The Struggle for Identity

from Scarborough College to the University of Toronto Scarborough 1964-present

We began this journey to tell a story of our campus, the University of Toronto Scarborough, from its beginnings in 1964 as Scarborough College to the present. We quickly discovered that the struggles of today have deep roots in our collective past – the continuing struggle for identity, diversity and all forms of representation, the role of technology and innovation, to name a few. We invite you to share in some of what we’ve learned….

Our Aim

To craft an institutional memoir of the University of Toronto Scarborough (formerly Scarborough College), in order to better understand ourselves and the variety of complex and changing narratives that make up the life story of our campus. To preserve the oral histories collected in a digital archive intended for public listening and future education and research.

Our Commitment

To complicate and challenge what we think we know about UTSC, its history and role in the history of higher education.

To include as many experiences and narratives as possible and to recognize the importance of each participant’s lived experience; acknowledging that in the broader context of the institutional history, individual experiences and memories do have weight and meaning.

original artwork by Ujwal Mantha 2020

Our Team

Our team is made up of an enthusiastic and talented group of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students and alumni. They are researchers, authors, creators and colleagues without whom none of this would be possible.  The current list is below. We are also indebted to the contributions of the many students that have made this project a success over the past few years. Their names and contributions are listed below.

headshot Christine Berkowitz

Christine Berkowitz


Principal Investigator

Associate Professor, Teaching Stream
UTSC Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, History Program


Leslie Chan


Contributing Investigator

Associate Professor, Teaching Stream
UTSC Department of Arts, Culture and Media and Department of Global Development Studies

Nancy Lee headshot

Nancy Lee


Coordinator, Digital Resources and Oral History Preservation

University of Toronto, MI (2022); University of Toronto Scarborough, BA History (2020)


Maria Bacchus



University of Toronto Scarborough, HBA History, Minor Anthropology and Classical Studies (2023); Centennial College, Human Resources Management (in progress)



Amena Ahmed



University of Chicago, MA English Literature (2023); University of Toronto Scarborough, HBA English (2022)


Inyoung Choi



University of Toronto Scarborough, Specialist (Co-op) Psychology, Minor Applied Statistics, in progress



Asmaa Helali


Archival Assistant

University of Toronto Scarborough, HBSc – Life Science – Human Biology Specialization (in progress)



Rafiya Mubashshira


Archival Assistant

University of Toronto Scarborough, HBSc –
Mental Health Studies Specialist (in progress)


Many Thanks To:

Amelia Ainsworth



Program Coordinator, 2020-2022; Undergraduate Researcher, 2019-2020

Naailah Patel



Digital Resources and Oral History Preservation 2022
Undergraduate Researcher, 2020-2021

Azreen Sikder


Undergraduate Researcher 2019-2020; Researcher 2021-2022

Jennifer Tran


Undergraduate Researcher 2019-2021

Mariam Mian


Undergraduate Researcher 2020

Edward Dunsworth


2018-2019, UTSC History Project Coordinator

Archival Assistants:

Kathleen Lacy

Summer 2023

Inyoung Choi

Summer 2023

Tammy Nguyen

Fall/Winter 2022/23; Summer 2022

Stefania Virgilio

Fall/Winter 2022/23

Karisa Yuet

Summer 2022

Maherah Sadaf

Summer 2020 to present

Maria Bacchus

Fall/Winter 2020/21

Irish Bonon

Summer 2021

Issra Marie Martin

Summer 2020

Hsin Yu (Madgen) Liao

Fall/Winter 2019/20

Danielle Milankov

Fall/Winter 2019/20


Struggle for Identity website was designed by Parita Patel, developed by Matthew Lefaive through the Critical Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI) UX Design for DH Accelerator Program.

Funding for this project generously provided by Vice Principal Academic and Dean, William Gough.

Technical design, support and administration of the Scarborough Oral History Project and Stories of UTSC digital collections provided by Kirsta Stapelfeldt and her wonderful team in the UTSC Digital Scholarship Unit, UTSC Library.

We are also very grateful to the assistance of the many archivists in the University of Toronto Library system – Tanis Franco with the UTSC Library; Tys Klumpenhouwer, Danielle Ansovini, and Marnee Gamble with the University of Toronto Archives and Records Management.  And to Rick and Meredyth Schofield of the Scarborough Historical Society.


Land Acknowledgement

The UTSC campus is physically located on banks of Highland Creek in the northeastern region of Toronto, the former municipality of Scarborough. The instructional and administration buildings sit high on a plateau overlooking Highland Creek and the lands in the valley below are home to sports playing fields and Miller Lash house (formerly a private home and later Principal’s residence – now a conference and meeting centre).

“We wish to acknowledge this sacred land on which the University of Toronto Scarborough operates. It has been a site of human activity for 15,000 years. This land is the territory of the Huron-Wendat and Petun First Nations, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. The territory was the subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy and Confederacy of the Ojibwe and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. Today, the meeting place of Toronto is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work in the community, on this territory.”

The above statement is a compilation of language first revised by the Elders Circle (Council of Aboriginal Initiatives) in 2014 and then further revised and adopted in 2016 by the University of Toronto in consultation with First Nations House and its Elders Circle, some scholars in the field, and senior University officials.

We believe that land acknowledgements are critical a step towards realizing our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation as a nation, as an institution and as individuals. And although the practice is often criticized as purely performative, we hope that through this public act of acknowledgment and our actions in this project to facilitate and co-create an historical narrative about this place will contribute in a small way to permanently uncovering what has been traditionally a hidden history. The stories told of this land and our connection to it are complex and we are committed to learning as much as we can about that complexity from stories and storytellers both within and outside our institution.