Bachelor of Laws (LLB) 1967, Hon. Doctor of Laws (Hon. LLD) 1994
David Peterson’s work over the past six years has been so exemplary that he is probably recognized more often on campus as the 32nd Chancellor of the University of Toronto than the 20th premier of Ontario.
After David Peterson became premier in 1985 (and was re-elected in 1987 with the largest majority in Ontario history) his government eliminated extra billing by doctors, brought in pay equity provisions and reformed the province’s rent review and labour negotiation laws.
He opposed free trade with the United States and was a steady voice for Canadian unity. The fluently-bilingual Peterson is still influential in federal and provincial politics.
Peterson returned to law in 1990 and is Chairman of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. He led the bid that brought the 2015 Pan Am Games to Toronto.
"I am continually blown away by the staggering intellect of U of T’s faculty; the curiosity and never-ending drive of its students and the devotion from our outstanding alumni for keeping us among the best in the world."
Peterson has spent six years travelling the world extolling the virtues of U of T. He has stressed that despite cutbacks in government funding, U of T continues to equal – and often surpass -- the top universities in the world.
In a speech during Peterson’s final convocation as chancellor, President David Naylor noted that he had participated in more than 35 alumni events across three continents and travelled more than 143,000 kilometres on behalf of the university. He presided over 181 convocation ceremonies and has conferred degrees on about 95,000 students.
Naylor said Peterson brought "irrepressible optimism, great personal warmth and irreverent wit" to every U of T event he attended, and praised his “affection for the university and his rapport with people, particularly students.”
Published Nov. 28, 2013