University of Toronto President Meric Gertler’s contributions to the study of urban economies have been recognized with an honorary degree from the Université de Montréal.
In prepared remarks to graduates in the Faculty of Environmental Design, President Gertler said he was “deeply honoured” to be recognized by one of Canada’s top universities. He noted that both U of T and the Université de Montréal are at the forefront of tackling pressing challenges such as climate change and income inequality, and are among leading creators of new knowledge in burgeoning fields like artificial intelligence and precision medicine.
President Gertler, who received the honour in Montreal last week, identified both institutions as “natural city builders” that, in turn, benefit from the livability of their respective urban environments.
“The more our universities do to make cities like Montreal and Toronto more liveable, the more we thrive as academic institutions,” President Gertler said in prepared remarks.
“And the more we thrive as academic institutions, the more prosperity we create in communities around us.”
President Gertler has advised governments and agencies in Canada and around the world on urban issues. He has published nine books and authored over 90 journal articles and book chapters, and is one of Canada’s most frequently cited geographers.
Under his leadership, U of T last year established the School of Cities, which brings together scholars from a wide range of disciplines to address the challenges facing urban regions in Canada and around the world.
President Gertler was one of six people awarded an honorary degree by Université de Montréal last week. His fellow honorary graduates on the day included Congolese gynecologist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege and the Université du Québec à Montréal professor and social historian Yolande Cohen.
Université de Montréal rector Guy Breton hailed President Gertler as a leading urban theorist and expert in innovation and creativity as drivers of metropolitan development. Breton thanked him for conveying to graduates the importance of thriving metropolises to the advancement of nations.
President Gertler, who has also received honorary degrees from Lund University in Sweden and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, told members of Université de Montréal’s graduating class of 2019 that their education had prepared them to tackle the challenges and realize the promise of cities – and that they were a “source of great optimism and inspiration.”