Ryerson changes name to Toronto Metropolitan University

26 April 2022 / by Daniel Centeno
White text on a blue and green glass bridge on top of a road showing multiple yellow street lights.

Ryerson University is officially changing its name to Toronto Metropolitan University, according to a recent committee meeting.

The announcement was first reported by the Globe and Mail and The Eyeopener, the university’s independent campus newspaper.

“Our new name Toronto Metropolitan University embodies so many things about our university, our community, our students, faculty, staff and alumni,”president and vice-chair Mohamed Lachemi writes to the community in an email. “Located in the heart of our country’s biggest and most diverse city – we represent all that it is to be metropolitan.”

Given the school’s location in the downtown core, Lachemi hopes the name metropolitan will reflect Toronto’s diversity and be a gathering place for people across the world, from all walks of life with broad and diverse perspectives, the letter reads.

Further, the metropolitan name will define the school’s aspirations to expand its reputation and reach – Lachemi writes that this is evident in the Lincoln Alexander School of Law that was established in 2020, the first international campus in Cairo Egypt and the continued plans for a future medical school in the Greater Toronto Area community of Brampton.

Toronto will be part of the name, as it derives from the Mohawk word “Tkaronto” meaning “the place in the water where the trees are standing” – a place where people came together, according to Lachemi.

As he thanks the University Renaming Advisory Committee and the Standing Strong Task Force for their work through the last two years, Lachemi assures everyone that the new name will not erase the school’s 73-year history, and maintain its ongoing connection with its alumni.

Lachemi and his office were asked to comment on the name change. CJRU is awaiting a response.

In March, provost and co-chair of the standing strong taskforce Jennifer Simpson was in conversation with assistant dean Tanya de Mello about the shortlist of names. Simpson indicated that the new name would not derive from another individual.

For legal purposes, there will be a gradual process to fully change the name of Ryerson to Toronto Metropolitan – this will include degrees.

Students graduating in 2022 will still have Ryerson University on their diplomas, according to Simpson. The new name will be reflected during 2023 convocations. Alumni will be able to keep their current Ryerson degree or request one with the new name.

Simpson and De Mello were asked to comment on the name change , and CJRU is awaiting a response.

The Standing Strong Taskforce was established in December 2020 and offered 22 recommendations, which includes the name change, to Lachemi and the school’s board of directors. All 22 recommendations were accepted.

Lachemi created the renaming advisory committee in October 2021. One of their first tasks was to gather name suggestions through an online poll from the school’s community.

The shortlist of names was sent to Lachemi in March 2022.

The name change is one of the taskforce’s continued efforts to distance the university from Egerton Ryerson, the school’s former namesake. Ryerson was involved in installing Canada’s Residential School System. His statue was removed from the campus in June 2021.

Toronto Metropolitan University will be the school’s fifth name, but will be the first time it does have Ryerson in the name.

According to the Eyeopener, construction crews have begun the removal of the “R U” neon sign of the Student Learning Centre along Yonge St.

More details to come.

Listen to CJRU’s news update on the name change here: