Thomas Symons '39

Thomas Symons '39 has received many honours for influence in academics and public policy.
Crescent School alumnus Thomas Symons ’39 has been a remarkable influence on Canada’s academic and public policy landscape.

Most notably, he is the Founding President of Trent University, serving as its president and vice-chancellor from 1961 to 1972.

Symons says his years at Crescent were “very formative to what I have done, and who I have become.”

Educated at the University of Toronto and at Oxford and Harvard Universities, Symons is a distinguished scholar of Canadian studies. He has chaired many public bodies, including the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, the National Library Advisory board and the Commission of French Language Education in Ontario.

Symons is also a past chairman of both the Council of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the International Board of United World Colleges. He is the founding Chair of the Association for Commonwealth Studies and a Trustee of the Commonwealth Scholarships Fund.

Symons has received extensive recognition for his work in the fields of education, heritage, culture, human rights and international affairs. In addition to many awards, fellowships and honorary degrees, he became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1976 and a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1997. He is also a member of the Order of Ontario, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and received a Knighthood from the Vatican in the Order of Saint Sylvester.