TORONTO, ON – The Honourable Michael H. Wilson, a former Canadian ambassador to the United States and federal Minister of Finance and active volunteer with a range of community and research organizations, has been elected to serve as Chancellor of the University of Toronto.
Wilson is a graduate of U of T’s Trinity College in 1959 and currently Chairman of Barclays Capital Canada Inc. His term begins officially on July 1, 2012. He will be the University’s 33rd Chancellor since its founding in 1827. Wilson’s range of volunteer activities has been and remains extraordinary. He is widely respected as a tireless champion for mental health awareness and research, and was recently appointed to the governing council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
“I feel very honoured to be asked to serve my alma mater in this capacity. I very much look forward to working with the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and administration of this great university,” said Michael Wilson.
Elected by the alumni’s College of Electors for a three-year term, the Chancellor is the ceremonial head of the University, presiding at convocations, conferring all University degrees and acting as ambassador to more than 500,000 graduates worldwide and to the wider community. The Chancellor also plays an essential role in advancing the University’s interests within the local, provincial, national and international arenas – a role that Mr. Wilson is well-qualified to fill with distinction.
“An exceptional leader in our community and on the world stage, known for his dedication to public service, Mr. Wilson is an outstanding candidate for Chancellor,” said David Naylor, President of the University of Toronto. “His energy and experience will be a tremendous benefit to the University community.”
In 2005, the University of Toronto conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on Mr. Wilson in recognition of his exemplary and long-standing volunteer leadership and outstanding community service. He served as Chancellor of Trinity College from 2003 to 2006 where his many contributions as ceremonial head of Trinity were appreciated by students, faculty and staff alike.
“The Chancellor works closely with the President and me to advocate for University priorities,” said Richard Nunn, Chair of the University of Toronto’s Governing Council. “It will be a great pleasure to work with Mr. Wilson, who will act as an inspiring role model for both members of the University and the broader community.”
The election of a chancellor follows a rigorous search process conducted by the University’s College of Electors. Established in 1971 by the Governing Council, the College comprises members representing the constituent alumni associations of the University of Toronto Alumni Association (UTAA) and is charged with the election of alumni governors and the Chancellor.
“The College is especially pleased with the election of Michael Wilson as Chancellor,” said Françoise Ko, Chair of the College of Electors. “He is a superb candidate who will serve the University with distinction as a leader of the broad community of the University’s alumni and friends.”
Mr. Wilson succeeds The Honourable David R. Peterson, whose second term as Chancellor comes to an end as of June 30, 2012. At that time the Chancellor will have completed the maximum service length permitted by the University of Toronto Act, 1971. Chancellor Peterson’s tireless and exemplary work on behalf of the University over the past six years is deeply appreciated by the entire University community.
About the University of Toronto
The University of Toronto has assembled one of the strongest research and teaching faculties in North America, presenting top students at all levels with an intellectual environment unmatched in breadth and depth on any other Canadian campus.
U of T faculty co-author more research articles than their colleagues at any university in the U.S. or Canada other than Harvard. As a measure of impact, U of T consistently ranks alongside the top five U.S. universities whose discoveries are most often cited by other researchers around the world. U of T faculty are also widely recognized for their teaching strengths and commitment to graduate supervision. Established in 1827, the University of Toronto today operates in downtown Toronto, Mississauga and Scarborough, as well as in nine renowned partner hospitals.
U of T attracts undergraduate, graduate and professional program students from across Canada and abroad. Students at the University have unique opportunities to learn from top researchers. On campus, students are able to craft intimate learning communities within a unique undergraduate college system, participate in more than 1000 clubs and co-curricular activities, and compete on a wide variety of intra-mural and inter-collegiate sports teams.
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Biography of The Honourable Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson is a highly respected and active member of professional and community organizations including the NeuroScience Canada Partnership, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships, and the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance. He has received a number of awards for his work in these fields as well as from The Conference Board of Canada, The Public Policy Forum, and The Rotman School of Business.
A mental health advocate, Mr. Wilson was instrumental in establishing the Cameron Parker Holcombe Wilson Chair in Depression Studies at the University of Toronto. Mr. Wilson continues to provide voluntary leadership in the health sphere and was appointed by the Government of Canada to the governing council of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. He was recently named as the Vice-Chair.
Prior to serving as the 22nd Ambassador of Canada to the United States of America from March 13, 2006 to October 9, 2009, Mr. Wilson held a number of senior positions in the financial services industry.
Mr. Wilson was elected to the House of Commons in 1979. In September 1984, he was appointed Canada’s Minister of Finance and remained in that position until May 1991. He then became Minister of Industry, Science and Technology and Minister for International Trade. In this latter position he had responsibility for the NAFTA negotiations. During his tenure as a member of the Cabinet, Mr. Wilson represented Canada at the G-7, IMF, World Bank, OECD, GATT and other international Ministers meetings. Following his service in government, Mr. Wilson launched Michael Wilson International in 1993 to offer corporate clients advice on international trade and related issues.
Apart from his career in public life, Mr. Wilson was an investment banker with various responsibilities in corporate, government and international finance. He was also Director of a number of companies including BP plc. and Manulife Financial.
Mr. Wilson was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2003 and was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada in 2010. He also has an honorary degree from York University and an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal Military College of Canada.