Professor Charlie Keil Installed as Eighth Principal of Innis College
written by Ennis Blentic | photography by Alice Xue | videography by istoica
Innis College has formally installed Professor Charlie Keil as its eighth Principal at a ceremony held at Innis Town Hall on October 13th. Keil, who has been at the helm of the college since July 1st, is an accomplished administrator, a celebrated lecturer, and a long-time member of the Innis community. As a professor in the History Department and past Director of the Cinema Studies Institute, he has been teaching at the University of Toronto for over 20 years and is the first Principal of Innis to be recruited from within the College.
Speaking on behalf of the University of Toronto community, President Meric Gertler affirmed Keil’s unique connection to Innis. “In addition to [his] talent as a teacher and [his] stature as a scholar and academic innovator, [he] is also deeply rooted in this very special community. I think these qualities make [him] a brilliant choice to lead Innis forward.”
During his time as Director of the Cinema Studies Institute, Keil oversaw its evolution from an undergraduate College program to a freestanding institute offering M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Throughout his career, he has balanced administrative duties with research, establishing an international reputation as a pioneer in the study of the pivotal “transitional era” of the 1910s. Keil has written extensively on the period, and has published five books and dozens of articles, with four more volumes currently in preparation.
Equally, Keil has remained committed to excellence in teaching and in fostering an enhanced student experience. He is widely recognized as an outstanding, approachable, inspirational, and highly entertaining lecturer. A top 20 finalist for TVO’s Lecturer of the Year in 2006, Keil also received an Outstanding Teaching Award from the Faculty of Arts and Science in 2015.
A former student and protégé, Meraj Dhir currently a doctoral candidate at Harvard, credited Keil with his development as a student and scholar, praising his “dedication, intellectual and personal engagement, and deep commitment to students.”
The installation party represented a wide cross-section of the University community, including acclaimed filmmaker and alumnus, Atom Egoyan, Dean David Cameron of the Faculty of Arts and Science, and the past principal of Innis College, Professor Janet Paterson. Those in attendance were treated to musical selections on harp and cello, performed by Sharlene Wallace and George Meanwell. University of Toronto music student Ian Sabourin, a countertenor, sang a Handel aria, while Innis College Registrar Donald Boere played a Telemann fantasia on the oboe.
Keil is encouraged and humbled by the accomplishments of those that served before him and is equally enthusiastic about what lies ahead. He is eager to tackle the challenges of his new position, acknowledging that he has the support of the most vibrant and committed community at the University. At the end of his remarks, Keil also pointed to the distinct achievements and interests of Innis’ student community, by introducing ten Innis students he has met since becoming Principal.
“I well recall telling the search committee that I viewed being a College Principal as a ‘dream job,’” Keil told those gathered at the Installation. “The dream has come true, and I intend to live it to the fullest.”