Monday, July 11, 2016
Hal Jackman speaking at the podium

Photos by Salathiel Wesser

It was a small event to say a big and heartfelt ‘Thank you!’ to the distinguished alumnus who helped to make the new law building a reality: the Hon. Henry (Hal) N. R. Jackman, Class of 1956.

About 50 guests, including the Jackman family, faculty, alumni and friends, gathered for an intimate dinner in Torys Hall, the cathedral-height reading room of the newly renovated Bora Laskin Library, to hear about the visionary philanthropy that connected the Faculty of Law’s storied past with its bright future. Indeed Dean Ed Iacobucci, LLB 1996, and U of T President Meric Gertler expressed their gratitude to all alumni who made the building a reality.

Dean Ed Iacobucci with Dr. Frederic Jackman

After meeting in the Osler Hoskin and Harcourt LLP Atrium and participating in guided Jackman Law Building tours, guests reveled in the stunning view in the light-filled Torys Hall, which overlooks Philosophers Walk in all this summer’s green glory. 

Echoing throughout the Jackman Law Building were animated guest comments, such as: “A spectacular space”, “Student-friendly building”, “A perfect reading room”, and “Thrilling.”

“Welcome to the Jackman Law Building,” said a beaming Iacobucci to warm applause. “We’re here for the first dinner in this wonderful space to celebrate and thank our visionary benefactor and loyal alumnus—indeed the hero of the Faculty of Law renewal story.”

Alumni Rob Centa with Justice Gloria Epstein

Alumni Rob Centa and Justice Gloria Epstein

Iacobucci lauded Hal Jackman for his remarkable generosity around the entire Faculty of Law, “from the renovations in the much-loved Rowell Room, to supporting the Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella Moot Court Classroom, to the Newton Rowell Fellowships for graduate students, and most recently, the innovative J. R. Kimber Chair in Investor Protection and Corporate Governance.”

He praised Hal Jackman’s active presence at numerous academic events around the law school. “You are a valuable contributor to the intellectual life of the law school.” The dean recalled when, as a new assistant professor, he met the law school’s largest benefactor for the first time.

"I was subject to a grilling by the university's chancellor over something I had written in our alumni magazine, Nexus, on corporate governance. I was of course correct in what I had written, though for some reason Hal was skeptical and was perfectly willing to share his doubts with me!," said the dean. He also shared the time Jackman gave him a well-worn book on the history of dissent and the US Supreme Court, noting "how marked up it was, with underline passages and notes to himself everywhere."

Ann Wilson with Frank Iacobucci at the table, Justice Rosalie Abella standing by them

Alumnae Ann Wilson and Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, with the Hon. Frank Iacobucci

“You are a leading citizen of Canada and also an extraordinary citizen of the University of Toronto,” said President Gertler.

Gertler highlighted the award-winning design of the state-of-the-art Jackman Law Building, calling it “a brilliant new addition to our architectural patrimony supported by many in this room and beyond.”

He spoke enthusiastically about Hal Jackman’s “many, many other contributions to this institution—as our advocate, counsellor, benefactor, and friend— [and] we see that the word ‘extraordinary’ is completely inadequate.”

Added Gertler: “We are grateful that you have made your alma mater a high priority as part of your and your family’s brilliant record of philanthropy in our city and our country.”

Dean Iacobucci confirmed that this distinguished alumnus “will forever be part of the U of T Faculty of Law family.”