The Honourable Robert H. Winters (College Founder) was a vital component in the early years of York University. From 1959 to 1965, he served as the first Chairman of the Board of Governors. During this time, he helped generate the funds necessary to purchase and build both the Glendon and Keele Campuses, and the York Room on the 9th floor of the Ross Building. Additionally, he worked tirelessly to acquire much of the artwork found at the Keele Campus today.

Winters came to York with a wealth of experience. He had served as a Lieutenant-Colonel in WWII, and shortly thereafter he became the Liberal representative of his hometown constituency of Queen’s-Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Later, in the years between 1948 and 1957, he held several cabinet posts, including The Minister of Resources and Development, and The Minister of Public Works. In 1965, Winters returned to the political arena; from 1966 to 1968 he served as Minister of Trade and Commerce, receiving critical accolades for the success of Expo ’67. He then went on in 1968 to challenge Pierre Trudeau for the Liberal Leadership. It wasn’t an easy race for Trudeau. Indeed, it was so close that a leader wasn’t chosen until the fourth ballot. One can only imagine what the face of Canada might have been had Robert Winters become the Prime Minister.

Following his defeat in the Liberal election, Winters retired from politics for the last time. He moved seamlessly into the world of business and served on numerous boards of governors until his death in 1969; he was only 59. His memory was kept alive through the generosity of his widow Eleanor Winters (after whom our art gallery is named), a dedicated Winters College Fellow, and the unique reputation and success of all Winters College students. A biographical video was made years ago to honour the life and times of our college namesake, and was shown to an enthusiastic audience of Robert Winters family members, students and faculty.



Winters College Banner

The College Banner, reflecting bold symmetrical patterns of red, green, blue and white, is carried at College ceremonies such as Induction/Convocation, Orientation, and is present at inter-college meets. It was designed in 1968, by Kenneth Lochead, a noted Canadian painter. The hard-edge colour-field design of the banner was influenced by Lochead’s attendance of a summer workshop with Clement Greenberg in 1962.


Masters of Winters College:

Donald S. Rickerd 1968 – 1969
Tom Hockin (acting) 1969 – 1970
Desmond Maxwell 1970 – 1979
Michael Quealey (acting) 1972 – 1973
Maurice Elliot 1979 – 1989
J. Ceri Stephens (acting) 1979 – 1980
Don Newgren 1989 – 1995
Nicholas Elson (acting) 1991 – 1993
Andrew Tomcik 1995 – 2000
Gottfried Paasche 2000 – 2003
Marie Rickard 2003 – 2014
John Mayberry (interim) 2014 – 2015
Peter McKinnon (interim) 2015 – 2016
John Mayberry 2016 – present