New Cambridge Vice-Chancellor: Professor Stephen Toope

When Trinity alumnus Professor Stephen Toope was offered the job of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge his initial reaction was ‘Wow.’

‘After all, this a University that has shared over eight centuries of scholarship and learning,’ he told guests at the Senate House after he was formally admitted to the office of Vice-Chancellor on 2 October.

‘The task of becoming this University’s 346th Vice-Chancellor is one that fills me with wonder – and that I undertake with humility,’ he said.

Previously, Professor Toope was Director of the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, and President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Colombia.

After studying at Harvard and McGill, he came to Trinity for a PhD under the supervision of Sir Derek Bowett.

My student days at Cambridge offered me the precious opportunity to challenge and deepen my understanding of international law.

But they also provided the space and the time to broaden my intellectual horizons, allowing me to read voraciously and widely, and to interact with one of the most stimulating and diverse groups of people I had ever met – staff and students from around the globe.

What I learned has stayed then has stayed with me, and served me well, ever since. So I am thrilled to return to serve an institution from which I gained so much.

In his inaugural address to the University, Professor Toope, said that after the initial ‘wow’ moment, ‘I was confronted with the next obvious query, ‘How are you going to do this difficult job?’

Of the many challenges for Cambridge was not only the ability to respond to the social, political and economic issues of our time but also its preparedness to deal with ‘newly emerging questions that we did not know had to be answered,’ he said.

In an increasingly complex and anxious world, the University should be ‘an unstoppable, unapologetic force for knowledge and understanding, for more inclusive community, and for the betterment of our shared world.’

Read more and hear a message from the new Vice-Chancellor.

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