Who are the academies named after?

Jun 19, 2018
Hannah Stevenson

All of our academies on the St. George campus are named after exemplary physicians from the University of Toronto, who made profound contributions to the field of medicine. When you enroll in an academy, you become part of a legacy of physicians who built their career on academic rigor, humility, and compassion. Before you embark on your medical school journey, we would like to introduce you to the physicians who paved the road on which you are about to walk.


FitzGerald Academy 

(St. Michael's Hospital)

Dr. John FitzGerald graduated from the University of Toronto Medical School in 1903. From 1932 – 1936, he was the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at U of T. Prior to his time as Dean, Dr. FitzGerald lobbied for Canada to adopt a national health insurance program, so all citizens could have access to healthcare. Due to this activism, he is seen as the visionary for the public healthcare system that Canada has today.  FitzGerald Academy is known within the U of T Med community to be the academy with a specific focus on healthcare for inner-city and underprivileged communities. A large focus of St. Michael's Hospital is also community health and providing healthcare for underprivileged communities. 


Peters-Boyd Academy

(Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre) 

Dr. Vera Peters was a professor of radiology at the University of Toronto, and is globally seen as a pioneer in radiation treatment for cancer. She graduated from the University of Toronto MD Program in the 1930s – as one of 10 women in her class. She practiced medicine at Toronto General and Princess Margaret Hospital, where she made advancements in the treatment of breast cancer and Hodgkin’s disease. Her advancements became commonplace globally.

Dr. William Boyd was a professor of pathology at the University of Toronto from 1937 -51, and a well-established medical author. His textbooks were published all over the world and translated into many languages


Wightman-Berris Academy

(Sinai Health System and University Health Network) 

Dr. Keith JR Wightman graduated from U of T medicine in 1937. He was the Chair of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief at Toronto General Hospital (TGH) throughout the 1960s. He had a profound impact on the University of Toronto and TGH, and was awarded an honorary degree in 1976. Dr. Wightman was a mentor to Dr. Berris, the other eponym of Wightman-Berris academy.

Dr. Barnett Berris graduated from U of T medicine in 1944. He was the first Jewish doctor to become granted a full-time faculty position at Toronto General Hospital, within the Department of Medicine. Later in his career, he became the Chief of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, a position he held for thirteen years. In his memoir, Dr. Berris wrote of the newly named academy, stating  "[Dr. Wightman] was my mentor and my friend, and to have my name linked to his is a great source of pride for me."


Mississauga Academy of Medicine  

(Trillium Health Partners) 

The Mississauga Academy of Medicine is our newest academy, having opened in 2011. Thus, it has not been named after a physician (yet!). Who knows what the future holds - perhaps one day it will be named after you! 



Who was Dr. John FitzGerald? - St Michael's Hospital 

Dr. M. Vera Peters - Canadian Medical Hall of Fame 

Vera Peters, Quiet Revolutionary - U of T Faculty of Medicine 

Dr. William Boyd - The Canadian Encyclopedia 

Dr. Keith Wightman - Wightman Berris Academy, U of T 

Dr. Barnett Berris - Wightman Berris Academy, U of T