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U of T in videos: The best of 2017

Richard Marsella, executive director of the Regent Park School of Music and U of T PhD student, was featured this year in an episode of the On Location series (photo by Romi Levine)

Throughout 2017, we shared with you how members of the U of T community pushed boundaries, innovated and made the year a little more fun and inspiring for the rest of us. As the year winds down, we look back on some of the best U of T stories from the year – in videos. 
 

The people of #UofTGrad17 

Convocation ceremonies bring an atmosphere of celebration to U of T – and a couple of musicians brought a melodic spin to this year’s spring convocation. 
Michael Bridge started playing the accordion when he was five years old. He completed his undergraduate degree at U of T and graduated with a master's degree in accordion performance during this year’s spring convocation. Now, he is continuing his education at U of T with a PhD in accordion performance. 
 
In the video above, he plays the accordion and tells us about the complexity of the instrument and his love for it.  “My experience at U of T has changed my understanding of what the accordion can do,” he tells videographer Lisa Lightbourn.
 
During spring convocation, we went behind the scenes with another musician at U of T:  Roy Lee, U of T alumnus, Carillonneur, and the man behind the bells at Soldier’s Tower.
 
Precilla Veigas moved everyone with her indomitable spirit. After facing many challenges, including immigrating twice and rebuilding her credentials after arriving in Canada in 2005, Veigas found out that she had terminal cancer halfway through her PhD degree. 
 
Veigas completed her PhD program, contributing research that could help save future emergency room patients who require blood transfusions. She died in October
 
“I feel I’ve accomplished what I wanted to do,” said Veigas back in the spring, when she received her PhD in a private degree-presentation ceremony. “Cancer didn’t prevent me from doing that.” 
 

On Location

In the On Location series, U of T News reporter Romi Levine explores the impact of U of T experts and their research on the city.  
 
Levine and Lightbourn-Lay head to different neighbourhoods in Toronto, and speak with experts on topics ranging from forensic sciences to  architecture and installation art
 
The episode above takes viewers to Regent Park, to explore a collaboration between U of T Faculty of Music researchers, Regent Park School of Music and Turning Point Youth Services, a housing facility for young men who have been involved with the youth criminal justice system. 
 
The collaboration brings youth from the housing facilities to Regent Park to learn how to play an instrument of their choice. “It brings people together 100 per cent and mends a lot of relationships,” says one of the participants about the initiative. 
 

Truth and Reconciliation 

Crowds of visitors came to see artist Kent Monkman’s art at U of T’s Art Museum last winter as Canada was getting ready to mark its 150th year. “At this moment in time it’s important to have a critical perspective on Canada,” Monkman said. His large-scale paintings, explored in the video above by Lightbourn-Lay, subvert a classical style while challenging the history of colonialism in Canada. 
 
Art Museum Director Barbara Fischer asked Monkman in 2014 to put something together for Canada 150, part of an effort by the Canadian Museums Association to reflect on how museums have framed Canadian history.
 
“What is the function of art and what is the purpose of art?” Monkman asks in the video above. “Is it only to show beauty or pleasure? I don’t believe so. Art has to be challenging, and sometimes it has to take us to dark places or challenging places.” 
 

A dictionary of very old words

What does Old English sound like? Turns out, not a whole lot like English. 
 
Robert Getz and Stephen Pelle are the drafting editors of the Dictionary of Old English, a project that various scholars at the Centre for Medieval Studies have been working on since the 1970s. 
 
The dictionary maps around 35,000 words of the oldest period of the English language (from the middle of the 7th century to 1150). 
 
In the video above, the two take us behind the world of old English, where rain is described as “heaven’s showers," and share the meaning behind their favourite words, like heolop-helm (helmet of invisibility) and wite-hus (house of punishment). 
 

Back to school

NerdyAndQuirky (a.k.a. YouTube superstar and U of T student Sabrina Cruz) gave first-year students five tips to survive their first year. “Participate, make friends with people as lost and confused as you are,” says the popular Cruz. 
 

 The working life at U of T 

 

Photographer Ken Jones has worked at U of T Scarborough for 36 years and has spent 24  as staff photographer, capturing countless memories in unforgettable photographs.

In the video above, the man behind the camera is finally in front of it, explaining his work, which also happens to be his passion. 

And then there's Terry Gardiner.  A former ballet dancer with a life-long commitment to serving communities, Gardiner pivoted his career after graduating with a master’s degree in social work from the university. He is now the manager of diversity, equity and student experience at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.

In the video above, he takes us to Regent Park, where he volunteers as a ballet teacher at the Coleman Lemieux dance school.

 A new chapter for U of T Mississauga

When Ulli Krull was installed as U of T Mississauga’s ninth principal, the renowned chemist and judoka described his vision to build on U of T Mississauga’s record of excellence, and performed his signature fingertip push-ups. 
 
He also advised students to open their minds and ask themselves, “with what I have learned, what can I do next?”
 

The holidays are around the corner 

Krull took a different approach to chemistry in this recent video celebrating the holiday season at U of T Mississauga. 
 

And to mark the end of 2017, U of T President Meric Gertler looks back on everything we have to celebrate during this holiday season. 
 
“It’s about innovation and discovery, striving for excellence and standing up for what’s right: As a community we greet neighbours and friends and turn vision into reality,” says Gertler in the video above.  

From everyone at U of T News: Enjoy this holiday season and Happy 2018.