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Jim Garner at AGM

AGM provides updates on UCC’s progress

The Upper Canada College Association Council annual general meeting and board report drew about 60 interested people to the Wilder Arena’s Hewitt Lounge on Oct. 9 to hear about the school’s achievements and challenges.

Association Council president Jim Garner ’77 talked about Association Day, Founder’s Dinner, 13 branch events held across Canada and internationally, a number of Old Boy events, the Common Ties Mentorship Program, the MeriTALKracy project, the Association Council mandate review, the Norval 100th anniversary picnic, the John D. Stevenson Award and the Harold A.D. Roberts Circle Award.

Garner also announced that UCC governor Kathy Martin was re-elected to a second three-year term on the Association Council and that Neil Seeman ’88 has replaced John Medland ’97 after his six-year term on Association Council came to a close.

Principal Jim Power mentioned the “overwhelming sense of community” he felt at Association Day and other UCC events over the past year, and his enthusiasm carries over to students. He cited that 99 per cent of the 2013 leaving class received the International Baccalaureate Diploma, boys’ exam results continue to stand well above the world average, and that students received a wide variety of academic, athletic and extracurricular medals and awards over the past school year. He was also pleased to announce that just under 80 per cent of all admission offers the College made were accepted, which is up more than five percentage points from previous years.

Power mentioned some of the generous gifts to the Think Ahead campaign, which has now raised $80.8 million, including the $11-million donation from Stu Lang that was showcased on Association Day.

Power illustrated how UCC is evolving by highlighting the $3.7 million allocated to financial assistance that’s enabling 170 boys — 15 per cent of the student body — to attend the school this year.

Board of governors chair Andy Burgess ’83 first acknowledged the contributions of Lou Pauly, who completed his term on the board this past summer. This meeting marked the final event of the governors’ annual day-long retreat, during which they discussed UCC’s strategic plan, the school’s progress and governance, and the road ahead. The board’s mandate is to ensure the long-term success of UCC, and Burgess said that appointing Power to another five-year term is a big part of that.

“His passion for and commitment to the boys and this school are unrivalled, and I can’t think of a better, wiser or more honourable man to be at the helm of this College at such a pivotal time in its history.”

Burgess emphasized that the board strives to keep tuition fees as low as possible and that the average annual tuition increase over the last five years has been 2.9 per cent — which is among the lowest in the independent school sector. Tuition and fees for services cover 78 per cent of the total cost to operate UCC, with the difference made up by other sources, such as donations.

Burgess summarized the progress being made with the seven pillars of the strategic plan, including: the expansion of advising programs; greater student involvement in co-curricular programs; faculty professional development; the revitalization of the boarding program, which this year includes boys from 20 countries; increased financial assistance; facility renovations; and the Think Ahead campaign.

Garner returned to the stage to talk about the launch of UCC’s global leadership initiative, which has been kick-started by a $1-million donation from an anonymous Old Boy and will focus on internationalism. The program is the first of its kind in Canada and will dovetail with the College’s character development initiative headed by Steve Dubrick, which received $1.25 million in seed funding from anonymous UCC parents.

“Character, combined with the power and impact of the financial assistance program, has the potential to be one of the most transformational initiatives UCC has ever taken on,” said Garner. “It has the potential of weaving and infusing itself into every aspect of the school and the student experience, and touches on every pillar of our strategic plan.”

The evening concluded with Burgess and Power taking questions from audience members.