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FOR OISE ALUMNA JEAN DOAN, A DOUBLE BENCH IS THE PERFECT SYMBOL OF TOGETHERNESS

Glenn and Jean Doan on their wedding day
Glenn and Jean Doan on their wedding day

When Jean Doan (MEd 1983) learned about U of T’s Landmark Project, she knew she’d found the right way to honour the love of her life.

“I knew right away I’d marry Glenn (BScF 1961, MScF 1974),” says Jean about her beloved husband of nearly 56 years, who passed away last year from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. “It was February 1962. I had my first teaching job at a one-room schoolhouse north of Barrie, and I’d rented a room with a local farmer. Glenn’s father owned the farm next door, and one afternoon Glenn came to the door to borrow some eggs. As soon as I saw him, I just said to myself, that's the guy.”

The couple married the following year and moved together to Thunder Bay, where Glenn landed a job with the Ministry of Natural Resources (formerly Land and Forests). After completing his Master’s in forestry at U of T, Glenn was transferred to Sault Ste. Marie, where he worked for the Provincial Fire Control Unit until his retirement in 1993, and where Jean pursued a very successful career in higher education.

A LIFELONG PASSION FOR THE OUTDOORS

Jean and her children, Jennifer and Barbara, have generously donated a bench to the Landmark Project to commemorate the family’s connection to the University and to honour Glenn’s passion for the outdoors and his lifelong commitment to sustainability.

“Glenn just loved being outside,” says Jean. “He was an avid sailor and won many races over the years, the most rewarding being the Trans Superior Race from Sault Ste. Marie to Duluth, Minnesota, when he and his crew won their division. But his real passion was the 1400-acre Cloudslee Forest in Bruce Mines.”

Glenn acquired the Cloudslee property one piece at a time, buying farms and vacant land at tax sales. Along with the couple’s daughter, Barbara, he planted thousands of trees on the property, which over time grew into a thriving forest. In 1998, Glenn was recognized by the Ontario Government and the Ontario Woodlot Association for his pioneering contribution to sustainable forestry.

MAKING U OF T MORE SUSTAINABLE

One of the most significant open space projects to take place on the St. George campus, the Landmark Project will make a substantial contribution to greening our downtown campus and achieving U of T’s 2030 commitment to sustainability.

In addition to planting more than 200 trees, the introduction of new gardens and other plantings will contribute to cleaner soil, air and water, and provide vital cooling and shade during summer months. And with cars no longer dominating the landscape, the initiative will create a much more people-centric campus experience.

As part of the Landmark Project, the University is also installing Canada’s largest urban geothermal field beneath King's College Circle, with the potential to save U of T 15,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year—equivalent to taking more than 3,000 vehicles off the road.

A PERFECT TRIBUTE

“Glenn was a wonderful man,” says Jean. “We had an amazing life together, and it was really important to me to remember him in the right way.”

The couple celebrating fifty years of marriage
The couple celebrating fifty years of marriage

When she opened her copy of U of T Magazine and read about the Landmark Project, everything just fell into place. “It just made so much sense. U of T was a life-changing experience for both of us. Glenn was the first person in his family to get not just a bachelor's but a master's degree, and I was the first person in mine to get a master's degree.

Jean has chosen to donate a double bench, which will feature Glenn’s commemorative plaque on one side of the bench and hers on the other. “It means we can be together,” says Jean. “I like to think of the students wandering around King’s College Circle and stopping to sit on our bench to have a cup of coffee or to just relax between classes. It’s just perfect—the perfect way to pay tribute to Glenn.

Join close to 2,000 donors from Toronto and around the world in reimagining U of T’s downtown campus as an even more inspiring to learn, live and work. Read more of our donor storiestake a look at the renderings and discover how you too can leave your mark!

Posted on Dec 3, 2019