The Fields Institute Turns Twenty-Five 170725 Final book with covers - Page 35

Where it All Began 13 the initial physical facilities and bringing on and training an excellent new staff for the enterprise—in time for the first research program. Before long Sandra Valeriote joined us as Executive Assistant to Jerry and me. She and Sue bore the brunt of the huge load during the site selection process and the construction of the building. Nobody could possibly thank the initial Institute staff members enough. Notes on the Site Selection Competition and the Building As it is the anniversary of the official opening that will be celebrated this year, I will leave an account of the competition to provide a permanent site and my final grand project, the construction of the Fields Institute building, for a later date. The transition from space first offered, which the Fields Committee considered inadequate, to the creation of the current home of the Institute involved an epic battle. As Jerry Marsden noted in the Tenth Anniversary Celebration, he and I were determined to secure the best possible home for the Institute and decided that a true competition was essential. That meant that both of us had to remain strictly neutral throughout the process. We were fortunate to have a distinguished group of people who volunteered their time to the site selection process. The competition produced many excellent offers and what must have been a difficult decision for the Selection Committee. The University of Toronto was the eventual winner, in spite of, rather than because of, its proposal for physical facilities. The University’s ability to improve upon its original offer to one for a new building designed for the Institute’s needs was only the beginning of a long and very difficult process. I do, however, want to correct one uninformed assertion