U of T Celebrates

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Lynne Viola

Lynne Viola recognized with Gold Medal from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

November 30, 2021

The University of Toronto's Lynne Viola has been honoured with the Gold Medal from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Viola, a University Professor in the Faculty of Arts & Science's history department, is a leading scholar of Soviet history and recognized around the world for her archival research into the Stalinist era, focusing on the Soviet dictator’s mass repression of its people in the 1930s.

“I was very surprised and humbled,” says Viola of winning SSHRC’s highest research honour among its annual Impact Awards.

With this most recent achievement, Viola has completed a rare hat trick in Canada’s highest academic honours.

“This is a remarkable accomplishment,” says Melanie Woodin, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science. “Lynne is only the fifth scholar to win the Molson Prize, the Killam Prize, and now the SSHRC Gold Medal – our three top national humanities and social sciences awards. These honours are a tribute to her passion and fearlessness in sharing knowledge about Stalinist Russia that continues to benefit students and scholars at U of T, as well as around the world.”

Leah Cowen, U of T’s associate vice-president, research, hailed Viola for enriching the landscape of Russian history and providing a springboard for younger researchers.

“Professor Viola’s tireless work over the decades has helped ensure that the real-life impacts of atrocities are not buried away, and that the truths and nuances of these tragic chapters are preserved in the pages of history,” Cowen said. “A passionate teacher and mentor, she has generously passed on her specialized knowledge to countless students and graduate researchers, and given the next generation of historians the foundations upon which to flourish.”

Read the Faculty of Arts & Science story

Read the U of T News story