From the Archives: Forty Years of Stephanos

The end of the academic year at most educational institutions typically heralds the publication of an annual yearbook, and the spring of 2023 marks the fortieth anniversary of the first volume of Stephanos, the yearbook of Trinity College.

From 1898-1966 the Student Administrative Council of the University of Toronto published Torontonensis, a yearbook which covered the entire university community. It documented student life and listed graduates of Trinity College from the college’s federation with U of T in 1904. But from the mid-1960s through the 70s there was no annual published chronicle of life at Trinity.

Enter Stephanos, a name taken from Trinity’s motto, meaning “crown” in Greek – an appropriate title for a book highlighting the end of one’s time at university. Trinity College students, noting the lack of yearbook at their institution, began planning in 1981 to publish one of their own. It took some time to generate sufficient support for the idea but by the autumn of 1982 planning and production, especially sending out photographers to events, was in full-swing. As stated by its first editor, Martin Guest:

“Perhaps our most difficult task was defining our purpose and keeping it in mind throughout the year. There is to Trinity an unmistakable, but nonetheless nebulous, character which pervades most of college life. By recording the events of this past year we have sought to capture this. The Trinity spirit is a unique mixture of eccentricity, tradition and community. Most importantly it is something inimitable and peculiar to Trinity. It is not an easy task to make the intagible [sic] perceptible or to confine that which is ubiquitous; if we manage to convey even a fraction of the charm and sparkle of Trinity, our job has been well done.”

At 120 pages filled with photographs, captions, and tributes, this two-year effort proved to be a template for future publications, and sparked a (nearly) uninterrupted publication run until the COVID-19 pandemic. For those wishing to consult the 1982-1983 volume, or any issue of Stephanos, a complete run is held by the Trinity College Archives and the John W. Graham Library. For students, you can also check out the Stedman Library or the Junior Common Room – copies of the yearbooks are often laying around or on the bookshelves.

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