50 Challenge

To celebrate U of T Mississauga’s 50th anniversary in 2017, we asked you—our UTM community—for your memories to mark the occasion. And you delivered!

UTM’s 50 Challenge asked you to share the experiences that made you laugh, made you cry, made you think more deeply, made you care more intensely and brought you lifelong friends. Experiences that inspired growth and change and helped shape your future. Submissions were collected and voted on by our judges: Professor Darryl Gwynne of the Department of Biology; Assistant Professor Sara Hughes of the Department of Political Science; and Melissa Heide, UTM’s alumni assistant.

Congratulations to our winners!


Siddharth Singh Chaudhari

Category: Labs & Lectures

Grad Year: 2016 | Political Science

In my experience, only a handful of sui generis students attend their first undergraduate lecture with a clear aim and a crystallized path to a fulfilling career. While I am certain that these unicorns exist, I was not one of them. As I sat down in DV2082 on Monday, the 10th of September, 2012, for the first POL113 (Ideas and Ideologies) lecture, “deer in the headlights” syndrome left me breathless. Gone was the certainty of high school. Having immigrated to Canada a few weeks earlier, I felt overwhelmed by the new and the strange. Conflicting feelings raged within; I was excited and confused, certain and lost. The opportunity to discover a raison d’etre motivated me; the spectre of adult life with its emphasis on careers and mortgage and insurance payments left me dazed. I knew I belonged at UTM; I did not know why. Within the first hour of Professor Mark Lippincott’s POL113 lecture, I knew I had made the right choice. His verbal flair and conviction were impressive; it was his irrepressible passion for the material, however, that was infectious. A seasoned lecturer, he recited the Allegory of the Cave with the  confidence of a venerable priest repeating his favourite verse for the benefit of a group of devoted parishioners. He had no use for PowerPoint; Professor Lippincott shared his knowledge more intimately, using oratory to reach his latest batch of befuddled first-years. He claimed that the objective of post-secondary education is to help each of us, like Plato’s hesitant philosopher, find the proverbial light. Where that light takes us is contingent on our actions. Rest assured, however, that there is such a thing as human agency; success, he said, awaits those who persevere. Professor Lippincott’s lecture that day offered me a profound sense of hope. He left me convinced that I am the master of my destiny and that, with assiduity, I would go onto make something of myself. I accepted UTM’s offer of admission in order to study CCIT. Professor Lippincott changed my outlook and interests altogether. I am now an MA student in the Department of Political Science at U of T. I hope to enroll in a doctoral program in Political Science this fall. I suppose it is fitting, then, that my journey at UTM (one of self-discovery) began with an allegory about a disoriented man striving to find a purpose in an unfamiliar world.

Group photo of utmONE team students and staff

Kim Rodrigues

Category: Beyond the Classroom

Grad Year: 2014 | Honours Bachelor of Arts

It was in the summer of 2012, and yet I still remember the dance moves and the lyrics so well, even today. One of the moments that made me laugh and also cry, because I was laughing so hard, was practising a dance with my utmONE team for students on Welcome Day. We danced and sang to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” I remember we changed the lyrics to “...Just a small-town girl, leaving from her little world, she took the shuttle bus to UTM...”. Not only did this experience bring so much laughter into my life, but I also made some of my closest friends that summer. Friends who I had the privilege of working with and travelling with around the world after my graduation.

Furthermore, my experience with utmONE has shaped my career choices, and has inspired me to pursue my dream of working in the post-secondary realm again.

David Adams Erindale library card from 1968

David Adams

Category: Orientation

Grad Year: 1971 | Arts Degree

This is my library card from my first year at Erindale College. I clearly remember the first time I was in the Erindale College Library: I reeled back in disbelief as none of the books contained photos or pictures, only...words!

Botany 210 class friends

Gareth Goodchild

Category: Beyond the Classroom

Grad Year: 1970 | Botany 210

One of my fond memories of being a student at Erindale College (as it was known then) was a fall field course taken in 1968. Botany 210 was a second-year course which involved a number of day trips out in various locations around southwest Ontario. Each week we would squeeze into Professor Gary Thaler’s old Volkswagon van dubbed the “Magic Van” and head out for places unknown. We visited lowland and upland forests, quaking bogs, beach and sand dune communities. There was the occasional pub that was sampled as well. Professor Thaler was a young guy with amazing mutton-chop sideburns who kept things lively. He always referred to us students as “Mr Goodchild” or “Miss Jones,” never by our first names. He was well liked. Being the first cohort of science students going through Erindale, there were less than 30 of us so we knew each other well and created some lifelong friendships. My Botany Field Trip Report is one of the few mementoes of my time at the college and the small black note book which several of us are clutching in the attached photo still sits on my bookshelf at home, nearly 50 years later.

convocation picture, Amani dressed in gown with flowers

Amani Ammari

Category: Convocation

Grad Year: 2011 | Bachelor of Science

Photo Title: Bittersweet

Year Taken: April 2011

Location: Convocation Hall