Former principal named president of Harvard's Board of Overseers
David Johnston was elected to the position of president of the Harvard Board of Overseers.
On Sunday, April 6 at noon, David Johnston was elected to the position of president of the Harvard Board of Overseers. Johnston, a law graduate of Harvard University (A.B. 1963), has been an Overseer at Harvard since 1992 and previously held the position of vice-chair of the Board. The appointment is for a one-year term.
"David Johnstons appointment is seen at McGill University as the recognition of the strong ties that link our two institutions," said Kate Williams, director of the University Relations Office. "The naming of David Johnston, a Canadian, to this prestigious position is also evidence of Americas oldest institution of higher learning reaching out beyond its borders."
The 30-member Board of Overseers, founded in 1642, governs educational policies and practices, and approves teaching and administrative appointments at Harvard. It is elected at large by alumni for six-year terms. Its principal duties are counselling and visitation, carried out through a system of visiting committees meant to inform the Overseers about the state of the University. The Board of Overseers represents the ultimate responsibility of the community at large for the operation of the University. The primary role of the Overseers in Harvard governance is to keep the University true to its Charter as a place of learning.
A former Principal of McGill University (1979 to 1994), Johnston has held the position of Professor in the Faculty of Law since 1994. He continues in his capacity as Chair of the Board of the Neuroscience Network of Centres of Excellence, which is based at McGill University. He also chaired Industry Canadas Information Highway Advisory Council which concluded its mandate last week and is scheduled to publish its final report in May.
"Harvard first contacted me when I was 14 years old on the advice of an alumnus who had heard I was a promising scholar-athlete," said Johnston. He has never forgotten the debt he owes to that institution. "Ive been trying to put water back in that well ever since."
Johnston is also Chair of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Founded in 1982 and known as Canadas research university without walls, CIAR has established an international reputation for collaborative research of the highest quality. Its eight basic research programs in the natural and social sciences are staffed by more than 160 distinguished scholars from 74 universities and other centres in Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia, Japan and Israel.
Johnston retains his teaching position and other duties within McGill University.