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OISE celebrates the life of Walter George Pitman, former OISE director

June 20, 2018



Photo of Walter George Pitman courtesy of OISE Library. 

The OISE community celebrates the life of Walter George Pitman, who recently passed away at age 89. The father of four was a passionate educator, author and activist who served as OISE’s Director from 1986 to 1992.

"Walter Pitman was a kind, thoughtful leader who was extremely devoted to education, the arts and social justice,” said OISE Dean Glen Jones. “He made an enormous contribution to OISE during his term as Director."

Beginning his career as a high school history teacher, Mr. Pitman progressed through a number of prestigious roles in politics and education.

He made history in 1960 by becoming the first NDP Member of Parliament in Peterborough, Ont. Not only that, in 1967, he became chair of the NDP caucus and three years later, was elected Deputy Leader of the Ontario NDP.

Leader in education

In addition to political success, Mr. Pitman was also a leader in education. In 1972, he was the Dean of Arts and Science at Trent University, and later held the role of President at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute (now Ryerson University). He then made his mark as Director of OISE for six years, beginning in 1986.

Mr. Pitman and his wife, Ida, shared a passion for the arts, regularly attending operas, galleries, museums, theatres, symphonies, and concerts, as well as generously supporting artistic communities and cultural institutions.

The great-grandfather was a proud member of the Order of Ontario, and an officer of the Order of Canada. He was the chair of countless associations, and was a board member with the National Ballet of Canada, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Toronto Children's Chorus, and Campaign Against Child Poverty.

A celebration of Mr. Pitman’s life will take place on Friday, June 22 at 7p.m. at Trinity St. Paul's United Church at 427 Bloor St. West, Toronto.

View Walter George Pitman’s obituary