The Fields Institute Turns Twenty-Five 170725 Final book with covers - Page 50

28 Rob Prichard My useful contribution was to state an absolute determination that Toronto must win the competition and that we would do whatever was necessary to do so. Mathematics (best symbolized by the extraordinary brilliance of Jim Arthur) was exceptionally strong, and I could not imagine our letting the Fields go anywhere else. I also saw it as a symbol of our broader aspirations to assert the pre-eminence of the University of Toronto as the leading research university in Canada. At the University of Toronto, the President is responsible for resource allocation—money, land, people, and so on—subject to the overall authority of the Governing Council. This budgetary authority gives great influence to the central administration to set priorities and support compelling initiatives. I do not recall whether or not we went to the Governing Council in advance of the competition to approve our bid, but it was fundamentally an administrative decision by my colleagues and myself to support the ambitions of our mathematicians. Not a hard call given their strong academic support for the Fields Institute. I recall no controversy on the point. Despite challenging budgetary times, knowing that the Fields had special external funding and that it would attract a constant stream of great scholars at no cost to the University, allocating resources was an easy call. I also saw it as attracting new resources as much as spending them In addition, I knew the Fields would represent more than mathematics alone. A win on the Institute would show a determination in every area where we were reaching for the stars. Money was short in the then recession in Ontario, and not everyone thought it mattered that we build a special building to appeal to the peculiar preferences of mathematicians. But I thought we should win regardless of the cost. The mathematicians rejected lesser sites we offered, and in the end we made available the prime spot where the