The former dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science—U of T’s largest and most diverse academic division—took office as the University of Toronto’s 16th president last Wednesday.

Meric Gertler, a professor of geography and planning, has succeeded David Naylor in the highest-ranking senior position at U of T. Naylor’s term was officially to end on December 31, but has ended earlier with Gertler having taken office.

U of T announced in March that Gertler, who has served as the dean of arts and science since December 2008, would succeed Naylor after an international presidential search that began in June 2012.

U of T created the presidential search committee chaired by Governing Council member David Wilson and made up of administrative and teaching staff, full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, and other appointees.

The committee held public consultations last September at all three campuses to solicit feedback from the university community as to who should be next to hold U of T’s presidential position.

The appointment of a president from within U of T’s internal academic structure is a tradition. Naylor served as dean of medicine prior to his appointment as president, and will be returning to the Faculty of Medicine after serving as president for the past eight years, which was equivalent to two terms.

Gertler will serve an initial five-year term as president. He’ll be responsible for “general supervision over and direction of the academic work of the university and the teaching and administrative staffs thereof,” according to the University of Toronto Act, 1971.

Governing Council chair, Judy Goldring, will officially install Gertler in a ceremony in Convocation Hall at 3 p.m. on November 7.