Defy Gravity


UofT caret line
Defy Gravity: The Campaign
for the University of Toronto

We’re excited to collaborate with you on the largest university fundraising and alumni engagement effort in Canadian history. Harnessing the leadership, generosity, and compassion of U of T’s worldwide community, our new campaign will strengthen the University’s commitment to inclusive excellence and accelerate its work on the most pressing issues of our time.

The campaign theme—Defy Gravity—is built on the University’s new brand. Defy Gravity reflects U of T’s long history of discovery, advancing the frontiers of knowledge, and opening life-changing opportunities to foster a more caring and inclusive world.

As a community, we do not see the impossible as a barrier but rather an invitation to explore new possibilities and reach new heights. Defy Gravity reflects that perspective: our boldness and ingenuity and our resolve to pursue knowledge, ideas, and ventures that are both visionary and transformational. The theme also speaks to our students’ aspirations for social change and underlines our commitment to removing barriers to inclusion and social equity so our entire community can thrive.

We invite you to explore this section to see how we’re applying the University’s new brand to our campaign narrative and materials. You can also download campaign assets, including the case for support, visuals, boilerplate copy, and more.

The campaign narrative applies the Defy Gravity brand story to the campaign’s overall themes, objectives, and ambitions. It’s a foundational text that helps us tell the campaign story in a creative, engaging, consistent, and emotionally compelling way.

Nothing great in art, science, or culture is ever accomplished without challenging received wisdom or testing the limits of what can be done. Ideas that once seemed contrarian or quixotic are often the ideas that change everything.

From pioneering work in the humanities to the breakthrough development of insulin, stem-cell therapies, and neural networks, the University of Toronto has a long history of challenging the impossible and transforming society through the ingenuity of its faculty, students, and alumni.

Defy Gravity: The Campaign for the University of Toronto will build on this grand tradition and elevate what our community does best. It will help bring together top minds from every conceivable background and discipline to collaborate on the world’s toughest challenges. It will nurture ideas and initiatives that have the greatest potential to transform lives, shape global debates, and open up new avenues for art, science, culture, and human flourishing. And it will inspire a new generation of compassionate thinkers to brave every obstacle to pursue their passions and realize their potential.

During this time of recovery, rebuilding, and reconciliation, our campaign will provide alumni and supporters around the globe with ample opportunity to engage in the life of the University, invest in future leaders, seed groundbreaking work, and support projects that strengthen their communities. Together, we can take on what might seem impossible today and generate the ideas and talent needed to build a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous future.

In developing the creative concept for our advancement campaign, we kept these items top of mind:

  • The University’s core values—our drive for inclusive excellence and the importance of a caring and engaged community
  • The University’s three priorities—city building, strengthening international partnerships, and reinventing undergraduate education
  • The U of T vision and mission—expressed in an emotionally relatable way to our various audiences

We needed an idea that would capture these considerations while delivering a larger narrative about the University’s relevance and impact. Defy Gravity does exactly that.

The concept leverages the University’s brand expression, conveying its vision, mission, character, and value proposition. It reinforces everything U of T stands for: a community that braves the impossible to transform society, a community that defies gravity.

Integrating with the institutional brand has proven successful for many universities around the world. This strategy will also prove effective for U of T, with Defy Gravity driving our advancement campaign—as our tagline, positioning, and creative platform for wide-ranging fundraising materials.

A Framework for Inclusive Excellence

We have developed seven key priorities to capture the essence of the campaign and provide a platform for advancing U of T’s commitment to inclusive excellence. All seven are bold and inspiring and speak to the campaign’s ambitions, objectives, and desired impact.


Explore the campaign priorities


For each of the seven campaign priorities, we have selected a suite of visually arresting photography, represented here in collage format. To download individual high-res photos, go to the Visual Assets section.

Supporting Photography

For each of the seven campaign priorities, we have selected a suite of visually arresting photography, represented here in collage format. To download individual high-res photos, go to the Visual Assets section.

The Campaign in Action

Learn more about the campaign’s messaging, priorities, initiatives, and look and feel. Explore our campaign assets to create materials for your faculty, college, or department.

Visit the Defy Gravity campaign website

Read the announcement story and watch the launch event video


Visual Assets
Defy Gravity Mark

The official Defy Gravity mark is available in a variety of formats for print and digital use.


The Caret

This design element symbolizes exponential power and upward momentum. Use it to enhance your communication materials.



This stunning introduction to our new campaign screened at the official launch event.

Watch now>

Virtual Backgrounds

Customize your virtual meeting experience with a selection of Defy Gravity visuals.



Choose from our bank of photos for visuals supporting all seven campaign priorities.


Social Media Resources
Social Media Imagery

Cover photos to help you make the most of your social media presence.


Social Media Guidelines

Tips for creating and amplifying social media content for your college, faculty, or department.


Sample Campaign Materials
Campaign Case

The official case for support for Defy Gravity: The Campaign for the University of Toronto.


Campaign Stats 2-Pager

A concise summary of key facts to support the advancement campaign.

Updated as of February 2023.


Campaign 2-Pager

A concise overview of the advancement campaign.


Announcement Print Ad

The full-page print ad, published in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and National Post on December 18, 2021.


Advancement Templates
Word Templates

A range of Defy Gravity branded Word templates are available for download, including customization instructions.

For access to the InDesign versions, contact


PowerPoint Template

A Defy Gravity branded PowerPoint template for creating dynamic presentations.


Email Templates

A selection of event templates with campaign branding, plus a sample campaign newsletter.


Writing Samples and Guides

Refer to these helpful documents when writing fundraising materials, such as proposals or cases for support. Just click the “Access Guidelines” button. To download boilerplate language, scroll below.

  • Guidelines for Writing a Proposal (password-protected)
  • Guidelines for Writing a Case for Support (password-protected)
Scholarships & Bursaries

Boilerplate language for scholarships and bursaries.



Boilerplate language for named professorships.


Endowed Chairs

Boilerplate language for named chairs.


Campaign Boilerplate

Approved about-the-campaign messaging.


Additional Resources

A collection of previously developed advancement assets and guidelines are available for you to explore and download.

We’re Just Getting Started

As we roll out our new brand, the details and contents of this site will change and evolve. Check back frequently for updates.


If you have questions about the new University brand, this portal, or something not included here, please contact us at: