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A message from the President of SAA


I am writing to let you know about important decisions made about the University of Toronto Senior Alumni Association.

On Tuesday, September 29, the Executive Committee of the Senior Alumni Association met and voted upon the following decisions:

  • That the operation of the Canadian Perspectives Lecture Series cease immediately.  
  • That the Senior Alumni Association fold its operations.  

The Lecture Series was the only source of income for the SAA.  Attendance had been steadily declining, costs had escalated more than we felt could be charged back to the members, and then COVID-19 arrived.  The Carlton Cinemas, our venue, is still not open.  The option to move to online lectures by Zoom, YouTube, Facebook, or other social media did not appeal, as we felt that the attendees enjoyed the physical gathering and socializing.  

Any remaining SAA funds we currently have in the bank have been divided between U of T’s COVID-19 fund to assist students affected financially due to the pandemic, as well as the Senior Alumni Memorial Scholarship.

The Lecture Series and the Association both began in 1975 when Wilson Abernethy and a group of retired U of T Alumni approached Bert Pinnington, Director of Alumni Affairs to propose ways of bringing retired alumni back to the campus.  Along with the lectures, the SAA added  exercise classes, computer classes, theatre excursions, and many other activities.  A volunteer bank was developed, offering assistance across the campus.  The SAA was one of the first to offer these opportunities for engagement to alumni and other members of the community.  Indeed, our success may have been a model to other groups – both in educational institutions and within the community --  offering similar programs.  For example, The Third Age Network originated from these groups and has grown to 30 individual groups across Ontario.  

The Division of University Advancement has assisted us immeasurably over the last few years with spreading the word and by assisting with our administrative needs. I cannot thank them enough for their support.  Satpal, Anne and Barbara gave us time in their very busy schedules to listen to our problems and help where they could.

I think of the many members of the SAA Executive, Canadian Perspectives Lecture Series Committee, Events Committee, Volunteer Co-ordinators, the Treasurers, Secretaries, and all who have been instrumental in carrying on the work of the SAA over the years.  Everyone worked hard, contributed and had fun.  I know I've made friends along the way and will continue staying in touch.


Maureen Somerville
BA 1969 UTSC and B Ed 1970 OISE
University of Toronto Senior Alumni Association