Hart House mourns the passing of Peter Neilson (LLB 1978).

As a second-year law student, Peter joined the Hart House Debates Committee and Board of Stewards in the fall of 1976. Thus began a lifelong relationship with Hart House that would continue until his untimely death in the spring of 2023.

After graduating from the Faculty of Law in 1978, Peter became one of Hart House’s most dedicated and loyal volunteers. He served on the Board of Stewards in the 1990/91 and 1991/92 academic years. Then, in the 1995/96 year, Peter became the chair of the Hart House Debating Club, a role he would hold for nearly 25 years. Peter was a true champion of the student debaters and incredibly committed to the Hart House Debating Club. As a mentor and debating coach, Peter believed in always having the students lead and encouraged them to develop their own personal debating style.

In 2014, Peter was co-chair of an alumni committee that raised significant funds for a permanent endowment in support of the rich tradition of debate at Hart House. Peter was also a recipient of the University of Toronto’s Arbor Award, the university’s highest volunteer honour.