Impassioned legal scholar comes home to UVic

Ryan Tonkin could have pursued his doctoral studies anywhere. He chose to come home to the University of Victoria.

The 31-year-old alumnus—who graduated with a BA in philosophy from UVic in 2010, an MA in philosophy in 2011 and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 2014—is the first student in UVic’s Department of Philosophy’s new PhD program.

UVic has always felt like a second home to him and most poignantly at a time in his life when he did not have one. Born in Victoria, Tonkin left home at 14. As he describes, his first lessons were “deeply personal. I dropped out of high school and spent my teenage years on the street, in group homes and in foster care.”

He decided to return to education in 2007. After earning his BA, Tonkin squeezed in an MA in only 16 months before heading to Boston.