Dear members of the McGill University Community,
I am delighted to announce that the McGill University Board of Governors has unanimously approved the appointment of Professor H. Deep Saini as the 18th Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University. Currently President and Vice-Chancellor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Prof. Saini will begin his five-year, renewable term at McGill on April 1, 2023. He will also hold the appointment of Full Professor in the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
The Board approved the appointment following an extensive, international search conducted by an Advisory Committee. Prof. Saini brings to McGill an exceptional breadth and depth of leadership experience, from Dalhousie, several other research-intensive universities in Canada and abroad. He exemplifies the rare mix of strong academic leadership with a wide-ranging and international perspective. A collaborative and innovative thinker who sees challenges as opportunities and who has the ability to set a long-term vision for the University, Prof. Saini is the perfect choice for McGill as it embarks on its third century.
Prof. Saini is a remarkable individual and has a story that is an inspiration for many. He grew up in India, where he completed his Master of Science (Honours) in Botany from Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana. He then moved to Australia, where he earned his PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of Adelaide. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Alberta, Prof. Saini joined Université de Montréal, where he spent close to two decades, notably as director general of the Institut de recherche en biologie végétale. He subsequently joined the University of Waterloo as Dean of the Faculty of Environment and went on to serve as Vice-President and Principal of the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus, where he accomplished transformative initiatives through internationalization efforts, significant campus infrastructure expansion, and increased faculty recruitment.
In 2016, Prof. Saini returned to Australia, this time as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Canberra. During his tenure, the University of Canberra rose from the Top 500 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings to the Top 200. Assisted by a new strategic plan that focused on mission-oriented research, the University made important advances in professional education and experiential learning, as well as in equity, diversity, and inclusion. Upon his return to Canada, Prof. Saini took up the reins at Dalhousie University, where he saw opportunities to leverage the institution’s strengths and profile, while playing an increasingly vital role in its local community and in Atlantic Canada. A trusted and respected leader with the ideal mix of humility and self-confidence, Prof. Saini has a keen understanding of Quebec culture. He is fluent in four languages, including English and French. He held national and international governance and advisory roles, including on the Executive Committee of the U15 and the Board of Directors of Universities Canada, where he currently serves as Vice-Chair and will begin his term as Chair in 2023.
Prof. Saini’s distinguished career has earned him several awards and recognitions, including honours from the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists, Nanjing University, the Royal Society of New South Wales, the Punjab Academy of Sciences and the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce. He is also the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum and Diamond Jubilee Medals, in recognition of his service to education and Canada.
I look forward to introducing Prof. Saini to the McGill community through a special, online presentation that will be available for viewing in the near future on the McGill website home page.
On behalf of the Board of Governors, I extend a heartfelt thanks to the Chancellor and all other members of the Advisory Committee for their many months of hard work and dedication. Their efforts have resulted in an outstanding appointment for McGill. I am also grateful to all members of the University community, both internally and externally, who participated in this process and provided valuable input. Finally, I sincerely thank Professor Christopher P. Manfredi for continuing in his role as Interim Principal and Vice-Chancellor, until Principal-Designate Saini begins his term in April, and for his commitment and leadership ensuring the sound administration of McGill University during this academic year.
Maryse Bertrand Ad.E., MSc (RM)
Chair of the Board of Governors