A&S community mourns loss of former dean Arthur Kruger, a champion of part-time students

October 19, 2023 by A&S News

The Faculty of Arts & Science community is mourning the loss of former faculty dean and the first principal of Woodsworth College, Arthur Kruger, who passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at age 90.

Kruger had an illustrious career at the University of Toronto, culminating in becoming the dean of Arts & Science between 1977 and 1982, and principal of Woodsworth College in 1974, where he embraced, as no other dean had done previously, the aspirations and the challenges of the University’s part-time students.

Kruger had a keen interest in creating opportunities for part-time students to learn, as he himself had worked practically full-time during high school in his parents’ store in Kensington Market, and was the only one of his siblings to attend university.

Arthur Kruger speaking at podium, behind him is a wooden paneled wall and a lovely landscape painting
Arthur Kruger served as dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science from 1977 to 1982. 

It was that experience that led to his strong support and endorsement of the original mandate of Woodsworth College — to provide a home for the University’s part-time students enrolled in its undergraduate Faculties.

“Arthur was an icon and an advocate for the establishment of Woodsworth College long before it finally happened,” says Alexander Waugh, a former vice-principal and registrar of Woodsworth College who worked alongside Kruger. “He was a wonderful caring and principled principal.”

He also supported the naming of Woodsworth College, named after J.S. Woodsworth, the first leader of the CCF — the predecessor of the NDP party.

Today, Kruger’s legacy lives on at U of T. The Woodsworth College Students’ Association-Arthur M. Kruger Scholarship is an admission scholarship awarded annually. As well, students continue to walk daily through Kruger Hall Commons in Woodsworth College, originally named Arthur M. Kruger Hall.

“Arthur was ebullience personified,” says David Nimmo, former director of the Millie Rotman Shime Academic Bridging Program and long-time staff member at the college who worked with Kruger.

“He was bursting with energy and enthusiasm, with a ready smile and an open-door policy, greeting visitors while having his feet up on his desk. He made everyone feel at ease in his presence.”