Media Releases

Biography of Professor Meric Gertler

March 4, 2013

President-designate of the University of Toronto

Pro­fes­sor Mer­ic Gertler is one of the world’s fore­most urban the­o­rists and pol­i­cy prac­ti­tion­ers. He is wide­ly known as an expert on inno­va­tion, cre­ativ­i­ty and cul­ture as dri­vers of the eco­nom­ic dynamism of city-regions.

On March 4, 2013, Pro­fes­sor Gertler was named the 16th Pres­i­dent of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to. He cur­rent­ly serves as the Dean of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s largest and most diverse aca­d­e­m­ic divi­sion, the Fac­ul­ty of Arts & Sci­ence, a posi­tion he has held since Decem­ber 1, 2008.

Inter­na­tion­al­ly renowned as a dis­tin­guished schol­ar, Pro­fes­sor Gertler’s research focus­es on the geog­ra­phy of inno­v­a­tive activ­i­ty and the economies of city-regions. He has been a fre­quent advi­sor to gov­ern­ment agen­cies at all lev­els, both in Cana­da and abroad, as well as to mul­ti­lat­er­al orga­ni­za­tions such as the Euro­pean Union and the OECD.

Pro­fes­sor Gertler is Pro­fes­sor of Geog­ra­phy and Plan­ning, holds the Goldring Chair in Cana­di­an Stud­ies at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege and was the found­ing co-direc­tor of the Pro­gram on Glob­al­iza­tion and Region­al Inno­va­tion Sys­tems (PROGRIS) at the Munk School of Glob­al Affairs. He has pre­vi­ous­ly served as the Vice Dean of Grad­u­ate Edu­ca­tion and Research in the Fac­ul­ty of Arts & Sci­ence and as direc­tor of the Depart­ment of Geography’s Pro­gram in Plan­ning. He has been a Senior Fel­low of Massey Col­lege since 2000 and a Fel­low of the Roy­al Soci­ety of Cana­da since 2003.

His research has attract­ed $8.4 mil­lion in exter­nal fund­ing.  In 2012, he was list­ed as one of Canada’s top researchers in the field of geog­ra­phy by The Globe and Mail.

Pro­fes­sor Gertler is the author, co-author or co-edi­tor of more than 80 schol­ar­ly pub­li­ca­tions and six books.  These have had sig­nif­i­cant impact in his field and have led him to be one of Canada’s most high­ly cit­ed geo­g­ra­phers. He is co-edi­tor of the wide­ly used Oxford Hand­book of Eco­nom­ic Geog­ra­phy and win­ner of Choice Magazine’s “Out­stand­ing Aca­d­e­m­ic Book” award. He has held vis­it­ing appoint­ments at Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty, Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don, UCLA, and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oslo. He won the 2007 Award for Schol­ar­ly Dis­tinc­tion from the Cana­di­an Asso­ci­a­tion of Geo­g­ra­phers. Pro­fes­sor Gertler was also a mem­ber of the Expert Pan­el on Busi­ness Inno­va­tion estab­lished by the Coun­cil of Cana­di­an Acad­e­mies, which pub­lished its land­mark report “Inno­va­tion and Busi­ness Strat­e­gy: Why Cana­da Falls Short” to wide acclaim in 2009.

In May 2012, he was award­ed an hon­orary doc­tor of phi­los­o­phy from Lund Uni­ver­si­ty, Swe­den for his excep­tion­al con­tri­bu­tions to the fields of eco­nom­ic geog­ra­phy and region­al devel­op­ment. In the same year, he was made an Aca­d­e­mi­cian of the Acad­e­my of Social Sci­ences (UK).

As Dean of Arts & Sci­ence, Pro­fes­sor Gertler has focused on pro­vid­ing stu­dents with a top qual­i­ty aca­d­e­m­ic expe­ri­ence in which they ben­e­fit direct­ly from U of T’s strength and diver­si­ty in research and teach­ing. Since his term began, under­grad­u­ate edu­ca­tion in the Fac­ul­ty of Arts & Sci­ence has under­gone a fun­da­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion. Today’s cur­ricu­lum has a renewed empha­sis on breadth in prepar­ing glob­al cit­i­zens and ensur­ing all stu­dents grad­u­ate with core com­pe­ten­cies in crit­i­cal think­ing, writ­ing, quan­ti­ta­tive rea­son­ing, prob­lem solv­ing and eth­i­cal aware­ness. He has also focused on sig­nif­i­cant­ly increas­ing the num­ber and range of research and inter­na­tion­al aca­d­e­m­ic oppor­tu­ni­ties for Arts & Sci­ence stu­dents. He has super­vised 56 master’s stu­dents and 12 doc­tor­al stu­dents as well as 11 under­grad­u­ate the­ses.

Pro­fes­sor Gertler com­plet­ed his under­grad­u­ate edu­ca­tion at McMas­ter Uni­ver­si­ty, where he grad­u­at­ed Sum­ma Cum Laude in 1977. He com­plet­ed a Mas­ter of City Plan­ning degree at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley in 1979 and a PhD from Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty in 1983. His doc­tor­al the­sis was enti­tled, Cap­i­tal Dynam­ics and Region­al Devel­op­ment.