Media Releases

Michael Wilson re-elected U of T Chancellor

January 27, 2015

TORONTO – The Honourable Michael H. Wilson, a former Canadian ambassador to the United States and federal Minister of Finance and leading volunteer with a range of community and research organizations, has been re-elected to serve a second term as Chancellor of the University of Toronto.

Mr. Wilson is a graduate of U of T’s Trinity College in 1959 and currently Chairman of Barclays Capital Canada Inc. His first term began officially on July 1, 2012. He is the University’s 33rd Chancellor since its founding in 1827. Mr. Wilson’s range of volunteer activities has been and remains extraordinary. Among his many volunteer leadership positions, he is Vice Chair of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Honorary Chair of Brain Canada. He is also widely respected as a tireless champion for mental health awareness and research.

“It is a very great privilege to serve as Chancellor of my alma mater, the University of Toronto,” said Mr. Wilson. “Our brilliant students, alumni, faculty, and staff are a constant source of inspiration, and it is immensely enjoyable to support them in their work and to celebrate their accomplishments. I am very grateful to the College of Electors for their confidence in me.”

The Chancellor is elected by the alumni’s College of Electors, and is eligible for re-election for one additional three-year term, the maximum service length permitted by the University of Toronto Act, 1971. As the ceremonial head of the University, the Chancellor presides at convocations, confers University degrees and acts as ambassador to its more than 540,000 graduates worldwide and to the wider community. In this role, Mr. Wilson has initiated a series of roundtable discussions with alumni from across the University’s campuses and divisions, and has met with graduates from around the world. The Chancellor also plays an essential part in advancing the University’s interests in the local, provincial, national and international arenas – a role Mr. Wilson has filled with great distinction, drawing on his extensive, unique, and superb record in public life.

“Michael Wilson’s service as Chancellor has been distinguished by his extraordinary loyalty and dedication,” said Meric Gertler, President of the University of Toronto. “His marvellous record of leadership in public life, business, and not-for-profit work is both an inspiration and a tremendous asset to the University community. I am delighted that the College of Electors has re-elected him to a second term, and I look forward to continuing to work with him in advancing the University’s teaching and research missions.”

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.

“Chancellor Wilson continues to demonstrate his passion for and commitment to the University,” said Judy Goldring, Chair of the University of Toronto’s Governing Council. “He has a genuinely warm and welcoming approach and has made a consistently positive impact on those with whom he has come in contact.”

“Chancellor Wilson has, in his first term, exceeded the College’s expectations in his own exceptional way,” said Scott MacKendrick, Chair of the College of Electors. “He has engaged with alumni all over the world and is an exemplary candidate for re-election by the College.”

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 at any other Canadian university.

In research output and research impact (total publications and number of citations), U of T ranks second in the world after Harvard University. 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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U of T Media Relations


Biography of The Honourable Michael H. Wilson, P.C., C.C., LL.D.

Michael Wilson currently serves as the Chairman of Barclays Capital Canada Inc. where he is responsible for managing client relationships in Canada. Previously, he was Canada’s 22nd Ambassador to the United States of America from March 13, 2006 to October 9, 2009. Prior to taking up this position, Mr. Wilson was Chairman of UBS Canada, an operating division of UBS AG. Before joining UBS in July 2001, he was responsible for RBC Financial Group’s Institutional Asset Management business and also served as a Vice Chairman of RBC Dominion Securities.

Mr. Wilson was elected to the House of Commons in 1979. In September 1984, he was appointed Minister of Finance. In May 1991, he became Minister of Industry, Science and Technology and Minister for International Trade. During his tenure as a member of the Cabinet, he had responsibility for the NAFTA negotiations and represented Canada at the G7, IMF, World Bank, OECD, GATT and other international meetings.

Prior to his career in public life, Mr. Wilson worked in investment banking and was charged with various responsibilities in corporate, government and international finance. He was also director of several companies, including BP p.l.c. and Manulife Financial.

Mr. Wilson has been active in a number of professional and community organizations, including 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 was instrumental in establishing the Cameron Parker Holcombe Wilson Chair in Depression Studies at the University of Toronto. Currently he is Vice Chair of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Honorary Chair of Brain Canada. He has received numerous awards for his work in these fields, including honours from the Conference Board of Canada, Canada’s Public Policy Forum, the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians, and the Rotman School of Management. Mr. Wilson is a Companion of the Order of Canada and holds honorary degrees from the University of Toronto, Trinity College at the University of Toronto, York University, the University of Calgary, and the Royal Military College of Canada. An alumnus of Trinity College at U of T, he graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1959.