Thomas Symons

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Thomas Symons
CC, O.Ont, KSS
President and vice-chancellor of Trent University
In office
Personal details
Born Thomas Henry Bull Symons
(1929-05-30) May 30, 1929 (age 88)
Toronto, Ontario
Spouse(s) Christine Ryerson
Children Mary, Ryerson and Jeffery

Thomas Henry Bull Symons, CC OOnt FRSC (born May 30, 1929) is a Canadian professor and author in the field of Canadian studies.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, he is the son of Harry Lutz Symons and Dorothy Sarah Bull, and the brother of Scott Symons.[1] He attended Upper Canada College until 1942, and graduated from the University of Toronto Schools.[2] He subsequently studied at the University of Toronto (B.A. 1951), Oxford (B.A. 1953, M.A. 1957) and Harvard University.

He was the founding president of Trent University, serving as its president and vice-chancellor from 1961 to 1972.[3] He served as chairman of the Ontario Human Rights Commission from 1975 to 1978.

Between 1980 and 1986 he served two three-year terms as chairman of the board of the United World Colleges.[4]

He is the chairperson of the Peterborough Lakefield Community Police Service.[5]

On August 17, 1963, he married Christine Ryerson. They had three children: Mary, Ryerson and Jeffery.[3]

His contributions to university leadership, Canadian studies, Commonwealth studies, United World Colleges, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, and other fields has been discussed in Ralph Heintzman (ed), Tom Symons: A Canadian Life, published by University of Ottawa Press.[6] His leadership in universities and in Commonwealth Studies is discussed in Donald Markwell, "Instincts to Lead": On Leadership, Peace, and Education (Connor Court, 2013).[7]


  • Meta Incognita: A Discourse of Discovery - Martin Frobisher's Arctic Expeditions, 1576 - 1578 (1999)
  • To Know Ourselves: The report of the commission on Canadian studies (1975)



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