those who died in the World Wars on the auditorium seats, it will give them a moment of pause and reflection, not just on Remembrance Day, but any time students gather in the heart of our school and experience the incredible freedoms we enjoy in our society, thanks to those who sacrificed everything for the future.
If you wish to make a donation to this initiative or take a seat in the new auditorium to commemorate other UTS community members, you may make your gift here.