Claude Thomas Bissell, CC FRSC (February 10, 1916 – June 21, 2000) was a Canadian author and educator.

Claude Bissell
8th President of the University of Toronto
In office
Preceded bySidney Earle Smith
Succeeded byJohn Robert Evans
Personal details
Born(1916-02-10)February 10, 1916
Meaford, Ontario
DiedJune 21, 2000(2000-06-21) (aged 84)
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
Cornell University


He was the eighth president of the University of Toronto from 1958 to 1971. He played a major part in the expansion of the University of Toronto, tripling the size of the university during his tenure.

He was born in Meaford, Ontario, the youngest of nine children. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1936 and received his Master of Arts degree in English literature in 1937. He earned his PhD in English Literature from Cornell University where he won the Luana L. Messenger Prize for Graduate Research in 1940.[1][2][3][4] He served in the Canadian Army during World War II.

In 1952 he was made assistant professor at the University of Toronto. From 1956 to 1958 he was president of Carleton College (now Carleton University) returning to the University of Toronto in 1958 to become president.

He was the chair of the Canada Council from 1960 to 1962.

The Claude T. Bissell Building at the University of Toronto, which houses the Faculty of Information, is named after him.[5]

He married Christine and they had one daughter, Deirdre MacDonald.[6]

Because of his education, he was an officer in World War II, attaining the rank of Captain in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada and worked in the intelligence section.



  • "The Social Sciences are good at accounting for disasters once they have taken place."
  • Referring to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, his regiment in World War II, "a happy regiment and a formidable one in action."
  • "Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible."

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • University College: A Portrait - 1953
  • Halfway Up Parnassus: A Personal Account of the University of Toronto 1932-71 - 1974
  • A Brief Biography: Vincent Massey, 1887-1967 - 1981
  • The Imperial Canadian: Vincent Massey in Office -1986
  • Ernest Buckler Remembered - 1989


  1. ^ "The McLuhan-Bissell Collection".
  2. ^ "University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services". Archived from the original on 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2014-06-03.
  3. ^ "The Canadian Encyclopedia".
  4. ^ "UofT Magazine".
  5. ^ "Claude T. Bissell Building - BL". University of Toronto. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  6. ^ "Christine Bissell". GlobeLife Deaths. The Globe and Mail. 2017-03-04. Retrieved 29 April 2017.

External linksEdit